Gundam 00: Gravure Idols, Rock Bands, and Scrap MetalJuly 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 14 Comments
Tags: Code Geass, Gundam 00, Gundam Seed, Ishikawa Chiaki, L'Arc~en~Ciel, Stephanie, Stereopony, Sunrise, The Back Horn, The Brilliant Green, UVERworld, Yuna Ito
“For this post, I will be conducting a dissertation on the art of cross-dressing without ending up looking like a certain idiotic former soldier-turned-butler. I shall begin with the basics of makeup…” Oh shut up, Tieria. He’s one of the main characters in the series I’ll be ‘reviewing’ today… I wonder where he snuck in from. Ah well. Just try to ignore him…
Gundam 00 is about… why bother. Eat some wiki:
The series is set in 2307 AD. As a result of the depletion of fossil fuels, humanity had to search for a new source of power. The power was found in the form of massive arrays of solar power collectors orbiting the Earth, and supported by three orbital elevators, each one serving one of the three “power blocs” on the planet, namely UNION, controlling the region surrounding North America, Human Reform League (人類革新連盟; jinrui kakushin renmei), consisting of China, Russia and India, and AEU, which controls mainland Europe.
With this nearly inexhaustible source of energy benefiting only the major powers and their allies, constant warfare erupts around the globe among minor countries for fuels and energy. Countries that once economically relied on the sale of fossil fuels have plunged into poverty. Some even believe that solar energy threatened the “promised land of God”, resulting in the 20-year Solar Wars. This chaos led to the formation of a private military organization, called Celestial Being (ソレスタルビーイング), dedicated to eradicating war and uniting humanity through the use of four humanoid machines called Gundams. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 follows four mobile suit pilots termed Gundam Meisters ( ガンダムマイスター), sided with Celestial Being. The main protagonist is 16-year old Setsuna F Seiei (刹那・Ｆ・セイエイ?), a quiet, taciturn young man who grew up in the war-torn Krugis Republic. He pilots the GN-001 Gundam Exia, a high mobility mobile suit effective in melee combat.
Oh, look, there’re links and references everywhere- how convenient. Anyway, that was the summary for season one, which was pretty good, and had quite a few people roaring ‘We have an epic! Finally, something to take our minds off the memories of Code Geass!’ I thought that too, although I didn’t ‘roar’. Well, if a tree could roar…
That said, Gundam 00 just couldn’t surpass Code Geass. Although watching the Meisters pull of ridiculous missions was quite breathtaking, that was it, really. Character development was there, alright, but not nearly enough. Not to mention all the irritating idiot characters, like the Russian Bear’s son, Mr. Immortal and those who do nothing but waste precious screen time, mainly Princess of a Dry Country whose hobby is watching TV… of course, she has to sing. Ever since Macross, I suppose, every mecha show needs a songbird to liven things up. This time, however, it leaned more towards ‘oh shut up, you’re polluting the airwaves’.
Season two was supposed to be the epic lid on the cookie-filled jar. Sadly, someone had been pinching the contents even before it started. Come to think of it, season two mainly consisted of scenes of fighting, running, fighting, and running again. Um, hold on. Didn’t Gundam Seed follow the exact same pattern? Time to face the facts, people- the Gundam anime franchise is nothing more than an extraordinarily long commercial for the model kits. What’s worse is, the folks at Sunrise know this very well, and they don’t care one bit.
So really, what really made Gundam 00 so great for me? The answer may sound a little odd, considering the fact that I just trashed the singing Princess two paragraphs above. It’s the music, which was just gorgeous, excluding the Princess’s silly little act:
First up, Daybreak’s Bell (Lyrics), by the ever-so-hard-to-type-out-and-pronounce L’Arc~en~Ciel. We all know them, so I’ll just move on. This one was used as the first opening theme for season one. From the lyrics, it’s pretty clear that it’s an anti-war song, which fits into the serie’s theme perfectly.
After that, Wana (Lyrics) by The Back Horn. They look like a bunch of head-shaking nuts in the promotional video, but besides that, the song is excellent. That said, I didn’t pay it much attention at first, but it just grew on me. Like Daybreak’s Bell, it looks like another anti-war song. Weird, attractive lyrics worthy of comparison to Ali Project’s ending themes for Code Geass. Still can’t beat Ali in terms of lyrical insanity, though.
This one is just gorgeous: Ash Like Snow (Lyrics) by The Brilliant Green. Like The Back Horn, this was my first encounter with them, but unlike Wana, Ash Like Snow inspired me to go out and look for more of their music, and it was worth it.
Friends (Lyrics) by Stephanie. Never heard of her either, but this song was nice too. In contrast to the first two songs, this one, along with Ash Like Snow, somehow seems a lot… happier. The lyrics are definitely not as dark, anyway.
Now for season two’s songs. While all four theme songs from season one were absolutely gorgeous, season two was a slight disappointment. Hakanaku mo Towa no Kanashimi (Lyrics, Listen) by UVERworld fell flat. Prototype (Lyrics, Listen) by Ishikawa Chiaki didn’t do it for me either.
Luckily, all was not lost. Maybe the director and producers grew some ears on the sides of their heads, but they returned to the audiosensory glory that was season one with the introduction of the following two songs:
And finally, Ito Yuna with Trust You (Lyrics). Hearing her voice in Gundam was a major surprise- actually, better than any plot twist that they could have thrown in. You hear that, Sunrise? Seriously, nothing else mattered anymore. I’m not a diehard Yuna fan but this song was just… transcendental@.@
Tieria can have the rest, I don’t even feel like typing any further. I’m off to bed with Yuna in my ears. You still there after all this? Ah, you want a rating, no? Fine, here you go: 3.7/5 for both seasons. I don’t normally use decimals in my ratings, but I’ll make an exception for this one as I feel that (Never mind the music) season one was much better than season two. Nuff’ said. Still here? Then maybe you’d like to go here instead for some amusing episodic screenshot reviews of season two. Unless you’d rather listen to Tieria’s lecture. I trust that it’ll be quite educational.