It was June 7, 2009.
Little me was sitting in my room on the most dreaded night of my life. Code Geass, my favorite anime on the planet, was ending. My life was about to turn upside down. I watch on Adult Swim as the last episode aired, and I actually cried. I went to bed and woke up the next morning wondering what to do with myself. I had been with that show since early on. I felt crushed. As if someone in my family had died. I needed to find something to fill that void, and oh boy did I. Here’s my review on the anime that, temporarily, filled that void.
I decided to review the two seasons separately because SOOO many things happen that I probably could not cover them all. So expect a review of the second season later.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (Or just Gundam 00 as many people refer to it as, especially me) is a mecha anime made by Sunrise Entertainment, and is also the 11th installment of the Gundam Franchise. The show is set in an alternate universe where the world has run out of fosil fuels, and creates tall towers that reach all the way into space called “Orbital Elevators”. Each major alliance, or country you could say, has their own elevator to get their hands on this solar energy. It centers around a group of people calling themselves Celestial Being who wish to unite the world and eradicate war. It also covers the lives of people who are fighting against Celestial Being, and civilians caught in the crossfire. Eventually the three superpowers of the world (The Union, Human Reform League, and AEU) unite to fight against Celestial Being and their powerful weapons the Gundams.
If I had to say anything about this story is that there is A LOT of things going on within a huge cast of characters. Sure it centers around Celestial Being and their members, but it also shows the lives of the people fighting against them. Thankfully, when I started watching the show it was already completed so I basically marathoned the entire thing in about a week. The first season has 25 episodes, that keep you hooked for hours on end.
Like I mentioned earlier, Gundam 00 has a large cast of characters. I would say I would narrow them down to people who were actually important to the story, but every character is important to the show in their own way. I’ll try my best, so’ll start off with the four men we spend the most time with.
The first is Setsuna F. Seiei who is a young boy, about 16, who is very unemotional but is very devoted to the Gundams and Celestial Being. He truly believes in their goal to eradicate war, because he has been strongly affected by war. At a young age, Setsuna was convinced by one of the series major antagonists to kill his parents because “That’s what God wanted”…crazy right? He grew up in a small country called the Republic of Krugis who was at war. Anyway, wanting to do what God wished him to, Setsuna killed his parents and fought in the Krugis-Azadistan War, which was being fought over resources in the area. He eventually saw a Gundam one day during battle, and somehow decided to join Celestial Being and was granted his own Gundam, Exia. In all honesty, Setsuna was probably my favorite character in the show because of his tragic backstory as well as his strong belief in what he is doing. I enjoyed every single moment he was on screen.
Lockon Stratos is an older young man who is also a Gundam Meister, having the Gundam Dynames. He is also in the possession of Sunrise’s masoct, an orange Haro, who helps him handle his Gundam. Being the oldest Meister he is often looked to as leader and the adult figure, and especially someone Setsuna looks up to. He joined Celestial Being after the death of his parents and younger sister. Unlike the other Meisters he has a very happy and flamboyant personality.
Allelujah Haptism is the third Meister, having the Gundam Kyrios. He was a war orphan who was used as a experimental subject for the Human Reform League, more often referred to as a “Super Soldier” which resulted in his alternate personality, Hallelujah, who has a bloodthirsty and angry attitude, opposite from Allelujah’s gentle and calm personality. He has gone through a lot of trauma in his life, and also strongly believes in what they are doing.
The final Meister was honestly the biggest shock of my life when he first came on screen. This needs a little back story to understand. I was introduced to Gundam 00 when I was watching a video of top anime openings on YouTube. I saw one of the openings for the second season on the list and I jumped to a few conclusions. The biggest one being that I thought the one person with short purple hair was a girl, because she was upset because that one guy turned away. So I was in for a HUGE shock when I watched the first episode and found out that the person with purple hair was actually a boy. So Tieria was kind of awkward for me to watch at first because I was so sure he was a girl…I mean did you see him. From the head up he could be a very pretty girl. Darn you character designers.
Okay so the fourth Meister is Tieria Erde who pilots the Gundam Virtue. He follows all the orders he is given exactly, and worships Veda, the device who tells Celestial Being what to do. Towards the beginning of the show Tieria and the other Meisters do not really get along, but they get along better towards the end. If I went more into Tieria’s character it would give too much of the plot of the second season away, so I have to stop. Sorry.
Other characters include the members of Celestial Being, more specifically the crew of Ptolemios, the ship the Gundams are stationed on. And especially their excellent strategist Sumeragi Lee Noriega. There’s also Felt Grace, Christina Sierra, Lichtendahl Tsery, Lasse Aeon, Joyce Moreno, and Ian Vashti.
There are really so many characters that by going into detail on all of them, you would see that nearly all of them are connected to each other in some way. Whether it be Graham Aker, the Union’s Ace pilot who is one of the shows main antagonists, or Saji Crossroad a civilian high schooler who lives in the apartment next to Setsuna. All of the characters end up being tied to Celestial Being, or one of their Meisters, in some way.
The best part is that even though there are so many characters all of them do have a personality that makes each their own. They leave you with a lasting impression. Episode 1 fills you with so much information that you feel that you will need to take notes, but a few more episodes in you know it all by heart already. “Who’s Billy Katagiri? Oh that’s right he’s the guy with the weird ponytail that works with Graham and went to school with Sumeragi, duh.” I honestly have not watched this show in a while but just thinking about it makes everything come back to me.
My favorite character though, after Setsuna, would probably have to be Graham. He is very full of himself and is proud to be the Union’s Ace pilot. However, he also cares about the people he leads into battle, and it affects them when they are injured or even killed. He is also a very good rival to Setsuna, and fills his role well in the show.
I loved all of the characters. Well actually most of the characters. A few of them made me want to reach into the computer and slap them. One is Saji’s girlfriend, Louise. She plays a very important role in the second season, but is basically just Saji’s pushy girlfriend in the first season.
The second character I could not really stand was Marina, the Princess of Azadistan. You know the country that Setsuna fought against? Yeah she’s he young princess who just wants there to be peace. She reminded me a lot of Euphie from Code Geass, and I could not stand Euphie either. The world is in turmoil. You cannot convince everyone to just drop their weapons. At least Euphie was the Princess of a powerful country. Marina’s nation is practically poor and falling apart. How much can she get done? Not to mention she tries to convince Setsuna to stop what he’s doing. She’s trying to make our main character drop the reason for his entire existence. You are drunk Marina, go home. I really could not stand her and found myself resisting the urge to fast forward whenever she came on screen.
The animation in this show is beautiful. Sunrise is well practiced in the mecha genre and they definitely impressed in Gundam 00. Sunrise really outdid themselves. It’s the same studio who has brought us so many series, but still gives each show’s animation it’s own uniqueness. I often found myself amazed with the particles emitted from the Gundams because they just looked so pretty flying through the air. It was truly beautiful.
The soundtrack is also well done. The two openings have both made it onto my iPod. The endings were good as well. The first “Wana” was probably my favorite song from the entire series. I found it very upbeat and catchy to listen to.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is a mecha anime that is full of a plot that keeps you watching it over and over again, as well as characters that are understandable and like-able. It is full of exciting battles, as well as some calm episodes. It will keep you hooked, and wanting a second season. And there is one!!
It is in my Top 10 anime list, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a compelling story and characters with actual personality. To me this is almost a flawless anime. I also mentioned earlier that this temporarily filled the void Code Geass left in my life. It only temporarily did so because after it ended it left me with an even bigger void. There has yet to be an anime that can fill the void those two shows left in my life. Well with mechas anyway.
I award Mobile Suit Gundam 00 an A for a beautifully done anime that will still be watched for many years to come. Watch it!!