Mobile Suit Gundam. 00 Status …. Confirmed.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (yes, Double-Oh) marks a substantial milestone in my expansive anime history. And it’s a bit of a doozy. It’s actually the first Gundam series that I’ve actually watched from beginning to end and actually completed. Considering that the influence of Gundam on Japanese culture is akin to Star Trek in the West, I’d say that this was a long time coming. To be fair, though, it’s not like this was my first real encounter with the series — Toonami aired Gundam Wing back during the turn of the new millenium and I watched a bit of Turn A Gundam (as much as I could get ahold of at the time), so I went in with my set of expectations and reservations on what to expect. Turns out that these sentiments were completely useless to me, because 00 is just that good. It did a total 180 on everything I had come to know about the series.
In the distant future, mankind develops a planetary solar panel array to end worldwide dependency on natural fuels. The system, which encircles the Earth as a giant ring in space, is connected to land via three Orbital Elevators, each under the control of one of the world powers: The Union (North America), The Human Reform League (Asia), and the AEU (Europe). As the world shifts from its dependency on fossil fuels to solar power, many countries dependent on exporting oil fall into economic chaos, eventually culminating in the Solar Wars that claims the lives of many innocents and breeds a ruthless generation of child soldiers that disperse across the globe as the conflicts come to an end. Within ten years time, the three modern super powers find themselves in an uncomfortable position as a mysterious armed organization called Celestial Being makes a broadcast to the residents of Earth. The group demands ongoing peace across the planet and threatens to stage armed interventions against any and all entities who would contribute in any fashion to the propagation of war. Four pilots are dispatched on behalf of Celestial Being, each in possession of the mobile suits Gundam, powerful devices with weapon technologies that far surpass the combined military might of the entire world. With the support of the warship Ptolemaios and its crew, the Gundam pilots begin their mission.
00 presents Celestial Being with a pretty hefty task. That is, policing the world with overwhelming force. Though ideologically in sync, each of the four pilots fights for their own personal reasons and as such don’t get along as well as they should for a team with such a magnanimous responsibility. That said, they are all extremely dedicated to the cause and, while not diminishing the value of their own lives in the least, will gladly sacrifice themselves for the advancement of Celestial Being’s goal. You end up with an extremely driven cast and crew, close enough to be family.
While the various factions on Earth vie for control of land and resources, the looming threat of Celestial Being forces the superpowers to consider certain degrees of unification to combat the technologically advanced Gundam suits. The main focus of the plot are these political machinations — Earth tries something sneaky, Gundams are dispatched, and the game of cat and mouse continues as more resources are allocated to curtail Celestial Being’s efforts.
Two supporting characters are introduced in the beginning of the series, Saji Crossroad and Louise Halivey. They are portrayed as fun-loving, peaceful citizens who want nothing to do with war and whose only real concern is furthering their budding romance. The rippling effects of warmongering on behalf of Earth’s powers and the decisive military interventions by Celestial Being are best seen through these two characters who, as regular citizens, must bear the brunt of war’s consequences while being powerless to stop it. As the series hits a turning point at the halfway mark, the characters have changed drastically. The series continues to follow the two well into the second season, throwing a Sunrise-esque curveball about heroes and anti-heroes. While viewers scramble to come up with their own concepts of right and wrong within the series, one scene will stand out, at the very least among Americans who still remember 9/11. I’ll leave it at that.
Being the most recent Gundam title to finish airing, 00 is visually breathtaking. It’s an obvious step up from Gundam SEED in terms of CG quality and the mecha are very interesting, with a multitude of modes for certain suits and creative weapon designs . There’s also a lot of them — it’s not uncommon for a character to have upwards of 5 different suits during the 49-episode run, so there’s plenty to see and plenty of Gunpla to collect if that strikes your fancy. Action scenes are crisply animated and well-choreographed, rarely (if ever) repeating itself and really expressing the level of dominance that the Gundams exude on the battlefield.
I had the pleasure of viewing 00 in its English version, since that’s what was available on Crunchyroll. Being a Sunrise release, it definitely did not disappoint. The takeaway performance for me was definitely Tabitha St. Germain’s portrayal of reluctant supersoldier Soma Peries. From a story standpoint, Soma absolutely required an actress that could display a very wide range of emotions, and St. Germain was able to show them all, if not more. It’s my first experience with St. Germain in an English version, but I’m looking forward to seeing her other performances as well (sidenote, she’s the English voice for Shana in Shakugan no Shana).
The last thing I need to throw out is that the OPs for this series are fantastic. The 2nd OP of Season 1 (featuring Ash Like Snow by The Brilliant Green) is one of the most hype-inducing animated sequences for an anime that I’ve seen in a very long time. Speaking from personal experience, I definitely recommend this series to any anime fan looking to dip their toes into the huge Gundam pool.
Character Ranking – Mobile Suit Gundam 00
- Sumeragi Lee Noriega
- Soma Peries
- Lyle Dylandy
- Louise Halivey
- Neil Dylandy
- Setsuna F. Seiei
- Feldt Grace
- Allelujah Haptism
- Feldt Grace
- Sergei Smirnov