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Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 6, 2011 by  



Have you been waiting for all-out mecha action on Blu-ray?  For fans of “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” and fans of mecha, will definitely appreciate this film on Blu-ray.  “A Wakening of the Trailblazer” looks and sounds incredible on Blu-ray!

Images courtesy of ©SOTSU, SUNRISE, MBS. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer

DURATION: 120 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9), Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0, English Subtitles

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

COMPANY: Sunrise/Bandai Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2011

Originally Created by Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino

Directed by Seiji Mizushima

Screenplay by Yousuke Kuroda

Music by Kenji Kawai

Character Design by Michinori Chiba, Yun Kouga

Art Director: Eiji Wakamatsu

Art Design by Nobuhito Sue

Featuring the voices of:

Hiroshi Kamiya/Samuel Vincent as Tieria Arde

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Richard Ian Cox as Allelujah Haptism

Mamoru Miyano/Brad Swaile as Setsuna F. Seiei

Shinichiro Miki as Lyle Dylandy / Lockon Stratos

Arisa Ogasawara/Tabith St. Germain as Marie Parfacy / Soma Peries

Ayahi Takagaki/Chantal Strand as Feldt Grace

Chiwa Saito/Kelly Sheridan as Louise Halevy

Haruka Tomatsu/Andrea Libman as Mileina Vashti

Hiroki Touchi/Andrew Francis as Lasse Aeon

Kenji Hamada/Trevor Devall as Patrick Colasour

Minami Takayama/Cathy Wesluck as Kati Mannequin

Miyu Irino/Gabe Khouth as Saji Crossroad

Rie Kugimiya/Nicole Bouma as Mina Carmine

Ryo Katsuji/ as Descartes Shaman

Youko Honna/Lisa Ann Beley as Sumeragi Lee Noriega

Yuji Ueda/Kirby Morrow as Billy Katagiri

Yuuichi Nakamura/Paul Dobson as Graham Aker

It is the year A.D. 2314. Two years have passed since the defeat of the ruthless A-LAWs, and the new Earth Sphere Federation government has sought for peace by establishing a weapon-free world. However, a long forgotten ship that was sent to Jupiter 130 years ago somehow returns to Earth, seemingly with no signs of life onboard, but actually bringing with it a dangerous new alien threat—the Extraterrestrial Living-metal Shapeshifters (ELS), who have started assimilating Earth’s technology and inhabitants. Now, with humanity at risk of total destruction, the Celestial Being makes its return to defend against the invasion of the ELS.

For fans of the “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” series, “A Wakening of the Trailblazers” film is a fitting, action-packed conclusion to the series.

For those who are wondering what “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” is all about, it’s important to explain a few details on the “Mobile Suit Gundam” storyline.  First, there is the Universal Century (UC) storyline which many people who grew up with the series back in the late ’70s and ’80s grew up with and is considered the true timeline.

And then the ’90s spawned “alternate timelines” which include the Future Century, After Colony, After War, Correct Century, Cosmic Era, Anno Domini and Advanced Generation timelines.

“Mobile Suit Gundam 00” is the eleventh Gundam franchise created back in 2007 and is part of the “Anno Domini” timeline.  The 50-episode TV series was directed by Seiji Mizushima and written by Yosuke Kuroda and takes place in 2307 AD.

Earth has depleted all fossil fuels and now, humanity is in the search of new power.  The power they found were solar power collectors which have orbited the earth and serves power to three “power blocks” which include the Union (North America), the Human Reform League (China, Japan, Russia and India and the AEU (Europe).

And because the power benefits the larger countries, minor countries are at war with the bigger countries for fuels and energy and the result was countries being forced into poverty and resulted in a 20-year Solar War.

Because the world was at chaos, a private military organization had created the Celestial Being, which comprises of people piloting Gundams in order to eradicate war and unite humanity.  The series would focus on Setsuna F. Seiei, one of the pilots who is a member of the Celestial Being and because of the technology that they possess, they would eventually fight against the countries that comprise three power blocks, who would later be known as the United Nations Army.

Season one of “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” would focus on the battle between the Celestial Beings and the UN Army.  While the second season would focus on life on Earth, four years later.  Humanity has now established the Earth Sphere Federation and times have changed.  Setsuna who has been living in piece is brought back to the fight to confront the A-Laws, the group whose duty is to unify the nations, detsroy terrorist cells and enforce the will of mankind.  But the group has been misusing their power.

And now “Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie: Awakening of the Trailblazer” now focuses on life two years after the turmoil.  While all seems peaceful on Earth, Princess Marina Ismail of Azadistan, whose goal is to unite humanity and wanting to end the war.  Both she and Setsuna have shared the same goal (in the TV series) but the film begins with many wondering what has happened to Setsuna and the Celestial Beings since it has been two years since the defeat of the A-Laws and the Innovators.

When someone tries to assassinate the Princess, Princess Ismail realizes that she has a long way to go in order to bring peace to the land but seeing the Celestial Beings rescue her, she realizes that they are watching over humanity and for the princess, she is happy.

But peace doesn’t last too long on Earth.  An alien force has come towards Earth and when the Federation shoots it down, the debris falls on Earth and immediately machines begin to think on their own and start killing people.

For Amia Lee, when she returns home, her contact with the metal doorknob slowly starts to turn her into metal and when she is able to break free, she is encountered by a man who looks as if he will assimilate her.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Saji who is visiting Louise at an Earth Federation Hospital notices that something bad is going on and a man begins going after Louise.  Setsuna comes to the rescue and shoots several rounds at the alien and when he sees the face of the being, the face is of Ribbons Almark, the man that Setsuna killed and the man responsible for leading the innovators.

It appears that these new alien invaders who are known as ELS are targeting the living innovators on Earth for some reason and is willing to cause destruction along the way.

With humanity now in peril and the ELS now attacking Earth, can Setsuna and the other members of Celestial Being save the planet from destruction?

VIDEO:

“Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer” is an animated film and if there is one thing that Sunrise has have a positive track record, it’s that their Gundam and mecha films look absolutely fantastic.  And because the film is on Blu-ray, watching this film in HD, you get the best of digital animation and CG animation.  The colors are vibrant, blacks are deep and bold, character designs and coloring for the entire film is absolutely wonderful.

Where the film does shine is its battle sequences.  The way these sequences are animated is well-done and for the most part, anyone who wants more mecha on Blu-ray will surely enjoy the picture quality of this film.  I detected no artifacts, no banding and no problems whatsoever.

This film looks fantastic on Blu-ray!

AUDIO:

“Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer” is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English and Japanese) and Dolby Digital 2.0.  Of course, the lossless soundtrack is much better than its 2.0 counterpart and because this film has so much mecha action, there is a good use of LFE and the surround channels.

You can literally hear all the various, different Gundam’s fighting other mecha and you can expect every laser shot, every explosion and the overall sounds of war really taking over the soundscape with great efficacy.

Voice acting is good for both vocal tracks but I prefer the Japanese soundtrack much more!  But once again, it’s all subjective to the listener.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer” comes with the following special features:

  • Special Announcements – (5:18) Contains four special announcements for “Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer”.
  • Theatrical Trailers – (2:31) Theatrical trailer for the film.
  • TV Commercials – (2:15) TV commercials for the film.
  • Extra Promotional Video – (2:02) “Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer” promotional video.
  • TV Series Guide – (4:17) A brief primer to the “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” series.
  • Trailer for “Celestial Being” The Movie Within a Movie” – (1:21) A fun special feature featuring the characters of the “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”.
  • Trailers – Bandai Entertainment trailers

For fans of “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”, the movie “A Wakening of the Trailblazer” has a lot to offer in terms of the many characters from the series that are featured plus for fans of mecha action, the movie does a great job in featuring plenty of that as well.

But typically, when I watch an anime-based film, especially one that is derived from a television series, the question that I often ask myself is “how friendly is it to those who have never watched the series before?”.

For Bandai Entertainment, with the film “Eureka SeveN: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers”, we have a storyline that was an alternate storyline to help non-viewers get into the film, with “GUNBUSTER vs DIEBUSTER – THE GATTAI!! MOVIE – AIM FOR THE TOP”, these were condensed versions of the TV series, easy for non-viewers of the OVA’s to follow and these titles were accessible for American viewers who have never watched the series before but were purchasing them on Blu-ray.

With “Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer”, I can easily say that while many who have never series can understand its main plot, unfortunately it is not the most accessible film because you see so many characters that are featured in the film, some who are no longer alive or some that show up quickly for a cameo that may not mean much to the viewer who has not invested their time watching all 50-episodes of the TV series.  There are a lot of references to the TV series as well as certain relationships that can explain why this person and that person acts a certain way towards each other.  So, for those who haven’t seen the TV series, you may feel that you have missed out on something while watching the film.

With that being said, when it comes to these films, especially for a series lke “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”, because this is the 11th franchise for “Mobile Suit Gundam”, not everyone (except hardcore Gundam otaku) have watched every series in the last three decades and with “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”, those who would probably buy the film probably have invested their time watching the series.  And for those who have, will definitely enjoy the film and how they try to include every character (even those who are dead) in the film, someway, some manner.

Also, the film is a conclusion to the series and after all the credits are done, viewers will be surprised to see an ending that takes place far into the future.

Last but not least, for fans of the series, whether or not they like the movie is all subjective, especially those who invested their time in watching all 50-episodes but for the Blu-ray itself, I can easily say that this film looks and sounds absolutely wonderful in HD.  If I do have one irk, I do feel that the summary of what happened on “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” the TV series,  the TV Series Guide  would have best been explained possibly in a longer featurette much longer than four minutes because its too short and it doesn’t do the series much justice because so much happened during the series which leads up to the movie.

Especially for those who have never seen the series before, the TV Series Guide featurette could have been better utilized.  But there are other special features that are included on this Blu-ray, it would also have been great to have some commentary or a featurette that focuses on the screen premiere with the director and voice talent for the film.

Overall, if you are a “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” fan or someone craving for more mecha action on Blu-ray, you can’t go wrong with “Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie – A Wakening of the Trailblazer”.  Is it a great film compared to my favorites which are the first four Gundam UC films?  Definitely not as the originals really showcased action and drama extraordinarily well.  Not to say that “A Wakening of the Trailblazer” is all eyecandy and great for audiophiles but the story is good, just not great.






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