Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – Season 1, Part 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
August 22, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“A fresh new concept for the latest Mobile Suit Gundam series. Action-packed, complex, intriguing, dramatic and highly entertaining! ‘Mobile Suit Gundam 00’ is highly recommended!“
Image courtesy of © 2007-2009 SOTSU-SUNRISE. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – Season 1, Part 1
DURATION: 9 Episodes, 2 DVD’s (225 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 2.0, Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Sunrise/Bandai Entertainment
RATED: Suggested 13 & Up
Release Date: July 21, 2009
Originally created by Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino
Directed by Seiji Mizushima
Series Composition/Screenplay by Yousuke Kuroda
Music by Kenji Kawai
Character Design by Michinori Chiba, Yun Kouga
Art Director: Takeshi Satou
Executive Producer: Seiji Takeda, Yasuo Miyakawa
Producer: Hiro Maruyama, Hiroomi Iketani, Shin Sasaki
Edited by Yukiko Nojiri
Anime Production by Sunrise
Featuring the following voice talent:
Hiroshi Kamiya/Samuel Vincent as Tieria Erde
Hiroyuki Yoshino/Richard Ian Cox as Allelujah Haptism
Mamoru Miyano/Brad Swaile as Setsuna F. Seiei
Shinichiro Miki/Alex Zahara as Lockon Stratos
Arisa Ogasawara as Soma Peries
Arise Satou/Shannon Chan-Kent as Christina Sierra
Aya Endo/Anna Cummer as Kinue Crossroad
Ayahi Takagaki/Chantal Strand as Feldt Grace
Ayumi Tsunematsu as Marina Ismail
Chiwa Saito/Kelly Sheridan as Louise Halevy
Daisuke Namikawa/Andrew Toth as Michael Trinity
Hiroki Touchi/Andrew Francis as Lasse Aeon
Katsuyuki Konishi/Michael Dangerfield as Johann Trinity
Kei Shindo/Maryke Hendrikse as Wang Liu Mei
Keiji Fujiwara/Scott McNeil as Ali al-Saachez
Masataka Azuma/David A. Kaye as Lichtendahl Tsery
Miyu Irino/Gabe Khouth as Saji Crossroad
Noboru Sogetsu/Michael Adamthwaite as Ribbons Almark
While the Earth’s reserves of fossil fuels have been depleted, humanity has obtained a new nearly infinity source of energy to replace them, in the form of large-scale solar powered generation systems based on three huge orbital eleveators. However, the benefits of this system are available only to a handful of major powers and their allies.
These orbital elevators belong to three superpower blocs: the Union, the Human Reform League and the AEU. These considerations continue to play a grand zero-sum game for the sake of their own prestige and prosperity. Thus, even in the 24th century, humanity has get to unite as one.
In this world of unceasing conflict, a private armed organization steps forward, declaring their intention to eliminate war through martial force. Using teh power of their mobile suits combatively, a series of four high-performance machines each dubbed “Gundam”, the paramilitary organization known as Celestial Being take sthe world-stage beginning armed interventions within all the world’s nations.
In Oct. 2007, a new MS Gundam series titled “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” debuted on television. The series is the seventh Mobile Suit Gundam series to air on television and is directed by Seiji Mizushima (“Fullmetal Alchemist, “Dai-Guard”, “Slayers Next” and “Shaman King”) and a screenplay by Yousuke Kuroda (“Gungrave”, “Big Windup!”, “Infinite Ryvius” and “Madlax”). The series is the first Gundam series to be animated in widescreen and in High Definition and overall, a new storyline in the Alternative Universe of Mobile Suit Gundam.
The year is 2307 A.D. and the Earth’s reserves of fossil fuels have been depleted. Humanity has then developed a plan for nearly half a century to capture solar energy through a large tower/solar power regeneration system that extends from the Earth, out to space for a source of energy. The nations of the world have gathered around three blocks and are known as:
The Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations (The Union) led by the United States, The Human Reform League led by China, Russia and India and the Advanced European Nation (AEU) featuring the European nations.
Each of these groups have continued on their quest of higher power and have become rivals and have showcased their advancements in technology by the creation of man-controlled machines and vehicles in case of war.
But out of nowhere, two Mobile Suit Gundams have come to show their power to these three groups by destroying their top robot weapons. Immediately, the people of the world receive a message from a paramilitary group known as the Celestial Being that they will eliminate acts of war and conflict from the world. They have chosen to intervene to rid of humanity from the scourge of war. If there is an act of war carried out, the Celestial Being will intervene.
But now each group has interest in the power of the Mobile Suit Gundams and each group will do what they can to obtain this new power by any means possible.
The main characters of “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” are:
The Mysterious group who has surprised the three major groups in the world in order to intervene and rid of humanity from the scourge of war. Key members are the Gundam Meisters and the crew of the Ptolemaios:
- Setsuna F. Seiei – The primary character. Setsuna is a Gundam Meister who pilots the Gundam Exia and specializes in melee combat. We see memories of his past, when he was a child soldier from the Krugis Republic. When he was young, he was ordered by Ali Al-Saachez to murder his parents in order to prove his devotion to God. After having a successful time as a pilot of a Gundam, his confrontation with Ali Al-Saachez makes has changed him and possibly detrimental to his teammates.
- Lockon Stratos/Neil Dylandy – The eldest pilot and the leader of the Gundam Meisters. He owns a orange robot named Haro and pilots the Gundam Dynames.
- Allelujah Haptism – A former Super Soldier who is unstable and has an alter ego known as “Hallelujah”. Has a bond with Human Reform League Super Soldier #1, Lt. Soma Peries.
- Tieria Erde – Pilots the Gundam Virtue. His attitude is quite cold but he is also quite mysterious.
- Sumeragi Lee Noriega – The senior ranking officer on the Ptolemaios and an excellent strategist. She has an unknown history with Billy Katagiri and Ralph Eifman of the Union.
- Feldt Grace – A tactical operator for the Ptolemaios.
- Christina Sierra – A tactical operator for the Ptolemaios.
- Lichtendahl Tsery – The Helmsman of the Ptolemaios. Has a crush on Christina.
- Lasse Aeon – Serves as the gunner of the Ptoelmaios.
Key Characters of the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations (USA, Australasia and Japan):
- Graham Aker – A pilot who who is driven to know more about the Mobile Suit Gundam. Ordered to become part of the Anti-Gundam Investigative Task Force.
- Billy Katagiri – A Mobile Suit developer and good friend of Graham Aker. Ordered to become part of the Anti-Gundam Investigative Task Force.
- Ralph Eifman – World famous professor who is part of the Anti-Gundam Investigative Task Force. His goal is to further develop a Mobile Suit to take on the Gundam or record its actions.
- Daryl Dodge – Union soldier and ranked Master Sergeant and a part of the Anti-Gundam Investigative Task Force.
Key Characters of the Human Reform League (China, India, Russia and the ASEAN nations):
- Sergei Smirnov – The most celebrated Colonel who now is responsible to capture the Gundam.
- Soma Peries – A Super Soldier who was developed in secrecy. Now she is their main weapon to fight the Celestial Being.
Key Characters of the the Advanced European Union (Europe):
- Patrick Colasour – The egotistical pilot who was the first to challenge and fight a Mobile Suit Gundam.
- Kati Mannequin – The Colonel of the unified AEU armed forces and ordered to capture a Gundam.
Other Key Characters:
- Ali Al-Saachez – The former cell lead of the KPSA terrorist group that led children like Setsuna and brainwashed them to kill their parents for their devotion to God. Excellent fighter and enjoys destruction and mayhem.
- Alejandro Corner – A diplomat for the United Nations that supports the Celestial Being for an unknown reason.
- Wang Liu Mei – A celebrity and also a secret agent of the Celestial Being. Uses her fame for espionage and raising funds.
- Hong Long – Bodyguard of Wang Liu Mei and assists her in supporting Celestial Being.
- Marina Ismail – The First Princess of Azadistan who’s country has no access to the solar energy like other countries. She seeks a diplomatic mission for economic aid and access to the solar energy pipelines.
- Shirin Bakhtiar – Marina’s adviser and confidant.
- Saji Crossroad – Setsuna F. Seiei’s neighbor in Japan and his eyes are opened by the unnecessary deaths of innocents caused by the terrorist attacks in response to the Celestial Being .
- Louise Halevy – Saji’s girlfriend and classmate from Spain.
- Kinue Crossroad – Saji’s older sister and works in media interviewing those devastated from the Celestial Being attacks.
Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode included in “Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – Season 1, Part 1”:
- EPISODE 1 – CELESTIAL BEING – The mysterious group known as “Celestial Being” make themselves known to all three major powers and issues a warning.
- EPISODE 2 – GUNDAM MEISTERS – Each group is amazed by the power of the Mobile Suit Gundams and want to see and study these mobile suits. Meanwhile, Celestial Being takes on another military group.
- EPISODE 3 – THE CHANGING WORLD – The Union is planning on ways to record the actions of the Gundam. Meanwhile, The Celestial Being sends out their Mobile Suits to stop the civil war in South Africa.
- EPISODE 4 – INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATION – The Human Reform League sends out Col. Smirnoff to capture a Gundam and introduces their super soldier Lt. Soma Peries.
- EPISODE 5 – ESCAPE LIMIT ZONE – Saji Crossroad and Louise Halevy leave the planet to study up in orbit. Meanwhile, Lt. Soma Peries suffers a major headache and causes a severe accident.
- EPISODE 6 – SEVEN SWORDS – The Celestial Being are sent to squash the mobile suit training by the AEU. Setsuna confronts Ali Al-Saachez.
- EPISODE 7 – UNREWARDED SOULS – Setsuna’s teammates are not thrilled about how he conducted himself around Ali Al-Saachez. Meanwhile, an unknown terrorist group sends a warning to the Celestial Being and the world starts to see the Celestial Being as terrorists.
- EPISODE 8 – INDISCRIMINATE RETALIATION – The Gundam Meisetrs investigate on who is behind the mysterious terrorist group while being looked at as terrorist themselves. Meanwhile, the Gundam Meisters take on groups in Europe and South Africa.
- EPISODE 9 – THE HONOR OF GREAT POWER – A battle of the strategists! Celestial Being’s Sumeragi vs. Human Reform League’s Colonel Smirnov.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Mobile Suit Gundam 00” is the first Gundam series to be shot in High Definition and in widescreen. My first impression of the animation was that for a television series, the artistic backgrounds are quite detailed and are quite vibrant. Overall, animation was quite solid. Character designs were provided by Michinori Chiba (“Basilisk” and “Slayers Return”) and Yun Kouga (“Genji”, “Earthian”, “Genji” and “Gestalt”).
While mechanical designs were courtesy of quite a good number of talent such as Hitoshi Fukuchi (“Casshan: Robot Hunter” and “Borgman”), Kanetake Ebikawa (“Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid”, “Blue Submarine No. 6” and “Burst Angel”), Kenji Teraoka (“El Hazard: The Wanderers”, “Arc the Lad”, “Avenger” and “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”), Kunio Okawara (“Gravion”, “Armored Trooper Votoms” and “Betterman”), Naohiro Washio (“Heroic Age” and “Sokyuu no Fafner”), Seeichi Nakatani (“You’re Under Arrest” and “S-CRY-ed”) and Takayuki Yanase (“Darker than BLACK”, “Eureka Seven” and “Toward the Terra”).
As for the audio, the series is presented in English 2.0 and Japanese 2.0. I watched the series with both language tracks and for both English and Japanese, the acting was quite solid and are very similar in character portrayals. For audio, I chose to listen to both tracks via setting my receiver to Stereo on all channels. With so much action involved, I wish the audio was presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 but for the most part, for those who have the “stereo on all channels” setting on their home theater receiver, “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” definitely sounds much immersive that way. Otherwise, the series is a front channel driven series and dialogue is clear and understandable. Also, it was interesting musically to see the series opt for a more rock soundtrack with L’Arc~en~Ciel for the opening theme song and Stephanie for the ending theme song.
As for subtitles, the television series is presented with optional English subtitles.
“Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – Season 1, Part 1” comes with the following special features that are in Japanese (English subtitles are optional):
- Promotional Video: Tactical Forecast – (1:12) A short video showing action-based clips from episodes 3-6.
- Promotional Video: Mission 00 – (3:30) – An introductory promotional video (before the Japanese televised airing of season 1) showcasing the three groups on Earth and the mission of the Celestial Being.
- Textless Opening: “Daybreak’s Bell” – (1:36) Textless opening theme by L’Arc~en~Ciel for “Daybreak’s Bell”.
- Trailers – Trailers for upcoming Bandai Entertainment releases: “Sword of the Stranger”, “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2” and “Ghost Slayers Ayashi”.
- Credits – DVD Production Credits
- Promotional Video: Tactical Forecast – (1:23) A short video showing action-based clips from episodes 7-10.
- Promotional Video: Mission 01 – (1:36) – Showcasing the first mission of the Celestial Being’s along to L’Arc~en~Ciel’s opening theme song, “Daybreak’s Bell”.
- Textless Ending: “Wana” – (1:32) Textless ending theme for Stephanie’s “Wana”.
- Trailers – Trailers for upcoming Bandai Entertainment releases: “Gurren Lagann”, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” and “Kurokami the Animation”.
- Credits – DVD Production Credits
I was definitely surprised by the fresh storyline of “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”. The whole concept of nations throughout Earth aligning themselves to a major group and instead of finding any unified resolve, humankind continues its ways of contemplating more war. And of course, the introduction of the Celestial Being to put a stop to those who continue to fight wars is an interesting concept.
Mainly because each group is no different from each other. Each region with people living their lives normally and are supportive of their government and military protecting them. None of these regions can be seen as evil but because they develop weapons for war, they are seen as targets by the Celestial Being.
On the other hand, the Celestial Being sees themselves as the answer to stop humanity getting involved in war and that means destroying those weapons. But by no means is the Celestial Being group looked as heroes, some see them as a bullying military group.
And to make things interesting, the Gundam Meisters, especially pilot Setsuna F. Seiei is different from previous Gundam pilot protagonist. This is a young man who murdered his own parents in cold blood and nearly each of these Gundam Meisters dislike each other or have some sort of instability that makes them quite different from past Gundam pilots that may have seemed like heroes.
It’s interesting because in many ways, every Gundam series, we have looked at the Mobile Suit as a symbol of hope and justice. Protecting the innocent and although the Celestial Beings are trying to protect humanity from war, in some ways, it seems as if its working against them and instead of the viewer rooting for a side, what we end up getting are groups who are fighting for their people, to protect their people and each group seems to have their own protagonist that the story shows off its complexity. Although the Gundams belong to the Celestial Beings, they are seen as terrorists for their attacks all over the world (in order to prevent war) and the world seeing the casualties of innocents.
The first nine episodes appears to focus more on the plight of the various nations plotting to capture the Gundam and pretty much showcasing the state of the world and humanity which reinforces why the Celestial Being stepped in and took matters into their own hands. Storyline-wise, the series is much more mature and complex and with so many characters involved, one may wish there were episodes geared to more character development style of storylines but the series starts out with fighting and each and every episode, the action is non-stop.
So, far there is plenty of mecha action and battles galore. One will find the amount of visual effects and smooth battles to be awesome, especially for televised animation. Fighting is smooth, well-planned attack sequences are also well-done. But what makes the series quite intriguing and enjoyable is its storyline. It’s quite different from past Gundam series (there are a few similarities to “Gundam Wing” and even “Super Robot Wars OG”) and its the first series in which the Gundam and its pilots are considered as terrorists and we see the world’s reaction to that. It’s definitely different, much more complex and so far, a captivating series.
“Mobile Suit Gundam 00” is complex, intriguing, action-packed and highly enjoyable. I definitely recommend this anime series!
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