Gundam 00 -A wakening of the Trailblazer

19 04 2011

by AngryPanda

Very well, as mentioned before I won’t review the anime series Gundam 00 since its sheer awesomeness is too much for me to put into words. This is mostly due to the fact that their mix of serious war stories and heroic mecha action turns me back into a 6-year-old and there is just no chance in hell that I could even try to stay neutral on this topic. Also there’s just way too much story and a ton of characters in those things, I’d never be finished. But there’s also the movie adaption of the show which is a lot shorter and since movies are usually the most dumbed down shit around it won’t be so bad. I can review this, it just can’t be that good right?

Or maybe it is and I’m fucked. They really went all out on this one. Being the anniversary series the production value of Gundam 00 was already through the roof so the difference isn’t as glaring as it could be but you can still see that this movie is made for theaters on a significantly larger budget. This is especially obvious in the completely over-the-top in-universe movie that some of the characters watch that describe the events of the original series (very much reminding of Gurren Lagann). So while I would have given the visuals of the series 10 out of 10 possible points the movie was even better. I could lower the points for the series but who cares it is my artificial rating system and I just give the movie 11.

I guess I should cover the story next but I don’t even know how to start. You can read the full thing on the Gundam Wiki but the entry will take you 4 billion years to read. Seriously that whole Wiki is insane, it might even beat Star Wars. No wonder considering just how many characters a Gundam series usually has, without needing novels and games to invent new ones. Since I’m going to assume that anyone who really wants to know the full story will just watch the movie I’m going to point out the things that made it exceptional for me. These things are no only great on their own but also distinguish Trailblazer from many other films.

  • This is not a retelling of the series. The movie plays several years after season 2 and thus does something I only saw in Serenity so far. Continuing the story.
  • Unlike Serenity this movie does not feel a need to dumb down its story or retell parts of it. This is 100% in-continuity. Every character is still there and they are no introduced again in any way. Unless you already know them you will be very confused. You will also miss the most amazing part of all. These people have developed during and since the series.
  • As mentioned above the characters from the series have changed. Even the secondary character have not went through the series and the finally without some major character development. This really helps to make the whole setting seem alive. These people move on with their lives, they learn, adapt and develop. Except for Setsuna F. Seiei of course who is still just the perfect pilot. But even he really does believe in living for life’s sake at this point. And while he doesn’t talk a whole lot I don’t remember him saying “Gundam” at random moments like before. So maybe he is getting better. My personal favorite is the American pilot Graham Aker who was completely screwed up in season 2. Changing after his last fight this Setsuna he honestly embraces a new philosophy, no longer completely focused on loosing his life in the most epic duel. Ironically he does finally get his old wish and dies in combat. But it isn’t for honor, it is to save humanity. He is a secondary character but his story is epic.
  • This might fall under visuals but all characters also look more mature, which really helps to underscore their changes.
  • While the personality development impressed me most (since it almost never happens in western productions at all) the more important part were the changes the world and the setting. While the whole series was about Celistial Being trying to unite the world government (or trying to bring it down after that backfired) the new state of the world is actually pretty neat. The Federation takes good care of its people and seems and honest democracy that even hold pacifist ideals. In short, the good guys won.
  • The new story boldly ventures there no Gundam series has gone before. Instead of coming up with the expected villain that would try to cause war between humanity and the newly developing Innovators (the theme of every Gundam series ever) this movie introduces an alien threat to both.
  • The solution to the alien attack is the “coming dialogue” something mentioned through the whole series. This does not feel like a random step but more like a seamless integration. In the series the twin drive system (hence the double 0) keeps causing people to communicate on a telepathic level. While in the series this is used for some pretty heroic stuff and of course the usual samurai-talk between enemies it is in fact this function and not the combat prowess of the Gundams that is needed to save humanity in Trailblazer.
In closing Trailblazer goes new ways without loosing anything that made Gundam good before. It isn’t afraid of letting its characters move on with their lives and even goes so far as to go without a villain for the whole story. It answers many of the open questions of the series without loosing pace in its own story and most impressive at all it show that all the talk about dialogue, mutual understanding and changing to survive the future wasn’t just a waste of good air. If the average movie had half the depth and innovation of this one people would leave the theaters in utter confusion because they couldn’t keep up. And yeah there’s also this…

I never really grew up, thank you Peter Pan.




2 responses

20 04 2011
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21 04 2011
Judgement Day! « This would be more awesome with lasers

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