Gundam 00 first season impressions

gundam 00 tieria is so cute when he cries

Gundam 00 is the first Gundam series I’ve watched seriously since Gundam Seed Destiny ended. I loved the first two-thirds of of Seed Destiny, btw. How did it fall apart so horribly? But that’s a story for another day.

After Destiny ended, I watched the movies of the original Gundam 0079. Interesting stuff, especially for the similarities and differences between it and Seed. And watching Amuro getting Bright-slapped is probably the most satisfying thing in all anime. So that was fun, but not a full series. I followed it up with Zeta Gundam, but I’d downloaded only 5 episodes. Once I ran out I couldn’t decide whether to continue it or not, so I put it on hold… about 7 years ago. I’ll make it my next mecha project after 00. It had potential and I liked Camille.

After Zeta I tried Turn A. Watched at least 10 episodes but it was slow. Really slow. Too much drama, too many cross-dressing shenanigans, nothing I wanted to watch was happening. I skipped to the last episode but obviously it didn’t make much sense. That was it for me and Turn A. Most recently I watched an episode of Victory Gundam… or was it Gundam X? The one with the little boy. Didn’t catch me but I did mean to try a little more.

What’s the point of this long lead in? Nothing! I just like to write. And it does show that I’m not a Gundam hater, no matter how critical I am of it in this and subsequent posts. I watched Gundam 00 because I wanted to enjoy it, and for the most part I did. It had a lot of flaws (dumb protagonists being number one) but I’m only halfway through. That’s why I’ll save judgment until I finish the whole show. A few impressions plus wishlist for season two.

Impressions of Gundam 00 season one
  • gundam 00 animefangirlThe slow build up was a bit frustrating, but the upside is that it helps to keep all the parties and characters distinct in my mind. You’re never left guessing who is who or who is working for who, it’s very easy to follow.
  • The story, such as it is, is easy to understand. More questions have been raised than have been answered so far, but the timeline is clear, the general aims and objectives of the different parties are clear as well. It’s very straightforward.
  • The Gundams aren’t quite as cool as I’d been hoping for. They look decent enough but outside of a few early scenes they don’t act very cool. They get beaten up a lot, which any wrestling fan can tell you reduces your cool factor by 0.1% for every blow. Their weapons are either not interesting (yawn beam saber) or are rarely used even when they should be (Dynames’s long-distance rifle, Kyrios’s pincers).
  • The Gundams need more strategy. The enemies seem to do a lot of planning and thinking about how to take the Gundams down. The Gundams just rely on luck and their superior firepower and armor. That makes some of the battles hair-rippingly frustrating (episode 15!!).
  • setsuna is such a weaklingI can’t decide whether I like the relative weakness of the Gundams or not. On one hand it’s a nice change from the KIRA STOMPS nature of Seed/Destiny and the AIEEEE IT’S A GUNDAAAM nature of Wing. On the other hand, I watch Gundams to see stuff getting blown up, pink explosions everywhere, so 00 is a little dull so far. Ask me again at the end of the show.
  • It’s great how the enemy combat leaders are seasoned and competent and give the Gundams (a.k.a. Gundumbs) a run for their money. TBH I often found myself rooting for them, especially for Sergei of the Human Reform League. Smart, compassionate, skilled… why couldn’t he be the main character?
  • Seeing the tables turned on the Gundams in the last few episodes of the season was GLORIOUS. Smarts + firepower trump simple firepower every time. QED.
  • The last episodes of the season were a huge disappointment. Enemies coming out of nowhere and attacking with very little motivation, unimpressive final boss, ugly mecha, wasted buildups etc etc. But to explain would involve spoiling so I will refrain.
Wishlist for season two
  • The overall story needs to make sense. They’re doing well keeping things logical so far and I’d like them to keep doing so. That’s my main wish.
  • Second biggest wish: better planning, strategy and reconnaissance from all parties but especially the Gundams. They approach battle like they’re in Gundam Wing but they have all the might of an light novel protagonist in front of a truck. Their piloting skills are only so-so so they need to compensate with brains. That goes double for you, Ms. “tactical forecaster” Sumeragi.
  • More Tieria back story. Horrible fashion sense aside, he had the most professional attitude out of all the Gundam pilots. Everyone else got their flashback, now it’s Tieria’s turn.
  • Less Saji and Louise. Please.
  • Less Setsuna, less Mari-whatshername. A forlorn wish, I know.
  • Cooler mecha. I can forgive it in Knight’s & Magic and Aldnoah Zero, but Gundam is the mech show. If the lead mecha don’t make me go “I want all of them!” something is wrong.

That’s it. A very short wishlist because there wasn’t that much wrong with the show apart from the lack of strategy in the battles. Trying to shoot your way out of everything against enemies that are more experienced and better prepared than you doesn’t work very long, which the show illustrates well. And now that they’ve illustrated it, I’d like them to do something about it. Let’s see if they do.

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