The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 A Wakening of the Trailblazer: Part I

It has been two years since the A-Laws were defeated, and while the Earth Sphere Federation has begun in earnest to reach its goal of global peace, there still existed insurgent factions which occasionally threatened this new peace. Over the past two years, Earth Sphere Federation had established a pacifist policy, employing the help of Innovators and the supercomputer Veda. In order to make up for the heinous acts committed by the A-Laws, the Federation decided upon a more peaceful approach towards unifying the world. The appearance of a derelict exploration ship from Jupiter, however, caused a great deal of concern with the ESF government. At this time, Louise remains hospitalized by the events that unfolded two years previously. Marina, meanwhile, takes up a diplomatic visit to a colony, but her decision is met with opposition from a Union company, who plan her assassination by deploying a squadron of GNX-603T GN-Xs to intercept her shuttle. Celestial Being steps in and effortlessly thwarts the attempt, with Setsuna piloting a Flag into the battle and single-handedly destroying three GN-Xes. The other members question him as to why he does not wish to meet up with Marina, to which Setsuna simply responds that the time was not appropriate.

Back on the surface, the ESF have reached a conclusion with respect to answering to the presence of the 130-year old exploration vessel, which is headed on a collision course with the surface. Descartes Shaman is present at this conference, during which it is agreed the vessel to be destroyed quickly. However, the missile bombardment fails to damage the vessel, so Descartes Shaman is deployed in the Gadeleza. He effortlessly annihilates the derelict station with the mobile armour. The fragments of the vessel burn up in the atmosphere, although some survive and end up in remote regions on the planet. Observing this, Setsuna and Feldt both share feelings of doubt and concern over the fallout of this event, and their suspicions are quickly vindicated as unusual events begin occurring; machines operate independent of human command, leading to accidents. In another part of the world, a being resembling Ribbons appears in the automated house of a girl and reaches out to her as she screams. The body is later found half-covered in an unknown alien metal, a phenomenon the Federation scientists takes an interest to. Billy Katagiri and his new partner, Mena, participate in the research. The project leads them to (along with Celestial Being) to conclude that the unusual phenomenon has been targeting Quantum Brainwave users (both Innovators and other Quantum Brainwave-capable individuals). In light of these discoveries, Setsuna attempts to contact Allelujah and Marie, but his efforts are hindered by the interference the strange artefacts are generating. Out of options, Setsuna and Lockon head to the surface to locate them. Upon reaching the surface, Setsuna finds Ribbons confronting Saji and Louise. Despite firing multiple rounds at Ribbons, the latter remains alive and silent, falling only to a sticky charge Setsuna throws at him. The charge succeeds in vaporizing his upper body, but the lower half continues functioning for a few moments before disintegrating into metallic fragments. Deciding that this occurrence is a possible danger, he tells Saji to seek shelter with Louise. Meanwhile, Allelujah and Marie become entangled in a sticky situation, during which Allelujah notices that a van was able regenerate itself despite being destroyed. As the unusual machines close in on their position, Lockon rushes to their rescue in the Dynames Repair. Having recovered all of their members, Celestial Being convenes just as they come under attack by the presumably destroyed Jupiter Exploration ship. Unable to simply observe the events any further, Setsuna sorties in the 00 Raiser, although the unknown forces direct a mental assault on Setsuna and cripples him. Eventually, 00 Raiser’s left arm and shoulder binder are hit and the suit begins to be assimilated. He is only saved by Tieria’s intervention, who arrives in the CB-002 Raphael Gundam and tears off the metal assimilating the 00 Raiser’s arm. Tieria later questions Setsuna as to why he made no attempt to shoot down the unknowns once they are onboard the Ptolemaios. Setsuna simply responds that he didn’t understand why he wasn’t able to fire.

  • The incomplete 00 Qan[T] is shown to have two custom built, brand-new GN Drives customized for its frame. As a result, the 00 Qan[T] has no need for support equipment.

  • Alexandro Corner makes a hilarious return in the movie Celestial Being, which is an over-the-top, stylised parody of Gundam 00, complete with super robot poses.

  • Aside from the exaggerated poses, multi-coloured Trans Am and the fact that Allelujah is a pink-haired girl, the movie seems to take after the original TV series and distorts everything. In fact, at the time of the movie’s release, the TV series had finished airing for two and a half years.

  • Saji and a friend react to the movie-within-a-movie. I found this to be a brilliant idea: it is reminisicent of “The Ember Island Players” in Avatar: The Last Airbender– the dialogue is just as exaggerated, and the details are comically incorrect. The fan’s reactions in this scene are actually reflective of the fan’s reactions to the actual movie. Some people are awe-struck, some are saddened by deaths and others just hate the movie.

  • The former HRL has done a phenomenal job improving the city around their orbital elevator. Saji is now an engineer for the HRL Elevator, and following the events of the movie, he goes to see Louise.

  • It’s been two years, and despite being healed by Trans-Am burst previously, Louise is still a little unwell. Fortunately, she’s got Saji by her side. Saji takes a quote from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and tells Louise that “[they] have all the time in the world”. Saji has matured a great deal since the TV  series, and while his role in the movie is limited, it is nonetheless very meaningful to see what Saji and Louise’s roles are, now that they’ve both matured.

  • The colony at Lagrange 3 was thought to be the testing center for Innovators back when one of the trailers were first released.  It’s actually a new colony under construction, and those red fields are simply grids to coordinate vehicle flow.

  • Marina and Shirin on board the shuttle en route to inspect a colony. SOE, the organisation responsible for the development, is accused of using illegal labour forces, but they attempt to “demonstrate” that working conditions are acceptable (namely, by trying to bump off Marinaand Shirin).

  • Setsuna piloting his customised Flag to rescue Marina from an assassination attempt. The choice of using a Flag was made to avoid being identified as Celestial Being, although equipping the Flag with a particle beam weapon may give away its affiliation.

  • Setsuna easily wipes out the GN-X squadron. When he was taking on the second one, he destroyed it using a plasma sword, confirming that the Flag was a formidable unit capable of taking down even a Gundam in the hands of a skilled pilot like Graham Aker. This implies that that back in season one, episode 18, Graham could have done the same to the Throne Eins without stealing the latter’s beam saber. As a consequence of an outdated mobile suit being able to take down a GN-powered mobile suit, the Celestial Being-type Flag has become one of my friend’s favourite units.

  • If it were not apparent before, Feldt’s feelings for Setsuna have intensified in the two year gap. This aspect of the movie had the fans engaged in endless debates, but as Setsuna indicates here, he is not particularly in the market for a relationship of any kind.

  • Brigadier General Manniquin and Patrick Colasour take a tour of the Celestial Being facility. Despite being directed by the Earth Sphere Federation (ESF) now, there are still many secrets they have yet to unlock about the space station.

  • This is Descartes Shaman, a natural Innovator who was discovered by the ESF and subsequently subject to many experiementations. His first appearance led to speculation that he was the antagonist; while he is very confident in his abilities, he is not evil.

  • The Gadelaza mobile armour is one of the largest in franchise history: at over 300 metres in length, it is equipped with a total of 154 fangs and is optimized for an Innovator pilot.

  • The HUD of the Gadelaza differs slightly than when it was first presented in the trailers; the BD version of the movie differs slightly than the theatrical release and DVDs in a few scenes, streamlining some elements.

  • Where missiles and particle beams have failed, the Gadelaza uses its mobile suit-sized fangs to shred the derelict space station. Andrei Smirnov is present at the operation, and marvels at the power of an Innovator.

  • Politians discussing the appearance of the derelict space station. The individual on the left looks a little like Steven Harper. I’ll probably make a lot of references to the TV series and real life throughout this reflective review.

  • Graham Aker is back to his usual self again. Below is his Brave, a new unit derived from the Flag and Susanoo series. Its overwhelming performance and status as a general-purpose, limited mass-production type holds great appeal for one of my friends, who cites the Brave line of mobile suits as the paragon of pragmatism.

  • The random accidents on Earth that begin to occur at this point are in the form of traffic accidents: the Gundam 00 movie is, in a sense, similar to a horror movie for the first part: the true source of the conflict is not known, unlike in Western alien films, where the antagonists are immediately shown on screen.

  • The incident at an AEU subway station indicates that something is way off; the trains causing the accident have no drivers. This scene is mildly reminiscent of the London Underground chase in Skyfall, and I mention this solely to indicate the amount of time that has passed since I wrote the original post at the old site.

  • Amia Lee and her friend part ways following classes. Following the movie’s release, I was a little surprised to see that discussions about Amia did not concern so much what occurs on a biological basis following her assimilation, but more on her figure and other topics unsuited for this blog.

  • The movie’s twists become apparent here, and Kenji Kawaii shifts his music accordingly. The Gundam 00 movie feels like a crossover between Gundam, Independence Day, Star Trek and Transformers mixed in with some elements from the J-Horror genre. As such, some of the songs on the soundtrack distinctly feel like horror pieces.

  • Despite having very little screentime, she is the first person to be assimulated by the ELS. “Ribbons” makes a reappearance, despite having no speaking role, and menancingly steps towards her with his arms open as the camera fades to black…

  • Meena Carmine is a an astrophysicist works for the ESF. She helps the ESF to solve the mysteries of the ELS. At one point in time, an ancestor of Meena donated a DNA sample to the Corner family, hence her resemblance to Nena Trinity. Her relationship with Billy is one of the most amusing points in this movie.

  • The partially assimilated humans in a yellow-lit hallway and horror music come together to create a scene illustrating how the Gundam 00 movie breaks away from the traditional format and runs with a different idea in mind.

  • Following the events in season two, Allelujah and Marie continue on their vacation. They find their hotel/lodge/hostel/accommodations deserted on arrival, and there is a massive hole on the compound.

  • Hallelujah dares the ELS-controlled vehicles chasing him to get up to where he is after pulling off some hardcore parkour moves. The driver-less vehicles strongly remind me of the Decepticons from Transformers, and being ELS, they probably could transform into mecha if they so wished, foreshadowing their later role.

  • Lockon pilots the Dynames Repair to rescue Allelujah and Marie. This unit was seen on the concept art as far back as March 2010 when the earliest trailers were still floating about, leading to speculation that it would make a reappearance at some point in the movie. Viewers should not be disappointed: Lockon dispatches all of the ELS-controlled vehicles with ease and then declares Allelujah and Marie’s vacations to be officially over.

  • We’ve seen this before, but the ELS seem to be strongly attracted to individuals with stronger quantum brainwaves. This is why “Ribbons” leaves Louise alone after Setsuna shows up. I’m guessing the ELS found a sample of the original Ribbons’ DNA in the derelict vessel and used that as the basis for this body.

  • After the events of the second season, ELS or not, Setsuna (understandably) is not too pleased to see Ribbons. He is able to quickly dispatch him, but is unable to answer Saji’s question of what is going on.

  • Amia Lee is partially assimulated by this point and is being studied by the ESF, leading to fans to nick-name her “ELS-tan”.

  • Marie and Milena reunite after Lockon brings Marie and Allelujah on board the Ptolemios II. I recall when Feldt was upset by Marie for what had happened during season one. Things have changed dramatically since then, as all of the crew of the Ptolemios are now on good terms with one another, compared to the stoicness during season one. The sense of unity extends to all of humanity, as this time, it isn’t one human faction against another.

  • .If you listen carefully, Heart of Feldt plays here. It’s a quiet piano piece that reflects Feldt’s character, and can be considered to be a play on words, as felt is a type of cloth with a very natural feel to it, even if it was artificially synthesised. Taken together, the song could mean “a natural heart”, but those are merely my thoughts. Despite maturing greatly since her earliest appearances in the series, Feldt is still a little shy when it comes to expressing her feelings towards others

  • Patrick and Kati come together to share a kiss, but something comes up on Kati’s monitor, ending the moment.

  • It appears that Tieria’s synthesizing a new body for himself and leaving the Celestial Being space station was not unnoticed.

  • The crew of the Ptolemios gather for a meeting on what Setsuna encountered on Earth earlier. The appearance of Ribbons troubles everyone, and this is understandable, given what had happened in season two.

  • This is the man whose DNA would form the genetic template for Ribbons Almarc. In this image, his eyes clearly lack the same arrogance that Ribbons would have.

  • Milena picks up another derelict space station on the scope; this is the one that the ELS have formed. This will be the first direct encounter anyone will have with the ELS, and also the first time the new model Gundams are deployed.

  • As I scroll through and port each image and its accompanying figure caption over, I will immediately note that each post will consist of 50 images, and that contrasting Five Centimeters per Second, there are fewer revisions to the figure captions compared to last time.

  • Gundam Zabanya uses a different load-out than its predecessors. Instead of relying on a single long range weapon and two smaller close-quarter weapons, the unit is equipped with a wide range of guns, all of which can be remotely controlled or fired in a hand-held configuration. In order to coordinate such a large number of long-range remote weapons, an additional Haro is required to accommodate for the control of these weapons.

  • Harute is the successor to Arios, and is designed for high mobility in a zero-gravity environment. Its most notable feature is that it is a twin-seater in tandem configuration; the pilot sits behind and above the gunner, much like the Apache. Attention to detail is something that sets a great anime apart from a good one, and Gundam 00 very much satisfies the criteria of paying attention to subtle details.

  • I built an HG 00 Raiser with the GN Sword III back in December 2009, and followed that up with the MG 00 Qan[T] back in January 2011. I presently have two more MGs and several more HGs, although since then, I have almost all of the models I would have liked. At time of writing, I have an eye on either the HGUC RX-0 Full Armour Unicorn Gundam in Destroy mode or the MG Exia R2. Availability will determine which one I purchase.

  • One of the condensers mounted on the 00 Raiser is shown here. They replace the GN Drives that were used in season two; official source material conflict as to the number of GN drives that survived the battle for VEDA. One side story says that the 00 Raiser was refitted to its seven sword configuration with a single drive and a condensor, while other sources claim that the final battle between the Exia and O Gundam destroyed both drives.

  • The other major difference in the movie variant of the 00 Raiser is that the sensor on the O Raiser is now clear, as opposed to orange in the second season. The use of condensers meant that the unit would be unable to perform as it did previously, but the extent of these limitations is never seen, given that the 00 Raiser never fires a single shot.

  • Zabanya firing one of its carbines at the ELS in the opening confrontation. It becomes clear that a dedicated sniper unit would not suffice against the ELS, given their sheer numbers.

  • The 00 Raiser gets hit with one of the probes and immediately begins to have the ELS crystals “grow” over its body. The signficant amount of quantum interference Setsuna experiences from the presence of the ELS prevent him from firing.

  • Before the 00 Raiser is lost to the ELS, a new unit shows up at the scene. Its remote arms grip the 00 Raiser and tear out the binder with the ELS, saving Setsuna. The size of these claws suggest that they can be used to physically crush a mobile suit.

  • Setsuna expresses pure surprise at his rescue; this is the second time that Tieria has saved Setsuna from destruction at the last second. In that sense, Tieria is a master of arriving on time

  • The new model Gundam that shows up is the Raphael. It uses three tau drives as its powerplant, giving it firepower that is nearly equivalent to that of the the Gadelaza, and was developed by Tieria using details derived off the Gadessa series. It was shown to have an original GN Drive in the trailers, but this was changed at the last moment. In fact, the HG model kit of the Raphael’s box art still shows it firing pink beams.

  • Following the battle, Setsuna is unable to explain the phenomenon he experienced while in close proximity to the ELS.

Thus ends the first part to my discussion. Since December 2010, I’ve watched many anime beyond Gundam 00, and as such, when I started the blog back in 2011, Gundam 00 had been on my list of things that I had completed and found myself reasonably satisfied with. On occasion, though, it is fun to go back through older stuff, hence this series of posts. The first act to the Gundam 00 movie is a little hectic: everyone is scattered all over the place, and events don’t add up. This chaotic plot development might be seen as a detractor for the movie, since viewers are left hanging as to what is happening, although in retrospect, the approach is actually quite ingenious, leaving the viewers as frustrated as the characters as to what is going on. At the act’s end, Tieria rolls out and saves everyone in a spectacular fashion. No longer the cold, distant Gundam pilot he was in season one, Tieria has become one of the more interesting characters in the series.

2 responses to “Mobile Suit Gundam 00 A Wakening of the Trailblazer: Part I

  1. Kuroneko March 22, 2014 at 14:23

    Nice review.

    Like

  2. dtype August 28, 2016 at 20:28

    Great!!!

    Like

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