The Infinite Zenith

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

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

The ELS finally reveal their main body; a massive planetoid 3000 kilometres in diameter and a fleet of close to a million vessels. The ELS begin their course for Earth, forcing the ESF to declare a state of war. They deploy every unit stationed and place these as a final defensive line against the ELS forces. The first strike by the ESF is initially successful at demolishing some of the ELS vessels, but this is short-lived; the ELS manage to replicate GN Fields and deploy them to halt the effectiveness of the missile bombardment. As the combat escalates, Andrei, Patrick and Graham immediately sortie to take on the ELS. Even Saji goes as a volunteer to assist with maintenance of space facilities. The situation worsens as the ELS replicate hardware to repel the ESF’s weapons; even the superlaser mounted on Celestial Being is ineffectual. Despite the increasing bleakness of the situation, Kati Mannequin resolves not to lose hope, and tells her units to continue resisting the ELS. Despite the combined ESF/Celestial Being effort to repel the ELS assault, the ELS manage to break through their positions and begin to assimilate all the technology in their path, allowing them to take on the form and function of all human technology.

On the Ptolemios, Setsuna remains in a critical state from his previous ordeal. With her emotions breaking forth, Feldt runs to his side and grasps his hand. Still in his coma, Setsuna enters a flashback, where older members of Celestial Being remind him of his motivation, and what his fight is for. He sees the flower Feldt gave him years ago and grabs makes a grab for it. Finally regaining his strength and resolve, Setsuna returns to consciousness to a tearful Feldt at his side; she hugs him warmly. With his objective in mind, Setsuna boards the newly built 00 Qan[T] and roars off onto the battlefield. Feldt returns to bridge, and is asked why she didn’t go with Setsuna, to which she replies that she had to let Setsuna go to fulfill his destiny.

  • That’s no moon…that’s a space station! Those who thought the ELS fleet from earlier was something will see the envelope being pushed even further; at around 3000 km wide this is the ELS mothership.

  • The ESF President’s advisors discuss the appearance of the new planetoid, as well as what emergency precautions need to be taken.

  • The ELS differ radically compared to the aliens of Independence Day: the latter had no intention of being understood, and were compared to locusts in that they only wished to consume a planet’s resources and move to a different world once the resources were exhausted.

  • Kati looking over schematics of the ELS probes in what was once Ribbon’s command center during the previous battle.

  • Marina and Shirin discuss the events that have unfolded recently, and how the government is trying to secure the best possible solution: to get people into shelters while fighting for humanity’s right to survive.

  • Civilians are moved to shelters as the ESF forces prepare to launch a massive counterattack against the approaching ELS forces.

  • The superlaser sees deployment again, although this time, it is on the side of the protagonists. It was capable of wiping out a majority of the A-Law’s fleet, and is said to be able to hollow out an asteroid fields in seconds. However, whether or not it has the power to wipe out a planetoid 3000 km wide has yet to be seen.

  • This screenshot is a scene depicted in one of the trailers and was included for completeness.

  • The completed 00 Qan[T] is delivered on board the Ptolemios. Sumeragi states that this is the last mission that Celestial Being needs to complete.

  • GN missiles are fired in a massive salvo reminiscent of the final scene in Independence Day, where squadrons of F/A-18s launch missiles at an alien vessel over Area 51.

  • The central command center for the last battle occurs here. On the main monitor used to track the battle’s progress, the two opposing armies are lined up, like pieces of a chess board.

  •  The first salvo reaches the front-line ELS vessels and blow them from the sky. As soon as the first of the missiles are fired, the final battle begins: the intensity tops anything seen previously, and that is saying something.

  • However, subsequent salvos are met with the same fate as the missiles from Independence Day: the ELS manage to duplicate the function of powerful GN fields for their vessels and repel the missiles effortlessly.

  • The mobile suits begin sortieing after the missiles are fired. One of the aspects about the battles in the movie that impressed were the sheer scales of everything; there is activity everywhere on the screen during this last battle, and it is virtually impossible to keep track of everything. The experience was amplified in the theatres, where it felt like one could really be hit by stray laser fire

  • Andrei’s GN-X IV is equipped with a beam rifle and large GN sword similar to the one wielded by the Gaddess. Patrick’s unit is equipped with two binders to offer him twice the defensive capabilities.

  • Graham addresses his Sol Brave pilots prior to their joining the battle. His only order for them is not to die.

  • As the first time extraterrestrials make an appearance in the Gundam Franchise, their portrayal is very well done. Unlike the use of genertic ‘green men’, the movie stretches things by giving rise to a species that operates with a hive mind and assimilates other beings to learn. These ideas are not new, but refreshing from the humanoid aliens we’ve seen in Independence Day and War of the Worlds.

  • The superlaser’s first shot pierces the ELS mothership and does some damage to it, but doesn’t nearly have the same destructive firepower of the Death Stars.

  • A “no-sell” in professional wrestling occurs where one exhibits no reaction at all to an opponent’s offensive moves: it becomes an intimidating factor if one uses their trump card, only to have it seemingly have no impact. The ESF forces here have fired off their most powerful weapon at the ELS mothership, but the latter keeps on advancing as though nothing has happened.

  • When the times are desperate, any unit that is combat capable will be fielded, accounting for why this space-type Tieren is here. The same held for WWII, where old biplanes were deployed with the newer Spitfires and Hurricanes when the first aerial battles broke out between the Nazi Germany and British air forces.

  • The formation of ELS mobile suits was one of the most amusing and surprising moments in the movie. These suits are the source of the purple particles that were so prevalent in the trailers, and have approximately the same combat capabilities as the original GN-X IVs deployed by the ESF. Subsequent forms of the ELS suits are a little more refined, and lack the terminator-like appearance of the unit shown here.

  • Patrick’s dual wing binders serve him well during the course of the chaotic battle. With the ELS now in possession of their own GN weapons, the ESF forces have their hands tied. It’s a little unusual to see how quickly the ELS were able to understand GN technology to that extent in such a short period of time. This was foreshadowed earlier when one of the Harute’s missiles become assimilated and begin emission of purple particles.

  • The Gagas are re-equipped with laser cannons to be actually useful, although they are still sunk in massive numbers.

  • Graham’s Sol Braves arrive to the scene of the battle and immediately join in on the festivities. The commander type sports a blue finish and uses a pair of GN-Tau drives to increase its performance, although these drives are not synchronised and therefore is not classified as a twin drive unit.

  • The intensity of the battle is exemplified in the quantity of particle beams filling the space to the extent where even the highly trained Sol Brave pilots cannot dodge all of them; indeed, we see a few Braves get shot down during the course of the battle.

  • By Sun Tzu’s standards, Graham Aker is an excellent commander, caring deeply for the soldiers under his command and leading them courageously into combat.

  • The Celestial Being space station’s superlaser doesn’t feel that super anymore, as the ELS conjour up  a shield powerful enough to deflect it. Unless the ESF engineers had accidentally downgraded it during the two-year time skip, this is a subtle note at the proportions and scale the ELS possess. Josef Stalin himself said that quantity is a quality all its own, which certainly applies to the ELS.

  • The Strike Freedom’s title of having the greatest capacity to track and engage multiple targets is lost with little question to the Zabanya. Lockon uses Zabanya’s full arsenel liberally througout the course of the battle, raining particle fire onto the ELS for the sake of humanity’s survival.

  • Despite the full efforts of the ESF fleet and Celestial Being, the space station’s superlaser is hit, forcing Kati to order the weapon’s self destruction to prevent it from falling into ELS knowledge.

  • For those who are curious, Ishikawa Chiaki’s Mou Nanimo Kowaku Nai, Kowaku wa Nai plays as the superlaser begins to break up. The song suits the moment, even more so when I looked up the lyrics’ English equivalent, as humanity decides to continue the fight for their right to survive.

  • Andrei realises that an ELS vessel has broken ranks and is charging towards the Earth. He activates Trans-Am on his own unit and damages the ELS vessel, but his unit becomes infected in the process.

  • The GN Drive on Andrei’s GN Drive are pushed over the maximum levels for safe operation. Much like how vehicles have a maximum land speed, they usually cannot be operated safely if they are pushed over a certain speed. Recalling that GN Tau drives could overload and explode if they were abused, it’s likely that the OS in mobile suits with a Tau Drive has a built-in indicator to denote safe operating levels.

  • Andrei’s decision to scrifice himself to prevent the ELS vessel from reaching the planetary surface was an unexpected fate, but allowed him to atone for his actions and live as the soldier Sergi always wanted him to be; he died to protect people, even if it is not immediately apparent. In this sense, his death was not meaningless and was not a karmic death, although not every fan will share this viewpoint.

  • The probe finally detonates in a ball of purple light, contrasting explosions we’ve seen thus far in the series. In Gundam 00, most explosions behave as if they were in an atmosphere, and diffuse randomly due to the slight differences in air pressures at the center of the explosion. With a near-vacuum in space, explosions are perfectly spherical.

  • Feldt calls out to Setsuna as he writhes in the recovery room.

  • As his coma progresses, Setsuna’s consciousness is taken to a few places, including Azadistan, where Shirin is participating in a humanitarian effort to assist those in need. A delivery automaton is present to the right of the image, suggesting that the ESF has progressed a good deal from the days when we saw the same automaton gunning civilians down.

  • Marina accepts a flower from a girl who is very pleased to have met her inside the palace. Meanwhile, even Saji joins the effort against the ELS. Despite choosing not to fight by taking up arms, he nonetheless assists the effort by performing the maintainance of the orbital platforms.

  • Setsuna is able to see everyone at their combat stations, save Feldt, who is currently with him. The scene fades, and he encounters Lichty, Christina and Neil. They impart on him the reasons that he has to keep fighting, and not let their deaths be in vein. Setsuna sees the flower that Feldt had given him two years previously. He reaches for it, realising its purpose.

  • This is the rather famous scene that led to speculations that Feldt and Setsuna enter a relationship. While Setsuna was making a grab for the flower in his dream, Feldt had taken his hand unto hers and grasps it. Her emotions and feelings come through to Setsuna, who finally gains the strength to exit from his coma.

  • Feldt is very grateful that Setsuna is conscious once again and embraces him warmly. The latter immediately heads to the 00 Qan[T].

  • Tieria thanks Milena for helping construct a compact VEDA terminal in the 00 Qan[T] to help process the vast quantities of information that will be present when interfacing with the ELS again.

  • Mileina declares her love for Tieria, regardless of his physical form, was one of the most heartwarming moment in the movie. When watching this, people in the theatre collectively expressed joy and, after which they laughed at Ian’s reaction. This is one of the most heartwarming scenes in the movie, and is delivered extremely well. I myself saw this one coming, as Milena once said in her sleep to Tieria: “Don’t fall in love with me”.

  • Ian and Linda complete their work on the 00 Qan[T] as it awaits its pilot. The cockpit has been moved back into the abdomen region, and the head resembles the Exia’s. The 00 Qan[T]’s design is a combination of the best features from the Exia and 00 Raiser. Again, look very carefully at the chest orb, and notice it reflecting the hanger inside the Ptolemios.

  • Linda is pleased to hear Milena’s announcement, sharply contrasting Ian’s response.

  • The HUD of the 00 Qan[T] is a powerful interface for managing the 00 Qan[T]’s most powerful functions. It has an almost alien feel to it due to its shape, which is, to some extent, ironic, because the main antagonists in the movie are extraterrestrials. I remember an evening where a friend and I discussed the future of computing technologies after  showed him this image, and he showed me a 3D HUD from Mass Effect 2.

  • The idea of integrating a holographic representation of an individual into a Gundam is one I have looked forward to seeing for a very long time. My requests to get an image of Setsuna using Belldandy in the 00 Qan[T] fell on deaf ears, as I was not that proficient with Adobe Photoshop at the time. I am more skilled now, although at present, I’m occupied by other things and probably won’t have time to actually produce such an image.

  • Feldt is able to let go of Setsuna because she understands him. She assures everyone that she is alright.

  • We are treated to a spectacular shot of launch deck III opening on the Ptolemios II while it is still firing an unending stream of particle beams and GN missiles.

  • Unlike the 00 Gundam, the 00 Qan[T] is fully operational without any additional equipment. In the movie, every new Gundam is equipped with remote weapons of some kind: Zabanya has its rifle and shield bits, Harute wields the scissor bits, Raphael had its two remote GN cannons and Seravee II, and 00 Qan[T] uses six sword bits. According to movie sources, the sword bits on the 00 Qan[T] surpass the overall performance of the mobile-suit sized fangs the Gadelaza used.

  • The 00 Qan[T]’s design varied from the drawing board to the cinema screens. It originally had a slightly different design and colour scheme, but that was changed in subsequent renderings of it in the trailer. The trailers I saw during the summer showed the 00 Qan[T] shows the 00 Qan[T] deploying all of its sword bits, but in the movie, the bits remain mounted on the unit to conserve particles.

The events leading up to and during the final battle are beyond words to describe. So grand in scope and scale is the final battle that a great many viewers considered the A Wakening of the Trailblazer to be the most solid anime movie of 2010, even edging out The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi as the best of that year. This is saying something: having seen both movies, I consider Haruhi to be a remarkable work that can be considered to be a masterpiece in terms of story. If asked to choose between the two movies, back in 2010, I would have picked A Wakening of the Trailblazer any day, but now, I would be sitting on the fence. In this third act, humanity unites under one to fight for survival, but despite putting up an impressive fight, the ELS’ overwhelming numbers slowly turn the battle away from humanity. Upon watching this for the first time, I was on the edge of my seat, observing every moment with great suspense and excitement. Before I continue on to the next act, I note that the practise of dividing movies into acts is purely for my convenience, and in the Gundam 00 movie’s case, I have done so based on different points in the movie.

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