“Consistency is found in that work whose whole and detail are suitable to the occasion. It arises from circumstance, custom, and nature.” —Vitruvius
After defeating the AEU’s Enact prototype during its maiden flight, the Exia continues with its mission and draws out additional Hellion squadrons from the AEU’s orbital elevator pillar. Despite the Exia’s technological superiority, its pilot, Sestuna F. Seiei, is unable to dispatch his opponents owing to their numbers. Back on the ground, the Dynames (piloted by Lockon Stratos) provides sniper fire. Shooting down the Hellions with pinpoint precision, Lockon buys Setsuna enough breathing room to destroy the last of the Hellions. Back in space, terrorists attempt to hit the Human Reform League’s anniversary parties, and while they successfully evade the forces scrambled to intercept them, they find themselves promptly defeated by the Kyrios and Virtue. The opening moments to Gundam 00 thus serve as another example of a magic moment (given here to be “an event or moment in an anime that succeed in convincing the audience to continue watching”) that occurs early on in the series that captivated my interest. Despite being a sequence created eight years ago, the animation and execution in Gundam 00 reflects on the level of detail and attention that went into crafting the moments. In particular, the orbital elevators’ impressive scale provides an exciting backdrop to introduce the Gundam’s overwhelming power, creating tension and suspense. The high-speed angles seen when the AEU hellions are struggling to engage the Exia, and the distances mobile suits must travel to reach the HRL’s orbital platform both show that these are truly massive engineering projects, attained only because of serious advances in technology.
- While perhaps not quite as magical as the magic moment from Gundam Unicorn, the first episode of Gundam 00 was nonetheless a fun watch. Eight years might have elapsed, but I still clearly remember the day I watched the first episode; it was a Friday, and because my high school was undergoing HVAC maintenance, we were sent home to begin the weekend early. I was working on a German assignment with the main computer, and decided to take a break, watching the episode on a laptop.
- The assignment was eventually finished, and I found this episode to be entrancing; a friend remarked that Gundam 00 was quite unique in the fact that all of the Gundam units were working together right from the start. In comparison to the Universal Century, the pilots in Gundam 00 are there by choice rather than chance, and unlike the Cosmic Era, no Gundam thefts are involved.
- The fight between Exia and the Hellions is set to Kenji Kawai’s “Intervention”, a powerful, high-paced song with the Celestial Being motif that captures the intensity and firepower of a Gundam. The maneuvers between the different mobile suits around the orbital elevator allow their sizes to really give an impression of how large the pillar itself is.
- Here’s another moment depicting the size of the pillar, when AEU Hellions deploy from hidden hangers on the pillar itself. When I first watched the episode, I imagined that the trained forces would fare better against Exia than Patrick Colasour, but I was wrong: though the pilots employ various attack formations to engage Exia, the difference in armour allows the Exia to shrug off the rounds.
- Eight years to this day, I was experimenting with video conversion software, during the night of my old high school’s fall awards programme. The conversion was successful; as I watched the Tieren pilots enter their mobile suits and begin to sortie, it was time to set foot into a chilly November night and sit through the awards ceremony. The fall awards were somewhat duller compared to the spring awards, given that the latter had been for exceptional performance in classes, and the former was for students who had made the honour roll.
- Space-type Tierens are deployed to engage the terrorist Hellions. Equipped with thrusters on its main body for maneuvering in space, they can be seen firing to help the Tierens stablise and adjust their course. Again, the scale of the constructs are noticeable here: the orbital stations are large enough to house entire structures and mobile suit hangers.
- While the Tieren pilots must use head-mounted displays that project a HUD onto an image of what the Tieren’s main camera sees, I found that their systems are quite cool-looking, if somewhat busy; the Tieren HMDs resemble the Oculus Rift, which I’ve used extensively in my research project. It’s quite funny how eight years after Gundam 00 aired, I’m involved in research that involves virtual reality, and may expand said project to encompass augmented reality, too.
- One of the tensest moments in the episode is when the missiles streak towards the station. The Tieren’s inability to dispatch the terrorist Hellions suggest that the Tieren is an outdated mobile suit; of all the mobile suits fielded by the world’s forces, they’re the bulkiest and most models are intended to fulfil the role of a MBT rather than air superiority fighter.
- The Kyrios flies along the orbital ring en route to engaging the terrorists. Celestial Being’s timely arrival ensures that the missiles never impact the station, and making use of the Kyrios’ speed, Allelujah shoots down two of the Hellions. The remaining mobile suit charges the station on a suicide run.
- Compared to the other mobile suits’ control panels, and even the Gundam of earlier universes, the Gundams of the Cosmic Era have very clean interface, making use of touch screens and highly simple but informative displays. The displays improve by the second season, and are only eclipsed by the floating cockpits seen in the Universal Century.
Consequently, that an organisation such as Celestial Being possesses technology eclipsing that of the world’s is an impressive feat. However, the first episode chooses not to do so via dialogue: instead, the differences are depicted by shifting focus between the mobile suits’ cockpits and the battle from an outside perspective. It’s clear that even the HRL’s old, lumbering mobile suits are complex machines; their HUDs are very detailed and provide a great deal of information about the environment. However, these pale compare to the minimalistic multi-function touch displays found inside a Gundam. Coupled with their unparalleled combat capability, audiences can plainly see that the Gundams themselves are on a completely different level, thus piquing their curiosity with respect to what happens next; highly sophisticated war machines in the hands of an unknown organisation, interfering with international politics would almost certainly result in a response, and the remainder of the first season depicts what the ramifications entail. It was a strong start to the Gundam 00 franchise, and although eight years have since passed, the opening episode remains as impressive to watch now as it was eight years ago: together, the sense of scale and technological disparity piqued my interest in Gundam 00, which eventually would become my gateway into the Gundam franchise, leading to Gundam Unicorn.
The Earth Sphere Federation’s independent security preservation force “Arrows”, has been suppressing an opposition force called “Kataron”, using inhuman tactics and extermination. Saji Crossroad has been working as an engineer on the “Proud” Colony, a space station under construction. When a coworker is discovered to belong to Kataron, Saji is arrested under false charges by Arrows and pressed into forced labor. Kataron forces mounts a rescue, but Arrows mobile suits appear with orders to exterminate the rescuers and all station personnel to cover up Arrows’ forced labor operation. Setsuna F Seiei, infiltrates the colony during the battle and rescues Saji. Setsuna then engages the Arrows suits in Exia. Still damaged from its battle four years prior, Exia is no match for Arrows’ new “Ahead” mobile suit. Setsuna is saved at the last moment by the appearance of Tieria in his new Selavee Gundam. Brought back to Celestial Being’s new mothership, Ptolemios II, Setsuna is confronted by Saji who now knows Setsuna’s identity as a Meister. Once again joining Celestial Being, Setsuna returns to Earth to recruit Lyle Dylandy as the new “Lockon Stratos”.
- Season two’s opening sequence was downright cinematic, beginning with a lone Ahead engaging Katharon’s Hellions and Tierens. The scene then switched to a pair of GN-X IIIs dropping explosive charges at a Katharon installation. The entire scene was set to Kenji Kawai’s Unified World, and was fluidly animated, with flashes of blue, yellow and orange flashing around the screen.
- Sergei Serminov speaks on the phone with Kati Mannequin about the the latter’s enrolment in the A-Laws to keep an eye on their actions. This episode does a remarkable job of reintroducing all of the cast from the previous season (with the exception of Marina).
- Saji is forced to perform manual labour in a high-gravity block after accusations of his involvement with Katharon. This scene demonstrates the police state-like nature of the Federation, suggesting that the unified world Celestial Being created is not as ideal as they would have hoped.
- This scene is now a classic one in my books, marking the beginning of the A-Law’s second major operation against Katharon, a rebel organisation opposed to the brutal tactics used by the Earth Federation. They are technologically outmatched by the Federation and continuously suffer high casualties in their operations early on.
- Setsuna F. Seiei infiltrates the space colony Proud on a recon mission, as Tieria had assumed. I suddenly realise that my writing style in the present era sharply contrast the tones I wrote with back in secondary school.
- The GNX-704T Ahead is the A-Laws’ most advanced MS reserved solely for their elite pilots. A cool bit of trivia: the Ahead was developed in a project to design next-generation Tierens. ESF engineers that were formally part of the HRL were contracted to create the Ahead series. They took inspiration from the previous GN X series, as well as the MSJ-06II-SP Tieren Taozi, for its design.
- Louise’s involvement with the A-Laws was a surprise to me when I first watched the episode. Later on, it will be revealed that she was allowed to participate for both providing massive donations to the organisation to fund weapons development projects and for having pseudo-innovator traits.
- A dozen Automatons can be carried onto the rear torso of the Ahead in lieu of the rear GN Thrusters, which are used as remote anti-personnel/infiltration units. Ahead pilots can remotely deploy the Automatons in the middle of MS combat for search and destroy missions, keeping track of each Automaton’s status from the MS. The use of these Automaton reflect on the Federation’s brutal policies and are a call-back to techniques used in totalitarian states.
- While this point is ambiguous, I’ve heard from multiple sources that Setsuna uses the Exia to wipe out the rest of the automaton. Although this isn’t shown on screen explicitly, it is implied when the number of automaton drop and a cloud of smoke is observed, that Setsuna quickly dispatches them, contrary to a longer battle that most forums believe to have occurred.
- The cockpits of the new Gundams have seen a complete upgrade, allowing a panoramic view of the battlefield (save the rear), compared to the screens on the older Gundams. In general, I found that the cockpits in 00 generally looked cooler than those found in Gundam SEED.
- Even though it’s been four years since I first saw this, Setsuna engaging the Ahead is clearly the best part of the episode, enhanced by the fact that an awesome song plays in the background. Those who criticised the music in Gundam 00 are unaware of how music can evoke moods when used properly. The scene above is one of my favourites in terms of composition: the piercing red eye sharply contrasts the green condenser chest piece and offsets the monotony of the cape, which covers the missing left arm. Dubbed the Exia Repair, this MS is a crudely repaired version of Exia. Due to lack of contact with Celestial Being during the 4 years after their defeat, Exia was never fully repaired from the damage it sustained in combat with Graham Aker and his SVMS-01X Union Flag Custom II.
- Despite Setsuna demonstrating improved piloting skills compared to the first season (he is able to dodge and aim far more effectively), the Ahead rapidly overwhelms the Exia, melting through its damaged GN Sword and subsequently cutting both arms off.
- The Seravee arrives right on cue, forcing the A-Laws forces to disperse. The Seravee is the successor to GN-005 Gundam Virtue . Like its predecessor, Seravee serves as Celestial Being’s heavy weapons assault mobile suit. A combat unit that utilizes heavy particle beam weaponry against superior numbers. While similar, Seravee has been designed to compensate for Virtue’s weaknesses and enhanced for its qualities.
- The hidden face on Seravee’s back was subject to much discussion when it was first shown. It is the hidden backpack form of Seraphim; containing the GN Drive, allowing the Seravee to generate the volume of GN particles required to deploy a GN Field and also functions in conjunction with Seravee’s GN particle weapons for higher destructive yield. The GN particle vents also provide additional thrust for manoeuvring and hauling.
- I already know what goes down in the series when I watch it now, compared to the relative lack of information when I first saw it. However, while the sense of mystique is gone from many aspects of the show (such as mobile suit capabilities and plot developments), the awe that each scene inspires is still present, and some moments still invoke chills when watched.
- Feldt Grace makes a return, sporting a considerably more mature appearance compared to season one. Christina Sierra is replaced by Milena Vasti.
- I now have a Master Grade 00 Gundam Seven Sword/G,which somehow beats out even the 1080p version of the 00 Gundam depicted in the anime in terms of looks and detail. I once heard that the HG line of model kits aims to capture the animated versions of a mobile suit, while MG model kits are designed to be more detailed and realistic.
- Saji is just as naive as he was in the first season concerning warfare; despite being immature and appearing to be unable to let go of the events in his past, Saji does indeed learn to accept what warfare is, making for one of the most interesting character developments I’ve seen in just about anything. Also, that gun is empty.
- “I guess I’ll have grab something else for breakfast…like some OXYCODONE. I’ll just go to my locker, get some happy pills and make the politics around here just float away.” -Freeman’s Mind, Episode 2
- After seeing the Exia get trashed despite Setsuna’s efforts, I was itching to see the 00 Gundam in action. I don’t normally go back and do reviews of episodes that I’ve watched long ago, but the opener to the second season of Gundam 00 stood out as worthwhile, and despite what naysayers claim, 00 is an good anime by all accounts. Timing permitting next week, I’ll discuss the second episode of the second season: after that point, the mystique of the second season would give way to plot progression and resemble the first season in design.
I first saw the first episode to Gundam 00’s second season way back when it was released on October 5, 2008, before I had even completed my secondary education. In the old days, I watched Gundam 00 episodes in 480p as they were released, but acquisition of HD copies certainly makes all the difference now. Upon finishing the episode for the first time, I was blown away by the animation and visuals: Gundam 00 holds the distinction of being the first anime to ever be aired in HD. As for the episode itself, things felt a lot more rapidly paced than in the first episode of the first season, and while it was clear that the A-Laws (then romanised as “Arrows”) were the immediate antagonist, Ribbon’s presence throughout the episode foreshadows his role as the true antagonist of the season. I was also surprised by Louise’s affiliation with the A-Laws and unstable demeanour. The episode’s initial release led some to assume that Ribbons held some degree of control over her, and this would later be vindicated in later episodes. The first episode presented multiple storylines that would later form the basis for later episodes, with some given plenty of attention, while others getting less screentime than was necessary to explore them. All in all, the first episode proved to be a suitable introduction to the second season of Gundam 00, and as I progressed through my final year of secondary school, the series would remain with me as I wrote the diploma exams and applied to a post-secondary institution for my then-upcoming undergraduate career.
Anime: Reflections, Japanese Animation 00 Gundam, Exia, Gundam 00, Gundam 00 Season 2, Louise Halevy, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Review, Saji Crossroad, Seravee, Setsuna F. Seiei, Tieria Erde