I have finally gotten around to watching Gundam 00, and now at the end of part 1 of season 1 (episodes 1-13), I find myself with a series which manages to be culturally relevant and captures the spirit of Gundam without actually trying.
I am aware of the fact that the director of Gundam 00, Mizushima Seiji, has said that he’s never seen a Gundam series before, and that this was an intentional decision by the staff to get some fresh ideas into Gundam. I know there are some disagreements among fans about this, but you know who else never saw any Gundam before directing his first Gundam series? Tomino Yoshiyuki, that’s who.
A technicality yes, but the point is that Tomino, like Mizushima, did not approach his directorial role from the position of a mecha fan or a fan of the conventions of giant robot series. The result is a pleasing series which tries its best to show that even in this fictional world of hot girls and suave (mentally damaged) men, that world peace is not so easy to achieve.
When viewing Gundam 00, I feel as if I’m looking at a very elaborate jigsaw puzzle. There are many parts to it, and eventually it will form a greater whole, but I can’t see where exactly everything will fit into place. It’s pretty interesting slowly watching the plot and world unfold. Everything and every character is given prominence in the series, and to continue my jigsaw puzzle analogy, the main gundam pilots, the Gundam Meisters, are like the corner pieces. They are only more important in their role of being a helpful start, but the true main characters are everyone else, from the politicians to the other pilots to the civilians. Gundam 00 is a series which asks the viewer to see a bigger picture.
Now, Celestial Being’s goal of eliminating warfare is something we’ve seen before in Gundam series, especially when this goal is being carried out by a series of bishounen. One main difference from its predecessors though is that their idealism is not the reality of the show. Celestial Being acknowledges the sheer logistical difficulty of trying to prevent war via giant mobile death platforms, and sees that an ideal is just an ideal no matter how hard they fight towards it. Sacrifices must be taken, concessions must be made, it isn’t all rainbows and flowers and they know it. Even the “Relena” of this series, Marina Ismail, acknowledges this from the very start.
As I said in my Votoms part 1 review, I am at the point where the plot will truly begin. Congratulations Gundam 00, I am proud to call you a Gundam series.
PS: I laughed my ass off when I saw the sudden arrival of Future Kato.