Are We All Watching the Same Gundam 00?

As I look at the praise and criticism Gundam 00 has received, I get the strange impression that everyone is watching a different show despite what the title screen says.

With a show like Code Geass, which has tons of people who love it, tons of people who hate it, and a whole lot of others in the middle who watch it for various reasons, I can look at all the comments and ratings it gets and believe that everyone was watching the same show. I cannot say the same of Gundam 00 and at times it baffles me just how much the contradicting opinions regarding Gundam 00 simply make no sense when you put them all together.

I know people’s preference in anime can differ tremendously, but that’s not the problem I’m having here. You can have two people eat the same food and one will like it and the other will hate it. But with Gundam 00, it’s like two get the same food, and then one person claims he ate an octopus while the other person claims he drank a firetruck.

What is it about Gundam 00 that causes this seeming dimensional rift in how people see it? Is it the character designs? Is it the bad taste Destiny left in people’s mouths (where everyone can agree they drank firetrucks)? Do people simply have different values for what they expect out of a Gundam series and our various biases warp the image of what’s there into something our brains can process?

俺はコンラン。

14 thoughts on “Are We All Watching the Same Gundam 00?

  1. It’s the fact that it’s a Sunrise show and like all of Sunrise’s shows post GSD it’s doomed to have people leap all over it for every little instance that could even be remotely thought of as a shortcoming and to turn said instance into something to get really worked up and outraged over as if the staff members personally came to their house and slapped them square across the face. The thing you ought to realize is that a lot of people aren’t actually watching it like they would a normal anime (which involves paying attention to the scenes and suspending disbelief) but instead are half paying attention to what is going on and devoting more attention to looking for the first instance at which they can leap on it and call it a “trainwreck” or turn something into a meme.

    Sunrise shows get made out to be worse then they are just like Kyoani shows get made out to be better then they are, and everything else usually falls between. That’s the way internet blogging and forum discussion works. The reason you see no logical sense to people’s reflections on them is that it never really applied in the first place. That’s why I only mildly entertain your average discussion on Sunrise anime anymore. I do vaguely remember a time before Gundam Seed Destiny where you could go on a forum and have a reasonable discussion on one of their shows with a fellow fan who is looking to enjoy the time they spend watching it rather then just being their to bash the show, and if such a time is to come again it’s probably a long long time off. Possibly even a generation away. Unfortunate, but the sad sad reality.

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  2. The only Gundam series that I watched more than 2 episodes of was G-Gundam, and that was the shit!

    Although, I do really like the opening theme to Stardust Memories. I remember recording just the opening theme on the VCR and rewinding the hell out of it!

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  3. Yeah, I think it has a lot to do with the baggage: Seed, GSD, Geass… and the immense weight of the franchise. It now seems every new installment of Gundam has tremendous expectations upon it, as if each iteration could be as revolutionary as TOS.

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  4. Kaioshin is onto something, in that people no longer watch Sunrise anime willing to give it the benefit of the doubt they might afford other series, leaping at any opportunity to ridicule it. And it’s not Gundam 00’s fault, but Sunrise is certainly reaping what they’ve sown. The final leg of Mai Otome, parts of Geass R2, the whole of Xenoglossia, there were scenes and sections of plot that jumped out at you and made you go, “What the Flying F*ck??!!”

    There’s just a peculiar way recent (and prominent) Sunrise series have continually undermined or just colossal retconned massive sections of story and character behavior previously established at their convenience, best exemplified by the infamous Gundam series, and something the most recent Gundam, though maybe not guilty, has not protected itself from.

    So even when Gundam 00 does something typical of Gundam shows, everyone’s on such hair trigger to affirm the Gundam 00 series they’ve already constructed in their minds, that will say, “Here they go again!”

    In conclusion, Kaioshin makes an accurate prediction that it may take a whole generation (and some exceptional animations) for the community to take featured Sunrise productions seriously again (Like Gainax’s reputation for “inadequate” endings). The memory of being burned over and over is too recent and too numerous for some fans to forgive and forget.

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  5. @Kadian: When did I ever say anything about being burned. People pretty much do it to themselves with the so called “bad” Sunrise shows. It’s ever since Gundam Seed Destiny that people have been incapable of giving their shows a fair chance, not just recently. That’s pretty much how I see it that Code Geass ended up getting bashed constantly.

    I’ve only felt burned twice by Sunrise and that was with Gundam Seed Destiny and the seemingly endless Mai-Hime series. I actually had to struggle to finish both, but after that I gave the company a clean slate and let them try again because I knew the staff was different.

    And the problem really isn’t the company, it’s the fans. Through no fault of the company itself, there’s not going to ever be such a thing as a Sunrise series that is going to be deemed exceptional as nobody is ever going to give them a fair chance or allow such an impression to be made. The whole unbreakable cycle is being caused by the fans themselves not actually giving the companies shows the chance they frankly even allow to Gonzo. Sunrise could make the most flawless show in the world at this point that in 2002 would have been thought of as one of the masterpieces of our time, but now would just get nitpicked to death for something as insignificant as a quirky nickname a bit character happened to give to a guy because of the aesthetic of the giant robot they are piloting or a person throwing a chess game to make a philisophical point.

    In short, because people continue to live in a pipe dream that it’s somehow the company that’s not playing ball and instead of them being the ones that are ruining the shows for themselves, Sunrise shows are pretty much doomed to this endless cycle of getting called a “trainwreck” because of the previous series and then the next one being called a “trainwreck” because of that one and so on until eventually those people either come around or just find something new to do and a new generation of fans come in to replace them.

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  6. I should add that I continue to see Code Geass not as one of the series that is the cause of the situation I mentioned, but merely the most recent victim of it. The only ones I include as part of the cause are Gundam Seed Destiny and Mai-Hime/Otome. Gundam 00 will eventually replace Code Geass as the most recent self-inflicted “disappointment” though if the trend keeps and it’s starting to look about there with all the freaking out over something as insignificant as a characters nickname.

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  7. I have the benefit of Gundam 00 being the first Gundam I have watched in a very, very long time. As in, the others, if there were more than one, were watched so long ago that I don’t remember them at all.

    I’m watching Gundam 00 with a completely fresh outlook, and I’m loving it. So I agree that the vastly different views about what people are actually seeing when they watch Gundam 00 could be because of their experiences with past Gundam shows.

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  8. Case in point: Wildarmsheero. Was left a very bad taste in mouth by Gundam Seed Destiny and the Zeta Movies. Has a severe case of nostalgia for the Original Series and UC in general. As a rule, is reactionary anti-yaoi. Was already hating upon the show after seeing the character designs and reading one or two interviews. Was unable to get past the “setup” arc of 00, and dropped it after six episodes.

    Hate for 00 has been mainly spurred by Seed and Destiny, but it also been spurred by similarities to Wing and it’s initial similar episodic “let’s kick random ass pacing” that made Wing boring for the first arc. That said, I think that while the basic premise of the show, several Gundams kick ass off a mass produced army. is the same, the execution of it is very different. 00’s themes and mood in general is far closer to UC Gundam, and the all the characters on the antagonistic are deep and interesting. In fact the Meister’s themselves are deeper characters than the Wing Boys ever were (despite often being called flat by other people, which was maybe true in episode six of the series).

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  9. I’m in the same boat as Mobusaki. There also feels like there is a rift between those who watch 00 for the characters and those who watch it for the mecha battles. No matter the franchise series, people will always become more sour about a series as it spans over different plots and directors because they’re most at home with the original.

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  10. I just wanted to weigh in on this discussion. Narutaki and I often comment that we wonder if people are watching the same show as us on a lot of stuff. I remember watch Macross Frontier and reading comments on various blogs and finding it odd how people interpreted and focused on various scenes entirely differently than either of us did. I think the more popular a show is the more likely this is going to be the case. Niche shows tend to be watched by people only people who were already going into a show with set expectations and therefore not have wildly different opinions about a show. Broad appeal titles tend to get all sorts who are going to have all sorts of opinions. That is just the way things work.

    Since it never actually comes up where to do feel that you and certain people on the Internet find different about Gundam 00? I am curious where you and other people are on completely different pages about.

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  11. There’s more than one instance but I’ll try to list as many as I can think off-hand.

    The first difference comes when regarding old school UC Gundam fans. They’ll take issue with Gundam 00 for not being, for lack of a better term, not “UC” enough, whereas I believe Gundam 00 to be the most “UC” alternate series that we’ve ever seen, aside from maybe Turn A Gundam. The politics, the various factions, the shades of gray, the bitter rivalries, the dumb names, it all managed to achieve a similar feel to the UC Gundam series without even intending to be so. Is it just that “very UC” isn’t quite UC enough for them?

    There’s also complaints about the characters themselves, and how they lack depth or personality. And these comments aren’t just coming from people who’ve seen a few episodes and gave up. People watch through the whole first season and still come away with that opinion, while I think it’s one of the more outstanding parts of Gundam 00.

    And then there’s the mecha, and while I can see some people not liking the mecha designs themselves, it’s weird when they say the fight scenes are boring or poorly done when this is one of the best-animated Gundam series ever and is remarkably good at not reusing stock footage. The battles also feel very kinetic and, most importantly, have remarkable visual and narrative clarity, so to say that Gundam 00 is lacking here also puzzles me.

    I think in some cases the fact that 00 has some superficial similarities to Wing scares off certain people. They see the bishounen and so come in with a pre-set bias that it’s going to be all angst, for example.

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  12. I’m the kind of person that gives all Gundam series a chance, be it U.C like MS Igloo 2 or AU like Gundam 00. In all of the Gundam Series I’ve watched (which is in fact every single one ever) the only one I really didn’t care for was the Seed universe because it didn’t try to do anything to differentiate itself much from the original series and because it was just plain boring to watch half the time with all of the stock footage, uninspired character designs and simplistic storylines.

    And I too have noticed a tendency for people to automatically dislike bishounen characters which I deliberately exploit in some of my blog articles to get under their skin a little. Those kinds of people remind me of your typical homophobe who is scared of the very idea of anything that could be hinting of homosexuality and those are always fun to screw with.

    That and it gives off the impression that some people are so shallow that they let a character’s outward appearance dominate the manner in which they view them while they completely miss their actions and personality that showcase their true nature. That’s how we end up with gar characters like Tieria being labelled as merely effeminate pretty boys by so many people. Unless a character has rippling muscles and is a big loud screaming asshole people won’t see them as heroic, manly and cool. Never mind that he’s literally the first one out of the ship every time to defend his comrades in the second season, and even before that he was outright vicious in how he dealt with opponents.

    And yes I understand that Tieria Erde is kind of a walking paradox of a character, but I get the sense it’s done on purpose to either generate debate or make people actually have to look into his character to understand the guy instead of just looking at his appearance and going, “Oh pretty boy”. Since you know……your average anime usually doesn’t bother to go deeper then the characters most obvious archetype. Unfortunately again it seems Sunrise hasn’t learned that the average viewer can’t be trusted to do that which worries me a bit. Every one of their DVD episodes really should come with a Cliff’s Notes style option that has explanatory subtitles at the bottom as a courtesy gesture.

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  13. I mostly stray away from the “usual Gundam timelines” (UC (includes Zeta and ZZ and CCA), CE, 00, Wing) and focus on the side stories. Which has yet to disappoint. (08th MS Team is win, WoTP seems wonderful, ASTRAY and Ecole do Ciel are delicious and Blue Destiny intrigues me :( )

    I’m not a fan of the typical LOL GUNDAM TIMELINES mostly because apart from UC (which was originally a colossal flop, LOL), the rest of them felt more like either fan-pandering or a vehicle to sell overpriced gunpla.

    (Speaking of fan-pandering, they really should drop the pretense and go make a hardcore yaoi Gundam series. By hardcore I mean buttsex.)

    FFFFFFFFFFF. Overman King Gainer is a fabulously wonderful show, EVEN IF IT IS MADE BY LOL SUNRISE. I think I might like Eureka Seven, and I’m willing to give their other works a chance, even the famed CODE GEASS. (maybe not the Mai-Hime series :( )

    And it’s not that I disagree with Kaioshin’s points, but it’s because he has put his views in such a way that makes people think he’s either a deluded, raving fanboy or CONTENTIOUS. And the image stuck. The approach is also just as important as the fact.

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