Oh, Exia! You had it in you all along!

Step aside, Lacus Clyne. Your ridiculously powerful basement Gundams that you just happened to have lying around don’t belong here. It’s time for Gundam Exia to show how it’s done.

That is, by turning into Gundam F-91.

But in all seriousness, Gundam 00 continues to be remarkably clever and fresh. Rather than replacing a now inferior unit with a superior one, which usually ignores the fact that four to six months is certainly not enough time for any sort of significant research and development, or discovering yet another earlier prototype, Gundam 00 pulls a unique twist on an old hat of the giant robot genre: the mid-series upgrade. As of episode 22, the Gundams of Celestial Being have had their limiters removed, allowing them full access to the GN Drives’ true power. This only happens at the climax of episode 22, so it’s impossible to see the full extent of their potential, but it’s not a difficult guess that this will give Celestial Being a fighting chance against the hordes of counterfeit GN Drive-powered mobile suits being fielded by the world’s governments.

I have a lot of respect for Gundam 00 because of this development. The show presented what is probably a worst case scenario for Gundam pilots, to have their technological edge completely neutralized by giving everyone else a Gundam. Suddenly, mass-produced units are no longer the typical cannon fodder we all know and love, but a substantial threat. Nor do they have weaknesses such as a lack of human pilots in the case of the Mobile Dolls of Gundam W. To turn the standard armies into such significant threats, and to breathe life into them through introducing the viewer to just a handful of characters like Patrick and Soma, it gives the impression that maybe, just maybe, that every pilot has a story worth telling.

UNLOCKING FULL POTENTIAL is almost as old a concept as the mid-series upgrade in giant robot series. I can think as far back as Daimos as an example. But Gundam 00 is different, not necessarily in concept but in the fact that the air of conspiracy surrounds this development. We now have not one, not two, but THREE independent figures working towards the goals of celestial being from behind the scenes. Wang Liu-Mei, Alejandro Corner, and now Aeolia Schenberg have positioned themselves as complete wild cards, and so the upgrade simply for the sake of increasing power to fight the enemy is not so cut and dry. If Aeolia Schenberg’s true goal isn’t to eradicate war, if this is all a deception disguised as a charade masquerading as an untruth, then Schenberg’s objective I can only begin to imagine. Maybe some kind of survival of the fittest mentality, but determining it by whoever doesn’t blow themselves up.

Oh, and Aeolia Schenberg is one smooth bastard. Aeolia would perform a mental and strategic Tiger Driver on Lelouch and Light at the same time, from what I can tell.

All of this, and it isn’t even the season finale yet! Damn, Gundam Ooooh.

Nena Trinity may get all the love, but here’s a real woman

You’re a spineless, pale
pathetic lot
And you haven’t got a clue
Somehow I’ll make a man
out of you

(I know exactly how you feel, Patrick!)

Graham Acre is awesome

Behold, my posting while transforming technique!

Graham Acre occupies a fairly unique position among Gundam Rivals in that he isn’t really out for his own, and he’s not necessarily fiercely loyal to any person or organization. He’s loyal, he’s a good soldier, but his personality and unique perspective on life, combined with his abilities in combat make it worth keeping an eye on him.

He feels so very good as The Gundam Rival, the masked man who this time doesn’t wear a mask because he wants you to know he’s Graham Goddamn Acre.

Gundam 00, Season 1, Episodes 1-13

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.

Why am I not watching Gundam 00?

I’ve always been a big Gundam fan, and I’ve watched virtually every series. For some reason though, I have not been compelled to watch Gundam 00. I’m not avoiding it because of some bad stigma, nor am I going “ew Gundam Wing 2.5,” but I’m somehow more motivated to download episodes of Shugo Chara.

Not to say anything bad of Shugo Chara.