Conversations: Gundam 00, Part 1

So Let’s Communicate

Blogging is about communication. It’s essentially a conversation. But, it’s hard to have a one-sided conversation. I’ve decided to start a different kind: blogging interviews with people interested in different aspects of Japanese culture. In this case, a very modern piece of culture.

So, let me introduce you to an acquaintance of mine by his Internet handle, Velocity7.

It’s hard to get an advanced conversation with people at large without going through a few steps first, so let’s plunge in.

Gundam 00 Interview with Velocity7: Part 1

Q. What attracted you to Gundam 00 in the first place?

Velocity7: It was the first show to cover the Anno Domini era, and that we had been hammered with some not so great series (Gundam SEED, Gundam SEED Destiny) that I felt it might be a little interesting to see what could happen with the series. Exia’s basic and simple design also held a level of attractiveness that I’m sure raked in many viewers.

Q. What are your general impressions of the show?

Velocity7: Initially, the show started off with some premises similar to Gundam Wing, and eventually got a little boring due to all the stuff being predictable during the interventions Celestial Being carried out. The political aspect Gundam 00 took on was much more raw and gritty, yet at the same time it felt like it was taking energy away from the show. It wasn’t until Lockon Stratos died near the end of season 1, that my interest in the show was reignited and got me to re-watch everything leading up to the season finale.

Following that, season 2 was actually a lot more interesting and more on the sci-fi side of things than political. There were more interesting problems to tackle, and it was nice that Director Mizushima had at least left some things foreshadowed so we wouldn’t be totally surprised by another Lockon Stratos, among other things. As mysteries unraveled, like the existence of Innovades and the evolution of the Innovator, the true purpose of the GN drive, and why Celestial Being did what it did in 2307; everything started coming together and made for an interesting Gundam show that few in the Gundam metaseries could rival.

The show itself was displayed in HD format, the first for a Gundam series. It also minimized stock footage to a degree such that viewers would not even notice; if you look at previous Gundam TV series, often you will find stock footage at least 30% of the time or so. Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny had much higher percentages in my opinion. Gundam 00 had brilliant animation, and taking the time to split the series into two seasons really paid off.

It should also be noted that when the Gundam 00 special editions were put together, Special Edition 1 covered all of season 1, but Special Editions 2 and 3 covered season 2. This goes to show that there was more interest in the latter half of the series, and although the special editions don’t edit scenes together completely well, it still serves as a good summary for the series if you are interested in seeing the movie, Gundam 00: A wakening of the Trailblazer. I’m looking forward to watching that, even if I have to buy it on BD myself.

The best part of the show, is that despite having an introduction not unlike Gundam Wing, it wasn’t like Gundam Wing at all. And that’s a plus, because I was really only able to enjoy Endless Waltz.

Q. What do you think about the central messages of the show? (Communication overcoming war, etc.)

Velocity7: If you watch only the first few episodes of Gundam 00, you will think the message is “War is bad”. Of course that’s an obvious point, but it’s actually not the case. It’s not that war isn’t bad or anything, because the Gundams themselves also take part in war to stop war, a contradiction in itself. Stopping war in that way is not the way to go, and despite that, all of season 1 was a setup for the real stuff in season 2.

The true message of Gundam 00 is that understanding is needed in order to achieve peace. Obviously, you can’t expect peace if you try to understand a maniacal killer like Ali-al Saachez (who, by the way, ranks as one of my favorite antagonists), but it also gives you insight into why characters do the things they do. You see the little, minor things that develop, and it helps a viewer understand why Setsuna was a child soldier and ended up in Celestial Being, why Tieria warmed up to human beings, and why Neil was more hotblooded about revenge than Lyle was. But once understanding is achieved between characters, you will find they get along very well, and that is the true message that is being driven home.

Stay Tuned For More About Gundam 00!

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for Technorati.com and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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