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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ANIME CORNER - Mobile Suit Gundam 00 - DVD Part 2

Oh Gundam 00, you damn tease! If you found Part 1’s cliffhanger as edgy as I did, you’ll be cursing the sky for Part 2’s.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is supposedly a reworking of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. This is pretty clear in the beginning with four Earth-bound Gundams sent to eradicate war through militant means, but there’s been a lot of shit hitting the fan since Part 1’s balls out setup.

Part 2’s first story arch is highly character driven, giving the ridiculously named Allelujah Haptism his much-needed back-story. Despite his praise worthy name (Haha! Woo! Man, I kill myself.) Mr. Haptism ups his bamf-ery with an origin story that will undoubtedly affect him in future episodes. I welcome that monkey wrench for all subsequent 00 battles. (Or is it a gift in disguise?)

The next story arch focuses heavily on the fictional Middle Eastern country Azidistan. Of course Setsuna, and his crazy-as-shit combat sequences, are front and center in this arch. Here we dive deeper in to the pros and cons of the seemingly hypocritical idea behind the Gundam Meisters’ plan to eradicate war. Should the world carry on peace talks like a bunch of old bureaucratic, pansy jack-offs? Or should they intervene by blowing the hell out of every tank, plane and mobile suit loading ammo? If you're one of those hippies vomiting the pansy answer then let me rephrase the question. Which is more fun to watch?

Ultimately, the Azidistan saga give us the best of 00-- At least thusfar. Setsuna’s take on achieving peace, mixed with his personal convictions develop him in to a character that embodies every spectrum of worldly aggression: Religion, ethnicity, power, money and greed embalm a character so good I think he deserves some Azidistan Princess ass. Can we make that happen?

We also have the continuing idea that these Gundam’s embody some spiritual identity. Are they really weapons of death, or the angelic saviors of a world in need of peace? With all their limitless powers, the latter wouldn’t surprise me. Gundam Wing was often criticized for its overtly powerful Gundams and the rule that only main characters would survive against them. For the most part I don’t have a problem with highly powerful Gundams, but when Gundam Kyrios gets shot at point blank range I expect at least a dent. What’s the point of giving Exia a shield if it can block fire with its arms? We get it. They’re powerful. But it’s about time we learn why these GN drives make them so god-like.

Meanwhile, the supporting characters still don’t do a lot but advance the storyline so the Gundam’s have something to fight. Super soldier Soma Peries should be one of the more interesting sub-characters—But she’s not. Lets wrap her up and give her a funeral before we drag that out too much. Graham Aker, however, has proven to be the badass I predicted he’d be. I want to see him in a Gundam!

So Part 2 seems to flesh out more flaws in the series and ends with an unwelcomed, albeit surprising, addition of new characters. Admittedly, their arrival looks like it will shed light on many questions the series has yet to answer. I’m willing to ride out these odd additions just for that. Besides, no series is perfect. 00 is still as engaging as Part 1 and easily the best Gundam series I’ve seen in awhile.

*** out of ****

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