The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Second Season

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Second Season
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise
Format: 25 episodes
Dates: 5 Oct 2009 – 29 Mar 2009

Synopsis: The year is 2312 A.D. It has been four years since the UN defeated Celestial Being and forced the remnants of the terrorist organization into hiding. The newly reorganized UN has adopted the stance of maintaining global peace through military force and has given a independent security force known as the A-LAWS the authority to decimate anyone deemed to be a threat. Through inhumane treatment, information manipulation, and outright massacres, the A-LAWS has created unprecedented unity in the Earth sphere.  However, not everyone believes in a reality created by such distortions, and from this ideal comes the four new Gundams.

The Highlights
Story: Compilation of action-based story arcs that meanders around until the inevitable end.
Animation: Good; there’s some inconsistencies but the show has incredible mecha animation.
Music: Solid.
Characters: Unless you are a fanboy or a fangirl, there should only be one truly likable character, and he is a fairly inconsequential side character.

Now that Gundam SEED Destiny is no longer the predominate precedent for the franchise, and that this show no longer has sequels to rely on to tie up any loose ends, I finally can get a complete feel of this series and its place in the Gundam-verse.  With heavy hitters like Mizushima Seiji and Kuroda Yousuke in the staff, I left the first season of Gundam 00 hopeful that the franchise could survive even without the likes of Tomino. Though I was slow to accept it, I ultimately realized that I was wrong.

What the show fundamentally fails at is the characters.  They are neither likable or detestable; they fit into the category of “do not care” which is worse than if I hated the characters since I cannot derive any pleasure from watching them getting killed off.  As a result, all the drama feels meaningless and the anguished spouts of ideology sound like nails on a chalkboard.  The story is nothing special; it essentially revolves around a relentless series of battles waged between Celestial Being and the A-LAWS, and it too falls victim to the weak characters since all the scheming, betrayals and plot twists leave no meaningful impression because no one menacing rips out the “just as planned”s and no one likable gets betrayed.

To the show’s credit, the animation is extraordinary at times, and the show has some of the most visually impressive real robot fight scenes I’ve ever seen.  The music is solid with some strong j-pop and a good showing by Kawai Kenji. Gundam 00 proves that the Gundam franchise will always be financially viable, but it also shows that Sunrise is unwilling to escape the influence of past successes, so it ties together a bunch of tropes in hopes of making its next hit. Too many elements feel like they were shoveled into the series for the sake of homage or pleasing fans, and they only detract from the already lukewarm experience.

Overall, this season and the Gundam 00 series as a whole is mediocre.  It pushes no boundaries; it adds nothing of substance to the Gundam lore, and it is an exceptionally impersonal experience to boot.  Fans should enjoy the show as an entertaining action series that largely manages to avoid spamming plot-hacks (until the final episodes) but don’t expect any Tomino level genius from it.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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