The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed aka Gundam Seed aka Kidou Senshi Gundam Seed
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise
Format: 50 Episodes
Dates: 5 Oct 2002 – 27 Sep 2003

Synopsis: Cosmic Era 71, a war is being fought between the genetically modified Coordinators and the genetically untainted Naturals. During the conflict, a supposed neutral colony comes under attack for harboring new, prototype weapons, the Gundams. In the midst of the chaos, a young teenager, Yamato Kira, manages to secure a Gundam and fights to save his friends’ lives.

The Highlights
Music: Wonderful.
Animation: Pretty but inundated with reused cels.
Characters: Angst-filled.

Outside of the original incarnation, the Gundam franchise isn’t known for its innovation. One must wonder how many times you can tell the same story before people start realizing it’s the same thing. While Gundam Seed brings some new concepts to the franchise, any science fiction enthusiast will quickly realize that originality is not director Fukuda’s specialty.

Everything from genetic manipulation to cloning is addressed in this installment. Instead of creating a harmonized world where science is embraced a la Gattaca, Gundam Seed portrays humanity in a struggle for purification, and for the genetically enhanced humans, the Coordinators, survival. While the genetic antagonism is thoroughly understandable, the series would have been better if it had cut down on the melodrama.

The cast does nothing to aid the sketchy backdrop. While teenagers are usually interesting subjects for study, the characters here behave in an extremely scripted manner. Considering that most of the dialogue consists of constipated screaming along with philosophical rhetoric, there is little time to see genuine chemistry among the cast. The only truly poignant moments are the civilian casualties. While collateral damage is not uncommon in war anime, Gundam Seed is relatively unabashed in killing its side characters.

Probably one of the few saving graces of this anime is the music. Gundam Seed bolsters one of the largest collections of memorable J-pop pieces and the art is easy on the eyes. However, these elements are hardly enough to save this titanic clunker. Gundam Seed could have been a good anime had it stuck to its guns. However, for some inexplicable reason, the producers decide to turn the Ikari Shinji-esque lead character, Kira, into Yuy Heero. The final quarter, thus, becomes an exercise on how well Kira can blow up random enemies.

Despite the hype, Gundam Seed is better suited to the shelves. The OST may be worth purchasing, but at fifty episodes, the anime is not worth your time.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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