The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed C.E. 73: Stargazer

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed C.E. 73: Stargazer aka Gundam Seed C.E. 73: Stargazer aka Kidou Shenshi Gundam Seed C.E. 73: Stargazer
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise
Format: 3 OVA
Dates: 14 July 2006 – 29 Sept 2006

Synopsis: In an attempt to take vengeance for the atrocities overlooked after the Bloody Valentine War, a group of rogue Coordinators crash lands the wreckage of Junius Seven onto Earth. Following the colony drop, numerous counterattacks are mounted by both sides. Caught in the frenzy of the new war, Selene McGriff, a civilian scientist, tries to escape the chaos and finish a prototype Gundam designed for space exploration: the Stargazer.

The Highlights
Action: Beautiful in typical Seed(1,2) style, but without the reused cels.
Characters: Underdeveloped and a bit flat.
Story: Fast paced and told from several perspectives.

The Gundam franchise has largely been about young, angst-filled teenagers coming of age while fighting a devastating war. It was not till Gundam Wing that Sunrise started gearing the show more towards shounen action fans, effectively ruining the image of the entire franchise. The Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny incarnations took the angst-filled teen ploy and smashed it into the invulnerable bishounen element of Wing resulting in products that range from mediocre to terrible.

That being said, I assure you that Mobile Suit Gundam Seed C.E. 73: Stargazer is the only good anime to come out of the Seed franchise.

Like Gundam: 0080, this OVA takes the perspectives of several insignificant souls and shows their various roles in the war between Naturals and Coordinators. However, unlike the aforementioned series, Stargazer does not take a pedestrian view, but an active look into the war itself. With only fifteen minutes per OVA, the show burns through its story and characters with little regard. Violent skirmishes are common and serve as the crux of the series. While character development is rushed, the show manages to remain consistently engaging due to its efficient pacing and good story.

Once again, the animation and music are both superb, and the lack of reused cels adds much more tension to each fight scene. However, what separates Stargazer from its two predecessors is its complete abandonment of the shounen action atmosphere. Things do not get better with words alone, overt discrimination is unabashedly portrayed, and the characters are given no guarantee that they will stay alive. This OVA essentially captures the essence of the more serious, old school Gundam.

Much akin to Tomino Yoshiyuki‘s “kill ‘em all” attitude, absolutely nothing is euphemized in Stargazer. When it comes to dying, everyone is fair game. Even pilots of the legendary Gundam model can get killed if enough opponents are stacked against them. As soon as these mobile suit pilots engage in combat, it is no longer about ideology or some cheap sound bites; these soldiers fight so that they can stay alive. With no single character delegated immortal powers, the fights are ruthless, bloody and unpredictable. Desperation literally oozes into the battlefield as the body counts skyrocket on both sides.

Stargazer keeps the good elements of its two progenitors while divorcing much of their main flaws. While not as deep or poignant as a typical old school Gundam, this series is as close as it gets to the original of any series made within the past few years. At about forty five minutes total, the OVA is a light investment more than worth taking for any Gundam fan.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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