Archive for November 21st, 2007

Some Thoughts on Mobile Suit Gundam 00

First off, let me make clear this fact: I’m certainly no expert on Gundam. I certainly like the series as a whole, but I still haven’t seen EVERY. SINGLE. GUNDAM. SERIES. EVER. My favorite ones are, interestingly enough, the most unusual ones: G Gundam and Turn A Gundam. They’re the ones which took the concept of Gundam and did something radically different from the traditional formula established by Tomino in the original series–in Turn A’s case, it was Tomino himself breaking the mold.

So it should probably come as no surprise that I like Gundam 00. The first interesting thing I noticed about it was that the director, Mizushima Seiji, renowned for directing Fullmetal Alchemist, had never seen a Gundam series in his life. Ever. And this is the exact reason Sunrise approached him with the offer to direct their latest Gundam series, apparently–they wanted to get someone who could look at Gundam from an outsider’s perspective and bring the franchise to a whole new audience.

The second interesting thing I noticed about it was that Mizushima decided to set 00 in our universe, in our timeline. The reason for doing this, of course, is so he can more directly comment on our world as it stands today. He already did this in Fullmetal Alchemist–and did a damn fine job of it, too–but now that he gets to set a Gundam series in our timeline, with our nations, we’re clearly in for a huge dose of that.

And so I eagerly anticipated the premire of Gundam 00 with baited breath,even though its airing meant that Terra e… had to finish, a fact that greatly saddened me. And then the slated day arrived, and it was glorious. Of course, the episode wasn’t a twenty-four minute monologue of Setsuna F. Seiei reading a treatise on the problems of international politics in 2007, but that’s not what I was expecting. I tend to give series that aspire to be epic a few episodes to get their feet steady on the ground so they can soar to the lofty heights necessary for a truly epic scale story, and Gundam 00 was no exception, but, again, that doesn’t mean the series was bad because it didn’t start off with a bang.

However, I think that, with episodes 6 and 7, the “prologue” of Gundam 00 is over, and the real action begins now. The last two episodes center around the arrival of a clear antagonist for Setsuna, in the form of Ali Al-Sarches, the callous mercenary bastard who trained Setsuna to be a merciless killer, starting with his parents.

And that wasn’t the only interesting part about the episode. When Louise Halevy (my favorite 00 girl thus far, god bless Saito Chiwa) announces that she is going to take Saji Crossroad CLOTHES SHOPPING (much like Sumeragi’s tagalong pair of bridge bunnies did the previous episode) and summarily gets knocked down by the explosion of a terrorist’s bomb in a nearby bus, I am starting to sense the awesome coming from 00. When you throw in terrorists committing terrorist acts against what is effectively a paramilitary terrorist organization (Celestial Being) announces that it is trying to end all wars, you just know things are going to spiral out of control, and fast.

It may never be the best Gundam, but it’s certainly one of the most interesting, and a very good choice for Sunrise’s 30th anniversary celebration of the Gundam franchise. Which is another reason to expect greatness from 00: not only does it follow up the travesty that was Gundam SEED Destiny, but it’s a 30th anniversary show. Clearly they’re wanting to pull out all the stops.

Potemayo: Holistic Retrospective, or, Honi Honi Honi Honi Honi

Yes, I know. I watch things slowly. Get used to it.

Potemayo was, for me, a real charmer of a show. I always love watching a well-done comedy, and Potemayo, as far as anime is concerned, pretty much has my style of comedy down pat. I mean, it’s about a cute little cat-human…thing. That grows flowers on top of its head. It doesn’t even try to make any kind of literal sense, it just creates its own little world populated with ridiculously rich girls voiced by an extremely high-pitched Kugimiya Rie who enslaves boys who confess to her (even accidentally; poor, poor Mudo) and totally ignores her older brothers who apparently have some kind of massive sister complex. Oh, and Guchuko.

I had a feeling the series would be a laugh riot from the get-go; the best gag in the entire first episode had to be Guchuko taping things. First she busts out of Sunao’s refrigerator, and tapes the door together with three pieces of tape. Then she busts out of Sunao’s front door, and tapes the door back together with three pieces of tape. Then she goes to the park, and Kyou throws her a truffle. Startled by the truffle, Guchuko chops it in half.

At this point, I think to myself “she is so totally going to tape that truffle”. Which was exactly what she did. With three pieces of tape. It was a moment of epic comedy the likes of which haven’t been seen since Shinji’s pantsu SEED burst during the onsen epiosode of Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu. Somehow, for me, guessing what the punchline is going to be a split-second before the punchline is actually given always makes a joke about 100% funnier. It’s some kind of weird combination of expecting the unexpected, and seeing that not only was your guess correct, but that the show did justice to it.

The remaining episodes lived up to the heights of comedy promised in the first episode. It’s the rare anime comedy that holds my interest more than a few episodes (most of them rely too much on I AM GOING TO YELL A LOT AND THIS WILL SUBSTITUTE FOR ACTUAL COMEDY, or on what American fans love to call “it’s so random“), and the ones that do I generally just find more pleasant to watch than actually hilarious. Since it’s such a rare thing, it’s a real pleasure to watch something that is genuinely hilarious. The only comedy from 2007 that meets Potemayo is Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and that’s basically cheating since a post-Hidamari Sketch Shinbo Akiyuki is directing.

This kind of turned into an aimless rant, but that’s okay. Conclusion: Watch Potemayo. You’re missing out on quality humor and entertaining characters if you don’t.

Also, I have no idea what bearing the title has on the actual content of the post, but, hey, “Holistic Retrospective” is a cool phrase. And I’m all about cool phrases, even if they have no actual bearing on anything whatsoever.


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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a ridiculously long and only partially organized list of subjects


November 2007