Mobile Suit Gundam 00: “We are Gundams!”

Well, this was certainly a bloody episode. Like the past, oh, three episodes.

First: To all three of my Loyal and Dedicated Readers, yes, I did not post last night. If I had, I probably wouldn’t have been comprehensible. This post might be only a slight improvement over what it might have been last night, but, trust me, last night would have been baaaaad.

I don’t think I’ve talked about this before, and it’s probably too late for it, but this episode laid blatantly clear the reasoning behind Setsuna’s deep-seated Gundam-mania. The simple, summed up, and obvious answer is that in Setsuna’s time of need as a child-soldier in a horrific war, a Gundam (you know, the one that suspiciously looks like the original Gundam) came down to end the fighting. He became fixated on the image, like, say, a Christian becomes fixated on the image of Jesus on a cross. The fervor that Setsuna feels for the image and concept of Gundam is nigh-on religious in nature.

But what does the Gundam in Setsuna’s mind represent? As he said himself in this episode: “When I only knew how to fight, Celestial Being showed me the reason to fight.” That reason, the eradication of conflict from the world, is what the Gundams are used for. The Gundam, then, stands for the ultimate justice, a kind of, well, Celestial Being, sent to Earth to pass judgement. Schenberg is going for the religious parallels like crazy here.

As these “Celestial Beings”, the early episodes where the Gundams stomped over everything without the slightest hint of resistance aren’t a failure in the writing department, as some argue, but rather a concerted message to the viewer: the Gundams are almost walking mechanical gods. It’s kind of like Turn A, where the Turn A was hidden inside a wooden statue used in an almost mystical rite of passage for the youth of Nocis City. In TUrn A, the Gundam rose from its slumber to defend the Earth against the incursion of the Moonrace (and also to fill a giant gap for long-distance cow transportation). The implication there was that the Gundam was an ancient, revered figure. In 00, however, rather than being revered gods, they’re viewed almost as the devil incarnate, sowing chaos wherever they go.

The progress of the first season, then, is a story of humanity rising to triumph over their heavenly judgement, except, instead of casting humanity as the protagonists, the four Gundam Meisters, the judges, are our protagonists. The first season, then, was the tale of their fall from grace, as humanity slowly wised up, teamed up, and cornered them. Schenberg’s plan is seemingly completed, with Celestial Being simply being a means to an end via their destruction, but it’s quite clear that, even at this stage, something is Not Quite Right in Gundamland. Libbons and his army of clones certainly seem to have Something Up Their Sleeve, the war-crazy Ali Al-Sarchez still walks, and, despite the unification of humanity, they still maintain an army. You would think that with no one to fight against, there would be no reason for an army, but perhaps things are not as smooth and stable as they seem on the surface.

And obviously so, as this is not enough for Celestial Being. There is the shadowy mysterious 00 Gundam that we have not seen yet, and they’re certainly interested in recruiting new Meisters, such as a short-haired Louise (first we get to hear Kugimiya voice a Gundam pilot, now we get to hear Saito Chiwa? Now all we need is for a third SEED series to be made where Meyrin inexplicably gets a Gundam to pilot and then I can die a happy man). There is practically no way of predicting how the second season will go based on the tantalizing next season preview in 25. Will there be Saji vs. Louise? Louise vs. Nena? Some kind of complicated three-way between them? Will Nena be redeemed? What is Libbons really up to? And why doesn’t anyone have a mask in this series yet? Give one to Graham, he’d probably be ecstatic to wear one. It would increase his awesome level by several points. And Graham is all about the awesome level.

I am amused that this post changed tack about three different times throughout the process of writing it. There might be some more things to think about while bored at work, so hopefully there won’t be a six-month hiatus for Gundam 00 here.

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3 Responses to “Mobile Suit Gundam 00: “We are Gundams!””


  1. 1 The Animanachronism 3 April 2008 at 4:55 am

    Reading your post, it strikes me that the first half of 00 isn’t so very different from what NGE would be if the Angels had pilots, and the story was told from their point of view.

  2. 2 matt 12 April 2008 at 12:41 am

    does setsuna live or die?

  3. 3 OGT 12 April 2008 at 12:44 am

    Mystery desu.

    But probably he is alive.


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