25 of 25 episodes seen
I'd like to start by complimenting the amount of work put into the characters in this show. Gundam 00's writers successfully build an enormous ensemble cast, with several characters from each of the three sects all receiving impressive development. The show's lead is clearly Setsuna F. Seiei, but he's only a small piece of the huge world the writing staff crafts. Sometimes, however, the show loses focus on some of its players. Saji and Louise's romantic subplot isn't fully paid off until episode 18; far too late in the series to justify all of the time we've spent on these two who, up until that point, hadn't been driving the events forward at all.
The story is also well-crafted, although the work put in here isn't quite up to the level of the characters. On many occasions, coincidences or last-minute Gundam power-ups are used to prevent Celestial Being from getting their asses handed to them throughout most of the series. This makes the writing look lazy, although the show does make up for most of it by riding up the intensity of the action occurring throughout the show's many action sequences even if we know that somehow and someway, the Gundams will always win.
Next up is the animation, which is mostly consistent. Character designs are solid, and the chaotic action scenes are well-constructed. Unfortunately, there are a few flubs here and there throughout the show, but the show benefits from having a much smaller episode count and thus can stretch out its production budget more efficiently. So, it's not perfect but it's better than what this franchise had seen recently (looking at you, Seed and Seed Destiny).
Of course, being the Kenji Kawai whore that I am, I have to comment on the soundtrack. Overall, it's really good, but far from Kawai's best. The main problem this show's soundtrack has is that several action pieces tend to sound out of place. On one occasion early in the show's run, the women of Celestial Being are all playing on the beach but the piece playing is obviously intended for an action scene. Also, aside from the main theme of the Gundams, the remainder of the score is mostly forgettable. It sounds great while it's playing, but once it's over it's hard to remember the piece. Both opening themes are instantly memorable across the board, but both endings have bland vocals. As much as it pains me to say it, the soundtrack overall is a mixed bag.
So, to sum things up, Gundam 00 may not satisfy the die-hard fans of the franchise. The Gundams have questionable designs (seriously, hair?), but they're better than the clunky and interchangeable designs from Seed and Seed Destiny in my honest opinion. However, as a futuristic war story, it excels. Honestly, I think the war story angle was what the writers set out to do in the first place. Die-hard fans can complain it, but they have Universal Century to suit their needs. The Ado Domini universe is one of the most interesting universes the Gundam franchise has ever told, and all they had to do was go 300 years into OUR future to tell it.
Now, onto Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Second Season... read more
50 of 50 episodes seen
The story can easily be divided into two parts. The first part is a loose remake of the original Mobile Suit Gundam and arguably the weaker part of the series. Several characters from the original series are copied here. For instance, Mu La Flaga is definitely meant to be a combination of some elements from Ryu and Bright from the original series. Rau Le Crueset is undoubtedly similar to Char Aznable but with more of a pessimistic view of humanity.
This re-usage of character types is both a good and bad thing. Good because the character types are familiar and can be easily related to, yet bad because the writers don't bring anything new to the table and thus have trouble giving several of these characters unique personalities.
When these characters clash, the drama all too often feels heavy handed. Our leads (especially Kira) literally spend episodes on end crying over things that, instead of making them stronger, only make them look weak as our leads. In the case of Kira, how could anyone entrust their life to a kid insecure with his own identity? Or is it because he always pilots THE most powerful Gundam throughout the show and he can just use them the best?
Another major fault of this show is the rather shoddy animation. Several shots are repeated over and over, with the animators eventually resorting to taking animation from the openings themselves. It doesn't help that 3 or 4 episodes around the halfway mark are recap episodes, a time when this show truly became a chore to watch.
Still, there are good qualities to this show namely the second part of the series. This is when Gundam Seed branches off into its own thing. Once the war between the Naturals and the Coordinators enters the spotlight, the show honestly becomes a thrill. The fights reach high levels of intensity, the drama less heavy-handed (not by much, though) and some characters become much more rounded. The final battle is one of the most exciting fights I've seen in an anime ever, spanning the last two and a half episodes and chock full of amazing Gundam action.
Another plus this show has is its amazing score. From the very catchy opening themes to the soaring soundtrack composed by the talented Toshihiko Sahashi, the music may very well be this show's strongest point.
I don't want to keep going on and on, so I'll cut it short here. Gundam fans should receive mild enjoyment from this show. Its stern commentary of war is admirable and provides for an interesting and intelligent watch near the end. All the die-hard fans have to do is stick through the show's weak beginning. Now obviously, this show was made for a casual fan with very little Gundam knowledge like myself. Die-had fans need to keep in mind that that's not a bad thing. If this show can get new fans involved in the franchise, then so be it.
Now, onto Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny... read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
This OVA is so obviously based off of a manga that far expands the story, and lo and behold, I was right. This was based off of a pretty short-lived manga published in Weekly Shonen Sunday by a seemingly unknown author (and by unknown, I mean that I haven't bothered to research the subject). The story is surprisingly not all TOO clichéd, but that doesn't mean it leaves an extremely deep impact on the way I view animation as an art form. It gets a while to get going, and then it goes for about 10 minutes. Then, sometime around the climax, the story just seems to totally fizzle out and we come to realize how one-dimensional this entire OVA truly is.
Now, one good thing that can be said about this OVA is the animation. Yes, kiddies, back in the day, Studio Pierrot actually gave two shits about the animation in their properties. For example, when Justy and his trusty (hur hur) companion Borba dock at the cosmo police headquarters...man, that was the exciting docking scene I've seen since the original Star Wars. And it was a totally mundane docking procedure, imagine if explosions were involved and stuff! The fight scenes are also slickly executed here, with espers flying around in rich detail without having to resort to the good ol' "going so fast that the normal human eye can't see them" trick.
It's the 1980s. The sound effects are therefore awesome.
THIS is where the OVA truly shines. Extremely rich and detailed characters abound here, people! First we have Justy, an esper who's the best at what he does who wishes to protect his newly adopted sister. Then there's Astaris, the ever-so-insanely cute sister of our hero. Her father was killed by Justy and this incident awoke her powers that magically (psychically?) turned her into a full-grown girl who still has the mind of a 6-year old, but packed with enough psychic powers to make Mewtwo blush. But she's sooo cute....just look at that face. Next up is Borba, Justy's comrade who can't stop thinking about work as evidenced in the witty line of dialogue: "Oh Borba, you can't stop thinking of work, can you?" There's Jelna, Justy's sister by blood who....does....something, doesn't she? Then there are the bad espers who wanna take down Justy by reactivating Astaris' powers after somehow finding out that he had taken her in sometime after Astaris had proceeded to kill Justy in the past. Grade-A characters right there.
As stated earlier, I REALLY wanted this to be ultra-violent, but Cosmo Poilce Justy settles for being the pacifist among the obscure 1980s OVA crowd. When people are shot IN THE HEAD, do they bleed? Somehow, no. This is an OVA, Pierrot. You can get away with so much more than you could on television. Plus, when Justy disposes of his victims, they either crumble into ash or their heads flash uncontrollably. Lame, me want blood now. I also really wanted to see randomly placed nudity somewhere in here as well. I mean, Astaris' clothes rip perfectly after her transformation into an adult. You see nothing at all, not even the tip of her butt crack. This OVA plays it too safe. Although you might think these complaints are weird, there's a certain enjoyment I have in watching ultra-violent 1980s OVAs with random nudity. It's just nostalgic.
So, yeah, my tastes are probably a lot different than all of yours. If you guys dig obscure 1980s OVAs (why else would you be on this database entry and reading this review?), then you just might get a kick out of this. However, I couldn't get past the lack of guts this OVA had to go further than what television could. Sure, it's got a pretty rocking soundtrack and some slick animation (plus hilariously cardboard characters) and there is some fun in watching all that. But the story gets dull after a while, and all I wanna see when that happens is heads blowing up in gory fashion, not flashing like a strobe light.
Yeah...my tastes are definitely weird. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Believe it or not, this isn't an average hentai. Instead, this entiire half-hour OVA feels more like a comedy with hentai scenes thrown in. From the quirky situations our leads get themselves into to the eye-grabbing messages thrown in throughout the video to seperate segments, everything about Kouin Tenshi feels humorous.
If you read summaries for Kouin Tenshi, you can easily tell that the plot doesn't sound like a hardcore hentai. The entire thing is just a project three schoolgirls just decide to do, that's all. And although the OVA feels unresolved at the end, maybe that contributes to the realism of the girls' little project.
Now, one thing I have to comment on is the animation. This hentai was clearly done on a shoestring budget, because the art is atrocious. When the girls aren't taping, the art focuses on close-ups of the eyes of each character or still shots with the occasional mouth flap. Oh, and one thing must be pointed out before you embark to find this OVA. The only male in the entire show has, let's just say, a member that looks a little out of the ordinary.
Honestly, I believe it would be hard for anyone to get off on this anime. However, if you're just in the mood for some raunchy adult humor and nothing else, Kouin Tenshi works perfectly. Good luck finding it, though.