In C.E. 73, tensions between Naturals and Coordinators continue to persist, eventually leading to another war between the Earth Alliance and PLANT. Sven Cal Bayan is a Natural pilot of the elite EA squad, the Phantom Pain, and carries out his squad's various anti-Coordinator missions without fail. Selene McGriff is a Coordinator researcher at the neutral Deep Space Survey and Development Organization (DSSD) and a developer of the GSX-401FW Stargazer space exploration mobile suit. Though their backgrounds are completely different, the expanding war will nevertheless force their paths to collide.
I usually don't care for spin-offs, but I seem to be on a Gundam kick again, and I'd heard pretty decent things about Stargazer, so...
STORY - Stargazer is a side story that takes place around episode 7 and 8 of Gundam SEED Destiny. I have nothing but contempt for Destiny in general, including its story, but thankfully, Stargazer manages to leave behind most of the nonsense and only utilizes a few key plot elements, namely, the drop of Junius Seven onto Earth. And as colony drop plots are kind of common in the Gundamverse, it's pretty easy to forget about Stargazer's parent series. (Well, Stargazer
does mention a few prominent political names that tie it into Destiny, but that's pretty nice because continuity and relevancy is always good, even if the parent story isn't.)
As a three-episode OAV, Stargazer has an appropriately narrow focus. It gives the colony drop's resulting devastation an impressively realistic treatment and follows its effects on the lives of two characters, an Earth Alliance soldier and a neutral (Coordinator) researcher. Short and simple. The storytelling mostly relies on the actual events to develop the characters, which are pretty subtle, but it's effective in its own way. I realy, really loved the ending of this series too. Some of the best dialogue is right there at the end. It's ambiguous, but you get a little bit of extra footage after the credits are over. If you do some math and assume certain assertions are true, you could get a definite conclusion. I thought that was pretty damn neat.
CHARACTER - Considering the series' length, the characters felt pretty whole to me. Sven's past was only addressed in a few short flashbacks, but they were broken up enough that it didn't feel like they were circumventing anything major by portraying it that way. Or at least, the holes in his past were the holes in his personality that both he and the audience had to grapple with. Selene didn't get much of a flashback treatment, but her personality and history was revealed discreetly through conversations, which is one of my favorite ways to trump overt exposition. Both characters' place in the world was very clear; their emotions regarding the coming war were subtle, and their hopes for the future similarly so, but that made their actions feel more poignant. There was a lot open to interpretation, which is important when there's so little time to tell the story, and it made the OAV more thoughtful, a quality I think is absent in a lot of Gundam titles because there's so much focus on the fights and action.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION - As expected, the art was consistent with the style in SEED and SEED Destiny, but I did feel the animation was a bit slicker and more put-together. It was actually pretty neat seeing familiar uniforms on new characters, and even though all the Earth Alliance Gundams were just recolored versions of the suits in SEED, it was appropriate and didn't feel like it was cheap or too much of a cop-out (I think I prefer the Strike Noir's colors to the Strike's, really). There was also a scene in here that reawakened by love of BuCUEs -- they're just damn badass. As for the Stargazer, I love the concept, and the resulting design is pretty unique; I feel like they could have pushed it a little further still, but it worked well enough.
MUSIC - I was pretty surprised that most, if not all, of the familiar tracks from the SEED and SEED Destiny repertoire were missing in this OAV. I don't know if any new music was composed for Stargazer, but I'm very well acquainted with all... eight soundtracks for SEED/Destiny, and I'm fairly certain that none of the leitmotifs showed up here. And regardless of that, the music for Stargazer is pretty top notch. I'm especially fond of the slower tracks that played during thoughtful scenes. I'm not familiar with the artist (Satori Negishi), but the ending insert song was also very beautiful and fitting.
VOICE ACTING - Kind of generic, but still appropriate. I liked Selene's voice in particular.
OVERALL - All things considered, I found Stargazer to be pretty enjoyable. Honestly, you could place it inside of any number of Gundam continuities, and it would have functioned well enough, so it doesn't have to be treated as a SEED Destiny-specific title. The story and characters were pretty simple, but the storytelling was solid. There's a lot left up to the viewer, so if you're not a fan of having to interpret things for yourself, then maybe it's not worth the trouble, but considering it's less than an hour long, it doesn't take much out of your life to give this OAV a chance.
Well it's been a while since I came back on and made a review. After adding animes to my list, I came upon Gundam Seed Stargazer, and the first thing I thought was disappointment. Gundam Seed was a horrible attempt to revive the original Mobile Suit Gundam seires, but what caught me off gaurd was that this was a really good one (Amazingly). Thought I'm a hatter of Gundam Seed, and all you Kira and Lacus followers might get a bitch on because of it, this seires was a true turn around with me. It had a strong motive, good story line, great characters, and
(of course) the Mobile Suit design.
When watching this I learned more about the Seed universe. From reading Gundam Seed Astray manga, I thought I already knew everything that there was needed to know of the Cosmic Era world. I was wrong. This explained the Earth Alliance deep hatered of ZAFT and the Coordinators, the hardships of war, and the brutality of the human mind. I didn't think that Gundam Seed was capable of this kind of monster of a show, but they were able to change little complaintive kids to something serious.
The story goes with the beging of Junis 7 being dropped on Earth by the renagade ZAFT forces that were fighting for Patrick Zala's ideals. We see the devastation of the impact of the colony in many countries. Then a scientist named Selen McGriff launches into space while this conflict happens. She is helping to create a Mobile Suit capable of space travel called the Stargazer. Meanwhile, an Earth Alliance pilot Sven Cal Bayan battles against Coordinator Terrorists that are attacking Earth Alliance forces. Soon these two meet in a battle and they soon learn that there is no difference between Coordinators and Naturals.
I was disappointed that this Gundam seires was only 3 episodes long. I was expecting much more to happen, but I am satisfied by what I have seen. Hopefully the creators of the Seed Universe might actually get better and not create a disappointment like Seed Destiny. My conclusions, Seed and Seed Destiny are underpar while it's side stories such as Astray or Stargazer are way better. Believe me, I like Gundam and I've done alot of Gundam reviews.
This show feels a lot like a 14 year old trying to write something meaningful. There's lots of sad character death, brutal war scenes, and tragic backstories, but there's little to no depth to anything, and it's mostly told with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face. I mean they might as well have called the second episode "Crawling in my Gundam, These Wounds They Will Not Heal." The direction was decent, and it felt like everyone involved was really trying, but the short runtime really killed most of the potential this had. Sadly, the last half of the final
episode finally does seem to come together into something surprisingly well done (and it's really the only reason I'm not scoring this lower), but by then it was too little too late to save the series.
I chose to watch Stargazer as I thoroughly enjoyed both Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny (haters gonna hate about Destiny, I know). However I honestly did not expect for Stargazer, such a short OVA, to have the emotional impact that it did.
The story transpires across the events of the Gundam Seed Destiny series. This means that if you have seen Gundam Seed Destiny you will be able to identify and recognize different events that take place, which helps in establishing the approx. passing of time (which is very cool). The main characters from Gundam Seed Destiny don't play a role in this OVA, and
they aren't needed in this side story. The story follows Sven, an Earth Alliance soldier, and Selene, a Coordinator researcher.
(MINOR SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH) I really like how despite the short amount of time given, the writers really make you connect with Sven by showing his happy childhood and how he eventually became brainwashed into a soldier. Selene's background is meshed out nicely too, detailing her relationships with her follow researchers. There are scenes which detail the horrific worldwide destruction of the Junius 7 Drop (as seen in Seed Destiny), which really helps remind the viewer how horrible of a global disaster it was and how it impacted peoples' lives. I of course will not spoil the ending, but I have to say I very pleased with it. The ending felt realistic, appropriate, and was quite touching.
If you have any attachment to Gundam Seed or especially Gundam Seed Destiny you should absolutely check this out. It's three 15 minute episodes, so it is very easy to watch in one sitting. It makes for a stunning companion to the Cosmic Era timeline.