Gundam is kind of a big deal. The last big Gundam was Gundam SEED Destiny, which itself was a direct sequel to Gundam SEED. So it’s been a while since we’ve seen a new Gundam.
Gundam 00 takes the opportunity to do a few things differently. For one thing, it’s made for HD, which means that it’s super pretty to watch, with all the glowing green particle trails and the Trans-AM pinkish shifting. The other was that it’s the first Gundam to be set in the “real world” timeline with a recognizable geopolitical situation. Sure, the Advanced European Union is hilarious, but it’s not so far removed as the usual space vs. Earth conflict we’ve seen since forever.
We all know SEED was supposed to be some sort of modern version of UC, with some really obvious parallels (oh look, a Zaku). The same can’t be said of 00. I know people were all like ‘lolol four Gundam meisters => Gundam Wing’ and ‘A-LAWS => Titans’. This mostly has to do with the fact that Celestial Being are an autonomous organization and aren’t operatives of one side of the usual space vs. Earth thing.
The end of the first season made it sound like the second season would be all about Earth vs. space, what with the whole colony building and “Earth Federation” thing going on. Luckily, that didn’t happen. Instead, we got some stuff about the evolution of humanity. I suppose it’s kind of the Newtype thing, but there is no superior space race.
It took me a long time to warm up to Gundam 00. In fact, I didn’t really like it until the second season started. I wasn’t really a fan of the dynamics between the characters in the first season and I didn’t like how most episodes were focused on the geopolitical situation of the world instead of telling us about the characters. The Gundam meisters weren’t really likable, the crew of the Ptolemy were stupid, and most of the opposition was one-dimensional.
A lot of the characters played a role that wasn’t really explored or given enough detail. What was the point of the three new meisters? What was the point of Wang Liu Mei? The Innovators were kind of a threat before Setsuna started lopping them off effortlessly. Why was there the whole Saji and Louise side plot? What role did Marina and Azadistan play? All of these characters arguably did something, but they all seemed very tangential to the main plot.
The second season invoked memories of Code Geass R2, as it revealed shocking revelation after shocking revelation. Innovators! Aeolia’s real plan for CB! He’s an Innovator! She’s an Innovator! GN particle-verse! Innovators aren’t Innovators! He’s a real Innovator! Aeolia’s real, real plan! Aliens! Jupiter!
I will say that the final battle between Setsuna and Ribbons was fantastic. Best fight sequence of the series.
So I guess if you are in the market for Gundam, Gundam 00 is an acceptable choice.