–Daybreak’s Bell by L’Arc en Ciel
-Checking Papers. About 45% complete. I know, I’m slow. Doing better than last quarter, though.
Finally got to see the first ep of Gundam 00 (Double-O). To say it in a few words without spoilers:
It’s very reminiscent of Gundam Wing, except it’s done better. The animation for both characters and combat scenes is superb, the music is great, and the series as a whole looks quite promising. It’s directed by Seiji Mizushima, the acclaimed director of Full Metal Alchemist.
Spoilers and screenshots follow.
The series starts off with a flashback of the main character, Setsuna, fighting in a war as a child. He’s running along the streets of a ruined city while giant mecha smash stuff.
The mechs are clearly archaic, many of them resembling either construction machinery or mechwarrior-style units. A sweet touch, I thought.
The animation in the flashback scene is superb. Setsuna runs for his life as an ominous background broadcast of a declaration of holy war plays over and over again. (“We are fighting in the name of god. We will destroy all of those who do not hold onto tradition…”)
Setsuna, under his breath, answers: “There is no God in this world.”
Just as he is about to be hosed down with a mech’s anti-personnel cannon, several energy blasts shoot out of the sky, as if answering Setsuna’s statements. It’s a Gundam, with a set of ethereal, glowing wings.
The first episode, as is typical for Gundam, is a showcase of the main mecha and characters. Similar to Gundam Wing’s opening scene with Operation Meteor (simultaneous raids on major Earth federation bases care of the Gundams), the four Gundams in Gundam 00 launch strikes against Earth forces, seemingly defending the colonial Orbital Elevator.
The four Gundams:
Exia is piloted by Setsuna. Its primary ability is flight. It emits a phosphorescent glow from the engine on its back, allowing it to fly without wings or thrusters. It’s armed with a small beam blaster built into its shield, a solid sword that’s also part of its shield, and a beam saber. It seems to fight with two weapons well, which is cool. I’ve always been a fan of the style.
Piloted by Lockon Stratos. Dynamis is a sniper unit. It carries a large rifle on its right shoulder, and when sniping it can lower its visor to expose its eye sensors and use its sniping lens.
The cockpit has a custom gun controller that folds down for the pilot.
Kyrios, piloted by Alleluia Haptism, is a high-mobility variable mech. It’s pretty vanilla, except that it flies really fast. In fact, none of my screenies of it in actual combat were clear because of its speed. I really love how they animated the aerial dogfights in this series, though.
The four Gundams are owned and operated by Celestial Being, a private army that opposes warmongering with force, an ideology laughed at by several of the characters later as Celestial Being broadcasts its reasons for the battles.
The Gundam names seem to hint at the Celestial being theme, as Powers (Dynamis and Exousia), Virtues, and Dominions (Kyriotes) are ranks of angels in traditional Christian angelology.
The four Gundam Meisters:
Setsuna F. Seiei
Tiera Erde (who really should be a girl)
Quick summary of the episode:
The Advanced European Union (AEU) hosts a new weapons demonstration. As the mobile suit wows the crowd, the Exia comes in and slices the new unit to bits. Fighters scramble to take down the Exia, but the Dynamis blows the fighter support out of the sky with its sniper rifle.
Later that day, Celestial Being announces its presence, and it seems like the start of another year of war.
I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series. I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed.
Flying with Celestial Beings,
Your Black Lion