a.k.a.Kidou Senshi Gundam Seed
Cosmic Era 71. Eleven months of war have raged between the Earth Alliance and ZAFT, and no side shows any sign of stopping. Meanwhile, in the neutral colony of Heliopolis, Yamato Kira lives a peaceful life… that is, until the day the latest Alliance mobile suits are stolen, forcing Kira into the cockpit of Strike Gundam. Kira and friends join the crew of the Archangel and are forced into this war… but will he shoot at the enemy, especially when it is someone he knows?
summary by Ender
Highs: Beautiful animation; soundtrack; mecha designs
Lows: Horrifically paced; misuses its own ideas
Let me be straightforward: the first Gundam series of the new millennium is not as good as it could have been, what with so many ideas, so many fresh new possibilities. Too bad it took a wrong turn on the road to mediocrity.
Gundam Seed is probably one of the prettier sides of war I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I’ve never watched such vibrantly-colored mobile suits; so beautiful it can almost be disturbing… well, if it weren’t all so pretty. The music seems to mesh very well with the sights, and seems to be the steadfast pin holding all of this together. This is J-Pop good enough to give Gundam Wing a sound thrashing, and is a music video director’s dream.
But not is all sunshine here. This series had so much going for it that it tripped itself up. Of course, there are your typical Gundam-esque traits; rivals, space battles, multi-sided characters, etc. But the story never seems to mesh all of these together. Concentrating more on pretty pictures, this anime ends up juggling its own story, not knowing where to take it. All this is tossed in with some of the worst pacing for an anime of its length. Even I know there’s something wrong when one series has five clip-episodes, multi-part arcs, obtrusive side characters, unclear motives and repeated scenes, all the while following a supposedly cohesive storyline. And the fact that everything (and I mean everything) tries to get resolved in the last 3 episodes doesn’t help any more than it sounds.
It would be a good idea to watch this anime once, just to see it for its worth, then to quickly move on. There are better Gundam series out there, ones that know how to make the best with what they have.
Highs: Vicious fight scenes; exceptional music
Lows: Rip-off of UC timeline; character designs need work; recycled animation
Two years after Turn A Gundam, Gundam Seed became the next television series in this long-running franchise. With a new, alternate universe to play with, director Fukuda Mitsuo created an anime that, despite his effort, is marred by problems that prevent it from being more than a mundane Gundam series.
While this series packs some good art and CGI, those aspects only take the fighting so far, leaving the rest of the action element to its own devices. Ultimately, this works quite well, since even if Gundam Seed were ten years old, it would still pack some of the most vicious and grueling action scenes I’d find in this franchise. The sheer brutality displayed shows that this anime isn’t afraid to present some of the harsher realities of war. And what would a Gundam anime be without good music? With multiple opening and closing songs, the best are Invoke and Annani Issho datta no ni by T.M.Revolution and See-Saw, respectively. However, all of the other opening and closing songs, as well as the background music, are still very pleasing to the acoustical senses.
Undoubtedly, Gundam Seed cannot shake the fact that it steals a lot of aspects from the Universal Century timeline. Here we have ZAFT versus Earth Alliance instead of Zeon versus Earth Federation, and Naturals versus Coordinators now instead of Oldtypes versus Newtypes. ZAFT comes and steals Earth’s new Gundam models, but that was already done in Gundam 0083. How about the Bloody Valentine massacre? It’s just a cop-out on the Bunch 30 Incident from Zeta Gundam. With an ending that’s a mix of previous Gundams, never once does it try to strongly deviate from what any other UC series had done. Another part that didn’t sit right is the character design. Hirai Hisashi’s designs worked well in Scryed and Infinite Ryvius, but not here. With a massive cast and simple character designs, many characters end up looking too similar to one another. And while this anime has some great art, a lot of the animation clips are repeated dozens of times. You can only watch the same Zaku… err… Ginn blow up in the exact same manner so many times before it starts grating on your nerves.
While Gundam Seed‘s wasted potential only manages to leave a sour taste in my mouth, I hope that future Gundam anime excel at anything except music and action. There really isn’t anything about this that other action anime haven’t done just as well, if not better.
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.