Time Enforcer Anubis here for a fresh review!
From time to time, a series catches you off-guard, in a big way. The issue comes when the series is a sequel, or part of a franchise, and ends up rocking the boat in such a way. Those following the franchise get blindsided by the differences. Those who would like the new developments, but aren’t already following the franchise, become a tentative, questionable audience.
The series I have today was one series that caught me off-guard. The anime is Gundam 00 Second Season.
Gundam 00 Second Season picks up four years after Gundam 00’s ending, and follows Celestial Being’s fight against a unified Earth government, and goes deeper into the meaning behind Celestial Being and its actions and intentions. Having split since the final battle of Gundam 00, the pilots of Celestial Being must band together once again to put an end to war and to find the true purpose of their organization.
Gundam 00 Second Season takes the Gundam 00 franchise in a new direction. Instead of focusing on the moral conflict of following a group of terrorists as protagonists, using superpowered shock-and-awe weapons against the technologically inferior Earth governments, Second Season’s battles are much more evenly-matched, with the Earth government now possessing the same generator technology used to drive the Gundams.
While the combat is certainly flashier and faster-paced, it lacks the intelligence of the first season’s combat. What I mean by this is, where in the first season, the Earth governments had to compensate for their inferior mobile suits by using intricate tactics, the same necessity isn’t present in Second Season, with the Earth forces’ more advanced suits. It’s almost as if the series deliberately dropped a level of intrigue, and that’s not the only place.
The Earth government forms a special peacekeeping force, called the A-Laws. The A-Laws operate above the law, doing whatever they want, which usually means sadistically oppressing innocent people and killing anyone in their way, all the while acting superior to the rest of the military (Sound familiar?). The A-Laws play the primary antagonists to Celestial Being. The conflict is no longer a terrorist organization vs. organized governments and regular people. The conflict is between a group of pilots and a sadistic, oppressive military force.
The design philosophy in 00 Second Season is not much different from that in 00. Many of the mobile suits are more stylized versions of those that made their debut in the first season, and even the ones that aren’t are still not too “out there.” Flying mobile suits are much more commonplace, as are directed-energy weapons.
Gundam 00 disappointed me, to be frank. The series felt very dumbed-down, from the degeneration of the combat from tactical to flashy, to the removal of the moral intrigue surrounding Celestial Being. The elements that made Gundam 00 interesting seem downplayed, in favor of turning it into just another flashy mecha series. It was enjoyable to watch, but the intrigue just wasn’t there.
If you enjoyed Gundam 00, do give Second Season a try, as you might feel differently from me about it in the end. However, I can’t really recommend it otherwise. Gundam 00 would have been better as a single standalone series. Knowing that it was building up to this almost cheapens its value.
‘Till next time!