The Infinite Zenith

Victory costs. Every time, you pay a little more.

Opening Statements

The year is 2314 AD, two years after Celestial Being's last great battle and the world faces a new crisis. A derelict Jupiter exploration ship, abandoned 130 years ago, has left its orbit and is approaching Earth. The ESF has also begun to exploit the power of Innovators. As Celestial Being and its Gundam Meisters begin their final mission to save humanity from an unimaginable threat, the Extraterrestial Living-metal Shape-shifters (ELS), Gundam Meister Setsuna F. Seiei is about to discover the true purpose of his evolution as an Innovator and the nature of the "dialogues" for which Aeolia Schenberg's plan had prepared the human race.

Opinion

The Awakening of the Trailblazer is the first original feature-length film to be released for the Gundam franchise in over 19  years. As a result, I wasn't sure what to expect of the movie, with this being my first experience with a new anime movie.  However, I was not disappointed when I saw it. The movie blew me away with its breathtaking visuals and intense combat.  But, as usual, there exist a story underneath all the combat, and two years ago, I wrote out a few expectations that I had of  the movie, despite knowing next to nothing about the story or any specifics. There are undoubtedly many elements to  consider for a review, but for the purposes of discussion, only a few aspects really need to be considered. For instance, the  soundtrack is sufficiently awesome that I do not have anything more to say about it at this point. We will find out shortly  whether or not some of my expectations were fulfilled.

  • This website is the only place I can really talk about the movie, since none of my friends have actually seen the movie yet. Remember that everything I say in this section is merely an opinion. We're all entitled to our own thoughts of the movie; this is something that a few individuals never seem to understand. As such, please be respectful when posting to the guestbook or commenting on this site elsewhere. If you notice errors, please point them out! I've only minimal skills with Japanese, so I might miss some of the details within dialogue.

Plot

The first and foremost element that we consider will be the plot. The introduction of extraterrestrials into the universe  represents the first time anyone has done so in the franchise. With no yard stick to make a reference to, the movie is literally  trailblazing into new grounds. The immediate impression of the plot is one that is solidly crafted; while execution could be a  little smoother, it nonetheless flows very well. In essence, the movie is about the appearance of aliens, and humanity's fight  for survival. This sounds similar to the dozens of other movies out there about aliens invading, but the reality is dramatically  different. The extraterrestrials are metallic shapeshifting beings that bear absolutely no resemblance to humans whatsoever;  this is a highly realistic depiction of how intelligent life can develop from completely different environments with completely  differen biologies. Through the portrayal of the extraterrestrials, it becomes clear of how much though went into the movie.  Thus, we come to the question of how this movie about aliens is any different than most existing media about aliens. Films  like Independence Day and War of the Worlds present the extraterrestrials as beings with technological superiority, and  regard the human presence on Earth as we regard lesser organisms. This sets us up for a climatic battle in which humanity  somehow wipes the floor of an alien fleet using heat seeking missles and tank shells (in the case of Independence Day), or  sometimes, the aliens disagree with our microfauna (War of the Worlds). There's nothing wrong with this, and in fact,  Independence Day was an excellent film. The main point here is the contrast between the two films; in Awakening of the  Trailblazer, the plot is more concerned with understanding the ELS and their intentions, a theme which we have seen recurring since Setsuna innovated.

  • The GN-X IVs we see throughout much of the movie are not antagonist units. This represents the first time where a ESF and private faction are not at odds with each other. 

  • Setsuna effortlessly divides a GN-X in two in one of the earliest combat sequences in the movie. 

Plot Execution

A program, no matter how good its function aims to be, will never be widespread if it is not designed to be user friendly. The  same holds true for the movie; it is possible to have an excellent idea and never see its full realisation if execution is shoddy.  With respect to Awakening of the Trailblazer, plot execution feels like running iOS 4.2 on an older iPod; it's beautiful and it  works very well, but it's a little rough at times, and events may be difficult to follow outright at certain points in the film. Things  start slowly, punctuated by the occasional combat sequences, but focus on developing the background for the movie. We  see the defecation hit the oscillation once Descartes Shaman wipes out the derelict space station, but for a while, it's simply  just unusual things happening. They're unusual, but that's about it; there's nothing dramatic at this point to unnerve the  viewer. It is not until the apperance of the ELS Ribbons that we know things are truely starting to escalate. After this point, the  pace of the story picks up and accelerates: the remainder of the movie becomes an exhilerating ride that remains with the  viewer right up until the credits. This manner makes the first portion of the movie a little less exciting than usual, although I  feel that this isn't too unusual for a movie of this type (for instance, War of the Worlds is mostly about running from the aliens  until the scene at the farmer's house). When the ELS replicate the derelict space station, the pace dramatically rises from  there; each battle after this one pushes the intensity further than the previous one, almost as if the producers were  deliberately trying to surpass the ferocity of the previous battles. At the end of the movie, the epilogue comes as a refreshing  moment to viewers- after all that non-stop action, it is relaxing to take in what the world has become since the ELS appeared.  The ending sequence is (physically) set after the credits, and ends on a highly optimistic note. The ending wraps up things a  little too well, and does not leave much to the viewer to guess. In short, it sets in stone everything that has happened, and for  me, it kind of gives rise to the "happily-ever-after" ending that I've come to dislike, mainly because my experiences tell me that  reality is rarely that kind to us.Different people will go about viewing this differently, but I find that the best endings are  somewhat open, as opposed being either extreme.

  • There is actually quite a bit of English in the movie itself; with English being my second language, I am very impressed with anime that make the effort in getting the grammatical details correct.

  • People may feel a little shafted about the minimal amount of romance in Gundam 00. 

Character Development

Long story short, old characters make a return. Their roles have been expanded upon and take a different direction, so their  development is fine with respect to the story. There are a few notable aspects I particularly found enjoyable. The  reintroduction of Graham Aker as a protagonist was simply glorious; no longer obsessed with surpassing Asura, he is now a  mature commander who bravely leads his soliders into battle. Graham brings the Sol Braves in to save the Meisters on their  first appearance. Saji may be a civilian again, but he is a lot more decisive now. When the ELS Ribbons appears and makes  a move towards Louise, he responds by chucking a chair at Ribbons (I'm certain that had the season one Saji been present,  he would have broken down), and goes to assist the effort against the ELS in his way by helping out with the maintainance of  the orbital elevators. This action shows us that he fully understands that fighting does not necesssarily mean picking up a  weapon and pointing it at someone's head, and that each action contributes to a cause. The newly introduced characters see  little development with respect to their backgrounds, although each character has had their share of distinct and memoriable  elements in the movie. Descartes Shaman's initial appearance in the trailer led many to assume he'd be the new antagonist,  but he is merely a pure innovator who happens to be a pilot for the ESF. Meena Carmine is the "girl who looks like Nena and  clings to Billy like static makes wool cling to a cotton shirt". Amia Lee will be remembered by everyone as "that girl who got  picked up by the ELS". Finally, all those ESF commanders we see are simply there; I'm sure people don't mind that, given that  nameless commanders are present in every other science fiction film out there. Despite recieving minor development, each of  the aforemenetioned individuals contributed to the story. I'm certain many have heard that there are no small roles, only small  actors. This phrase very much applies to the movie. I'm not going to address the roles of Feldt and Marina, as those are  highly sensitive topics (read "angry fans who did not see their preferred pairing will complain vehemently"). In my eyes, Feldt  is able to do what Kanae and Tohno couldn't: let go of someone they love.

  • Meena is a minor character, but that doesn't change the fact that her interactions with Billy are hilarious.

  • Descartes Shaman reacting to the arrival of the ELS fleet. If this moment was thought to be scary, it is dwarved by the arrival of a moon-sized space station.

  • For those who insist on the "pics or did not happen" paradigm, Saji does indeed throw a chair at the Ribbons look-alike. 

Visuals

Seiji Mizushima has always ensured that the animation quality in the Anno Domini universe is top-of-the-line. When it was  released in 2007, it was the first anime to ever be animated in HD. The visuals were incredibly detailed, and set the standard  for all anime to come. It comes as no surprise that Awakening of the Trailblazer raises the bar further, only this time, it is in  the form of subtle details. Whether it is watching the ELS assmililate a Federation Cruiser or the displays the characters are  viewing, every detail is masterfully attended to. Of particular note were the behavior of the ELS Swarms. Having spent a full  summer studying agent-based modelling, I can appreciate how difficult it is to model systems involving hundreds of  thousands of agents. Animating these cannot be any easier, and when we see the quantities of ELS on screen, we cannot  help but be blown away. Their assimilation of whatever they contact is also masterfully portrayed; ranging from behaving like  the growth of sucrose crystals to behaving like a virulent vial of mercury, the ELS have the appearance of solid metal, but  distinctly feel organic when they begin to assimilate their victims en masse. It is the attention to these kinds of details that  make the movie worthwhile, and even viewing the movie in 480p, there is little doubt that the quality of the art is astounding.  For those doubting me, my images are 720p images condensed into 360p for the sake of convienience. We move from this  topic to execution of all the combat scenes. There is no surprise that the battle sequences are what define a Gundam series,  separating an excellent series from a good one. In the case of Awakening of the Trailblazer, no words can really describe the  action we see on screen whenever a faction sorties. The sheer scope and intensity of the battles give testament to just what  humanity is up against, and at times, it feels like I am piloting a suit alongside the characters in the movie. I cannot really do  the movie's visuals justice by merely putting words down. Even the images I have below can convey a small amount of  information about the battles they represent.

  • The sheer number of things happening on screen is a sight for eyes to behold. It seems that every moment in the movie exists to be topped by awesome several orders of mangnitude in a moment later on.

  • Assimilation is a fate worse than death: subsequently, infected pilots all use trans-am in an effort to escape the pain of assimilation and take out as many ELS as possible.

  • Fans of Halleuljah will rejoice; this guy will not fail to impress throughout the movie, pulling off the sickest tricks ever with the Harute's arsenel. Near the end, he uses the Scissor bits and divides an ELS unit into 16 pieces in less than a second.

Overall Impressions

It's a little challenging to give a movie a grade the same way the university evaluates my work. The latter may be a little  unfair, but it still follows a set of guidelines and rules, whereas evalutating a movie is rather more subjective. My lasting  impression of the movie is one that is very well done, but not quite a masterpiece; Seiji Mizushima's decision to trailblaze and introduce aliens into the Gundam franchise was very smooth and realistically portrayed (not all the aliens we may meet will be bipedal vertebrae). Animation and attention to details are of a high grade, making every scene visually pleasing. There are some shortcomings in the movie, especially with respect to execution of the plot. Those who are seeking a emotional journey for the Feldt's unrequited love will not find anything remotely to the same level as Five Centimeters per Second, but for everyone else looking at the battle sequences, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. The movie is definately worthwhile for any anime fan, although the movie itself may not live up to the DVD's price tag. Thus, for those who are itching to get down to the screencaps of the battles, I won't keep you waiting any longer.

  • After writing my own thoughts out, it seems like Anime News Network has a review with similar sentiments: the movie isn't a bad one at all, despite what some of the more vindictive fans have been saying on forums. Even then, the two main complaints were the execution of the ending, which I found to be weaker than it could be, and the amount of screentime the 00 Qan[T] gets. When you consider the 00 Qan[T] is powerful enough to wipe out the entire ELS race on its own (and thus, contradicting the movie's point), the limited screentime is somewhat justified. I personally don't mind the latter, given that the unit's original purpose was not combat.

Full Plot Summary

It has been two years since the A-Laws were defeated, and while the Earth Sphere Federation has begun in earnest to reach its goal of global peace, there still existed insurgent factions which occasionally threatened this new peace. Over the past two years, Earth Sphere Federation had established a pacifist policy, employing the help of Innovators and the supercomputer Veda. In order to make up for the heinous acts committed by the A-Laws, the Federation decided upon a more peaceful approach towards unifying the world. The appearance of a derelict exploration ship from Jupiter, however, caused a great deal of concern with the ESF government. At this time, Louise remains hospitalized by the events that unfolded two years previously.

  • The incomplete 00 Qan[T] is shown to have two custom built, brand-new GN Drives customized for its frame. As a result, the 00 Qan[T] has no need for support equipment.

  • Alexandro Corner makes a hilarious return in the movie Celestial Being. This movie-within-a-movie is genius,  featuring (in order of appearance below): exaggerated cool Gundam poses, multi-coloured Trans Am and the best part: Allelujah is a pink-haired girl

 

  • Saji and a friend react to the movie-within-a-movie. I found this to be a brilliant idea: it is reminisicent of "The Ember Island Players" in Avatar- the dialogue is just as exaggerated, and the details are comically incorrect. The fan's reactions in this scene are actually reflective of the fan's reactions to the actual movie. Some people are awe-struck, some are saddened by deaths and others just hate the movie.

  • The former HRL has done a phenomenal job improving the city around their orbital elevator. Saji is now an engineer for the HRL Elevator, and following the events of the movie, he goes to see Louise.

  • It's been two years, and despite being healed by Trans-Am burst previously, Louise is still a little unwell. Fortunately, she's got Saji by her side. Saji takes a quote from On Her Majesty's Secret Service and tells Louise that "[they] have all the time in the world". Saji has matured a great deal since the TV  series, and while his role in the movie is limited, it is nonetheless very meaningful to see what Saji and Louise's roles are, now that they've both matured.

  • The colony at Lagrange 3 was thought to be the testing center for Innovators back when one of the trailers were first released.  It's actually a new colony under construction, and those red fields are simply grids to coordinate vehicle flow.

  • Marina and Shirin on board the shuttle en route to inspect a colony. SOE, the organisation responsible for the development, is accused of using illegal labour forces, but they attempt to "demonstrate" that working conditions are acceptable (namely, by trying to bump off Mairna and Shirin).

  • Setsuna piloting his customised Flag to rescue Marina from an assassination attempt. The choice of using a Flag was made to avoid being identidied as Celestial Being, although I'd say that equipping the Flag with a particle beam weapon already gives it away.

  • Setsuna easily wipes out the GN-Xes. When he was taking on the second one, he destroyed it using a plasma sword, confirming that the Flag was a formidable unit in the hands of a skilled pilot like Graham Aker. In fact, this implies that that back in season one, episode 18, Graham could have done the same to the Throne Eins without stealing the latter's beam sabre.

  • If it were not apparent before, Feldt's feelings for Setsuna have intensified in the two year gap. This aspect of the movie had the shippers attacking each other, but as Setsuna indicates here, he's in no mood for a relationship of any kind.

  • Setsuna back on the bridge of the Ptolemios II Kai. The new Ptolemios is essentially the same as the old one, although it has superior particle storage systems and new booster units mounted on its rear. Milena also has a new hairstyle, although her habit of saying desu every sentance has remained the same.

  • Brigadier General Manniquin and Patrick Colasour take a tour of the Celestial Being facility. Despite being directed by the Earth Sphere Federation (ESF) now, there are still many secrets they have yet to unlock about the space station.

Marina, meanwhile, takes up a diplomatic visit to a colony, but her decision is met with opposition from a Union company, who plan her assassination by deploying a squadron of GNX-603T GN-Xs to intercept her shuttle. Celestial Being steps in and effortlessly thwarts the attempt; Setsuna piloting a Flag into the battle and single-handedly destroying three GN-Xes. The other members question him as to why he does not wish to meet up with Marina, to which Setsuna simply responds that the time was not appropriate.

  • This is Descartes Shaman, a natural Innovator who was discovered by the ESF and subsequently subject to many experiementations. His first appearance led to speculation that he was the antagonist; while he is very confident in his abilities, he is not evil.

  • The Gadelaza mobile armour is one of the largest in franchise history: at over 300 metres in length, it is equipped with a total of 154 fangs and is optimized for an Innovator pilot.

  • The HUD of the Gadelaza differs slightly than when it was first presented in the trailers; it now looks more slick and actually gives viewers feedback as to the condition of the mobile armour (in the sense that "green" means go ^_^)

  • Where missiles and particle beams have failed, the Gadelaza litarally rips the derelict space station apart. Andrei Smirnov is present at the operation, and marvals at the power of an Innovator. 

  • Politians discussing the appearance of the derelict space station. The individual on the left looks a little like Steven Harper >_< I'll probably make a lot of references to the TV series and real life throughout this reflective review.

  • Graham Aker is back to his usual self again. Below is his Brave, a new unit derived from the Flag and Susanoo series.

  • The random accidents on Earth begin to occur at this point in the form of traffic accidents.

  • The incident at an AEU subway station indicates that something is way off; the trains causing the accident have no drivers.

  • Amia Lee and her friend part ways following classes. On the forums I've gone to to read about other people's opinions of this movie, I was a little surprised to see that discussions about Amia did not concern so much what occurs on a biological basis following her assimulation, but more on her figure and whether or not her altered biology, well...I'm not going there.

  • The movie's twists become apparent here, and Kenji Kawaii shifts his music accordingly. The Gundam 00 Movie feels like a crossover between Gundam, Independence Day, Star Trek and Transformers mixed in with some elements from The Ring. As such, some of the songs on the soundtrack distinctly feel like horror pieces.

  • Despite having very little screentime, she is the first person to be assimulated by the ELS. "Ribbons" makes a reappearance, despite having no speaking role, and menancingly steps towards her with his arms open as the camera fades to black...

  • Meena Carmine is a an astrophysicist works for the ESF. She helps the ESF to solve the mysteries of the ELS. At one point in time, an ancestor of Meena donated a DNA sample to the Corner family. Her relationship with Billy is one of the most amusing points in this movie; note her expression here

  • Allelujah and Marie continue on their vacation. They find their hotel/lodge/hostel/accomdations deserted on arrival, and there is a massive hole on the compound. If I didn't know better, I'd blame Tetsuo from Akira for making that hole >_<

  • Partially assimulated humans in a yellow-lit hallway? Check. Horror music? Check. This scene is another prime example of how the Gundam 00 movie breaks away from the traditional format and runs with a different idea in mind. 

  • Hallelujah dares the ELS-controlled vehicles chasing him to get up to where he is after pulling off some hardcore parkour moves. The driverless vehicles strongly remind me of the Decepticons from Transformers, and being ELS, they probably could transform into mecha if they so wished.

  • Lockon pilots the Dynames Repair to rescue Allelujah and Marie. This unit was seen on the concept art as far back as March 2010 when the earliest trailers were still floating about, leading to speculation that it would make a reappearance at some point in the movie. We aren't disappointed: Lockon dispatches all of the ELS-controlled vehicles with ease and then declares Allelujah and Marie's vacations to be officially over.

  • We've seen this before, but the ELS seem to be strongly attracted to individuals with stronger quantum brainwaves. This is why "Ribbons" leaves Louise alone after Setsuna shows up. I'm guessing the ELS found a sample of the original Ribbons' DNA in the derelict vessel and used that as the basis for this body.

  • After the events of the second season, ELS or not, Setsuna is not too pleased to see Ribbons. He is able to quickly dispatch him, but is unable to answer Saji's question of what is going on.

  • Amia Lee is partially assimulated by this point and is being studied by the ESF, leading to fans to nick-name her "ELS-tan".

Back on the surface, the ESF have reached a conclusion with respect to answering to the presence of the 130-year old exploration vessel, which is headed on a collision course with the surface. Descartes Shaman is present at this conference, during which it is agreed the vessel to be destroyed quickly. However, the missile bombardment fails to damage the vessel, so Descartes Shaman is deployed in the Gadeleza. He effortlessly annihilates the derelict station with the mobile armour. The fragments of the vessel burn up in the atmosphere, although some survive and end up in remote regions on the planet. Observing this, Setsuna and Feldt both share feelings of doubt and concern over the fallout of this event, and their suspicions are quickly vindicated as unusual events begin occurring; machines operate independent of human command, leading to accidents.

In another part of the world, a being resembling Ribbons appears in the automated house of a girl and reaches out to her as she screams. The body is later found half-covered in an unknown alien metal, a phenomenon the Federation scientists takes an interest to. Billy Katagiri and his new partner, Mena, participate in the research. The project led them to (along with Celestial Being) to conclude that the unusual phenomenon has been targeting Quantum Brainwave users (both Innovators and other QBW capable individuals). In light of these discoveries, Setsuna attempts to contact Allelujah and Marie, but his efforts are hindered by the interference the strange artefacts are generating. Out of options, Setsuna and Lockon head to the surface to locate them. Upon reaching the surface, Setsuna finds Ribbons confronting Saji and Louise. Despite firing multiple rounds at Ribbons, the latter remains alive and silent, falling only to a sticky charge Setsuna throws at him. The charge succeeds in vaporizing his upper body, but the lower half continues functioning for a few moments before disintegrating into metallic fragments. Deciding that this occurrence is a possible danger, he tells Saji to seek shelter with Louise. Meanwhile, Allelujah and Marie become entangled in a sticky situation, during which Allelujah notices that a van was able regenerate itself despite being destroyed. As the unusual machines close in on their position, Lockon rushes to their rescue in the Dynames Repair.

 

  • Marie and Milena reunit after Lockon brings Marie and Allelujah on board the Ptolemios II. I recall when Feldt was upset by Marie for what had happened during season one. Things have changed dramatically since then, as all of the crew of the Ptolemios are now on good terms with one another, compared to the stoicness during season one. The sense of unity extends to all of humanity, as this time, it isn't one human faction against another.

  • .If you listen carefully, Heart of Feldt plays here. It's a quiet piano piece that reflects Feldt's character, and can be considered to be a play on words, as felt is a type of cloth with a very natural feel to it, even if it was artificially synthesized. Taken together, the song could mean "a natural heart", but that's just how I see it.

  • Sumeragi reassures Feldt, after Feldt looks wistfully at Setsuna's departing figure. Despite maturing greatly since her earliest appearances in the series, she's still a little shy when it comes to expressing her feelings towards others

  • The happy couple two years later. Patrick and Kati come together to share a kiss...

  • ...except something comes up on Kati's monitor, leading to this scene.

  • It appears that Tieria's synthesizing a new body for himself and leaving the Celestial Being space station was not unnoticed.

  • The crew of the Ptolemios gather for a meeting on what Setsuna encountered on Earth earlier. The apperance of Ribbons troubles everyone, and this is understandable, given what had happened in season two.

  • This is the man whose DNA would form the genetic template for Ribbons Almarc. In this image, his eyes clearly lack the same arrogance that Ribbons would have. 

  • Milena picks up another derelict space station on the scope; this is the one that the ELS have formed. This will be the first direct encounter anyone will have with the ELS, and also the first time the new model Gundams are deployed.

  • Gundam Zabanya uses a different load-out than its predecessors. Instead of relying on a single long range weapon and two smaller close-quarter weapons, the unit is equipped with a wide range of guns, all of which can be remotely controlled or fired in a hand-held configuration. In order to coordinate such a large number of long-range remote weapons, an additional Haro is required to accomodate for the control of these weapons.

  • Harute is the successor to Arios, and is designed for high mobility in a zero-gravity environment. Its most notable feature is that it is a twin-seater in tandem configuration; the pilot sits behind and above the gunner, much like the Apache. Attention to detail is something that sets a great anime apart from a good one, and Gundam 00 very much satisfies the criteria of paying attention to subtle details.

  • One of the condensers mounted on the 00 Raiser. They replace the GN Drives that were used in season two; official source material conflict as to the number of GN drives that survived the battle for VEDA. One side story says that the 00 Raiser was refitted to its seven sword configuration with a single drive and a condensor, while other sources claim that the final battle between the Exia and O Gundam destroyed both drives.

  • The other major difference in the movie variant of the 00 Raiser is that the sensor on the O Raiser is now clear, as opposed to orange in the second season. The use of condensers meant that the unit would be unable to perform as it did previously, but the extent of these limitations is never seen, given that the 00 Raiser never fires a single shot.

  • Zabanya firing one of its carbines at the ELS in the opening confrontation. It becomes clear that a dedicated sniper unit would not suffice against the ELS, given their sheer numbers.

  • The 00 Raiser gets hit with one of the probes and immediately begins to have the ELS crystals "grow" over its body. The signficant amount of quantum interference Setsuna experiences from the presence of the ELS prevent him from firing.

  • Before the 00 Raiser is lost to the ELS, a new unit shows up at the scene. Its remote arms grip the 00 Raiser and tear out the binder with the ELS, saving Setsuna. The size of these claws suggest that they can be used to physically crush a mobile suit.

  • Setsuna expresses pure surprise at his rescue; this is the second time that Tieria has saved Setsuna from destruction at the last second. In that sense, Tieria is a master of arriving on time

  • The new model Gundam that shows up is the Raphael. It uses three tau drives as its powerplant, giving it firepower that is nearly equivalent to that of the the Gadelaza, and was developed by Tieria using details derived off the Gadessa series. It was shown to have an original GN Drive in the trailers, but this was changed at the last moment. In fact, the HG model kit of the Raphael's box art still shows it firing pink beams.

  • Following the battle, Setsuna is unable to explain the phenomenon he experienced while in close proximity to the ELS.

Having recovered all of their members, Celestial Being convenes just as they come under attack by the presumably destroyed Jupiter Exploration ship. Unable to simply observe the events any further, Setsuna sorties in the 00 Raiser, although the unknown forces direct a mental assault on Setsuna and cripples him. Eventually, 00 Raiser's left arm and shoulder binder are hit and the suit begins to be assimilated. He is only saved by Tieria's intervention, who arrives in the CB-002 Raphael Gundam and tears off the metal assimilating the 00 Raiser's arm. Tieria later questions Setsuna as to why he made no attempt to shoot down the unknowns once they are onboard the Ptolemaios. Setsuna simply responds that he didn't understand why he wasn't able to fire.

  • Meena and Billy meet up with Kati to further discuss the developments regarding the ELS.

  • As the ELS mobilize their own fleet, individuals with enhanced sensitivity to quantum brainwaves experience a splitting headache.

  • Scientifically speaking, it's not possible for a moon to break up in that manner without giving rise to extreme thermal energy (that is, the breakup of the planet should lead to observable melting of portion of the moon's crust). Furthermore, the ELS's hiding in Jupiter's atmosphere wouldn't change the gravitational field of the planet sufficiently to pull its inner most two moons out of their orbits.

  • Kati, Meena and Billy watch in horror as Io and Europa are annihilated. I recall obtaining many instances of this image, except the last few times, they were of extremely low resolution from the trailers. All of the images I have here now are in the same resolution as those used in the Gundam 00 TV series (they are 1280 by 720 pixels). With the new compression present, they appear as sharp as those on the Five Centimeters per Second page now.

  • The ELS fleet's appearance is beautifully rendered and gives the viewer a sense of the ELS' scale. If this movie were done in 3D, I'm certain that some viewers (myself included) would probably feel a little uncomfortable.

  •  One of the Innovade politicians address the ESF on the appearance of the ELS fleet.

  • In reality, it doesn't take the appearance of an alien fleet to induce this kind of chaos in the Parliament. The kind of activity during this political meeting is rather similar to the environment that is present in the House of Commons when a Bill is being debated.

  • The president of the ESF looks on at the chaos in the chamber floor.

  • The ESF's decision to send in a small fleet as bait include the deployment of a new battlecruiser that is capable of executing trans-am.

  • Descartes Shaman doesn't seem to observe standard rules of engagement, preferring to charge in and using his mobile armour's superior firepower to get the job done. He is initially successful, but initially is the key word here.

  • One of the GN-X IVs sent in to assist the spearheading forces. The GN-X IV is built off the GN-X III's frame, but incorperates new technology that gives it performance comparable to that of a third generation Gundam

  • Some of the GN-X IVs are hit, but the commanders are surprised that they aren't destroyed, but are instead, assimulated.

  • The ELS exhibit liquid-metal like properties. They appear solid, but upon contacting a surface, their behavior can vary between crystalline growth (like sugar crystals in a supersaturated solution) and flowing like mercury.

  • In order for the ELS to be able to behave in this manner, it's likely that they'd be composed of a material similar to silicon. I've heard some suggestions that the metals mercury and gallium are likely, but in thise case, a silicon-like element would have a higher melting point, which would make it the preferred choice for interstellar travel for an organic life form. Silicon is also is harder than gallium (the former has a Mohs hardness of 7, and the latter has a hardness of 1.5), which is more consistent with what we saw with the ELS, especially when it came to how the crystals moved and grew. Finally, silicon can exhibit some of the bonding properties of carbon (with respect to hybridization), which makes it a more probable basis for them to be composed of a similar element.

  • Some of the views on TVTropes feel that assimulation is an extremely frightening process. This image agrees with them whole-heartedly.

  • I've seen this scene so many times in the trailer, and have joked that it's akin to the ELS wishing to embrace the Gadelaza. Ultimately, the size of the Gadelaza is its undoing- without dedicated point defense weapons, once all of its fangs are destroyed, the unit only relies on fixed laser cannons, which prove useless against this massive ELS probe.

  • The Gundam Meisters launch to assist the ESF forces, something we have not seen in the series (with the exception of the time where the Memento Mori triggered the collapse of an orbital elevator) too much. I was curious to know where this series would go after humanity had achieved increased understanding of each other, and initially thought that it would be a rouge faction of Celestial Being.

  • The ELS are drawn to the partially assimulated Gadelaza like flies to decomposing flesh. The appearance of Celestial Being draw their attention.

  • The Harute engages a wave of ELS. Both Harute and Zabanya are said to be recycled from the frames of their predecessor unit, and are completely redesigned to be more efficient. The option to use a new frame was not possible presumably due to the loss of funding from Wan Liu Mei.

  • The Zabanya seems like it was made for the task of taking down ELS probes. Incidentally, we never see it fire the GN Rifle III or missles like the trailers said. Many details in the movie were different from the trailers, although I'm a touch disappointed they gave away pieces of the final battle in the trailer, too >_<

  • Setsuna soars past an exploding ELS vessel as he tries to communicate with the Gadelaza.

  • The 00 Raiser's use of twin condensers lead to questions as to why it can execute Trans-Am Burst. The leading theory now is that the condensers are highly efficient ones that were tuned to mimic the twin drive system that was once used.

  • Shaman succumbs to the ELS. If you were not intimidated by how the ELS assimulate organic beings, I am certain this scene will change your thoughts rather quickly.

  • The sheer amount of information the ELS send to Setsuna sends him into a coma and renders him unable to operate his suit. I disagree with the idea that the ELS intentionally did this to him; I personally think that his coma was induced by the volume of information rather than any deliberate attempt to harm him.

  • You haven't seen anything yet if you thought Zabanya matches the Strike Freedom in the department of beam spamming.

  • Tieria relies on raw firepower to cut through the masses of ELS probes and vessels.

  • Again, I am very impressed with the amount of details that are present in the displays, and even more impressed with the use of English in said displays. In Makoto Shinkai's Voices of a Distant Star, the commander spoke perfect English, but with an unusual syntax.

  • Deciding that Setsuna's life is of utmost importance, Raphael reveals the one secret that had fans guessing all summer. The only tagline we had to go on was "Raphael is wrapped up in many mysteries", but now, we have some idea of what the Raphael is capable of.

  • The secret is Seravee II- the 'backpack" on Rapahel transforms into this remote controlled unit, which is opposite of Tiera's previous units.

  • Harute and Zanabya provide covering fire while The Seravee II retrieves the 00 Raiser's cockpit. Both units look like they were designed solely for the purpose of engaging a massive quantity of small targets.

  • When the Seravee II comes into contact with the 00 Raiser, it too begins to undergo assimulation, and Tieria also experiences the interference induced by the ELS. Nonetheless, he successfully removes the cockpit and tosses it to Lockon.

  • At the cost of his physical body, Tieria manages to save Setsuna yet another time.

  • Tieria's last act in the Raphael is to activate its Trans-Am and overload it, as he is pulled into the center of the cloud of ELS. Last season, discussions raged about what would happen if a GN tau drive capable of Trans-Am was run to its limits. At the center of the ELS cloud, the Raphael detonates spectacularly, taking out a number of the ELS. However, many survive and pursue the escaping Gundams.

  • This time, another party shows up to save the day- the Sol Brave squadron, led by Graham Aker, provide the Gundams with enough cover fire to let them leave the combat area.

  • Three braves cover the Harute. It is obvious that the Sol Brave pilots are highly trained, and we are treated to the squadron masterfully using covering fire, as well as using themselves as decoys to draw enemy fire.

  • Graham Aker's role has changed dramatically; instead of a revenge-driven follower of Bushido, he is now a mature squadron leader who faithfully carries out his duties with his own flair.

  • Graham Aker can pull off tricks using his unit that even the other pilots cannot manage: here, he charges both his beam and engines, pulling away at the last second and eliminating an entire swarm of ELS probes.

  • The Sol Braves take advantage of the ELS' break to follow the Gundams out of the combat zone.

  • Setsuna is placed under intensive care back on board the Ptolemios. I wonder if that large cylindrical device to the left is an MRI scanner.

  • The Braves in formation with the Ptolemios II Kai: the presence of the boosters is the only visual difference between it and its predecessor. The boosters themselves are detachable

  • Tieria explains to Sumeragi that Setsuna suffered extensive damage to his brain following the latter's botched attempt to communicate with them.

  • Graham introduces himself to Feldt for the first time. He reveals his new understanding that he wished to push himself to his limits and used Setsuna as something of a yard stick. His conversation is interrupted by a disquieting development.

On Jupiter, matters complicate when one of its innermost moons is drawn into its atmosphere as the ELS prepare to deploy a massive fleet from the Red Spot. This does not go unnoticed by the crew of the Ptolemios; Setsuna asks Feldt to run an analysis on the unknown fleet. It turns out that the fleet is set to arrive in Earth's orbit in approximately 3 months. The information is conveyed to the ESF, who promptly rush to piece together a means of answering to the threat of the ELS, all the while covering up what has already happened thus far. They assemble a recon unit and select Descartes Shaman to lead the assault, but the unit is completely wiped out in a matter of moments, losing everything to the sheer numbers of the ELS. Setsuna realises that the appearance of the ELS may be relevant to the "coming dialogues" that Aeolia Schoenberg had foretold centuries ago, and together with Tieria, sorties once more to communicate with the ELS. His attempt fails and sends him into a coma, leaving him idle in the midst of the battlefield. In order to save Setsuna, Tieria is forced to reveal CB-002 Raphael Gundam's backpack (containing the GN-008RE Seravee Gundam II) and forcibly removes the 00 Gundam's cockpit from its frame, handing it to Lockon as he tries to hold off the ELS with his quantum brainwaves. The situation worsens as the ELS swarm the battlefield, making rescue a difficult task, but Graham Aker and his Sol Brave squadron make a timely appearance to distract the ELS. The Ptolemios wastes no time in retreating, and although Tieria activates Trans-Am to defend against the ELS, his efforts are unyielding as the ELS assimilate both his physical body and the Raphael. Setsuna is placed in intensive care and is found to have a degree of brain damage. Feldt is most visibly shaken by the ordeal, and cries at Setsuna's plight.

  • That's no moon...that's a space station! Those who thought the ELS fleet from earlier was something will see the envelope being pushed even further; at around 3000 km wide (I'll need to confirm my information), this is the ELS mothership.

  • The ESF President's advisors discuss the appearance of the new planetoid, as well as what emergency precautions need to be taken.

  • The ELS differ radically compared to the aliens of Independece Day: the latter had no intention of being understood, and were compared to locusts in that they only wished to consume a planet's resources and move to a different world once the resources were exhausted.

  • Kati looking over schematics of the ELS probes in what was once Ribbon's command center during the previous battle.

  • Marina and Shirin discuss the events that have unfolded recently, and how the government is trying to secure the best possible solution: to get people into shelters while fighting for humanity's right to survive.

  • The superlaser sees deployment again, although this time, it is on the side of the protagonists. It was capable of wiping out a majority of the A-Law's fleet, and is said to be able to hollow out an asteroid fields in seconds. However, whether or not it has the power to wipe out a planetoid 3000 km wide has yet to be seen.

  • The completed 00 Qan[T] is delivered on board the Ptolemios. Sumeragi states that this is the last mission that Celestial Being needs to complete.

  • The central command center for the last battle occurs here. On the main monitor used to track the battle's progress, the two opposing armies are lined up, like pieces of a chess board.

  • The ESF forces open hostilities with a massive salvo of GN missiles. It is initially successful and lays waste to the front-line ELS vessels.

  • However, subsequent salvos are met with the same fate as the missiles from Independence Day: the ELS manage to duplicate the function of powerful GN fields for their vessels and repel the missiles effortlessly.

  • The mobile suits begin sortieing now. One of the aspects about the battles in the movie that impressed were the sheer scales of everything; there is activity everywhere on the screen during this last battle, and it is virtually impossible to keep track of everything. The experience was amplified in the theatres, where it felt like one could really be hit by stray laser fire

  • Andrei's GN-X IV is equipped with a beam rifle and large GN sword similar to the one wielded by the Gaddess. Patrick's unit is equipped with two binders to offer him twice the defensive capabilities.

  • Graham addresses his Sol Brave pilots prior to their joining the battle. His only for them is not to die.

  • As the first time extraterrestrials make an appearance in the Gundam Franchise, their portrayal is very well done. Unlike the use of genertic 'green men', the movie stretches things by giving rise to a species that operates with a hive mind and assimilates other beings to learn. These ideas are not new, but refreshing from the humanoid aliens we've seen in Independence Day and War of the Worlds.

  • The superlaser's first shot pierces the ELS mothership and does some damage to it, but doesn't nearly have the same destructive firepower of the Death Stars.

  • When the times are desperate, any unit that is combat capable will be fielded, accounting for why this space-type Tieren is here. The same held for WWII, where old biplanes were deployed with the newer Spitfires and Hurricanes when the first aerial battles broke out between the Nazi Germany and British air forces.

  • The formation of ELS mobile suits was one of the most amusing and surprising moments in the movie. These suits are the source of the purple particles that were so prevalent in the trailers, and have approximately the same combat capabilities as the original GN-X IVs deployed by the ESF. Subsequent forms of the ELS suits are a little more refined, and lack the terminator-like appearance of the unit shown here.

  • Patrick's dual wing binders serve him well during the course of the chaotic battle. With the ELS now in possession of their own GN weapons, the ESF forces have their hands tied. It's a little unusual to see how quickly the ELS were able to understand GN technology to that extent in such a short period of time. We already had a bit of forshadowing when we saw one of the Harute's missiles become assimilated and begin emission of purple particles.

  • The Gagas are re-equipped with laser cannons to be actually useful, although they are still sunk in massive numbers.

  • Graham's Sol Braves arrive to the scene of the battle and immediately join in on the festivities. The commander type sports a blue finish and uses a pair of GN-Tau drives to increase its performance, although it is not known whether the unit can be classified as a twin drive unitt.

  • The intensity of the battle is exemplified in the quantity of particle beams filling the space to the extent where even the highly trained Sol Brave pilots cannot dodge all of them; indeed, we see a few Braves get shot down during the course of the battle.

  • By Sun Tzu's standards, Graham Aker is an excellent commander, caring deeply for his men and leading them courageously into combat. The passage from the original text reads as follows:

Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.

  • The Celestial Being space station's superlaser doesn't feel that super anymore, as the ELS conjour up  a shield powerful enough to deflect it. Unless the ESF engineers had accidentally downgraded it during the two-year time skip, this drops a subtle note at the proportions and scale the ELS possess. Josef Stalin himself said that quantity is a quality all its own, which certainly applies to the ELS.

  • The Strike Freedom's position as "king of spamming lazer beams all over the map" is lost with little question to the Zabanya. Lockon uses the units full arsenel liberally througout the course of the battle and literally rains particle fire onto the ELS.

  • Despite the full efforts of the ESF fleet and Celestial Being, the space station's superlaser is hit, forcing Kati to order the weapon's self destruction to prevent it from falling into ELS knowledge.

  • For those who are curious, Ishikawa Chiaki's Mou Nanimo Kowaku Nai, Kowaku wa Nai plays as the superlaser begins to break up. The song strangely suits the moment, even more so when I looked up the lyrics' English equivalent, as humanity decides to continue the fight for their right to survive.

  • Andrei realises that an ELS vessel has broken ranks and is charging towards the Earth. He activates Trans-Am on his own unit and leaves scores on the vessel's surface, but his unit becomes infected in the process.

  • The GN Drive on Andrei's GN Drive are pushed over the maximum levels for safe operation. Much like how vehicles have a maximum land speed, they usually cannot be operated safely if they are pushed over a certain speed. Recalling that GN Tau drives could overload and explode if they were abused, I'm guessing the OS in units with a Tau Drive has a built-in indicator to denote safe operating levels.

  • Andrei's decision to scrifice himself to prevent the ELS vessel from reaching the planetary surface was an unexpected fate, but allowed him to atone for his actions and live as the soldier Sergi always wanted him to be; he died to protect people, even if it is not immediately apparent. In this sense, his death was not meaningless and was not a karmic death, although not every fan will share this viewpoint.

  • The probe finally detonates in a ball of purple light, contrasting explosions we've seen thus far in the series. In Gundam 00, most explosions behave as if they were in an atmosphere, and diffuse randomly due to the slight differences in air pressures at the center of the explosion. With a near-vacuum in space, explosions are perfectly spherical.

The ELS finally reveal their main body; a massive planetoid 3000 kilometres in diameter and a fleet of close to a million vessels. The ELS begin their course for Earth, forcing the ESF to declare a state of war. They deploy every unit stationed and place these as a final defensive line against the ELS forces. The first strike by the ESF is initially successful at demolishing some of the ELS vessels, but this is short-lived; the ELS manage to replicate GN Fields and deploy them to halt the effectiveness of the missile bombardment. As the combat escalates, Andrei, Patrick and Graham immediately sortie to take on the ELS. Even Saji goes as a volunteer to assist with maintenance of space facilities. The situation worsens as the ELS replicate hardware to repel the ESF's weapons; even the superlaser mounted on Celestial Being is ineffectual. Despite the increasing bleakness of the situation, Kati Mannequin resolves not to lose hope, and tells her units to continue resisting the ELS. Despite the combined ESF/Celestial Being effort to repel the ELS assault, the ELS manage to break through their positions and begin to assimilate all the technology in their path, allowing them to take on the form and function of all human technology.

  • Feldt calls out to Setsuna as he writhes in the recovery room.

  • As his coma progresses, Setsuna's consciousness is taken to a few places, including Azadistan, where Shirin is participating in a humanitarian effort to assist those in need. A delivery automaton is present to the right of the image, suggesting that the ESF has progressed a good deal from the days when we saw the same automaton gunning civilians down.

  • Marina accepts a flower from a girl who is very pleased to have met her inside the palace.

  • Meanwhile, even Saji joins the effort against the ELS. Despite choosing not to fight by taking up arms, he nonetheless assists the effort by performing the maintainance of the orbital platforms.

  • Both Lockon and Allelujah are fighting for their lives at this point in time, and have become exhausted from the prolonged battle.

  • Back on the bridge of the Ptolemios, Setsuna sees everyone at their combat stations, save Feldt, who is currently with him. The scene fades, and he encounters Lichty, Christina and Neil. They impart on him the reasons that he has to keep fighting, and not let their deaths be in vein.

  • As they fade away, Setsuna sees the flower that Feldt had given him two years previously. He reaches for it, realising its purpose.

  • This is the rather famous scene that led to speculations that Feldt and Setsuna enter a relationship. While Setsuna was making a grab for the flower in his dream, Feldt had taken his hand unto hers and grasps it. Her emotions and feelings come through to Setsuna, who finally gains the strength to exit from his coma.

  • Feldt is very grateful that Setsuna is conscious once again and embraces him warmly. The latter immediately heads to the 00 Qan[T]. 

  • Tieria thanks Milena for helping construct a compact VEDA terminal in the 00 Qan[T] to help process the vast quantities of information that will be present when interfacing with the ELS again.

  • Mileina declares her love for Tieria, regardless of his physical form, was one of the most heartwarming moment in the movie. When watching this, people in the theatre collectively went "d'aww!" and, after which they laughed at Ian's reaction. This is one of the most heartwarming scenes in the movie, and is delivered extremely well. I myself saw this one coming, as Milena once said in her sleep to Tieria: "Don't fall in love with me".

  • Ian and Linda complete their work on the 00 Qan[T] as it awaits its pilot. The cockpit has been moved back into the abdomen region, and the head resembles the Exia's. The 00 Qan[T]'s design is a combination of the best features from the Exia and 00 Raiser. Again, look very carefully at the chest orb, and notice it reflecting the hanger inside the Ptolemios.

  • Linda is pleased to hear Milena's announcement, sharply contrasting Ian's response.

  • The HUD of the 00 Qan[T] is a powerful interface for managing the 00 Qan[T]'s most powerful functions. it has an almost alien feel to it due to its shape, which is, to some extent, ironic, because the main antagonists in the movie are extraterrestrials. I remember an evening where a friend and I discussed the future of computing technologies after  showed him this image, and he showed me a 3D HUD from Mass Effect 2.

  • The idea of integrating a holographic representation of an individual into a Gundam is one I have looked forward to seeing for a very long time. My requests to get an image of Setsuna using Belldandy in the 00 Qan[T] fell on deaf ears, as I am not that proficient with Adobe Photoshop.

  • Feldt is able to let go of Setsuna (something that Tohno Takaki could not do for Akari!!) because she understands him. She assures everyone that she is alright.

  • We are treated to a spectacular shot of launch deck III opening on the Ptolemios II while it is still firing an unending stream of particle beams and GN missiles.

  • Unlike the 00 Gundam, the 00 Qan[T] is fully operational without any additional equipment. In the movie, every new Gundam is equipped with remote weapons of some kind: Zabanya has its rifle and shield bits, Harute wields the scissor bits, Raphael had its two remote GN cannons and Seravee II, and 00 Qan[T] uses six sword bits. According to movie sources, the sword bits on the 00 Qan[T] surpass the overall performance of the mobile-suit sized fangs the Gadelaza used.

  • The 00 Qan[T]'s design varied from the drawing board to the cinema screens. It originally had a slightly different design and colour scheme, but that was changed in subsequent renderings of it in the trailer. The trailers I saw during the summer showed the 00 Qan[T] shows the 00 Qan[T] deploying all of its sword bits, but in the movie, the bits remain mounted on the unit to conserve particles.

On the Ptolemios, Setsuna remains in a critical state from his previous ordeal. With her emotions breaking forth, Feldt runs to his side and grasps his hand. Still in his coma, Setsuna enters a flashback, where older members of Celestial Being remind him of his motivation, and what his fight is for. He sees the flower Feldt gave him years ago and grabs makes a grab for it. Finally regaining his strength and resolve, Setsuna returns to consciousness to a tearful Feldt at his side; she hugs him warmly.

  • The Braves are amongst some of the most well-equipped units in the 00 universe, and illustrate fully how far technology has come since Graham's first encounter with Setsuna in his Union Flag.

  • A colony-guard type flag fires its linear cannons at the ELS forces before being decimated itself.

  • Patrick apologizes to Kati for being unable to follow her order of not dying, and prepares his unit for Trans-Am in the hopes that he'll take out the ELS GN-X locked with his unit. Before anything can happen, a single particle beam tears the ELS off and sends Patrick flying into space, denying him of a heroic sarcifice.

  • The 00 Qan[T] soards into battle as Kenji Kawaii's Final Mission- Quantum Burst plays in its full glory to set the tone for the battle. The song is a brilliant remix of Trans Am Raiser and pieces of Masurao; in fact, most of the best songs on the OST feature remixes of the old songs. Throughout the OST, Kenji Kawaii's style cycles between his styles in Ip Man and Dark Water.

  • The 00 Qan[T] is capable of projecting holographic images, and here, Tieria shows Setsuna their destination at the ELS mothership's core.

  • The 00 Qan[T]'s arrival instills a new sense of hope in the Meisters. Lockon deploys the Zabanya's bits again and powers on his holographic targeting system, which is radically different than the simple CRT screen the units from Cosmic Era have.

  • Unlike its predecessors, Zabanya dispenses with the rifle controller, integrating their functionality directly into the controllers. The use of a holographic targetting system allows Lockon a wider field of view, making this configuration superior to the rifle controller; the fullscreen targetting display allows him to maintain full awareness of the battlefield.

  • The rifle bits are stored inside the shield bits; when deployed, the shield bits provide cover, while the rifle bits clevery remain behind them and fire. Using this tactic, Lockon wipes out a massive number of ELS. I'm guessing ideas for the movie generation units were developed in advanced, and then nerfed for the second season; had Celestial Being deployed Gundams with this capability, the season would have been over in less than an episode. Even the Reborns would have lost to Setsuna in a matter of moments.

  • Allelujah and Marie are also empowered by the 00 Qan[T]'s arrival. Hallelujah returns, and together with Soma's quantum brainwaves, they activate the Marute system.

  • Named after a angel, the Marute System is a MS combat mode that works in parallel with the Harute's OS. When both Hallelujah and Allelujah combine their latent quantum abilities, their abilities can be extended into the Harute's frame through the Marute System. The crown forehead and under its primary optics reveal four additional eyes that emit a red hue.

  • This was a long awaited moment: as soon as Hallelujah shouted "LET'S GO!" and the system activated, the audiance is treated well to the Marute absolutely demolishing the battlefield. On the whole, I am very pleased that Lockon and Allelujah are receiving more screentime, in constrast to their roles in the second season.

  • The Marute deploys all of its Scissor Bits simutaneously: stored within Harute's GN Cannons, te bits are literally a pair of flying scissors. The blades are lined with the same materials as the blades of the GN Sword Rifles, allowing them to store large amounts of GN Particles to greatly increase their damage potential, and operate by bifurcating enemy targets.

  • Zabanya dual wielding rifles; this is something I have not seen done since 007 GoldenEye, where it was possible to dual wield sniper rifles, M16s and even rocket launchers.

  • Zabanya organising its bits into an array to fire a devastating shot. Each diamond will amplify a shot to match the output of the Virtue's GN Bazooka.

  • At one point, people thought that he particle blast came from the planetoid itself, but the beam is actually from the Zabanya's firing in the above configuration.

  • Graham gives Setsuna covering fire and words of encouragement: "Go, young man! You'll live to blaze a trail towards the future!"

With his objective in mind, Setsuna boards the newly built 00 Qan[T] and roars off onto the battlefield. Feldt returns to bridge, and is asked why she didn't go with Setsuna, to which she replies that she had to let Setsuna go to fulfill his destiny. On the battlefield, the ESF forces are slowly folding under the sheer numbers of ELS units. Patrick's GN-X IV is hit by an ELS probe and is absorbed by the probe. He messages Kati a final goodbye, which causes her to nearly break down, but before the ELS can fully assimilate him, Setsuna's sharpshooting allows Patrick to break free. Encouraged by Setsuna's success, the remaining Gundams sortie and engage the ELS forces in face-to-face combat. During the renewed effort, Andrei dies during an ELS Kamikaze attack in an effort to prevent the alien ship from reaching Earth.

  • Setsuna finally gets close enough to the superstructure, and despite Tieria's protests, activates the Raiser sword. While it damages the surface, is not sufficient to create a persistent opening on the mothership. Graham, who has been hit and is slowly being assimilated, decides to charge through and create an opening.

"This is not death! It is a sacrifice for humanity to live on!"

  • Setsuna is unable to find words for Graham after the latter's final, heroic act creates a large opening for him to enter the mothership.

  • The interior of the mothership looks like a vast sea of neurons.

  • The Ptolemios is hit, too, and slowly undergoes assimilation. However, Sumeragi and the others believe in Setsuna, and decide to continue fighting. Viewers with an eye for detail will notice that the nebulas that formed the background are more or less absent for much of the space sequences, implying that both the space battles from the second season occured further from the planet.

  • Lockon continues fighting on despite a massive gash in the cockpit of his suit. Lyle had proven himself to be a worthy Meister, but his abilities truely shine in the movie.

 

  • A massive piece of the ELS break through the central command center. According to the Art of War, war can be won by removing the opposition's will to fight. Assuming that to hold, the ELS have seemingly shifted the battle once more in their favour.

  • The Celestial Being space station begins undergoing assimilation, as well, with the sheer number of ELS probes overwhelming the human forces.

  • Massive ELS branches reach menancingly towards the Earth. I personally found their branching behaviors simimlar to the Tarsians in Voices of a Distant Star.

In order to clear a path to the planetoid, Setsuna activates the Trans-Am system on the 00 Qan[T] and directs a massive beam sabre to the planetoid's surface in the hopes of cutting a path open. However, this fails, and it is only through Graham's selflessness (he rams his Brave to the planetoid's surface in a kamikaze attack) that Setsuna finally gains access to the planetoid's core. Back in space, Zabanya and Harute enter Trans-Am to combat the endless waves of ELS. Their efforts are to no avail, as the Ptolemios is infected by the ELS and is slowly being consumed. In spite of this, the crew's trust in Setsuna holds, and thus, they remain on board. Setsuna, having found his way to the ELS's core, learns of their origins. The ELS were forced to leave their home world when their system's star entered the final stages of its life. They became spacefaring and travelled in search of a new home, eventually finding a system to settle in and call their own. They also began to explore other systems, including the solar system, but panicked when they encountered the human Innovators. In an attempt to understand humanity, they had arrived to assimilate and learn about them, but their intentions were not known, leading to open conflict.

  • Tieria and Setsuna finally learn of the ELS' origins, and come to the conclusion that they were not aggressive beings. The ELS could only learn and understand other worlds through assimulation, and reacted violently when they were confronted with Quantum brainwaves, something they had never seen previously. Thus, the entire war was over a misunderstanding, much like how some of the wars in human history were instigated because of poor communications.

  • A small, Earth-like planet is assimulated quickly by the ELS as their new homeworld. Once they had that, they continued to explore the universe. On many levels, it's a good thing the ELS are not anything like the flood, despite their similarities. For one, their central consciousness is not an aggressive being that only aims to consume all life in the known universe.

  • Milena loses control of her emotions as Ian and Linda's room are infected by ELS crystals.

  • The 00 Qan[T] can indeed teleport at the will of the pilot, and Setsuna uses it here to head for the ELS' homeworld in the hopes of learning more about them.

  • Stunned government representatives behold a new sight in the skies.

  • The ELS, having reached mutual understanding with humanity, shift their mothership into the form of a massive flower.

  • The appearance of the space flower has led to the polarisation of the Gundam community, although in part, the impression of the ending is impacted by most individual's lack of familiarity to this particular flower. This flower is the "Flower of Peace", and is recognisable in Japan since WWII following the dropping of the atomic bombs. In this sense, the creation of such a flower is fitting for the finale, as it demonstrates the notion of mutual understanding that has been prevalent throughout the series. 

  • You may have noticed that some images lack captions; that isn't because I've no thoughts for the moments they depict, but because said moments must be experienced to be understood and enjoyed. I can only explain so much here, although nothing short of watching the movie will make the experience worthwhile.

Sympathetic to their story, Setsuna shares his own memories and thoughts on humanity. Finally reaching mutual understanding, the ELS agree to end hostilities with humanity. Setsuna and the alien race decide more understanding is required between species, and Setsuna decides to open a gateway to the alien world as humanity's ambassador.  As a token of understanding, the planetoid expresses itself as a massive flower, which is seen on Earth by its citizens. 

Epilogue

Centuries ago, a younger Aeolia Schoenberg mentions his plan to evolve humanity to evolve and overcome their differences, and how disappointing it would be for human progress if the first thing they do is start a war once they became space-faring.

  • This is E.A. Ray, the man who assisted Aeolia Schoenberg and formed the basis for Ribbons Almark. Here, he is discussing the roles and ideals of Celestial Being and what their desired fate of the world is to be.

  • With no fewer than eleven monitors and some five computer towers, Aeolia's workstation rivals the ESD lab in terms of awesomeness.

  • Aeolia looks a little like Ian in his younger days, and reveals that his plan was for humanity to achieve interstellar capabilities after they could advance beyond its current point of evolution, this is a common theme behind a lot of Gundam series, although it was not apparent until the end of the first season.

Fifty years have passed since the conflict between humanity and the ELS. Setsuna had left on a journey to understand more about the ELS, and the flower-like space station is now Earth's foothold for humanity's first voyage into deep space.  A ship, called the Sumeragi, full of awakened Innovators (including a quick glimpse of Tieria and the half metalized girl who has recovered) prepare for their maiden voyage into space. 40% of humans have become Innovators and as they were physically evolved; they were to spearhead the first voyage until the rest of Humanity evolves.

  • Fifty years after first contact, the world is a radically different place. Development on the moon can be seen in this image.

  • The ELS' flower-like space station serves as a space port now, and the ELS have acquired the ability to use the original solar furnaces.

  • The Sakibure is a new series of mobile suits that fulfill Aeolia's original vision of mobile suits: to provide a next generation series of construction and deep space exploration tools. They are not equipped with ay weapons, although they do use a true GN drive and can execute Trans Am.

  • This is the Sumeragi, a deep space exploration vessel crewed by Innovators. In the fifty year span, human technology has become more asthetically pleasing to the eye, with gentle curved structures becoming more prevalent over our current preference for angular structures. I posted this image to AnimeSuki a while back, captioning it A rear view of the Sumeragi. Another member jokingly wished it were more fanservice-y

  • The interior of the Sumeragi is very minimalistic; we can assume this to be the bridge of the vessel. By this point, GN technology has been used to develop faster-than-light travel, which uses GN particles to generate quantum pathways not unlike the mode of operation for the Shaw-Fujikawa drives used in HALO.

  • We get a nice view of the holographic table here. I've been interested in computers like these, as they offer a lot more functionality than the current STDIN and STDOUT offered by keyboards, mice and printers. It appears that the different space suit colours reflect on different roles of the personel.

  • Amia Lee has since recovered from her infection with ELS crystals, and is partially ELS now, as her hair and left eye have metamorphesized to a silver colour.

  • Tieria glides behind the guy who's giving the announcement about the Sumeragi's objectives wearing an irritated expression on his face. Below, Klaus is being interviewed.

  • Marina's country home is in a field of flowers. Setsuna has made a brief return visit to her.

  • Marina lost her vision with age, but she remains a proficient piano player nonetheless. Following the release of the movie, many fans were clamouring for cam-rips just to see these few moments.

  • ELS Setsuna is now semi-immortal, having not aged a day since he left for the ELS' homeworld.

Out in the country in a field of flowers lies Marina's retirement home. Marina has since aged and has lost her sight. She senses someone entering her room and politely asks who is. It is none other than Setsuna; despite the 50 years that had passed, he has not aged in the slightest. He tells Marina how he finally came back and kept his promise, albeit it was rather roundabout for both of them. They embrace each other as a token of understanding. Outisde, the 00 Qan[T] is resting in the field of flowers, glistening in the sunlight.

Infinite Zenith