The Infinite Zenith

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

Introduction

The series is set in the year 2307 of Anno Domini. As a result of the depletion of fossil fuels, humanity had to search for a new source of power. The power was found in the form of massive arrays of solar power collectors orbiting the Earth, and supported by three orbital elevators, each one serving one of the three "power blocs" on the planet.

With this nearly inexhaustible source of energy benefiting only the major powers and their allies, constant warfare erupts around the globe among minor countries for fuels and energy. Countries that once economically relied on fossil fuels have plunged into poverty. Some even believe that solar energy threatened the "promised land of God". This chaos led to the formation of a private military organization, called Celestial Being, dedicated to eradicating war and uniting humanity through the use of four humanoid machines called Gundams. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 follows four mobile suit pilots termed Gundam Meisters, sided with Celestial Being. The main protagonist is 16-year old Setsuna F Seiei, a quiet, taciturn young man who grew up in the war-torn Kurdish Republic. He pilots the GN-001 Gundam Exia, a high mobility mobile suit effective in melee combat.

 

Opinion

Season one has ended up being more of a show-opener rather than a stand-alone series. The overall plot is excellent, and the mecha battles are pretty intense. However, character development was rather insufficient, but I'm hoping that season two will do a better job.

So at the end of this first half, it looks like just Alejandro and maybe Lasse were added to the list of dead characters. On the whole, I think the production staff did a pretty good job of setting us up for the second half of this series with the stuff in the epilogue. It appears a little discerning that in the epilogue, they played the scene where Shirin appears to be leaving Marina (for Kataron), but in the voiceover, it was Nena talking with Wang Liu Mei about the world changing. That left me confused for a moment because of the disconnect between what was going on on-screen and what was being said. At least we now know that Nena is probably serving Wang Liu Mei. The other thing that bothered me was how they incorporated Graham into the episode. His fight with Setsuna was exciting to watch, but it felt really tacked on - like they realized too late that they needed to do something so that they could make Graham the masked character in the second half. It was amplified by how there were only five minutes between when it looked like he died and when he appeared again with the mask. I’m hoping that he’ll get some better character development in the future.

Regardless, I still enjoyed the ending and can’t wait to see the continuation in October.

Celestial Being

Celestial Being, a private army dedicated to eradicating war, begins demonstrating the powers of their new "MS-GUNDAM" mobile suits by interrupting the public demonstration of AEU's latest unit, the AEU Enact and by revealing hidden mobile suits in the Space Elevator and by protecting the Human Reform League's Space Elevator, "Tenchu" from being attacked by terrorists when their mobile suits had attempted to launch rockets on the "Tenchu", earning a news appearance from various TV news channels where Celestial Being's goals were publicly stated by Aeolia Schenberg.

  • Before becoming a Gundam Meister, Setsuna F. Seiei was a child soldier for the Krugis Republic. Despite the voice proclaiming they are fighting "a holy war for God", the enemy forces easily annihilate the ground forces. A bipedal tank points its anti-personel gun at Setsuna, who is spared an early death by the arrival of the O Gundam, the first unit to use a solar furnace. It is equipped with a beam rifle and beam sabres. The butterfly wing pattern is cool, but testifies that the GN drive is not tuned properly yet. Needless to say, this is the turning point in young Setsuna's life, as it sets up everything that is yet to come.

  • The AEU-09 Enact, it is the latest mobile suit developed by the AEU. Sharing many features with the Union's Flag (such as the flight form transformation and armaments), it is solar powered and uses energy transmitted from the orbital elevator to run. The AEU has staked its organization's prestige on the development of this new solar energy-adapted mobile suit.

  • Four years after the events at Krugis, Setsuna is now a Gundam Meister and handles the piloting of GN-001 Exia. The massive GN Gun/Sword is designed to accomodate for both ranged and melee combat, and is capable of switching between the two modes very rapidly.

  • Exia disables the AEU's new prototype with extreme ease, which illustrates the potential of Gundams. One of the observers, Graham Aker, is present when this occurs, and he develops a very strong interest towards the Exia. The subsequent battle around the orbital elevator is set to the song "Intervention", and was executed extremely well. This was the moment that ignited my interest in Gundam 00 to begin with, and since then, I've followed the series quite closely.

  • Aeolia Schohenberg announcing to the world the goals of Celestial Being, the private paramilitary organization in control of the Gundams. They seek to achieve what has heretofore been an impossible task- the elimination of warfare. Himself deceased for two centuries, something unusual is going on, but it looks like for now, we'll get to enjoy the first Gundam series to be set in the Gregorian Calander.

Gundam Meister

The world bodies discusses the possible origins and impact of Celestial Being. The Gundams made their first combat appearance in Ceylon, formerly called Sri Lanka, where Lockon leads the Gundams in taking on the Human Reform League and rebel Sri Lankan forces. Meanwhile, JNN reporter Kinue Crossroad stumbles upon Aeolia Schenberg's origins and Graham Aker ambushes Gundam Exia's pilot Setsuna F. Seiei to sate his curiosity about the Gundams.

  • Saji Crossroad and Louise Halevy are on the civilian side of the story, and are there to see everything following Schohenberg's first broadcast. Kinue, Saji's sister embarks on a news project to gather more information on Celestial Being.

  • The appearance of Celestial Being surprises the world: AEU leaders discuss how their new prototype was so easily overpowered by Exia. For the time being, it looks like Celestial Being will be winning many battles easily, so I won't be surprised if the main conflicts right now would be between the Meisters.

  • The Ceylon Intervention exemplifies what sets Gundam 00 apart from other universes, Since 00 is set in our timeframe, the problems the Meisters deal with are rather similar to current problems of politics and economics. In this case, the HRL becomes involved in Ceylon's civil war to defind the ethnic minority against the majority, which is reminiscent of how great powers of the Imperial Age would defend a minority to secure their own goals.

  • Exia taking on Aker's Flag for the first time. Episode two was definately very interesting, showing the purpose of Celestial Being and reflecting on problems in our world. The symbolism in the above screencap is also very nice: Exia is be better unit, but Aker is the better pilot.

Changing World

Setsuna dispatches Graham with ease, the latter being caught off guard by the advanced technology of the Gundams, while Tieria returns to space with Gundam Virtue. The Union Army creates the Anti-Gundam Investigative Squad with Graham and Billy transfering from the MSWAD as official members. Meanwhile, Celestial Being launches surprise attacks in South Africa, the South American continent over Taribian airspace, formerly in Venezuela and Guyana, and in Ceylon. Setsuna faces off against Colonel Smirnov while conducting an attack against Human Reform League mobile suits. All seems according to Celestial Being's plans as a JNN broadcast reveals various militant factions in North Ireland signing a peace treaty, ending years of fighting between themselves, the British Army and the PSNI.

  • Setsuna manages to force Graham to retreat using a beam sabre. Graham's mention of one suggests that the Union may be close to developing beam technology. While a short fight, it reveals both character's traits. Later on, Graham reveals himself to be a pilot of exceptional calibre, as he notes that from Setsuna's style, the latter is still a novice.

  • The AEU's top leaders discuss Celestial Being, whereupon increased military funding will be approved. It appears that Celestial Being's interventions include the causes of war, in addition to direct confrontations: in once scene, Dynames is seen to be destroying a blood diamond operation, and Kyrios carpet bombs a narcotics field.

  • Tierens are the basic suit for the HRL. Its physical-round cannon is outdated in comparison to what other suits in the series have (the electromagnetic rifles), although justification for its continued deployment is proven effectiveness on the battlefield.

  • Exia facing off against Sergi's High Mobility Tieren. This has lead to a great number of jokes, being that the Tieren's high mobility is the regular mobility of other suits. At any rate, episode 3 reflects upon live political problems in the world (such as the blood diamonds in Africa), and has gone to show that for the time being, experience doesn't matter much due to the Gundam's simple advantage: superior technology.

Foreign Negotiations

Colonel Sergei returns to the Human Reform League to head a new squad designated for capturing one of the Gundams, with Soma Peries as his designated subordinate. Encouraged by Celestial Being's anti-conflict actions, the South American nation of Taribia declares its withdrawal from the Union and independence over the control of energy resources, prompting a Union military response and forcing Celestial Being to intervene. In Azadistan (in the territory of Iran), Shirin Bakhtiar explains to First Princess Marina Ismail the conflict is not as simple as it may first seem. Meanwhile, the Anti-Gundam Investigative Squad in Flag Customs engage Gundam Exia in Taribian airspace. Pro-Taribian separatist politicians led by its prime minister are forced to drop their bid for independence after their forces are defeated by the Gundam Meisters, who consider the separatists responsible for the conflict.

  • Christina and Sumeragi watching the news on the Ptolemios, following Celestial Being's interventions. By this point, the world sees them as terrorists; there is irony in that they are protagonists of the series. Consider that real world terrorists do not see themselves as evil forces, and find justification for their own causes. It is the same in Gundam 00; as the viewers, we feel inclined to sympathize with Celestial Being, showing that for nearly all situations, the alternative perspective is existant.

  • This episode turns out to be quite the Social 20 lecture on politcs and the consequences of certain decisions on a govenment's outcome. In our case, Marina Ismail is the student here, and despite being the First Princess of Azadistan, she is actually quite naive about politics in general.

  • This episode is a lot heavier on political matters (export regulations, distribution rights, policymaking).The situation with Taribia was interesting because Celestial Being didn’t do what was expected, and one can rationalize it if you say that doing this might prevent future rebellions, and that would lead to less war. However, the flaw is that less war might not be good for humanity in general, especially if situations develop where certain people or countries are being oppressed. Overall, the episode sets the tone for Gundam 00- a series that is much more politically oriented than previous series (say, Gundam SEED), and as I was studying Social 20 at the time of writing, it will be rather interesting to watch.

Breakway Limit Zone

Colonel Sergei conducts tests on a new mobile suit built especially for Soma, a bioengineered human. Gundam Kyrios' pilot, Allelujah Haptism, and Soma experience a strange connection brought on by their proximity to each other. This causes Soma to go into a fit of rage who begins to fire shots randomly at the space elevator, severing a section containing civilians. Meanwhile, on board the elevator, Allelujah experiences another side of himself but regains his composure and runs off. Colonel Sergei attempts to help the civilians before they drift past the Breakaway Limit Zone and into Earth's atmosphere but his mobile suit is ill-equipped. Allelujah, piloting the Kyrios, arrives to aid the Colonel and saves civilians, but at the cost of revealing Gundam Dynames' Extreme Long-Range GN Sniper Rifle.

  • A break from the political nature of Gundam 00, this episode was a protracted rescue operation, and turned out to be less-than exciting compared to the other episodes. However, Allelujah's reaction with the super-soldier was fairly unusual, and I'm wondering how that element will be exploited by the HRL.

Seven Swords

The Republic of Moralia in Southeastern France (present day Principality of Monaco) and a member of the AEU, has placed the armed forces in joint exercise with French-led AEU forces, including Patrick Colasour with more than 100 mobile suits. Marina heads to France to request humanitarian assistance, despite the incomplete status of the AEU's Orbital Elevator. Meanwhile, Celestial Being's Gundam Meisters are led by Sumeragi Noriega and her crew, alongside Wang Liu Mei in disrupting the exercises, taking on both Moralian and AEU mobile suits. Setsuna is surprised when he takes on Ali Al-Saachez, a figure from his past, in a custom-made AEU Enact prototype.

  • Ian Vasti, Celestial Being's chief mechanic and version of Major Boothroyd (Q). He oversees the engineering and implementation of new equipment for the Gundams, and will react much like Q does should his gear be returned in anything less than pristine condition.

  • I'm impressed with how Celestial Being carry out their operations to such a level of precision and coordination. The Moralian operations are carried out by Celestial Being's tactians in the comfort of Wang Liu Mei's mansion, with the distinct feel of an RTS LAN party.

  • Exia deploying its new GN Blades to lay waste to enemy squadrons. All of the Gundams accomplish their goals with ease: Professor Eifman of the Union estimates the Gundams to be at least twenty years ahead of their Flags.

  • This episode is a lot more action-packed than the previous one, and while the intervention itself was unusual in objective, the introduction of Ali Al Saachez was rather surprising. Of course, I'll have yet to see what role this enemy plays in upcoming episodes. Of interesting note, he seems to be a better pilot than Setsuna.

Unrepayable Soul

The Gundam Meisters are able to defeat the Moralian Army, despite an earlier attempt by Setsuna to confirm if Ali was in the AEU Enact prototype that he fought with. Their actions forces the Moralian Armed Forces to surrender to the Meisters after the previous state of emergency is declared. While Setsuna is reprimanded by Lockon and Tieria for placing all of Celestial Being in danger for the potential of having their identities exposed, an unknown terrorist group simultaneously bombs various nations as a warning to Celestial Being, threatening more indiscriminate events unless the group disbands.

  • Setsuna locked in combat with the new model enact. During the middle of the battle, Setsuna exits his cockpit and confirms that his advarsary is none other than Ali Al Saachez. Timely intervention from Dynames forces Saachez to retreat.

  • Thanks to Sumeragi's planning and Veda's calculations, the Meisters can continue their mission. This shot definately counts as fanservice; in retrospect, the first season is particulary blatant about this, which seems to be an attempt to draw more viewers.

  • Kyrios in combat, while Virtue makes a sweep of the enemy in the background. Within five minutes, PMC Trust lost their remaining forces, exemplifying the power of the Gundams,

  • This episode reveals the rift developing between the Gundam Meisters. Despite his actions, Setsuna declares he will not be taken off Exia, no matter what. Tieria's brand of thought widens this rift, and this will possibly continue to be a theme/point of contention throughout the series. Veda may be a powerful AI, but it was not able to predict that at some point or another, tensions would arise in the Gundam Meisters.

Indiscriminate Retaliation

The Gundam Meisters are sent off to investigate the terrorists responsible for the indiscriminate bombings in the Union, HRL and AEU. In Scotland, Setsuna attempts to capture one of the bombers, but is nearly apprehended by a Scottish Authorised Firearms Officer after firing his pistol; thankfully, Marina Ismail intervenes and in their encounter, Setsuna reveals his identity as a Gundam Meister to Marina and his hatred to Azadistan for waging war on the Kurdish Republic. The Meisters launch attacks against La Eden, a European-based conservative party group, in South America and in the Marshall Islands, with Setsuna nearly taken out by a mobile armor after attacking a La Eden cargo ship, based on information leaked out in the internet network by France's DGSE, Germany's BND and the United State's NRO. Meanwhile, Marina heads to Finland as part of her journey to seek humanitarian aid for Azadistan when she encounters the Exia flying close to her plane.

  • While the Gundam Meisters are deployed towards various locations in the world to stop the terrorists, Feldt, Sumeragi and Christina decide to enjoy themselves on a tropical island.

  • Soon to be the catch-phrase of the series, "I am Setsuna F. Seiei. Celestial Being's Gundam Meister".

  • Exia disengaging its active camo before the mission begins. This is a rather impressive ability, although it is bound by the same rules as in other situations: the unit cannot move without the camo dropping. Celestial Being subsequently dispatches the terrorists with relative ease.

  • As promised, Lockon goes all out on the terrorists. I was rather surprised to hear that Lockon has a grudge about terrorists when Celestial Being could be seen as such, although we'll have to wait a little longer before we find out what exactly fuels these sentiments.

  • Marina realizing that Setsuna wasn't joking about being a Gundam Meister. This episode, aside from Celestial Being dispatching the terrorists, also opens the potential for a relationship between Setsuna and Marina. We've seen this in the opening, but now that they both know each other, the relationship's details may be known. However, it also illustrates that Setsuna is still quite impulsive, and their relationship is something that will require further elaboration.

A Powerful Nation's Dignity

It is four months since Celestial Being's first intervention and the Gundam Meisters have been involved in over sixty intervention operations. As the world begins to change around them, the crew aboard the Ptolemy and the Gundam Meisters have some time to themselves. Lockon and Ptolemy crew member Feldt Grace reveals Celestial Being and the Meisters have a far older history than it is originally thought. In Azadistan, a United Nations delegation is led by Alejandro Corner, who uses his UN envoy status to meet with Marina and other Azadistani officials. The HRL releases a web of comm detection devices to find the Gundams in space, catching the crew of the Ptolemy off-guard. Ill-prepared for the attack, the Gundams and the crew of the Ptolemy launch an offensive. Sumeragi goes up against Colonel Sergei accompanied by Soma in her Tieren Taozi and a battle ensues around the Solar Satellites System.

  • The other Lockon is none other than Neil's younger brother, Lyle. He is expected to play an important role in the things to come.

  • Saji meets Louise's mother for the first time, and for the most part, this felt more like a romance comedy more than anything. I'm supposing that her sudden apperance will make for something significant in the future, although for now, will induce some amusement when people observe Saji's reactions.

  • Soma looks quite ready to win this battle for the HRL, and with Sergei Serminov's excellent planning, Celestial Being is forced into a long battle of attrition. Kyrios soon runs into a minefield, and with Soma closing the distance, Allelujah is going to require a miracle to get out.

  • This episode featured a few interesting revelations about Lockon and Felt, namely that Lockon has a twin and that Felt’s parents were second-generation Gundam Meisters. In terms of the battle, it would have veenhaving the four Gundams all stay there to protect the Ptolemaios rather than employing fancier tactics. They're now in a situation where the Kyrios is in danger of getting captured. I highly doubt that Tieria will allow that to happen to himself or the Virtue, but he might be helpless if the target becomes the Kyrios. The preview hints at some hidden ability of the Virtue, and at this point, anything is possible...

Operation Gundam Capture

The HRL's operation against the Celestial Being continues. Allelujah again becomes disorientated by his proximity to Soma, resulting in the capture of the Kyrios. Tieria arrives to find the captured Kyrios within a transport vessel. As he attempts to destroy the vessel before it escapes, the Virtue is overwhelmed. Meanwhile, Allelujah's other half, Hallelujah, awakens and destroys the transport ship he is in, heading to face Soma and Colonel Sergei, but they escape. The battle ends, though a Pyrrhic victory for both sides, with Tieria revealing one of the Celestial Being's greatest secrets, the Gundam Nadleeh, and the HRL losing many mobile suits in return. With the near capture of Kyrios and Ptolemaios' close escape, Celestial Being is shaken to the core with the majority of its members saddened by the experience.

  • Gundam 00 is supposed to be serious, but Louise and Saji add a certain amount of comedic flaire to the show. The story shifts back to a more serious tone very quickly, as Allelujah loses conscienceness and Soma approaches the Kyrios with every intent of capturing it.

  • Kyrios is indeed captured, prompting Tieria to declare that Allelujah is unfit to be a Gundam Meister. He charges his GN Bazooka and prepares to fire on the carrier holding Allelujah, but Soma intervenes before that can happen. The HRL pilots swap priorities and go for the Virtue.

  • However, Tieria absolutely refuses to give in, and reveals the secret about Virtue: the hidden suit within called Nadleeh. He quickly destorys the remaining Tierens and then sinks into melancholy, having revealed a major secret about his Gundam.

  • Hallelujah's personality is very aggressive; he is willing to go as far to torture his victims before killing them. The latter part of the episode put the focus on Allelujah/Hallelujah, and all signs point to him having been developed by the Human Reform League using the same process as with Soma. That doesn’t answer the question of why there are two personalities inside of him though, and maybe next week’s Allelujah-centric episode will shed some light on that.

Allelujah

Allelujah decides to face his past and proposes a mission to destroy the facility where he was "created". Sumeragi accepts and launches the Exia and Dynames to attack South Africa as a diversion while the Kyrios and Virtue assault the HRL colony where the illegal experiments on children are conducted. Flashbacks of Allelujah's turbulent past is shown as he grapples with the decision to open fire on the experimental lab. Celestial Being then leaks information on the experiments to the media, turning it into an international incident and a public relations disaster for the HRL. Sergei becomes aware of the experiments and detains one of the scientists responsible, who also tried to cover it up. Kinue continues her investigation into Aeolia Schenberg, delving deeper into the mysteries surrounding Celestial Being's founder.

  • Tieria inside the Veda terminal. He acknowledges what happened with Allelujah and decides that if the latter is fit to be a Gundam Meister, he will have to deal with his past on his own. Notice how his eyes are glowing here, as they did when he activated Nadleeh earlier. This is kind of akin to SEED mode ^_^

  • Allelujah manages to put his past behind him for the time being, but it seems that his second personality will continue to manifest for a while (at least, every time Soma's around). In addition to that, one can't help but feel some sympathy for Sumeragi, because she doesn’t have an easy job and gets blamed when things go wrong, and alcohol seems to be the way she copes. The final exchange between her and Allelujah about the bitterness of alcohol makes me wonder what she’s gone through in her past. That’ll probably be the topic of a future episode.

Towards the end of Docterine

An Imam named Massad Rachmadi is kidnapped by an unknown militant group, which leads to riots in the Azadistani populations against the military called in to guard the city. Celestial Being and the Union Army begin to intervene when radical factions in the Azadistani military attack loyalist forces guarding the Solar Antenna to link up with the Orbital Elevator. As Celestial Being and Graham's forces grudgingly face off against rebel Azadistani mobile suits, Setsuna is forced to re-live the events of his traumatic past.

  • Violent protests erupt as a consequence of the government's responses: this episode (and the next) drop back into the political side of Gundam 00, showing the problems that are present today are extremely difficult to recitfy, even from the perspective of a powerful third party.

  • Lockon fares a little better than Setsuna against Aker. The first half in the Azadistan arc, this episode simple establishes the story for what is about to come. On another note, the fight between Graham Aker and Lockon was interesting to watch.

  • Setsuna’s final line reflects his desire (and failure) to become like the Gundam that saved him in his own childhood. The next episode will wrap up the remainder of this arc, so hopefully, everything gets resolved then.

Return of the Saints

With the whereabouts of Massad Rachmadi unknown, Azadistan falls into a state of civil unrest. Reviewing the previous battle, Lockon reveals the possibility there may be a third force aside from the Union-Azadistan forces and Celestial Being. After Setsuna and the duo of Graham and Billy investigate the possible site of where missiles had been launched by Ali, Setsuna deduces the location of where terrorist forces, led by Ali himself, are located. Setsuna and Lockon, with the assistance of Hong Long, attack the terrorist hideout. Setsuna manages to hold his own against Ali, who escapes from the battle, while Lockon and Hong Long utilizes the distraction to rescue Rachmadi. Deciding to display a show of bravado, Celestial Being authorizes Setsuna to deliver Rachmadi to the Azadistan royal palace with the Exia unarmed. Despite pressure from present Union and Azadistan forces, the hostage release is successful. Marina asks the pilot of Exia if he is truly Setsuna, to which Setsuna vaguely encourages Marina to take up the fight for peace in Azadistan. 

  • Aside from closing off the Azadistan arc, this episode puts Setsuna in combat with Ali Al Saachez for the second time. This time, he barely wins with the GN sword, and that hints at Setsuna's relative lack of skill at piloting. This arc expresses the unique political flavor of the series, which easily sets it apart from other universes, and having ended the episode on a positive note, I wonder what direction Sunrise will take now.

Morning of Determination

With the Ptolemaios undergoing maintenance, the members of Celestial Being take a short day off on Earth. Meanwhile, the Union, AEU, and the HRL holds a secret meeting to discuss plans for "Project G", a joint project of the three groups to try to capture the Gundams. From the public's point of view, it is a joint military exercise by the three groups. Information later comes in that the three armies will converge at a point in the Taklamakan Desert with a high risk of spreading nuclear radiation around the world if careful measures are not taken. Celestial Being decides to intervene, fully knowing the true objective of the enemy's plans and that they are extremely outnumbered and that they may not come out unscathed. Meanwhile, Setsuna takes a short detour to Azadistan to ask and listen to Marina's opinion of why the world is so distorted.

  • Something tells me that they're going to be preparing for a massive battle, introducing a large squadron of OverFlags. I daresay Joshua may do something worthy of Patrick during the next episode, but we'll have to find out then.

  • This isn't what I'd call the end before the end of the storm. However, I did enjoy a good laugh at this scene, with Louise and Saji providing much needed comedy. Setsuna needs to head off for his next mission soon after, defeating Saji's purpose of having him over to console Louise.

  • First introducing a new OP and ED, I am fairly impressed with the music and video these sequences have invoked. Generally, when a guy sneaks into a girl’s room at night, it’s usually not to ask philosophical questions and then leave before she’s done talking. While I was not really expecting any romance between the two of them since this hasn’t been that kind of show, this particular situation struck me as somewhat strange...

Broken Wings

As planned, Celestial Being begins their armed intervention in the Taklamakan Desert against a combined force of nearly a thousand mobile suits from the Union, AEU, and HRL. Immediately upon involving themselves, the four Gundam Meisters are attacked and faces a ruthless bombardment from the allied forces for more than fifteen hours with no food and water. Exhausted and pushed to the limit, the Meisters find themselves pitted against ace pilots sent from the allied forces, with the intent of capturing them. Outnumbered and overwhelmed, the Gundams are one by one disabled and deactivated, until only Setsuna remains. Just as he is about to be finished off by Ali, a mysterious mobile suit, emitting red wing-like GN particles, appears and drives the enemy away.

  • Dynames and Kyrios. After they intervene against terrorists attacking a nuclear store, they themselves come under fire and are forced to land.

  • Long-range Tierens open fire on the Gundams' positions. Despite being unable to penetrate the E-carbon armour, the combined efforts of the Union, AUE and HRL do succeed in wearing down each of the Gundam Meisters. Even Setsuna, who manages to leave the combat area, is intercepted by Ali Al Saachez.

  • Overall, "Broken Wings" serves as a great episode to remind people that the Gundam Meisters are not invincible, and also that the Meisters rely largely on a technological superiority to win battles. The introduction of the Thrones (those creepy units in the OP) is also made, and assuming from their particle colour, they can't be good...

Trinity

Three new mobile suits, piloted by the Trinity siblings, appear on the battlefield and reveal themselves as the Gundam Throne Eins, Zwei, and Drei. Caught off-guard by the new Gundams' sudden arrival, the Union, AEU, and HRL forces are decimated and retreats. In order to secure a route of escape, Gundam Throne Drei covers the entire region in GN particles, causing havoc with enemy communications and preventing a counterattack. After escaping from the Taklamakan Desert, the rescued Gundam Meisters are anxious about the new units and disturbed about not knowing of their existence. While world leaders despair at the appearance of the new Gundams, Alejandro Corner attends an anonymous conference with the other Celestial Being "observers" to review their activities and to discuss the acknowledgement of the Thrones. Aboard their spaceship, the Trinity siblings fly to meet the Ptolemaios and the Gundam Meisters.

  • Throne Einz- Specializing in long range combat and heavy demolitions it is piloted by Johan Trinity. He saves Tieria and Lockon before introducing himself as a Gundam Meister.

  • Throne Zwei- A unit designed for agressive combat at all ranges, it is piloted by Michael Trinity. The unit reflects his aggressive personality, and he relishes in demolishing the HRL forces.

  • Throne Drei- A support unit, it is piloted by Nena Trinity. Her 'stealth field' is a rather ironic system, resembling fireworks. However, it does get the job done, and finally, the Gundam Meisters are able to exit a mentally wearing battle.

  • Alexandro Corner, Observer for Celestial Being. This episode served to be much like a re-cap episode, retelling all the details of Celestial Being's activities. I am fairly impressed at how they integrated that into the story (unlike other anime, say, Ah! My Goddess, where the recap episode is simply done when the characters have nothing better to do), being framed as a discussion between the Illuminati-like Observer organization that Alejandro appears to be part of. From his development, he appears likely to be the eventual antagonist.

  • Celestial Being currently has too much power on their side, with no one to really oppose them. To balance out the plot, it's likely that the Trinity siblings will eventually have to fight Setsuna and company. It’s more a question of when, and I’m willing to bet that it’ll be sooner rather than later. For the short term, the Trinities have yet to meet the crew of the Ptolemios, and we are treated to a sweeping cinematic of the lower Earth as the two spacecraft meet.

Throne Storms

The Gundam Throne pilots, Johann, Michael, and Nena Trinity, meet with the crew of the Ptolemaios, and declare themselves as allies working independently of the current Meisters. However, they reveal little information about themselves and their Gundams, leaving the first meeting with strained results. Fortunately, Sumeragi has engineer Ian Vasty secretly inspect the Gundam Thrones. At the Union MSWAD base, Professor Eifman discovers the origin of the Gundams' GN particle technology, but before he can speak of Celestial Being's true intentions, the Gundam Thrones finds out about this and kills him; the base is completely destroyed in the process. Captain Graham and remaining members of the OverFlags soon arrive and engages the Throne Zwei, but the battle is concluded when pilot Howard Mason is killed. The Throne's armed intervention greatly concerns the crew of the Ptolemaios, leaving Setsuna to question whether the Trinity siblings are really Gundam Meisters.

  • The unpredictability of the Trinity siblings is very unsettling. Nena is playful, but she appears to be the kind of girl who takes what she wants, and she showed the dark side of herself when Setsuna didn’t acknowledge her. Johann meanwhile has that cold demeanor that makes you think he’d kill anyone without a second thought if he were ordered to, and Michael is clearly itching for a fight wherever he goes.

  • One of those few, rare group shots of the Thrones. Sure, destroying the base was enough, but the fact they came to kill off Professor Eifman sure seems suspicious. He was the closest one to finding out the source of the GN particles and the purpose of Celestial Being, but his murder makes it seem that either A) Celestial Being's intent is not to eradicate warfare or B) Laguna Harvey is a traitor and has his own intentions.

  • Howard Mason's Flag taking on the Zwei. He might've won, too, if Fangs (that's Fin Funnels, to all you Universal Century fans) haven't killed him. Mason's death will likely prompt Aker to do something more reckless in upcoming episodes, and the preview shows a Flag with a beam sabre. The direction the story is going is now an exciting one and coupled with how they’re developing it, I expect that it's only a matter of time now before Setsuna’s group is fighting them.

Speartip of Evil

The Gundam Thrones conduct over seven armed interventions, completely destroying military bases around the world. Their aggressive tactics forces Celestial Being observers and the Gundam Meisters aside and out of the forefront of battle. The crew of the Ptolemaios investigates the Thrones and their origins, including the possibility that the supercomputer Veda is hacked by an outsider to acquire the technology behind the GN Drive. On the civilian forefront, Kinue obtains a new lead in her investigation. An unprovoked civilian attack by the Thrones upon a wedding in Spain forces Saji Crossroad to race to Spain after good friend Louise is severely injured from the accident. In another armed intervention upon a Union weapons factory owned by Iris Corporation, the Gundam Throne Eins kills 800 innoncent civilians, infuriating Setsuna as he races off in the Exia to confront the Thrones, on grounds that they are supporting armed conflicts.

  • "Akuma da..."- Truely, this image of Zwei does make it look evil, reflecting on the nature of the Trinity's interventions.

  • Aker rushing Eins with twin plasma blades. This is one of the most impressive fights I've ever seen in Gundam: a technologically inferior unit overpowering a superior unit. Apparently, it got a crowning moment of awesome for Graham Aker.

  • Even though plasma blades can cut through e-carbon, Aker steals a beam sabre from Eins and cuts off its gun arm. This represents the first time anyone has done significant damage to a unit equipped with a solar furnace (even if Eins does have a fake one).

  • Possibly my most favorite shot of Exia, it is an awesome screenshot, capturing the intensity of the moment. Aside from the Gundam scenes, the emotion in the scene between Louise and Saji was exceptionally powerful. No left hand means that Louise can’t wear a wedding band, and so not only did the attack kill her parents and relatives, it took away one of the ways she could show her love for Saji. This is a personal tragedy aspect that this series hasn’t touched on much up until now (except maybe a little with Setsuna), and I’m very curious what direction they go with it. Saji and Louise have thus far been a few steps removed from the Gundams even as they suffer the consequences, and I wonder if this is the tipping point that causes Saji to join the military or something. For most, the more immediate concern is Setsuna facing all three Gundam Thrones, and given that Setsuna isn't the best pilot, the fight between him and the Thrones likely won't go too well for him.

 

Bonds

As Setsuna attacks the Gundam Thrones, he is assisted by Tieria and Lockon. Tieria reveals the Gundam Nadleeh's Trial System that can disable any mobile suit linked with Veda. However, the Thrones manage to escape after someone hacks Veda to disable the Trial System, while informing Lockon of Setsuna's status as a former child soldier of the terrorist organization KPSA, the ones responsible for the death of Lockon's family. Lockon confronts Setsuna, but his explanation of his past, as well as his conviction to end warfare as a Gundam Meister, defuses the situation. Meanwhile, Louise asks Saji to return to Japan to fulfill his dream as an aerospace engineer and to move on, while Kinue's new lead refers to the president of the corporation constructing linear elevators for the Orbital Elevators. Meanwhile, as Alejandro and Ribbons continue their agenda, the three superpowers, about to surrender before the Gundams, are contacted by a member of Celestial Being to reveal a facility in Antarctica housing 30 GN Drives. 

  • The Thrones actually have difficulty engaging Tieria and Setsuna, contrary to what I was expecting last week. Setsuna and Tieria employ standard formations to tire out the Trinities; once Tieria activated his Trial System, the battle looked like it was going to be a shoo-in for the Meisters, but suspicious tampering with Veda ended that.

  • Group shots of the Gundams. Of course, with Lockon there, the fight would've gone badly for Team Trinity, but they chose to do something dastardly...

  • This  episode took things in another tangent, working in Lockon’s back-story and tieing together with Setsuna’s. Now that I think about it though, that part wasn’t quite back-story since we didn’t even get to see Lockon’s family - it was instead more of a look at what motivates him. It was a smart move by Johann though - turning the Gundam pilots against each other - even if it only lasted a short while. The end result is that both Setsuna and Lockon have a reason to go after Ali Al Sarshes now, and the Gundam Meisters understand each other better too.

  • However, we get treated to an unpleaseant surprise. Not satisfied with the Thrones, Laguna sells GN drives to the three world powers, and it seems that the units will be rolled out shortly, as seen in the preview. Season one really picks up after this point, and with all the conflicts happening, one must wonder what the fate of all the parties are. I personally bet that someone will be killed off just to simplify things.

Blade of Revolution

The three superpowers unite to eliminate Celestial Being and form a combined military force under the United Nation's command. Each of the powers receives 10 of 30 new GN-Xs, GN-Drive powered mobile suits manufactured in Antarctica. Meanwhile, Kinue encounters Ali Al Sarshes and upon revealing her knowledge of her leads involvement with the Gundams, she is silenced for digging too deep. Wang Liu Mei throws her support behind the Trinity Siblings and Sumeragi tells Ian to retrieve the G.N. Arms. The Thrones attack an HRL military installation, but are forced to retreat when they are overwhelmed by the HRL's new GN-X squadron. Alejandro reveals his plan to overthrow Celestial Being, with Veda being his main obstacle. Landing in a secret facility on the moon, he and Ribbons accesses the room containing Veda's main supercomputer core.

  • Man, it must suck to be Saji: having lost his girlfriend and now his sister. Ali Al Saachez kills Kinue after she tries to interview him about Celestial Being, and from the looks of it, Saji develops a massive grudge towards anything to do with Celestial Being.

  • During an intervention at the Guangdong base, the new model suits with GN Tau Drives show up and crash the Trinity's party. These new units, while still techologically inferior to the Thrones, manage to make them retreat. For Colonel Serminov and Soma, this represents the first victory they've enjoyed against the Gundams.

  • So this is Veda...a Death-Star like structure. At the episode's end, my opinions are thus: Saji's harted of Gundam will intensify due to his losses, and the introduction of the GN-Xes will even out the battlefield for now. Until they face off against the true Gundams, we won't know how they stack up aginst units with true solar furnaces.

Road to destruction

Saji mourns the loss of his sister. Trinity launch a brief counterattack destroying one GN-X after their compound's location is revealed. The UN Army continues its assault on Celestial Being, attacking the Ptolemaios in space. Alejandro Corner learns that the GN-Xs were created by Laguna Harvey, who is later assassinated. The Meisters' units are out-gunned, and they struggle to defend themselves. During the battle, Alejandro accesses Veda and deactivates the Meisters' GN Drives, leaving them defenseless. However, Sumeragi activates a backup system and every unit except Virtue is able to reactivate. Seeing Tieria's crippled state, Patrick Colasour goes for the killing blow. Lockon manages to intercept the attack, but is severely injured. The battle ends with the UN Army retreating after losing two of their GN-X units, thanks to the timely arrival of the GN Arms. Meanwhile, the governments of the AEU, Union, and HRL consider the mission a success and begin their research into the mass possible reproduction of the GN Drive. 

  • Dynames and Kyrios again, taking on the GN-X squadrons. Both Lockon and Allelujah find it exceedingly difficult to get any kills, owing to the increased performance of their opposition. The battle goes quite badly, with the Gundams losing their connection to Veda.

  • Even in close combat, Exia has the same difficulty against the GN-Xes rushing him. During the brief period his OS is down, Setsuna experiences a vision of Marina, who tells him it's okay to stop fighting. Setsuna vehemently rejects this, going into a rampage against his opponents once his system reboots and managing to dispatch one unit.

  • Lockon sacrifices himself to keep Tieria safe, when the latter's OS does not boot properly. Coupling Lockon's near death with the fact that Lockon has the role of the older mentor character made it more likely that he’s going to die eventually, but it still seems a bit too early for that.

  • This was one interesting episode: the fact that out of all people, Patrick Colasour was the first to critically damage a true Gundam. Lockon appears to be injured quite badly, but he'll likely live. As for the other thoughts, it appears that Marina is the embodiment of Setsuna's inner desire to stop fighting. That relationship will have to be explored further later; it seems a little late to be making further character relationship developments. Also, it looks like the Trinity siblings or Ali Al Saachez will be terminated next episode.

Trans-Am

As Lockon recovers from his injuries, the UN Army announces its plan to destroy the Gundams, "Operation Fallen Angel". The HRL's Choubu Squadron continues to harass the exhausted Trinity siblings. Observing on Ptolemaios, the Meisters wonder if they must be destroyed to finally end war. Setsuna rejects this notion, stating that the actions of both the Thrones and the U.N. have only escalated the conflict, not solved it, and that the Gundams should stand for the eradication of armed conflict. Setsuna, wanting to learn the true purpose of the Gundams and following Lockon's suggestion that the HRL's attacks on Team Trinity require armed intervetion on Celetial Being's part, goes down to Earth with Lasse in the GN Arms. Meanwhile, Ali deceives Team Trinity and hijacks Throne Zwei after killing Michael, then destroys Throne Eins killing Johann along with it. Ali prepares to finish off Nena, but Setsuna arrives and engages in melee combat with Ali in the Throne Zwei. On the Moon, Alejandro gains control of Veda and discovers Aeolia in cryostasis. Taking out a golden gun, Alejandro fires repeatedly into the capsule, but his actions set off a system trap. The trap unlocks the 'Trans-Am System' on the four original Gundams, giving them access to the full power and capabilities of their GN Drives. Using the capabilities unlocked by the new system, Setsuna soundly cripples Throne Zwei, forcing Ali to retreat.

  • As per my prediction from last time, Ali Al Saachez walks in and cleans up the Trinity siblings, leaving Nena alive. He manages to hijack the Zwei and proceeds to curbstomp Johan, all while telling him that even though it's not personal, he's still enjoying it.

  • First things first. For those who still wonder what the Trans-Am system is. Here's your long answer:

The Trans-AM is a system that temporarily removes the 'limiter' on all the true GN Drives connected to the four original Gundam suits. With the limiter deactivated, the GN Drives are capable of operating at their full capabilities. Under normal operation, the GN Drives store large quantities of GN particles while continually generating new energy. When the Trans-Am System is activated, the GN Drives release all their stored energy and particles. The release of these stored particles causes the Gundams' armor to take on a reddish hue and will leave a trail of afterimages as they move. Speed, maneuverability, and weapon power output is increased more than three times during this period. However, this boost in performance is only temporary as once all the released energy and particles dissipate, the GN Drives must replace the spent energy. While the Gundams do not lose power in this recharge state, their performance is considerably less than their standard operating capability.

Aeolia Schenberg originally placed the limiters on the GN Drives because he didn't think it would be necessary to use the Gundams at their full power. However, he had the Trans-Am system installed in the Gundams as a contingency plan in the event that Veda was compromised or Celestial Being's plans were altered.

  • Okay. So this settles it: Ali is now the enemy, replacing the Trinities (in which case, I'm fairly surprised they only lasted a few episodes), and Corner looks like he'll play some kind of role soon, with his murder of Schoenberg. The introduction of the Trans-Am system unbalances life for the rest of the world again, but unlike previous hidden power-ups, this one still feels fairer relative to stuff like the Zero System. This all also means that the mystery behind Aeolia Schenberg’s has mostly been solved and I imagine that his image won’t be showing up much more now that he’s given the Gundam Meisters what looks to be a final present. There’s a certain irony in how he’s giving them more power to fight to get rid of war, but that’s something that’s been prevalent throughout this series. Moving forward, the bigger question is what impact this all will have. Nena probably has a good chance of surviving for a while longer since she didn’t die with her brothers, but I also can’t yet see her as one of the good guys. And while I’m curious to see what Graham’s Flag will be like with a GN Drive, the Trans-Am system means that Graham is still losing out in the arms race. There also remains the issue of Saji who appears to be creeping further along the path of the dark side, though that’s probably something that they won’t have time to really develop until the second half of this series. Regardless, Gundam 00 is getting more interesting with every week, and I can’t wait to see how this first half concludes.

The World stands Still

Nena Trinity mourns the death of her brothers. Alejandro Corner becomes agitated by Aeolia Schenberg's foresight to install the Trans-Am system. Ptolemaios' crew finish repairs to Dynames and pick up another GN Arms. The crew discuss the Trans-Am system, noting that the extreme boost in performance only lasts for a short time and drains GN particles at the process. While returning to Ptolemaios, Setsuna detects a UN assault force approaching the other Meisters. Allelujah and Tieria deploy in their Gundams and commence battle with the GN-X and Ali Al Sarches in Throne Zwei. The Gundams activated their Trans-Am systems and destroys several GN-X, but become overwhelmed when their systems power down. Dynames arrives with its GN Arms system and destroys more GN-X suits and two UN carrier ships, but Throne Zwei destroys the GN Arms. After a vicious battle, Dynames is severely crippled. Making Haro take Dynames back to the ship, Lockon abandons his suit to chase Ali, determined to avenge his family. Using an intact cannon from the GN Arms, Lockon destroys Throne Zwei but a shot from Zwei damaged the cannon. Floating in space, Lockon contemplates that he hates the current state of the world. Before Exia could reach him, the damaged cannon explodes, killing Lockon in the process. As the remains of Dynames approach Ptolemaios, with Haro repeatedly calling Lockon's name, the painful truth starts to dawn on the crew.

  • Allelujah activates Trans-Am to lay a sound beating on Soma and Colonel Serminov.

  • GN Arms Type D- Dynames' GN Arms, it is equipped with a GN missile rack, a folding double-barrelled cannon and twin GN cannons, bolstering Dynames' arsenels by a huge amount. Lockon uses it to sink two of the UN army's carriers before Ali Al Saachez joins the party, The special edition sees Lockon activate Trans-Am to annihlate the carriers, explaining why he wouldn't have used Trans-Am against Ali Al Saachez later on in the battle.

  • Lockon was winning the fight against Ali Al Saachez, but Daryll Dodge just has to rush in and ruin the moment. Lockon’s actual death was pretty sad but it wasn’t until the very end where the enormity of the emotions come into play. Partially contributing to that factor was how hauntingly powerful the sound of Haro repeating Lockon’s name was, and one must really applaud the production team for how good they’ve made this series.

  • Lockon's family. This scene was incredibly well-done, and I found myself with the appropriate emotions then. The only other anime to be this emotionally intensive, was Ah! My Goddess The Movie.

Endless Poem

Setsuna contemplates his memories of Lockon, who vouched for him when he first became a Meister. Tieria blames Setsuna for Lockon's death, but Sumeragi reminds him that their true enemies are still nearby. Meanwhile, having lost over half their GN-X and the Throne Zwei, Sergei suggests the UN force withdraw. However, UN headquarters reveals that reinforcements are coming and orders a second attack. Back on Ptolemaios, the Gundams undergo repairs and upgrades. Tieria suggesting they destroy all the pseudo-GN Drives so that they can resume their original plan. The rest of the crew contemplate their pasts, but an alarm signals that the UN forces have arrived. Alejandro Corner joins the UN forces in a large, golden Mobile Armor and fires a massive particle cannon at the Ptolemaios, which barely evades the blast. With Kyrios and Nadleeh protecting the ship, Setsuna and Lasse attack Alejandro but can't penetrate his GN Shield. Alejandro continues to fire on Ptolemaios causing massive damage. Tieria activates his Trans-Am system and destroys several GN-X, including Patrick Colasour's GN-X, but suffers extensive damage. A GN-X manages to approach Ptolemaios and fires directly into the bridge resulting in the death of Christina and Lichtendahl. Sumeragi, Ian and Feldt manage to escape in one of Ptolemios' containers. Lasse rams Exia's container into Alejandro's shield and breaks through. Exia and the GN Arms escape the destroyed container and charge back at Alejandro.

  • This was a rather heart-warming scene, with each of the characters discussing their own backgrounds.

  • The GN Container unleashes its missiles against the Alvatore, which projects a GN Field of extreme power. Below, the massive particle beam is as thick as the Ptolemios, thanks to the seven GN Drives powering the Alvatore. It becomes apparent that taking on the Alvatore is going to be no easy feat, as every method of attack Setsuna and Lasse have employed here being ineffectual.

  • Christina and Lichtendahl’s farewell/death scene was touching, but expected; something was going to happen to them as soon as they had the scene earlier in the episode when they all talked about their families, and fortunately, the writers didn’t kill off Felt too. In a way, you could say that this is a good example of how this series is different from Gundam SEED - no hugely overpowered mobile suits arriving just in time to save the day. Below, Exia rushing to take out the enemy. The final episode seems clear cut enough for us, with it being Setsuna vs Alejandro. With the way they've built the first season, I anticipate the final episode greatly; Gundam 00 is by all means an unconventional Gundam series, and as such, a plot twist may await us.

 

Setsuna

Setsuna continues to struggle against Alejandro's weapons and shield. Exia docks with the GN Arms and succeeds in destroying Alejandro's shield, but the GN Arms is destroyed in the process. Meanwhile, Sergei and Soma search for Kyrios. Allelujah wishes to know the meaning of their fight and unites with Hallelujah to face the two GN-Xs. Allelujah destroys Soma's GN-X and cripples Sergei, but does not finish them off when he recognizes Soma as someone from his past. With his mobile armor destroyed, Alejandro emerges in a golden mobile suit. Using Exia's 7 Sword System and Trans-Am, Setsuna bypasses Alejandro's GN Field and defeats him. Alejandro gets a message from Ribbons revealing that Alejandro was a pawn and that Ribbons is the true mastermind, right before Alvatore explodes. Graham then appears in his GN Drive-equipped Flag and engages the weakened Exia. Setsuna and Graham finally reveal themselves to each other and stab each other's suits destroying the GN Flag but only damaging Exia. On Earth, Marina reads a message from Setsuna questioning the current state of the world and how he hoped she'd help him learn the answers. Setsuna lies unconscious as Exia floats in space.

  • Words cannot really describe the battles above: one must see the episode to believe it. The battle with Alejandro turned out to be relatively straightforward, with him expressing a desire to control the reborn world. His death was actually quite amusing, with him puching the cockpit in response to Ribbon's response. This means that Ribbons will be the antagonist of the next half of the series. As for the fight between Graham and Setsuna, it felt somewhat rushed, although it does do the job of showing an intense rivalry between the two pilots.

  • Allelujah/Hallelujah proceed to utterly demolish Soma and Colonel Sermiov after combining into what he calls a true super-soldier. Meanwhile, Tieria ejects the GN drive to preserve Celestial Being's existance.

  • Marina in tears after reading Setsuna's farewell letter to her. He promises to follow his own path to understanding why humanity is always in a state of conflict.

Four years later (A.D. 2312), Saji writes a letter to Louise from space and says he is still waiting for her. He sees a GN particle trail in the distance and recognizes it as a Gundam. The UN has become the Earth Sphere Federation and all countries have disarmed and formed the ESF peacekeeping force. On Celestial Being's asteroid base, Ian talks with Wang Liu Mei about deploying their new Gundams. Liu Mei asks to see the 0 Gundam. The 00 Gundam, which Liu Mei says will change the world, is briefly glimpsed. 

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