The Infinite Zenith

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

Introduction

 

Four years have past since the final battle between Celestial Being and the UN Forces. Humanity, having established the Earth Sphere Federation, forms an independent security preservation force, Arrows, separate from the formal Federation army to further unify nations and the will of mankind. But the reality was the inhumane oppression of misuse of powers, doctrines, and ideologies in the name of unity.

Saji Crossroad has followed the path to becoming a space engineer to keep a promise to Louise Halevy, who is compelled to become involved in Federation government reform and joined Arrows as a mobile suit pilot during the four-year gap.

Meanwhile, Setsuna F. Seiei, surviving the final battle four years ago, saw the future of the world that had been changed by Celestial Being. With the defeat of guardian Alejandro Corner, he dreamed of a peaceful world without conflict. But before his own eyes, was the reality of the continuing strain on peace: the oppression caused by Arrows. He decides once more to fight with Gundam, the power with the potential to change the world...

That is the preview for the second season. It looks very promising, and I expect Sunrise to deliever very well. I especially am intrigued by the roles some of the characters will play, and the new 00 Gundam also will likely serve a major role. I will post summaries of the episodes here, along with some opinions of mine (which are underneath the screenshots).

Opinion

The second season made for a suitable sequel to the Gundam 00 universe. It had an excellent plot, realistic characters and of course, awesome Mobile Suits. While being far from a 'perfect' anime, the series itself delivered spectacularly with respect to the role of characters, and as always, by having excellent mobile suit combat sequences. The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger, but that is easily compensated for by the promise of a movie.

Throughout the entire season, one aspect stood out the most. Saji's character development was well executed: being a young naiveté in the early episodes, his desire to atone for his own sins eventually grow to an understanding of the meaning of 'fight', and as such, he begins serving as the pilot to 0 Raiser. However, some elements were resolved a la deus ex machina: that is, the Trans-Am burst. While it was clear that GN particles now had supernatural powers, it made the denoucement a little weaker than it otherwise might have been. Finally, the final fight was a very interesting symbol for the past and future. I've personally never heard of a downgrade during the final fight before, which is another example of how Gundam 00 has constantly broken the norms. Despite some characters being present simply to occupy plot elements, the character development was one such element that made Gundam 00 unique. The overall plot was actually very complex, exploring real-world political, social and economic issues (actually, most Gundam series do this, but 00 is distinctly post-9/11).

As my parting remarks, Gundam 00 was, taken together (both seasons) an incredible anime that was worth the time spent watching, as well as the time I spent in discussion with friends about the series. Gundam 00 does indeed have some flaws (weaker character development, the tendency to rely on deus ex machina to justify the outcome of a situtation), but aside from that, it is a very-well executed anime. Aside from the usual elements I usually judge an anime by (namely, plot, character development, art, voice-acting and music), one of the defining points about 00 was the incredibly complex themes, motifs and symbols that were present in the series. 00 also raised difficult questions about the matter of differing perspectives and goals, all of which merit further discussion. Simply put, Gundam 00 is an excellent series, highly recommended for both Gundam fans and anyone looking for a good story.

The Angel's Second Advent

The Earth Sphere Federation's independent security preservation force "Arrows", has been suppressing an opposition force called "Kataron", using inhuman tactics and extermination. Saji Crossroad has been working as an engineer on the "Proud" Colony, a space station under construction. When a coworker is discovered to belong to Kataron, Saji is arrested under false charges by Arrows and pressed into forced labor. Kataron forces mounts a rescue, but Arrows mobile suits appear with orders to exterminate the rescuers and all station personnel to cover up Arrows' forced labor operation. Setsuna F Seiei, infiltrates the colony during the battle and rescues Saji. Setsuna then engages the Arrows suits in Exia. Still damaged from its battle four years prior, Exia is no match for Arrows' new "Ahead" mobile suit. Setsuna is saved at the last moment by the appearance of Tieria in his new Selavee Gundam. Brought back to Celestial Being's new mothership, Ptolemios II, Setsuna is confronted by Saji who now knows Setsuna's identity as a Meister. Once again joining Celestial Being, Setsuna returns to Earth to recruit Lyle Dylandy as the new "Lockon Stratos".

  • The Exia after 4 years. It appears Setsuna rebuilt it himself, but due to the damages sustained in its last battle, it is nowhere near as effective as it was 4 years ago. Note the red eye where Aker's beam sabre pierced it and the cape (cool factor). However, the Ahead Setsuna is fighting takes out Exia's arms after cutting through the GN Blade with beam sabres. That alone is pretty impressive, as Setsuna was able to take on GN-Xes last season no problem. It also signifies the Ahead's awesome new capacities, and as if the remote automatons weren't enough, Aheads also seem to boast superior particle emissions.

  • Seravee; Tieria's new Gundam, it is more powerful than ever, and even without the GN Bazooka, it manages to force the Federation units to scatter. Seravee appears to have a head mounted on the unit, but until further notice, it is simply a particle emission system that appears to boost Seravee's combat capacity

  • Setsuna looking at the 00 Gundam. 00 Gundam is the unit to change the world...namely, the first unit to destroy an Ahead in combat. As Wang Liu Mei mentioned that this was the unit to change the world, and having confirmed that it has two GN drives, expectations for this unit to perform in combat are extremely high.

Twin Drive

After entrusting Lyle Dylandy with top secret information pertaining to Celestial Being's activities, Setsuna leaves to confront Sumeragi Lee Noriega. Sumeragi, consumed with guilt over the countless lives lost during the organization's military interventions four years earlier, has found refuge in Bill Katagiri's apartment and worsened her drinking problem. While contemplating the Gundams' reappearance, Marina Ismail is arrested by A-LAWS and imprisoned. Saji Crossroad is given access to Celestial Being's database and learns about the existence of the Throne Gundams. Wan Liu Mei, believing change can be obtaining by initiating and fueling conflicts, leaks information to both Ribbons and Celestial Being. As A-LAWS forces mount an attack on Celestial Being's ship, Tieria ventures out alone in Seravee to confront them. Setsuna, accompanied by Lyle and Sumeragi, witnesses the confrontation and boards the '00' Gundam, despite Ian's protests. Managing to activate '00's Trans-Am System, Setsuna defeats the A-LAWS' forces, forcing them to retreat. Sumeragi is reunited with the crew, who are shocked when 'Lockon' also appears. 

  • This is the 00 Gundam during testing: during development, it was found that not every GN drive could be syncronized, and that O Gundam would theoretically have the highest syncronization with Exia's drive in theory.

  • GN-X 740T- A new mobile suit derived in part from the GN-X series, which is used by the Earth Sphere Federation's elite A-Laws unit. Slightly larger than the GN-XIII, the Ahead boasts a pair of GN Thrusters mounted on either side of its GN-Drive, giving the Ahead greater maneuverability and speed than standard Federation mobile suits. It is equipped with a GN Shield and GN Beam Rifle. It also carries a pair of GN Sabers mounted in the shoulders.

 

  • Graham Aker, four years later. He's shown to be piloting a customized Ahead in the OP. Below, Marina Ismail is arrested for her connection to Celestial Being four years previously. The role she plays in this series is hoped to be a meaningful one, but we'll have to see...

  • The launch sequence of 00 Gundam is one of the most impressive I've ever seen in any anime, and that includes the launch of the Strike Freedom. The song that plays in the background, appropriately named "00 Gundam", is a truely heroic masterpiece that reflects on the potential of the 00 Gundam.

  • Setsuna does indeed get the first Ahead of the season; as well, here is a shot of 00 Gundam preparing to cut down the remaining GN-X III. Episode two mainly focuses on the launch of the 00, as well as Setsuna putting Celestial Being back together, most notably, Lyle Delandy and Sumeragi Lee Noriega. The only missing person is Allelujah, and the next episode is entirely dedicated to the rescue of this final Gundam Meister.

Allelujah Rescue Operation

Celestial Being descends to Earth to launch a raid on a Human Reform League-run prison complex in order to rescue Allelujah Haptism and Marina Ismail, but must fight against A-LAWs forces that have been deployed to back up the HRL forces in the area. With information from Lockon, Kataron guerrillas joins the raid to rescue their captured comrades. Setsuna.F.Seiei and Teria Erde launch in the 00 and Seravee, while Lockon (Lyle) pilots the Cherudium for the first time managing to destroy a enemey unit even though it was his first battle, Setsuna manages to get into the building while the Seravee covers 00, Setsuna frees Alleljah before procceding to free Marina. Before escaping the complex in the Arios Gundam, Allelujah encounters Soma Peries and reveals her real name: Marie Parfacy. With Allelujah freed, he pilots Arios suprising the enemy reinforcements with a new Gundam on the field: the Arios displays its power quickly destroying several enemy units. Setsuna then brings Marina back to the Ptolemaios 2.

  • 00 Gundam feels a great deal like the Exia now, with its shield and GN sword II.

  • Cherudim in combat for the first time. I was personally quite surprised (but impressed) that Lyle is actually a natural at piloting, and overall, the rescue operation itself was well exectued: it has the feel of a Gundam-style variation of the popular series Prison Break. In particular, Allelujah is back with Celestial Being, and of course, more light is being shed on his relationship with Marie. It appears that they were friends before being molded into super-soldiers, but Soma (i.e. Marie) seems to have had her memories wiped or something. At any rate, the relationship will be interesting as it is played out, but another relationship is being addressed for the time being: now that Marina is back with Setsuna, I wonder what kind of relationship will develop between the two. Next episode, it seems the Ptolemaios 2 is under attack, and perhaps we'll get to see an underwater battle between 00 Gundam and Federation forces. Also, the rainbow at the end was a bit much

The Reason to Fight

Marina speaks to Setsuna, Tieria, Ian and Lasse, thanking them for saving her while making a request for them to be bring her back to Azadistan when Tieria refused at first. On the way to Azadistan, the Ptolemaios 2 is attacked by an A-LAWs navy ship in an ambush and has deployed underwater mobile armor 'Trilobyte' to eliminate the ship. Setsuna, Lockon, Tieria and Allelujah have managed to defeat them, bringing the fight to the surface before Soma and The Masked Man intercepted Setsuna and Allelujah with their customized Aheads. Kataron mobile suits arrive just in time to drive back the A-LAWs ship. Marina and Shirin are then reunited. Meanwhile, Billy has been recruited as an A-LAWs MS development chief owing to his grudge with Sumeragi.

  • Sumeragi looking at a group photo of the former Celestial Being team

  • Setsuna and Aker having it out at each other after Setsuna completely destroys the Trilobyte Mobile Armour. This fight was a bit on the short side, as Kataron forces make trouble for the Federation soon after.

  • Setsuna reunites Marina with Shirin after the battle. Having seen the episode (which was fairly good), there are a few points that need to be addressed. Firstly, Lyle is quite the character (kisses Feldt and the resounding *slap!*). Also, with Marina and Setsuna simultaneously deny a relationship when asked, it seems even more likely something will happen. The suspense for the next episode is built further, with Saji visiting Sergi Serminov: I wonder that that is about.

Burning Homeland

Saji, unwilling to remain with Celestial Being or Katharon, escapes but is captured by an Earth Federation ship - Sergei interrogates him and releases Saji only when he can no longer guarantee Saji's safety. However, with the information Saji has disclosed, the A-LAWs launch an attack on Katharon's Middle East base with automaton droids, killing both guerrillas and civilians, which furthers Soma's doubt in the A-Laws' actions. Meanwhile, Setsuna escorts Marina back to Azadistan, arriving only to find the country burning and Ali Al-Saachez in the midst of it all.

  • Marina becomes acquitted with the children.

  • Arche 'Gundam', a new unit that's supposedly built from Throne Zwei. Rumours were that it salvaged components from Kyrios, although that theory has since faded away quietly. Details about its combat capacities are still unknown, but knowing that Ali Al Saachez pilots it, it will be a fearsome opponent to behold on the battlefield.

  • Group shot of the Gundams, with 00 being absent since Setsuna was delievering Marina back to Azadistan. This fight was one of the more intense, albeit short-lived ones, with Cherudim delivering a gun-kata against the automaton. The A-Laws here have shown us that they are willing to use any method to silence the anti-government forces, reflecting on how past regimes have resorted to immoral measures for their own sakes.

  • Azadistan being immolated by the Arche. This episode was a lot darker in nature relative to other 00 episodes, and while that illustrates the brutality of the A-Laws, it also forces Saji to take on a larger role now. He was, after all, indirectly responsible for causing all those deaths, and now, he must redeem himself. The children would've hopefully survived. On another note, the destruction of Azadistan was quite unnerving: how is Setsuna supposed to get out of that mess?

Scars

When the Meisters land at the damaged Katharon base, they are greeted with accusations and mistrust. Sumeragi faints after recalling a failed mission that resulted in the death of her lover Emilio, leaving the crew of the Ptolemaios 2 to protect themselves from another attack from the A-LAWs - with Allelujah and Setsuna facing off against Soma and Mr. Bushido respectively again. A guilt ridden Saji, found and brought back to the Ptolemaios 2 by Tieria, decides to help defend the ship as a gunner, hesitantly and unwittingly firing at a GN-X III piloted by Louise Halevy.

  • Sumeragi unconscious after a flashback causes her to faint. We know know that Sumeragi and Mannequin were both AEU commanders, and that a miscommunication caused them to engage in conflict, resulting in untold deaths.

  • A photograph of Soma and Sergi. Soma's (Marie) story is continunally developed, and it is getting rather interesting at this point. In addition, her personality differs from the previous season. While she was developed as a super soldier whose only intention was to fight last season, Soma has a much more vulnerable side to her to, for instance, unwillingness to participate in mass murder and a father-daughter bond between herself and Sergi.

  • Mr. Bushido and Setsuna slugging it out. If that's all Mr. Bushido is good for (i.e. fighting Setsuna), then his fate is pretty much sealed. This episode was alright- it developed the story further, answering questions from last season and developing the father-daughter relationship that is to be between Soma and Sergi. Saji's personal conflict causes him to pull the trigger against Louise, and it is unfortunate that they end it off with a cliffhanger (we don't get to see the shot hit or miss). Finally, Allelujah once again gets Arios trashed for the sake of recovering Marie. In essence, Allelujah can perform against any unit but Soma's. If one were to judge episode six by action, the last 6 minutes would be practically the entire episode. The story was pretty good, but Gundam 00 is a mech anime.

Reunion and Departure

To break his stalemate against Mr. Bushido, Setsuna takes an extreme risk by activating the 00 Gundam's Trans-am system in order to win. Soma's Ahead and the Arios are shot down and declared MIA as the Ptolemaios 2 is forced to retreat. Stranded and forced to face each other outside their mobile suits, Soma suffers mental attacks and reverts to her Marie personality from Allelujah's presence. Upon finding them, Sergei eventually decides to let them go and the two are rescued by Lockon. Meanwhile, Marina and Katharon learn the Federation intends to reorganize the Middle East and has dissolved all nations including Azadistan.

  • 00 taking the left arm of Mr. Bushido's Ahead. A random piece of trivia: Graham Aker is left handed. Anyways, it concerns me that 00 isn't fully functional yet, and the timing at which the Twin Drive system gave out was most unfortunate. Also, Mr. Bushido isn't a total jerk: it appears that he has adopted the Way of the Warrior, and thus, spared Setsuna on the grounds that 00 was not a perfect machine.

  • Barack Ginin does not share Mr. Bushido's code of honour, and led the remaining A-Laws to attack 00. Intervention from Kelidum and Seravee prevent 00 from concluding so quickly. Notice that the sniper rifle on kelidum can fold into a shorter three-barreled assault rifle. 

  • Allelujah and Marie talk for the first time after they are stranded on the island. Both come to terms with their pasts; it is in this scene that Allelujah's relationship with Marie is revealed. Now that Soma is 'gone', her character will be referred to as Marie (unless the violent side reappears, that is)

  • They came, they met, they what?! This was an entertaining episode on many levels, and it was rather surprising that Marie and Allelujah close up thier stories that quickly. The pace at which this was done suggests that there are still many other story arcs to cover, and next time, Tieria's past is finally discussed. The last thing about this episode was 00 Gundam: expectations have been rather high for a dual core unit to perform well, and as the unit malfunctioned after activating Trans-Am, one wonders what will happen later. Quite personally, I'm hoping they get 00 Gundam up to around 90-94% sycronized for normal operation and (just a pipe dream for now) at 100%, the unit disperses a wing-pattern of GN particles. Next episode promises to deliever: new units are rolled out on the side of the Innovators, amongst other things.

Pure Distortion

Tieria has his encounter with Regene, who tells him about VEDA and Aeolia. In a party with A-LAWs and Earth Federation officials, Tieria and Setsuna go undercover when Ribbons meets Tieria in a dance before telling the Gundam Meister privately that he had access to VEDA. Tieria finds out that he was supposed to be killed several years ago as part of aeolia's plan, and this force him to pull out a gun on ribbons, and a new renegade stops Tieria. Tieria and Setsuna retreat after the former was attacked with the latter being exposed by Billy as part of Celestial Being. Ali ambushes the two as they retreat in their Gundams. 

  • Marie explaining to Feldt that she's sorry for all that happened four years ago.

  • Louise and Setsuna converse after four years. Setsuna states that Saji is still thinking of her, and Louise simply responds that she does likewise, and how she is happy Saji is working in space. Before anything else, however, Billy comes in and just ruins everything.

  • The Arche Gundam with its Buster Sword. The unit apparently has similar capabilities as the Throne Zwei, carrying Fangs as well. This episode was mostly regarding Tieria's past, and detailed Aeolia Schenberg’s plan. Whether or not the Innovators are messing with it remains to be determined. Also, I still can't get over the fact that Tieria was capable of dressing in such a manner (*curls into a ball and starts shaking*). At any rate, the main focus is what will happen next time, when Setsuna and Tieria take on Ali Al Saachez.

Unforgotten Past

Setsuna and Tieria face off against Ali Al-Saachez’s Arche Gundam, but are sorely outmatched until Allelujah and Lockon arrive and drive off the Arche. Lockon learns the circumstances behind his brother's death and his motivations for fighting for Celestial Being. The Ptolemaios II move to return into space and the A-LAWs work to intercept them; the Ptolemaios' success forces Commander Homer Katagiri to accept the help of the Innovators to prevent any more sacrifices. Moments later, Sumeragi finds out that the A-LAW's captain know who she really is. In the end, Setsuna gets a new mobile armer which is said to "make the double 0 invincible".

  • Seravee getting trashed by the Arche. Tieria, out of his desire to avenge Lockon, attacks the Arche. Ali Al Saachez, however, has plenty of tricks (Fangs) up his sleeves. Setsuna fares a little better against the Arche, which appears to have weapons of superior specs, and Seravee loses its shoulder cannons, as well as the hidden arm it has (suggesting that Seravee has a unit concealed within) along with an arm. The battle, while short-lived, was intense. The timely arrival of Allelujah and Lockon save the two, and Saachez, being the coward he is, retreats. It is in this battle that Tieria reveals to Lockon that Ali Al Saachez was responsible for his brother's death, and the terrorist attacks all those years. Lockon simply responds that he respects his brother's desire for revenge, and that he (Lyle) wishes to fight not for the past, but rather, for the future. My respect for Lyle, accordingly, increases.

  • The Gaddessa's 'Mega-Launcher' is deployed for the first time, firing at the Ptolemios. Ptolemios II has Trans-Am capacity, and this moment was one of the highlights of this episode; Ptolemios II does better than its predecessor in that it actually can defend itself.Given that the Ptolemios' GN Field can stop such a shot, the Innovator's claims the Innovator's claims that their suits are more powerful than the Gundams are already voided. Naturally, if the Innovator's units were that awesome, the series wouldn't be called Gundam 00.

  • 00 Gundam unleashing its fury. In two shots, Setsuna manages to absolutely annihilate the A-Law's cruiser, which seems to me like an attempt to compensate for its weak performance early on. The episode picks up the action (unlike the last one) and follows through by introducing the 0-Riser for the first time, in addition to introducing Linda, Ian's wife. The 0 Riser is quoted to have the capacity of making 00 'invincible', and for once, won't remain one of those variants that are often very cool but not implemented in the series. On another note, Saji will pilot the 0 Riser.  New units are also going to be introduced next episode for the Innovators, and like old times, Mr. Bushido asks Billy to grant him a unit superior to any Ahead.

Light of the Heavens

Surviving Katharon guerrillas, including Shirin and Marina, go to negotiate with the Sairu Kingdom, the only country in the Middle East with considerable military power to oppose the A-Laws. Meanwhile, Sumeragi leads Celestial Being in returning back to their asteroid base, where Setsuna retrieves the 0-Riser. A subsequent test run of combining 00 Gundam's twin drive system with its Trans-Am system reveals the true potential of the unit. The A-Laws also begin tests on a new orbital weapon, the Momento Mori, and fires a particle beam on the Sairu Kingdom's capital. Due to 00's awesome particle emissions, Allelujah's Hallelujah personality returns and Marie senses that Sergei is in trouble. 

  • The Garazzo attatched to a booster unit that is very reminiscient of Strike's Booster. The second the camera took to the Garazzo's beam claws focusing on 00's GN Gun-Sword, I had a feeling that it would happen again. Garazzo seems to have technology derived off of Celestial Being (i.e. the GN Field), and quotes Tieria, "...overhelm(s) 00". For the long term, 00 has quite an expectation to fill: it is the namesake of the entire series, after all.

  • Mileina and Linda Vashti. The reactions of the Gundam Meisters and Sumeragi was rather amusing, and (this is strictly a personal opinion) it appears that Linda bears some resemblence to some of the Real Drive characters.

  • 00 and 0 Riser combine to form the 00 Riser Gundam. In this state, 00 has the capacity to emit over 290% of its projected particle emissions, and if this is the case, 00 will hopefully live up to its title as the "unit that will change the world". As for the rest of the episode, it was directed towards character development and the introduction of the Memento Mori (Latin for "Remember you are mortal")., an orbital super laser. I was rather suprised that a super weapon would be introduced this early, but 00 is an unusual series by Gundam standards. The next two episodes promise to deliver, and I greatly look forwards to it.

Voice of 00

Katharon guerrillas hold a meeting after the Memento Mori is fired at the Sairu Kingdom and begins to plan an attack to destroy the superweapon. Tieria, after witnessing the devastation, decides to tell his Celestial Being comrades about the Innovators. A-Laws forces led by Kati launch an attack on Celestial Being's asteroid base, killing some of the non-combat personnel. Setsuna fights Patrick and Tieria faces off against Bring while Lockon and Allelujah provide assistance to the evacuation ships trying to flee the fighting. Saji finds an injured Ian, who tells him about the 0-Raiser and how it has the power to save everyone when combined with the 00. Deciding to help Setsuna defeat the A-Laws, he pilots the 0-Raiser and combines with the 00, forming 00-Raiser, to defeat Barrack's Ahead. After Setsuna activates the Trans-Am system, he enters into a psyscape where Saji and Louise confront each other as they are shocked when they find out that they're on opposite sides of the fighting. 

  • Tieria decides to tell the rest of the Ptolemio's crew about the existance of the Innovators, and how that it was them whom were manipulating the entire conflict to begin with. Setsuna simply responds that they, as Gundam Meisters, will destroy the Innovators and the A-Laws.

  • 00 Raiser Gundam exhibiting its awesome capacities after Saji pilots the support unit to Setsuna. I was impressed that with some assistance from Pink Haro, Saji managed to get to Setsuna. Setsuna, being distracted by Andrei, simply slaps him and docks with the 0 Raiser. This sequence leads me to contrast it with the 'combine sequnece' from Gurren Lagann: which was fairly amusing, compared to the rather more serious tone of 00: both were pretty cool. If you have an HG 00 Raiser, you can pull this pose off, but only if the GN-Sword IIs are in rifle mode.

  • After hearing about Jinin losing his wife to a Kataron attack, I understand why he joined the A-Laws: out of desire to avenge her. This explains clearly why he percieves Kataron as such, and did not hesitate to destroy them (in episode 1). However, in his desire for revenge, he would ultimately be defeated by 00. I've learned an important lesson from Gundam 00: revenge is hardly the appropriate motivation for one to do something. Rather, Lyle's ideas are more appropriate: fighting now and doing your best for the sake of the future.

  • "Voice of 00" was one of the more action packed episodes, and while the beginning was a little weaker than usual, the latter was certainly awesome. I was surprised (yes, even though I saw the preview) that the A-Laws could attack CB's base. 00 Raiser's capacities exceeded anything I had predicted up until this point, and the scene between Setsuna, Saji and Louise was remniscent of the SEED Destiny ending. The episode lived up to expectation, and with the previews for the next one (including that shot of Ribbons looking like he was owned), the next few episodes will be where 00 really picks up.

Waiting in Space

00 Raiser's increased Trans-Am rate enables it to outclass and outmaneuver the Innovators' mobile suits, forcing them to flee in escape pods as their suits are destroyed. In the aftermath of the battle, Ribbons orders Revival Revival and Bring Stabity to capture the 00 Gundam as Saji, Louise, and Setsuna come to terms with discovering that Saji and Louise are now on opposing sides. When the Katharon forces attempts to destroy the Memento Mori, the superweapon fires in space and annihilates the majority of their fleet. 

  • 00 Raiser displays its full capacities against the Garazzo and Gadessa. It is in these moments that the Innovators realise that the Twin Drive system outperforms anything they have, and suddenly, we are introduced to the concept of capturing 00 Gundam. Both the Innovator suits had escape pods, which meant they survived, but as they haven't had much character development yet, either they will, or else they will be terminated to simplify things.

  • Momento Mori firing on the 2nd Cataron fleet, annihilating it. Lockon's expression near the end may foreshadow some payback next episode. This moment revealed that the Momento Mori can fire upwards as well as down; in the preview, we see the Ptolemios getting caught in the blast.

  • Setsuna's "I'm totally ready to whoop your arses, Innovators" expression. This episode was exciting in many ways, especially the 00 Raiser sequences. It was when Setsuna destroyed both Innovator suits, in addition to other A-Laws units, that I really felt Celestial Being had made a true return. The highlight of the episode, however, was the after-taste of the battle for both Louise and Saji. For Saji, he is determined to reunite with Louise, but refusing to fight to achieve his desires. On the other hand, Louise renounces Saji completely, concluding (incorrectly) that Saji was a part of Celestial Being. To this extent, she deletes all the pictures she had of them together four years ago. Based on her actions, it is likely that Saji will not get back together with Louise. That is just speculation, though, and before we see any more developments, we have next episode to look forwards to: the assualt on Momento Mori will be spectacular, and a new suit on the A-Law/Innovator side will be unveiled.

Offensive on Memento Mori

Katharon's offensive against the Memento Mori superweapon goes poorly, with A-Laws' superior units both nullifying the resistance's missile attacks and decimating their obsolete mobile suits. 00-Raiser's timely arrival saves the fleet from being completely wiped out as Setsuna single-handedly takes on the A-Laws forces and a new Gadessa, piloted by Healing Care. The Ptolemaios 2 approaches the Memento Mori head-on in its blind spot, but is soon forced into the path of the laser's firing path; however, the ship miraculously survives the attack by using Arios' Trans-Am to dodge, and ensures its safety with Cherudim's new Shield Bit system. Thanks to Nena Trinity's leaked information, Tieria's Buster Cannon and a precise hit from Lockon Stratos exploits a weakness in the Memento Mori and destroys the superweapon, taking Arba Lindt's life in the process.

  • This is perhaps the most impressive episode of Season 2 yet. Katharon stood little chance against the A-Laws, but Celestial Being sure as heck can pwn: Setsuna shoots out an Ahead here before it manages to destroy the Katharon command ship in a scene reminiscient of the other universes.

  • 00 Raiser engaging practically the entirity of the A-Law's fleet. This battle was very high paced and intense, and saw to the introduction of another Gadessa, this time piloted by Healing Care. She's rather arrogant, but then again, all of the Innovators are like that. 00's arrival is signaled by the use of a song we know quite well, and throughout the episode, songs from season 1 we haven't heard for a while are used. I suppose this is due to Celestial Being making its first true return from last season.

  • Indeed, Lyle does live up to his name as Lockon Stratos, and after Tieria clears the armour plating off the blind spot, he takes the shot and wipes out the Momento Mori. Aber Lindt dies here, and seeing as he served little purpose in the story, his death merely simplifies things. Note the awesome targeting screen on Cheridum.

  • As a final insult, Setsuna takes the arm off of the Gadessa. Epsiode 13 was most impressive, and for me, it was rather reminiscient of two instances: 1) the Rebel's run on the first Death Star and 2) Celestial Being from last season. Of course, thing have changed, but nonetheless, this episode was a fitting conclusion to the first half of the season. Episode 14 will NOT be released next week, but rather, on the 11th of Janurary.

Hearing a Song

After the Memento Mori's destruction, the Ptolemaios 2 is forced to descend to Earth. Separated from his comrades, Setsuna is lured by Ali Al-Saachez into a meeting with Ribbons, who reveals that he was responsible for saving Setsuna's life as the 0 Gundam's pilot and influencing Veda to ensure Setsuna would become the Exia's pilot. However, Ribbons now intends to claim the 00 Gundam as his own and has arranged for Al-Saachez to kill Setsuna. In a heated battle between the two, Setsuna manages to destroy the Arche Gundam with the 00 Raiser's Trans-Am system, but is unable to kill Ali himself when he hears Marina singing with the Katharon children. Meanwhile, the Ptolemaios 2 is attacked by the Innovators and in the ensuing battle, Tieria reveals the Seraphim Gundam hidden in Seravee and decisively defeats Bring Stabity. In the meantime, tensions between the A-Laws and the Federation Army continue to rise to the point of an emerging coup d'etat.

  • Ribbons said last episode "I'll make you repent for destroying Memento Mori". Moments later, a repaired Gadessa, another Garazzo and the Empress Mobile Armour knock the Ptolemios II from orbit, leaving Setsuna behind in orbit.

  • The debris in the background is actually some armour plating from Ptolemios II. Nena manages to find Setsuna (who charges his V-shots upon seeing her shuttle) and tell him that the crew are alright. It seems she still has a crush on Setsuna, but Setsuna's fate lies with Marina.

  • Lyle and Anew talking after their crash-landing. Ian's reaction after landing in what appears to be either the Swiss Alps or the Rocky Mountains (my guess would be the Alps, seeing as fewer of the mountains in Rockies are peaked like that) was rather amusing. On a more sobering note, Ptolemios suffered damage to its navigation systems, which means for the next few episodes, the story will focus on other topics (specifically, regarding the Meisters)

  • Arche and 00 Raiser Gundam facing each other in the sunset. I was rather surprised that Ribbons was the pilot of O Gundam, but it makes sense: at that time, there were no other Gundam Meisters. Ribbons claims that due to such circumstances, he should be the pilot of 00, which Setsuna refuses. In the upcoming scene, Setsuna engages Saachez, and very nearly defeats him (wrecking his suit). A song begins to play in his head, and Setsuna suddenly realises that it is Marina who is singing.

  • This is the alternate form of Seravee: the Seraphim Gundam. Unlike Nadaleeh, Seraphim does not appear to wield any additional weapons aside from two cannons built into its hands. Tieria, announcing he is human, destroys Bring Stability after a brief fight. This episode was a suitable start to the second half, balancing action with plot development. The song in the title refers to "Tomorrow", the song Marina and the children sing. It is now a matter of time before Setsuna and Mr. Bushido spar, as we see Masaurai being introduced, as well as the reinforcement that Billy now carries a grudge against Sumeragi. At any rate, Setsuna will sooner or later realise that it is not the suit, but the pilot, that wins the battle (fighting another suit with a possible Twin Drive configuration will make him realise a personal truth).

 

Victory Song of the Resistance

With assistance and supplies from Katharon, the Ptolemaios 2 is able to continue with her repairs in the mountainous region. However they are unable to proceed with their plan to break through the siege laid by the Federation, without the currently missing Setsuna and the 00 Gundam. In the meantime, a wounded Setsuna managed to fight off Ali Al-Saachez, but is forced to get medical help at Katharon's Suille base. There a surprised and worried Marina tended to his wound. The Ptolemaios 2 is forced onto the defensive by an overwhelming number of A-Laws mobile suits, and is surprised when the opposition, on the verge of victory, suddenly ceases their successful offensive and retreats. They learn later that a coup d'etat has occurred at the Africa elevator, led by Sergei Smirnov's old friend Hank Hercule. Setsuna, once learning the news, journeys to the elevator despite still being injured. Upon his arrival, Setsuna is confronted by Mr Bushido and his new machine. Although Setsuna has no interest in fighting him, Bushido forces the situation to a head when he demonstrates the Masurao's secret ability: Trans-Am.

  • Lockon re-appearing and telling Setsuna he can only change the way he feels about his past, rather than trying to change the past itself. Lockon has appeared for more than his quota of time now; while he does serve as a mentor-like figure towards the Meisters, this isn't exactly Star Wars.

  • I love this image's composition: Gundams launching to the backdrop of mountains. This fight was intense but very short-lived: the coup d'etat forces the A-Laws to withdraw, and following the introduction of the Empress mobile armour, that was a good thing.

  • Musarao with its Trans-Am system. This is Mr. Bushido's new suit, and it rather suits him better than his custom Ahead, being much sleeker and bearing some degree of resemblence to a Flag. Rumors persisted about him having a false twin drive system, but it appears this is the 'surprise' that Billy managed to integrate into Musarao. I've heard that this suit resembles some of the mecha from Code Geass, an opinion I agree with. This moment gave rise to the Trans-Graham jokes due to a mistranslation in the subs that BSS released >_<

  • This look is worthy of LeLouch from Code Geass, typifying Sunrise's recylcing of elements. Rather than taking away from Gundam, it actually is adds an amusing element. This episode exemplifies how Sunrise builds suspense in its episodes, and two elements are put forth: Setsuna finally realising that skill is above technology, and second, the coup d'etat sets the stage for what is rumored to be the destruction of an orbital elevator. Episode 16 airs the day I have my Black belt ordering exam, so I'll post the next episode after that is done.

Prelude To Tragedy

A-Laws attempts to retake the Africa Tower using assault automatons to kill both the rogue troops and civilian hostages alike, although the Innovators continue to manipulate the information released to the public in order to conceal the A-Laws' brutality. Meanwhile, Setsuna is locked into a heated battle with Mr. Bushido and his Masurao. Their battle is interrupted with the arrival of the Ptolemaios 2 and the remaining Gundam Meisters. After analyzing the unusual redeployment of Federation troops around the elevator, Sumeragi and Kati both realize, to their horror, that they are anticipating that the elevator will collapse soon and that A-Laws is planning on completely destroying the Africa Elevator. A renewed Memento Mori superweapon is then shown preparing to fire at the orbital space elevator.

  • Hank Hercules, the organiser of the coup d'etat, addressing the civilians in the Africa tower about the A-Law's actions. A fair two thirds of the episode focuses on this element, explaining how proper nations do not hide from the truth, and act honourably. I'm finished Social 30 now, so this part of the episode makes sense (some forums and blogs are saying that this was a detractor). Upon his meeting with Sergei, he explains that he had planned to release the civilians such that the public would be aware of the crimes the A-Laws have committed.

  • Between the two Federation colours GN-X IIIs, we see a Tieren All-Region. I was fairly surprised that Sergei would pilot that on his way to see Hercules, but I wasn't aware that the All-Region (actually a modified Taozi) possessed beam weaponry, in spite of lacking a GN drive. At this stage, it is entirely possible that it used condensers to power the weapons.

  • The episode is nearly done when we arrive at the fight scene between 00 Raiser and Musarao. The fight is rather short-lived, but that was a given ( A) it's not the end yet and B) Setsuna is injured). After the remaining Meisters come to Setsuna's rescue, Setsuna realises that he himself has to change before anything else can happen. That 'change' is likely realising that it is himself that makes his Gundam powerful, and not vice-versa.

  • Sumeragi's surprised expression, parallels my reaction to the introduction of a second Momento Mori. I was personally hoping for a new superweapon, but I guess with the A-Laws, they seem to make their purchases in bulk. At any rate, next episode appears to be the actual elevator drop itself, with the promise that Marie will pilot the GN Archer and the second Momento Mori appearing to get wiped out.

In the midst of Scattered Light

Despite the best efforts of the 00-Raiser to destroy the Memento Mori, the beam fired from the badly damaged satellite weapon was still sufficient to severely damage the elevator; pieces of falling structure begin devastating the surface below. The Gundams' efforts to destroy the falling debris were helped by the combined efforts of Marie's GN Archer, Katharon, the Federation army and Kati`s forces, after a desperate plea for cooperation was broadcast by Sumeragi from the Ptolemaios 2. Sergei was later killed by Andrei, who thought that he was in league with Hercules, the coup d'état leader, while Marie was too late to intervene and screams out his name in grief.

  • 00 Raiser manages to both destroy the Empress (killing Devine, effectively ending his desire for revenge) and damage Momento Mori all in one shot. Unfortunately, the laser still fires and triggers a collapse of the elevator's outer layers, killing a number of civilians. Arthur Goodman (the portly, blond guy) is turning out to be increasingly irritating, with his attitude towards human lives.

  • The GN Archer in action. Sources indicate that the GN Archer is modelled after Universal Century GM suits, with its visor and colour scheme. This is one more piece of evidence that Gundam 00 is adopting elements from other series.

  • Sergei and the Tieren All Region in action. This scene was most inspirational, suggesting that in the darkest of times, humans of all factions unite for a common cause.

  • Sergei's death was the most emotional moment of the entire episode. This moment exemplifies how feelings of anger manifest as such actions, and how people are driven to be the way they are due to their perception. Marie will likely be seeking to avenge Sergei after this (the preview hints it), but at the very least, there is consolation in the fact that Sergei is reunited with Holly once more.
  • The preview states that episode 18 will happen four months after the drop. During this time, the world is stated to have changed; the lives of the main characters also have changed a great deal. The relationship between Lyle and Anew seems to be picking up, and Marina is seen to be taking care of the children. She's very much a Lacus-like figure, raising another instance of homage.

 

Mixed Feelings

Four months after the destruction of the orbital elevator in Africa, the world is a different place. The AEU's elevator solar system is restored; Katharon is low on fighting strength and are being systematically hunted down; the Federation grants the A-Laws complete control over the entire military. Tieria suggests to the Ptolemy crew that this time they should carry out a mission to take back Veda. And for that purpose, Sumeragi designs a plan centered around capturing an Innovator. Meanwhile, Regene gives Wang the coordinates to Veda's core.

  • This time around, 00 Raiser demonstrates how to take out Momento Mori...the right way. I was very impressed at how even though this episode has fewer fight scenes, it compensated by building on the plot. I was, however, rather surprised that the Federation tried to pass off the elevator drop (now called the Pillar Break event) as an act of terrorism. So who owns the Momento Mori...Katharon?

  • Ribbon's arrogance surprises even Wang Liu Mei and Regene. I've been told that arrogance is always one's undoing, and it appears that future events are going to illustrate just that: it is Regene who will give Wang Liu Mei (and Celestial Being) the location of Veda, the supercomputer that Celestial Being seeks to assist their mission.

  • Marie is Soma again. In this image, she bears a great resemblence to Atris (from the Star Wars universe), and it is quite clear that she would like nothing better than to give Andrei the beating of a lifetime. That said, the relationship between her and Allelujah may shift somewhat.

  • Lyle is very straightforward with his emotions, leading to this scene here. The episode introduces Saji's raison d'etre, namely to reunite with Louise. Setsuna explains that rebirth can be gained from fighting, and that fighting does not necessarily mean taking up arms. The meister's launching sequence was rather novel: each individual states aloud his/her purpose for fighting:with Allelujah, Lyle, and Saji, that was Marie, Anew, and Louise (respectively), but for Tieria and Setsuna, it was Veda and Gundam (again, respectively). This episode simply illustrates that 'fighting' arises in many forms, and equally as many reasons. In the preview, Saji and Louise reunite for the first time in person, and according to (unreferenced) previews, 00 Gundam's true capabilities will be exhibited. They've said that a few times now, and I'd rather see Setsuna use skill rather than simply reliance on superior technology to win battles.

Shadows of the Innovators

In the course of the Ptolemaios II' encounter with an A-Laws task force, Revive is captured after his encounter with Tieria. Saji and Louise meet in battle, the two being transported to an alternate reality. While Sumeragi and the Meisters interrogate Revival, Anew reveals her allegiance to be with the Innovators and declares the hijacking of the Ptolemaios II due to Revive's presence after shooting her pistol at Lasse. Wang and Hong Long try to leave Ribbon's hideout, only for their ship to be shotdown by Nena with Gundam Throne Drei.

  • The opening battle is another brief one. Setsuna easily manages to disarm the Garazzo before rushing across the battlefield to find Louise. In some aspects, 00 Raiser's emissions do resemble the infinity symbol, and with the GN emissions being what they are, some unusual things happen. Hallelujah makes a true return (brutally taking out an Ahead), and Setsuna manages to stop Lasse from firing on Louise. I suppose the rumors were correct once more.

  • This was the most moving scene as of Season 2. Technically, Saji and Louise don't meet in person, as this is an elaborate illusion as a result of the 00 Raiser's GN particles. I look forwards to how the two will reconcile, but until then, Andrei is a barrier to that hope. Saji is willing to fight for the sake of reuniting with Louise, setting the table for what will happen next.

  • Betrayal! Team Change! Lost the Lead! This was perhapes the most surprising aspect: Nena shooting out the ship Wang Liu Mei is on. So it seems she still has the Throne Drei (if it hasn't been upgraded, it will be a joke compared to any of the units around), and she carries a huge grudge against Wang Liu Mei. On another note, Tieria manages to capture Revive Revival, and takes him back to the Ptolemios II. However, he isn't willing to talk, and Anew Returner also goes Team Change; she appears to shoot Lasse, and holds Melina hostage next episode. I'm hoping that's only because of her connection to Veda, and that she's not doing this of her own free will. Next episode releases after the written aspect of my black belt examination: I'll have to study hard.

Anew Return

After shooting Lasse and taking Mileina Vashti hostage, Anew works with Revive to steal the 00 Gundam and the 0-Raiser for Ribbons. However, Anew is unable to steal 00 when Setsuna and Lockon catch up to her, while Revive is forced to give up the 0-Raiser when he is outwitted. They manage to escape, and while Lyle resolves to defeat Anew, Setsuna assures him that he will shoot Anew instead if the situation calls for it. When Revive, Anew, and Healing Care return with new machines, along with Louise in her new Regnant mobile armour, Celestial Being must defend itself without the 00-Raiser. Lyle risks the near destruction of the Cherudim to get through to Anew and appears to succeed, but is caught off guard when Ribbons takes control of Anew. As she prepares to strike him down, Setsuna appears and shoots her as he promised. In a GN particle induced vision, Lockon and Anew share one final moment together before Anew's suit explodes and kills her. Back on the Ptolemaios II, Lockon takes out his feelings on Setsuna before collapsing in grief.

  • Anew's allegence is the most surprising one yet, but that was to be expected. However, her conflicting emotions mean that she is one of the more unusual Innovators: on one hand, she does try to make life tough for Celestial Being, but on the other, she does care for Lockon. Meanwhile, Revive is such a jerk. He takes O Raiser, and then shoots up the cockpit.

  • Anew's unit is called the Gaddess, a play on the word "Goddess". It is another Innovator suit variant, sporting the same frame, but with different colours. It is armed with the same hand-mounted beam vulcans as do the other suits, but possesses a sword of some sort, and Fangs, as well.

  • Both Lockon and Anew inflict damages upon one another, before Lockon disables Anew's unit and prys the cockpit open, asking Anew to come with him. Ribbons' actions here (by taking control of Anew) adds one more thing to hate about Ribbons, and Anew nearly manages to kill Lockon. Setsuna shoots out Anew before that happens in the Trans-Am Raiser, taking Lockon and Anew to the nether-region, where they reconcile before Anew's unit explodes.

  • Both Arios and Seravee combined cannot take on the new Regnant Mobile Armour (piloted by Louise). As mobile armours in the 00 universe are generally pyrotechnics, I hope that the Regnant gets destroyed as soon as possible.

  • Anew and Lyle reconcile before her unit explodes. While her death was impending (what with all the suggestions in the ED), it's surprising that she died so early. This leaves Lockon- it finally gives him a reason to fight the Innovators. As for Setsuna, I really hope Lockon doesn't take it out on Setsuna during a mission. Next episode, we look forwards to watching Setsuna take on Mr. Bushido again.

Door to Innovation

Setsuna and Saji head out to Lagrange 5 to locate Wang Liu Mei, who has. along with Hong Long, miraculously survived the attack by Gundam Throne Drei. Nena intercepts the pair and shoots Hong Long, who sacrifices himself to allow Wang Liu Mei to escape. Liu Mei encounters Setsuna, and after giving him the coordinates to VEDA, is killed by Nena as she tries to escape. Mr. Bushido takes the unmanned 00 Raiser hostage, revealing his identity as Graham Aker to Setsuna, and relinquishes the mobile suit only when Setsuna agrees to a duel against him. Louise, who had accompanied Graham, appears in her Regnant and kills Nena, finally avenging the deaths of her family and relatives. In the course of the duel, Graham and Setsuna appear to each other in an alternate reality due to the presence of GN particles. Here, Setsuna reveals his revelation: Aeolia Schenberg created the GN Drives and Celestial Being for the sole purpose of preparing all of humanity for innovation.

  • Revive lamenting that they were defeated that quickly by the 00. At this point, the Innovators notice that Setsuna is beginning to undergo 'Innovation', the process whereby his biological functions begin to take on Innovator-like properties. The flashback was rather amusing: Healing and Revive were defeated by a single shot, and then Setsuna manages to easily distract the Regnant before shooting Anew. Note that the Innovators no longer have the same air of confidence as they once did.

  • Wang Liu Mei gives Setsuna a parting gift before she is killed by Nena. While both Wang Liu Mei and Hong Long had very little character development and were killed off rather unceremonously, it is possible to deduct why Wang Liu Mei was the way she was: it appears that Wang Liu Mei was made head of the family due to Hong Long's incapacity to assume the role, and that she resented the stress of being in this position. By changing the world, she likely believed that she could lead a simpler lifestyle...Wang Liu Mei isn't evil, just selfish and distorted by her own goals. I would suppose that her 'redemption' comes in the form of her giving Setsuna the coordinates to Veda. 

  • The Throne Drei quickly becomes the Throne Tin Can as a consquence of not having any upgrades since season 1. Just from this image, it looks like Louise tore the Drei apart manually, but Gundam 00 isn't like Neon Genesis Evanganlion. Louise easily destroys Nena and 'avenges' her parents, but reverts to a child-like persona afterwards, a result of her realising that even though she's done it, she can't bring her parents back from the dead. She lapses into an unstable physcological state after, and with what has happened, the only thing that seems likely to bring her back is 00's capacity to form a GN Quantum Space.

  • Unlike Musarao, the Susanoo actually has beam weapons, and fires a blast at Setsuna here.

  • This is the surprise we've been expecting: that Setsuna attains Innovator-like traits. His fight with Mr. Bushido is incomplete at the episode's end, with another one of these SEED-like scenes happening. However, 00 justifies them by using GN particles as the medium to start these, while in SEED, I'm not quite sure how it works. This episode was late in coming out, but it was worth watching: the series has overall maintained a very intense pace (unlike last season), but things look to be intensifying further. In the preview, we see Mr. Bushido looking none too well off, as well as new gear for the Gundams, including the new GN Gun-Sword III for Setsuna

For the sake of the Future

The duel between Setsuna and Graham ends with Setsuna emerging victorious. However, he chooses not to finish Graham off and leaves. Setsuna and the others soon review Wang Liu Mei's information and determine that a fierce battle against A-Laws will ensue as they journey to Veda's core at L2. For this battle, Arthur Goodman has assembled a fleet of 21 ships and 108 units to crush Celestial Being once and for all. Initially, A-Laws is met with heavy resistance from Celestial Being in the form of new weapon upgrades for their Gundams. However, with GN particle disruptors forming an anti-GN particle cloud across the battlefield, the effectiveness of Gundams' beam weapons is reduced greatly. A-Laws soon breaks through their defense and only an intervention by Katharon at the last second saves the Ptolemaios from destruction. Furthermore, in a reversal of fortune, the coup d'etat forces under the command of Kati Mannequin and led by Patrick Colasour attack and the A-Laws fleet is thrown into disarray. Soon after, Goodman is killed when his flagship is shot down by the 00 Raiser. Meanwhile, Ribbons intervenes in Regene's plans by reading his thoughts, but ends up taking a bullet to the head. With Ribbons seemingly dead, Regene prepares to put his own plans into motion.

  • Graham Aker at Homer Katagiri's dojo (or home). We know why he believed in Bushido now: he wished to achieve the pinnacle of human existance and devoted himself to a cause he thought would help him attain victory.

  • Setsuna emeerges from the battle victorious, in spite of having lost his GN-Sword IIs. The fact that they can be joined to become a double edged sword is quite interesting. Setsuna manages to catch and tear apart the Susanoo's blade, before destroying the unit's shoulders. Once the head mount came off, the unit's head was a Flag's head. Setsuna chooses to spare Mr. Bushido, who questions his own existance, and decides against committing suicide.

  • The A-Law's fleet. Some of the Aheads here are shown to be armed with missile pods, and once Setsuna destroys the 'bait' vessels, the wisdom of having melee and physical-round weapons becomes clear: the vessels were filled with an anti-beam substance, and the subsequent battle occurs in the absense of beam-based weaponry. An Ahead manages to reach the Ptolemios' bridge, but before any damage is done, the Katharon forces come in and save the day. I've looked forwards to a Katharon victory for a while now, and we are treated well: a large number of A-Laws units are destroyed by missiles and linear rifle rounds. Arthur Goodman deserved that death: what a coward, trying to flee the blast.

  • The O Gundam in the preview in action. Patrick Colasour fights the A-Laws with the coup forces and Katharon. Patrick proves himself to be the ace he was, and easily takes out an Ahead. This was a memoriable episode for a few reasons: Katharon wins for once, Ribbons has a clone army (Star Wars, anyone?), Kati is now sided against the A-Laws, and (spoiler warning), Ribbons is shot in the head. It certianlly builds for the finale episodes yet to come. We see in the preview that Ribbons is still around, and the RX-78 *cough cough* O Gundam makes an appearance. On a note completely unrelated to Gundam, my shodan exams are over.

Flower of Life

After dealing with Regene Regetta's treachery by having Ali-Al Saachez shoot him, Ribbons Almark reveals his massive colony ship, which he claims is the place where Aeolia Schenberg created Veda, the original GN Drives, and the Innovators. The colony fires a massive particle cannon and destroys most of A-Laws fighting combatants. Celestial Being launches an assault on the Innovator's colony ship and are countered by an army of Bring Stabity and Devine Nova clones, all piloting Trans-Am equipped kamikaze units. In the ensuing battle, Patrick Colasour sacrifices himself to defend Kati's ship and the Seravee is completely disabled by Healing Care and Revive Revival in their newly Trans-Am equipped suits. In the meantime, Setsuna and Saji confront Louise and Andrei; after disabling Andrei's Ahead, Setsuna moves in on the Regnant and Saji contacts Louise. The Ptolemaios II manages to enter the colony under cover from the Arios and GN Archer, but the ship is quickly infiltrated by hordes of automatons. Lockon fights a losing battle against Ali-Al Saachez in his rebuilt Arche Gundam, while Soma's GN Archer runs out of particles and is hit by an Innovator kamikaze. Sumeragi takes a gun and heads out to face the automatons swarming the Ptolemy, but is shocked to find they were accompanied by Billy Katagiri, the supplier of the Innovators' Trans-Am systems, who then pulls a gun on Sumeragi. Inside Veda's core, Ribbons is shocked that Tieria managed to survive Seravee's near-destruction and is now facing him, to which Tieria then pulls a gun on Ribbons.

  • 00 Raiser proves to be a formidable force. I've noticed the Meisters have shown a dramtic improvement of the late; they're pwning the A-Laws like they were with the power blocs like last season. The Katharon and Kati's forces also clean up nicely. But then guess who crashes the party...?

  • It's none other than the Innovators. This is their base, and personally, it looks like a modified version of the Requiem superlaser from Gundam SEED Destiny, which is probably another homage (or possibly lack of creativity). The large ring to the right is where a super-laser is mounted, and Ribbons uses it to wipe out the A-Laws' fleet, along with a bit of Katharon's fleet. Celestial Being, of course, mounts an infiltration strike.

  • Clearing the assault turrents off the surface of the Celestial Being vessel is rather easy, but an unexpected force soon enters the fray.

  • Billy Katagiri beside one of the 'Gaga' units: this is what the clone army Ribbons built will pilot. These suits are a mockery of Gundam: they're merely kamikaze units with Trans-Am. On another note, Gaddessa and Garazzo units have Trans-Am too. It was only a matter of time before this happened, but it is an insult to see the system (ironically planned as a system to help the Meisters) used in such a fasion. If Ribbons really wanted kamikaze force, smart missiles with Trans-Am system would have sufficed: the American Army has JDAMS that function at around the same level, and their weapons are around 400 years before this.

  • A rebuilt Arche takes on Cheridum in the tunnels leading into the core of Ribbon's base. The Saachez-Lockon matchup was an unexpected twist: Lockon doesn't seem to be performing all that well. Marie and Allelujah are also slowly being overwhelmed, and Seravee was trashed. 00 is the only unit that is still unharmed, but that's a given, seeing as it's more advanced and powerful than anything else. I'll do the first bit of my little opinion speech now: this was a very action-packed and riveting episode overall. Stuff was happening all over the place, and with the finale in mere weeks, I have high expectations for Sunrise to end the series with a BANG!

  • I'm just as surprised after seeing the preview. I was saddened to see Patrick go, but then angered by the fact that Billy carries grudges like that: Heck, even I don't do that. Maybe Sumeragi can take down Billy with some gun-free techniques. The preview shows that the major characters are still alive, and that "Setsuna becomes an Innovator". I'm also willing to place a wager on team-changes by two people...but that's for us to see later. One final note: the use of the song "Take Off" was very well executed: I'm impressed by how the sights were integrated with sound

Beyond

The battle between 00 Raiser and the Regnant ends when a Gaga attacks, destroying the Regnant. Subsequently,  Setsuna tells Saji to take Louise somewhere safe. In Veda's core, Ribbons refuses to accept that he is only an imitation of the Innovator ideal and shoots Tieria. However, Tieria uploads his mind into Veda and, along with Regene Regetta, fuses with it. Tieria then activates the Trial System of Seraphim and effectively halting all of the GN Tau Drive equipped mobile suits. During the battle between Setsuna and Revive and Healing, Setsuna hears the other Meisters and Ptolemaios II crew and realizes that are close to death. In order to save them, a hidden onboard feature, the Trans-Am Burst, activates forcing Revive and Healing to retreat when the system's GN particles disrupt their quantum brainwaves. Afterwards, Setsuna enters Veda's core to find Tieria dead and no sign of Ribbons. Meanwhile, Lyle finally gains the upper hand in his battle against Ali Al-Saachez and finishes off the Arche Gundam. When Ali escapes, Lyle pursues him and shoots him with Anew and Neil in mind. Ribbons, refusing to let his plans fall apart, reveals his own mobile suit and takes out the Seraphim before facing Setsuna in the 00 Raiser.

  • This image really gives you a sense of scale in the size of the Regnant. Louise refuses still to believe that fighting won't solve anything, She uses her electrified wires to pull in 00 Raiser, and physically grabs 00, saying that she'll committ suicide to achieve her objective. Before that can happen, a lone Gaga strikes the Regnant and wrecks it (kind of ironic, really).

  • Louise looking a lot like her old self here. Earlier, she tried to kill Saji in the same way Soma tried to kill Allelujah. Both times, they succumbed to visions and reverted to a kinder personality. As awesome as having Louise back is, the similarities between the two are an indicator that Sunrise may be slacking. Whatever. Saji and Louise can share the future now, and that's one more thing done.

  • Setsuna on his way to find Veda. The 00's rainbow particle burst was all out fireworks, putting new motivation and life into Celestial Being. 00's ability to do such a thing can be considered 'hacks', and indeed, we've seen people complain that this capacity is supernatural; for the time being, the powers that be will accept that as Sunrise already emphizised that 00 had that kind of power, that's fair and thus, voiding any complaints viewers may have.

  • Tieria regains control of Veda and activates Seraphim's Trial Field. Prior to this, (and kudos, well, actually, a standing ovation to Sunrise), we see the Seraphim activate using a red cross. I've been itching to see if Seravee/Seraphim could use it, and I wasn't disappointed at all.

  • This episode is beyond comprehension, and yet, I find words for it somehow. It's not even the finale yet. I was very impressed at how all the elements were integrated together (a bit of dues ex machina, with due respect), and how Sunrise explores the theme that understanding each other is crucial to progress. On a broader level, if humans did understand each other (which, understanding is a broad concept on its own), we wouldn't have the need to wage war. The final episode is due next weekend, with Setsuna and Ribbons facing off. This last battle's mood is reminiscient of the Harry Potter vs. Voldemort fight. In both cases, the protagonist and antagonist achieve a state of incredible power. The protagonist stumbles upon it, while the antagonist is willing to kill for it. Veda was somewhat of a Horcrux for Ribbons, and now that it is back under Celestial Being's command, Ribbons, in a sense, lost it. The final fight between the personification of good and evil is highly anticipated, and like Voldemort (who without his Horcruxes, is stil very powerful), Ribbons is expected to be a powerful enemy, even without Veda. Enough of the comparisons: I do look very much forwards to its release next weekend!

Rebirth

During the final confronation between Ribbons and Setsuna, the 00 Raiser is heavily damaged by Ribbons. The other Innovators mount an attack on 00 Raiser, but assistance from the other Meisters even the odds. In the ensuing chaos, Allehujah and Hallehujah work together to defeat Hilling Care. Lockon brings himself to the verge of destruction, manages to kill Revive Revival. Eventually, Ribbons and Setsuna damage each other to the point where neither one can continue fighting. However, Ribbons manages to steal one of the 00's GN Drives, which was 0 Gundam's, and places it in the abandoned O Gundam. Setsuna, in turn, takes the other GN Drive, which was Exia's, and installs it into the rebuilt Exia. The battle continues, culimating when Ribbons and Setsuna simutaneously run through each other with their swords Once the dust settles, Setsuna emerges the victor. In the epilogue, the Federation undergoes reforms as its new president disbands A-Laws and pushes for better global peace; Saji and Louise rekindle their relationship; Allelujah and Marie have left Celestial Being to search for the meaning of their existence; Andrei Smirnov stays in the military to preserve peace like his father and mother; Patrick Colasour takes Kati Mannequin's hand in marriage; Klaus and Shirin work as politicians in the Federation Assembly; Marina returns with the children to lead a rebuilt Azadistan; Graham Aker is seen visiting Billy Katagiri in his office; Lockon and Setsuna leave with Celestial Being for what is presumably Jupiter and Tieria merges with Veda to watch over the world.

  • What a powerful ending to an incedible series. The final battle between Setsuna and Ribbons was intense, but both units wrecked each other a little early: the rumours I heard about Ribbons managing to steal a GN Drive and forcing Setsuna to go back to Exia were true. The battle with Setsuna and Ribbons in Exia R2 and O Gundam, respectively, was symbolic of a circle (a very clever concept): all things have an end and a beginning. There was an almost ironic tone to the battle, as well: Setsuna takes on the machine that saved his life. After all that happened, Ribbons deserved that death.

  • Hallelujah seems to be the life of the party He and Alellujah make an appearance to totally waste Healing Care; with the pincer weapons, no less. Lockon has proved himself as a true Gundam Meister, taking down Revive Revival after using Trans-Am to surprise him.

  • The epilouge is reminiscent of Code Geass- it shows all the characters living their lives: Marina assumes the role of the Princess of Azadistan once more (I can't believe the Palace survived intact), Kathy and Patrick get married, and Louise and Saji get back together. Everything seems nice and happy, although it felt a little rushed and incomplete. However, we see the Ptoleomios head towards Jupiter, with the promise that a movie will be released in 2010, which, despite being a long ways off, will compensate for the ending (in fact, it's more than likely that the ending was done the way it was because of the movie). This gives us yet something else to look forward to, as the movie will spawn another wave of mobile suits, and a few albums (the OST, as well as some of the songs). Until then, I suppose fans are left to pick up the pieces and speculate about everything to their heart's content, although be forewarned: even the fans with a respectable GPA can certainly be wrong, so do not take everything you hear with a grain of salt!

Infinite Zenith