November 16, 2002

Surprising Quality

I've been avoiding the new Gundam series (Seed) for a while, mostly due to the fact that, from what little I know about it (five young male pilots, another Char wannabe, obvious shounen-ai subtext between main character and an enemy pilot), it seemed like it was going to be another dissaster (see also: Gundam Wing), further bringing into question why I continue to love the Gundam series (see also: 08th MS Team, 0083 Stardust Memory). Well, after watching the first four episodes, I have to say that it's actually... quite... good.

The setup so far has been (more or less) ripped whole out of the original TV show, which is not a bad idea (you could do a lot worse for inspiration, after all). We have a neutral colony, a main character who wants to stay out of the war but is dragged into piloting the Gundam in order to save his friends. We also have the top-secret new ship White Ba- er, Archangel, which has lost most of its crew and ends up being partly staffed by the friends of the main character. We also have the Char wannabe, although this one is doing a much better job so far than Zechs ever did.

As for what's different, we have Coordinators instead of Newtypes, whose ability is genetic modification rather than ESP. In addition, there's now only two pilots, including one with a type of bits system (standard Gundam says only Newtypes, or in this case Coordinators, can control those, but I'll let it go, partly because it seems likely that the pilot is actually a coordinator himself and possibly the brother of the Char wannabe (yet another similarity to the original, if it pans out)). Of course, we also have the five gundams instead of one, and the fact that his best friend is on the other side, and he has his powers from the beginning rather than slowly developing them.

It's a little early to say how the whole series will turn out, but so far it's been pretty nice. The only real problem for me is the return of Gundam Invincibility Syndrome (also known as the Wing phenomenon). Damnit, gundams survive because they have slightly better armor, exceptional maneuverablity, better accuracy, and more powerful weapons (the one-hit-kill-even-against-a-gundam beam cannons) than their enemies, not because they can absorb infinite amounts of bullets! Attacks are wildly innacurate across the board, as they're all small machines flying around a really big space really fast. The original gundam lost arms and legs all the time before Amuro started to get really good, and Uraki had his gundam completely dismantled by only a couple of shots because he decided to be an idiot and take the thing out before it could move right. And now I'm going to stop before I rant even more about old Gundam shows. Anyway, Seeds invulnerability isn't quite as bad as Wings, so I'm willing to forgive it for now. Of course, like wing, the invulnerability is a bit hazily defined, so I'm not entirely sure how good it is. Oh well, we'll see as the show goes on.

Besides, the whole thing is done digitally and the fights are extremely well done so far, so at least that part beats Wings stock-o-vision fights hands down. And I can forgive a lot of flaws if a series has nice, pretty mech fights (see also: Full Metal Panic).

Grr, I just realized two things. First, I spent most of this post complaining about Gundam Invulnerability Syndrome, which I promised myself I would STOP DOING ALREADY! Second, my first paragraph has more words in parenthesis than not. Neither is a very good sign.

Posted by David at November 16, 2002 01:43 PM


Yeah, I have to say, despite the poor naming of the series (gundam seed?), I have been enjoying this show more than I expected. So far it feels like a good all around action series.

Posted by: gregory at November 16, 2002 05:41 PM

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