Five years later and the world has one again gone to hell. Now the Meisters must fix their mistakes.
What They Say The year is 2312 A.D.; four years after the United Nation forces destroyed Celestial Being. Thanks to the actions of the now-missing Gundam Meisters, most of the world's nations have been unifi ed under the Earth Sphere Federation. But this world is still full of confl ict, and an autonomous peacekeeping force known as the A-LAWS employs brutal tactics such as the use of murderous automatons in order to suppress all resistance to the Federation government.
It is time for the Gundam Meisters to make their second advent, and their new objective is to crush this formidable force of global oppression. Setsuna reappears with his battered Gundam and joins forces with Tieria, who has been working with the remnants of Celestial Being to create a new series of Gundams using their precious solar reactors. As they try to recruit a new member and rescue an old comrade, a revolutionary new machine known as the 00 Gundam is about to awaken.
The newest incarnation of the legendary Gundam saga moves into its second season, with an even bigger bang of futuristic action and powered-up animation!
The bilingual presentation for Gundam 00 is about what can be expected with the series as it works well with the action, music and dialogue but nothing that truly stands out. The two audio tracks are done in a stereo mix encoded at 192kbps and there are some decent areas of directionality across the forward soundstage, but most of it is fairly straightforward and almost a little pedestrian. Gundam is a show that I really wish Sunrise would do some 5.1 work with in Japan since it is a marquee title, but they continue to skimp on that area like so many others. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and the music, particularly the opening and closing sequences, make out the best overall with a full dynamic feeling to them. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2008, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This set is made up of seven episodes done in a four/three split which gives it a good amount of room to work with and they have really good materials in their hands. Unfortunately, some of the show at times just doesn’t look as good as it should. There are noticeable moments of line noise during panning sequences that seem stronger than some other shows and there’s a softness to a lot of scenes that feels out of place. By and large the series looks good, lots of vibrant colors and good fluidity with the action sequences without any break-up, but it also doesn’t feel as sharp and strong as it should either. The softness sometimes leads to some mild noise and blocking in the backgrounds but this is few and far between. Overall there’s a lot to like here, the opening sequence alone shows that, but there are a few smaller areas that really don’t shine as well for such a marquee title.
This two disc edition is in a single sized keepcase which doesn’t have a hinge inside to hold one of them. The Earth bound side of the series gets their time to shine with this cover as it features Setsuna as the central focus with his Gundam behind him. They've changed up the background a bit by making it white here which makes it very stark compared to the bland covers of the first season. The back cover is very, very text heavy as it has a length rundown on the premise of the show and a full listing of the episode numbers and titles alongside the basic DVD features. There’s a very small strip of just five shots from the show before it shifts over to the discs extras, production information and a good technical grid. There really isn’t a lot here used to sell the show with actual material from the show, instead it tries to push the marquee name itself, some familiar artwork and a lot of text to cover the premise. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for Gundam 00 changes things from what we saw in the first season, though I’m not sure it’s better since it has so many different colors and no clear theme to it. The background is a hazy piece overall that has the look of a V to it while the foreground has a block where action clips from the show plays along the left. The center has the navigation selection which each selection being a different color which feels pretty garish. The right has one of the logos from the show itself while the top has the series logo with the season two tag. It just doesn’t feel like it comes together well and almost feels like it’s being done by a fan group if anything. Submenus load quickly but I was disappointed to see that the discs didn’t read our players’ language presets and defaulted to English with no subtitles.
The Japanese commentaries continue to be the big draw for this series as we get two more on this set with episodes one and three receiving them. The new opening sequence gets a clean version here as well as the return of the Tactical Forecast video that we saw on a lot of the first season. The big extra here, which is on the first volume, is the Trajectory of Angels episode. It's essentially a recape of the first season done as a full length episode that runs just under twenty five minutes. It's definitely useful if you've been out of the show for a bit and want to catch up on things.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a successful first season of the Gundam 00 series, the second season takes the down ending of the first and runs with it pretty well. The first season of the series didn't work all that well for me on a few levels so I went into this season without any serious expectations. While I had a lot of friends that loved this show when it first aired, the characters haven't done much for me nor did the introduction of the Thrones and their game changing moves. The second season seemingly offers more of interest though in these first seven episodes that it managed to keep my attention a whole lot better and made me want to see where it would go from here.
Like a lot of Gundam shows, this one kicks off with a change in the time frame as we're now bumped up five years from the first season. The world has changed a great deal as the Federation has now put into place a new group to deal with the trouble of the world called the A-Wals. This group is outside the normal military system and the conflict easily with the regular military when the two sides come into contact. Brash and full of themselves, they have no issues in using their power whenever they want to in order to get their point across. Through the use of this group, much of the world is in fear as they and the government behind them sets to putting the world on a course they can control. So much so that they are actively dismantling entire nations in order to rebuild them for better use.
While the world has certainly gone to hell in different ways over the five year period, the former Meisters have gone even further. Those who have survived have gone their own ways but there's still the desire among most of them to realize Schernberg's dream. What's really driving events though, as seen through Setsuna who starts the season off by rescuing Saji Crossroad from LaGrange 4 where he's been accused of being an anti-government supporter of the group Katharon, is the desire to make amends for what went wrong before. The Thrones not being part of the real plan is something that has weighed heavily on Setsuna's mind and now he intends to correct things since their plans threw the world into such disarray. And to do that, a lot of those from the past that are still alive must be gathered.
A lot of that re-gathering of forces is pretty interesting as we see the diversity of those who now fight on the Meister's side. Saji's journey with Setsuna is interesting as he's definitely got a grudge against the Meisters for his losses but he's forced into a position of being with them for awhile. He also ends up causing a whole lot of harm on innocents before he realizes he mistakes which proves to be a very difficult moral issue for him, one that leads him to even more dangerous situations that puts his principles on the line. The other character that I liked seeing brought around again was Sumeragi. With what happened five years earlier, she's spent a lot of her time out of the way hiding and drinking herself into a hole, staying with people she can lose herself in. Being dragged back into the game is a hard thing for her and she refuses it, though Setsuna has a creative way of bringing her back into it. There are shocks for her along the way too, especially the discover of a new Lockon who looks exactly like the previous one through a rather predictable angle.
There are a few stories that play out here as we see the rescue of Allelujah from prison, which also brings Marina back into play as well. For the last several years, both have been held separately in the same prison and the breakout of one leads to the other as well. Marina brings us a more human element as she's wants to bring some kind of peace to the world but wants to start with her home country of Azadistan. The real fun though is the continued storyline between Allelujah and Marie as the two end up back in each others orbits. The two of them have a lot of past together that's been undefined and we start to see their first meetings and how they ended up as badly off as they are with the split personalities each has. The most fascinating was seeing the reality of what happened to the young Allelujah after he and others escaped the institution and before he was picked up by Celestial Being. Brutal moments of reality for him and the others there that have certainly shaped his personality ever since.
The first season of Gundam 00 had some good moments to it but it failed to really capture my attention as an overall body of work. It felt too haphazard and like they were making it up as they went along. This season so far feels a bit more defined with the opening episodes as there's a general plan of how to get everyone back together so they can correct what went wrong when the Thrones showed up. It also works better in that the young characters are now five years older and it makes them look more dangerous, more attuned to the situation rather than kids running around in places that really don't fit them. Young characters are long a staple of the Gundam franchise and many others, but when they all look so pretty as well it tends to make it harder to really connect with. So far this season has started off pretty well and it has me hoping that we'll get a much more enjoyable story this time around.
Features Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Trajectory of Angels / Audio Commentary Episode # 1, 3 / Promotional Video: TacticalForecast / Textless Opening
Special Edition Extras: Gundam 00 Second Season Manga Vol. #01
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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