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Episode 1: Celestial Being

 

Review by Chris Guanche

October 7, 2007

 

Summary

 

In the year 2301 A.D. the world is still consumed by war. In the Middle East's Krugis Republic, a group of guerillas attempt to fight off several Anf mobile suits. A man declares that they are fighting a holy war against the nonbelievers who defile God's land. As he dodges the gunfire from the Anfs, a young guerilla named Soran Ibrahim thinks to himself that there's no God in the world. An Anf closes in on Soran, but it's suddenly destroyed by a beam shot from above. The other Anfs are also destroyed, and Soran watches in awe as the mobile suit 0 Gundam descends with wings of light protruding from its GN Drive. Six years later, the Advanced European Union (AEU) conducts a mobile suit demonstration at a training ground near its orbital elevator. Test pilot Patrick Colasour attacks various stationary targets with the new transforming AEU Enact. In the crowd, a man named Billy Katagiri comments that the Enact is the AEU's first solar-powered mobile suit. A man named Graham Aker wonders why the AEU is only producing mobile suits when it's behind on the construction of its orbital elevator. Billy asks Graham if it's ok for him to be there, and Graham answerss that it isn't. Billy tells Graham he found out that they're planning to announce a new mobile suit before the Human Reform League's 10th anniversary celebration of their elevator's completion. He figures it must be the Enact, which he dismisses as a ripoff of his own design, the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations' Union Flag. Just then, Patrick gets out of the cockpit and shouts out that he heard that comment. From above, Setsuna F. Seiei (aka Soran) descends in the Gundam Exia and begins spreading GN particles. He locks onto the Enact and announces that he's beginning the first phase of the operation. AEU radar officers pick up the Gundam Exia, but they're unable to identify it. Setsuna then lands near the Enact and turns to face it. An officer in the crowd attempts to contact Patrick, but he can't break through because of the interference. Another soldier orders everyone to peacefully evacuate. Patrick gets back into the cockpit, and the officer wonders what he's doing. Another man tells him that the Enact's value will now rise because Patrick is their ace pilot, despite his personality issues. Patrick boasts that he's the AEU's ace pilot and pulls out his sonic blade to attack the Gundam Exia. He rushes toward the Gundam Exia, but Setsuna uses his GN sword to cut off the Enact's left hand. Patrick then fires his linear rifle at point blank range, but Setsuna dodges and cuts off the Enact's right hand and head. Graham grabs a pair of binoculars and sees the name "Gundam" written on the Exia's forehead. Setsuna takes off to begin phase two, and three transforming AEU Hellion mobile suits launch and give chase. In space, the Celestial Being ship Ptolemaios receives a status update from Setsuna, and captain Sumeragi Lee Noriega drinks some alcohol to celebrate their debut, to the chagrin of tactical operator Christina Sierra. The transforming Gundam Kyrios, piloted by Allelujah Haptism, is loaded onto the ship's catapult and takes off. Elsewhere, a party is held at the HRL's orbital elevator station Pillar of Heaven to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Young celebrity Wang Liu Mei has a drink, and her servant Hong Long informs her that it's begun.

 

Back on Earth, Setsuna flies near the elevator and comes under attack from the three Hellions. He fires back with his GN rifle and disables one with his sword, but five more approach from above. On the ground, Gundam Dynames pilot Lockon Stratos is informed by his robotic assistant Haro that enemies are approaching. He uses his sniper rifle lockon to target the Hellions and snipe them from below. Lockon takes out six Hellions, and Setsuna dispatches the last one and says that the second phase has been completed. Back at the training ground, Graham and Billy sit in an SUV. Billy asks Graham if he thinks that event shows the AEU's firepower, and Graham says if they're willing to go beyond the treaty to get more powerful weapons, it was a display of power. Billy asks Graham why he thinks that, and Graham suggests he ask the terrorist Gundam pilot. At an HRL orbit station, radar officers pick up four custom Hellions approaching and straddling the station's energy shield, which destroys one of them. The station's Tieren Space Type mobile suits prepare to launch, and officer Sergei Smirnov complains that these things happen because the AEU keeps selling weapons to third-world countries. The Tierens launch to intercept the Hellions, but they have trouble locking on because the Hellions are hiding behind the station's ring. The Tierens close in and open fire, and two of the Hellions fire three large missiles at the station. Just before the three missiles hit, Allelujah arrives and destroys them with his beam submachine gun. They then turn their attention to him, and he takes out two of them. The third continues forward for a suicide attack, and Tieria Erde's Gundam Virtue appears in front of the station. Tieria destroys it with his GN cannon and announces that the third phase is over, and Allelujah comments to himself that Tieria overdid it. A JNN news crew at the party captures the incident on film. In Tokyo, a JNN broadcast reports that several terrorist mobile suits attacked the Pillar of Heaven station and were destroyed by several unknown mobile suits. Student Saji Crossroad and his girlfriend Louise Halevy watch the report on TV, and JNN announces that they have a video from the group behind the mysterious mobile suits. In the video, an old man named Aeolia Schenberg announces the existence of Celestial Being, a private, armed group that possesses the Gundam mobile suits. He announces that the group's goal is to eradicate war by initiating armed intervention into any conflict. Sergei wonders if the video is a claim of responsibility. In the hospital, Patrick is furious that these are the people who made him suffer. JNN reporter Kinue Crossroad has a flash of recognition when she sees Aeolia. In Azadistan, Princess Marina Ismail comments that they're trying to stop war by starting another one. As Billy and Graham drive through the desert, Graham laughs at the idea of using force to stop war. A man named Alejandro Corner tells his assistant Ribbons Almark that the reformation of man has begun. On the Ptolemaios, Allelujah says that he can see the evil of the world, and Tieria states that humanity is being tested by Celestial Being. On Earth, Lockon tells Setsuna that they've picked a fight with the entire world, and Setsuna answers that they're Celestial Being's Gundam Meisters.

 

Commentary

 

The latest Gundam series kicks off in a somewhat different style from previous shows. Thankfully, we see neither the tired cliche of the Gundamjack or the accidental civilian pilot, nor is this a war between space colonies and an oppressive Earth government. In this world, three superpowers vie for control with their orbital elevators. We're first introduced to Setsuna as a child soldier, and he witnesses the appearance of a mysterious Gundam that very much resembles the original RX-78 Gundam. Thankfully, the mobile suit designs in this series are a welcome departure from the mediocrity of Kunio Okawara, who's basically been redesigning the Gundam F91 over and over for the last 15 years. The character designs are a bit on the feminine side, but that's to be expected from Yun Kouga. There's a lot of stuff that's breezed through here with a large cast of characters introduced, but the groundwork has been laid for an interesting story. Aside from Lockon, the rest of the Gundam Meisters come across with the same emotionless personality, so hopefully that'll change over time. Patrick is an egotistical enemy ace, and I can already see him going down the path of the loser nemesis, joining the ranks of Jerid Messa and Cronicle Asher. Graham comes across as rather mysterious and interesting. Many people across the world are surprised by the contradiction of Celestial Being's intention to stop war with force, so it'll be interesting to see how they actually do that, or if that's their true purpose. Up to now, 00 has been frequently compared to Wing, and although I can see the vibe of "Gundam pilots vs the world," I'll have to see more before noting more similarities. So far, we're off to a good start here.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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