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Gundam 00 Special Edition I: Celestial Being

 

Review by Chris Guanche

October 7, 2015

 

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. Inside the cockpit, pilot Ribbons Almark sees Soran looking up at him as though he's God. 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. From above, Setsuna F. Seiei (aka Soran) descends in the Gundam Exia and 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. On the ground, Gundam Dynames pilot Lockon Stratos uses his sniper rifle to target the incoming Hellions and snipe them from below. In space, the transforming Gundam Kyrios, piloted by Allelujah Haptism, attacks terrorists attempting to sabotage the solar energy system. Tieria Erde's Gundam Virtue appears in front of the station and destroys the final attacker with his GN cannon. In a video released worldwide, an old man named Aeolia Schenberg announces the existence of Celestial Being, a private, armed group that possesses the Gundam mobile suits. He declares that the group's goal is to eradicate war by initiating armed intervention into any conflict. In Azadistan, Princess Marina Ismail comments that they're trying to stop war by starting another one. As pilot Graham Aker and engineer Billy Katagiri drive through the desert, Graham laughs at the idea of using force to stop war. 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. In a city, a man named Alejandro Corner tells his assistant Ribbons that mankind's reformation has begun, but Ribbons thinks to himself that this is the start of his revisions to Aeolia's plan. Later, Setsuna and Lockon take off for their next mission and are joined by Allelujah and Tieria, who descend from space. The Meisters fight multiple Tierens, and Setsuna declares that he's a Gundam and will cut through the distorted reality of war. After the mission, Setsuna flies off and is attacked by Graham's Union Flag. Setsuna drives him off and in a later mission faces off against Human Reform League ace Sergei Smirnov. At a Union base, Graham, Billy and Professor Leif Eifman discuss Aeolia, who lived in the 21st century and advocated for solar power. Eifman thinks that Celestial Being is acting like they want the world to destroy them. Setsuna sits alone in a park and is approached by his neighbor Saji Crossroad and girlfriend Louise Halevy. Saji watches the news on his phone and complains that Celestial Being is making the world worse. Setsuna thinks to himself that they have to fight until the world agrees with them.

 

Ptolemaios captain Sumeragi Lee Noriega, Feldt Grace and Christina Sierra arrive at Wang Liu-Mei's mansion to run the next operation. The Gundams reach the mission starting point and engage Moralia's PMC Trust. Lockon fights off multiple Hellions at close range at an airport, while Tieria uses his cannon to sweep blast another squad. Patrick rushes in to attack and barely avoids being destroyed by Tieria. Setsuna uses his GN sword and beam sabers to singlehandedly destroy multiple Hellions. He's then attacked by Ali al-Saachez's custom AEU Enact. Setsuna recognizes Ali from his moves and recalls how he was brainwashed by Ali to kill his own parents. Setsuna repels Ali and then sends light signals for Ali to exit his cockpit. They both do so, and Setsuna is shocked when he sees Ali's face and pulls out a gun. However, Lockon fires a shot between them, which allows Ali to escape. After the battle, Lockon punches Setsuna in the face and demands to know why he revealed himself to enemy. Setsuna refuses to answer, so Tieria pulls a gun to shoot him and stop him from ruining their mission. Setsuna draws his gun and says he won't give up being a Gundam Meister. Allelujah notes that the quantum computer Veda chose them all for a reason, and when Tieria asks what Setsuna's reason is, he answers that his existence is the reason. Three months later, Sergei addresses his troops in space ahead of an operation to capture a Gundam. Sergei is introduced to his new subordinate, a young girl named Soma Peries who is an artificially enhanced super soldier. Sergei is able to use the Ptolemaios' GN particle communications interference to locate the ship and deploys a large number of Tieren Space Types to attack it. An unmanned Laohu ship closes in at high speed and is destroyed by Lockon. Christina panics under pressure until Feldt calms her down. Sumeragi thinks about the enemy deployment and recognizes it as Sergei's attempt to capture a Gundam. Allelujah is lured into a minefield and feels pain in his head when Soma's Tieren Taozi approaches. The Gundam Kyrios is captured in nets, and the quantum brainwaves cause split personality Hallelujah to take over and go berserk. Hallelujah toys with Soma, which causes Sergei to order a retreat. Having been artificially enhanced by the HRL, Allelujah undertakes a mission to destroy their research center. He feels pain from the voices of the other experimental children and fires his missiles, killing them all.

 

On Earth, Setsuna rents a taxi and chases some terrorists after they commit a bombing. The police stop Setsuna on the highway, which is where he crosses paths with Marina. Setsuna and Marina debate Celestial Being's armed interventions, which she doesn't approve of. He points out that Azadistan destroyed the Krugis Republic, and she wonders if he's going to assassinate her. Setsuna says that killing her wouldn't change anything and reveals that he's a Gundam Meister. For their next mission, the Meisters intervene in Azadistan to prevent a civil war from flaring up. The mission takes Setsuna to the ruined village where he encountered the 0 Gundam, and he destroys multiple Tierens. Marina blames herself for allowing the coup to happen and Celestial Being to intervene. Setsuna declares that he can't become a Gundam. While searching for Ali on the ground, Setsuna runs across Graham and Billy. Setsuna plays dumb pretends to be a local child, but Graham doesn't believe it. Graham wants to know what Setsuna is hiding behind his back and suddenly tells Billy that the suit they're looking for was stolen from Moralia's PMC Trust. Setsuna realizes that Ali is involved with the civil war. He tracks down Ali and fights him above a ruined village. Setsuna asks Ali why he's here since the Krugis Republic was destroyed, but Ali refuses to answer. Ali pins Setsuna to the ground and tries to break the cockpit open, but Setsuna breaks free. Setsuna lands in Azadistan's royal palace and returns the hostage Massoud Rahmadi to stop the civil war. Marina asks Setsuna if it's really him, and he answers that what happens next will determine if Celestial Being returns or not. Alejandro watches a video of Setsuna's actions and criticizes him for acting like a martyr. He tells Ribbons that soon the three blocs will form an alliance against Celestial Being. Saji goes shopping with Louise, who is depressed about her mother being in town to visit. Saji's older sister, reporter Kinue Crossroad, watches from a nearby car and wonders what he's doing.

 

The Meisters begin their next mission in the Taklimakan Desert, but they quickly find themselves in a trap orchestrated by the three power bloc. Lockon hitches a ride on the Gundam Kyrios, which gets pulled down to the ground by Union Flags. Two Union Realdos attach themselves to Lockon and eject their lower halves before exploding. On the ground, Soma slams into Allelujah and starts firing on the Gundam Kyrios at close range. As night falls, Patrick attacks Tieria and traps him with the help of his wingmen. Graham rushes in and attacks Lockon at close range. By morning, Setsuna tries to fly away and is attacked by Ali's mobile armor Agrissa. The Agrissa starts electrocuting the Gundam Exia, but it's shot at from above, forcing Ali to eject his Enact. Setsuna looks up and sees that his savior is Nena Trinity's Gundam Throne Drei. Nearby, Michael Trinity uses the remote fangs of his Gundam Throne Zwei to attack Sergei's forces, while Johann Trinity's Gundam Throne Eins rescues Lockon. Nena spreads a wave of red GN particles to cover their escape. Later, the Trinitys go on their own missions and act more aggressively than the original Meisters, including killing Eifman and Louise's parents. Saji runs to the hospital to visit Louise and give her a ring, but she can't wear it because she's missing her left hand. Later, Setsuna attacks the Thrones over the ocean and declares that they're not Gundams. Michael deploys his fangs, but Setsuna is able to destroy nearly all of them. Tieria arrives to help out and creates a GN field as cover for Setsuna to hide behind. Tieria ejects the Gundam Virtue's armor to reveal the Gundam Nadleeh and activates the Trial system, which can shut down any Gundam connected to Veda. Tieria declares that the Trinities aren't fit to be Meisters and must die. Ribbons remotely overrides the Trial system, but Lockon arrives to even the odds. Johann then reveals Lockon's true identity of Neil Dylandy to everyone and tells him that Soran Ibrahim was a member of the KPSA terrorist group that killed his parents and sister. Lockon doesn't know who that is, so Johann tells him it's Setsuna. After the battle, Lockon confronts Setsuna, who confirms what Johann said. Lockon's desire for revenge and to prevent future tragedies led him to become a Meister. Lockon wants to change the world and vows to atone for all the people he's killed once that's done. He then aims his gun at Setsuna and shoots near his face, but Setsuna doesn't flinch. Setsuna explains that he was made to believe in God by Ali, but found he doesn't exist. Setsuna further explains that he saw Ali in Moralia. Lockon tells Setsuna that he can't eradicate war if he's dead, but Setsuna doesn't mind as long as Lockon changes this distorted world in his place, which makes Lockon relent. Lockon calls Setsuna a Gundam moron, which Setsuna takes as a compliment. Louise tells Saji that he should return to Japan and realize his dream of working in space. Alejandro tells Ribbons they need to move to the next stage, and Ribbons reports that 30 GN Drive Taus are already being sent to the three blocs, along with the GN-X mobile suits. Alejandro then hugs Ribbons and asks to see Veda.

 

The Trinitys attack an HRL base and are attacked by a formation of 10 GN-Xs led by Sergei and Soma. Sergei is amazed by the suit's performance and declares that they no longer have to fear the Gundams. Thanks to Soma's enhanced abilities, she's able to destroy Michael's fangs. The Trinitys retreat, and Sergei tells Soma to enjoy the feeling of victory. In space, Regene Regetta comments that destroying Celestial Being is one step in uniting the world. In space, a force of 19 GN-Xs assembles to attack the Ptolemaios. The GN-Xs prove to be a formidable match for the Meisters, which leads Allelujah to wonder if their own destruction is part of the plan. The Gundam Virtue suddenly goes dead, so Patrick's team moves in to attack. Lockon jumps in to defend Tieria and takes a beam saber to the cockpit, which injures his eye. On the Moon, Alejandro gloats about taking control of Veda and tells Ribbons that the Trinitys are of no further use. On Earth, Ali executes Michael with his gun and tells Johann to get into his Gundam and fight. Johann and Nena are shocked to see Ali using the Throne Zwei, and he uses his new suit to kill Johann. Ali is about to kill Nena until he's blocked by Setsuna, who's shocked to see Ali in a Gundam. Ribbons clears the Level 7 lock on Veda, which gives them access to Aeolia's cryogenic capsule. Alejandro vows that he'll change the world and shoots Aeolia multiple times. Aeolia's death triggers a video where he says the world he wished for must not have arrived, but he has faith in whoever the Meisters are and unlocks the Trans-Am function of the GN Drives. By using more particles, the Gundam Exia turns red and is able to move fast enough to outmaneuver Ali. Alejandro wants to know what Trans-Am is, and Ribbons theorizes that it was built into the GN Drives from the start. He tells himself that everything is now in his hands. Setsuna heads back into space in the Assault Container piloted by Lasse Aeon. Lasse isn't sure that their actions will change the world, but what matters is that they're engraved in people's hearts, thus proving they existed. Setsuna gets a message that the Ptolemaios has been spotted by the UN fleet. Sumeragi orders Allelujah and Tieria to launch, with Lockon remaining on standby. The enemy numbers are determined to include 26 GN-Xs and Ali's Throne Zwei. Ali attacks Tieria with his fangs and is able to penetrate the GN field. Allelujah tries to help Tieria and feels headaches from Soma's presence. Allelujah activates Trans-Am and damages both Soma and Sergei. Tieria uses Trans-Am for a massive GN cannon blast against multiple targets. Tieria gets unexpected backup from Lockon in the GN Arms Type-D. Lockon uses the massive firepower of the GN Arms to destroy multiple targets and activates Trans-Am to destroy several ships. However, he comes under fire from Ali and is forced to eject from the GN Arms. Filled with rage, Lockon attacks Ali, but his blind spot causes him to sustain heavy damage from the fangs.

 

Lockon ejects his targeting controller and instructs Haro to return the Gundam Dynames and its GN Drive to the Ptolemaios. Lockon jury-rigs the targeting controller to one of the GN Arms' cannons and says he needs to get his revenge so he can move forward. Ali detects Lockon's bio signal, and the two shoot at each other. The GN Arms cannon explodes and kills Lockon just as Setsuna arrives. The crew are shocked by Lockon's death, and Tieria blames Setsuna for going down to Earth and reducing their fighting power. Sumeragi slaps Tieria and reminds him that they still have to fight. Christina informs Sumeragi that 13 GN-Xs and an unknown mobile armor are approaching. Alejandro's massive Alvatore opens fire on the Ptolemaios, and the GN-Xs use asteroids as cover to approach the ship. Patrick attacks Tieria, who doesn't want to use Trans-Am so early. Hallelujah takes control and attacks Soma, while Lasse uses the Assault Container to attack Alejandro. Alejandro dismisses them as Aeolia's annoying ghosts and boasts that he'll eliminate them. Christina concocts a lie to get Feldt off the bridge and down to Assault Container where Sumeragi and Ian Vashti are. A GN-X blasts the bridge, mortally wounding Christina and Lichtendahl Tsery. Alejandro fires his cannon and damages both Hallelujah and Tieria's Gundams. Tieria takes down several units and manages to disable Patrick. Allelujah speaks to his other personality and vows that he won't die until he hears the world's answer, so the two decide to work together. He uses Trans-Am and nearly kills Soma, but Sergei takes the hit so that she can attack instead. Allelujah sees Soma on video and recognizes her as Marie. Setsuna docks with the GN Arms Type-E to increase his firepower, but Lasse is injured by incoming fire. Setsuna causes enough damage to force Alejandro to eject the Alvaaron mobile suit from the Alvatore. Alejandro is impressed that Setsuna could cause him so much trouble, and Setsuna sees that Alejandro is the one twisting Aeolia's plan. Setsuna uses Trans-Am to critically damage the Alvaaron. Ribbons calls Alejandro and gloats about how he's going to take charge of the plan now. After the Alvaaron explodes, Graham arrives in the GN Flag and attacks Setsuna. Graham recognizes Setsuna on video as the boy he met earlier on Earth. The two decapitate each other, and Graham says he only cares about taking down Setsuna. The two rush in and stab each other, setting off a pair of GN particle explosions. Tieria wakes up and vows not to give up, so he ejects the GN Drive. The Hallelujah personality dies, leaving Allelujah alone. Marina reads a letter Setsuna had sent her about the reason that he fights. He wants to know why the world is distorted and what caused it. Four years later, Wang visits a secret asteroid base and asks Ian to show her the old 0 Gundam, followed by the new 00 Gundam. Tieria thinks that only Setsuna can pilot the 00 Gundam and knows he's alive somewhere. On Earth, Setsuna looks down at the ruined Krugis village and wonders if Celestial Being was justified in its actions and where the world is heading.

 

Commentary

 

The first 00 compilation special is, simply put, not good at all. It baffles me why this part covers the entirety of the first season, while the second season gets two parts. We've seen this problem before in the Turn A and SEED compilations where too much material is covered in too short an amount of time. This leads to choppy editing and bad pacing. The supporting cast suffers greatly from this compression, with Kati Mannequin reduced to a silent cameo at the very end and Kinue's journalistic pursuit of Celestial Being completely excised. Her death at Ali's hands is gone, so she only makes a pointless cameo to watch Saji shopping. The transitions for some of these scenes are pretty rough, especially early on when Setsuna fights Graham and it immediately cuts to him fighting Sergei. The battle in the Taklimakan Desert was a major turning point in the series, but it's reduced to about five minutes here. The screentime for the Trinitys is also heavily cut, making them essentially minor characters. The only part of the season that gets a decent amount of time on screen is the final battles from episodes 23-25. There is some new footage here, including an addition to the prologue that explicitly spoils that Ribbons was piloting the 0 Gundam and has sneaky plans. Extra scenes feature him and Alejandro plotting, but also show Alejandro being creepy all over Ribbons. Like some of the other compilations, this is another case where the story is a mess and can't function as a replacement for the TV series. It all only makes sense if you've seen the first season, but if you have access to that, why would you waste time on this poor facsimile of the story? Maybe the second two parts do a better job compressing the story, but this opening chapter is a failure.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

2.5 out of 5 stars
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