Keep in mind that this review covers both the first and second seasons.
The Gundam franchise needs no introduction. It’s probably the single best known mecha anime. The eleventh installment, Gundam 00, was written by Kuroda Yosuke. Who was involved with such well done works as Excel Saga and Gokujou Seitokai and such bad works as Onegai Teacher. Really, the series could go either way in terms of quality based on his previous work. So let’s take a look and see whether the best or worst aspects won out.
If you’re even passingly familiar with the Gundam franchise you’ll recognise the story structure of Gundam 00 instantly. The militaries of great powers are attacked by brand new mecha weapons called Gundams who are striking against them in order to put an end to conflicts. The group announces that they are Celestial Being and they are going to end armed conflicts by intervening in them with their Gundams. The Earth governments quickly begin planning counter-measures. One thing that is positive about Gundam 00 is that they do acknowledge the contradiction between Celestial Being’s purpose and their methods. But, overall, the writing is pretty sketchy. It isn’t terrible but it is incredibly lazy. There are several moments where the writing puts the characters into a corner and they get saved by something that comes completely out of nowhere and comes across as being made up just for the sake of getting the characters out of the situation. The ending is another aspect that really isn’t done well. Everything gets wrapped up far too easily in the last fifteen minutes or so of the final episode. All the unresolved conflicts, loose threads, etc… It’s almost like they needed another episode to wrap things up well but didn’t have one, or they could have had less pointless flashbacks and used that time. Yeah, there are pointless flashbacks. They show that events, that you’ve already been told everything you needed to know about, happened. Don’t you just love filler? Another issue with the writing is that several serious moments get undermined by something really stupid. Like Setsuna mindlessly repeating the word “gundam” or talking about how he will become a gundam.
The cast of characters is unruly. There are far too many major characters and none of them are well developed. The most complex characters come off as two dimensional and the majority of the cast comes across as completely shallow. This is especially obvious when one of the characters dies and is replaced by someone who’s almost exactly like him. There are several moments where the antagonists come across as being evil for the sake of being evil, rather like Captain Planet villains. This all makes it very difficult to get invested in the series or care about what happens to the characters.
The art is actually pretty good. The fight scenes are nicely done, although there are a few occasions of laziness here. (Two different coloured balls of light slamming into each other.) But overall the art is well done and nicely detailed. The gundams look spectacular and the backgrounds, though fairly bare, do work with the setting.
The voice acting is fine. It isn’t anything spectacular or that stands out, but it does do its job. The music is the same way.
The yuri factor is a 1.5/10. There are some mildly homoerotic moments between Feldt and Chris in the beginning, but nothing substantial.
My final rating for Gundam 00 is a 4/10. It’s a sub-par series. If you’re a huge Gundam fan you’ll probably like it fine, otherwise it’s a lazy and shallow effort where the few good moments and well done action scenes can’t make up for the weak story or uninspired characters.