krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
As I opened up the DVDs of the first part of Gundam 00, I had the sense that things were a little different than they usually are as I start into an anime series these days. I tend to buy anime DVDs "sight unseen," and there may be more or less of an initial sense of apprehension about whether I'll wind up agreeing in the end with however many of the positive comments that convinced me to get started... Many people, of course, never seem to have that particular problem, instead managing to watch "fansubs" of a new series as it's first airing in Japan, however far ahead of when it gets licensed and released over here to, in their own estimation, put everything on the level again for having first seen it without paying. I always seem too busy to do as others do and chase lots of fansubs and watch through the DVDs I buy, though... but I suppose that with Gundam 00, I was able to hear enough about the series before it actually started to take the chance on fansubs of it, instead of just picking up impressions along the way until, around the time of the licensing announcement, I finally decide to order the DVDs and watch the series... one of these days.

In any case, though, there was one other thing worked into my first feelings. I can wonder if it's as much a "cliche of anime" as anything actually in the shows that there are always people saying "this gets better after the first episodes," but this time I could also see myself saying that. The eponymous "mobile suits" (or giant robots) of Gundam 00 are operated by Celestial Being, a secret organization with the avowed goal of ending war through "armed intervention." In some ways, I worry that to say too much about this steps into "political" territory, that just saying that has already said too much... but I might yet get away with saying that to me the idea raised a good number of questions, but the series never quite seemed to address them. That feeling might have grown into something distancing me from the praise of others for the series' really quite effective action and plotting, except for that I did start, more than a few episodes in, to get interested in some of the minor characters as characters in a situation and not elements advancing an idea. From there, my interest in the characters seemed to spread, all the way to the protagonists themselves, breaking through first impressions that they seemed somehow calm and competent enough to not be interesting... I suppose I could say that my interest in the series was solid enough by the end, but I was wondering how I would take those first episodes again, whether it would just be a matter of trying to carry later knowledge back to the beginning.

However, I began noticing something interesting early on. Perhaps it was just a case of taking a second look at things, and perhaps the subtitles really were different from the fansubs I had seen (I had written down the episode titles before, and on looking back thought they, at least, chose different if similar words at times), but I kept noticing the characters not in Celestial Being questioning "armed intervention." Whether that was shaking up my other impressions or not, somehow the various factional manoeuverings seemed a little defter, a little more interesting even, this time around. Just when I was forming these impressions and getting to the first small moments that had first started getting me interested in the minor characters, though, the last episode on the DVDs did start off with what seemed to me "telling, not showing" an uncomplicated and therefore somehow unrealistic development... and then, perhaps shifting the aim of the series away from one "armed intervention" after another, things built up through a confrontation to a cliffhanger that left me thinking it would indeed be good to pick up again where things left off. I suppose I'm still tempted to say that Gundam 00 for me starts off slower than, say, Code Geass did, but here I do know how my reactions will turn out...

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