Gundam 00’s Awakening of the Trailblazer is one of those movies where you need to have seen the series for. Spoilers for the Gundam 00 will follow in this review, otherwise I can’t properly explain the impression that this movie left me.
Anyway, I was ready to just get this movie over with, expecting the Gundam 00 Movie to be another forgettable flick. But, to me surprise there was one thing about this movie that made me really happy as soneone who sat through the fifty episodes of the two Gundam 00 series: it has no annoying characters!
Seriously, half of the annoying characters is already dead at this point. The others really impressed me how they managed to spend the entire movie from whining: two years have passed again since the end of the second season, and finally everyone seems to have settled down. Saji and Louise who once urged me to break the screen of my laptop once every episode are actually a cute couple now. Mister Bushido finally dropped that ridiculous mask of his and stopped being a char clone, Marie and Allelujah also are quite happy together. All of the innovators who are still alive have become more than paper bags of characters and even Setsuna has a romantic interest now other than his Gundam.
The cast of this movie is still HUGE. I can’t recall any movie with more characters than this one, and I’m impressed with how it managed to involve all of them in this movie and developed a surprising amount of them at the same time while also introducing a bunch of new ones. It’s definitely much more than I expected.
This movie can very much be compared to Gundam Wing’s Endless Waltz: its villain is completely new but has a vague connection to something important in the original series, it’s much paced very differently from the TV-series that dragged on and it’s actually quite effective that way despite a few glaring problems. This movie takes a lot of time for its build-up, which makes the action scenes stand out even more. The action scenes themselves are actually pretty varied and don’t get boring, yet stay in the same Gundam-esque tradition of having space battles on a huge scale.
As for the plot itself… yeah. The villains are aliens now. Still, it’s handled decently: any kind of realism in Gundam 00 was abandoned anyway since the arrival of the Trans-am system, and this movie just rolls with it, while at the same time tying in neatly with Aeolia Schenberg’s ultimate objectives. The aliens themselves though are as flat as a pancake in terms of character and the ending of the movie is just.. ridiculous. Seriously, it feels like that ending was thought up at the last possible minute.
The graphics of the movie is a very mixed bag. The character animation is surprisingly mediocre for a movie by Sunrise. Instead however, the biggest part of the budget went into the CG near the end of the movie, and granted: that is a visual feast.
Overall, the ending is of headdesk and facepalm level, but apart from that this movie was surprisingly refreshing compared to how annoying and forgettable Gundam 00’s second season was. Storytelling: 8/10 - Actually well paced for Gundam 00’s standards. Good action, good build-up. STUPID conclusion.
Characters: 8/10 - Shallow villains, but the other characters surprised me a lot: they’re not annoying and are actually able to show off their development.
Production-Values: 8/10 - Gorgeous CG, simple character animations for movie standards.
Setting: 8/10 - It adds on the Gundam 00 franchise in its own way. Some things work well, others don’t work at all.