Gundam 00 Movie: individual tragedies in a panorama of triumph
I just watched the Gundam 00 movie yesterday, because my Internet connection finally straightened out. I wasn’t able to properly study for the exam today because I finished the movie yesterday night, and then went to sleep afterward. I would probably be a hypocrite if I said I think the movie sucked, because I thoroughly enjoyed it despite some glaring flaws and its multitude of faults.
As we could surmise given the track record of Gundam 00, the movie was not symbolically excellent or imbued with depth, but it was visually fluid and action-packed: it had a little bit more quality than a typical Michael Bay blockbuster because it at least had a message at the end of the film, despite that message being trite.
I’m not going to do an exhaustive summary as Crusader already did a lot earlier than I did. I would like to respectfully disagree with his opinion on the film: I liked the film, and while I would never classify it as a classic, I thought it was good.
The movie was undeniably technically accomplished, as evidenced by the crisp art and fluid animation. Although it had certain superfluities the viewer could have done without (Billy-Mina relationship), and although it could have expounded more on the characters that mattered (Marina, Feldt, and the rest of the pilots not Tieria), it was an overall good watch.
I didn’t see the movie as having a happy ending, however. I thought it was a bittersweet ending at best, and a tragedy at worst. Although it would be a truly happy ending when viewed panoramically, it seems to me a tragedy to certain individuals in the film. This was magnified by the fact that they were among the major characters of the film.
I don’t mean that their whole lives were tragic: Feldt, Marina, and Setsuna all achieved in their lives a hundred pedestrian lifetimes could not achieve. But it is sobering to note that they essentially ended up alone, although I believe there’s hope for Feldt.
Feldt, for starters, lost four of her loved ones and two of the people she recognized as her significant other. She did not only lose her parents at a young age; she also lost Lockon and Setsuna in the first season and movie respectively. While I remain positive about her youth, she is, after all, only 21 when she was last seen, I think it’s nevertheless devastating to lose a loved one just when he finally and symbolically reciprocates one’s devotion for him. The flower he showed as a truce and a peace treaty between the aliens and him was a remembrance from Feldt during the second season of the series. Despite his stoicity, it was notable that the only prominent item in his room that he thought valuable enough to display was the flower that Feldt gave him. I simply think it’s tragic that the time when Feldt sees her love for Setsuna being reciprocated was also the same time that he was going to disappear for a long time as a liaison to Jupiter. Although I recognize Feldt to be a strong girl, that still must have felt like shit.
Although the Gundam wikia site remains quiet and safe with regard to Marina’s status (as wikis should), I seriously believe that she remained single for the rest of her life. The house in her old age was bleak other than a picture of her seated with some men standing in the background and two ladies kneeling beside her.
This was no family picture. Most family pictures in such stately manners delineate the parents properly as seated, with the children standing or the males standing and the females seated beside the parents. A family picture with such a nuclear family would also be incongruent with Marina’s age. She looked like she was in her 40s, while the younger men and women looked like they were in their 20s. While this is normal in families, one should note that Marina was unwed even in her 30s. I have faith that it was more of a state picture with Marina as Queen, but I also have reason to believe she was unmarried because of her status.
She lived alone, and the only memento in her house was that singular picture. I don’t think it’s much of a tragedy for her, however, as she’s that special type of person who would put the welfare of others above herself. But I still thought it was quite sad for her to live alone in her twilight years (that was one of the reasons why I assumed she didn’t have a family, however. She would have been in a nursing home or with her children if she had one. 😉 ) People should still have helped her more, especially because of all that she had done for her people.
Finally, I also don’t think that what happened to Setsuna was pleasing or happy. After having such a fucked-up childhood being a child soldier, he grew up a little and fought to save the world twice. In exchange, he became inhuman after the events of the second season, and even more inhuman after the events of the movie. That’s just too much sacrifice for one man. He’s just like Batman in this regard: he did it because no one else could and because he could take it.
I’m glad that Setsuna kept his promise and will presumably take care of Marina for the rest of her days, but I just didn’t find the ending to be happy. I guess the film subliminally underlines the point that the greatest of men act, live, and die alone.
I don’t know whether it was the average quality of the script or a modernist approach to romance, but there was just so much frustrated romance among the characters mentioned in the previous paragraphs. I think this incidence makes the series better than Gundam Seed, however: these were people willing to put their ideologies above themselves and their emotions. They did not choose both.