DVD cover art for Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, Vol. 1: Grim Reality

Film:
DVD:

Created by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino
Directed by Mitsuo Fukuda

Features:

  • Textless opening #1
  • Mechanical File #1

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Mild violence
  • Mean mecha
  • Masked bad man
  • Politics and more politics
  • Us vs. them mentality

Released by: Bandai
Region: 1
Rating: 13+
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Get it.


Mobile Suit Gundam Seed is the newest entry into the venerable and now slightly overstocked Gundam franchise. It’s another alternate universe version, so expect the archetypes and storyline to be similar, but not exact, and few of the characters to be the same. Our favorite masked villain, for example, is here, but known as La Creuset, and is still the leader of the “enemy” fleet attacking the Earth settlements.

For this outing, we have a war between two kinds of humans: genetically-enhanced Coordinators (see “New Type”) and the non-modified Naturals. Our Hero (not Heero) is Kira Yamato, a young Coordinator born to Natural parents. He’s a normal kid in that he cares about his friends and wants to be liked, but he’s also a master computer programmer, and that skill will come in handy when the ZAFT forces attack his home of Heliopolis. We won’t find out the reason why ZAFT attacks for a while, but suffice it to say that it has a lot to do with hatred between Naturals and Coordinators. Kira, of course, is slated to pilot a Gundam, known here as the G-weapon, and as such, the show takes off. An interesting twist on the Peacecrafts is the Desert Dawn and Cagalli.

The disc has excellent visual and audio quality. The show does a great job of combining the look of traditional cel animation with more obvious bits of CGI special effects. While the difference is still visible and not totally seamless, the effect is still good and the look is truly rather stunning. The music, sound effects, and voices are all nicely balanced; you won’t be constantly adjusting the volume down during battles and up during dialogue. You might even recognize some of the voice actors, in both English and Japanese. The overall production values make full use of the great soundtrack and fantastic artwork, and the final product is top-notch.

Pic from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, Vol. 1: Grim Reality

The features list is a little slim, but what we have is good quality. We get the textless opening, which is particularly nice, given the high quality of animation, and we also get Volume 1 of the “Gundam SEED Mechanical Files,” which basically tells us a bit about the Strike Gundam and Archangel along with some images. Don’t read this feature before watching the episodes, as they may contain some spoilers, and blessedly, you won’t need to know anything here for the show to make sense. A retrospective of the Gundam franchise would have been nice, as well as the usual things otaku lust for–interviews with the voice actors, outtakes, and the Holy Grail of anime DVDs–the commentary. But the Mechanical Files are a nice touch and should well please the gear-heads among us.

Pic from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, Vol. 1: Grim Reality

Fans of the various Gundam incarnations will eat this one up. It’s a great version and bids fair to equal or even surpass the much-loved Gundam Wing in quality, if not in APMs (Angst per Minute). Fans of science fiction, action, or political adventure will love it; if you’ve never tried anime before, then this is an excellent place to start. If you already love anime, then get this for sure. You won’t be sorry you did.

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