Why Gundam 00 Doesn’t Sell As Well As Code Geass

I was chatting with somebody on ANN about the sales of Gundam 00 falling short of those of Code Geass and Gundam Seed, and it got me thinking again about the nature of Japan’s anime fans.  I came up with a formula to try to explain how Otaku view themselves and how different series sit with them in terms of whether they are desirable purchases or not.  I call it the Otaku Scoring Card Ratio and in this instance I use it with Code Geass and Gundam 00.

The Otaku Scoring Card Ratio basically goes like this (Instances of Moe Characterstics+Instances of Bishounen Characters+Instances of Uniform Youth Opinion+Instances of Popular Fanservice) – (Instances of Ugly Characters+Instances of Alternative Opinion+Instances of Content Normalcy with status quo)

Allow me to demonstrate now:

Code Geass:

Instances of Moe Characteristics:

– Nunally the cheerful wheelchair loli
– C.C being Tsundereish
– Kallen’s pretending to be a weak bodied girl
– Viletta’s Amnesia
– Kaguya’s little twitchfest there
– Shirley’s Peppy personality
– Cornelia around Euphemia

= 7

Instances of Bishounen Characters:

– Lelouch Lamperouge
– Suzaku Kururugi 
– Diethard Ried
– Schniezel El Britannia
– Jerimiah Gottwald
– Clovis La Britannia
– Gilbert Guilford
– V.V

= 8

Instances of Popular Youth Uniform Opinion:

– “Britannia is evil and needs to be taken down”
– “I had to kill my father or he’d drag out the war because adults are stupid”
– Child prodigies everywhere

= 3

Instances of Popular Fanservice:

Too Many to count so I’ll say 30

= 30

Instances of Ugly Characters:

– Charles Britannia
– Nina Einstein
– Andreas Darlton

= 3

Instances of Alternative Opinion:

– Inequality and survival of the fittest leads to evolution
– Suzaku is a patricide committing hypocrite and should have let his father handle things

= 2

Instances of Content normalcy with status quo:

– Brittania
– Suzaku

= 2

Add em up:


Final Otaku scoring card for Code Geass = 41

Gundam 00

Instances of Moe Characteristics:

– Marina’s figeting incomptent leadership
– Feldt’s quite demeanor
– Nena Trinity
– Christina’s 16 valley girl personality
– Wang’s outfits
– Louise being a control freak
(Had the gothic lolita Haro been in the actual series and not the manga this category would have been solid)

= 6

Instances of Bishounens:

– The 4 Meister’s
– Billy Katagiri
– Hong Long

= 6

Instances of Youth Uniform opinion:

– Celestial Being’s mission to end all wars

= 1

Instances of popular fanservice:

– Sumeragi
– 2 Beach scenes
– Wang’s outfits
– Nena’s outfit
– 2nd Ending
(Again no gothic lolita haro)

= 6

Instances of Ugly Characters:

– Aeolia Schenberg
– Katie Mannequin
– Sergei Smirnov
– Ali Al Sarches (The rugged muscular bearded look just doesn’t do it)
– Soma Peres (She looks so dead serious and has such a masculine face I’m going to say she is the antithesis of the desired female character design in anime)

= 5

Instances of Alternative Opinion:

– The 3 powers
– Marina Ishmail (Pacifism)
– Alejandro Corner
– Lagna Harvey
– Thrones
– Wang Liu Min

(And not to mention that none of these factions opinions are shown to be inherently wrong or inherently right)

= 6

Instances of Contentness with the Status Quo:

– Saji Crossroad (A youth that is content with the very mundane life he has is a big no no)
– Ali Al Sarshes (A Villain that doesn’t want to mess things up but wants a world in which his soldier lifestyle can continue to exist and thus is slightly sympathetic. Also big no no)

= 2

Add em up:


Final Otaku scoring card for Gundam 00 = 8

I could do Seed as well, but I think people get the point. The numbers are basically an excuse for me to go in depth on the shows and don’t really mean anything, but the point is that Otaku like to feel content and reassured of their lifestyle at every opportunity. That means characters in their demographic that are desirably attractive, the idea that they might be within reach of their grandeur, that their opinions are correct, and that the status quo, which is people that aren’t them are wrong.  In this sense Gundam 00 is not playing ball.

Code Geass gives a fair bit of this, while Gundam 00 seems to be deliberately designed to lead them along and then slap them in the face at every possible opportunity with the audacity that they may not be right about everything and then when they think they have it all figured out, it switchs gears again so that there’s another alternative thought process thrown in there. It’s basically the Otaku’s worst nightmare.  The Gundam’s are seen as symbols of virtue and the upholder of youthful ideals that the main character believe in, and at the same time, demonic bringers of death that are the true villains in the Anno Domini Gundam world.  No opinion or way of life is sacred in the show and anyone can die at any moment along with their ideal.

Even it’s mecha designs are unorthodox in comparison to what fans think they know mobile suits should look like. Gundam 00 is on the fast track to being the next Turn A Gundam. It’ll probably do decently, but it will be a subculture following within the modern Japanese Gundam fandom itself that will truly appreciate it.


27 Responses to “Why Gundam 00 Doesn’t Sell As Well As Code Geass”

  1. 1 Sec March 2, 2008 at 6:38 am

    I watched Oricon last week everyday, Gundam 00 DVD2 is below CLANNAD 3 Limited Edition in the weekly chart, I’ll not talk about Clannad because I don’t like Key or that kind of romance for boys show. There are something about Oricon, the highest rank of a DVD doesn’t all mean that product sell well, it’ll depend more how long the DVD is on the chart, for the end of week, Clannad rank drops and Gundam rank still 3 or 4. The sales depends how much “enemy” it have to face in that week too. These months, March and February, each year, I call theme “release season” because the tone of released albums, singles, music DVDs each week, facing of music DVDs is hard for anime too, because music DVDs sell more than anime DVDs.

    For Geass and Gundam 00, I think Geass sell more because it has fan service, big breasts or naked. But Gundam 00 has “Gundam”, being a Gundam series means you’ll face hard judges from fans, Gundam must “blah blah blah to UC” whatever (damn, I hate that phrase)… But it’s just the DVD 1 or 2, Gundam 00 still have a long way to go ^^. And maybe.. just my theory… Gundam 00 doesn’t fit all teen taste like SEED, it’s more mature, that’s why it’s more hard to accept than SEED.

    ^^ And those “bishounen”:
    – Diethard Ried
    – Schniezel El Britannia
    – Jerimiah Gottwald
    – Clovis La Britannia
    ^^ When I show my girl friends pictures of those, none of them call those guys “bishounen” :)), some of them say that they’re too gay :)) (and me too).

    “Instances of Content normalcy with status quo: – Suzaku” Agree! I hate Suzaku.

  2. 2 RmX March 2, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Suzaku needs a lot more negative points attributed to him. I am serious as hell.

    And I thought for sure that Soma’s loli status would have been a plus, despite her dead serious demeanor, which I believe to be one of her charm points. =P

  3. 3 Kaioshin Sama March 2, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Soma is actually 18 years old, which is on the cusp of being a full fledged adult. She just happens to be reaaaaaaaaaly short. Possibly has something to do with the way she was bred in a test tube.

  4. 4 yFANTgirl March 2, 2008 at 11:09 am

    HEY YOU FORGOT TO ADD GRAHAM TO THE BISHIES! He should have given that category like +20 with all his bishiness ;p

    Oh, and IMHO, you are over-thinking the reasons of why Code Geass sold better. It’s simply because of all that stupid fanservice and because of how extremely entertaining it was despite basically being.. well, crap. Probably the most entertaining anime I’ve ever seen.

    Gundam 00 on the other hand is just as entertaining as any other random anime out there. IMHO. You might have some Deep And Smart reasons to like it but you forget that absolute most of people watch anime for the entertainment value *only*.

  5. 5 Any March 2, 2008 at 11:25 am

    I think the fact that Gundam 00 will be released on blueray must be taken into account too. Some people might just wait for the blue-ray release instead of DVD.

  6. 6 Someone March 2, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Yea lets us all blame Gundam 00 for taking things seriously and for the lack of fanservices. Everybody knows that in every war story(or history if you like), there are boob shots, upskirts, lolis, moe girls, etc etc somewhere in it.

  7. 7 anne March 2, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    You are missing a huge part of Geass and Seed audience when you don’t mention fujoshi. You really think otaku were buying Seed dvd? They weren’t. Females mostly buy dvds and other merchandise, but not models. Both Gundam Seed and Geass had the boy’s love fanservice and well loved hetero couples (especially Seed), so it got the best of both worlds. Both Gundam Seed and Geass (and Seed has sold better then Geass) presented themselves like live action dramas full of soap opera and drama. 00 is serious business about serious business.

    I don’t think it has much to do with Gundam 00 having “ugly” characters at all, since they are prettier then Seeds and more girly. The character designer makes androgynous characters for a living. To say it has “no fanservice” and only appeals to mature audiences? Eh, not really.

    It’s also urban legend that “all Gundam sells in Japan” since there have been tons of failures in Gundam. When you go look at the sales charts Gundam Seed Destiny RECAPS dvd sold more the Haruhi dvds. It was just super popular. Gundam 00 is doing fine. It’s just Seed and Geass did better.

  8. 8 Kaioshin Sama March 2, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    @yFANTgirl: I see Graham as more the handsome type than a true Bishonen. I also really like Code Geass. I don’t think it was crap, it just had more widespread appeal to it. I watch anime for both entertainment and to think most of the time. Sometimes I’ll watch just for entertainment, but those are only for the lazy tired days after work. You miss a lot if you insist on turning off your brain during some shows because convention says Mecha/Sci-Fi can’t make you ponder certain things.

    @Any: I’m kind of ignorant of the size of the blue ray market I will admit. I was genuinely shocked when I learned from a friend that Blue Ray had won the battle against HD-DVD. I think I’m going to really start having to take into account the fact that that market is growing.

    @Someone: Is that being directed at me or someone else?

    @Anne: And yes I know Gundam 00 is doing fine, it’s just not the super seller that Code Geass and Seed were. Some folks are predicting doom though and saying that this is a sign of a Season 3 of Gundam Seed and that it vindicates it’s status as the new U.C. I just think Gundam 00 has alienated certain demographics and failed to bring in new ones.

  9. 9 RmX March 3, 2008 at 12:38 am

    @Kaioshin-dono: On the topic of loli status determined by age, I ask of you this question…

    Who is the most lolilicious girl in 00 at this time, if not Soma?

  10. 10 Kaioshin Sama March 3, 2008 at 3:35 am

    That Hanayo Haro from the Gundam 00F Manga.

  11. 11 RmX March 3, 2008 at 4:35 am

    Pfft. Cheater. =P

  12. 12 anne March 3, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    @Kaioshin Sama

    I do think Seed has a much better chance of being “the new UC” if they wanted to do it. Though I’d go with getting a new team and not fuck it up this time. There is still more story to tell in the universe if they wanted to (and there was supposed to be a movie, but who knows what is going on with that) Gundam 00 is popular, but it’s not a huge blockbuster in Seed standards. I really think there wasn’t much of a need for it anyway and they should have waited a few more years for another Gundam. Geass is their money maker now.

  13. 13 JinEnjuce April 1, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Since when was Ali sympathetic? If you’re talking about when he gave Saji’s sister a ride, he was planning to shank her from the very moment she opened her big mouth about Celestial Being.

  14. 14 Kaioshin Sama April 1, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Well this was a while back before he started killing everybody, but I noted that his beef with Celestial Being was essentially that they were about to rob him of the only life he had ever known, that of war and conflict. If you play the Metal Gear games he comes across as the kind of person that would have joined Outer Heaven, the soldier’s paradise as it were. Essentially a soldier or mercenary who knows nothing but how to fight has no place in the world and might as well be dead. Looking at things from his point of view (You must cast aside all notions of morality in order to see this) at the time one could slightly see where he was coming from in his hatred of Celestial Being.

  15. 15 Llyke April 27, 2008 at 2:34 am

    Geass doesn’t have anybody that I would consider a bishounen. They’re all equally ugly. It’s the boobs that sells the series.
    Gundam 00 doesn’t appeal to a teenage audience because it focuses more on politics than romance and fanservice.

  16. 16 Kurogane July 10, 2008 at 12:09 am

    Though this article may be long dead, I just thought I might add my two pence (great blog ,by the way, Kaioshin-sama). I think Code Geass and Gundam 00 can be taken equally seriously, but as Kaioshin-sama said before, CG has a more widespread appeal. I keep saying it, but Code Geass is quite ambitious in its approach and when people perceive it to be failing at a certain area, they burst with criticism. You don’t get that in animes like Gundam, which seemed ambitious in certain areas, but at the end of the day, was just for hardcore mecha fans — you’d struggle to enjoy it if you aren’t a mecha fan because it has no comedy whatsoever and the characters might seem more “mature” (I think the characters of Gundam 00 remind me of the characters of FF12; they defy the Laws of Neon Genesis Evangelion, with the most dramatic characterisation probably being certain outbursts of Setsuna and Ali Al Sarshes).

    I do think Code Geass does some things better when it comes to mecha (not saying that one is better than the other; because they are so different in their approaches, it is hard to generally compare them). It has some variation when it comes to fight scenes, the different tactics etc, delves a bit more into a character’s inner turmoil without confusing the viewer (Setsuna’s “I am Gundam” sometimes confused me, though I understood what he meant). Gundam 00, on the other hand, has a ubiquitous motif that quickly becomes old. There is a conflict. Gundams come along. Fight, struggle a little, win straightaway or seem on the verge of losing, a bit of drama, but eventually they win. I think perfection would be reached if the battle tactics of CG were combined with the choreography of Gundam 00.

    Neither animes are crap. I don’t even know what is up with people nowadays, calling some of the most renowned animes “crap” when they are doing pretty well. I sometimes wonder if there is any anime at all out there that satisfies some of these people. Neon Genesis Evangelion has received a fair share of verbal mutilation. Gundam SEED…don’t let me go there (though it did fail in a lot of areas, in my opinion). Darker than Black, Haruhi-sama, even Ouran! > < I miss the days when we just watched anime, enjoyed it and if we had to criticise it, we criticised it fairly and with full justifications. Those days might be gone forever…..

  17. 17 Kaioshin Sama July 10, 2008 at 6:49 am

    No article is too old, no question ever to outdate to warrant commenting and feedback. I would be disappointed to learn if some people actually felt this.

    Gundam 00 is a more heavy-handed series then Code Geass and indeed carries a very serious and dramatic atmoshpere compared to a lot of anime out their. I’d argue it’s no less ambitious then Code Geass though. Every time Sunrise creates a new mecha series they always end up creating a whole new setting and world for it to keep the door open for side-stories, franchise expansion and spin-offs. They often have more in mind then what intially meets the eye so it’s important to make note of that. The Gundam 00 as well as the Code Geass universe are meant to be sustainable ones and not to be forever discarded at the end of their runs.

    The Gundams in 00 don’t always win however. In fact in the end they lost completely.

    Anyway, somewhere along the line I think a lot of people suddenly decided they were experts on how anime should be written and appointed themselves the judges on high for everything that came out in the anime scene afterward. The only problem is that, and this is going to sound unbelievably arrogant but it needs to be said, that most people are not qualified to be a proper critic of anime and are to prone to premature and often extreme/polarized judgement in any given case. They frequently don’t bring with them the intent to look at what a particular series offers them in it’s own context and instead come with a predetermined set of criteria for judging a series, or in other words, prejudiced intentions. Unfortunately most series will never have exactly what they have in mind and will fail to meet them and thus be judged as crap through no fault of their own.

    Of course on the otherside you often have the opposite extreme that prematurely judges a series as a masterpiece, so then they start fighting and pissing each other off and the problem gets worse. It’s a vicious cycle and I’ll be damned if I’m going to side with either camp out of hand and still prefer to go it on my own making up my mind on just about everything that comes my way.

    If you want one key piece of advice from me that could stave off ending up in this pitfall you brought up and I’ve tried my best to explain, it’s simply this. Make no assumptions.

  18. 18 Kurogane July 10, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    True, true, o-so-true, and that’s why I don’t tend to give my opinions on any anime, because a) I might end up offending someone because our opinions don’t agree or b) I am so in love with a series that I polarize my judgements. To be honest, the only thing I can say is: Anime is Anime (haha, which you called a bad sentence in your newest CG article, and it is, but it gets the point across). People forget that anime is supposed to be fun and try to draw too much realism into it. I think anime’s initial purpose was quite the contrary: escapism. If any of those old animes have a touch of realism, it’s just to not completely alienate the viewers by introducing some familiar themes.

    You addressed the problem with “Sunrise-bashing” in another one of your articles (quite surprisingly, I think the bashing has been particularly mild for Gundam 00, but that might just be me). I think one thing that aggravates a lot of those rather worrisome “anime-bashers” is the fact that Sunrise does anime with a fair mix of realism and escapism. So you get these fantasy/sci-fi, mecha animes with heavy militaristic, sometimes philosophic (thinking of ZEGAPAIN here, which I think is quite a gold mine of an anime, but that is just my opinion) themes and people struggle to differentiate between the two. They don’t realise that, “Hey, this is just an anime. Just because Britannia is located on the American continent, or the USA is part of the Union, it doesn’t mean that Sunrise is trying to demonize the United States.” I remember all that fuss about Code Geass being anti-American just before the first season started and that clamorous uproar caused by that scene in the first episode where that guy says, “Nippon Banzai!” before he dies. It’s really quite a waste of time. People don’t seem to get the point of the series and are so politically- opinionated nowadays that almost every anime appears to have some political agenda.

    Sunrise seems to be a kind of scapegoat for these mindless haters and unfortunately, it’s going to take more than a few articles to do something about the current situation. It’s making watching anime, let alone discussing anime, less enjoyable. But anyway, I have been veering off the topic quite a bit. I’ll give my opinions on that other article. Either way, Sunrise is still very popular in Japan and just a minority of idiotic loudmouths on the internet won’t change anything about that.

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