Random Musing (The Gundam Seed Destiny Test)

Just want to talk briefly about something I’ve noticed with regard to Gundam dicussions lately, and that is what I like to call the Gundam Seed Destiny Test.  What is the Gundam Seed Destiny Test?  Well at the moment it’s that tendency of people to try and cross compare aspects of Gundam 00 with Seed Destiny and when finding a match to imply that said aspect is a reason that they are worried about or think that Gundam 00 will disappoint them or has disappointed them.

All good and fine I suppose, Gundam Seed Destiny was after all pretty unpopular and nobody is looking to be reminded of it, but I can’t help but wonder if people realize that it’s tropes are nearly unescapable in that Gundam Seed Destiny pretty much took many tropes from each Gundam series prior to it (The Destiny Gundam itself is an example of this with the God Finger and Wings of Light aesthetics) and added them in regardless of how well they fit such that Gundam Seed Destiny was a bizarre mishmash of everything Gundam had ever done ever.  The problem with Gundam Seed Destiny also wasn’t so much in the tropes it used (because I think many people would agree that the average trope was handled at least satisfactorily in it’s Gundam series of origin), but how they executed them. 

Granted Gundam 00 has had it’s own share of poorly executed ideas that few would disagree on (The Anew Returner subplot and The Gaga Suicide Squad to name just a couple of fresh ones), but those were it’s own stumbles to make and the fact that it apparently has to pass (and ultimately fail by default) a sort of Gundam Seed Destiny Test week after week makes me wonder if my theory about Seed Destiny destroying the franchise hasn’t manifested itself in a new and previous undetected (from my viewpoint) light.  If every plot point used in Seed Destiny was automatically awful does that mean that every Gundam series that retroactively had an idea that was used in it is now awful too?  And what about the future of the franchise?  Does the Seed Destiny Test become the Gundam 00 Test for the next series should the idea that Gundam 00 is worse then Gundam Seed Destiny eventually take hold, or am I getting ahead of things?

I don’t know, but when I see people mentioning the return of Fukuda every now and then I can’t help but wonder if it’s more like the phantom of Fukuda and that the fandom appears to be chasing it in a race that is unwinnable.  Hell I’ve chased it on ocassion, but I feel like there’s a time to just let it get away as I’ll probably never be able to reconcile with Gundam Seed Destiny in any way.  And besides I’d rather move towards judging Gundam 00 on it’s own merits and failings without having to add in the unneccesary complications of a show that ended five years ago and that really has nothing to do with the show I’m watching now besides being a part of the same greater franchise.

In short the Gundam Seed Destiny Test just seems like one not worth administering.  From a reviewing standpoint it distracts and takes a roundabout way from the rather simple matter it hand, is Gundam 00 a show that one can say is good, poor or just okay overall?  And really I think at this point (2 episodes to the finish) that Gundam 00 especially is more than capable of sinking or floating on it’s own accord.


12 Responses to “Random Musing (The Gundam Seed Destiny Test)”

  1. 1 Myssa Rei March 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I think it’s more likely due to the fact that SEED Destiny was the last Gundam show prior to 00, so it still sticks in the minds of the younger viewers who never bothered with (or could NOT be bothered with) older shows like, oh, Zeta and Victory. Add to the gross mishandling of the production and poor story pacing (the shopping episode a few episodes into the climax springs to mind), and Destiny as an example of a concept gone sour will easily spring to mind.

  2. 2 ghostlightning March 19, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    I suspect the test was meant to be a fun exercise for those who use it. The mistake would be to use the results from it as substantive evaluation and analysis.

  3. 3 Q March 20, 2009 at 12:10 am

    I think a lot of people turned paranoid with this series due to GSD, and the fact that Mizushima hasn’t done a Gundam series before (which was the reason for why he was chosen to direct this series). I am actually a bit surprised how much comparisons people can draw out between GSD and G00 – and the number and variety of things people can spend time to bash on. The attitude of many viewers have changed these days I suppose; they do more than just watching the anime.

    While I do get worried about how this series will end, and wished that it’s 50 episodes long to get things a bit more established. But nonetheless I’m happy to see it through.

  4. 4 sadakups March 20, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Honestly, I really hate people in forums that keep on comparing the whole SEED saga (SEED and Destiny) to Gundam 00. Truth be told that SEED’s fanbase is that large up to this day, but it really irks me when they dish out comparisons between the two. I most especially hate those SEED-tards who hate Gundam 00 BECAUSE IT IS NOT SEED. It’s the most ridiculous thing ever.

    When I watched SEED (not Destiny) the last Gundam I’ve watched was another popular title, which was Wing, and I actually enjoyed it as well. Back then, I wasn’t much into forums so there was no one who’d persuade my opinion. SEED had lots of flaws, but I liked it.

    In Destiny’s case, it was kinda expected since it was a direct sequel of a good Gundam series, but it failed big time. It’s just that this series really caused a lot of traumatic experiences to viewers, that Sunrise, not just Gundam, gets the blunt end of the knee-jerk remarks. Code Geass was not spared by the GSD test.

    I’ve enjoyed Gundam 00 despite its flaws and whatnot. I guess NOT going to forums for the last five months really helped (although visiting this blog and RC is an exception). I mean, during the first season’s run, I could not enjoy it. But when I rewatched it (while discarding all the persuasions I had during the run), I found myself watching it over and over.

  5. 5 Kaioshin Sama March 20, 2009 at 6:30 am

    @Myssa Rei: Ahhhh the shopping episode. At least you can’t accuse your average Gundam series of not getting the point with it’s finales. Among Gundam Seed Destiny’s many oft-mentioned problems that certainly didn’t help much. Though does it’s finale necessarily have anything in common with Gundam 00’s beyond the superficial I wonder. 00 has been pretty clear what it’s about so far, even if some other people don’t seem to think so (I actually had a good discussion about this just a while ago on Animesuki), whereas with Destiny you could never really say what it was about other than that they wanted you to believe that Kira was right and Dullindal was wrong.

    @ghostlightning: Yep, I cross-compare and contrast things all the time, but mostly as an exercise for fun. It can be used as a tool for gauging things though and isn’t necessarily a mistake IMO, but it has to be used at the right/appropriate time….also IMO. What some people don’t or won’t seem to realize is that a Gundam show having a similarity to something that happened in Seed Destiny does not automatically make it awful by default, it’s how that similarity is executed that makes the difference.

    It’s funny but I think that the Gundam Seed Destiny Test is one of those rare things that work best either from the lulz level or the serious comparison level (and by serious comparison I mean full blown unbiased scientific method comparison and nothing less), but not anywhere inbetween.

    @Q: Mizushima had his work cut out for him from the beginning thanks to Seed Destiny I think, but like I said I think there’s a time to let it go. By episode count we are farther from Seed Destiny now then we are close to it (as in beyond the half point of both 00 and season) and there’s more 00 to go by now.

    @sadakups: Ohhhh I like how Seed is a full blown Saga unto itself now. I guess that sort of makes sense in a way, but somehow just doesn’t feel right. The Volsunga Saga(part of the greater Volsunga Cycle)…now that’s a Saga….I’d even call Legend of The Galactic Heroes a saga, but Seed….I think U.C is the only Gundam that really qualifies as a saga.

    Anyway, when I first started watching Gundam Turn A Gundam was just underway in Japan and I think the order that I started watching the shows in was Endless Waltz (1998) Wing(1999), Turn A (2002), SD Gundam (2003) Gundam X (2003), Zeta Gundam (2003), Victory Gundam (2003) 08th MS Team (2003), War In The Pocket (2003), 0083 Stardust Memory (2003), Seed (2004), ZZ Gundam (2004), G Gundam (2004) Gundam Seed Destiny (2004) Mobile Suit Gundam (2005), Char’s Counterattack (2005), Gundam F91 (2005), Stargazer (2006), MS IGLOO (2006), Gundam 00 (2007), MS Igloo 2 (2008), with all of them now completed other than of course Gundam 00 and MS Igloo 2. I think perhaps that the reason I am so lenient and generally accepting of all Gundam as that I got a taste for all of Gundam in such a rapid and random order that I have no real generalized expectation of what Gundam should be like many others who got their start specifically with Seed or U.C. I guess I should consider myself lucky in this regard.

    A lot has actually changed since the end of Gundam 00 and Code Geass R2, there’s just generally a lot less trolling and overreacting to Gundam 00 Second Season then I thought there was going to be. I’ve actually been able to chill, sit back, relax and enjoy it with people on forums like animesuki for the most part, while having friendly discussions, debates etc. that don’t just all rapidly degenerate into “It’s a trainwreck” or god forbid……….dare I even say it……shipping wars *EGAD!*

    Obviously there are those venues that I think are way harder on it then I think is neccesary, but at least I feel like I have choices with Gundam 00 Second Season when it comes to discussion and that I can have that quality dicussion I always wanted but could never have with the first season or Code Geass R2.

    And on that note I want to take a brief moment (because this is already getting long winded) to thank a few people for helping make this atmosphere a reality.

    First I want to give a special thanks to ghostlightning in particular because without his work in helping provide another tone to the discussion on mecha series and being such a great guy when it comes to listening and replying with supportive and thoughtful comments. Thanks for helping people remember love ghostlightning. Also Gundamn@MAHQ from Mechatalk forums as well has been an awesome source as far as providing commentary on mecha that is meaningful to me. They know how to be critical while being funny and fair and leaving no doubt as to their anime fandom (some critics you might not even know are anime fans the way they RAEG) and that is a style that I am trying to adopt as of late.

    Both of these sources have been paramount to helping bring the discussion level on mecha and anime back to the way I once remembered it before the RAEGHAET trend took over by providing a much needed balance so that I don’t have to anymore and can instead just chillax and hang with the fandom most of the time instead of always just being a miserable killjoy lecturer.

    Truth be told I absolutely hated being the “Meister” as one person called me, hated it with every fibre of my being because it took all my time away from just being able to enjoy and be honest about the anime I was watching, but at the time I felt like it was necessary because it seemed like there wasn’t really anybody else offering a “good cop” or even a moderate view on certain shows on the blogosphere nor an atmosphere where people could come to see and express some appreciation for said shows without feeling unwelcome.

    Seriously ghostlightning and Chris, Soulbro and Neo from Gundamn, I can’t thank you guys enough and the same goes for the regular readers of animehistory who always have something interesting to say and seem to understand where I am coming from most of the time.

    Okay that still took way to long….sorry. 😦

  6. 6 ghostlightning March 20, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Thank you very much for your generous acknowledgment! I’m much honored.

    As you know, Gundam and I didn’t have the best of starts with each other – considering my outright partisanship with Macross. While my partisanship hasn’t and won’t change, I’ve grown a very strong appreciation for Gundam, also in part due to the quality of analysis and discussion from its fans. Yours have been always noteworthy – never mind if I won’t agree with all of your assertions and conclusions; complete agreement never really happens.

    What I value more is benefit of the doubt, willing suspension of disbelief – which you’ve honored me with even when I was on the fence of even negative about the shows you care about.

    To crystallize my point: I’ve wanted to grow into loving Gundam in my own terms, and you’ve let me do so – even while remaining aggressive in your championing the franchise. So thank you.

    P.S. Thanks for directing me to the MAHQ forums. I’m enjoying lurking there a good deal. Soon I intend to find the right balance of wanting to contribute to the discussions there and withholding my opinions in the service of my own blog posts.

  7. 7 Zetatrain March 20, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    This does not come as a surprise me. IMO, GSD is the only bad gundam series that has received so much attention, and therefore its sort of a standard that others will judge other gundam series by when they think it is going down the drain. Before GSD I dont think there really was a gundam series that the vast majority of fans would call a bad gundam series,but thanks to GSD, there is now a standard that the fans will use when determining whether or not a gundam series is bad.
    Out of curiosity , why do you say the Anew subplot was poorly executed? Sure it wasn’t great, but I thought that it was at least okay,although i wont disagree with you on the Gaga suicidal squad (just saying the name makes it sound stupid).

  8. 8 The Sojourner March 22, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Cracking online jokes about masked men and stuff aside, I think it is unfair to compare one Gundam series to another. Every series ought to be evaluated without much reference to another (but I am believe there will always be tributes to the preceding ones in the later ones).

  9. 9 Kaioshin Sama March 23, 2009 at 1:45 am

    @Zetatrain: Hmmm…still sometimes I can’t help but feel that some people are using their judgement of GSD to judge Gundam 00 at times and that in doing so they are causing their enjoyment of Gundam 00 to go down. Some people, not all.

    Anyway if Gundam 00 does end up getting used as a yardstick it will feel somehow strange to me, kind of how everytime somebody tries to use Code Geass R2 as an example of bad anime (which it seems almost everybody is in universal agreement on except for me at this point) and a yardstick I just end up with a “wha?” expression on my face and can’t comprehend it.

    @The Sojourner: Yeah pretty much where I stand on the Gundam Seed Destiny Test.

  10. 10 Jonathan June 28, 2009 at 2:58 am

    Personally, I believe it’s quite Ok to compare different gundam series, not to pick out flaws and problems, but instead to look for similarities, references, and little bits of linking information that gives you a small rush of nostalgia I.e OMG another evil masked blond! I personally compare Gundam OO to gundam Wing ALOT! It’s rather nice looking at Gundam OO, then reminiscing on the old days (if one considers 10 years to be a long time), instead of saying crap like “Aww, the gundams look dumb compared to *******’s”.

  11. 11 Quote Quote No Name August 5, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    As a gundam fan, having watch most of its incarnations, I can say that there is such a thing as a bad gundam series. However, I believe in making out judgments about a particular series, we ought not to be arbitrary.

    There must be established criteria to properly judge if a series is good or not. Not just comparing it against another series; but comparing it against the aspects of a particular series that made that series a good one. For me I look at, character development, scripting, plot pacing, plot development, originality etc.

    In regard to GS & GSD I actually saw the GD Movies before the series. In my opinion, it wasn’t a bad series through it drew many references from Zeta and First Gundam. I wasn’t a fan of the character designs, however I tried not to let this dilute a more objective view of the whole production.

    When I saw GSD however, I think it started off on a good footing, but half way through the series it went downhill and it became obvious that they were trying to build off the fame that SEED seed has brought Sunrise. GSD was just a rehashed version of SEED with a less than mediocre plot, with less thought and creativity put into the mix. Though I love the soundtrack for GSD, the production itself really is a far cry from the things that gave the Gundam series its distinction. Series like 0083, Zeta, Victory, and 00 were all good series because it was evident that a lot of thought were put into the productions, something that I think was lacking from GSD.

  1. 1 On Hating Certain Gundam Shows (No lol. This will be a short one) « A Glorious Symphony Of Blood and Sweat (because of GaoGaiGar) Trackback on June 24, 2009 at 2:38 am

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