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Latest spin-off version of Bandai's neverending Gundam-franchise. In the Tokyo-area, this TV-anime airs weekly on TBS on Saturdays from 18:00 to 18:30.

As of this writing, the series has just started, yesterday's broadcast being episode 2, so not much can be said about the plot. However the graphics are beautiful, and the storyline seems to be strongly parallel to the original series Mobile Suit Gundam, with some apparent diversion points. The character design on the other hand is more related to that of Gundam Wing, featuring loads of bishonen (beautiful young boys), probably to please the female audience as well. So if the plot keeps it's promise, this could become the ultimate Gundam, although it will probably never be able to match the originals fan recognition...

Warning: Mad Spoilers.

Yet another Gundam series: This one is great, though. Every episode has some tension, almost always stemming from rather fierce battles, or drama between hormone-packed, psychotic teenagers. The artwork is rather good (see stunning for a TV-series), with character designs by Hisashi Hirai,(Infinite Ryvius), the music is almost always fitting to the situation, with interesting use of several beautiful vocal themes, albeit some not so perfect (please forgive the Idol singer 'incidence').

I think something that deserves special note in all Gundam series is the mecha designs: In this series, they are really quite spectacular, albeit, it'll take more episodes to judge if they become like the Elton Johns' of the Gundam saga (see Gundam Wing, specifically Wing ZERO.) Generic mobile suits, like the Jinn, have a certain charm to them, rather than just being the Ford Festivas of the battlefield, a.l.a Gundam Wing's "Taurus", or "Leo". Now I doubt the Jinn will match the fan recognition of the Zaku, but hey, it was worth a shot. Oh, the Astray is gorgeous.

One troubling aspect of this series, as of episode 28, is that not a single Gundam that was seen in action has been destroyed: I admit, considering the fact that Gundams are so powerful, almost all of them are piloted by experienced pilots, and they have yet to be manufactured in vast quantities, *may* just be reason enough, but c'mon, machines can't possibly be *invincible*! Update: Okay, a Gundam was destroyed, in a very emotional scene of the death of Asuran's fellow pilot and friend, Nikoru.

The main plot seems to revolve around a parallel to the Newtype vs Oldtype concept, Coordinators vs Naturals. The Coordinators, living in space colonies called PLANTs, are faster, smarter, stronger than the common man; genetically engineered supermen on a mission of revenge for the series' great catastrophe, Eunius Seven, essentially a Natural nuclear attack on a defenseless (The scene only depicted young children playing, and women walking around...) farming colony in space. Enter Neutron Jammer: I suppose every sci-fi series needs to make use of Star Trek-styled solutions, or else they'd be about as entertaining as a shuttle launch, but the Neutron Jammer essentially nullifies nuclear reactions. This wouldn't be so bad for the people of Earth, but they relied chiefly on Nuclear power, and they quickly found themselves in a deep power crisis when the Coordinators distributed hundreds of said Jammers within the earth itself.

The general feel of this series is intense crisis and mutual hatred, peaking in racism, between the two sides, and the situation doesn't get any cleaner with the entrance of Orb, a laughably neutral, militaristic government secretly producing the series' namesake, the Gundams: powerful new mobile suits, for the Alliance (Government of Earth, and the Naturals), but these Gundams are stolen by ZAFT, government of the Coordinators. Within the Orb colony, Heliopolis, a recon mission-turned-clusterfuck between Commander Cruz, the mysterious Masked Man of this series, and a rather weak force of Alliance regulars, was a throwback to Mobile Suit Gundam: The 'fateful discovery' by Kira Yamato (Amuro Ray workalike), of the Gundams, and as a Coordinator, he is capable of piloting the last Gundam to try and save the colony. Through his actions, he is put at odds with his childhood friend Asuran Zara, a young, but gifted ZAFT pilot, who by chance alone, encountered Kira face to face in Heliopolis. Kira loses Heliopolis in a pitched battle with ZAFT forces trying to destroy his mobile suit, and thus begins the cycle of guilt, and vengeance that fuels the fire of Gundam Seed's story.

Update: As of Episode 30, this series is definitely picking up, and the element that is the series namesake, SEED, has just appeared outside of Kira: SEED (I'll wait for an acceptable translation of the acronym) apparently is a state of berserker fury, characterized by greatly enhanced reflexes, and induced either by extreme trauma or fear. Asuran displayed the SEED trait whilst fighting a battle to the death with Kira, driven solely by a desire for vengeance. The result: Severed Gundam limbs go flying every which way, and both pilots almost kill each other. I eagerly await more mecha-carnage.

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