Ep. 025 - X Marks the Spot!

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Ep. 025 - X Marks the Spot!

Post by Soul Bro Ryu » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:06 pm

Gundamn! @ MAHQ Ep. 025 - X Marks the Spot!"
- Unplugged Version: 64 kbps - 122 min., 10 sec. (2:02:10) - 55.9 MB
- Remastered Version: Coming Soon!

01. Intro: "Neo's News"
Runtime: 0:00:00-0:14:36

02. Casey Kasem - Gundamn Dog Dedication (Interlude)
Runtime: 0:14:36-0:15:56

03. Preview: Next Time on Level Nine! - "Life Lessons with the Blue Bomber"
Runtime: 0:15:56-0:17:14

04. 1st Segment: The Impossible Has Come to Pass! - Gundam 00 Season 1 Episode 22-25 Not-Reviews
Runtime: 0:17:14-0:51:13

05. Epic Sugar Works (Commercial)
Runtime: 0:51:13-0:51:59

06. 2nd Segment: Gundam Round-up!: "After War Gundam X"
Runtime: 0:51:59-1:29:34

07. Florida Oriental Trading (Commercial)
Runtime: 1:29:34-1:31:38

08. 3rd Segment: What's more important in a series: Mecha or Characters?
Runtime: 1:31:38-1:56:25

09. Outro: "Closing/Props/Crossovers"
Runtime: 1:56:25-2:02:14

(Much props to Areku for the runtimes!)

This might be old news for some that jumped on iTunes today, but Ep. 25 is finally here. In this episode, the impossible has come to pass, with the (*ahem*) of Ep. 22 - 25 of "Mobile Suit Gundam 00" season 1! Then we tackle the underdog of Gundam television series in our long-awaited round-up of "After War Gundam X". Finally, the gloves come off as we break into a conversation about what's more important in an Mecha Series: The Mechs themselves or the Characters that revolve around them.

Enjoy & Happy Holidays!!!

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Post by Seraphic » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:39 pm

Sweet! That's good timing, Soul Bro. I'll listen to this while I'm writing! Hopefully none of the discussion manages to creep into my story, haha. :D

I'll be sure to comment on this one, and I still need to discuss the previous episode, too. Keep up the great work. =)
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Post by Sume Gai » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:18 am

great show as always guys

-end of 00 season 1 *ahem*s: I can't believe we actually heard that a avoiding the R-word must have helped a lot. :wink: I'm guessing this also means the end of Episode by episode reviews for Gundamn

-Gundam X: a show I recommend endlessly to friends who are at least interested into gundam. Garrod is still my favorite gundam lead (though Setsuna is working his way up there, he just has to get past Domon)

-Mecha vs characters: more often than not I'll "come for the mecha, Stay for the characters." I usually won't go out of my way to try a show with bad mecha designs (though for me that bar is pretty gundamn low, I liked the Turn A designs when I first saw them) unless someone recommends it. More often than not though even great mech designs will fail to keep my interest if the characters annoy or bore me though
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Post by Areku » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:41 am

Awww, you guys shouldn't have... What a nice present, wrapping up 00 Season 1 in time for my birthday. Oh, and you brought me the Gundam X Round-Up! Thank you! A few days early, but then I never get gifts exactly on my birthday anyway. Well, not birthday gifts, anyway (I can't outright state my DoB on the internet). :wink:

But major props to Soul Bro; in order for him to consistently get the timing right, he must be spying on me to decide when it's the perfect time to post the episode. :lol: Seriously, you always post it at the most convenient times possible for me. Well, except for that one time during the summer when you were a few days late and doomed me to AM radio on a cross-country drive...

Ah Hem!

Another good episode. I was looking forward to the X segment, and you guys didn't disappoint. X (and Jamil in particular) is one of the few things I could genuinely fanboy over, so I'll preemptively keep it short. One of the most interesting aspects of it, I thought, was the similar-but-more-explicit take on Newtypes. The characters were great; they all felt real and refreshingly down to Earth, even more than in other Gundam works. Etc, etc, I should stop here before I fall off of Fanboy Rant Cliff. Good job!

Although I do have to say, that piece you said about Ennil and the "Esperansa II"... I don't know, that almost sounds like a case of Too Good To Be True. Well within the realm of possibility, once you get past the whole "remake of a MA being a MS" thing, but... TGTBT.

Characters vs. Mecha... Hm. Time for another Over-Application of Math With Areku, but I think an utterly demonic grading scale from my engineering school applies here. Man, is this grading scale evil from the perspective of a student, but it certainly has it's uses. I'd say that the equation 1000/((9/Characters)+(1/Mecha)) = % of Ideal Balance, where the values for Characters and Mecha range from 1 to .1, sums up my feelings on it. What that equation does is weigh the weaker part more heavily than a simple "X+Y" equation, but I put a drastic weight on characters. Using this, if the characters and their portrayal are as good as possible but the mechs are terrible, it yields a 52%, and vice versa yields an 11%. As this makes clear, I have a major preference towards focusing on characters, but I also think that past a certain point, bad mech design can really hurt. We are talking about mecha anime, after all. But of course, I consider part of mech design to be how they fit within the story and what they're designed to do, by which I'd give, say, Turn A .9 in characters and .6 in mechs (despite disliking the way they look), yielding 86%. X is .97 for characters and .8 for mechs, giving it 95%; yet another reason why I like X so much.

*catches the ledge of Fanboy Rant Cliff by the tips of his fingers, then slowly pulls himself back up*

One final, minor fix, but my source on automated pizza delivery was actually Prototype This!, not Prototype Island. Can't have Neo's News sullying itself by miss-citing!

Great episode, guys. Looking forward to 26 and beyond, clear to the Golden 50th (fortune allowing), and towards Chris' ambiguous "new announcement/material" in January. Keep it up!

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Post by ZeonsSilverStar » Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:20 am

This isn't my first time listening but it it my first time commenting and great episode to say the very least. I really enjoyed the Gundam X segment. Sadly I've yet to see all of it but what I have seen I've throughly enjoyed. I also like the way it gave a simple answer to what Newtypes actually are.

On the topic of characters vs mecha for me it's alittle bit of both. When I was younger it was all about the mech but now that I'm older I want to know the person inside the mech. Of course this mind set faulters alittle when pretty boys, which I dislike, are involved. Gundam 00 for example I said I would never watch it due to the character designs. Over time I saw the mech designs and decided to give it a chance and I'm glad I did. Eventually the character designs didn't bother me at all. Code Geass is more or less the same story. G Gundam was the first mecha show I watched in which the characters were more interesting than the machines. I mean for all I cared Domon could've spent the whole series fighting without the Shining or Burning Gundam and I still would have loved it. In the end though I'd say 51% mecha and 49% characters.
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Post by Destiny_Gundam » Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:31 pm

Well, I don't think I have any 'mad opinions' but I'll give it a shot.

Gundam 00 finale: Not much I can say that I haven't said else where. However, the thing about Graham's appearence being "tacked on" has nothing to do with whether we saw it coming or not. It's just that it came at a bad time. Setsuna gave his all to take down Alejandro in an epic mid boss battle. But in comes Graham like an after thought. The fight itself was great, sure, but I think it should have been before Alejandro.

Gundam X: It's no secret that X is my absolute favourite Gundam series. It was the first one I watched after Wing and I just fell in love. I was actually depressed when I saw that episode 39 was labeled "final episode". First and only time that's ever happened.

Mecha VS Character: Well, I'd also have to say "come for the mecha, stay for the characters." I guess back when I was younger, bad mecha designs turned me away. But after I finally gave in and watched Turn A (simply to say I've seen every Gundam series), I reached enlightenment. So I now see 'ugly' as 'unorthodox' or 'unique'.

I could bear to watch a series with annoying characters if the mecha action is good enough, but I can't think of any examples at the moment.

Then there's times when the characters and the mecha are equally inticing. Take Bokurano. The characters were pretty messed up, making their backstories and development interesting. But then you had the spectacle of 500 meter tall mechs beating each other up.

But in the end the characters are what's important (I do watch non-mecha shows too, after all). The mecha is the icing on the cake.

And for the record, I am a hueg shipper. And I'm not ashamed.

Soul Bro, you should watch your Saji comments. You might piss off the real King Arthur.
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Post by Kavik Ryx » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:26 pm

It looks like Destiny Gundam beat me to the punch on, "come for the mechs, stay for the characters." Personally I'd go 65% characters (plot too) and 35% mecha. Randomly stumbling upon images for Vifam and Dragonar were the draw. Same with the lineart L.Gaim, Megazone, and Mospeada, which first interested in watching, before firsthand seeing how awesome they were.

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Post by hotlimit » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:07 am

Great show as always, but I especially liked it because I've seen all the shows mentioned for once.

00 - Props to Chris for bringing up the whole 'gun on the mantle thing'. The thing is, every time someone brings up a 'gun' in the forums, you shoot them down for over-analyzing. Stuff like the Innovator-like crew member introduced by Wang, or even the whole Saji thing (of course even the most avid King Arthur fans probably didn't see what happened coming), we've been shown a lot of stuff and it's not all wild speculation.

Gundam X - I thought the first segment about this was great, and now it's great to hear Chris clearing up the rumors about why it got cut short. I complain about the 4 random newtype aces now and then, but ultimately I wish they had made models for those goofy suits they piloted. One more thing, why have you guys never mentioned Paula, ever? Sure she's not as developed as Saji, but she's definitely 10x cooler.

Mechs or Characters - I got into Gundam because of the old Arcade/Dreamcast/PS2 Fed vs Zeon, Gundam vs Z Gundam etc. I thought the mechs were really cool and wanted to know more about them, and that's how I found MAHQ and all the awesome descriptions and line-art (Chris, your work is always appreciated). When I was good and ready I finally watched 0079, and then Zeta, and then SEED, Destiny, etc.

So it's games that get me into the mechs, and the mechs into the shows. I totally enjoy the storyline and the characters, but if there isn't a game to get me into it, I'm probably not going to watch. I've been watching more Gundam shows because of the Gundam Roundup segments, but I usually don't jump straight into a show without having seen the characters/mechs in a game or something. If I miss out on a great show because of that, I'm not too worried.

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Post by Chris » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:37 am

hotlimit wrote:00 - Props to Chris for bringing up the whole 'gun on the mantle thing'. The thing is, every time someone brings up a 'gun' in the forums, you shoot them down for over-analyzing. Stuff like the Innovator-like crew member introduced by Wang, or even the whole Saji thing (of course even the most avid King Arthur fans probably didn't see what happened coming), we've been shown a lot of stuff and it's not all wild speculation.
Going with the gun on the mantle... there's nothing wrong with theorizing about things presented in a show. My problem is when people assume things and simply accept them to be true with no evidence. In the case of Anew, I never doubted the possibility that she might be an Innovator after her initial appearance, but everyone concluded that she was a spy. Being an Innovator has more or less been shown, but we don't know yet if she's a spy. But everyone simply assumes it to be true.
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Post by Vent Noir » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:04 am

Personally, I'm very much on the characters side of the argument. I've mentioned here before that one of the reasons I had a hard time getting into 00 was that the characters just didn't do it for me (something I still have problems with, although not as badly as I did at first). Sergei and Soma are, to me, far more interesting and likeable than the "heroes". By contrast, one of the main reasons I stuck with Gundam Seed Destiny despite all its problems was that I fell in love with the cast of Seed, and felt that if I quit watching the show it would be like walking out on old friends.

I'm still not good at picking the voices, so I'm not sure which of you mentioned not having seen Full Metal Panic. Personally, I didn't manage to see it all the way through when it first came out for some reason, and am currently watching the boxset. You may have heard people comparing Setsuna from 00 to Sousuke, and watching through I can definitely see where they're coming from (Ali and Gauron too, as well as Andrei Sergeivich Kalinin). I'm not claiming that they're exactly the same, but I do think it's conceivable that there was an influence there.

(Personally, I like Sousuke more than Setsuna... probably because FMP's not constantly SERIOUS BUSINESS and he's inevitably the inadvertent cause of much of the comedy)

Hey, maybe you could do a mecha spotlight on FMP sometime?
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Post by hawk of endymion » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:49 am

Vent Noir wrote: Hey, maybe you could do a mecha spotlight on FMP sometime?
It's coming soon.
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Post by Areku » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:53 am

Chris wrote:Going with the gun on the mantle... there's nothing wrong with theorizing about things presented in a show. My problem is when people assume things and simply accept them to be true with no evidence. In the case of Anew, I never doubted the possibility that she might be an Innovator after her initial appearance, but everyone concluded that she was a spy. Being an Innovator has more or less been shown, but we don't know yet if she's a spy. But everyone simply assumes it to be true.
Chris wrote:everyone concluded, everyone simply assumes
Ouch! I know you don't literally mean everyone, but using that word gives legitimate, respectful Devil's Advocates such as myself a bad name. :P I myself never said that Anew had to be a spy, just that it was likely she was an Innovator and that the "spying on Twin Drive" scenario would fit with it very nicely.

"Everyone". Such strong language! :roll:
Vent Noir wrote:I'm still not good at picking the voices, so I'm not sure which of you mentioned not having seen Full Metal Panic.
That would have been Soul Bro.
Vent Noir wrote: By contrast, one of the main reasons I stuck with Gundam Seed Destiny despite all its problems was that I fell in love with the cast of Seed, and felt that if I quit watching the show it would be like walking out on old friends.
To an extent, that's what kept me watching as well (okay, so I never liked Kira, Lacus or Kuzzey, but I enjoyed pretty much everyone else), although I admit that towards the end there was also a sadistic/masochistic element to it.

Oh, and I knew I forgot to mention something in my earlier post. Congratulations. Gundamn! is now done with 75 of the 100 planned reviews (well, 71 of 96, according to the recent Not-Reviews). You're three quarters of the way there, guys, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.

Personally, I would recommend that you do the remainder of the reviews similarly to how you did them in this episode. Beyond the first 5-or-so episodes of any given production, anyone who's sitting through these reviews has probably already seen the episode being reviewed, so I think summing up the episode in 3-6 sentences will suffice for jogging our memories. And if not, well, we still have the summaries at MAHQ. That will probably save you 1-2 hours on 00 Season 2 alone!

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Post by CanadaMan » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:19 pm

A Christmas gift from the Gundamn! crew, how thoughtful.
I had almost forgotten what the Lost Episode had contained all those months ago, and clearly Chris has anti-jinx powers. Plus, you guys provided a good listen to as I shoveled snow. Remember our talks about snow? That white stuff?

As for Mechs vs Characters, well when I first got in to anime, it was the name that brought me in. For a long time I would only look at big names like Gundam or DragonBall Z to watch. I have since broken that horrible habit and for the better. Now it's an equal mixture of both that draw me to a show and keep me there.
Take Fafner: it was more about character development than mechs fighting, and I really enjoyed that show, even if there was little artistic difference between the Fafner cast and the SEED cast.
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Post by Wingnut » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:29 pm

Well, it's too bad about not having full reviews for the last episodes, but I suppose it's better to not tempt fate a third time given the history we've had with it.
One CB background character that did kinda get the shaft on the story was that blond doctor that was working on Lockon after he lost the eye. He just wound up spaced after the Ptolemy took a hit from the Alvatore's beam cannon. Came in out of nowhere, and left the same way.

On GX, also my favorite AU Gundam, though as the second season of 00 goes on, it's threatening to oust X from that title slot.
Even if it did though, I'd still like Garrod more than any of the Meisters.
The supporting cast of X also helps rank the show high as the crew of the Freeden is not just there as a support crew for the main characters, but an integral part of the story themselves, such as in episode 20 when we follow Tonya into town on her shopping trip, or Dr. Techs sneaking into the rec room to practice playing pool while everyone else is on shore leave. And then there's Kid and his crew getting attention now and again.

Another thing we might have gotten to see had the series gone all the way was Pala having more interactions with the crew other than just Garrod, and thus giving more reason for her to join Kid and his crew after the series other than she just didn't have any other place to be.

As for why it was canceled, I was always a fan of the Gundam fatigue theory myself.

For the fans of Enil. (Source is SRW Z.)

Mecha or Characters: To put a variation on what others have said, I've always worded it as "Come for the mechs, stay for the story." Which does cover the characters as well I suppose as they drive and are driven by the storytelling. I can't really put a percentage on it, but if one or the other starts to be lacking, I can easily lose interest in the show.
If your anime has mecha aka giant robots in it, then they shouldn't just be a background piece to use when it's convenient for the plot. The same goes for the characters as well. Having only non-stop mecha action doesn't really work either without any meaning to why the characters are fighting.
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Post by Kavik Ryx » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:52 pm

Woah. Gundam X seems to be the other series (G Gundam being the other) that brings Gundam fans together. It's my favorite AU with Turn A coming in a very very very very very close second. The only flaw I could find in the series was that the ambling nature occasionally hurt the pacing. Though that's such a minor gripe. Also, I just adore Garrod and Tiffa.

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Post by hawk of endymion » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:09 pm

The three of us knew that the discussion of X roundup would be as anticpated as the Wing roundup.

It was also nice to finally finish up season one of 00. The curse has been broken.
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Post by thanatos » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:23 am

Another great episode guys.

I found it ironic that you discussed characters vs mecha in the same episode as Gundam X, since that show had quality in both those aspects. X had excellent characters; I even enjoyed the Frost Brothers. They've got a better reason to be evil than any other gundam antagonist. The biggest mark on Gundam X though is the rather confusing ending at D.O.M.E., mostly about him being the only "true Newtype". Maybe I just need to rewatch it.

With regards to characters vs mecha, I don't know how you can dismiss a show based on its characters before even watching it to see what the characters are like. Unless you're talking about character designs, in which case I am guilty of prejudice against any character designed by Hisashi Hirai. That's why I have been putting off watching Heroic Age.
Usually by the time I get to understand a character, and decide whether I like them or not, I've watched enough of a show that I will just finished it rather than write off the time I've spent watching it.
As for mecha designs, they definately help in piquing my interest. The real robot mecha design of Gasaraki is the only reason I started watching that show, and the ugliness, IMHO, of Aquarion kept me from watching what turned out to be a fine show.

So basically, I chose what to watch based mostly on asthetics of the show and hope that decent characters will follow.

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Post by Destiny_Gundam » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:05 pm

thanatos wrote:Unless you're talking about character designs, in which case I am guilty of prejudice against any character designed by Hisashi Hirai. That's why I have been putting off watching Heroic Age.
I highly suggest you put that prejudice behind you. Hirai has gotten a LOT better with his recent stuff. His work on Heroic Age was great. You will never go "Wow, this guy was in SEED!" So you should definitely hit up Heroic Age. Uber Space Godzillas FTW.

Linebarrels of Iron, too. Hirai's same face syndrome is not present at all.
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Post by Chris » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:14 pm

thanatos wrote:With regards to characters vs mecha, I don't know how you can dismiss a show based on its characters before even watching it to see what the characters are like. Unless you're talking about character designs, in which case I am guilty of prejudice against any character designed by Hisashi Hirai. That's why I have been putting off watching Heroic Age.
You're missing out on a great show. I've never liked Hisashi Hirai's generic design style, but Heroic Age is a very underrated show that deserves to be seen. You should check it out when FUNimation releases it next year. From my perspective, dismissing a show just on the character designs is the same as dismissing it because of the mecha designs. This may not be the best example because the characters are the mecha, but a lot of people I've encountered are dismissive of the new Transformers Animated series because of the design style. Once they've watched it, they've totally changed their minds and enjoyed the show.

I actually had a friend who would make that argument to defend TF:A, but he also avoided Heroic Age because of Hirai. I made the point that someone avoiding TF:A just because of the designs would be the same thing as avoiding Heroic Age, so he relented and promised to watch Heroic Age once it comes out.
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Post by Kavik Ryx » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Destiny_Gundam wrote: Linebarrels of Iron, too. Hirai's same face syndrome is not present at all.
To be honest, I can't stand Hirai's character designs in Linebarrels of Iron. And to be completely honest, I never minded them in SEED or DESTINY, despite always mixing up Athrun and Shin for no apparent reason. IMO, the best anime he has done the designs for was Infinite Ryvius, where his designs did suffer from same face syndrome.

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