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volume 3 issue 11

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Animefringe Coverage:
Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED
By Ever Cheung

What? Another Gundam series? Give me a break, are they still trying to squeeze another series out of that beat-up, 20+ year-old title? If that was what you were thinking, think again.

Over the past twenty three years, the name of Gundam had probably become an all too familiar name for most anime fans excluding the small percentage of hardcore Gundam maniacs; from the original Gundam series in 1979 to the live action Gundam movie G-Savior. Gundam had come a long way, but yet still holding a strong potential waiting to be discovered. Having a series with history of continuous popularity among anime fans across the globe, the choice is clear. Even more so in today's anime world, where interesting stories are getting harder and harder to come by.

Following a familiar beginning as most of the Gundam series had started with in the past but in an entirely separate universe running under the Cosmic Era calendar (C.E.). Gundam SEED began in the year C.E.71, with the surprise attack on a neutral colony Heriopolis by the troops of ZAFT, an elite military force. It closely resembles the Zeon forces in the original Gundam universe in terms of the chain of command, clothing designs and in some ways, mecha designs. The goal? To steal the five recently completed new type mobile suit Gundams that had been secretly stored on the colony - DUEL Gundam, BLITZ Gundam, BUSTER Gundam, AEGIS Gundam and STRIKE Gundam. The reason for this surprise attack can date back from a year before, when the population living in space plants who were referred to as "Coordinators", began to have troubles with the United Earth government (referred to as "Naturals", people who were born on Earth) on economic issues. Unable to resolve their differences, the gap between the two sides began to grow and finally after all diplomatic measures had been exhausted, war was finally declared.

Unaware of the troops that were closing in, Kira Yamato and his friends went about their daily routines as students on the peaceful resource colony Heriopolis, until their quiet tranquility was shattered by the reality of war. In the mist of the chaos and explosions, Kira found himself helping a stranger, a young girl named Kagari, whom he just met in the laboratory where he worked as one of the assistants just prior to the surprise attack. And just like it had been written in all of the previous Gundam series, after Kira succeed in securing a shelter space for Kagari, he found himself standing in awe at the sight of a giant mecha unlike any other - STRIKE Gundam; the only Gundam still in possession of the United Earth Forces, while all others had already fell into the hands of ZAFT during the early stages of the surprise attack on the colony... And even more shocking for Kira was that one of the invading troops was his childhood friend Aslan! Will Kira be able to save the day with the only Gundam left? How did Aslan become an elite member of the ZAFT forces? All will be answered in this brand new Gundam saga.

Although most people probably never pay any attention to the credits, die hard Gundam fans should have no problem recalling the name Okawara Kunio, mechanical designer of the original Gundam RX-78 back in 1979 and Gundam Formula 91 (aka F91) in 1991, who is also one of the two mechanical designer in Gundam SEED! In cooperation with Okawara Kunio as the mechanical designer is Yamane Kimitoshi, a well known mechanical designer who participated in the productions of Gundam 08th MS Team Miller's Report, Spriggan 1998, the Escaflowne movie in 2000 and Cowboy Bebop ~ Knockin' on Heaven's Door in year 2001 just to name a few. In terms of character designs, it would no doubt remind otakus of a recent sci-fi/action series entitled SCRYED that was done by the very same character designer Hirai Hisashi who made a name for himself in the anime industries with the release of Scryed and Mugen no Ryvius (aka Infinite Ryvius). And with an opening theme preformed by famous JPop group T.M. Revolution, Gundam SEED is a sci-fi series that is surely worth a closer look. Even if you may feel tired of the Gundam name, the diverse character design and interaction in addition to the brand new mecha designs will no doubt make it worth your while.

Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED is currently on-air in Japan on MBS and TBS station network every Saturday at 6:00pm, no word yet on DVD release at this time. For the latest information, picture of characters and designs of the new GUNDAM mecha series, please visit Sunrise's official site at:

United Earth Forces
Kira Yamato [M/16]

A Coordinator (human born in space plants), who lived on the resource satellite Heriopolis. He became pilot of Earth forces' latest secret weapon STRIKE Gundam after the surprise attack by ZAFT forces.
Maryuu Ramias [F/26]

A Natural (human born on Earth), Captain in the Earth Forces. Originally assigned to the new battleship "Archangel" as vice-command upon her arrival at Heriopolis, and later took over as commander after the original commanding officer was killed. She is woman who is willing to put herself in harms way in order to bring peace to the world. Can be emotional at times.
Fraye Alstar [F/15]

A Natural. Classmate of Kira on Heriopolis, one of the heroines of the series. A typical well-mannered daughter from an ideal family.
Muu Ra Fraga [M/28]

A Natural. He is a captain in the Earth Forces and ace pilot of the MA (Mobile Armor) squad. Involved in the defense of the Gundam series on Heriopolis as one of the escort/security detail members. Later becomes a big-brother figure for Kira and his friends during their journey together.
Miriaria Hao [F/16]

A Natural. Friend of Kira, she managed to escape onto the new Earth Forces battleship "Archangel" during the ZAFT attack and later worked as a operator onboard the new battleship.
Kagari Yura Asha [F/15]

A member of the Neutral Earth organization known as ORB. She is the daughter of one of ORB's leaders and is very active and always energetic.
Aslan Zara [M/16]

Coordinator. Kira's best friend as well as life-long rival. Successful in leading the strike team in securing four of five Gundams in the surprise attack on Heriopolis. Later becomes the pilot of one of the stolen Gundams - AEGIS Gundam, which he uses in countless battles against Kira later on.
Nicole Amalfi [M/15]

Coordinator. Pilot of BLITZ Gundam, who sees Aslan as a big brother.
Issac Juru [M/17]

Coordinator. Pilot of DUEL Gundam. Seems to have certain feelings toward Aslan after losing the title of 'Ace Pilot' to Aslan.
Diaka Elsman [M/17]

Coordinator. Pilot of BUSTER Gundam. Cunning and very easy to get angry.
Rau Ru Kuze [M/28]

Commanding officer of Aslan and his fellow pilots. A man who wears a white mask wherever he goes, a figure that's constantly surrounded by mysteries.
Rakus Kurain [F/16]

Fiancee of Aslan. Likes to hold onto her favorite Halo unit which was given to her by Aslan. (side note: in the OP I see a short clip of Rakus going into an embrace with Kira, or was I just seeing things? If that's real, this story may be more interesting than I thought... :)

Images Copyright Sunrise/Bandai. All rights reserved.

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