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NYCC2010 NYAF2010: Day 3 Impressions

The third and final day of New York
Comic Con had a relatively light schedule in terms of events to attend.
However, with the North American premiere of the film Gundam 00: A wakening of the Trailblazer, it was not truly a light
day in any other respect.

Press
Conference with
Mardock Scramble author Tow Ubukata: The morning began with a small (but
informative) press conference with the author of the Mardock Scramble novel series on which the film that was screened
Friday night was based. Mr. Ubukata also worked on the screenplay for the film,
meaning he had a lot of insight into the project. This gritty film, part one of
a trilogy, is a science-fiction work that is telling stories on multiple
levels—both with the characters and in terms of society. Western influences
figured heavily into the work, which Mr, Ubukata was pleased to see were
positively received on Friday evening. Once again, I highly recommend this film
once it is licensed for distribution. And in the meantime, check out the novel
that will be released next year from VIZ Media. It’s not safe for younger
audiences, but older audiences should definitely look into it. It’s obvious
from the press conference that much thought went into every aspect of this
work; it’s almost astounding.

Look for a full write-up of the
interview coming later this week.

North
American premiere of
Gundam 00: A wakening of the Trailblazer:
This is the event I was most looking forward to coming into NYCC. Apparently, I
wasn’t the only one, as the line wound around the hallway multiple times, dense
with Gundam fans looking forward to the finale event of the latest incarnation.
Thankfully we arrived an hour and a half early, so we easily found seats—people
appeared to be turned away at the door because the screening room was full. And,
I should note, there were a lot of seats in the room. Gundam cosplayers
(including one fan with an Exia head) posed for pictures before the film began.
The crowd was loud and eager for the film, chanting and cheering even after the
lights had dimmed.

Since we have a fair number of 00 fans on the forum who have not seen
the film, I won’t go into major spoiler-territory. However, I will say that it
was a good movie. Quite good, in fact. The music especially was exceptional. It
did a brilliant job of setting the mood through the various crises and events
throughout the film. We get to see the four new Gundams in action as Celestial
Being returns after a two year period of inactivity. The Meisters are reunited
and some awesome fights break out. It’s also absolutely gorgeous to look at.
The art is crisp and the animation smooth. And did I mention the music? I harp
on this because the score is simply spine-tingling.

I found myself engaged and on the edge
of my seat (literally, because I was craning my neck to see the subtitles
around the guy in front of me whose head blocked the bottom half of the screen)
throughout the film. There are some mind-boggling stunts that left my jaw on
the floor.  There was a lot of awesome
going on in this film.  Unfortunately, I was
completely underwhelmed by the ending. After the buildup—which was expertly
crafted in its making the ELS threat real and terrifying—it felt abrupt and
even a bit ridiculous. Even the post-credits scenes just didn’t quite make up
for it to me.

I feel this film was a bit too ambitious
for its own good. There was a lot—I mean, a
lot
—going on. There were a lot of characters to balance as well, and many
were simply shunted to the side. Feldt, in particular, becomes a one-word woman
a la Allelujah’s “Marie” in season two. Characters I have loved from the series
don’t get much time and even the main four aren’t quite balanced effectively.
There was simply too much going on, too much that needed to happen, in a short
period of time. At most, this plot could have easily filled a third season’s
worth of episodes; at least, it could have used a second movie. I really
enjoyed what the production team was trying to do and it was obvious that this
work was a labor of love for them. But nonetheless, it fell short for me, as
the payoff from the buildup wasn’t equal.

That being said, I really did enjoy the
film and 00 fans should be very
excited for Bandai’s upcoming release. The crowd was absolutely enthralled the
entire time, bursting into laughter at the funny moments—such as the
introduction, which is absolutely hilarious and beyond silly—and being among so
many fans made the experience that much more fun. Enthusiasm is contagious. I
was most looking forward to this from the outset and I’m happy to have seen it.
It was an appropriate conclusion to my time at NYCC.

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