Mobile Suit Gundam SEED - Reception


The show has become one of the most popular of the Gundam series in Japan, enjoying high television ratings and DVD sales. In April 2004, Bandai Visual announced that one million copies of the Gundam SEED DVD had been sold in Japan, with the first volume having sold over 100,000 copies. CDs sales have also been high with the single CD from the series' first ending theme becoming one of the top-selling CDs in Japan during 2002. By July 2004, 10 million plastic Gundam SEED models had been sold worldwide. In the same month, Jerry Chu, marketing manager for Bandai Entertainment Inc., stated the response to Gundam SEED has been highly positive, having broken rating records when it first aired in Japan. Chu added that reaction in the United States was also the most enthusiastic Bandai received in the last six years. According to the analyst John Oppliger of AnimeNation Gundam SEED became the first Gundam series which was widely successful not only among "Gundam fans and hardcore otaku" but also among "mainstream, casual Japanese viewers". Gundam SEED was the eighth TV Feature Award winner at the Animation Kobe Awards in 2003. It was also the third winner at the Japanese Otaku Awards in 2003. It also won Animage's twenty-fifth Anime Grand Prix award winner in 2002, with the characters of Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne topping the male and female anime catergories, respectively. It also topped the charts in the Newtype magazine reader poll during 2004. However, the show was not well received by older Japanese fans. In February 2004, Sunrise's president, Takayuki Yoshii, stated it was because Gundam SEED incorporated elements from popular live-action television dramas. On the other hand, Bandai Visual reported in April 2004 that Gundam SEED had a wide audience, including both young and older viewers.

Gundam SEED has been praised for being a stand-out in a long line of Gundam series with Anime News Network's Paul Fargo calling it "the best of the alternative timelines, but stands as one of the best Gundam titles". The story has been praised for its battle sequences as well as its character-driven scenes, neither of which were reviewed to have detracted emphasis from the other. The series was also noted to "downshift" in pace from its early episodes as the main characters development began to progress along political themes, which appealed to some audiences. Early in the series, speculations were made with regards to the progress the characters' relationships. The relationship between Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala earned praise as it resulted in entertaining action scenes between their mobile suits, while in later reviews speculation arose as to whether the two would become allies. The climax has also been praised for bringing unexpected inclusions within the war, as well as revelations regarding the characters' roles. A common comment among writers was that Gundam SEED blended elements from previous Gundam series and displayed it in fast-paced way, making it enjoyable to younger fans but still engaging older fans familiar with previous series. DVD Verdict writer Mitchell Hattaway further noted that while it used elements from other anime series, it still "drew in so quickly soon found wrapped up in the proceedings". Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network stated that Gundam SEED adapted the original Mobile Suit Gundam series from 1979 for a modern audience in the same way Mobile Suit Gundam 00 would adapt Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Bamboo Dong from the same site stated that while this caused the appearance of "hardcore anti-Gundam Seed zealots" who criticized the series for these traits, it was nevertheless entertaining to watch and give anime fans a step into the "Gundam fandom".

The quality of the animation led THEM Anime Reviews' Derrick L. Tucker to call it "by-and-far the best of any Gundam Series to date". Additionally, the soundtrack was popular for bringing popular J-pop artists such as Nami Tamaki and T.M. Revolution to perform the theme songs. The casting of many talented voice actors, such as Rie Tanaka, Seki Tomokazu and Houko Kuwashima, provided the emotional depth in scenes that required it. The English dub was reviewed favorably for the most part but comparisons between the English and original Japanese dubbing revealed weaknesses in the portrayal of the characters.

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