Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Vol 1 & Vol 2 : 4 of 5
It's time to start a new anime series, and after looking through my "watch someday" list, I decided to take on Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (even though it's a long 10 DVD series that will keep me cranking for a while). The Gundam genre is a true staple of anime fandom, but this is my first time to watch one of these popular mecha shows, so I was worried about getting into this huge universe and understanding what's going on. I had read lots of comments praising SEED as a favorite series of the bunch, and fortunately the show is just so cool that it doesn't really matter if the background story is a little fuzzy (and it was easy to educate myself with Wikipedia anyway)! There's no point into trying to explain the plot here, except to mention that the main character Kira (who pilots a cool Gundam with phase shift armor) often has to face his childhood friend Athrun, who is fighting on the other side of the war. There's actually a lot of semi-philosophical moments about the purpose of war, how it affects both sides and no one is truly "right", which fleshes out the characters well, but for now I just want to mention the cool battles and machinery! The mobile suits themselves are really detailed, and I love how they launch on foot sleds kind of like Battlestar Galactica Vipers. The space battles are really exciting, with lots of attention to realism and devices like maneuvering jets, and it's interesting to watch the characters move around in the zero gravity interiors of the giant warships (I also like the naval terminology such as "sinking" an enemy ship). Unfortunately, this series was completed before most anime was produced in 16:9, even though it's not that old, but at least the visuals are so stunning (with surprisingly few CG crutches) that it doesn't matter. I'm really excited about continuing this series and watching the further battles between Earth and ZAFT!