Gundam 00 Original Soundtrack 1 – Review

Album Title: Gundam 00 Original Soundtrack 1
Anime Title: Gundam 00
Artist: Kenji Kawai
Catalog Number: VTCL-60014
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: January 10, 2008
Purchase at: CDJapan


Track List:

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. Exercise Kenji Kawai 2:04
2. Unknown Kenji Kawai 1:41
3. Alarm Bell Kenji Kawai 2:59
4. Intervention Kenji Kawai 2:07
5. Innovation Kenji Kawai 2.21
6. Power Kenji Kawai 2.41
7. Attack Kenji Kawai 1:41
8. Turn Back Kenji Kawai 1:59
9. Windless Kenji Kawai 1:17
10. Tension Kenji Kawai 1:56
11. Setsuna Kenji Kawai 2:35
12. Union Kenji Kawai 2:06
13. Control Kenji Kawai 1:57
14. Beating Kenji Kawai 2:28
15.Communist Camp Kenji Kawai 1:51
16. Daily Kenji Kawai 1:02
17. League Kenji Kawai 1:45
18. Unrest Kenji Kawai 1:16
19. Crisis Kenji Kawai 1:19
20. Administration Kenji Kawai 2:05
21. Hallelujah Kenji Kawai 2:19
22. Eyes Kenji Kawai 1:59

Review: Over the years, the Gundam series has been associated with good music. Yoko Kanno’s epic Turn a Gundam OST and Toshihiko Sahashi’s 8-disc Gundam SEED OST had excellent main themes, displayed life and variety, and were highly enjoyable. Therefore, it is not surprising that fans of the franchise will have high expectations of Gundam 00’s soundtrack if they were to use Kanno’s and Sahashi’s works as benchmarks.

However, Gundam 00 is one that curious soundtrack fans should pass up on because it’s just so bland and repetitive. The individual tracks are not terrible on their own, but when put together with over 20 tracks which have roughly the same atmosphere and style, it is enough to bore anyone. The big problem with this soundtrack is that there isn’t a notable climax; everything proceeds at the same speed and volume, creating a hypnotic effect.

The grandeur that we usually associate with Gundam music is completely lacking here. The only track which comes slightly close is “Control,” which, when compared to tracks like “Kantai Shiki” from Gundam SEED DESTINY Soundtrack 2, sounds vastly inferior.

Control

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Kantai Shiki (Gundam SEED Destiny)

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The choice of instrumental, though promising at first, becomes awfully predictable and limited as the soundtrack drags on. I enjoyed the drums and choir during “Alarm Bell,” but hearing it reused wholesale in “Intervention,” “Power,” “Beating,” and “League” is just too much.

Alarm Bell

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Beating

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Those trying really hard to find just the tiniest bit of variety may notice slight variations in instrumentals in tracks such as “Innovation.” However, picking out such tracks requires great concentration, which is unbelievably difficult when it comes to this soundtrack. Plus, it is not really worth taxing your ears so much just to hear such variations, which the majority of others soundtracks easily deliver.

Of the tracks on this album, “Setsuna” leaves a decent impression because its Arabic style does not follow the same structure as the others, making it a somewhat effective wake-up call. Even so, the track lacks development as the melody becomes overly repetitive. Other notable tracks include “Crisis,” “Administration” and “Eyes,” but it doesn’t change the fact that 4 decent tracks out of 22 is a meager amount.

Setsuna

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The only track that registers a change mood is “Daily,” going from the monotonous drones to something rather lively. However, even this is not without its flaws. Kawai Kenji just seems to be trying too hard, resulting in a track that wouldn’t be out of place in K-ON’s OST but juts out like a sore thumb here.

Daily

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Even for those who’ve watched the anime and were fairly impressed with the music, I’d still say you should just leave it at that. Whatever was memorable in the anime turns out to have at least three other variations in the soundtrack. Whatever was not memorable in the anime has hardly any value, since it holds no depth even upon careful listening.

To all but the most dedicated and patient of Gundam 00 fans, this soundtrack falls far short of what we expect from Gundam soundtracks, or any anime soundtrack for that matter. Personally, I’ve seldom had much difficulty finishing a soundtrack, but Gundam 00 really tested my patience from start to finish.

Rating: Not Good

Jen

I have been a contributor to Anime Instrumentality since late 2009 (blimey...). Being a lousy musician trained in cello, keyboard and voice, I feel obliged to censure the other amateurs who have the cheek to release their rubbish to the world, and to affirm those who actually deserve their salary. Nothing gives me more joy than listening to good music, though I admit that writing scathing reviews on bad ones comes close.

16 thoughts on “Gundam 00 Original Soundtrack 1 – Review

  • January 23, 2010 at 11:04 pm
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    Out of all of these, Setsuna’s the only one I like. The others are so generic to this genre… especially the first track. I feel I’ve heard of something like that on the join the army commercial.

    Reply
  • January 25, 2010 at 1:18 am
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    A part of me wonders how much of this is a product of what the director wanted. Gundam 00 was a very emotionally restrained series. There was a great deal of uniformity and austerity that such generic music fit quite well with the overall mood.

    Reply
  • January 25, 2010 at 6:47 am
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    @ Yi
    Oh yea, no wonder some are familiar to me too. This OST puts all Gundam OSTs to shame. I always find it unbelievable to find people commenting that this is their ‘top favourite soundtrack of all time’.

    @ Shadowmage
    I’ve seen good soundtracks for monotonous shows and vice versa. I don’t think how good an anime is has much to do with the soundtrack.

    Reply
  • January 25, 2010 at 10:39 pm
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    I actually wasn’t trying to say that the quality of the show affects the soundtrack; rather, I was trying to say the input the Director and other creative bodies within a production usually have a large effect on how the music turns out. Perhaps the Director wanted a body of music that sounded like typical army fanfare.

    Then again, a more likely explanation would be that Kawai Kenji overexerted himself and wrote far too many pieces – many of which were mediocre.

    Reply
  • January 25, 2010 at 11:13 pm
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    @Shadowmage
    That wouldn’t surprise me actually if some of the blame is to fall on the Director. The modus operandi for anime scores usually involves the Director asking certain thematic pieces from the Composer and the composer responds with a few ditties. So the Director will ask for stuff like a “war-like” theme or a “lazy day” theme, and it’ll be up to the composer to come up with samples that he’ll then turn over to the Director to see if it fits with the Director’s vision. So yes, it may very well be what has happened here.

    That said, Kenji Kawai does have this annoying tendency to write music that fits the series, but makes for a lackluster listening experience without the context. Examples of this include Seirei no Moribito and Eden of the East. Yeah, I was unimpressed by those works. Had high hopes after watching the anime only to have those hopes dashed after listening to the soundtrack as a standalone entity.

    I can’t speak for Gundam 00 since I haven’t listened to it myself, but the selections that Jen uses is about adequate if all you’re looking for is to create an ambiance with the context of the anime in mind. But as a standalone listen, it leaves me wanting. Especially when there’s Turn A and SEED/SEED Destiny to compare it to.

    Reply
  • January 25, 2010 at 11:41 pm
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    Okay, I’ve sat through the entire OST and enjoyed it, but I realize where Jen is coming from. This is more of a compilation of good music clips than actual, developed musical pieces. Each track really is the same few lines repeated with a few additions after each iteration. Instead of building into anything, the music exhausts all possible additions and ultimately just fades out. Also, a third of the music seems to be a remix or fusion of a previous songs except with different instruments, tempo and/or style.

    On an unrelated note, I loved this from the second OST

    Reply
  • January 26, 2010 at 12:02 am
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    Damn, Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny had some epic music. I like the comparison you did there between Control and Kantai Shiki, vastly inferior is right.

    Reply
  • January 26, 2010 at 2:05 am
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    @ zzeroparticle
    Oh, finally I understand more about how directors have a say in the soundtrack. =D I’ve always wondered about how the system works. I agree that Kawai Kenji does produce stuff which suits the atmosphere. While I never remembered being particularly moved by any pieces while watching “00”, the music did go well with the visuals as a whole.

    @ Shadowmage
    Ooops, sorry for the misunderstanding. >.< The repetition was what killed me. I wouldn’t mind it as much if the instruments are varied, but the fact is: they’re not. I gave that track a listen. Well, I won’t say I love it if I compare it to all the other soundtracks I’ve heard, but in Gundam 00 alone, yea, that track is pretty good. @ Reltair One thing which I don’t get is how both composers had access to the same resources (I find it hard to believe that Gundam 00 had a very limited budget or something along those lines) and Sahashi came up with something so wonderful while Kawai completely fell short.

    Reply
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  • February 3, 2010 at 10:55 pm
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    And yet what does it say about the music in anime these days when I vastly prefer a mediocore effort in Gundam series music to just about anything else out there.

    Reply
  • February 3, 2010 at 11:20 pm
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    @Kaioshin Sama
    Can only speak for myself, but that’s what the MALKeionbu is for :p

    Reply
  • February 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm
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    I’m going to have to say that I liked this OST compared to the other three in the series. Of course, this one doesn’t compare to others in the Gundam universe like SEED or Turn-A.

    When I first listened to this OST, I was just struck by how much of a war-like tone these tracks had. It was certainly different from previous Gundam soundtracks that I’ve listened to. Keep in mind that this was before I had seen the series.

    Once I had seen the series, the songs grew on me as I listened to them more and more. Tracks in particular that I started to enjoy more and more were “Union”, “Innovation”, and “Eyes.”

    I guess this is the case where if I really liked an anime series, I automatically like the musical score that goes with it.

    Also, watching those “Tactical Forecast” videos gave me a better appreciation for this OST.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2010 at 2:05 am
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    I don’t think similarities between songs on the OST is a valid complaint. The theme introduced in Alarm Bell is carried through several other songs for a reason: the use of that motif is what in part ties the anime together. If you think of them not as separate songs, but different takes on the same song, I think it’s much easier to appreciate the soundtrack. I will admit certain songs (including the aforementioned Alarm Bell) are somewhat lacking, and could have done with more variation within the songs, themselves, but other songs, like Intervention, imo do a very good job of keeping interest. My main complaint is actually just the way a lot of them end. In half the songs, it just feels too sudden.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2010 at 8:27 am
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    @amuroray2000
    Individual tracks are fine, it’s just the idea of going through the whole soundtrack in one shot that kills the listener. If it wants to draw people in, it needs way more variety.

    @leaf
    I can understand that many animes re-use one set theme for the soundtrack. The re-using of a certain theme certainly isn’t a valid complaint. But what I complain about is the hopeless monotone, lack of variety of instrumentals and the uniform mood these themes bring about. Basically, they’re all roughly the same.

    I actually didn’t pay as much attention to how each song ended, given how difficult it is to even keep my attention there at all. Though I don’t think I’ll give it another listen just to find more flaws…

    Reply
  • August 9, 2011 at 10:26 am
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    The soundtracks are B E A UTIFULL!!!, I’m sure these are one of the best OST of anima’s and others!

    For example: the songs in these video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XO_Y_9GOy4
    – Decisive battle
    – … unknow (where andrei and marie are talking about the colonel)
    – ..

    Reply
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