Gundam SEED FREEDOM Rewards Fans After 20-Year Hiatus

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As the theater darkened, there was a quick hush over the buzzing crowd. After almost two decades of waiting for the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED FREEDOM movie, the room felt extremely energetic even in its silence.

Gundam fans are acutely familiar with patience. Due to the unfortunate health complications scriptwriter Chiaki Morosawa experienced after Gundam SEED Destiny, the feature film was on an indefinite hiatus until the announcement of the early 2024 release in Japan. Lucky premiere goers in New York City and Los Angeles on March 31, 2024 were the first audiences in the US to be reunited with their favorite characters and series. Before the premiere, Director Mitsuo Fukuda appeared on screen with a pre-recorded interview. His greatest wish was that viewers leave the theater with a happy face.

A couple minutes into the film, cheers from the audience erupted at the appearance of Kira Yamato. These cheers were echoed for every main character thereafter. But the real crescendo of the applause started when the pilots dispatched their mobile suits and Kira took off in the Freedom Gundam to the collaborative theme song FREEDOM by Takanori Nishikawa.

Directly following the events and war of Gundam SEED Destiny in Cosmic Era 75, a new global peace unit is established to counteract Blue Cosmos attacks. This unit, called COMPASS, features Kira and SEED heroes Shinn, Agnes, and Lunamaria, along with Lacus serving as its president. Approached by the new nation known as the Foundation to join forces and bring forth an era of peace, COMPASS soon realizes the path to justice and freedom is not as clear as they anticipated.

Gundam SEED FREEDOM pays homage to the SEED series and really is a tribute to the fans who stuck around this long for a continuation of the story. As Director Fukuda notes, the first half of the movie brings back elements of the original Gundam while the second half is like a Gundam SEED reunion. There are a lot of reappearances and interpersonal character developments that seek to satisfy nostalgic fans. Flashbacks to the previous series and plenty of personality quirks, as well as the challenging of old habits, reward those who were patient enough to stick around.

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While the underlying themes of war, eugenics, survival, and love will be relatable to a fresh audience, most of the context and character choices will mostly speak to those already familiar with SEED Destiny’s dynamics. Such as when Kira is overwhelmed with how to make the right choice to protect humanity and those he loves. Groups of movie goers around me roared “punch him!” when Kira’s moping started tarnishing his heroic antics. Gundam SEED FREEDOM offers plenty of moments of comedic relief that will be appreciated by audiences, especially when we see each character succumb to their own insecurities and make decisions out of misunderstandings.

Alyson Leigh Rosenfield, the English voice actor of Lunamaria Hawke, joined the pre-screening interview and spoke about her character’s new strong side that fans would enjoy. Each character has plenty of moments to share their growth, as seen when Kira struggles with his purpose and how he can’t bring world peace. He along with the rest of the team learn from their inner turmoil and how to fulfill their own destinies rather than those created for them. When each protagonist gets past their limiting beliefs, fans will feel a sense of pride like watching a friend mature.

Of course, Gundam wouldn’t be Gundam without its grandiose battles. Luckily there is plenty of fighting right from the opening scene and the reprise of the series famed mobile suits is equally exciting as seeing Kira, Lacus, and crew after all this time. The seamless mix of CGI elements and fight animation for the mechas is a testament to meticulous work Sunrise put into making this film visually stunning. A work of art fit for an audience who waited patiently. It was a long time coming, but fans finally got their reward with Mobile Suit Gundam SEED FREEDOM.

After nearly 20 years of wondering what would become of the series, at last we got the closure fans longed for. I’ve never experienced a collection of fans so passionate about an anime movie as I had during the premiere of Gundam SEED FREEDOM. One thing is for certain: Gundam as a series has the power to bring many different people together; long-time fans and newer ones alike. Based on the smiles seen while leaving the theater, I believe Director Fukuda fulfilled his wish.

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Freedom will screen in movie theaters in the US on May 7th and May 8th 2024.