I’ll have to admit that while the second season of Gundam 00 had better mecha action, the writing dropped into terrible levels, which prevented me from enjoying it as much as I did the first one. However, the massive slugfest at the end righted things, and salvaged the show as a whole for me.
That said, I suspected something like this to happen, but didn’t think that Sunrise would actually pull it off:
One trope I’d like to see more in mecha anime is the hero reverting to an older weapon after his numerous forms/upgrades have been rendered unusable. This has been done in GaoGaiGar, Might Gaine, Zambot 3 and even the Shin Getter Robo manga (where Ryoma & co. fight a hijacked Getter G with the original Getter Robo). Seeing the Exia rebuilt was a huge treat, considering the venerable machine’s history of action.
Talk about a 2-stage final boss battle, with a proper Final Boss fight up front, then a more primitive, ferocious one after that. When you recall final battles in earlier Gundam shows, they’re deceptively simple–the hero and the villain fight, clashing with words just as with mecha. Variations are simple–sometimes a superweapon misfires, or interlopers show up–but one side always gets trounced in the end. But 00 brings in some new meat to chew on.
Gundam 00 does this twice at the end of each season. The first season had GN Arms + Exia against the Alvatore, then Exia versus the GN Flag. The second season had 00 Raiser versus Reborns Gundam, culminating into Exia R2 versus 0 Gundam after a GN Drive heist. Both initial stages involved powered-up machines in a fight that’s for humanity, while the secret battle part is a dogged melee with weaker mechs. And I’d take the Exia R2 any day over the backpack-ugly 00 Raiser!
Now, who’s going to bet that the movie will follow the same mold? Because I sure wouldn’t mind seeing it again.