If you’ve been online at all in the past twelve hours you’re no doubt aware that Gundam 00 (“double O”) has been announced as the next televised Gundam anime, slated to air in TBS’s coveted Saturday evening prime time slot starting this October. Other news outlets will be covering this exhaustively over the coming weeks and months, but today I want to bring up an issue near and dear to the hearts of bishoujo fans: the character designs. While the fifteen second clip viewable on the official site shows us more variety and appeal in the male cast than Hirai Hisaishi has produced in his entire career (yeah, I went there), how does 00 designer Kouga Yun (Wikipedia), famous for her bishounen work on Loveless, draw women? The answer can be found in the pages of her mid-90’s manga, Gestalt – cover images below:

Kouga Yun's Gestalt Kouga Yun's Gestalt Kouga Yun's Gestalt Kouga Yun's Gestalt Kouga Yun's Gestalt Kouga Yun's Gestalt

A cursory investigation was unable to turn up the precise dates of Gestalt’s serialization (Wikipedia credits its initial run to 1995), but a look at these covers reveals a gradually maturing female design style that I think bodes well for what we can expect in Gundam 00. While the character on the cover of volume one resembles nothing more than a bishounen with breasts, by volume six it seems Kouga has a much more solid grasp on gender distinction. Gestalt was animated as a two episode OVA in 1997 as well, the best online coverage of which seems to be available at Smashed Ice.

From the perspective of a design-obsessed and Gundam agnostic fan such as myself bringing Kouga Yun into the franchise strikes me as a good move. Gundam’s character designs have always lagged behind their mechanical designs, in my opinion; while there are those who will protest the incorporation of colorful characters alongside their colorful mechs I say bring it on – Clamp and Kimura Takahiro were a winning combination for Geass, currently my gauge for the best in dramatic robot anime, and I expect (hope) Kouga will do the same for Gundam 00. We’ll be watching for further news on its bishoujo elements as the series is gradually unveiled.