Our look at the HD remaster of Gundam SEED continues! We are past the halfway point now and the story is setting the stage for the climax. New characters, villains become heroes, and of course, new robots. Let’s not waste no more time and get into it all after the cut!
As we enter the last half of the series, Gundam Seed starts to get bigger with both its story and its characters. The battle between friends turned enemies Athrun and Kira is put to rest, and the focus of the story shifts to the bigger picture. No longer is SEED about the plight of two people who don’t wish to fight each other, but instead it is about who will end up the dominant species of humanity. The war is spiraling out of control, extremists lead both sides and the expectations of how to fight that war are becoming looser. Soldiers are killed without mercy, hostages are not taken, and brutal weapons of war are unleashed.
That is shown no better than with the Archangel once they finally make their way to Alaska. Despite having survived almost impossible odds, Murrue and the rest of the crew, sans Kira, find themselves dragged in front of a hearing, stonewalled from command, and have their decisions questioned at every turn. This is not helped by Natarle, whose reports and views on the situation do more than damage the view of the Archangel in command’s eye. Her relationship with Murrue, their clash of command styles comes to a head here, as, before being transferred off (along with an unwilling Mu and Flay), she makes it plain what she thinks of Captain Ramius. As this is the last time the two will see each other in person, it is a good conclusion to their character arcs, even if their conflict will continue. This culminates in the Earth Alliance sending the ship out into the front lines to be sacrificed during Operation Spit break, and it is only the timely intervention of Mu and Kira that end up saving the day.
Kira meanwhile, having (somehow) survived his confrontation with Athrun, wakes up to find himself (somehow) in the PLANTs and under the care of Lacus Clyne, and it is here that SEEDs pink-haired pop princess really steps into her own as a character. It is not unfair to say that I think Lacus is the most bland of the cast, and her shift from slightly air-headed pop idol, to the leading voice behind escalating the war, along with spouting deep philosophical monologues is a bit jarring. There is simply not enough connective tissue between both of these points, but when it works it works. Her talks with Kira are good moments, giving him the strength to carry on and fight for what he believes in, but it is her confrontation with Athrun, after having returned home and realizing that his fiancée has given Kira the Freedom is a great moment. Lacus, kind and gentle, doesn’t hold back her views, and sternly tells Athrun that he needs to look at the bigger picture, to think about what he is fighting for, and why. I love the scene, full stop, but I do wish more time had been spent on explaining how Lacus is how she is. Did her mom teach her this stuff, has she learned at her father’s feet? Something would have really helped here.
The Betrayal at JOSH-A and The Theft of the Freedom are very much a ‘season finale” to what we’ve seen in SEED so far. They re-center the cast and set them off into new directions. Despite having watched it before, I couldn’t help but feel on the edge of my seat as I see all the little moments and actions that will pay off later. Things like Creuset’s confrontation with Mu, Flay’s capture, and of course the arrival of the Freedom Gundam. Few shows are able to successfully pivot their plot effectively, but for SEED it works really well, and the show is better for it. Perhaps you’ll think the same way, and I hope you look forward to the next chapter!
- Mirallia’s attempted murder of Deakra, now a PoW is great, because it shows the stark contrast between her and Flay. Miri realizes what she is about to become and is able to overcome her moment of weakness. Flay meanwhile lets her anger simmer and boil, which is why she goes for the gun. It’s probably Miri’s last big moment in the series, but a great one.
- Athrun and Cagalli’s conversation is another great moment too, showing that Athrun, despite his bluster and anger, hates that Kira pushed him into a corner. Cagalli comes off really good too, dropping some hard truths with minimal bitchiness.
- Yes, I know how Kira survives (I saw the manga explain it too), but it’s still weird to see him throw quite literally on the Reverend’s doorstep and then ship off the PLANTs so quickly.
- Flay being captured by Rau starts her journey of being passed around the factions like a piece of meat. It’s a sad chapter for a girl who at this point is desperate for any kind of strength. Sai realizes this, but brushes her off, saying that she needs to realize she did love Kira. Another good moment.
- The thing of Flay hearing her dad’s voice from Rau is never explained, touched upon, or really referenced after this. An abandoned plot point? I like to think so, cause MAN does it stick out here. Maybe it was just Flay needed again, that strong protective figure, but eh…it’s messed up.
- Same goes for the Reverend saying that Kira ‘has the seed’. That shit is never really explained, and no one ever asks about it.
- The Cyclops system is pretty fucking erie, boiling people alive, and causing them to explode. The fact that Earth Alliance gave up their base to lure ZAFT in to kill them with this is both tactically brilliant, but morally repugnant. Shows how the war is starting to go out of control.
- Yzak’s hate-boner for Athrun gets wrapped up as well, and they don’t really talk again until the sequel series. I was shocked that Yzak never really gets mad that Dearka was presumably killed. Dude got more upset when Nicol died.
- The Freedom Gundam is SEED’s most popular suit and for good reason. Overpowered? Maybe, but it has a great design that strikes a balance of having a lot of stuff, but not being overly busy.
- The Justice however, is kinda ‘eh’. It barely uses its jetpack which is the suit’s main selling point.