Our look at the remastered version of Mobile Suit Gundam Seed continues! We’ll be doing something different this time, as I’ll be talking about one specific part of this story arc, and throw the rest into my assorted thoughts afterwards. This is a post I’ve been looking forward to do for a while, so let’s get into it after the cut!
This is mankind’s dream, mankind’s desire, mankind’s destiny! To be the strongest, to go the farthest, to climb the highest! To compete, to envy, to hate each other, and to devour one another!
Despite being a remake, Gundam SEED always had something going for it that the original 0079 series did not. Unlike in the first series where the conflict was focused on space geopolitics and (let’s be honest here) vaguely defined and explored, SEED’s story has always been more concise and to the point. Like I said in one of my first post, alongside the friends becoming enemies story of Kira and Athrun, there is also the bigger picture of naturals versus coordinators, a battle that ends up becoming a winner-take-all contest for who is the dominate race of humanity.
The episodes involving the Mendel colony, and the revelations therein are an interesting twist to that idea, and bring the macro level plot into the spotlight. In a sense, Gundam SEED is also a story about science, and the strive to better oneself and humanity, and what happens when such things are taken too far. I’ve always believed that human beings are creatures capable of unfathomable kindness, but also of unfathomable cruelty, and we see that in display in this arc.
You are the dream of humanity! The Ultimate Coordinator! It was in pursuit of that dream that Dr. Hibiki created the artificial womb! And you were the only viable child it ever produced! For that result, a very large number of your siblings were sacrificed!
On one side, we have Kira Yamato, now revealed to the Ultimate Coordinator, the first and only human child who has been born outside of a mother’s womb. He is the pinnacle of science, a true test-tube baby in every sense of the world. Yet despite this, Kira is not filled with anger, or remorse, or a sense of moral superiority. He has been shown to be a kind and loving person who fights when needed. A person who yes, can make mistakes and fall prey to this anger, but with the help of the people around him, even if they are ‘inferior’, he is still able to learn and grow. He represents the greatness of science and human ambition.
I am he, that arrogant fool. Who thought he could cheat death itself with his money. Al da Flaga, but I am merely that man’s defective clone.
But on the other, we have Rau Le Crueset, the commander at ZAFT who is now revealed to have pulled many of the strings behind the scenes. The devil in Patrick Zala’s ear, and the traitor who returns the ability to use Nuclear Weapons to the Earth. These episodes pulls off the calm mask and show us that Crueset is a madman, an insane individual who seeks the complete destruction of all human life, all because of what he is. We learn that Crueset is a clone of Mu La Flaga’s father, an arrogant politician who believed his own son too impure to carry on his legacy. He represents humanity’s greed, unchecked desire, and arrogance. For Rau, who only desires to see humanity devour itself, because to him, that is all they are good for. They tinker with human life, push their ideas through, and then end up destroying each other. And he is the end result of that. He wasn’t made out of love, or joy, or desire, but out of greed and ego.
It is those two characters that bring Gundam SEED into its best moments and shows what the series is really about on a macro level, and sets up the final confrontation to be not just one of lasers and robots, but the very question of whether humanity, with all of its good and bad points, is worth saving. Is the path of progress worth it if such things are going to be stained with blood? How much is too much? Should we not leave somethings alone? Is all life sacred? Or should we try to play with things that some say God said was sacred? As it is said in the story itself: “A life should be born into this world! Not manufactured!“
Whether this is done correctly or to your liking is up to the individual viewer, but to me, The Revelations at Mendel is the very best of Gundam SEED, giving weight to the series and bringing things back into full focus for the finale. I love Rau as a villain, and the reveals that take place feel deserved and well developed. The conflict, which had weight before, now has purpose, and raises questions that ripe for discussion and debate. I won’t say it is perfect, but it’s damn, DAMN effective. And with that, we are left with the final arc of the series, the great finale, and I hope you will join me next time as we dig into it!
- I was glad to see that Kira and Cagalli connection was addressed up front, and it is tied into everything that transpires. I don’t know if they needed to be siblings, but it works for the story.
- Having Natarle command the Dominion against the Archangel is a cool decision, and her conversations over the communicator with Murrue put them squarely on opposite ideological sides. Murre may be ‘soft’, but she follows her heart and realizes it is time to go beyond ‘the book’ and the chain of command and look at the bigger picture. Natarle meanwhile is torn between her duty and what she thinks is right.
- Dearka and Yzak get their own mini little confrontation, which I was glad to see. I’ll never be not surprised that Yzak has lived (and continues to), but it’s a good mirror to the Natarle and Murrue conflict. Dearka knows what’s going on is wrong, and decides to fight against it. Yzak meanwhile is torn between his loyalty to his people.
- I don’t know if bringing back Waltfeld was the best idea, the series doesn’t really do much with it, but I suppose he was a fan favorite, and they did need someone to command the Eternal. I won’t complain, and makes more sense than what would later follow in Gundam Seed Destiny.
- I love that Lacus, when alone with Kira, has a moment of weakness when she confronts the fact that her father died. It’s just a good moment to show she’s still a human too, and isn’t always a pillar of strength and ideals.
- Athrun confronting his Dad thankfully doesn’t pull him back to ZAFT’s side, and allows him to fully join Kira and the others. Different shows may have ignored this, but I am glad SEED was able to do it.
- Lacus once again mentions the fact that Coordinators are suffering a declining birth-rate and man, do I wish that would have been a bigger part of the story.