Our look at the HD remaster of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED continues! We are finally here, at the last arc of the series. The climax, and the conclusion. Who will live? Who will die? What race of humans will come out on top? All of those answers and more, after the cut as we dive into the series’ final chapter: The Battle of Jachin Due!
One of the hardest things to do in any series is stick a landing, and Gundam SEED is able to do so rather well. In these final four episodes, as both ZAFT and the Earth Alliance race to destroy each other with their weapons of mass destruction, nukes for the Earth, and GENESIS for the Coordinators, it falls to Kira and the rest of the main cast to stop the war before it destroys everything, all the while Rau Le Crueset, having orchestrated everything from behind the scenes, revels in the arrogance of man. By the time it is over, there is a victor and many many dead bodies in the wake.
And I’m not kidding about that. Before this, Gundam SEED had been very light on deaths. Aside from Nicol and Tolle, there wasn’t much in way of the main, or even the supporting cast. That changes for this arc though: the Astray girls, the Extended Trio, Azrael, Natarle, Mu (but not really), Flay and Crueset all end up on the kill-list, with deaths that range from quick, brutal, heroic, and self sacrificing. It’s so much in a such a short amount of time, you would have though that legendary Gundam series creator, Yoshiyuki ‘kill em all’ Tomino snuck in to direct the finale.
Out of these deaths, it is probably Flay and Natarle that are the most impact. For Natarle, her last heroic stand against Azrael is the final step in her storyline, deciding to put the needs of what is right, over the responsibilities of her duty. Her desperate shouts to Murrue to destroy her own ship is a great moment, as is the anguished cries of the defeated Azrael, and the ruthless grief of Murrue, always the gentle and caring captain, decides that enough is enough and just wastes the Dominion. It’s a great way to bring their character story, always one in the background to a close.
For Flay, her death is the capstone to the overall tragic nature of her character. She never had a place in the war, and dying on the way to safe harbor on the Archangel, only after Kira thought he had protected her, is a sad way for her end. However it also allows for her to make peace with Kira, admitting that she was afraid and didn’t know or understand anything. While it does free up Kira to be with Lacus without any issue, I do like how the series was able to bring this relationship, one that evolved back and forth as the series went on, to a close. Flay was a character I never really cared for during my first viewings of this show, but she’s one I’ve come to enjoy immensely, and having her go out the way she did, is consistent with what she represents in the story. And hey, nice boobs.
Then of course, there is the final battle between Kira and Rau, and damn if it is not a great last bout. A knock-down, drag out battle that wrecks both the Freedom and Rau’s own Providence. The two men, examples of humanity’s greed, ambition, and passion throw down in such manner that it is still one of Gundam’s best fights. To see Kira, who would later go on to pretty much waltz through Gundam SEED Destiny without a scratch (except for one scene), to barely scrape together a win, make it feel earned and welcome. Even better is watching Rau monologue endlessly about the folly of humanity, sometihng that might have come across as trite, feels deserved and well played out. I won’t repeat what I said about SEED’s baddie from my previous post, but damn does it fucking work.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED’s final arc won’t be the conclusion every fan loves. It won’t change any minds on the series, but I absolutely adore it. It feels climatic, acts climactic, and with the HD remaster, feels like a big budget blockbuster in the best ways. It brings all the character arcs, big and small to a satisfying conclusion, and leaves very little in regards to loose ends. It ends what has been a remarkably strong series the best way it can. And holy shit, if those final moments, with ‘Find the Way’ being played doesn’t invoke a strong emotional feelings from me. Few series are able to end strong, even most Gundam Series, but Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is able to do it with an near perfect ten. Perhaps you’ll take a look at The Battle of Jachin Due, and think the same thing.
Regardless, join me next time as I give my final thoughts on the series as a whole.
- Athrun and Cagalli get a good send off as well, with Athrun trying to sacrifice himself, but Cagalli, pulling him back, saying that to live is the real battle. At this point Athrun’s character is sort of finished, but he play a good supporting role, and his moment confronting his dying father is done well.
- The extended trio kinda get killed off rather ‘eh’ with Shani and the Forbidden having the best death. Athrun just wasting the Calamity gundam was fucking great though.
- Yzak, who may go down as Gundam’s ‘character we are shocked didn’t die’ redeems himself a bit in these final episodes, helping defeat the Extended trio, and protecting the Archangel. The fight with the Duel against the Forbidden Gundam is a great action piece.
- Mu La Flaga was supposed to die in his final scene, but since SEED Destiny was going to bring him back, the scene with his destroyed helmet was removed. I’m of two minds of this. While I love Mu and was glad to see him survive and return to Murrue at the end of Destiny, his death scene here is done really well, and helping bring characters arcs to a close. His throw down against Rau is another great action piece, and while he loses, it’s only because the Providence Gundam is just too advanced.
- Speaking of which, the Providence Gundam is a pretty good design, I like the use of the classic Funnel system, and the suit is in the series just enough to be menacing. Far better that 0079’s Zeong, which just looked ridiculous.
- Sucks that the Astray girls get wasted, but eh, that’s war.
- Lacus going SEED mode during her long ass monologue about human nature is a little weird, but I suppose it makes sense. What doesn’t work, is Cagalli going into SEED mode. She’s the only natural who does it, and I don’t think it ever happens again in Destiny. Maybe a loose plot point that was scrapped? Who knows. Strike Rouge is cool though.