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Friday, August 19, 2005

Review: Gundam SEED Destiny 43

It’s a little advertised fact that I’ve actually been quite enjoying the latest Gundam anime TV series. SEED left me decidedly nonplussed and uninterested after sticking through the first 13 episodes but Destiny has grabbed me sufficiently from day one. Now we’re in the end stretch of what has been a slow but consistently enjoyable Gundam series, not without its flaws and silliness but also not without plenty to enjoy.

Episode 43 is the tail end of the battle for Orb (in theory the neutral, largely pacifist nation in the SEED world, dragged into the war by a shift in leadership). We get an injured Athrun entering battle in a version of the Justice to save Kira’s enhanced Freedom in a fight with Shinn and Rey. Shinn continues to ping around in a frenzied state without ever stopping to form an opinion on what’s going on around him. He’s easily manipulated by the chairman & Rey and his fixation on the death of his family leads blind hatred of Orb and its supporters, irrespective of the realities of the situation. Even though this makes him an irritating person to watch, I quite like this bit of characterisation. He is blind to how he’s being manipulated and what’s really happening but there are clear reasons for it.

I have nothing interesting to say about most of the other characters, who progress as expected and do what you’d think. I’m glad to see Cagalli turned into someone who doesn’t make me want to inflict pain every time she weeps and gapes her way through a scene. Now she actually acts like you’d expect the representative of a nation to act. The detached airs of superiority that Kira and the real Lacus exude work well in the context of the series. They are these unflappable forces for what they believe in, and have worked well in the background for most of the series. To focus solely on their messianic actions for 50 episodes wouldn’t have worked, but the Shinn/Minerva focus for most of the series kept things balanced.

Assuming you can accept Destiny at all, this was a good episode. The low level plot and action carries it for me, and the basic characterisation works well enough. It’s a series that is unlikely to rank as your favourite but if you can look past the silly Mecha, the terrible character designs and sit back & enjoy the ride then it’s good fun. Obviously many people can’t get past these flaws, which is fair enough. It’s also entirely possible that a good fit of fun will colour my enjoyment of a show far more than other people’s, which is also fair enough. When it comes to Destiny I scoff at just as much as I chuckle in enjoyment at but for the most part I have fun.

Posted by Alex Hopkinson @ 7:22 PM


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All original content is copyright Alex Hopkinson 2005. Other content is copyright the respective owners. To contact the author email: alex [at] bad-words.com
 

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