Mobile Suit Gundam SEED HD (Episodes 14 – 23) Review

Gundam SEED continues with more episodes that are often far closer to making it a remake of the original series than anything unique, though once again the differences are there once you look a bit closer. Sadly Flay is still here and it’s these episodes where she’s at her very worst. Can I bear with it? Let’s find out!

Synopsis:

As a result of having to adjust their position to save a falling Kira the Archangel lands in ZAFT-controlled territory in the Sahara in northern Africa, far from their intended target of Alaska…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Andrew Waltfeld, the lesser known member of G.I. Joe’s Tiger Force (which itself is practically not known by anyone, but I had to say it for me, if no-one else…)

So once again you can see the original Gundam’s blueprint in these episodes, with the Archangel in a desert landscape and encountering a charismatic enemy commander and his love interest, the former teaching the main protagonist about war before falling in battle with him later. Instead of Ramba Ral we have Andrew Waltfeld, who’s a little bit younger and eventually gains two of the ZAFT teen Gundams and their pilots Yzak and Dearka, but otherwise it plays out how you’d expect. A little added wrinkle is Cagalli Yula Athha and the ZAFT resistance ground Desert Dawn, Cagalli being the girl Kira pushed into the escape pod in the first episode, which is why she’s shocked to see him pilot one of the mobile suits she was so enraged about. So we get a few episodes showing skirmishes between the Archangel/Desert Dawn and Waltfeld’s ZAFT army, complete with cat-like mobile suits named BuCUEs and Waltfeld kindly evacuating the civilians of a town… before burning it to the ground. Then we get an episode where Kira and Cagalli go into a nearby town for supplies and end up meeting Waltfeld, who takes them back to his place, gives than a nice time then reveals he knows who they are and gives them some lessons in how crappy war is before sending them on their way…

This leads to the final showdown where Waltfeld and his lover pilot a custom BuCUE (called a LaGOWE) and end up losing to our young protagonist, the two quickly embracing moments before the explosion. It’s a dramatic and satisfying death… when you watch the series for the first time and don’t know what comes next… Anyway, the last few episodes see the latest original series callback as the Archangel and Kira have to fight a submarine and its underwater suits that are better suited for the environment but still eventually lose. What is good fun is that during the battle Cagalli takes a spare plane and is shot down while similarly shooting down a ZAFT carrier with Athrun on it. The two end up on a deserted island and fight, bond, fight a bit more, bond a bit further and then get rescued. Athrun and Cagalli’s relationship is far more believable than the ones on the Archangel, that’s for sure…

The Bad:

Kira wakes up and finally realises what he’s done…

I mentioned it in the previous review (perhaps a bit too early) but this is where the Flay stuff just goes full-on teeth-clenchingly annoying. She manipulates Kira to think she’s in love with him to the point where Kira acts like a complete bastard to his friend Sai, and Kira keeps not noticing until the arrival of Cagalli starts to make him think maybe she’s not thinking of his best interests… but still doesn’t immediately break it off with her or anything. This is supposed to be our lead protagonist, and a fall and rise is a perfectly normal story path its normally in battle or losing a love, not being easily manipulated by a cold-hearted snob. I don’t like Kira at the best of times due to his bottomless nice-fest, but this version of Kira is even more annoying.

I guess I won’t spoil things too far ahead but I will once again state that Waltfeld’s character arc in these episodes are great but are later ruined and therefore this rewatch was wholly unsatisfying. An episode entirely of Athrun meeting Lacus and Nicol meeting with his parents because everyone is so nicey-nice kills the pace a bit, but I am will to forgive it due to it setting up the next batch of episodes well. I still think they could’ve spaced it out a bit though…

I’d comment on how impractical to build that must be, but who cares if it looks cool! (Plus four legs makes it more stable than the actual mobile suits anyway…)

The underwater battles are dull, as they were in MSG as well. The submarine captain has zero personality too, which doesn’t help and I think they knew that given how little time they spend with it. Thankfully this is the last part of the plot that reeks of “we’re sticking as close to the original series as possible for the sake of it”.

Overall Thoughts:

For the record she is wearing underwear, it’s not QUITE as rude as it seems…

This smaller batch of episodes is entirely centred around the fight in the desert with the charismatic leader re-run and it does it perfectly fine, at least your first time watching. Sadly it is full-to-the-brim with really annoying teen drama, and a few dull sea-based episodes don’t help the tally. I think in retrospect I’m going to have to mark this one down quite a bit… Still, it does get better, I remember that much…

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