Mobile Suit Gundam SEED HD (Episodes 39 – 48) Review

We reach the end of Gundam SEED (for those not following along, the HD version cuts out the recap episodes, which is why this ends at 48… and also why I had to change the thumbnail of a few of these reviews when I remembered that fact and had put the episode counts wrong…) and what do we get for the finale? Well, more sudden reveals than you can shake a stick at, most of which don’t land at all and are rather pointless, BUT we do get one hell of a final space battle spread out across several episodes, so more good than bad, certainly. Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

As Kira, Athrun and Cagalli head into space with the rest of Orb they’re still trying to process everything that happened on the island nation. Meanwhile ZAFT is still dealing with the fallout of Lacus’ betrayal and the Earth Alliance have decided to chase the Orb remnants into space with the hope of capturing the Freedom and Justice Gundams…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

A shootout in a space station!? Boo! I want the giant robots!

So within the first few episodes of this final chunk the Orb space craft and the Archangel meet up with Lacus (and Andrew Waltfeld, who SOMEHOW survived his suit exploding with him in it…) who are at the helm of a massive warship, the trio of non-affiliated ships soon being dubbed the “Three Ships Alliance”, rather plainly. Meanwhile Athrun returned to the PLANTS to talk with his father to see if he really was an extremist and a bit of a git, which turns out to be very much the case, so that’s Athrun’s mind made up. Dearka also joins the Three Ships Alliance officially, though that seems to be more because he’s fallen for Miriallia than being truly in agreement with them. This sets up a three way battle between Earth, ZAFT and the Three Ships Alliance, and that soon comes to head when the latter docks at an abandoned space colony named Mendel. They’re attacked by the Earth Federation, including the trio of would-be Cyber-Newtypes and their Gundams led by not only Azrael but Natarle Badgiruel formerly of the Archangel but now leader her own ship of the same class called the Dominion.

During this Mu senses Rau and heads into the colony, soon followed by Kira, while Athrun tries to deal with the new Gundams and Dearka and Yzak have some words, the latter not being able to fathom how his two old allies have fallen into the hands of the enemy. Lots of crazy revelations later (I’ll get to those in the bad section…) and all three sides back off from each other. Shortly after Rau, truly off-his-rocker, sends Flay out into space (in a pod, sadly…) with the data on how to cancel the nuke cancelling radio signal which is then picked up by crazy super-racist Azrael, setting the stage for the big final battle. The Earth Alliance destroys a ZAFT asteroid base with nukes then tries to send them into the colonies themselves but they’re stopped by Kira and Athrun is crazy beam-spam backpacks, then ZAFT uses a special super weapon (powered by nuclear energy) to wipe out a good chunk of the Earth fleet as well as their moon base, before pointing it at Earth itself.

Two Gundams doing battle to end the story… Man there were a lot of Gundams in this show, it’s no wonder SEED always takes up some much screen space in VS. Games…

This is the setting of the final few episodes. Athrun and Cagalli find the body of Athrun’s father (a not-as-genocidally-racist ally had shot him…) then fail to stop the super weapon but fall deeper in love, Mu sacrifices himself to save the Archangel, Badgiruel stops Azrael from slaughtering innocents and potentially doing worse by sacrificing herself in a fight with him, locking him and her on the bridge as the Archangel destroys the Dominion (good for her, finally realising not sticking to the rules can sometimes be necessary), all three of the new mentally deranged pilots and their Gundams are destroyed, and Kira fights and defeats Rau’s Providence Gundam and sends it into the super weapon, knocking its aim away from Earth, helped by the spirit of Flay after she is finally… FINALLY killed off, but I’ll get to that later as well.

I can’t stress how much fun the final four episodes are. The three-way space battles, both sides being led by extremists who go too far, each character getting either some development or a great death scene… top marks for a Gundam finale, really… well, mostly…

The Bad:

*Rapturous Applause*

When Kira and Mu are following Rau through a lab in Mendel we find out that Kira is some sort of perfected Coordinator, created in a false womb and even more genetically engineered than the rest, which basically goes nowhere, and that Rau is a clone of Mu’s father, driven insane by not having any identity for himself, which… I mean, it’s a surprising reveal but again pretty pointless because it’s not even Mu who defeats his father’s clone in the end anyway. This makes the “Kira and Cagalli are twins” thing less true as well, as they may have been born at the same time but not by the same means… it’s just all weird, and feels like “shocking reveals” for the hell of it.

As for Flay, why they waited until the end to give us the sweet release of her death I’ll never know, but the fact that they tried to play it off like she was some sort of angelic pure woman who Kira deeply loved drove me nuts. She called him a “dirty coordinator” who she didn’t want touching her, then manipulated him into “fighting for her until he died”. Kira seemingly caught on to that the last time they met, so why was he so devastated when she died? Why did her spirit comfort him so? Nonsense. Flay, as I remembered, is one of the legitimately most annoying characters in the meta-series because not only was she a detestable person but her redemption was just never there. Some people suddenly acted like she was a saint all of a sudden, but she never showed it! Ah well…

Also Mu’s death is underwhelming, but I think that might just be because I’ve already watched SEED Destiny this time round because I remember it being a big deal on the first watch years ago. On a similar note, Andrew Waltfeld suddenly being alive (minus two limbs and an eye, but still…) was stupid. He bore no ill will towards Kira, which does at least fit his personality, but it was clearly a popular character brought back for the hell of it because his actual end was perfect as it was and should’ve been left alone.

Overall Thoughts:

Enough beams there for you?! Jeez…

The last part of Gundam SEED has some weird revelations and convoluted storylines but I can’t deny the final four episodes and the big final space battle aren’t exciting and satisfying. I don’t know if four great episodes make the whole thing worth it (that’s for the Overall Review next week!) and the episode before it aren’t perfect either, but I can at least give it a high four to go out on…

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