Welcome to another Gundam SEED Destiny Doubletake! Each post, I dive into an episode or two of SEED Destiny and present two “takes” from it — two commentaries on plot or character points that stood out to me. I then explore each point from two perspectives — a fan’s perspective and a fiction writer’s perspective.
Frongi, Gundam DEE CORe... LAUNCHING!
Take 1 — Shinn Kisses Lunamaria
Shinn and Lunamaria hug and cry more in this episode. Then, because this is Gundam and emotions go nuts in wartime, they kiss. Shinn apologizes afterward, but also pledges to protect Lunamaria on the battlefield. It’s not 100% clear if they’re an official couple, or just casual, or what.
Also, Lunamaria gets to pilot the Impulse now that Shinn has the Destiny Gundam.
Reaction as a fan: Shinn’s hugs are so cute; why didn’t you two just stick to hugging? I have never thought you two had any chemistry whatsoever; it seems weird that now you’re both making out. But well, I guess your grief and tragedy brought you together. Fiiiine, I’ll just—WAIT, LUNAMARIA GETS THE IMPULSE GUNDAM? Oh maaaan, that is really cool.
Reaction as a writer: The kiss does seem out of nowhere, but I can’t harp on the decision to make it happen, because it’s not like SEED hasn’t pulled this sort of stunt before. Of course on the eve of a great battle, during great wartime tragedy, your hero has to kiss someone. Kira and Lacus did it, Athrun and Cagalli did it.... I really didn’t think it would be Shinn and Luna, of all people, but I guess since Stella died, the writers felt like it had to be someone. So be it. What I like better is that I can forgive the writers a SMIDGEON now for dropping the ball on Luna’s character, because they gave her the Impulse to pilot (upgraded her from a ZAKU to an actual Gundam like Rey, finally). That makes her more powerful and badass, which I appreciate.
Take 2 — Multiple Destroy Gundams
Djibril neither wants to respond to Durandal’s surrender request nor be caught a sitting duck. He therefore launches a preemptive attack from Heaven’s Base (the main Earth Alliance base that replaced JOSH-A, where he and Logos are hiding). His attack includes multiple giant Destroy Gundams of the type we saw Stella pilot, among other impressive weaponry. Sting is the pilot of one, and Shinn kills him.
Reaction as a fan: THERE ARE HOW MANY OF THOSE? FIVE?! Holy crap — I did not expect to see any more of them. And that was... that was stupid of me. Anyway, this battle is amazing... but I’m pretty sure the Destiny will be known by me henceforward as the Butterfly Gundam thanks to its purple-iridescent wings.
Reaction as a writer: SURPRISE. We’ve been trained to think that each nifty, unique Gundam is indeed unique, and that once it’s gone, it’s gone. One Savior, one Freedom, one Impulse, etc. But things like ZAKUs, GOUFs, and Windams are mass produced, which means certain other machines can be, too. So of course there are more Destroys! Tricky, tricky.
Beyond that, bringing back multiple Destroys is useful, considering that as a series progresses, typically its battles and challenges must progress and increase in difficulty, too. The first Destroy the Minerva faced was the most destructive machine I had ever seen. It would have been lame if the writers used up their biggest enemy machine ace so early in the show. To be truly effective, they needed to top the Destroy — and now they have, in pretty much the only way they could. With more Destroys. Oh... and a massive anti-aircraft cannon called the Nibelung that appears to be GENESIS 2.0.
Take 1 — The Eternal Launches
DaCosta returns to the Eternal from a reconnaissance mission to the Mendel Colony — which he reveals has already been “cleared out” by someone. He does manage to bring back a bit of info, however... and an enemy GINN that was tailing him. Lacus realizes she has no choice but to launch the Eternal and enter battle if she wants to protect anything, so she goes back into action.
Reaction as a fan: EVERYTHING IS PINK AND BEAUTIFUL. THE ETERNAL. LACUS’S HAIR. LACUS’S HARO. I LOVE ALL OF THIS. Lacus is so clever and so strong and I can’t even focus, I’m screaming so hard.
Reaction as a writer: I don’t know if it’s just nostalgia-factor or what, but seeing the original SEED cast back in action immediately makes me stop caring as much about Shinn’s issues and tragedy. Lacus Clyne is where it’s at. Lacus Clyne will save the world. Lacus Clyne is a boss bitch. I feel like the Destiny writers have done something wrong if it’s this easy for me to cast aside their main protagonist — but you know what? Shinn has been pissing me off, and characters like Lacus and the Archangel crew haven’t been, because they’re making plot-moving decisions based on their struggles, unlike Shinn being led around by the nose by his anger, his trauma, and Durandal in a way that has grown too predictable and hence lame. This is REFRESHING, is what this episode full of Lacus is.
Take 2 — The Strike Freedom
When Kira learns the Eternal is in trouble, he launches into space to help. Once there, he meets his new machine — the Strike Freedom. It’s got guns galore and shiny golden bits of armor and a DRAGOON system (!!) and combinable beam sabers and full burst mode and—
Reaction as a fan: B R FREAKING B — DROOLING FOR-ABSOLUTE-EVER.
Reaction as a writer: Yeah, sorry. Drooling forever. The point of Gundam is to sell us Gunpla or something, right? Well, I’m sold. You sold me with the golden bits especially. I also guess I have to take back what I said earlier about how I thought DRAGOON systems were reserved for clones of Mu La Flaga’s dad. Kira Yamato now has one. Good job, Gundam SEED Destiny; you made a good Gundam and I commend you. (I have reverted to Awed Small Child mode.)
About the only thing that would cause more drool than I’m currently dealing with over the Strike Freedom would be if Athrun got a new machine, too. Like, an equally beautiful pink/red one. They have the Eternal there again, after all. Do we get more METEOR units? PLEASE? Not sure at this point if Athrun is getting out of his hospital bed any time soon, though....