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 — Lunamaria Gets To Be Cool
The Minerva crew goes to take out the Requiem, and a big part of their plan for success depends on Lunamaria. With just a little help from Shinn, she pulls off her part of the mission without a problem and comes back to cheers.
Reaction as a fan: Jesus, did they have me scared. Shinn asserting again that he wanted to protect someone, all the cutesy stuff before the mission start... I was SO worried they were gonna kill Lunamaria off. But instead, she finally gets to accomplish something cool. ABOUT DAMN TIME they let her do that.
Reaction as a writer: Yes, about time. But they’ve still turned her into a trophy girlfriend for Shinn, and apparently little more. (Yes, I am still salty about the potential they set her up for earlier and then didn’t deliver on when they made Meyrin help Athrun instead.)
Take 2 — Athrun And Cagalli’s Engagement Ends For Real
The Archangel, although unable to participate in the battle to destroy Requiem and save the PLANTs, is now ready to launch into space and jump in. Before it leaves, Cagalli delivers a rousing speech to its crew, and then tells them she’ll need to stay behind in Orb. While she’s talking, Athrun glances at her left hand... and is surprised to see she is no longer wearing his engagement ring.
Afterward, when Kira and Lacus prompt him about it, Athrun brushes it off. He doesn’t confront Cagalli about it; he merely says it’s okay for them not to rush and that they “share the same dream.”
Reaction as a fan: Uh... what? Sorry— SORRY— WHAT is this?! Wait wait wait, you mean I’m supposed to just accept that their engagement got broken off stupidly, but they overcame their differences and forgave each other and got back together, only for their engagement to break off stupidly again? And again, Cagalli and Athrun didn’t DISCUSS THE DEVELOPMENT WITH EACH OTHER FIRST? WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL, DESTINY?!
Reaction as a writer. This is concerning — and not because I liked them as a couple. This is concerning because any and all addressing of this development from Cagalli’s perspective apparently happened off screen, and so viewers are just left guessing. Can I guess? Of course I can. Maybe Cagalli got jealous of Meyrin and decided to break it off to give Athrun time to decide who he preferred to bang. Maybe Cagalli decided she couldn’t be a good fiancée and a good leader of Orb at the same time, so she preferred to cut Athrun loose. Maybe Cagalli decided her regained badassery meant she didn’t need a man. Maybe she figures Athrun is a goner in space and thus preemptively decided not to bother with an engagement to a dead man. I can fill in the blanks with any reasoning I want — but holy crap, I shouldn’t have to. It’s stupid to switch up something so huge and then not even touch upon the reasoning behind it in the narrative! It raises too many questions and distracts the viewer and holy crap, just... what a fail.
Even worse is that this shunts Cagalli out of the climax. There are five episodes left, and I am assuming they’re all going to take place in space. Cagalli can’t do jack from space. She even left her Akatsuki with the Book Club. If I’m reading this right, she is officially out of commission for the series end — which means this scene was her ending. Her character wrap-up. And it is not a satisfying one, because it was so rushed and not clear at all. Was this scene supposed to be Cagalli walking boldly and powerfully away into the sunset to be a cool leader now, don’t need no man? That’s fine, but the writers needed to clarify that for us first! For the whole damn show once Kira crashed her wedding, Cagalli wanted to get back together with Athrun. Like, badly. The writers therefore should have justified and clarified what would have changed her mind again — and they didn’t. THEY DIDN’T. It was just this shocking, weird aside!
I seriously am so close to breaking all these DVDs.
Bonus Take — At Least We Have Yzak And Dearka
They’ve been flitting around in their mobile suits fighting in space.
Reaction as a fan: Please, you two. Please for love of everything Cosmic Era, save this show.
Reaction as a writer: Of every single character in the SEED universe, these two are the only two who seem to be written without any major problems in SEED Destiny. (Well, them and maybe Meer, whose character I also believe has been handled brilliantly thus far.) Every time I see them, their inclusion is explicable, useful, timely, and used to add texture or background info to the show. They’re not out of character. They’re not doing anything dumb or frustrating. Maybe they’re written well because they’re hardly featured, meaning Destiny didn’t have any time to screw them up. Who knows why these two work so well — but they’re seriously refreshing.
Please, sir, can I have some more of the Joule Team?