Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Vol. #10 (of 10) (Mania.com)

By:Kim Wolstenholme
Review Date: Monday, May 01, 2006
Release Date: Monday, March 06, 2006



What They Say
The conflict continues to escalate. ZAFT's forces control the majority of the planet and prepare to destroy the rest of the Alliance's soldiers. Has humanity already reached the point of no return? The dream of a quick end to the war and of peace seems to blur little by little into a long, drawn out war as hatred and anger builds up on both sides.

The truth is out about where the coordinators really came from. Is the war really only one fate for the human race? The Earth Alliance and ZAFT have prepared for their final battle and the Archangel, Kusanagi and the Eternal are ready to stop the violence escalating at any cost. One thing is for sure though: the battle will change everybody's lives, one way or another.

The Review!
The final volume of SEED is every bit as good as the previous volumes. With the Alliance and ZAFT determined to wipe each other out, will the Archangel, Kusangai and the Eternal be able to prevent all out destruction?

Audio:

Yet again, the Japanese track was my preferred option, and I noticed no dropouts or distortions with the audio. I spot-checked the English track and this also displayed no obvious problems. Both of the front speakers are utilised nicely with all dialogue and sound effects coming across well. Throughout all the disks so far there has been a good audio balance in the action sequences, with the dialogue still coming across clearly instead of it being overwhelmed by explosions etc...

Video:

BEEZ have given this volume of SEED another good visual presentation, and this time round I didn't notice any problems that distracted me at all from the episodes contained on this disk. Although there are a few CG effects on this volume that slightly distracted me due to bad integration with the 2D animation.

Subtitles are white with a faint black outline and are easy to read, apart from on a couple of occasions when the background is also quite light.

Packaging:

The cover for the final volume is dedicated to the Strike Gundam, with part of Rau Le Crueset's new Gundam in the background. It's a nicely designed cover, but isn't particularly eye catching, probably due to the muted colours used. The back cover follows the same layout as the previous volumes, with a few screen shots and the technical information in a grid near the bottom of the cover.

Menu:

The menu has been designed to look like what I would term as a console session or a computer screen. Before loading the main menu screen you are prompted to select your language preference, once your preferred language has been selected a brief montage sequence is played before the main menu is displayed. The main menu has a picture of the Calamity Gundam taking up the centre of the screen along with the SEED logo and scenes from the series play in the background. The menu options are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and music from the series overlays the main menu. When you select one of the main options, another screen opens up and the original screen moves to the bottom left hand corner of the screen, although the options on the main menu screen remain selectable. All the submenus are silent, with the exception of the episode selection menu, and access times are nice and quick. The only slight misgiving I had about the menus reside firmly with the language selection screen, which gives no indication of which options have been selected " an oversight on behalf of BEEZ, especially with the number of audio / subtitle options that are included on this release.

Extras:

The extras on this disk are pretty much the same as on the previous disks, with one exception. The UK release of SEED includes the Epilogue episode that was missed out on the US release. This is about 10 minutes long and probably leaves the series on a more even footing than the final episode did.

The rest of the extras are the usual fare of the clean opening and ending sequence as well as a couple of additional Character / Mecha profiles.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)

So, it's come to this. Both sides are gearing up for the final ultimate battle and are hoping against hope that they will be victorious, the only thing standing in their way is the Archangel, Kusanagi and the Eternal " but will they have enough power to stop the war once and for all. There's only one way to find out and that's to watch the final 5 episodes of Gundam SEED.

Rau Le Crueset has released Flay from his captivity, and has given her the key which he has said will end the war once and for all. ZAFT have released the rescue pod containing Flay out into space in the middle of the last battle between the Archangel and the Dominion, and unfortunately it is one of the Dominions Gundams that picks up the pod before Kira can get to it. Not knowing what the disk that she holds actually contains, Flay hands over the key to Murta Asrael the leader of the Blue Cosmos group who seems to be calling the shots on the Dominion.

This disk contains the information that Asrael has long suspected " that the Freedom and Justice Gundams are utlising nuclear power via a Neutron Jammer Canceller. Since the Bloody Valentine tragedy ZAFT have employed Neutron Jammer technology to prevent the use of nuclear attacks against the PLANTs, now the Alliance have the technical information they need to allow them to use nuclear weapons against ZAFT yet again. Asrael transmits this information to Alliance headquarters and they start to use the technical specifications to amend their nuclear technology which should give the Alliance the ultimate advantage.

Meanwhile the Archangel, Kusangai and the Eternal are still under attack from both Alliance and ZAFT forces. Luckily though all three ships manage to escape from the bombardment and interestingly enough they do not seem to be followed once they manage to get out of the main line of fire.

With their new nuclear capability the Alliance plan an attack on Boaz, the main military outpost for ZAFT, and before ZAFT realise what is happening Boaz is totally destroyed. Encouraged by the success of this new power, Asrael decides that he will now launch an all out attack on the PLANTs and destroy all coordinators once and for all. However the Alliance are not the only ones with an ace up their sleeve, ZAFT have also secretly been building the ultimate weapon " Genesis. Incensed at the destruction of Boaz, Patrick Zala decides to fight back with Genesis and, you've guessed it, use this weapon to destroy all naturals once and for all.

Unaware of this Asreal continues with his plan to destroy the PLANTs with nuclear bombs, but luckily Kira and Athrun manage to arrive in time to shoot down all the warheads before they reach their targets. Despite this Patrick Zala fires the Genesis and succeeds in destroying at least half of the Alliance forces in one brief moment.

Realising that the power of Genesis could mean that ZAFT could destroy the Earth, our small band of hero's decide that they have to destroy Genesis before it's ready to fire again. Of course this is no mean feat, as the majority of the (remaining) ZAFT forces are out to protect Genesis from such an attack, but will these soldiers still fight for ZAFT when they realise just what their leader is planning?

Gundam SEED has had two main strengths right from the beginning of the series. The first is the dynamic and enjoyable battle sequences that never really seemed to be there just for the sake of it. The second was the characters, you knew whom the good guys and the bad guys were, and while some of the characters have quite convincingly changed sides along the way it's always been for plot development. This final volume continues to play on these strengths and as such is an emotional rollercoaster.

Rau Le Crueset seems to think that his manipulations behind the scenes are finally coming to fruition. He doesn't really want to see a winner he just wants both sides to destroy each other in the futility of war. At one point I thought Le Crueset was becoming a more sympathetic character, I couldn't have been more wrong. Patrick Zala and Muerta Asrael both have similar goals " to totally destroy the enemy no matter what, while Kira, Athrun and the others are equally determined to end the war and try to make both sides see sense. Even Yzak starts to see the error of his ways in this volume, as do some of the ZAFT soldiers who are in charge of Genesis.

You can't have the ultimate final battle without casualties, and while most of the deaths in this final volume are faceless people, there were a few surprises. I have heard that historically Gundam has had no compunction in killing off major characters towards the end of the series so I was expecting quite a high death toll. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised that most of the main characters escaped to fight another day, although there were a couple of deaths that were quite unexpected and actually quite emotional.

At the beginning I really thought that Gundam SEED would not be able to maintain its pace for 50 episodes, but I'm now wiling to admit that I was wrong. With its huge cast of characters and the ability to change environment (we started in space, went back to Earth and finally ended up in space), it never became dull or lost my interest. While I'm not sure if I will go back to previous incarnations of Gundam, I know one thing, I'm certainly looking forward to Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.

In summary-

When I was first given Gundam SEED to review, I was very sceptical about whether it would be a series that I would enjoy, and I was not exactly looking forward to potentially having to slog my way though 50 episodes. While the first couple of disks were not particularly brilliant, they managed to set the stage for what has proved to be an enjoyable and quite emotional series. While some of the characters have been of the cookie-cutter bad guy variety, the majority have engaged in some well thought out character development. Of course it wouldn't be Gundam without the action sequences and these have been a joy throughout the series. If you've not seen any Gundam before then SEED is a great place to start and this series is highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,French Language 2.0,German Language 2.0,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,German Subtitles,Dutch Subtitles,Polish Subtitles,Character and Mecha files,Clean Opening and Ending,Epilogue

Review Equipment
Panasonic 42" Plasma, Arcam 88+ Prog Scan DVD Player, Kef Egg 7.1 Speaker system with a Ruark log sub. Denon 3802 amplifier.



Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: Beez
MSRP: 19.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED