Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Vol. #05 (of 12) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, November 28, 2006
What They Say
While the Minerva is docked at a ZAFT base, Chairman Durandal comes aboard and meets with the crew. Their discussions evoke in Shinn reflections about the past, but they also cause him to argue with his shipmates. Seeking refuge from further conflicts, Shinn goes ashore and encounters a beautiful girl. In an attempt to rescue her from drowning, he finds himself in need of rescue instead.
Meanwhile, the Minerva prepares for a sudden battle with the Alliance Forces. But unknown to either side, far beneath the waves another group will attempt to stop the fighting.
The battle rages on and provides some interesting developments and revelations for the crew of the Minvera.
The Japanese soundtrack was used for my primary viewing session. It is a solid stereo track free from distortion, drop-outs, or other noise. While not the most powerful or dynamic audio track, it provides some decent directional effects during the battles and balance all elements appropriately.
Originally released in 2005, the video is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio and look gorgeous. Whether it is the dark reaches of space or the bright colors of the Gundams and their weapon fire, the colors are sharp, vivid, and bring out some great details at times. Some of the scenes, mostly the shots of the Minerva, do stand out as obvious CGI, but these are few and do not detract much from the overall viewing experience.
The front cover sports Stella and her Gundam. The series title and volume number are placed along the bottom of the cover. Filling up the back cover are the usual suspects of screenshots, synopsis, disc specifications, and Stella's Gundam striking a pose.
Bandai moves away from the cockpit motif and goes back to basics. The main menu simply contains the menu items to the left, a Gundam head to the lower right, and clips from the volume playing in the background. A small loop of music rounds things out. Transition delays are negligible making for a more straightforward system.
Two extras are featured on this volume; first is a music video for the song "Pride" compiled from footage of the series. The second extra is the "Character File Chapter 1" featuring a short biography of many of the main characters.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Gundam Seed Destiny is at its best when the audience can see the war directly affecting the characters and driving their actions. Where the previous volume was more centered on the battle, this volume returns to the more personal character development that was lacking. The Minerva and her crew have arrived at the port of Diocuia to enjoy some much needed R&R. Much to their surprise and delight, Chairman Durandal is visiting the city as well and has brought Lacus Clyne to perform a concert for the troops.
While Arthrun is conflicted about this duplicity, Durandal takes the opportunity to pour his special brand of honey into Arthrun and Shinn's ears. He continues to portray himself as the altruistic seeker of peace, but he cannot find a peaceful solution to end all conflict. The powerful shadow group Logos is behind this current war because war brings them profit. Until we can prevent war from being profitable, wars will continue to happen.
Durdanal's questioning of Arthrun about the location of the Archangel and the real Lacus Clyne belies this altruism; subconsciously, Arthrun knows that Durandal's use of a fake Lacus is wrong and suspect. However, he desperately wants to believe that Durandal is a leader like Cagalli, one who wants peace but not peace created and upheld by the barrel of a gun. This conflict rages in him to the point that he makes weak excuses to a jealous Lunamaria that his relationship with the fake Lacus is not what it appears.
When Orb forces are ordered to engage the Minerva and the ZAFT fleet at the Black Sea, Arthrun must face the cold truth that the ideals Cagalli and Orb stood for seem to be dying for that nation. However, some of the Orb officers hold to the hope that the ideals of old will return. There is the potential for revolt brewing in the ranks of Orb, and it will be interesting to see if the writers develop this thread more.
We also receive a glimpse of the events of Gundam Seed from Shinn's point of view. The war was a distant problem for the citizens of Orb, and none of them heeded its events until it was on their doorstep. He may be angry with the ideals of Orb and the Athla's that ended up killing his family, but Arthrun pegs this true feelings. Shinn still deeply believes in those ideals and is more angry that they Orb has been twisted from a peace loving nation to the bitter enemy he must now face.
For good measure, the volume tosses in a chance encounter between Stella and Shinn; not knowing they are enemies on the battlefield, the two become friends with Shinn promising to protect Stella always. Stella will never remember this though; Neo has the memories of the Phantom Pain trio routinely wiped to ensure they only focus on the next battle. This was a welcome return to what made the series interesting at the start. They have pulled the characters in a few emotional directions; I am looking forward to the next volume and seeing if it can tie some these plot threads together and give the story a boost before the second half.
As Gundam Seed Destiny reaches the midway point, things seem to be heating back up and regaining the personal touch lost in the previous volume. This volume features more manipulation by Chairman Durandal, insights into the character's personalities, and a few revelations about the Phantom Pain trio. The series still does not sizzle for me, but this volume reintroduced the elements that make it more than a standard action series. It works best when it shows the impact of the conflict on the individuals, and this volume fortunately does that from beginning to end.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Music Video,Character File
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny