Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Vol. #07 (also w/box) (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2007



What They Say
Gathering their forces in the Mediterranean Sea, the Earth Alliance and Orb Union fleets launch a second attack on the Minerva - and this time not even the Archangel's intervention can halt the fighting. While Shinn unleashes his anger against the Orb fleet, Kira and Athrun confront each another in battle, and one of these lifelong friends falls in defeat. Back in the PLANT homeland, Chairman Durandal thinks back on his past and considers his plans for the future... Plans which will require the removal of disruptive elements like Lacus and the Archangel crew.

The Review!
Though a bit uneven, this volume of Seed Destiny provides some great moments for the characters.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
The front cover of the volume features Kira and his 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 Kira's Gundam striking a pose.

The accordion style box returns to house the second half of the series. Designed to hold six standard DVD cases, Bandai has produced one of the more unique boxes I have ever seen. It is can unfold completely and lie flat; each side holds three DVD cases in individual pockets. Strategically placed magnets keep the outside flaps in place when the box is folded up.

This allows the box to feature an insane amount of artwork; nearly every inch of it is covered with Gundams posing or in action. The outside artwork features some of the characters which is a welcome touch. The box can take some handling to get used to, but if you treat it like a book, you will have few difficulties using it.



Menu:
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 straightforward system.

Extras:
Two extras are featured on this volume; first is a textless version of the third ending sequence. The second extra is the "Character File Chapter 3" featuring a short biography of many of the main characters.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Minerva is (still!) heading towards Gibraltar, but the Earth forces have laid a trap for them in Crete. This premise had me prepared for another set of pointless battles. The first two episodes on this volume turned that preconceived notion on its head and provided some great character driven scenes. All the forces converge in Crete -- the Minvera, Orb, Earth forces, Kira, Cagalli, and the Archangel. As the battle rages, we see how each side reacts to the insanity of the conflict.

The Orb soldiers are torn between their duty and the knowledge that their actions are contrary to the ideals they swore to uphold. Watching their reactions draws you into the conflict, makes it personal, and makes it less of a sequence to show off the mecha designs. Friendships are tested, lives are lost, and the action gets the plot sizzling.

However, the next two episodes take the steam out of things by shifting the focus to a flashback overview of Gundam Seed as seen through Chairman Durandal's eyes. While it provides a bit of back story for the Chairman, this episode killed the momentum the previous two established. Further killing the momentum is a predictable episode that has Shinn handing Stella back over to Neo in order to save her failing health. Both episodes may by necessary for the overall story, but their placement and style turned my interest level from excitement down to boredom.

While uneven, this volume proved to be one of the better portions of the story. It allowed you to connect with the characters and their predicament. It gave the war meaning and weight; these people aren't just fodder for the mecha of the day. They are each fighting for something they believe in. This is what draws me into the story and what I hope to see more of as the series nears its conclusion.

In Summary:
This volume of Seed Destiny starts off white hot but cools down in its last two episodes. While the premise is another battle between the Minerva and Earth forces, it provides much more than the standard battle sequences. Some solid character development and interaction draws the viewer in and gives the battle substance. While presumably necessary to the story, the final two episodes deflated my enthusiasm by slowing the pace. They just did not sustain the momentum for the volume; however, this is still one of the better volumes in the series.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending 3, Character Encyclopedia 3

Review Equipment
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
MSRP: 24.98/44.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny