Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Vol. #10 (also w/limited edition) (of 12) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, October 05, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2007
What They Say
Although ZAFT has conquered the Earth Alliance stronghold of Heaven's Base, Lord Djibril has escaped the battlefield and taken refuge in the Orb Union. Determined to continue his campaign against Logos, Chairman Durandal mobilizes the ZAFT forces for an invasion of Orb.
As the fires of war once again threaten to consume their homeland, Kira and Cagalli are determined to join the fray rather than watch the destruction from the sidelines. While Cagalli receives a final legacy from her father, Kira travels into space to aid Lacus, and returns with powerful new weapons for himself and Athrun. But the invasion has already begun, and Orb's defenders may not reach the battlefield in time.
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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 and Archangel, do stand out as obvious CGI, but these are few and do not detract much from the overall viewing experience.
The unique sliding box Bandai used for volume six returns and features Rey Za Burrel and his Legend Gundam against a black and red background. There is a notch that says "pull" at the bottom of the box; when you grasp this part and pull, that section slides out and also pushes another section out from the top. A t-shirt is housed in the bottom section complete with a flap over the top to hold it in place. The actual DVD volume is in the top section and can be coaxed out of its container via a finger sized hole in the bottom. This is a very ingenious and fun design; those that bought the box with volume seven will have a difficult time deciding where volume ten should reside.
The front cover of the volume features Rey and his Legend 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 Legend striking a pose.
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 textless version of the fourth ending sequence. The second extra is the "Mecha File Chapter 3" featuring specifications of the new Gundams. Included in the special edition is a t-shirt (large).
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Seed Destiny is rapidly approaching its conclusion, but it is more interested in churning out new Gundams, and in turn new merchandise, rather than a compelling story. The volume opens with Lacus' position in space being compromised and requiring Kira to come to her rescue in an underpowered Gundam. This leads to the unveiling of the new Strike Freedom (*cha ching*) and an instant win for the good guys.
However, things go quickly sour when Orb foolishly decided to harbor Djibril and claim they are not harboring him. Durandal orders a strike against Orb, and Cagalli must claim her father's last legacy to her, a golden Akatsuki Gundam (*cha ching* *cha ching*). As the battle rages on, Neo La Flaga is released but decides to help out the Archangel. Kira arrives from space with Lacus and a new Justice Gundam (*chaaaaaaa chiiiiiiiing *). As the volume closes, the battle for Orb and the search for Djibril continue as Arthrun sorties out in the Justice.
Mixed in between the battle is a recap episode; its purpose seems to be to show how Arthrun and Kira are conflicted souls tormented by having to fight despite wanting peace. After forty plus episodes, I believe the audience already has a firm grasp on this concept making this a superfluous episode. There was one bright spot in the entire volume; Yuna Seiran finally receives the beating everyone has wanted to lay on him since the beginning. Cagalli orders him arrested on charges of treason, an order the Orb Commander in Chief executes with great pleasure and a solid right hook. When Yuna refuses to cooperate, Cagalli lands her own right hook. Finally seeing a character get what they richly deserved was satisfying, but it cannot overcome the fact that this volume is outright boring.
Perhaps I am looking at this wrong; maybe this is a cleverly disguised animated version of cinéma vérité. It shows how futile and pointless wars are because they are repetitive, boring, and filled with stock footage. Then, I look at the screen and all the shiny machines flying around and realize the truth is much simpler than that.
Aside from seeing Yuna Seiran have the right hand of justice applied to his face repeatedly, there is nothing else noteworthy in this volume. The series is drawing to a close, so it was time to give everyone a spiffy new machine, allowing the merchandising juggernaut to plod along. Throwing in a recap episode only serves to decrease my interest in the remaining story. Bandai played it smart by making this a special edition release; otherwise, I am not sure why one would buy it rather than rent it.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Ending #4,Mecha Encyclopedia #3,LE: Gundam Seed Destiny T-Shirt
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: A
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