Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Vol. #11 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, November 06, 2007



What They Say
The Archangel and its allies manage to bring the invasion of Orb to a standstill, and Chairman Durandal suffers a political defeat as the real
Lacus reappears to denounce the impostor. Now the battlefield shifts to space as Lord Djibril, gathering the remnants of the Earth Alliance fleet,
unleashes his ultimate weapon against the PLANT homeland.

With the survival of the PLANTs at stake, the Minerva fights alone to capture the lunar base that houses the devastating Requiem cannon. And the Archangel makes its own journey to the
moon, where a smaller but no less dramatic confrontation will take place between Lacus and the woman who has stolen her face and voice to do Durandal's bidding.

The Review!
A few poignant moments manage to be heard above the din of battle in the latest volume of Seed Destiny.

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 and Archangel, do stand out as obvious CGI, but these are few and do not detract much from the overall viewing experience.

Packaging:
The front cover features Cagalli, Arthrun, and the Justice 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 Justice striking a pose.

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 more straightforward system.

Extras:
Two extras are featured on this volume; first is a brief toy commercial from Japan. The second extra is the "Mecha File Chapter 4".

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are poignant moments in Seed Destiny that manage to squeeze their way in between the eye candy of the battle sequences. While this volume focuses on mindless destruction, a few of these moments slip in and make the episodes tolerable. Orb and ZAFT are still locked in battle, and Arthrun enters the fray to try to reason with Shinn. Lord Djibril uses the confusion to slip away in a shuttle and heads for the Logos moon base. The battle shifts to space where life and death decisions are made on every side.

What stands out in this volume is a conversation between Kira and Arthrun. They talk about what it means to be human and to have dreams. Are all of our dreams so different that we can only achieve them through conflict, or is there something shared in our dreams that if seen would finally bring peace? It is a brief but brilliant, thought provoking piece of writing. This simple exchange gives Kira and Arthrun depth they have lacked.

The depth of Durandal's megalomania also provides substance to the story; everyone is simply a pawn in the game to him. Hundreds of thousands of people can be slaughtered if it brings about his Brave New World. It is the stray smile on his lips that gives you chills. He knows exactly what the consequences of his actions are but justifies them as necessary for establishing his perfect society. He is the villain you love to hate, the perfect blend of charisma, intelligence, and ruthlessness.

Unfortunately, there have been only a handful of these character building moments throughout the series. It is frustrating to see these sandwiched as an afterthought between battles designed to move product. They tease you with glimpses of how much more captivating the series could have been.

In Summary:
This volume of Seed Destiny manages to pique my interest, but it lacks any build-up or anticipation for how the final events will play out. Action and mecha fans will find enough material to occupy their attention; there is plenty of battles and eye candy flying about the screen. Fans of a strong story will receive a frustrating tease; there are moments when the writing proves the story could do so much more. However, Seed Destiny continues to be only a mildly entertaining and visually appealing series.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,Mecha Encyclopedia 4,Toy Commercial

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
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny