Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Vol. #12 (also w/special edition) (of 12) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, March 28, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, January 08, 2008
What They Say
Having defeated Logos and the Earth Alliance, the triumphant Chairman Durandal now reveals his ultimate plan for humanity. The world reacts with confusion and horror to the details of the Destiny Plan, but Durandal has come too far to let anyone stand in the way of his dream of eternal peace and happiness. Using the weapons of his fallen enemies, the Chairman demonstrates that he will stop at nothing to create his new world.
The Archangel and its allies are now humanity's last hope to prevent Durandal from carrying out his plans. Once again, a fierce battle begins around the Requiem cannon and its relay stations, and the Gundam pilots meet in a final confrontation over the lunar surface. Shinn against Athrun, Kira against Rey, Archangel against Minerva... In the end, there can be only one victor.
How does it end? In fire...
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 has used for previous releases returns one last time; Shinn and his Destiny Gundam grace the box cover. 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. Four pencil boards are housed in the bottom section. 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 the final volume should reside.
The front cover of the volume features Durandal, Shinn, and the Destiny 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 Destiny 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 final opening. The second extra is a final "Character File".
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Seed Destiny has been an uneven ride that managed to skim the surface of good, hard science fiction only to retreat into the land of explosions and shiny giant pieces of merchandise. While the series built Durandal into the perfect villain, most of the other characters were given little depth to capture the audience's attention. Meer Campbell is the perfect example illustrated by the first episode of the volume.
Having sacrificed herself to protect Lacus, the crew of the Archangel finds her diary and begins reading it. It outlines her transformation into Durandal's ideal Lacus doppelganger and her emotions through the war. We are meant to see her as a tragic figure seduced into actions she felt would make for a better world. However, Meer was such a minor pawn throughout the series, that the audience has no emotional investment in her. She is just another piece cleared off the board before the endgame is played.
After committing Meer's body to the stars, Durandal reveals to the world his Destiny Plan, his Brave New World, to eliminate war and ensure the perpetual happiness of humanity. His plan is to be followed upon pain of death, a point he illustrates by using the weapons of his enemies against them. The final battle rages; secrets are revealed; and Kira and Arthrun save the day once again.
The final battle managed to have some weight to it, a sense of urgency that kept me glued to the screen. Part of my attention though was focused on how similar Seed Destiny's ending was to its predecessor. Both had a giant doomsday laser pointed at Earth, had Kira and Arthrun overcome master pilots to save the day, and have the final confrontation with the chief villain end in gunfire. I know the message of the series was the idiocy of not learning from the mistakes of the past, but one would hope that they could have found a fresh way to cap this story.
Seed Destiny created a tense final battle, but it could not escape the obvious plot similarities of its predecessor. As a series, it constantly flirted with decent character development and hard sci-fi concepts but failed to make them an integral part of the story. Visually, the series has plenty to offer with copious battles and mecha eye candy. The story was mildly entertaining but could have been far more compelling. It is not the sort of series I would recommend owning, but it did provide enough entertainment to merit a recommendation as a rainy day rental series, action packed but shallow sci-fi.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Encyclopedia #5, Textless Opening #4
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