Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny TV Movie 1 (also w/LE) - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

0 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98/49.98
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny TV Movie 1 (also w/LE)

By Chris Beveridge     June 24, 2008
Release Date: June 17, 2008


Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny TV Movie 1 (also w/LE)
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
The year is Cosmic Era 73. The Bloody Valentine War, fought
between the PLANTS space colonies and the nations of the Atlantic
Federation, has ended and an uneasy truce has settled upon the Earth sphere. With the signing of the Junius Seven Treaty, the world's soldiers have left the battlefield and the grizzly sights of war behind. Many who fought now seek peace and refuge in the shelter of civilian life.

But one boy, Shin Asuka, is finding that incredibly hard. A
coordinator who lost his entire family during the Battle of Orb, he
now fights with ZAFT in one of their newest machines, the Impulse
Gundam. Of course, ZAFT is only developing these machines for
defensive applicationsor so they claimbut when a group of
Federation operatives steal some of these prototype machines, the
world is once again plunged towards war.

The Review!
Gundam has a mild tradition of taking its lengthy TV series and reworking them into movie sized digest versions and the Seed Destiny series is no exception.

Audio:
The bilingual presentation for this film is essentially the same as the TV series in that we get a pair of 256kbps stereo mixes that convey the show well but without a huge amount of impact to it. The series has a grand and sweeping feeling when it comes to the music and that's done well but dialogue is for the most part something of a center channel affair outside of some notable scenes. This isn't a bad thing since it's all very well done but at the same time it feels like it should be more. In listening to both language tracks, we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
The transfer for the movie versions of this TV series are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are enhanced for anamorphic playback, even though the original series aired in full screen. The Japanese have done this several times, and it's not something I particularly care for as it changes the feel of many scenes, but it's certainly better that it's done under their direction rather than that of a US company altering it. The visual design of the show is much like what we saw with the full screen release in that it's very bright, vibrant and colorful which has it practically oozing off the screen at times. There are moments of noise to be found in the background throughout the feature, but by and large this is a very clean and appealing looking show that takes the best of the series and puts it to good use. Outside of the very mild noise and a bit of aliasing during some panning sequences, there's nothing to really complain about here at all.

Packaging:
The cover artwork for this release is rather strong as it features Shinn in his pilot uniform floating in space while that of the Gundam is behind him. The character and mecha artwork are somewhat understated for the most part with their colors, but there are some beautifully vibrant pieces as well which enhance it perfectly. It also works exceptionally well against the star filled background that just lets the whole piece sing. The back cover is somewhat traditional in design as it runs through the basic plot summary along the left while to the right we get more mecha artwork. Underneath is a breakdown of the discs features and extras along with a few small shots from the film itself. Add in the production credits and the meager technical specs and it's a decent enough cover. No insert is included nor is there a reverse side cover.

Menu:
Gundam has had some awkward menus over the years but this feature does things nicely as it has a fairly sci-fi feel to the silvery grey borders which has some artwork along the right with the navigation. The left and center areas features clips from the feature itself along with a brief bit of music looping to it all. The design is one that sets up the mood nicely and it's easy to navigate. Access times are nice and fast and submenus load quickly and without issue. As seems to be the case, it's hit or miss with Bandai as to whether player presets will be read and this one unfortunately did not as it defaulted to English with sign/song subtitles.

Extras:
The only extra included is a clean version of the extended ending sequence which is certainly quite welcome.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After watching the original TV series back in 2005, I ended up not watching Bandai Entertainment's release of the Seed Destiny TV series because I decided to dabble in the Odex sets that were being released earlier. That unfortunately petered out and I never saw more than the first half of it in that format and never took up the US releases as someone else reviewed them. Bandai Entertainment then decided to haul out the movie versions so I figured that would be a good place to go with it since I was mildly familiar with it and I'd see it in condensed form. That's how I viewed the original Gundam series, in movie form, and it was certainly good enough for me. If only that got a proper bilingual release...

Taking place about a year after the final events of Gundam Seed Destiny Movie 1: The Shattered World covers approximately the first thirteen or so episodes of the series. It's almost entirely action sequence after action sequence, drama built upon dramatic events and very little time to sit down and reflect about what's going on. This was problematic enough within the series itself where you didn't have time to catch your breath or time for the characters to really reveal themselves and what they were all about. Some of it is alleviated by familiar faces in new situations, like Kira and Athrun, but secondary characters make out pretty badly here, especially new ones, as some don't even get named for quite a bit of time. That leaves the feature feeling like it's really just made for the hardcore fans and not for a more casual audience.

Similar to past series, there is a definite theme for how everything begins in the Gundam universe. In the time since the events that caused such massive destruction and brought both side together in order to ensure such wars don't happen again, there's been an uneasy truce but still some things bubbling just under the surface that threaten to explode. Cagalli, now the Representative of Orb, has made her way to one of the PLANT bases in order to meet with Chairman Durandal to figure out how to deal with some of these pressures but she ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. A group of three very strong and creatively powered individuals have made their way into the base to steal three new Gundam models that have been built and tested there unknown to the rest of the world. Everything on the base simply goes to hell as they break out and cause all sorts of destruction.

Isn't this how Seed began? And how many other Gundam shows?

Things aren't all bad for Cagalli as she's able to be protected by her bodyguard Alex, aka Athrun Zala in "disguise." They also luck out in that they're able to make it off of the colony by catching a ride with Durandal on board the new battleship the Minerva, which is essentially the upgraded and much more powerful version of the Archangel from the previous war. They're able to give chase for some time with the group that caused the raid and attempt to win back the Gundam suits but space battles are unpredictable and larger forces cause events to sway in another direction over time. The attack by these elements is given another face later on as disaffected ZAFT members work over a plan to launch a huge platform, once known as Junius Seven, down on Earth in order to wipe out the population there and free the people in space from the tyranny of the governments there. All of this sets in motion far larger plans by the Earth Alliance governments who see the attacks as a way to rewrite the future of Earth's history in the way they want, utilizing the citizen's hatred of PLANT as a reason to go to war and do whatever they want.

The political echoes of the real world in Seed Destiny are sometimes blunt but they're also echoes that have been in a number of previous series as well and they manage to mix and blend them nicely. The series across these first thirteen episodes has a number of new characters that have grown up from the first war and are now able to take part themselves and they bring all sorts of baggage along the way. Most notable is Shinn Asuka, a young immigrant from Orb who joined the ZAFT forces after his family died trying to evacuate Orb which he now holds responsible for their deaths. Naturally, with the Orb Representative on board the Minerva with him as well as the sheer reputation of someone like Athrun, he's a loose cannon at times with his words. Interestingly enough, you could assume by how these episodes play out that Shinn is supposed to be the lead character of this series but I don't see that. The first season was primarily about Kira but Athrun stole the show in a lot of ways with their relationship and the better angst storylines that he had. Athrun is definitely the star of Destiny though as you can see him being faced with some of the hardest choices here, from being offered a new Gundam called the Saviour to dealing with the repercussions of his fathers goals that so many had followed. Athrun has to grow up into a man and decide which path his life will take.

A lot of the fun for this series, much like Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, is seeing how characters who survived the first season have moved on. While we get plenty of time with new characters and those on board the Minerva, glimpses are given of others and they slowly become more important as it goes along, such as Yzak and Dearka showing their place in the military and then being drawn deeper into a bigger plot. I was also glad to see Waltfeld and Murrue show up in an interesting way as they've found a good way to live after all that they've been through. Most interesting was that it seemed to take almost five episodes before Kira and Lacus showed up which parallels some of Amuro's own journey in Zeta Gundam. It's the parallels to past shows, the nods and winks, that make this a lot of fun to watch but it's also done well enough that it stands firmly on its own.

In Summary:
The movie version of the series in some ways does feel similar to how the original Gundam movies played out, but they also ran longer and spent more time on the characters themselves. At the same time, they weren't building upon a series either as this is a condensed version of a sequel. There is simply an expectation of knowing who everyone is and the basic setup of it all. A lot of this came back quickly since I had seen the first half of the TV series and remembered how chaotic that was, but this feels even more disjointed and awkward than that did. As a condensed version of the series, I'm curious to see how it will play out in total, when it gets to more varied material, but this first one has me just as leery as the TV series did.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Extended Texltess Ending,LE Packaging: High quality artbox to hold all 4 volumes

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES



Be the first to add a comment to this article!


ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS