Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Vol. #07 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Vol. #07

By Chris Beveridge     January 04, 2005
Release Date: January 04, 2005

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Vol. #07
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
The Archangel limps toward Alaska, having lost contact with both the Strike Gundam and Tolle's Skygrasper. Cagalli, meanwhile, discovers a wound Athrun, and is shocked to learn what happened.

The Review!
Blissfully free of recaps, SEED hurtles forward with numerous changes and the biggest battle scenes yet.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The show has a fairly aggressive stereo mix with a good amount of material that's going across the forward soundstage. There's a lot of depth and detail to the audio here between the dialogue and background noises and it all sounds great. Dialogue is clean and clear and we had no issues with this during regular playback. We listened to the English track while writing the review and didn't note any obvious issues there either.

Originally airing in 2002, Gundam SEED is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio in this transfer. Quite possibly one of the richest looking Gundam series made, SEED takes full advantage of the latest technologies and techniques to produce a show that is incredibly lively and vivid. While there are some cheesy and bad CG shots, mostly when showing movement in depth across space scenes, the transfer itself looks sharp and beautiful. Colors are vivid, cross coloration is non-existent and I'm hard pressed to find much in the way of serious aliasing. This is a smooth looking transfer from start to finish.

Using the same artwork as the Japanese release but with a much better looking logo, the new mobile suit that hits the scene gets the primary shot here with a lightly shadowed image of a serious faced Kira behind it. The cover's not as solid as some of the last ones but I still like it overall. The back cover provides several shots from the show and some additional artwork and has a few paragraphs worth of summary. The discs episode numbers and titles are listed here while the volume numbering is found only on the spine. The usual production and technical information is along the back cover as well though I continue to wish that Bandai would adapt the technical grid. The insert replicates the front cover but minus a few of the logos and it opens to a two panel spread that has a variety of Alliance and ZAFT terms to understand.

The menu is nicely done for the show. The main menu is a close-up of the Strike Gundam's face where you see just about half of it. Inside the eye socket is some brief bits of animation playing, all set to some instrumental music from the show. The layout is easy to navigate and provides quick access to each of the episodes and other submenus. Access times are nice and fast and the disc was responsive to my players preset languages.

Mirroring the last volume with only a minor change, we get some good materials here but still wish that Gundam series in general did more with them. We get another set of mechanical files and the ghost in the shell game trailer (why?). The third opening sequence is done in textless form again with the new song that goes with it and we also get the Nami Tamaki music video for her song "Believe" again.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a solid but somewhat frustrating volume with the recaps, getting back into the swing of things with five full episodes and no recap material other than the episode prologues, Gundam Seed gets massively back on track and just hits forward with so many things going on that it's easy to forget about some of it and overlook the minor developments.

After the last couple of episodes of the series, you really have to wonder where they'll go from here. It's not that they wrote themselves into a hole but rather you wonder what the storyline will be. The battles that have led up to it, and in particular the tit for tat that started to happen during the last battle with Kira and Athrun, have been intense but none more so than the last one, especially once the gloves came off and the Seed factor seems to have kicked in for both of them, which is I believe a first for Athrun. The intensity of their battle before hand, especially during Nicol's final moments, was edge of the seat material that only get more intense when Kira and Athrun put everything into ending it right then and there.

Though it takes a while before we see him again, since his Strike is found to be pretty much slagged and Athrun has washed up on the shore nearby, Kira's reappearance later in these episodes on one of the colonies is very surprising and it's still not really clearly explained how it happened, nor is this particular reverend character all that honest looking with his expressions. But claiming that Kira was at their porch, he took him in and brought him to the colony and to Lacus' home where he's spent his recovery. I'm all for Lacus being in the show more but Kira's path for getting there just doesn't feel like it should have happened.

His time in recovery once he awakens plays out in parallel to what's happening on Earth but from a much disconnected perspective. While he comes into contact with a small number of people, their opinions and his own reflections help to weed out his concerns and questions as he tries to decide what his future really needs to be. One of the continual questions, something that's come up often enough before, is just what can one man do to end a war, especially of this size. Lacus' talks with him adds to his perspective well enough, though she does continue to seem naïve in many ways, her practically innocent view on things mixed with a strange dose of reality seems to make things even clearer for him. I love the way he and Lacus interact and how practically nobody gives the Haro's any mind as they bounce around spouting off their own phrases.

On the Earth side of things, the series takes on a depressing tone for awhile with the losses suffered during the last battle since their forces are not cut down and all they can do is cut and run, trying to flee to Alaska while licking their wounds and trying to avoid further problems. Since much of the bridge crew are still kids, Badgiruel ends up really coming off badly as she keeps her career military model and is completely blunt about Kira and Tolle being MIA and to stop thinking about them and to stop trying to reach them. When she gives Sai the boxes for their personal effects, I think she went slightly over the top in it since it hadn't even been a day yet and they are still in a combat situation. But that's just the way she is.

The eventual arrival in Alaska has its ups and downs but overall it's like a lot of journeys in that the end of it is never quite what you thought it would be and you realize the trip itself was a better time, even as hard as it was. The Alaska command structure is most displeased by the Archangel and its crew, though they try to not get personal about it, but when they start to play back the series of events from when the series started, the ever so slight skewing and difference in perception of the events has the Archangel coming off as almost a villainous ship, first from allowing civilians on board to piloting a secret mobile suit and then to the destruction of the 8th fleet in defense of the Archangel. It only goes downhill even more from there and Ramus' abilities as a captain aren't exactly called into question but she's brushed off with having to make do and not being quite ready for the size and scope of events that occurred. It's a brutal inquiry but it sets the tone for all that happens from there.

With much of the crew being reassigned elsewhere, such as La Flaga being sent to train pilots in California instead of back into combat and the Archangel being drafted into Alaskan defense when it's a spaceship, morale drops even lower and friends are split up even more. Similar occurs on the ZAFT side with Athrun's return to duty and his promotion into the special forces that require him to head back out into space. The loss of Nicol has frayed things within the group, but the group is small now with just Athrun and Yzak left on board. The players in this game have been moved all over the board and aren't anything like they were at the beginning anymore.

This volume also starts to provide some huge payoff in terms of action scenarios as the ZAFT side of the war has decided that their next big operation, Spit Break, is going to be the one that will end the war once and for all. With a feint about where they intend to attack, their forces land heavily onto the Earth and take on the Earth Alliance forces with devastating results. Taking on such a sizeable force, even as pared down as it was, incurs massive losses on each side but it's just how far the Earth Alliance folks are willing to go to win is what's really scary here. Building a massive self-destruct chamber of explosives below the base in order to draw the enemy in isn't something that people can do easily or be the one that has to push the button for, but the Alliance continues to do things that make it very hard to consider them the good guys, much like the same problem ZAFT has.

The last couple of episodes of big battle sequences is very engaging here and the tension and drama added to it is fantastic. The sight of so many mobile suits, ships and aircraft going at each other is so well done visually and plays out in such a fun to watch way here that it just keeps me sucked into it. This is one of the biggest battles of this war and you really do get a sense of that when it plays out unlike some shows where the key moments are a handful of stills or mostly done off-camera. The number of people and ships being eliminated in this battle is high and the sequences live up to that phrase of "kill 'em all" when it comes to Gundam shows.

In Summary:
Sometimes it's in small steps and other times it's in massive leaps, but Seed continually gets more and more interesting and fun to watch as it progresses. It's hard to believe that in barely five months we've moved through thirty-five episodes of the show. The characters have grown nicely, the action is only getting more intense and the larger plot of the full war rather than just the Archangel's escape is a big plus. More Lacus didn't hurt either, particularly the near naked sequence of her in the opening. Seed continues to evolve in an interesting and progressive way and has its hooks deep inside us.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Gundam Encyclopedia,Nami Tamaki 'Believe' Music Video,Texltess Opening #3

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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