Gundam Seed Destiny
September 9, 2022 · 0 comments
By Andrew Osmond.
Gundam Seed Destiny is the direct sequel to the earlier series Gundam Seed, which was covered on this blog here. Like the previous series, Destiny was created by Mitsuo Fukuda (director) and his wife Chiaki Morosawa (lead writer). It sees the return of several of the first Seed’s characters, though they’re joined by a great many new ones as well. Consequently, it’s best to watch Gundam Seed first, and there’ll be big Seed spoilers in the following paragraphs, so be warned!
In fact, there’s one particular voice in the Japanese version of Destiny that many Gundam fans will recognise, even they’ve never seen the first Seed. It’s the voice of Shuichi Ikeda, an actor who’s still busy in anime now; he voices the great pirate Red Haired Shanks in One Piece. But for Gundam fans, Ikeda is the voice of the greatest character in the whole franchise, the wily antihero Char Aznable, introduced in the first 1978 series.
Ikeda doesn’t voice Char in Destiny, but he brings Char’s presence and authority to a different character, Gibert Darundal. Darundal is the new charismatic leader of the space-dwelling Coordinators, and one of the prime movers of what happens in the show. He’s widely respected, exuding wisdom, but he’s also inscrutable. You’ll have to judge if he does bear any resemblance to Char by the finale. Of course, Gundam Seed had a character in a Char-ish mask, Rau La Creuset, who fought for the Coordinators. He’s gone now, but there’s another masked man on the scene in Destiny, called Neo Roanoke, who fights on the Earth side.
Yes, war has broken out again, only a couple of years after the hard-won ceasefire at the end of the first Seed. The new war is the result of a catastrophe on Earth, triggered by a faction of Coordinators – anyone familiar with Gundam storylines might guess what tactic they use. We see the disaster being used by corrupt Earth interests as a pretext to get the war going again; the carnage is just their means to an end. As with the original Gundam Seed, it’s tempting to see these details as responses to real-world events. Destiny was broadcast in the early 2000s, not long after 9/11 and Iraq’s invasion by America and Britain.
For a time, the “central” Destiny character seems to be a new Gundam pilot called Shinn Asuka, a Coordinator boy whose family was obliterated in the last war. Shinn is particularly haunted by memories of his little sister, and that will have a huge impact on his decisions later on. Angry and aggressive, Shinn is one of the franchise’s more troubled protagonists; you might compare him to Kamille in Zeta Gundam. (Notably, both Kamille and Shinn find quasi-father figures in characters voiced by Shuichi Ikeda!) One particular strand, where Shinn discovers that an enemy Gundam pilot is a girl his age, has clear echoes of Zeta Gundam.
However, Destiny becomes much more of an ensemble show as it goes on. Like many Gundams, Destiny travels between Earth and space, though now there are two shiploads of characters to follow, both headed by female captains. One of them, Talia Gladys, is voiced in Japanese by Mami Koyama; you may remember her as the deadly Zeon commander Kycilia Zabi in the very first Gundam. Soon after Destiny, Koyama would voice an even more terrifying commander, the scar-faced Balalaika of Hotel Moscow in Black Lagoon.
Many characters from the first Seed drop into Destiny in the first dozen-odd episodes, not just for guest appearances but as central players. One of them is the Coordinator singer Lacus, though there’s a “fake” Lacus too, a lookalike singer who’s been chosen by Darundal to fill in for the original. This plot wrinkle has shades of the series Turn A Gundam – which also has lookalike girls swapping identities and confusing the hell out of everyone – but some developments in Destiny also enter the psycho-thriller territory of Perfect Blue. Less seriously, it’s amusing to see how the fake Lacus can provide much more fanservice than the real one…
Anime Limited’s Ultimate Edition of the series will include a 50-minute video spinoff story, called Gundam Seed C.E. 73: Stargazer. This is an entirely new story, with different characters from the series and a far darker tone. Stargazer focuses on a brutalized boy soldier and a woman scientist, set against the violence and despair of the war in Destiny, but transcending the conflict for the stars. It’s a remarkably strong short piece in its own right.