As the battlefield moves to space, the crew of the Archangel find themselves caught between the two warring sides. With the Earth forces gathering all the forces they can at the moon, and ZAFT continuously rolling out new machines, Kira and Athrun find themselves outnumbered and outgunned, with little hope of a quick end to the war – until sympathizers within the Plants set their own plans in motion.
After the events of the last volume, the Archangel and Orb ship Kusanagi find themselves on the run from both ZAFT and EAF forces, and are sent into hiding in an abandoned colony. To SEED’s credit, the frequent redrawing of battlelines and alliances ensures that the audience is kept on their toes, and helps maintain an air of freshness to the proceedings. It’s also nice to finally see Kira and Athrun fighting on the same side, and the two prove to be quite a formidable team when they go into battle.
Of course, now that the Archangel has gone rogue, old allies are now enemies. Dearka is torn when he faces off against Yzak for the first time, while Natarle returns as captain of the new Archangel-class ship Dominion. The ensuing battle between the two ships is an interesting clash of not only tactics, but personalities as well, as the old power struggle between the two captains manifests into something entirely more dangerous.
Meanwhile, Mu again crosses swords with masked man Le Creuset., who leads Mu and Kira into a mysterious complex inside the colony. It’s here that light is shed on a number of questions, and yet more deep dark secrets are laid bare as Le Creuset reveals his mysterious past. It’s not as well executed as it could be, though; his motivations and reasoning aren’t made all that much clearer, the audience is still left with too many questions, and the whole affair just feels rather disjointed. It seems the more we see him, the more he comes across as just another nut in a mask with a large chip on his shoulder. Char he ain’t.
Elsewhere, there are more giant robot-styled thrills and spills with plenty of pitched space battles, new plot developments, and the surprise return of a familiar face or two. There’s more pop-philosophy in this volume as the ethics of designer babies are explored, as the origins of the Coordinators are looked into. Presentation is also of the usual standard, which remains something of a mixed blessing.
Gundam SEED remains on form as it nears its climax, and all the pieces are steadily moving into position. If this volume is any indication, we’re in for quite a show when the final battle begins.