Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Volume 2

In the first volume of Gundam SEED Destiny, we’ve had three secret shiny new giant robots get hijacked from their secret base. They’ve then been chased by another secret shiny new combining mech and its mothership halfway across the solar system, with a few skirmishes along the way. During all this, someone else decides to send the remains of a giant space colony on a collision course with earth.

Now, usually in scenarios such as this, the heroes are able to get to the scene, blow up the bad guys and avert the catastrophe just in the nick of time. Imagine my surprise when they don’t quite blow enough of the colony up, and a large number of sizable chunks rain into the earth’s surface. Cities are wiped from the map, tsunamis slam into the mainland, the climate is thrown into chaos, and the people are sent into a panic. I didn’t see that coming.

Naturally enough, with the earth now in tatters people are now looking to point fingers, with shadowy figures behind the scenes manipulating things to their own ends, and the tensions between the Earth and PLANTs escalate. It’s not going to take much of a spark to once again set alight the flames of war and, soon enough, that’s exactly what happens. It’s actually a refreshing change to see firsthand the cause of conflict, instead of being dumped into the middle of a battlefield – it provides a good contrast and brings an element of confusion to the proceedings.

Speaking of the battlefield, the action is up there with the best SEED had to offer – which means it’s rather good indeed. The mobile suit battles have a fast and frenetic pace to them, with plenty of cool moments and action. Already, though, there have been quite a few instances of recycled animation. Given the quality of visuals, it’s surprising that we’re seeing such money-saving techniques so early on, and while it’s not that major at the moment, hopefully it won’t become too obtrusive later on.

The cast is slowly fleshing out a bit more too, with a little more development for some of the characters. A few more familiar faces from the last series pop up too, and it’s certainly interesting to see where they’ve wound up after the last war. I still can’t bring myself to like main character Shinn though – he still comes across as little more than an angry little kid with too large a chip on his shoulder and a worrying obsession for his dead sister…

The quality of the dub is surprisingly inconsistent. Some characters are spot on, like those of Chairman Durandal and Captain Gladys, while others such as Lunamaria just stumble around their lines, sounding unnatural and forced. Special mention has to go to the Minerva’s XO Arthur – it seems having an English name means you get to be the only character with an English accent, but his VA actually performs the role surprisingly well, and brings a certain charm to the character.

In Summary

Gundam SEED Destiny continues as it means to go on, and volume two provides another dose of solid entertainment that combines character drama, political machinations and giant robot action nicely in one tight package. If things continue at the same pace and quality, this could be one of the highlights of the year.

8 / 10