In the final battle, there are several matchups that immediately develop: Rey vs. Kira, Athrun vs. Shinn, and the ArchAngel vs. the Minerva. In the SF vs. Legend fight, Kira and Rey trade Newtype reactions while dodging the other’s DRAGOONs. After Kira starts to see Rau Le Creuset in Rey from the way he fights, Rey actually comes out and says that he is Rau Le Creuset. Rey flashes back to a few years ago after Rau died when Gilbert tells him that it is his destiny to be Rau. Kira refutes this by saying that their lives are different, and then he uses a full salvo to disable Legend. In the Shinn and Athrun fight, Athrun actually starts by battling with Lunamaria a bit before Shinn intervenes. Athrun tries to convince Shinn that he’s fighting for the wrong cause, one that will kill the future. Shinn flashes back to Stellar and his sister, but he lunges anyway at Athrun. Lunamaria gets in the way to stop him, but Shinn doesn’t slow down, so Athrun pulls out his SEED mode and shields the attack. Since talking time is over, Athrun uses his beam sabers to cut off Destiny’s arms and leg, sending it crashing into the moon. Meanwhile, the ArchAngel situates itself directly above the Minerva and fires down, destroying the latter ship’s cannons. Athrun then uses the IF’s backpack to destroy the Minerva’s engines. The heavy damage forces the Minerva also to crashes onto the surface of the moon. Gilbert, seeing his forces fall, orders the firing of the Neo-GENESIS at the ORB forces. But because of Yzak’s warning, all of the important ships are able to dodge the shot (which actually destroys several of ZAFT’s own ships). Gilbert then readies to fire his other super weapon, the Requiem. The Akatsuki and the IF rush there and destroy the cannon just as it is about to fire. Shinn has a moment where he sees Stella calling out to him. She is happy to see him, and keeps emphasizing “tomorrow” as she fades away. Shinn wakes up in Lunamaria’s arms, and the two of them weep as explosions rock the Requiem. At the Messiah, Kira uses the METEOR platform to wreck the place, and then enters it on foot to confront Gilbert. Gilbert tries to tell Kira that history will only repeat itself, but Kira replies that they don’t want a world that doesn’t change. Rey and Talia both arrive during the two’s exchange. They ready their guns to fire, and Gilbert is shot. Kira turns around surprised to see that Rey pulled the trigger. Explosions rip through the room as Talia rushes over and puts Gilbert’s head onto her lap. Rey apologizes, and then trails off talking about tomorrow. After Kira leaves at Talia’s request, Gilbert also apologizes, but Talia says that it’s their fate. She calls for Rey, so he comes over to hug her and identifies her as his mother just as the room explodes. The Messiah crashes onto the lunar surface as Shinn and Luna watch on while Athrun and Kira stoically survey all the destruction.
The last episode of GSD gives us some good battle sequences and concludes the series, but fails on several important levels. I didn’t have much of a problem with the story itself: we’ve all heard it before, it’s the stuff they’ve been spouting the entire series. What I didn’t like was that the old cast (Kira, Athrun, etc) were all-powerful and made it out pretty much unscathed. I admit that as a fan of the original SEED, I wanted them to survive, but having them beat all of their opponents so easily to win the day just ruins the excitement. Never mind that the ZAFT grunts are useless, even Shinn and Rey aren’t able to significantly damage Athrun and Kira. And everyone shows up in that ending shot gathered around in their still shiny mobile suits and ships. So I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that the conflict is fairly weak. The elements of Kira, Athrun, Lacus, etc vs. Shinn, Rey, Gilbert could have been used to make a far stronger story revolving around what is right and what is wrong (as opposed to Kira always being right).
And of course, Shinn doesn’t really get a satisfactory ending (yes, I consider death a satisfactory ending for him). Actually, it’s not the conclusion of his story that I wasn’t happy with; it’s the lack of closure in general. After the battle is over, the credits just roll. The story is left just hanging there, without a proper epilogue. I guess you could argue that this leaves the series open to a sequel, but I’m sure there are better ways of doing that. I was hoping at least to see a bit more of Murrue & Mwu and also the reunification of Lunamaria & Meyrin. And a scene that shows that Shinn has actually come out of all this having learned something would be nice.
Final Thoughts: Gundam SEED Destiny is the sequel to Gundam SEED that everyone was looking forward to. Who wouldn’t want to see our old friends flying their Gundams and blowing stuff up? But at the end of the series, we’re left to think that perhaps it would have been better for them not to be there, or maybe for Shinn and company not to be there. Because as it stands, GSD suffers from having too many characters. The original SEED cast was already quite big, with Kira, Athrun, and all of their friends on both sides. Add in another group (Shinn, Rey, etc), and we’ve got too many people to play with and lots of lost potential. Initially, there were good developing stories on both sides. We had a brash young ace, a returning character in the teacher role, and several supporting characters. But the inherent problem is that by the end of the series, they didn’t get enough development to significantly change. Or if they were greatly affected, we didn’t get to see the results (which goes back to the lack of closure I mentioned before).
All in all, this series is at best mediocre, not quite as good as the original (which I admit wasn’t perfect either). I would recommend it to fans of Gundam SEED, but probably no one else. I’ll probably feel better once I see the special episode coming with the last DVD due to be released in February of next year. (see Gunota)