We reach the end of SEED Destiny and with it the major complaint people, in my opinion rightfully, level at the show and that’s Shinn’s complete removal from the role of lead protagonist (to the point where the fourth opening debuting in this batch opens with a shot of Kira and Athrun and it takes a few scenes before he appears alongside other side characters…) This is also the only chunk of episodes where the fact I’m reviewing the HD version of the show has any effect as the original recap episode 41 is removed entirely and a new Episode 50 is in its place using footage from the “Final Plus” version of the compilation films. Does it make a major difference? Nah, not really, but less recap filler is always good in my book!
Picking up where we left off ZAFT attacks “Heaven’s Base” where Logos leader and super-racist Djibril is hiding and when Shinn, Rey and Lunamaria manage to defeat no less than FIVE Destroy units (the same Mobile Armour that just one of caused everyone such great issues only a few episodes ago) Logos is finished but, of course, Djibril escapes beforehand. Meanwhile Athrun is now safely on board the Archangel with Kira and the rest, but they have little time to catch up as Lacus is in danger up in space leading to Kira popping up there in time to save them, receiving a new Gundam titled the “Strike Freedom” in the process and then using it to (safely) take out a whole bunch of enemies. He’s back, baby!
Shinn, Rey and Lunamaria destroy several Destroys.
It turns out that Djibril is hiding in Orb with the always annoying Yuna Roma Seiran so ZAFT launch a full on assault against the country, including Shinn causing the same kind of scenario that cost him his parents and little sister, a fact that isn’t lost on him but he still completely believes Rey and Durandal’s speeches about it being “necessary to end all conflict”. Cagalli and the Archangel arrive and she eventually gets back control of her country, punches Yuna (hooray!) and gets a shiny gold mobile suit called the Akatsuki which she uses to battle Shinn… briefly, before Kira and Lacus descend from the heavens, the latter in the cockpit of a new Gundam, the “Infinite Justice”, which is soon in the hands of Athrun. This leads to a two-on-two scenario with Kira and Athrun facing off with Shinn and Rey but the whole thing soon ends inconclusively when Djibril flies off into space towards the moon. Yuna gets crushed underfoot trying to run away (hooray! … again!) Cagalli starts to do a speech about Durandal’s war against Logos and his true motive but it’s interrupted by the chairman himself and Meer, the fake Lacus… but then THAT broadcast is interrupted by the real Lacus, finally something that takes Durandal by surprise.
Sadly all that drama is loss as Djibril fires a massive space laser from the moon and destroys several space colonies and their residents. ZAFT, including the Minerva, soon destroys the base and finally kill Djibril (hooray!) which leads Durandal pretty much in charge of both Earth and Space. Meanwhile Lacus, Kira and Athrun meet with Meer, who at first is okay with luring Lacus out into the open to have her killed but she soon changes her mind and dies taking a bullet for her idol, which is dramatic and everything but sadly leads to a half recap episode as everyone reads Meer’s diary (the nosey bastards!) and then is quickly swept aside as we enter the final few episodes…
Djibril gets vaporised, and not a moment too soon!
I should also point out that during these events Neo Roanoke decides to become part of the crew when he finds himself attracted to Ramius but still lacks his memories as Mu; Rey reveals to Shinn the fact that he’s a clone in the same vein as Rau Le Creuset and as such has a limited life span, wishing to dedicate it all to Durandal; and Shinn and Lunamaria are now openly an item in the only bit of development Shinn gets. He spends all these episodes following Rey and Durandal blindly which you’d THINK would lead to him realising their deceit and joining Kira and Athrun in fighting against them in the finale, but um… nope. I’ll get to that in a bit…
I mean that’s pretty much literally the chair and window The Emperor appears with in Return of the Jedi. All subtly about him being the villain is dropped with that set design!
SEED Destiny comes to a conclusion that would’ve been fine had Kira been the protagonist for the whole show but instead Shinn’s reduced role and getting all his major moments stolen by other members of the cast does end the show on a sour note. The final battle is fine, but that story, plus more silly Neo/Mu stuff just made it more annoying than fun. It really felt like the writing took a sudden U-turn due to fan demand, in both cases really. Oh well, can’t win them all… and it’s still better than Victory overall (but the Overall Review is for next time!)
Durandal reveals his big plan to the world: The Destiny Plan, where everyone’s future would be decided based on their genetic code, therefore everyone would be slotted in places they could thrive and be happy and war would cease. One of those “technically it would lead to peace but also means no free will or choice for anyone” plans. A few Earth countries (including Orb) don’t back the plan so Durandal, who spent the whole show being horrified at the weapons of mass destruction used by his enemies, uses the same moon-based space laser to destroy a major Earth Alliance facility. This not only spurs the Archangel crew into action but also leads to a few key ZAFT pilots from the original SEED series to switch sides, and so the final battle is sorted. Cagalli stays behind at Orb so Neo is in the Ataksuki and everyone else is in their Gundams as a major battle takes place before the weapon can be fired again.
Shinn tries to fight against his destiny… his destiny being, well:
This is where a lot of grief comes from for Shinn fans. As I mentioned earlier, does he finally stand up for himself, see the error of his ways? Nope! Kira gets to take on Rey while Shinn squares off with Athrun, but all that happens is Athrun calls him an idiot, disables his mobile suit and then flies away as Lunamaria pulls Shinn from his cockpit and he cries in her arms. Meanwhile Kira and Athrun head off to confront Durandal and end the series with Shinn nowhere in sight. To make matters worse Rey follows them and as the Chairman points a gun at Kira Rey is moved by Kira’s words of ignoring your destiny and choosing your own path and shoots Durandal himself. So Rey, Shinn’s side character for most of the show, gets the big moment of seeing the chairman’s plan as wrong and going against him. It’s crazy how much Shinn got shafted in the end. Kira and Athrun dramatically escape the facility as Durnadal, Rey and Gladys (who if you remember was once the lover of Durandal) all hug while it explodes around them. That was a great moment at least.
Also during this final battle Neo flies in front of a beam heading for the Archangel and by accidentally recreating the moment of his “death” he suddenly becomes Mu La Flaga again, much to Ramius’ joy. *sigh* This all leads to a quick montage of what people did after the war, including Shinn being welcomed into the fold by Kira despite the fact he didn’t actually learn his lesson, instead the thing he was supposed to wake up from and fight against was defeated for him while he just sat back and cried, so… all drama is lost there. If the long-rumoured SEED movie does actually happen it’ll be interesting to see how Shinn fits in it, really…