Damn, that’s cool! Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

14 03 2009

1st post for Damn, that’s cool! In these posts, I pick something (a scene, bit of dialogue, etc) from a series and show why it’s way cool and important to the work as a whole.

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED - copyright Bandai Entertainment

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED - copyright Bandai Entertainment

This time I’m taking a look at Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (licensed by Bandai Entertainment) episodes 29 & 30: Nicol’s death and Athrun self-destructing the Aegis in order to kill Kira.

The scene: Athrun and Kira – former childhood best friends torn apart by an interstellar war and forced by plot device to fight each other in giant robots (yes, they came before Suzaku and Lelouch) – find themselves squaring off yet again as Athrun’s ZAFT team attacks Kira and the ArchAngel.

This time, however, in a desperate attempt to save Athrun, his team member Nicol (who may has well have been demoted to ensign and given an honorary red shirt) is brutally killed by Kira. In their next battle, Athrun is determined to kill Kira (for reals, this time) and ends up killing Tolle, Kira’s newbie jetfighter pilot friend (see also: red-shirted ensign). In the fierce battle that follows, Athrun latches himself his gundam onto Kira and self-destructs, killing Kira in the process (or so he thinks).
(See the video at the bottom of the post – part 3 of episode 30, Kira vs Athrun action starts at about 2 minutes in)

Strike Gundam - copyright Bandai Entertainment

Strike Gundam - copyright Bandai Entertainment

Why it’s pretty damn cool:

Gundam SEED is definitely not squeamish about violence, and I think that’s a strong point of the series. In a staunchly anti-war show, having realistic depictions of the consequences of violence is important and Gundam SEED tries it’s best to show the personal and political ramifications of a large-scale war.

Even so, Nicol’s death was brutal. He was sliced in half while inside his Gundam – and we get an inside-the-cockpit view as his helmet cracks and is filled with blood. Before the whole thing explodes, the Blitz Gundam spurts what very much looks like blood, though it’s most likely supposed to be whatever power source Gundams run off of spewing out of its mechanical guts. Damn, for a silly mech show, that was pretty gutsy!

Aegis Gundam - copyright Bandai Entertainment

Aegis Gundam - copyright Bandai Entertainment

In the next battle, Athrun decides once and for all to kill Kira. Not just to “shoot him down” or “destroy the Strike Gundam”, but to kill him. This is important because it shows that Athrun has finally committed himself whole-heartedly to ZAFT and no matter what bonds he may have with Kira, he is still an enemy to take down at all costs.

Both Kira and Athrun (and every other character! I’m looking at you, Yzak!) do a lot of talking about what they are going to do – “I’m going to beat you”, “I’m going to shoot you down”, “I’m going to show you the power of the Strike/Aegis/Duel/Buster/Freedom/Justice/insert Gundam name here”. But in this episode, Athrun actually destroys his own Gundam in order to kill Kira. He’s finally serious for once, and turns out that Athrun’s a bad ass when he’s serious!

In the end, this scene mostly serves to further both Kira and Athrun’s angst. Kira: I’ve finally killed someone I knew (kindof), and Athrun killed someone I knew – angst! And Athrun is actually trying to kill me! Hey, orphans on a deserted island with a priest – I should definitely try and save them from … me and this war I’m a part of. Isn’t it a little creepy that they’re on this island alone with a priest? Athrun: Dude, I actually tried to kill Kira! I should be happy about this! Why am I conflicted? I probably won’t get much support from my father, he’s a huge asshole. And now there’s this blonde girl who looks like a female version of Kira here – Now I’m confused!

In the end, it’s an interesting scene that highlights both the violence in the war torn world of Gundam SEED and the escalating tension between the main characters. Plus, exploding robots and foaming-at-the-mouth SEED-mode pilots, where can you go wrong?

Gundam SEED group - copyright Bandai Entertainment

Gundam SEED group - copyright Bandai Entertainment

So, Athrun self-destructing in order to kill Kira…pretty damn cool.




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