Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny (機動戦士ガンダムSEED DESTINY,Kidō Senshi Gandamu Shīdo Desutinī?) is the second anime television series set in the Cosmic Era universe of Gundam by Sunrise. Set two years after the original Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Gundam SEED Destiny features many new characters and some returning ones. The series spanned 50 episodes (plus a recap episode entitled "Edited"), aired in Japan from October 9, 2004 to October 1, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. on the JNN TV stations TBS and MBS. The series won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 2004 and 2005.
Script errorGundam SEED Destiny sets the story two years after the original series and follows pilot Shinn Asuka and the rest of the crew of the ZAFT battleship Minerva's involvement in the Second Bloody Valentine War, as well as some returning characters from the previous series.
Three mobile suits are stolen from ZAFT by a group called Phantom Pain, which is controlled by the Blue Cosmos terrorist organization. Shinn Asuka and the Minerva try to intervene but the group manages to escape. Shinn and the Minerva are then ordered to destroy the ruins of a space colony to prevent it from crashing into Earth. Returning character Athrun Zala decides to aid the crew of the Minerva to stop this. They find out that the rogue ZAFT soldiers are controlling the colony in order to crash it into Earth. After failing to completely destroy the colony, a second war starts once news has spread that ZAFT soldiers cause the colony to collide on Earth.
Athrun Zala rejoins ZAFT and is assigned to the crew of the Minerva. Later in the war, Athrun becomes disaffected after PLANT Chairman Gilbert Durandal orders the destruction of his friend Kira Yamato and the Archangel and defects with Meyrin Hawke when Durandal frames him as a traitor. The leader of Blue Cosmos, Lord Djibril, orders the weapon Requiem to be fired which destroys many space colonies of PLANT, resulting many deaths. The crew of the Minerva successfully kill Lord Djibril and capture the Requiem. Gilbert Durandal then announces the "Destiny Plan", a plan where a person's job or task will be based on their genetics, and uses the Requiem to destroy anyone who opposes him. This brings Shinn and the crew of the Minerva into direct conflict with the protagonists of the first series. Kira and Athrun with their new mobile suits ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom and ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice respectively and their allies, defeat the ZAFT forces and destroy the Requiem. Chairman Durandal is killed by one of his own followers, Ray Za Burrel. Soon after, the Earth Alliance, ZAFT, and the Orb Union meet to end the war, with Lacus Clyne acting as the negotiator.
Gundam SEED Destiny had its premiere broadcast in Japan on October 9, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. on the JNN TV stations (TBS and MBS) and ended on October 1, 2005. On Christmas 2005, a special episode ("Final Plus") called "The Chosen Future" aired in Japan. The episode is mainly a remake of the Final Phase (episode 50), with a few storyline changes, a lengthened battle, and an epilogue to the series. The series is licensed by Bandai Entertainment for the North American market. The English adaptation was produced by Bandai Entertainment in association with The Ocean Group and the English-language dub was recorded at Ocean Studios. The series was released on DVD in North America in uncut bilingual format.
Gundam SEED Destiny began its Canadian broadcast on YTV's Bionix programming block on March 9, 2007 at 9:30 p.m. YTV did not air the special recap episode, "Edited". On January 11, 2008, Gundam SEED Destiny was moved to the 10:30 p.m. Bionix timeslot starting with episode 40, switching timeslots with Bleach. On March 28, 2008 it ended its first run.In 2007, the series was available on demand from May through June with Comcast Cable in the United States. In July 2007, only episodes 1 to 22 have been aired and was thought to be discontinued on Comcast Cable; however, in September 2007, it has been made available again, this time with the English-dubbed version. Comcast Cable aired the 50th English episode at the end of February 2008.
A movie version of the TV series was released as Gundam SEED Destiny: Special Edition, which retells the story in four 90 minute parts. Unlike the Gundam SEED: Special Edition, this retelling of Gundam SEED Destiny seems focused on fixing some of the more criticized aspects of the series (for instance, by focusing on Athrun Zala's point of view to keep the focus as neutral as possible) rather than simply editing together highlights and important battles.
The anime has been adapted into a series of five novels by Riu Goto who previously wrote the Gundam SEED novels adaptation and published by Kadokawa Shoten. The first volume was released on March 1, 2005 and the last on April 1, 2006.
Numerous soundtrack and character CDs have been released for the series by Victor Entertainment. Three soundtrack albums featuring music composed by Toshihiko Sahashi were released during the 2004-2005 series run. These were the Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Original Soundtracks, numbered by roman numerals from I through III. Soundtrack I contained a new song by Rie Tanaka and was released on December 16, 2004,Soundtrack II included a new song by Houko Kuwashima and was released on April 21, 2005, and Soundtrack III contained series theme music by Yuki Kajiura and was released on August 24, 2005. Additionally, a fourth soundtrack, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Original Soundtrack IV, which contained selected music from the series score, was released on February 2, 2006. The first-press versions of all four soundtracks included a deluxe plastic box container, which replaced the standard jewel case for the standard release versions. An orchestral album of selections from the series score, Kokyo Kumikyoku Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, was released on December 16, 2005 and featured performances by the London Symphony Orchestra.
Besides the soundtracks, six character CDs were released featuring songs and spoken drama sequences. These CDs continued the previous Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Suits series, which had consisted of six discs dedicated to the characters of the original series. When combined with this previous set, the total Suit series was brought to twelve volumes. Due to the continuous numbering, the first in the Gundam SEED Destiny Suits set was the seventh volume of the overall series. The first-press versions of the six CDs each included a clear plastic slipcover with character art.
A total of four sets of opening and ending theme songs were used in Gundam SEED Destiny. In similar fashion to the original Gundam SEED, the songs were performed by a mix of high-profile and up-and-coming artists. As before, a number of the featured songs became top-charting singles. The first opening theme, ignited by T.M.Revolution, was released on November 3, 2004 and debuted in first place on the Oricon charts with 108,000 copies sold in the first week. It was the first Gundam-related single to reach first place on the sales charts. Its companion ending theme, "Reason" by Nami Tamaki, was released on November 10, 2004. The second opening theme, Pride by High and Mighty Color, was released on January 26, 2005 and sold a total of 223,208 copies by the end of the year. Its companion ending theme, "Life Goes On" by Mika Arisaka, was released on February 2, 2005 and debuted in first place on the Oricon chart that day, but fell to fourth place by the end of the week. The third opening theme, Bokutachi no Yukue was performed by fifteen-year old newcomer Hitomi Takahashi, and released on April 13, 2005. The selection of the previously unknown Takahashi mirrored that of Nami Tamaki, who was chosen to sing the third opening theme for the original Gundam SEED. Its companion ending theme, "I Wanna Go To A Place" by Rie fu, was released on April 27, 2005. The fourth opening theme, Wings Of Words by Chemistry, was released on July 7, 2005 and sold a total of 140,969 copies by the end of the year. Its companion ending theme, Kimi wa Boku ni Niteiru by See-Saw, was released on August 3, 2005 and sold a total of 156,172 copies by the end of the year. The first-press versions of all eight opening and ending theme singles included exclusive Gundam SEED Destiny character cards, with stickers and special packaging also being included in some cases.
Additionally, two insert songs that were used in Gundam SEED Destiny achieved strong sales and popularity. Honoo no Tobira, performed by FictionJunction Yuuka, was released on September 22, 2005. And vestige, performed by T.M.Revolution, was released on August 17, 2005 and sold a total of 176,028 copies by the end of the year. The first-press version of vestige included a character card of Haine Westenfluss, the character T.M.Revolution singer Takanori Nishikawa voiced in the series.
Two compilation albums including the credit themes and insert songs were also released, as well as an additional album including music from both Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny. The first compilation disc, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Complete Best, was released on May 7, 2006 and included all eight themes with remixes. A deluxe version of this same album which included a box and a DVD containing the opening and ending animation footage was also released. A two-disc set, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED - SEED DESTINY Best: THE BRIDGE, contained music from both series as well as the character Suit series and was released on November 22, 2006. The first-press version of this album included a booklet, art card, and poster.
Super Robot Wars Scramble Commander the 2nd. Gundam SEED Destiny's debut into the long running Super Robot Wars series.
Super Robot Wars Z. Gundam SEED Destiny's plot plays a major role in SRWZ's overall storyline; the "Break the World" incident (expanded to include the events of Orguss) shapes the world that the game takes place in.
Gundam SEED Destiny was generally well-received by reviewers, but with guarded praise that acknowledged flaws. Sharp differences of opinion regarding the show helped to create a mixed reputation for the series.
Paul Fargo of Anime News Network reviewed the first DVD volume positively, giving an overall B+ ranking for the original Japanese language version and a B- for the English dub. He also rated the story and art B-, while assigning the animation a B+ and the music an A grade, while writing "the first five episodes presented on this disc... send Gundam Seed Destiny off on a good start." While noting that "In a way, the whole setup of a Gundam theft at the beginning is somewhat redundant" to the SEED series, he felt "Destiny pulls the concept off more effectively than its predecessor by injecting it with a lot more energy and excitement." Nevertheless, he criticized the plot by saying "For all of its action and hinting around, it's still a derivative Gundam hijacking sequence." Of protagonist Shin Asuka, Fargo wrote "he's barely given any dialogue beyond verbally abusing returning fan-favorite characters," and said that "diminishing his role like this and making him completely unsympathetic is not a smart move at all." An additional criticism of the story was "the issue that we really don't know what the point of the series is even five episodes in." Visually, Fargo concluded that "the animation is a step up from what was seen in SEED," but was critical of "instances of recycled animation" being used so early in the show. Character designer Hisashi Hirai's work also came under fire, writing that "Hirai's designs show no distinct variety beyond hairstyle and eye color, making for an incredibly redundant-looking assortment of characters," but "the mobile suit designs by Gundam veteran Kunio Okawara are actually pretty impressive." Shuuichi Ikeda and Mami Koyama as Gilbert Durandal and Talia Gladys were highlighted for their voice work, and with regards to the music, "Toshihiko Sahashi, who scored the first SEED, returns for Destiny and thoroughly tops his previous efforts." Fargo concluded "this first volume of Gundam Seed Destiny is a pretty solid first entry to this newest installment of the constantly growing Gundam franchise," that while "not perfect" nonetheless "still provides enough entertaining action and subtle intrigue to keep the viewer wanting more by the end."
Writing for Mania.com, Chris Beveridge gave the Odex release of the first quarter of the series an A- rating, observing "Isn't this how Seed began? And how many other Gundam shows?" His comparisons to Gundam SEED and other Gundam series continued with his comment that "A lot of the fun for this season is seeing how characters who survived the first season have moved on," continuing "Most interesting was that it seemed to take almost five episodes before Kira and Lacus showed up which parallels some of Amuro's own journey in Zeta Gundam. It's the parallels to past shows, the nods and winks, that make this a lot of fun to watch but it's also done well enough that it stands firmly on its own." He concluded that "Seed Destiny is some of the best marathon material out there, at least for this set," and recommended it to Gundam SEED fans, saying "I can't wait to get my hands on more of it." In reviewing the second quarter, Beveridge again assigned an A- and wrote "The Gundam franchise is the only anime series that really tackles the subject of war, the perceptions of it and the numerous effects of it on people, property and relationships to any real effect anymore." He commented "The action scenes are good throughout here with some creative missions set into play," but expressed dissatisfaction with some of the mecha designs: "I do continue to not like the three part nature of Shinn's mobile suit though since it really feels like just a goofy Transformer."
Also writing for Mania.com, Bryce Coulter gave the Anime Legends Edition of first half of the series an A rating and commented "This continuation of Gundam Seed is enjoyable to watch, but the overall plot line is similar in many ways to the original." He also noted that "It really isn’t clear who the main character in the series is suppose to be." Coulter praised the political aspects of the series, saying "The complex, delicate and deadly aspects of the politics portrayed in these episodes ring all to true in our current cultural environment in more ways than one."
Reviewing the final three volumes of the series for Mania.com, Luis Cruz gave volume 10 a B- rating, and a B grade to both volumes 11 and 12. Concerning volume 10, he wrote "Seed Destiny is rapidly approaching its conclusion, but it is more interested in churning out new Gundams, and in turn new merchandise, rather than a compelling story." He also dismissed the inclusion of a recap, calling it "a superfluous episode." While he enjoyed that "Yuna Seiran finally receives the beating everyone has wanted to lay on him since the beginning," he continued by saying "it cannot overcome the fact that this volume is outright boring." In reviewing volume 11, Cruz was particularly impressed with the "poignant moments in Seed Destiny that manage to squeeze their way in between the eye candy of the battle sequences." He wrote "What stands out in this volume is a conversation between Kira and Athrun... It is a brief but brilliant, thought provoking piece of writing," and also noted "The depth of Durandal's megalomania also provides substance to the story," continuing "He is the villain you love to hate, the perfect blend of charisma, intelligence, and ruthlessness." Concluding his thoughts on the volume, however, Cruz stated that "Unfortunately, there have been only a handful of these character building moments throughout the series. It is frustrating to see these sandwiched as an afterthought between battles designed to move product. They tease you with glimpses of how much more captivating the series could have been." Finishing with volume 12, Cruz summarized the series as "an uneven ride that managed to skim the surface of good, hard science fiction only to retreat into the land of explosions and shiny giant pieces of merchandise." Criticizing the show's attempt to create sympathy for Meer Campbell, he wrote that she was "such a minor pawn throughout the series, that the audience has no emotional investment in her." However, he was more positive toward the series' conclusion, stating "The final battle managed to have some weight to it, a sense of urgency that kept me glued to the screen," but also noting "how similar Seed Destiny's ending was to its predecessor... I know the message of the series was the idiocy of not learning from the mistakes of the past, but one would hope that they could have found a fresh way to cap this story."