I had only watched “Gundam Wing” of the Gundam franchise before I watched this series. I had liked “Wing” enough to watch it a couple of times from beginning to end. So I came with high hopes and I was not disappointed with “Seed”.
This review also refers to the second season titled “Gundam Seed Destiny”.
If you have watched anything Gundam, then you know that you’ll find all that good mecha stuff here. You’ll see plenty of powerful mechas fighting each other and some extra stuff that doesn’t make an appearance in other entries, which makes “Seed” more unique.
The story is pretty good. Instead of Earth vs Space settlers, the rivalry is between Naturals and Coordinators, basically regular people vs. genetically-enhanced humans. .
There’s your typically Gundam masked bad guy, and mecha enhancements (all Gundam series upgrade their units throughout the story due to always being an arms race) and other staples of the Gundam series but there’s a lot more melodrama in here than in “Wing” or “00”. This is primarily because the main character is a pacifist that’s forced to fight to protect those he cares about. In both “Wing” and “00”, the main characters are trained mercenaries, but in here, he’s just a guy with the affinity to pilot a Gundam, but not necessarily the drive to do it. However, the events that take place during both “Seed” and “Seed Destiny” obligate him to grow up fast.
Like “Code Geass”, there are two best friends that find themselves fighting in opposite sides, so there’s a lot of drama in the reluctance of killing each other, though they both have reasons to do so
It’s interesting to see these teenagers acting as soldiers and developing the edge to do what needs to be done. Some do it because they realize there’s no other way; others do it because they are being manipulated by people they care or respect. The series deals with all of those decisions and their reasons, showing what all of them have to go through in an inevitable war. Sex is even used as a manipulating device! By teenagers even!
Spaceships are more prevalent and more effective in this series than in any other Gundam series. They actually are responsible for carrying, repairing, launching and re-charging the mechas. They are also highly weaponized. Their inclusion makes this anime feel more militaristically believable in a sci-fi setting. It’s not like “Wing” where a Gundam could take care of 50 regular enemy units and not break a sweat (oil sweat?). These Gundams are rarely able to perform such feats because they run out of energy rather quickly. That feels a bit like “Neon Genesis Evangelion”. The Gundams are vulnerable. But do not fret, you still get your super-Gundams about halfway when the supernatural abilities of the Coordinators come into play.
Another thing that makes “Seed” unique in the Gundam franchise is that for the majority of the episodes the heroes are on the run, being chased by more powerful opponents, skirmishing here and there. The heroes are not fighting to take over countries or neutralize rogue military factions; they are fighting for survival, just coming out in their lonely mechas long enough to guarantee an escape for all those who cannot fight. The villains of course, do not make that task very easy, and casualties will take place.
The animation is not bad, but the character designs could be seen as typical or that they belong in an anime that’s not as serious as this one.
Some viewers might not like so much melodrama paired with teen angst, indecision or immaturity. But for the most part, it is good drama.
Now a note on “Seed Destiny”. You have to watch both seasons to get a sense of completion, especially because the fate of the characters at the end of the first season is not fully revealed until the second season.
In “Destiny” the creators pull a gutsy move that can turn off some fans of the first season. The main character of “Destiny” is a villain, and the heroes of the first season are now supporting cast, delegated to the background until the story picks up. Very interesting thing to do and I’m not sure if it worked well. I liked “Destiny” but I preferred the feeling of the first season. However, it’s best if you do not skip it because the story continues and greater events await.
Yes. But you have to watch both “Seed” and “Destiny” to get the whole story.
Some parts might drag a little but I do think this is a great series full of great moments, and if you are a mecha fan, you’ll see a wider variety of units here than in other Mecha anime.