Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives. He also has a martial arts background.
Firstly, a warning.
Disturbing contents and spoilers up ahead!
People may not notice it, but Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny are pretty twisted in their own ways. Sure, they are not as macho as the rest of the series. I mean the fast-paced set-piece battle we saw in Gundam Wing was toned down in SEED. And we rarely see any display of machismo that Gundam G flexed so much. Just look at Kira Yamato. So effeminate, that haters pointed out that his sole proof of manhood was his plot armor.
Yes, the SEED series lacked the 80s style action of its predecessor, but some fans noted that in terms of brutality and violence, the SEED series exceed them all. In the SEED series, it’s all about character development. And when the story is character driven, we need raw emotions. But the thing here is that SEED took on a different approach to convey such strong emotions, through occasional shock and gore. Up until now, it was still one of the bloodiest series in the Gundam universe. And it achieved this by presenting animated deaths that will make your stomach turn. It never approached Muv Luv’s level of gore, but Muv Luv’s deaths lacks human emotions. But if there is something SEED has in common with Muv Luv, is the way it killed off the female characters.
The SEED Series is Gory to Begin With
The Gundam universe has a lot of shocking, and sometimes unintentionally hilarious deaths. But again, none of them compared to the way SEED dispatches their unfortunate victims. When someone die in other series, the show rarely digs into the gory details. I mean usually, all we see are flashes when someone got blown off. With some exception of course, I mean Scirocco redefined what “sticking around,” means. But even without getting bloody, the deaths will surely hit you hard, as what happened to Kamille’s mom.
But it seems that SEED series upped the ante, by giving us a lot of animated carnage.
Not only someone got blown, but SEED and SEED Destiny show guts flying around, heads rolling off, pilots getting a slow death inside a mobile suit plus even more. In SEED, episode 47 shows the most horrific deaths, while Gundam SEED Destiny made it clear that it’s not made for kids. I mean seeing his family reduced to formless meat drove Shinn Asuka insane.
Documenting SEED’s appetite for slaughter is another article, but me and my friends can’t help it but notice the high female casualties in SEED. And in the usual SEED fashion, they go it in the nastiest of ways.
You probably noticed this too, especially if you are fresh from watching earlier series. For one thing, SEED has a lot of female characters, with some playing important roles in the series as in the case with the annoying b**** Flay and their eye-popping bridge dolls Murrue and Natarle.
And it seems that the prettier the character, the more horrendous the deaths.
Chicks Dying in SEED.
Sure, we saw a lot of horrendous deaths in SEED, but most of the dramatic deaths were reserved to the females. Okay, guys too suffered horrific deaths, but it is just unnatural for a Gundam series to feature cute, sexy and pretty girls getting blown, shot and beaten in gory fashions. I know, fans never recovered from the death of the Astray trio. The three female pilots Asagi, Mayura and Juri all perished after their Gundams fell victims to enemy mobile suits. I often count their deaths as unnecessary, since pilots in Gundams getting killed by grunts in regular suits sounds uneventful. And their deaths seem to have no impact to the show, rather than to depress the audience. And I know how Juri shriek before succumbing to explosion broke our hearts. But at least with them burning to death, they are officially the hottest girls in SEED.
And even before SEED slay the Astray waifus, it is already making us puke with more female deaths. A dead mom still cradling a corpse of a kid in space is a bad omen. And in episode 47, more bridge dolls went to pieces due to radiation. Flay herself got roasted and blown in half in her ship, when the crazed Rau used it as target practice, but fans were probably glad it happened.
But for me, Natarle’s death tops it all in terms of sadism and brutality.
Natarle's Bloody Demise
As a legit bridge doll, Natarle Badgiruel was a fan favorite. Maybe, being popular was the reason why SEED gave her prolonged death. I could only describe her demise as something close to a slasher film. She basically suffered in pain before receiving the traditional SEED sendoff, which is getting blown to bits. SEED probably wanted to show a heroic death, but as my friend said, what we got was a sexy and lengthy suffering. Just to give you the gory detail, there was a brief struggle between him and that blond Azrael, before she was repeatedly shot. The placement of shots was the leg, the shoulder and side.
My friend, who is a slasher film fan made a review of the scene, and he suggested that Natarle’s death had a hint of sadistic voyeurism. The assault by a male antagonist, her struggle with a guy, and the way she was injured was made both to raise the emotional level, and to turn some fans on. Note how she was shot in the abdomen, and how the scene gave us a brief close-up of her bloodied torso, and how she winced in pain. SEED just unintentionally made the whole death scene suggestive.
SEED Destiny Has More
We didn’t see any prolonged female deaths in SEED Destiny, which is a good thing. Stella’s death came close, though it lacked the bloody violence of Natarle’s death. But again, SEED Destiny continued the gory tradition of its predecessor, with Shinn being the unlucky witness in the first episode. This is the first time I saw a whole family got massacred in the blast, at least in the Mecha Anime, and SEED Destiny never bothered covering the carnage.
And expect more deaths as the series progress.
Yet, Meer’s demise count as unintentionally funny. Her handler was the first to go down after getting shot in the b***s. And when it was her turn, she did a ballet like turn before collapsing.
And Meer Campbell lying in coffin is the stuff of necrophilia.
It's Not a Good Thing
One might ask if the female deaths are worth the gamble, and if it did the show any justice. Again, me and my friends agreed that it became one of the weaknesses of the SEED series. Muv Luv was sick and inferior to SEED in terms of storytelling. But what it did right was to never put too much emotions to deaths, and never overpopulate the show with deaths.
The overused and suggestive female deaths simply made the show overemotional, up to the point that it departed from being a mecha anime. Other mecha series has a good balance of drama and action, something the SEED series never had.
Then, there is the fact that the female deaths are slightly misogynistic, though me and my friends are still having a debate on this. But thankfully, succeeding Gundam series dropped the excess female gory deaths. Gundam 00 seemed to be making up for the toned-down actions of the SEED. IBO was violent, but at least we never saw another Natarle torture.