Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives, and has a martial arts background.
To be fair, Gundam SEED, and its successor Gundam SEED Destiny have valid claims to fame. As much as some people hated them, they could be considered as classic for a reason. Fans will agree. Those who hated the show, or loved the series found the mecha designs to be top of the line. Aesthetically they are one of the best-looking suits around. It’s a mix of the classic UC Era, and the slimmed down post EVA look. When I got the chance to build the SEED kits, the proportions and heft is just right.
Then there are the characters.
SEED took a different approach when it comes to its story. It’s more character driven than the previous series. We love the chaotic excitements and explosions of Wing, but SEED slowed things up and presented less actions scenes, but more character developments. I must admit that SEED has better characters than the well-loved Wing, and the rest that came before it. One of the ideas of the Real Robot series is to bring out the human pilots within the beastly mecha. Something that SEED did well.
But that doesn’t mean that the characters of SEED are likeable.
The SEED guys and gals might be three dimensional, but fans hated the end-results. It’s like the character here are developing the wrong way. In short, the series mishandled them (which is another article). Yes, we love flesh and blood heroes with flaws we can relate to. But what we got in SEED are crybabies, annoyance, rip-offs from UC era, and emos. At least they are still bearable in SEED. But SEED Destiny basically upped the ante and turned off some fans.
But again, to be fair, I do find some SEED characters to be highly interesting. The ladies of SEED partly disappointed me, but someone in SEED Destiny made my heart melt.
Before We Move On…
Again, this is just my opinion. Taste differs among fans. If you got concerns, or suggestion, I suggest you take your frustrations to the comment section and give me some constructive criticism.
The Problems with SEED and SEED Destiny girls
I know, fans got serious issues with the girls of SEED. It’s like an attempt to create a strong female character but ended up with a bunch of annoying chicks. Not all of them deserved the hate though, but a lot of my friends hated Lacus Clyne. They suggested that she made Relena Peacecraft looks like Hermione Granger. The girl is simply clueless and underdeveloped as a character. And I always thought that Cagalli is awesome, but she doesn’t fit into the tasks the show presented. Too bad, for a strong character she sucked as a politician and makes stupid mistakes. And honestly, I love Cagalli. But the same cannot be said to that b**** known as Flay. I wrote a whole article for her, to tell the world how she sucks as a person. She is a girl you don’t want to be with, seeing how she destroyed the already destroyed Kira.
Then there is Lunamaria. Somewhat a Cagalli ripoff and the liability of the ZAP forces. And many complained that the women are meant to please male audience (Ramius).
I honestly think that Gundam SEED is an attempt to strengthen female characters. An attempt gone so wrong. And now that I said too much, I think it’s time to share what I love about SEED and SEED Destiny. In terms of SEED standards on women, I just find Stella Loussier to be interesting. There is another fantastic female here, and her name is Meer Campbell. But that’s a different story.
Enter Stella Loussier
Again, as a female character she is not perfect. I think she is everything wrong with the character design of the SEED. She’s skimpy, a liability and aesthetically her features are not unique. A common complain among fans is that the SEED and SEED Destiny characters look like each other. And Stella look so much like Cagalli. Yet as a character, she has something else to offer.
Everyone fans know how her story goes. She is one of the three pilots under Phantom Pain (Mu La Flaga resurrected by plot armor). An artificially enhanced soldier that could match a coordinator. At the start of the series, she went into a brutal knife attack to help steal the three new Gundam mobile suits. Then she went into a crazed and violent breakdown as the mission progressed. They did manage to escape with the Gundams though and get back fighting soon. Stella soon met Shinn when he saved her from drowning, and the two becomes close. Too close perhaps, and Shinn swore to become her protector.
As the show goes, she was taken prisoner on Minerva. To save her life, Shinn brings her back to EA, but not before assaulting a nurse.
After her condition improves, she was tasked to pilot the highly dangerous Destroy Gundam. And when Stella took the suit for more killing spree, she was unlucky enough to came across Kira and ended up getting killed by him.
We then saw her as a nude spirit comporting the crying Shinn.
She is Unique (For Me)
To be honest, the biggest selling point of this girl is having a unique story. Again. as a character she is not perfect and could be considered weak for a female. But being a rip-off from a previous series isn’t what she is.
I’m saying this again, the weakness of SEED Destiny is its failure to be unique. The opening alone seems to be reused from SEED and from previous series. In SEED Destiny, the act of stealing of newly developed suits by enemy forces mirrors that of the pilot episodes of SEED. And together with the reused plot is the reused characters. We are seeing it all over again; emo pilots (if not worse), girls with guns, artificially enhanced soldiers, curvaceous mother figure, everything. SEED Destiny never even bothered making Phantom Pain more different than the well-loved Rau Le Creuset. And among the sea of clones, Stella stands out. Yes, she may not be a strong female character, but her unique characterization captured my attention. Firstly, we have seen unhinged and disturbed characters in SEED, but Stella took it to next level by giving her contrasting personalities. She is meek, childish and innocent, until you hand her a gun, a knife or a mobile suit. In fact, she and Meer Campbell are the only female character I truly cared.
And the way she executes her madness on screen made people want to bring her home. She is just an adorable maniac!
She is an Upgraded Flay
Flay is hated for a reason. The girl is full of malice! We all knew how her toxic flirtations inflict more damages than beam rifles. And she didn’t even own a mobile suit.
But between Stella and Flay, I prefer Stella. Based on how Stella was presented in the show, she supposedly mirrors Flay from the previous series. Like Flay, she had a close relationship with the main character, a relationship that will motivate the said character’s future actions. Again, SEED Destiny did the right thing by not turning her into another Flay, but by giving her a unique personality and role in the show. I consider her as an upgrade for several reason. She got a more active role in the show as an anti-villainess, not a master manipulator. Being a pilot and a soldier, and not just a drama queen proves that she is a more fitting character than Flay.
And let’s admit it, it’s more fun to watch an adorable, unhinged character with dual personalities inside a mobile suit than an entitled seductress. And the fact that Flay is an entitled daughter of a Vice Foreign Minister made it hard for fans to connect with her.
The Right Touch of Madness
And now we will tackle her claim to fame. As what I stressed, she brought the portrayal of an insane pilot to the next level. The first batch of enhanced soldiers in SEED never stayed in the show for too long. Hence SEED failed to fully exploit their potentials. On the other hand, Stella really brought the issue of insanity induced by drug enhancements to the audience well. Her disturbed personality added a dimension.
But They Killed Her Off Too Early in the Show!
This is SEED Destiny’s misgivings. It tend to cause unnecessary deaths, and unintentionally funny survival stories. Again, both shows had a history of mishandling characters, and I think they killed off Stella too early in the show. They could have killed her in later episodes, or just let her live. But her early death means that the show failed to fully utilize her as a character. They could have deepened her story, just to add more mystery.
I always thought that her death was a waste of a good multi-dimensional character. The problem here is that her death caused a series of somewhat stupid chains of events that will turn off fans. Her death should turn Shinn into an anti-hero. But I think it weakened his character to a point where we can’t decide if he is a hero, an anti-hero, a villain or whatever. I mean he is already angry from the start, so what’s the point of making him angrier? Driven by his mix of emotion, Shinn will later fight the seemingly unmotivated Kira. And Kira will inexplicably rise from the dead, to basically push Shinn into the sideline and take his throne as the prince of SEED.
After that, Shinn will eventually lose his worth.
But we need to thank the likes of Stella and Meer for making this messed up series watchable.