Destiny started off better off than any Gundam series I’ve watched so far. While most series in Gundam canon usually start off slow and tedious. Destiny gave you some brief, but useful enough introductions. The age old practice of stealing Gundams right from under the enemies’ noses was fine, I chalked that up to them paying homage or going with a tradition. And then you were thrown headlong into the action. Pacing was pretty good throughout the first half, while they developed this somewhat annoying formula of action, followed by character development episodes, the action was good enough to make you put up with the way stuff was spaced out. A particularly enjoyable part of the show was the interaction between Athrun and Shinn. Though whiny, generally ignorant and pretty arrogant, he showed signs of hope, realizing at times that Athrun’s advice and tutelage had helped him for the better.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed Gundam Seed, Gundam Seed Destiny was not what I had hoped all together. My only objections were that the ending seemed VERY rushed and everything happened way too quickly in the last episode. Clip shows and flashbacks were also used EXCESSIVELY and killed pacing. The worst pacing came towards the end, as entire episodes seemed wasted on minor characters or minor developments and MORE flashbacks. And the ending is a really critical part of any anime, so it’s important to really take care with it. I don’t feel it was done as well as it’s prequel. However the remainder of the story was great. I was very happy with some of the small plot twists that once again separated the character’s beliefs and made them have to realize what they are really trying to fight for. I was really excited when select characters decided they needed to join the action on the battle fields once again if they wanted to see an end to the war. One thing I did notice though, there were a few plot repeats, just in different scenarios. However, don’t let that make you not want to watch because there are plenty of other great plot points.
In the second half of the series, the trend continued, but with far less interesting action. The Gundams became over powered and the later battles seemed inconsistent and unfair at times. Also, the change in focus about half way through meant that you had to sit through the same babbling that permeated the original SEED, but this time its just a rehash of their already stated opinions and can’t be counted as character development. Unfortunately, the interesting characters of Destiny are replaced halfway through with the much less interesting characters of the original SEED. And then the previous cast gets a serious downgrade in on-screen time, skills and even intelligence. The characters from SEED seem like less than objective observers, until they start meddling and screw everyone over.
As for the new cast-away cast, once they are pushed to the side, you don’t know whether the director wants you to root for them or not. They go from saving the day, to be viewed as oppressors in the span of an episode. On top of that, their skills and intelligence seem to change as the episodes go along. In one episode, they are able to practically fight off the entire Orb military by themselves, later in the series they are unable to take down Orb even with the entire ZAFT military behind them and with Shinn and Rey using upgraded, super powerful Gundams. The Alliance was able to take down Orb in the original series even with Kira, Athrun and the Archangel present, yet ZAFT receives a brutal punch to the nose and retreats.
I enjoyed Gundam Seed Destiny all the way until the ending, as I said I felt it was rushed. (This is excluding the remake of the last episode). I loved every minute of it as I did with Gundam Seed. Sadly that’s all I have to compare it to. I had hoped Gundam Seed Destiny would have been better, and maybe a bit longer. But I was happy with most of everything. Overall I thought Gundam Seed Destiny was a great addition to the Cosmic Era of Gundam. As you can see, I marked a 9 for most categories. I was very happy that I could enjoy yet another fantastic 50 episodes of the characters I grew so fond of in Gundam Seed. The battle scenes were great, as always, and I really enjoyed seeing certain characters come back to the action. It’s a great anime nevertheless and I wish that everyone enjoy it as much, or greater, than I.