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Mobile Gundam Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY Vol. #04 Manga Review

3 min read

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Masatsugu Iwase (Original Story: Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino)
Translated by: Ikoi Hiroe

What They Say
Chairman Durandal has a vision for a new world – a place without war or strife, where no one questions his authority – and he’s determined to force peace upon the universe, regardless of the cost! But with the sinister Lord Djibril still on the loose, chaos reigns, and the universe is on the brink of total destruction. As the last battle approaches, the fate of all humankind hangs in the balance. It’s all here, in the explosive final volume!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
“Peace–or total destruction?” reads the tag line on the back of this final volume of Gundam SEED Destiny. Given those two choices, I think we all know which to expect.

What I’d read up to now made me think that the cause of all the confusion was excessive complexity. I see now that I was wrong. Even with most of the factions and a lot of the characters eliminated, a good bit of the final battle still doesn’t make sense to me. There are only (as far as I can make out) three sides involved in the big showdown, but it reads as if characters enter the battle on one side and then suddenly and arbitrarily fight on another. This is all the more regrettable because, as in the previous volume, I was able to follow the plot pretty well for the first half of the book; and, just like last time, I was beginning to get interested. But every time I was just about to get into the battle and be excited or sad, something contradictory jumped in my way and ruined the experience. Just as I was starting to think there was a good story somewhere in here, too.

But you’ve heard enough about how much I dislike Gundam SEED Destiny. Sure it’s bad; but after a little reflection, I’ve come to realize that it’s bad for the best of reasons. It isn’t bad through carelessness or crassness or vulgarity. It isn’t depraved or infected with pessimism. It’s bad through plain honest incompetence. It fails at a lot of basic levels. But it fails at something worthwhile. It fails at trying to be a good story well told. And what writer hasn’t done that?

Even having said that I still wonder if something like a good story isn’t buried somewhere among the wreck and ruin of the inexplicable. One figure stands out to me as an emblem of this hidden value, like a star shining through a gap in the clouds: the small round figure of Haro. Of all the characters to cross dimensions and untold distances of time and space, I never expected Haro to do it. I have an inexplicable feeling that somehow this absurd little flying sphere is the key to the whole puzzle. In the poem “Flower in the Crannied Wall,” Tennyson says that if he could understand a single flower, in itself seemingly insignificant, he could understand all things. Similarly, I have the idea that if I could understand why Haro was introduced, everything in Gundam SEED Destiny would become immediately, transparently clear. But Tennyson’s flower was inscrutable to him; likewise is Gundam SEED Destiny to me. I leave the mystery in other hands.

In Summary:
Seriously, if you want a moving story about the tragedy of war, go and get Picture Letters of the Commander in Chief. You can get it for the same price as one volume of Destiny, and has as much reading material as all four volumes of this series combined, with about a hundred times more valuable content. Don’t spend any time or money on this. It is the best kind of failure, but a failure nevertheless.

Content Grade: C
Art Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Del Rey Manga
Release Date: July 31st, 2007
MSRP: $10.95