Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
"What is it that one should be fighting against? War makes that question very difficult" Lacus Clyne
The Gundam series (as seen in photo 1) has been a pillar of mech suit anime since the creation of the first show of its kind, Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979. There have been many adaptations of Gundam over the years, including movies, video games, manga, and action figures. Originally taking place in the Universal Century (UC) timeline, beginning in the 1990’s Sunrise Studio reconceptualized each show to take place in its own unique setting, completely independent from one another and from the original timeline.
Gundam SEED plunges us into a war torn universe caught in the midst of a struggle between ZAFT and the Earth Alliance. In the future, humanity is divided into two parts. On one side are the coordinators, genetically enhanced humans with greater physical and intellectual potential, and immunity to most diseases. On the other side are the naturals, unmodified humans. Over time, the resentment between the two causes some to move off the planet and onto artificial installations known as PLANTs (People Liberation Acting Nation of Technology). The PLANTs become important suppliers of energy and centers of production, but are prohibited from producing their own food in order to keep them dependent on the nation states of Earth which sponsor them. One day, after a terrorist attack on the PLANT colonies’ energy production is launched by an anti-coordinator group known as Blue Cosmos, the PLANT Supreme Council decides to suspend the export of energy. However, the Earth nations insist that export quotas continue to be met, leading to a severe supply crisis in the colonies. A second sabotage of PLANT energy production is coupled with the dispatching of a fleet of Earth Forces ships in order to intimidate the fledgling colonies. In response, ZAFT (Zodiac Alliance Freedom Treaty), the organization that would become the official PLANT military, begins to secretly develop mobile suits, fighting robots, and other weapons of space warfare.
The PLANT Supreme Council votes to have the colonies become completely autonomous and to have the freedom to trade with other nation states on Earth, but the original sponsor nations refuse to recognize their independence, and begin to take steps to force them back into submission. After the destruction of a food convoy on the way to the PLANTs from South America, ZAFT is now transformed into the official military, and the space colonies Junius Seven, Junius Eight, Junius Nine, and Junius Ten are converted to the purpose of food production. Shortly thereafter, a member of the PLANT Supreme Council is assassinated in a terror attack. The PLANTs decide to stop all exports to Earth, and it’s now the sponsor nations that experience a supply shortage.
A conference is called on the lunar colony Copernicus, but a terrorist attack kills the representatives of every sponsor nation, as well as the leadership of the United Nations. Only the diplomatic team from the PLANT nation survives, due to a shuttle malfunction. The Earth Alliance therefore assumes PLANT involvement in the attack, and war is officially declared. Shortly after, a nuclear missile is launched against Junius Seven, destroying the colony and killing every coordinator on it. This is the single largest destruction and loss of life in the war, and an event which galvanizes the sentiments of every coordinator from that point onward. A nuclear counter-attack on Earth is initially planned, but instead, ZAFT deploys neutron jammers which prevent the use of all nuclear weapons and nuclear forms of energy ever again. This also has the side effect of causing a worldwide energy crisis and famine. With nukes no longer being an option, the main weapon of war becomes the piloted mobile suit. Because pilot physical and mental skill is so important to its use, this gives coordinators a huge advantage for the rest of the war, and ZAFT soon lands ground forces on Earth and conquers large parts of Africa, Asia, and Australia.
The story of Gundam SEED begins a year after the destruction of Junius Seven, and focuses around the main character Kira Yamato, a coordinator living among naturals on the neutral space colony Heliopolis. The series sees him going from being a simple boy minding his own business, to finding himself swept up in events that will determine the fate of mankind. Kira’s journey, and that of his friends aboard the Archangel are reminiscent of the journey of Odysseus. With everything from adventure and combat to romance and pop songs, to deep stories and political intrigue, there’s a good mix of appeal to both boys and girls and viewers of all ages.
The opening and closing credit music, and visual montage changes throughout the series, and is always relevant to what’s going on in the show at the time. Rie Tanaka provides the songs for the soundtrack, as well as does the English dubbed voice for Lacus Clyne.
Photo 1 – © Sotsu Agency