Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny / Vol 3 & Vol 4 : 3 of 5

I'm still really enjoying this Mobile Suit Gundam series, and it moves so quickly that a DVD full of episodes is over before I know it! Although SEED Destiny is certainly cool, it's definitely not as moving as the original SEED, but it seems this sequel is becoming more and more like the first series all the time, especially since most of the original characters have returned, and they're even on the old Archangel together now. Volume 3 focuses mostly on Cagali, who is being politically manipulated to the point of allowing Orb to break their neutral ways and join an alliance, and she even agrees to marry a total weasel for the sake of her country. Thankfully, she's rescued (or kidnapped, depending on your point of view) by Kira piloting the classic Freedom Gundam, and she joins her old allies (including the Dessert Tiger, Lacus, Kira, and the original Archangel captain). They also introduce an awesome new opening theme by High & Mighty Color, which has been in my iTunes collection for years already! Volume 4 is full of battles, which are particularly exciting this time around, since they include some underwater action as well as some great cinematography as the mobile suits maneuver in and out of thick banks of clouds. Some of the best character development so far occurs when Athrun (who has now rejoined Zaft as an elite FAITH member) has a serious conversation with Shinn, and this series certainly needs more of those moments! Unfortunately, the super-long Impulse Gundam launch sequence animation gets reused a few times too many (even though it's definitely cool to watch), which comes across as filler to me. But SEED Destiny has just started to warm up, so I'm totally looking forward to watching it to the end!