Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny / Vol 5 & Vol 6 : 3 of 5

Although I don't think this series has a chance of being as good as Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, these two DVDs do a great job at the attempt! Lots of storylines are going on at this point, crisscrossing each other and making it necessary to really pay attention (especially when many characters look so similar!). One plot involves Lacus Cline and her attempted assassination, while a fake Lacus is doing concerts to boost troop morale (and definitely being used to control people's loyalty!). There's a lot of focus on the Phantom Pain group, especially Stella, who is saved by Shinn when she almost drowns, causing her to form a bond with him (not knowing they are on opposite sides of the war, of course). Later they fight each other in their Mobile Suits while Stella tries to protect the place she was "born" - a diabolical laboratory where Naturals (humans) are "enhanced" with drugs and memory wipes to become perfect soldiers (which really casts an evil spin on the Earth forces). There are a couple of the usual recap episodes, but these are some of the best I've seen, since they are constructed as flashbacks for Shinn in order to reveal a much deeper level of his character (finally!). There's also a tense meeting between Kira and Athrun, who find they have lost each other's trust and seem to be on opposite sides of the conflict yet again. Of course, there are also some cool extended battle scenes featuring all sorts of Mobile Suits and other craft, plus there's a switch to a new opening theme song and beautiful title sequence. Whenever I finish watching one of these DVDs I always wish I had the next one ready to pop in the DVD player, so that's definitely a good sign!