Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny / Vol 9 & Vol 10 : 4 of 5
Now that I'm determined to finish this series, I'm totally getting into Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny and really enjoying it! These two volumes went by so fast, and thankfully there were several moments that got back to some of the great characterization that I loved in the previous series (hence my higher than usual rating!). Volume 9 picks up after Shinn nearly wipes out the Strike Freedom (and Kira with it), which makes Athrun angry with Shinn. Athrun's conflicted feelings come to the conclusion that he has to get away from Zaft (taking Meyrin with him in a daring escape), only to be shot down by Shinn! Shinn seems to be fully brainwashed by Zaft at this point, so he's nothing but a war machine that doesn't get my sympathy anymore. Volume 10 is awesome because of the character reunions, since Athrun and Cagali get to see each other and forgive their pasts, Kira gets to talk with Athrun again, and Kira and Lacus have a quick romantic moment. Even the inevitable clip rehash episode is great, since it's narrated by Athrun and Kira with excellent commentary on the nature of war (I love it when anime gets philosophical). The last episode includes the start of an epic battle with Kira seriously kicking butt in the Strike Freedom (now repaired) using its detached weapon system, and once again the crews of the Archangel and the Minerva face each other! Gundam-wise, these volumes introduce the Legend, Destiny, and the Akatsuki (Cagali's gleaming gold Gundam), and musically introduce some of the worst themes ever. I have no idea why they chose a stupid Chemistry song for the new opening theme, but it's so silly to hear heartthrob harmony set to mecha battles! Regardless of the theme songs, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny is really getting good as the series draws to its conclusion. I can't wait to watch the last two volumes!