Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny / Vol 11 & Vol 12 : 5 of 5
When I started Gundam SEED Destiny last year, I thought this series could never live up to its predecessor Gundam SEED, but I decided to stick with it even though it was a little disappointing. However, I've been absolutely amazed at the way this show changed for the better in the final quarter of the story arc, and these final two DVDs of the series were just fantastic! While the earlier episodes focused on the somewhat single-minded and ultimately frustrating Shinn, the end of the series shifts focus back to Kira, Athrun, Lacus, and the crew of the Archangel, giving the show a boost of characterization that really shines in emotional moments. Volume 11 finishes off the battle to defeat Logos, involving the use of the Requiem cannon on the moon, with interesting beam curving technology that results in massive destruction for ZAFT. Meer (the fake Lacus Cline girl) meets a cruel fate, and so Volume 12 begins with a touching background episode focusing on her. Spending an episode away from the main storyline so late in the series is a bold move, but it really transitions the story into a new emotional light that carries through until the end! Chairman Durandal reveals his true motives by announcing the Destiny Plan, and so the climactic battle begins to save Orb from the Requiem cannon, as well as the world from Durandal's ideals. The fighting is interspersed with incredible character moments: the two female commanders of the Archangel and the Minerva facing off one last time, Neo fully remembering his past as Mu La Flaga, Rey revealing his cloned origin and fighting Kira, and at last a final confrontation with Durandal. Incredibly, Gundam SEED Destiny manages to make the viewer sympathize with the "bad guys" (or actually, shows that there are no bad guys in war, except war itself), which is why this series is so fascinating. The huge story arc, the awesome mecha and battle action, and the incredible characterization all make me glad that I decided to get into the anime world of Gundam. Now I have to decide which Gundam series to watch next!