Not really a big Gundam fan, ever since sitting through what I thought was going to be an excellent anime in Wing, I just couldn't bear watching another cookie cutter action scene with horrible political struggles. I gave Gundam another try though with SEED since it was the most recent, perhaps it doesn't suffer from the same deficiencies as Wing? Nope, it does, Wing and SEED are similar in so many bad ways; the reptitive and overused action scenes and a horrible story with disoriented political views on each opposing side, though SEED felt a bit more organized and had a pretty climatic and hotblooded ending compared to Wing outside of Endless Waltz. However the cast is infinitely inferior and way too melodramatic that really bars SEED from being a distinguished mecha anime besides having the label Gundam next to it.
The premise of young boys and girls having the task of leading an entire country's military force may seem a little to cliche, but it works and offers some pretty unique situations in its comical relief moments. Where the problem lies is the immaturity and naiveness they bring onto the battlefield. Countless idiotic decisions one after another listening to their emotions instead of their logic, a lot of pondering about life, etc. Even worse is that just about every main and minor character along with the villains are around 16 years of age.
Story revolves around the voyage of the Arcangel ship on the side of the Earth Forces who are being chased by their bioligically superior enemies ZAFT and PLANTS. Gundam SEED is unique in that we rarely see these types of adventures anymore with ships traveling around trying to escape from the grasp of an enemy force. Last I've seen is probably Last EXILE. The journey gets a bit underwhelming when the crewmembers start going through these emotional moments, crying and wishing they were home away from the conflict. You just get sick of these melodramatic sessions you tell yourself "Don't frikkin fight if you don't even know why you're fighting," which is sadly, common sense and a common theme in this anime. Was this supposed to be aimed at 7 year olds?
The worst victims of the shows lacking themes are the lead male and female characters. In particular Fllay is what I would call a spoiled ex girlfriend; whines whines and whines, complains all the frikkin time and forgetting how fortunate she really is. It just makes you want to punch her in the face and smoke a cigarette after. Kira Yamato, the main character, is only slightly better but dislikable in the opposite sense. Being a coordinater, the genetically enhanced humans that the "naturals", the Earth Forces are fighting against, he is in a real bind battling and killing against his own kind. There was a lot of potential for some great character development, instead we just get all of this melodrama with Kira who likes to relieve himself by letting out the most pathetic cry my ears have ever heard. Never have there been two lead characters that are so uninspirational, annoying, and pathetic all in one package.
While the story is more organized than Wing, it still lacks direction and realism. Following the Arcangel in its excavation for a safe haven out of the clutches of the ZAFT forces was actually a very unique concept. From time to time the Earth Forces would send their help but as soon as those reinforcements do arrive, ZAFT Gundams would swoop in and destroy them. This rinse and repeat process is so ridiculous to watch in just about every sense. First of all I have a hard time believing that just four machines can destroy entire, literally ENTIRE fleets in just about twenty minutes. The lack of congruency in the Gundams makes you hate to watch most of the fights. Secondly the same exact scenes are always always always repeated! Cookie cutter to its finest, embarrassing that this anime made in 2002 uses techniques that were somewhat acceptable in 1960.
Second half of the anime starts going downhill, then goes back up a little bit during its ending. There is a time when the crewmembers of the Arcangel question if fighting for the Earth Forces is the best thing to do, in the end they optioned to side with ORB, a collection of neutral countries that are friendly to both naturals and coordinators. The Arcangel and the Strike, which was the Earth Forces lone mobile suit, were the earth's strongest weapons. They leave and out of nowhere, earth comes up with their own mass produced Optimus Prime look a like mobile suits with three Gundams of there own piloted by hotblooded teenagers. You ask yourself, where in the hell was all of this before? It went from Earth getting their asses handed to them endlessly by ZAFT to Earth being equal to ZAFT. It is just absolutely ridiculous, even if it somehow made sense the timing just makes you facepalm yourself.
Ending was at least pretty climatic and exciting, unfortunately the battles still suffer from cookie cutter, save for the final episode that had original material. First half of Gundam SEED was pretty average that had a unique concept of survival, but the second half was just plain mediocre. It is saved by the final couple of episodes that was hotblooded to watch and exciting. Overall, Gundam SEED suffers from horrible cookie cutter fight scenes, underwhelming and melodramatic characters, overpowered Gundams that made the fighting boring to watch, and an atrociously timed plot. Other than its ending SEED isn't much better than Wing, which isn't saying much.