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Phase 32: Stella

 

Review by Chris Guanche

June 5, 2005

 

Summary

 

In Berlin, the ZAFT mobile suit forces continue their ineffective assault against the Destroy Gundam. Elsewhere, Djibril asks his associates what they think of the Destroy Gundam's performance, and they ask him how much he intends to destroy. He says that as long as ZAFT is present, he will destroy as much as necessary to remind those who have betrayed their race that Naturals are different from Coordinators. Kira attacks the Destroy Gundam from above, but his shots are blocked by a positron deflector shield. Neo attacks Kira and tells Stella that the Freedom Gundam is a powerful opponent. Stella says she will destroy the Freedom Gundam no matter what it is, so she transforms the Destroy Gundam into its mobile suit mode. Stella fires the Destroy Gundam's cannons at Kira, but she hits several buildings instead. Kira attempts to attack Stella, but he comes under fire from Neo and Sting. The Archangel fires its Gottfried cannons at the Destroy Gundam, but the blast is deflected. Cagalli decides to launch, and Amagi asks for permission too. He says the battle may not be for Orb, but he and the other pilots can't stand around just watching. At a Supreme Council meetings, the council members discuss the situation and suggest retreat. Durandal asks for the Minerva's status, and a council member says it's heading for Berlin, but he believes it's so heavily damaged it can't make much difference. Durandal says that they can't retreat, because if they do the Alliance will continue annihilating cities. Cagalli launches in the Aile Strike Rouge, followed by a trio of Murasames. Kira continues to attack and dodges attacks from the Destroy Gundam's independently flying hands. Sting attacks Kira, but the Murasames arrive to fight him and free up Kira. On the ground, Cagalli uses the Aile Strike Rouge to protect civilians from energy blasts. The Minerva arrives in Berlin, and an officer reports to Talia that the Archangel is fighting the Alliance. Talia calls Shinn in the pilot's ready room and informs him that the Archangel and Freedom Gundam are fighting the Destroy Gundam. She isn't sure what's going on, but she tells Shinn to remember who the real enemy is.

 

Kira continues to dodge Stella's attacks and goes into SEED mode to destroy a barrage of missiles. Neo attacks Kira again, and Sting is unable to escape from the Murasame trio. Shinn launches in the Core Splendor and forms up to the Force Impulse. Shinn fires his beam rifle, and when it has no effect, he moves in close and slices the Destroy Gundam's cockpit open. Stella begins firing wildly and destroys many of the surrounding buildings. Shinn attempts another attack, but Neo knocks him aside and tells him that Stella is the pilot of the Destroy Gundam. Kira fires at the open cockpit, causing shrapnel to hit Stella. He asks Shinn if he wants to be a target by just standing around. Neo throws an exploding knife at Kira and destroys his shield. Kira then slices off the Jet Windam's arms and Jet Striker pack. The Windam crashes into the ground, and Neo is ejected from the cockpit just before it explodes. Sting attempts to retreat, but the Murasames slice the Chaos Gundam in half and it explodes in midair. Kira attempts to attack Stella again, but he's deflected by the shield. Shinn attacks Kira with his beam saber and tells him he doesn't know anything. Shinn attempts to contact Stella, but she keeps firing. He finally gets her attention when he tells her she won't die because he'll protect her. Stella briefly pauses until she sees the Freedom Gundam and panics again. She charges the chest cannon to fire, but Kira stabs the cannon with his beam sabers. As he pulls back, the Destroy Gundam is engulfed in an explosion, with its head cannon firing into the air. On the ground, Murrue approaches unconscious Neo and is shocked by what she sees underneath his mask. Shinn pulls Stella out of the Destroy Gundam's cockpit and wonders how things came to this. Stella sees that Shinn came to see her, and she tells him she loves him before dying. Shinn begins to cry and screams out in agony.

 

Commentary

 

As expected, the destruction of the Destroy Gundam has tragic consequences for Shinn. He's reunited with Stella, only to have her die in his arms. Honestly, I never understood what his attraction to her was. With her Extended conditioning, Stella was nothing more than a childlike simpleton who uttered nothing but variations of "dying is bad!" and "protect Stella!" What's there to like in that? The lack of any meaningful relationship between them lessens any impact her death is supposed to have. However, it certainly seals the rivalry between Shinn and Kira, which is bound to explode shortly. Kira ended up doing most of the fighting in this episode, and it's a refreshing change for once to see him have to use skills rather than the Freedom Gundam's overpowered weapons. The long standing assumption about Neo is that he's actually Mu with his memories erased, and it looks like they're finally developing that with Murrue coming into contact with Neo. If he is indeed Mu and had his memories erased, how will regain them, assuming it's even possible. We'll see soon enough.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam SEED DESTINY Episode 32 Gundam SEED DESTINY Episode 32
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