As the battle continues, Neo GENESIS recharges for its next firing. Shinn and Rey attack Athrun and Kira, and Kira tells the Archangel to go on ahead. Murrue asks about the Eternal, and Lacus says that protecting Orb is more important. Kira deploys his DRAGOONs against Shinn, and Shinn manages to dodge most of them. Neo uses his DRAGOONs to project an energy shield over the Eternal. Dearka asks Yzak what they’re going to do, and Yzak says they’ll cover the Eternal because it’s a ZAFT ship. Kira blocks Rey’s path by deploying his DRAGOONs, but Rey dodges. Shinn fires his cannon at Kira, and Kira goes into SEED mode and fires his chest cannon. The two shots impact each other and dispel, and Rey tells Shinn to go after Athrun while he takes on Kira. Shinn chases after Athrun, and Rey attacks Kira, saying he will put an end to everything. Athrun and Neo engage several mobile suits, and the Minerva attacks the Archangel. Lunamaria destroys several Murasames and encounters Athrun’s Infinite Justice. She attacks Athrun for taking Meyrin away, and he dodges her attacks, saying he doesn’t want to fight her. Lunamaria presses her attack, and Athrun slices off the Force Impulse‘s left arm and leg. Shinn arrives and fires his cannon at Athrun, followed by an attack from his anti-ship sword. He yells at Athrun for attacking Lunamaria and goes into SEED mode. He then activates his thrusters while locked in sword combat to slam Athrun into the Moon’s surface. Kira wonders who he is fighting, and Rey tells him that he is Rau Le Creuset. Kira dodges Rey’s fire, and Rey says that the two of them should disappear so that the world can be reborn. Rey recalls Durandal giving him a box of pills and telling him that Rau is dead. Durandal told Rey that he is also Rau and that it’s his destiny. Kira and Rey deploy their DRAGOONs against each other and fire, and Kira destroys several of Rey’s units. Athrun and Shinn fight with beam saber and sword while Lunamaria watches, and Athrun destroys Shinn’s sword. Kira asks Rey why he’s doing the same thing as Rau, and Rey says that the world should go back to the way it was before. Kira says that isn’t right and tells Rey that he only has one life, which belongs to him and not Rau. Rey is momentarily distracted, and Kira fires all his weapons, destroying the last few DRAGOONs and inflicting heavy damage upon the Legend Gundam.
The Archangel and Minerva continue to fire at each other, and Neo takes in the Akatsuki Gundam off with the help of a Murasame to attack Requiem. Shinn fires his cannon at Athrun, but Athrun blocks with the Infinite Justice‘s beam shield. Athrun tells Shinn he shouldn’t fight because he’s trapped in his past. He says that nothing Shinn does will bring anyone back, and he asks Shinn if he really wants to use his power to kill his future. Shinn rushes in to attack with his palm cannon, and Lunamaria jumps in the way because she doesn’t want him to fight Athrun. Shinn continues his attack anyway, but Athrun goes into SEED mode and knocks him aside. Athrun attacks with both his beam sabers, and Shinn attempts to block them with his hands, losing both arms in the process. Athrun also destroys one of his legs, and the Destiny Gundam crashes into the Moon’s surface. Durandal asks for a status report and is told that they’ve lost the signals of both the Legend Gundam and Destiny Gundam. With Orb forces centered near one of Requiem’s relay stations, Durandal orders that Neo GENESIS be fired at them. Rey wakes up and flies the damaged Legend Gundam to Messiah. Kira returns to the Eternal and docks the Strike Freedom with a METEOR. The Archangel flies over the Minerva and damages it. Athrun smashes his sub-flight lifter through the ship’s engines, and the Minerva crashes into the Moon’s surface. As Requiem begins its own charge to fire, Athrun and Neo fly straight into the heart of the cannon. Yzak calls the Eternal and tells Lacus to move her ships before Messiah attacks. Neo GENESIS fires again and destroys several ZAFT and Alliance ships. Athrun and Neo use the sub-flight lifter and DRAGOONs to destroy Requiem, and the two escape just as it explodes. In a dream, Shinn sees himself floating around naked with Stella. He tells her she shouldn’t be around there, but she says she just wanted to see him for a while. She tells him she will see him tomorrow and vanishes. Shinn wakes up in Lunamaria’s arms and sees the fire from Requiem, and she tells him it didn’t hit Orb. Kira uses his METEOR to destroy the outer ring surrounding Messiah, and he flies inside and destroys the space dock. Shinn watches the fire and begins to cry in Lunamaria’s arms. Talia tells everyone that they will cease combat operations, and she leaves Arthur in charge. Kira enters Durandal’s damaged chamber and pulls a gun on him. Durandal pulls out a gun and tells Kira that if he continues what he’s doing, the world will fall into darkness. Kira says that people could choose a different path, and Durandal counters that people forget things and make the same mistakes over and over. Rey enters the room behind Kira, and Talia enters the room from another side. Durandal asks Kira which of their worlds humanity will choose. Just as Durandal is about to shoot Kira, Rey shoots Durandal instead. Durandal asks Talia if she shot him, but she says it was Rey. Rey cries in the corner and says he’s sorry. As the room begins to explode, Kira moves towards Talia, but she tells him to leave and says she is staying behind. She asks him to tell Murrue to visit her son someday. Kira escapes, and Rey hugs Talia as the room explodes around them. Kira reaches the Strike Freedom just in time and flies out of Messiah before it explodes and crashes into the Moon. Shinn and Lunamaria cry as they watch the destruction unfold.
I don’t even know where to really start here. Without a doubt, this is perhaps the most disappointing ending I’ve ever seen to an anime series. And given the way this just ends, I wonder if the term “ending” is even fitting. Let’s start with the most obvious here. Much of this episode is an exact repeat of SEED‘s ending- Kira and Athrun smash stuff with their METEORs, Kira fights Rau/Rey, and ZAFT superweapons (Requiem and Neo GENESIS) are destroyed. Shinn, who was reduced to nothing more than a barking dog, was beaten quickly by Athrun. Other characters behave in strange ways. Talia, always the professional captain, displays some strange emotions. What’s the point of dying with Durandal, especially when she has a young son? It seems quite selfish of her to abandon her son like that. Also, why did Rey suddenly decide to shoot Durandal? He always put in an effort to make sure Shinn didn’t listen to Athrun’s nonsense, but then he himself fell victim to Kira’s own Gundam protagonist babbling. When I watched the first episode, I had the idea that Shinn was supposed to be the hero of this series. And he was- at least until Kira came back into the spotlight and stole the series from him. The series was fast-paced and action-packed at first, but that momentum was quickly lost and the story degenerated into what we have now. Shinn, as a protagonist, went nowhere. He started off as an angry guy traumatized by the death of his family. After episode 35, he pretty much became Durandal’s dog to help fulfill his plans without thinking for himself. Because of this, Shinn alternately fills the role of hero/villain as the story requires, depending on Kira’s presence. In episode 38, Shinn was the good guy during the battle at Heavens Base. At the Orb battle soon after that, he comes across as a villain when he’s fighting against Kira and Athrun. During the battle to stop Requiem in 45, Shinn is once again the good guy. In this episode, he’s the bad guy again, and on top of that, he loses all his piloting skills. He’s so blinded by meaningless hatred that he even nearly attacks Lunamaria just because he hates Athrun.
It’s all a shame, because at the beginning, Shinn and Athrun had a pretty good relationship with a mentor-apprentice vibe. That, of course, is long since past. Many people call DESTINY the Zeta Gundam of the CE universe, and they do indeed have some similarities. However, DESTINY didn’t emulate one of the most important aspects of Zeta– character balance. In Zeta, Amuro and Char played important roles, but there was never any doubt that Kamille was the star. Here, Shinn is constantly competing for screentime with Athrun and Kira. What’s worse is that all the time spent on Athrun and Kira is a waste. For all of Athrun’s moping and confusion, he ends up being exactly the same as he was at the end of SEED. Kira doesn’t even change at all during the series, because he has no struggle. I don’t think things were supposed to develop this way, but it looks like Fukuda and Morosawa decided to change gears in the middle of the story. Even with the focus on the old SEED cast, guys like Yzak and Dearka are just cast to the side. And Neo/Mu just gets a one second flashback of Djibril standing over him to explain what happened. Fukuda has been nicknamed “Flashback ‘Em All” due to his penchant for clip shows and flashbacks. Just as in SEED, the constant clip shows in DESTINY always came at the wrong time and killed the pacing of the story. This resulted in an extremely rushed and subpar final battle and ending. It really is a shame, because the CE universe has lots of potential that is wasted due to Fukuda and Morosawa’s mismanagement. This is a perfect example of how not to do a Gundam series, and I sincerely hope that neither of them ever works in another Gundam production. I doubt we’d be so lucky, but one can hope.