# Newer Models (Gundam Seed 22)
I think I would've preferred a beach episode.
The romance in *Gundam Seed* is strangely bloodless throughout; even when explicitly sleeping together, Kira and Flay feel curiously uninvolved. But it's worst with Cagalli; Kira has some barely-sketched half-baked inclination to protect her, and the series seems to think that constitutes a relationship. Heck, her very presence in this arc is visibly forced; while this is partly foreshadowing, it also feels like a thin excuse to bring in an extra female character.
Or else this scene is supposed to be another indication of Flay's gradual descent into madness. That's fine in itself, just as one can justify Athrun and Lacus' friendzonetastic betrothal, or Ramius' barely-shown fraternization, in isolation. But put it all together and we have a show where a key aspect of human life is missing. And a show about teenagers at that. The conspiracy theory - that *Gundam* doesn't want to alienate the post-*Wing* core audience of yaoi fangirls by showing hetrosexual romance - is pretty implausible, but it's enough to make one think.
The remainder of the episode is lukewarm in a different way: we start with a celebration/funeral for the end of the previous arc, and end with an action sequence where Kira reluctantly kills again (hammered home with a large number of flashbacks). This has always been the fundamental paradox of *Gundam*: it's a show with a strong anti-war mentality, but also a show that shows combat in a positive light (not to mention a show that gets a significant proportion of its income from selling toy weapons). But it's one keenly felt in real life as well, and to that extent the episode works: someone with Kira's views *would* kill in self-defense, *could* end up signing up with a military his friends were part of, and at the same time would be wracked by guilt just as he is. Everyone hates war, but almost everyone believes it's sometimes the least bad option, and sometimes different people's needs are genuinely incompatible. With the prospect of improving the human race through genetic engineering closer than ever, this side of *Gundam Seed* is ever more relevant, and for all its faults the show does have valuable things to say.
Far less excusable is the proliferation of mobile suit types, which smacks of greed on the toy sales side. The difference in models does serve to draw a line between the new arc and its predecessor, but only to the extent that they're used consistently - whereas IIRC this arc's main antagonists are Athrun et al in their looted Gundams. Indeed I don't remember ever seeing the underwater or flying units again. And while there was talk about how the Strike can't fly or swim, this served mostly as a way to inform us (again) of Kira's bravery and brilliance, rather than a tactical constraint that meaningfully impacted the battle we were shown.
Still, it's a minor concern. And the episode featured at least a little Flay, however brief and compromised her appearance was. The show seems unsympathetic, painting her as drawing Kira away from an important, meaningful conversation. But her desire to take him away from philosophical speculation and get back between the sheets is something I can definitely get behind. Isn't that what a good lover should be doing?
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