# Evasive Maneuvers (Gundam Seed 23) ![](/aileron-roll-barrel-roll-differences.jpg) The Earth Forces' training has some serious deficiencies. Military discipline breaks down further this episode - we open with Mu disrespecting his commanding officer and Kira's friends contemplating desertion, continue through Athrun's squad heading after the protagonists without Rau, and conclude with the civilian Cagalli flying into combat - though not without consequences. Some of it makes sense - the ORB students are teenagers, fighting in a war that has nothing to do with their country - but the handling of Athrun and Cagalli feels lazy, forcing them into being shipwrecked together rather than allowing it to emerge naturally. Still, at least the writers have a clear aim in mind - we'll see whether next episode's payoff is worth it. In the longer term, putting Athrun in a leadership position could be a shrewd move. *Gundam Seed* has a lot of episodes to play with, but spreads itself thin despite that with the sheer number of characters it tries to support. Having Rau drop back will hopefully give the ZAFT pilots time for some more fleshed out characterization, particularly with conflict-averse Athrun being forced to make tough military decisions. Would that the same could be done on the earth forces side: Kira's peerlessness is a plot point, and his isolation from everyone other than Flay part of the story that's being told, but as a result he lacks a foil to interact with for the viewer. The show resolves this by having him interact with minor characters - we had what could have been an interesting exchange with Sai in this episode, if Sai himself had any substance as a character - but ends up spreading itself too thin as a result. Perhaps the conceit of showing both sides of a war is fundamentally flawed, but I can't help thinking what could have been if this show had been about two small squads, rather than the sprawling cast that gives it an epic scope but too little human relevance - or even failing that, if Kira had just one good friend he could relate to. Cagalli, then, is where *Gundam Seed* falls the hardest. On paper she's a complex character: she has the gradually foreshadowed backstory, she has both genuine talent and real flaws, and we've already seen her make interesting choices in the desert - both combat and when talking to Wartfeld. But somehow this fails to translate into a character I actually care about. I know nothing of her hopes and dreams, and her passionate defence of the desert seems hypocritical now that she's abandoned it. And her insistence on flying a plane seems childish given how badly it's worked out for the Earth Forces so far. I would give her credit for her decisive reaction to meeting Athrun on the island, but sadly I can already see that the narrative's about to invalidate her choice. Ah well. At least she's no threat to best girl. [Home](/) <div id="disqus_thread"></div> comments powered by Disqus