# Three Way Rivalry (Gundam Seed 25) ![](/purity.jpg) Also there was some stuff with mobile suits. In all seriousness this was an excellent episode. I was worried I'd've lost track of the plot over my few months' break, but the opening set-piece battle was immediately relatable, as weird as that sounds. The desperation of Archangel facing off against impossible odds makes it instantly clear which side is sympathetic; on the other side and Athrun and Yzak's rivalry is probably the first real piece of characterization we've had. As basic as it is, it makes a lot of difference: we feel Yzak's frustration at being placed under the thumb of some politically-connected kid even as we see exactly why Athrun's much more fit for command. Likewise the EDF crew demonstrate - barely - enough cleverness to justify their escape from overwhelming odds, via intelligent tactics, discipline, and the timely intervention of a foreign power. The second half was weaker, but only just. Orb's internal political discussions are stretched out just enough to convey how tedious they are to the participants without becoming so to the viewer. I liked how quickly the show moved to crush any notion that Orb are the "good guys"; they may not be fighting directly in the war, but they're not exactly standing up for truth, justice and the american way. Even pacifism and neutrality require hard choices, and Gundam is at its best when it shows this. That, and teenage interpersonal drama. Flay and Kira finally have time to relax in a way they haven't all series - there were moments of respite on the ocean or in the desert, but nothing comparable to making it back to their homeland. Their shared orphanhood should push them closer together, as well as leaving them with the ship to themselves, and Flay seems willing to put in the effort to make it work - but Kira feels more alone than ever, perhaps because he now has time to think about what has happened. On the other side of the fence, we're finally getting a bit of real fleshing out of the "Zala squad". Athrun displays admirable skill and resolve, even as he doesn't quite keep Yzak under control the way he should. But perhaps that's realistic; when I read *Generation Kill* I was struck by the strange cocktail of competence and immaturity shown by the Marines - something that seemed to get worse higher up in the ranks. One wonders how many battles hinged less on planning and logistics than on the dynamics of personal relationships between commanders and subordinates - something that probably never makes it as far as the clean historical narratives we think of. I'm writing this en route to a friend's 30th birthday, with my own not far away; I wasn't even 20 when I watched this show the first time around. I had my own mix of competence and immaturity; nowadays I recognize that people do seem to get better at general competence with age, even as I remember how frustrating that attitude was to see in others. Strangley, though, this translates into greater sympathy for the characters' mistakes; the first time around I was simply frustrated that Kira couldn't make a decision and Athrun couldn't control his troops. Watching again from a position of maturity, I recognize these characters' lack of it. They're making stupid mistakes, but that's to be expected; genetically-engineered super-soldiers they may be, but they are, ultimately, just kids. [Home](/) <div id="disqus_thread"></div> comments powered by Disqus