# Ladies' Day (Gundam Seed 31)
Of all the secondary characters in *Gundam Seed*, I wish we saw more of Badriguel. Unlike the milquetoast cadets, she's willing - possibly too willing - to contradict everyone, even the captain. She has her own beliefs - she must have hopes and dreams and fears to explore - but all too often she's cast as the impersonal voice of military discipline. Certainly that was the only way I remembered her from watching the show as a 20-year-old.
The dichotomy between the younger and older "generations" (probably less than ten years apart; I suspect most of the "old" characters are now younger than me) is an infuriating case: I admire the ambition, but the show never delivers. As always, there just isn't enough time given to it: the dichotomy between Earth and Zaft forces could have made for an interesting dynamic, as could that between young and old on a single side, but the show doesn't have time to do both at once - at least, not if it's going to fit in the number of robot fights it has. We have dozens of half-baked secondary characters, and even our primary cast aren't really characterized that well - as Athrun puts it, Kira is a wishy-washy crybaby, which are awkward characteristics to build an action show around.
Ramius is, more or less, a real character - in the sense that I as a viewer care about her, in contrast to Badriguel or Mu or Rau or any other "grownup". She's on fine form this episode, treading a delicate path between caring for her crew and making the tough choices that are necessary for survival. Her conversation with Mu - tears in her eyes, but still ultimately giving an order - was genuinely touching. But even in her case I wish we had more time for characterisation. Conversations between her and the engineering chief takes on a different cast if they're still sleeping together, but it's been so many episodes since we touched on that that I'd honestly forgotten that plot point until I came to write this. I'd far rather spend time on that than Izak or Deakka's posturing, for all that their actions this episode are faithful to those characters; ultimately I don't care about either of them, because they're never going to be developed. It's strange to expect more growth from adults than from children, but that's how it is for those two.
Cagalli's reappearance is a welcome contrast - more than any other character, she really has grown and changed. As crude and obvious as the points she's grappling with are - war is bad, killing is bad, no-one wants to see friends on opposite sides - her sincerity comes through, childish earnestness tempered with just enough maturity and wisdom. The call back to the last time she and Athrun held each other at gunpoint is charming in its elegance and subtlety; there's no bigger agenda being pushed here, just the strange way things play out. (There's a hint of the same thing in Izak's conversation with his own superior officer mirroring that of Badriguel and Ramius, but the characters are just too thin to make that scene work). Once again it's Cagalli who's willing to break the characters on both sides - and therefore the show - out of their ruts. Sadly this episode felt like a cameo, she and Athrun parting ways before the end for what felt like the last time. I'd love to be wrong.
Which brings us to the elephant in the previous episode's room, Kira's apparent death - something I'm apparently now too jaded to even notice happening, between having seen the series before and any number of protagonist "deaths" in anime. I remember people comparing and contrasting *Gundam Seed* with *Death Note* when I first got into anime in 2005, but looking now it seems like the industry in *Seed*'s day was still two or three years away from the bravery that would take. I'll suspend full judgement until next episode, but honestly this looks pretty ridiculous; Kira surviving is bad enough, but how on Earth (or indeed off it) did he end up in Lacus' company? The one thing I'll say in this show's favour is that it didn't drag it out: one episode of mistaken-for-dead I can live with, if used well.
And once again, Best Girl steals the show. Still reeling with the realisation that she genuinely cares for Kira, Flay is suddenly forced to confront his (assumed) death - alone. The above (all too brief) shot beautifully sums it up, and the contrast is shown in much more detail through her and Milly's conversations with the other cadets - Sai comforts Milly and shepherds her into the cafeteria to be around others, while Kuzzey angrily spits the minimum of information at Flay, wanting nothing to do with her, the monster's concubine who's selling herself in return for all their lives. It's tragic and painful (for the viewer even) and I can see the seeds of her ironic fall being sown; it's everything that art should be. Even though I already know how this story ends, I can't wait to see more.
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