# The Next Generation (Gundam Seed 36)
Last episode was a welcome attack not just on war but on the causes of war - in particular, on the overconfidence of an older generation that thinks it knows what's best for the world. Gundam made a passionate case not just against fighting but against militarism; as this episode emphasises, our heroes are now seen as deserters, spies, or worse.
Athrun follows on in this tradition: cautious, uncertain, emotional but never without cause. His physical injury aligns perfectly with his vulnerable state; moments like drawing a gun on his childhood toy should be absurd, but he has enough gravitas to carry them off. Between a crazed father, a traitorous fiancée, his friends killed and himself injured, I felt a lot of sympathy for the poor kid trying to do the right thing. And as the conclusion of the episode shows, it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
Sadly, this isn't remotely matched by his counterparts. Kira's hesitation at the end of the last episode - much less his crybaby attitude from earlier - is completely gone, replaced by an unwavering confidence as he asks Ramius and La Flaga what they plan to do. While a near-death experience can justify a certain amount of personality change, there's no such excuse for Lacus, who ping-pongs between painful naïveté and impossible foreknowledge. I guess the idea is that her straightforward approach lets her see the fundamental truths of things, but the elaborate plots she must have run to pilfer new robots rather undermine that. For me, her cast-iron certainty is recapitulating the same flaw that has lead to this whole war: she thinks she knows better than the rest of her people, and is willing to cheat and steal and undermine to advance her cause.
Look at that smug grin. Would you buy a used robot from this woman?
Disappointing as the character side of all this may be, I'm glad the plot's now advancing at a steady pace. The younger generation have seized control of the fight in a very direct way, with our mid-season robot upgrade now in place; Athrun's sling has symbolically disappeared as he finds, if not a complete conclusion, a possible step forward. But best of all, both Flay and Cagalli were present in the next episode preview. Between Lacus' implausibility and Kira's flatness (while he has "developed" in a sense, his character is if anything more one-dimensional than before), I'm hoping we can spend a bit more time with some of the more interesting parts of the cast.
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