Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
aka: Gundam SEED
Each generation plants a seed. Will it ever yield more than violence and greed?Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
, which aired from 2002 to 2003, is the ninth television installment of the long-running Gundam
franchise and the first to be set in the Cosmic Era Alternate Universe
. Occasionally considered a Remake
of the original Mobile Suit Gundam
adapted for modern audiences due to the similarities of the first half of the plot, it none the less manages to stand on its own due to the vastly different nature of the setting and its primary conflict, as well as the completely original second half of the storyline.
The story premise matches the standard Gundam
fare by featuring a conflict between Earth and Space, but introduces an original twist in the form of widespread use of Genetic Engineering
. Genetic modification of humans is illegal on Earth, but the space colonies are populated almost exclusively by an artificially enhanced breed of humanity known as Coordinators. Most of Earth falls under the authority of the Earth Alliance, which funded the construction of the PLANTs (huge, hourglass-shaped space colonies meant for use as orbital manufacturing and R&D centers); however, the Coordinators now living on the PLANTs seek independence from the Earth Alliance via the formation of a milita group called ZAFT. This basic conflict of interest, combined with the Fantastic Racism
between the genetically engineered Coordinators
and the unenhanced Naturals
, eventually sparks a war between the Earth Alliance and ZAFT, that opens with a nuclear assault on ZAFT and only gets worse from thereon out. Meanwhile, the nations on Earth not falling under the umbrella of the Earth Alliance are forced to take sides or else risk the ire of both opposing factions.
Enter The Hero
; Kira Yamato, a young Coordinator attending a technical college on Heliopolis, a space colony of the neutral nation Orb. Inevitably drawn into the conflict against his will
, he Falls Into The Cockpit
during an attempted Gundamjacking
and ends up being the only thing standing between his friends and a messy death at the hands of ZAFT. Complicating things is Kira's Forgotten Childhood Friend
Athrun Zala, a fellow Coordinator who joined ZAFT and now finds himself on the opposite side of the battlefield as his old friend. While the story may appear a bit monotonous at the beginning (due largely to Recap Episodes
and Stock Footage
), after the Wham Episode
halfway through the series, the show turns into a kaleidoscope of battles, revelations
, and deaths
, skyrocketing the intensity all the way into the stratosphere. A full recap is under construction here
Thanks to its powerful directing, an all-star voice cast, and the never-dwindling emotional tension, SEED
easily became a smash hit in Japan, getting the second highest ratings in Gundam history only behind Zeta Gundam
and spawning a televised sequel, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
, and a manga spinoff, Gundam SEED Astray
. An as of yet untitled movie, confirmed to be in production in 2007, is expected to be a Grand Finale
of the saga... if it can leave Development Hell
's success and the announcement of Destiny
, the first-ever full-length television sequel to a Gundam
show outside of the original Universal Century timeline, spawned speculation that CE would become the new UC. However, Destiny
failing to be as successful as SEED
, the movie's production stalling, and the subsequent release and success of non-CE series Gundam 00
have since dashed those hopes. The 48-episode run of the HD Remaster of the series aired in 2012. *
Gundam SEED and the CE timeline have become mainstays in Super Robot Wars
after Alpha 3
, and are the main Gundam
representative on handhelds when all Universal Century Gundams where excluded from the handheld games after Judgment
. Gundam SEED also appears in the Gundam Vs Series
, beginning with its own dedicated game Alliance vs. ZAFT
and continuing on into the Crossover
Provides Examples Of:
- The Ace: Mu La Flaga
- Ace Pilot: Lots of 'em, as is normal for a Gundam series.
- Aerith and Bob: Peculiar names like Rau, Mu, Flay, Cagalli and Murrue exist alongside more conventional ones such as Patrick, Miguel and Andrew.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Aside of the protagonists on the Archangel, the Earth Alliance is almost always portrayed less favorably than ZAFT. After both organizations are completely taken over by the villains and the defection of the Archangel, this trope is in effect.
- All There in the Manual: Gundam SEED Astray fills in many gaps in the story.
- Alternate Universe: Cosmic Era is the fifth "alternate calendar" other than the original Universal Century, and the first besides UC to feature a full-length television sequel.
- Ambiguously Brown: Dearka Elsman.
- Animal Mecha: A rarity for the Gundam franchise, ZAFT has two: the BuCue and LaGowe models.
- Animation Bump: The series was known for this at times, especially with the Special Editions. The HD Remaster goes even further with several reanimated scenes from not only the Special Editions, but also entirely new ones. Compare Episode 3 of the standard edition to the remaster on youtube and you'll notice them immediately, most notably the part where Kira slices Miguel's GINN in half at the end.
- Anyone Can Die: It is a Gundam series, after all.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: A very rare inversion — Kira slaps Cagalli after she continually pesters him for not rescuing enough people.
- Artistic License – Physics: The PLANT space colonies. Unlike the fairly practical O'Neill cylinder and Stanford torus designs that are standard for the franchise, PLANTs seem designed around Rule of Cool — and as a result are both horribly inefficient and much less safe in comparison.
- Attack Drone: The Earth Alliance's gunbarrels are wired versions, while ZAFT's DRAGOONs are wireless.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Kira in the Freedom and Athrun in the Justice make a good pair.
- Badass: Where to begin? Half the cast qualifies at one point or another.
- Badass Normal: Mu La Flaga, undoubtedly the best Natural pilot in the series, has a considerable reputation already established at the beginning of the series and repeatedly holds his own against cutting-edge mobile suits while himself piloting a mobile armor or fighter jet. Cagalli is a borderline example; she's a Natural, and puts up a good fight both as La Résistance (attacking mobile suits with jeeps and RPGs!) and with the Strike Rouge, but never reaches the same level as other characters. Rau Le Creuset is a strange case; his backstory means it wouldn't make any sense for him to be a Coordinator, but he acts like one and it's never questioned, so he may or may not be an example.
- Bash Brothers: Kira and Athrun in the second half of the series using the Freedom and Justice.
- Battle Couple: Athrun and Cagalli
- Beam Spam: The Freedom and Providence are the biggest examples, though Calamity gives them a run for their money. The METEOR units used by Freedom and Justice turn it Up to Eleven.
- BFS: The main feature of the Sword Striker pack. The METEOR units also pack beam sabers big enough to bisect a 300-meter Agamemnon-class carrier length-wise.
- Bifauxnen: Cagalli, although not entirely deliberately on her part. Keeps coming up again later.
- Big Bad: Rau Le Creuset
- Big Bad Ensemble: Subverted. It appears that the war between Muruta Azrael and Patrick Zala will define the second half of the series, but in reality they're both Unwitting Pawns of the real Big Bad.
- Big Brother Mentor: Mu, to the Heliopolis crew in general but Kira especially.
- Big Damn Hero: Kira, repeated. Also subverted with Nicole and Tolle in episodes 29 and 30, respectively. Both of them try to pull this off and get killed for their trouble.
- Bio-Augmentation: The Coordinators are genetically augmented humans.
- Birds of a Feather: Kira and Athrun's friendship could qualify as this with their views on war and want of peace. Kira and Lacus' relationship as well for the same reason.
- Bitter Sweet Ending: Though they did manage to avert complete disaster, the body count was high on all sides, and there was no decisive end to the conflict — despite all its death and destruction, the war ultimately changed little.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Rau Le Creuset and Muruta Azrael; averted by Mu La Flaga and subverted Dearka Elsman.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Said to be even more so than V Gundam, and with the WMDs lurking around each corner, it's easy to believe. Averted in the Toonami edit, however, as Bandai wanted to sell SEED toys to a wider audience.
- Born Winner: Coordinators, which must be created in vitro, though the offspring of a pair of Coordinators is also a Coordinator.
- Breather Episode: Episode 19, which provides some of the few light-hearted moments in the show courtesy of Andrew Waltfeld.
- The Brigadier: Admiral Lewis Halberton, Siegel Clyne, and Andrew Waltfeld.
- Broken Ace: Kira. He almost single handily carries the Archangel through all it's battles and the crew praise him endlessly for it, but he's still a teen handling the trauma and responsibility that comes with war.
- Canon Foreigner: In the HD Remaster, when Mu gets the Strike, it's upgraded into the Perfect Strike (basically the Strike with all three Striker Packs attached at once), which was never seen in the original run.
- The Captain: Murrue Ramius
- Catch Phrase: Mu La Flaga: "I am a man who can make the impossible possible."
- Mu and Rau seem to share the catch phrase "If that man can do it, then so can I."
- Clotho: "GAME OVER!" and other variants of that.
- There is also the Blue Cosmos': "For our blue and pure world."
- Chance Meeting Between Antagonists: Kira and Cagalli accidentally meet the enemy commander Andrew Waltfeld and his lover/partner while scouting an enemy town for supplies. That meeting ends rather amicably: even though Waltfeld immediately realizes he is dealing with enemy aces, he likes them well enough to let them go on that occasion.
- Char Clone: A different approach in this series then the rest. There are three main Char clones, each one representing a different incarnation of the original Char Aznable: Athrun as The Rival, Mu La Flaga as the Big Brother Mentor, and Rau Le Crueset as the Dark Messiah
- Chastity Couple: Kira and Lacus
- Clip Show: Notable for being both many in number and poor in timing. SEED's director is occasionally called "Flashback 'Em All" in contrast to Yoshiyuki Tomino's "Kill 'em All".
- Common Eye Colors: Kira's Purple Eyes indicate his badassitude and status as the Ultimate Coordinator; Lacus has Innocent Blue Eyes.
- Compilation Movie: The Empty Battlefield, The Far-Away Dawn, and The Rumbling Sky
- Cool Ship: The Archangel (and it's later sister ship, the Dominion), which owes not a little to Mobile Suit Gundam's White Base. Orb's Kusanagi and ZAFT's Eternal are also examples.
- Court-Martialed: Subverted: Captain Ramius is called upon by her Chief of Staff to court-martial Kira for disobeying her orders in battle, but she lets him off with a warning after explaining to him why his actions were dangerous and irresponsible. Justified in that he is technically an underage civilian working for the military out of necessity.
- Custom Uniform: Andy's tiger-striped flightsuit and mecha.
- Darker and Edgier: Very dark for an Alternate Universe series and you get to watch the atrocities done close up. There is also notably little to no comic relief within the entire series even when compared to Zeta Gundam and Victory Gundam which had a couple of lighthearted moments and humorous expressions to somewhat offset the dark tone of the series. It is a large contender for the title of darkest AU Gundam series.
- Dark Messiah: Rau Le Creuset
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Dearka
- Dead Star Walking: T.M. Revolution, who performs the first two OPs, also voices Miguel Aiman who is killed early in the story. Averted with Shiho Hahnenfuss. She was set to be voiced by Nami Tamaki, but she turned down the role... to the great relief of Yzak/Shiho shippers everywhere.
- Designer Babies: Coordinators are genetically enhanced early in their development; Kira Yamato is a true designer baby in the "grown in a test tube" sense.
- Diving Save: Subverted twice, both scenes involving Kira. The second time is particularly harsh, providing a Hope Spot where he actually successfully blocks the shot, only for the villain to simply blow up the target with one of his Attack Drones instead.
- The Dog Shot First: In the HD Remaster, Nicol's death was reanimated to make it appear largely accidental. In the original, he attacks, his target counters, and he's killed. In the remake, he attacks, his target dodges, and his attack carries him into his target's sword, which kills him. Here's a comparison video.
- Doomed Hometown: The Heliopolis space colony.
- Do Unto Others Before They Do Unto Us: The warring sides use this trope as justification for their deeds; both leaders aim for nothing less than the complete annihilation of the other side down to the last man, woman and child. Therefore, backing down and depending on Mutually Assured Destruction is equivalent to surrender.
- Drop Pod: At the start of the ZAFT invasion. Also the delivery method for the GUGNIR electromagnetic flare weapons.
- Dual Wield: Several of the suits come equipped with two swords.
- During the War: Referred to as the Bloody Valentine War, since it begins with the death of roughly 250,000 PLANT civilians when their colony was destroyed on February 14th, Valentine's Day, CE 70.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Shinn Asuka, one of the main characters of the sequel, appears in Phases 35 and 39 of the HD Remaster.
- In Phase 39 of the HD Remaster, Lunamaria and Meyrin Hawke, and Rey Za Burrel also make appearances.
- Energy Weapons: Similarly to Mobile Suit Gundam, they've been in use on ships for some time, but versions usable by mobile suits are a new development as of the beginning of the series.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Lacus, whose position as the chairman's daughter, a popular songstress, and leading peace advocate gives her great influence among her own kind. Cagalli, the princess of Orb, is also a literal example.
- Evil Counterpart: Dominion, the Archangel's sister ship.
- Evil Redheads: Flay, though not so purely evil as much as horribly screwed up.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Dr. Ulen Hibiki, who dreams of creating the perfect human. Even if it means stealing his own son from his mother's womb.
- Evil Versus Evil: By the end of the series, neither the Earth Alliance nor ZAFT are particularly sympathetic. Probably why the protagonists decide to Take a Third Option and form the Three Ships Alliance.
- Expy: Lots of them, thanks to SEED's similarity to Mobile Suit Gundam — about half the main characters qualify, in addition to numerous minor ones. Details Lacus Clyne is also an expy of Relena Peacecraft of Gundam Wing. In terms of character design, there are obvious influences from Infinite Ryvius, which isn't surprising since they're from Hisashi Hirai, the character designer for both shows. Azrael in particular looks similar to Pat.
- Falling into the Cockpit: Kira and the Strike.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: The Toonami edit was notorious for this.
- Fantastic Racism: Naturals vs. Coordinators.
- Faux Affably Evil: Muruta Azrael, at least until he starts suffering from Villainous Breakdown.
- Fauxlosophic Narration: Lacus and le Crueset at some times.
- Final Solution: Advocated by both Patrick Zala (who believes Coordinators are a Superior Species and that the Naturals all need to die) and Muruta Azrael (who believes Coordinators are an abomination and thusly, all of them need to die). Rau Le Creuset agrees with both of them.
- Five-Bad Band: The Le Creuset Team, containing The Big Bad, Rau Le Creuset; The Dragon, Athrun Zala; The Brute, Yzak Joule; The Evil Genius, Dearka Elsman, and The Dark Chick, Nicol Amalfi. See those tropes for more details.
- Five-Man Band: The Three Ship Alliance's main mobile suit team, containing The Hero, Kira Yamato; The Lancer, Athrun Zala; The Smart Guy, Mu La Flaga; The Big Guy, Dearka Elsman; and The Chick, Cagalli Yula Athha. See those tropes for more details.
- Eleventh Hour Ranger: Yzak Joule, who doesn't join up until most of the way through the Final Battle.
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Archangel is equipped with massive anti-matter cannons in it's two pylons.
- Fun with Acronyms: It's a series trend; Gundams are called such because their OS spells out the acronym G.U.N.D.A.M. in varying ways, all of them full of Gratuitous English and typically entirely nonsensical. SEED itself is an acronym, as is ZAFT, and numerous ZAFT mobile suits have names consisting of a series of capitalized and lower cased letters that make it seem like they're acronyms, but no explanation is ever given.
- Forgotten Childhood Friend: Athrun and Kira towards each other.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: A rather creepy one. When the two remaining Astray Girls are killed, you can see their silhouttes in the respective explosions of their mobile suits.
- Of a more normal sort, Episode 47 features a cameo appearance of the Re H.O.M.E., from SEED Astray.
- Gainaxing: Murrue every time the Archangel takes a nasty hit, eventually joined by Natarle and Flay in the last few episodes.
- Generican Empire: People Liberation Acting Nation of Technology
- Geo Effects: Played a large role in battle during Kira's time in the Strike, as he would fight numerous enemies in mobile suits designed for specific environments, and Kira would have to adjust the Strike's operating systems to compete. The two biggest examples are the fights against the BuCUEs in the desert and the GOOhNs underwater.
- The Gloves Come Off: Kira and Athrun do it to each other simultaneously in the Wham Episode. The result is one of the most brutal fight scenes in the series.
- Something of a Freak Out moment as well, as all the emotions they had been holding back sense the start of the series came spilling out in a very ugly mess. Neither of them were quite the same after that fight. Particularly Athrun, who was the "winner" but was so shaken up by the event that he began doing some serious soul searching, leading to his Heel-Face Turn.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Towards the end of the series, the Three Ships Alliance is the Good, both ZAFT and the Earth Alliance are the Bad, while Omnicidal Maniac Rau Le Creuset is the Evil.
- Good Versus Good: The initial conflict between Kira, who just wants to help protect his friends, and Athrun, who wants to destroy the Archangel (a warship belonging to the country that nuked his mother) without hurting Kira.
- Go Out with a Smile: Several, ranging from Tear Jerker to Crowning Moment of Awesome; Izumi, Cagalli's adoptive father, Mu la Flaga, who laughs as he spouts his Catch Phrase and explodes, Natarle, who ensures the death of Azrael with her own, Flay, who died thinking Kira had just saved her, and Le Creuset who dies smiling because he believes the entire world will soon be following him...
- Gorn: The Cyclops system and GENESIS essentially flash-boil people, causing them to pop. The scenes involving them do not make use of the Gory Discretion Shot.
- Grand Theft Prototype: Happens twice; in the first episode, when Athrun & co steal the Earth Alliance prototypes from Heliopolis, and later when Kira, with Lacus's help returns the favor by stealing the Freedom from a ZAFT base.
- Guns Akimbo: Actually, Freedom can shoot all five of its guns at once... and hit five targets, too. Then hit five more targets about every tenth of a second. The Freedom Gundam is a master of Beam Spam.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Multiple, occasionally happening in chains: Tolle's and Nichol's, for example, as well as Mu's and Natarle's.
- Hot Scientist: Erica Simmons.
- Humans Are Psychic in the Future: Mu la Flaga and Rau le Creuset can sense each other psychically. Towards the end, Kira begins to do so as well.
- Humongous Mecha: Does it even need to be mentioned?
- Idol Singer: Lacus
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Kira, about Flay
- I'll Kill You!: Yzak to Kira, though he refers to him as "the pilot of the Strike" since he didn't know who Kira was specifically.
- It Gets Easier: Andy Waltfield, an experienced soldier and commander, tells the young and still-somewhat-naive Kira this point blank.
- It Meant Something to Me: Double Subverted with Kira and Flay. At first she's just using him and his feelings are sincere; when he gets over her she realizes that she actually does have feelings for him, but before she can act on it, she's killed off, specifically to mess with Kira.
- It's Personal Kira and Athrun get this about each other after Kira kills Nicol and Athrun kills Tolle in the same incident.
- Kick the Dog: The way that Flay reveals to Sai that she's been cheating on him with Kira. That was just cold...
- Kill 'em All: Holds the record for most character deaths in all of Gundam.
- Kill Sat: GENESIS
- Killed Off for Real: Tolle Koenig, Nicol Amarfi, Flay Allster, Natarle Badriguel, Aisha, Muruta Azrael, Patrick Zala, Rau Le Creuset, George Allster, Uzumi Nara Athha, Siegel Clyne, Lewis Halberton... the list can be continued.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Inverted with phase shift armor, which is impervious to most kinetic weaponry.
- The Kingdom: Orb... sort of. Their government is complicated. It involves actual royalty sharing power with both noble houses and elected officials. Thankfully, for the most part, it's relegated to All There in the Manual.
- Large Ham: Rau, by the end of the series. Not so much at first.
- Latex Space Suit: The pilot suits.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Mu and Flay as children.
- The Lost Lenore: Patrick Zala's wife, who died in the Bloody Valentine. She gets bonus points for actually being named Lenore, too.
- Love Hurts: Flay
- Ludicrous Gibs: Those caught in the effective radius of the Cyclops system or GENESIS are shown exploding into clouds of red mist. Actually Justified, given that said unlucky people are basically being microwaved to deathnote .
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Ulen Hibiki, Kira and Cagalli's birth father.
- Mask Power: Le Creuset
- Mêlée à Trois: ZAFT vs. Earth Alliance vs. Three Ships Alliance
- Merchandise-Driven: As with every other Gundam franchises.
- Mildly Military: Justified, since some of the Archangel crew are civilians, but Murrue and Mu are not big believers in clinging to regulations to begin with. Murrue owns up to it when she lays out the crew's options just prior to Archangel joining in the defense of ORB.
- Milestone Celebration: The HD Remaster was released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show.
- Military Brat: Athrun, Nicol, Dearka, Yzak and Natarle.
- Mid-Season Upgrade: Freedom and Justice. Strike also gets to stick around as a hand-me-down version, and Duel gets upgrade add-ons, though well before mid-season.
- The Perfect Strike in the remastered edition combines all three previously used Strike packs.
- N.G.O. Superpower: Blue Cosmos, a radical anti-Coordinator terrorist group. It has enough influence to control the policies of the Earth Alliance. Lacus leads the Three Ships Alliance/Clyne Faction which serves this role... and winds up winning the war
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Rau Le Creuset
- Non-Indicative Name: Given the title of the series, you might expect it to feature a mobile suit named the Seed Gundam. There is no such mobile suit, and strictly speaking this installment of the series features no mobile suits called Gundam period. GUNDAM is actually the name of the operating system that runs some mobile suits. See also, the name of the second episode ("Its Name Is Gundam").
- No One Could Survive That: Andrew Waltfeld survives his mobile suit blowing up around him, though his co-pilot doesn't, and he earns some permanent injuries in the process. Kira Yamato survives Aegis' Self-Destruct Mechanism to the face without so much as a scar, though he's out of commission for some time afterward.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Kira pull's one with Athrun when returning to space. It involves a Take My Hand between Gundams. Awww...
- Not So Different: ZAFT and Earth Alliance military.
- Not Using the Zed Word: The word "Gundam" is coined by Kira as an acronym for the operating system of certain Bigger Stick mobile suits, and is only used a handful of times. None of the Humongous Mecha officially have Gundam in their names. However, the term Gundam starts it's spreading through the universe in the second half of the show, and is used much much more in the Cosmic Era's expanded universe installments.
- Lampshaded by Lacus when she's giving Kira the Freedom. He calls it a Gundam and she's got no idea what he's talking about, explains the name of the mobile suit, but says she thinks the term "Gundam" sounds better.
- In a similar way, it's "enhanced spatial awareness". Never "Newtype powers".
- Nuke 'em: Both the Earth Forces and ZAFT race against each other to end the war this way.
- Oddly Small Organization: The rebels in the desert. Despite their much smaller size, and weaker equipment, they get by.... quite well.
- Omake: Gundam Seed Supernova. Featuring chibi-Kira and monster Tori.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Rau le Creuset wants to escalate the war until both sides annihilate each other.
- One-Man Army: Kira, Athrun, and Le Creuset.
- One-Product Planet: ZAFT's space colonies were arranged in this manner, with one group focusing on Farming, another on Information Science, another on Chemistry, and so on.
- One World Order: Averted. Unlike the Universal Century's Earth Federation, the Earth Alliance is a coalition of powerful blocs that's a cross of sorts between NATO and the UN. Countries outside of the Alliance either side with ZAFT or attempt to go neutral in an attempt to escape the ire of both factions.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Rau Le Creuset believes he and he alone can kill off all of humanity, especially Kira.
- Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Yzak gets a nasty facial scar while fighting Kira, which is symbolic of his one-sided hatred. By the sequel, he's gotten it removed, signifying that he no longer holds a grudge.
- Playing Both Sides: The Big Bad
- Power Trio: Murrue, Mu, and Natarle, as id, ego, and superego respectively. Murrue and Mu also function as The McCoy and The Kirk respectively, although Natarle doesn't quite qualify as The Spock to round out the trifecta.
- Product Placement: Clotho is seen playing a Bandai Wonderswan.
- Rapid-Fire Typing: Lots of it; Kira is especially guilty and uses this technique to upgrade the Strike's original OS.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Murrue Ramius, Uzumi Nara Attha and Siegel Clyne.
- Rebellious Princess: Cagalli
- Recap Episode: In spades, but most obvious in episodes 14 and 26.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Yzak Joule and Dearka Elsman, respectively.
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: Type 1 is played straight: Cagalli* throws a pistol in frustration, causing it to discharge. Athrun* , who very nearly gets hit by the stray round, immediately chastises her for being stupid enough to throw a loaded and cocked pistol.
- Reluctant Warrior: Kira Yamato in the first half of the show.
- Luckily for him, he gets better with handling guns later on.
- The Remake: Of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, no less... for the first half or so, anyway.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: Two major examples:
- Blue Cosmos for the Earth Alliance until they take de facto control of the coalition.
- Inverted with the Clyne Faction – once they go “renegade”, ZAFT becomes fanatical, and the Faction remains decent.
- La Résistance: The Desert Dawn in North Africa and the Three Ships Alliance.
- The Reveal: Several.
- Cagalli is not only the princess of Orb, and also Kira Yamato's twin sister
- Kira is Cagalli's twin brother, and also the Ultimate Coordinator
- Rau Le Creuset is a clone of Mu La Flaga's father, and The Man Behind the Man to both the Earth Alliance and ZAFT.
- Revised Ending: The Compilation Movie and HD Remaster edited out Mu La Flaga's helmet floating in space in the final shots, due to the Plot Hole this causes with the sequel.
- Rich Bitch: Flay, though being rich is hardly the biggest source of her bitchiness.
- The Rival: Mu vs. Rau, Kira vs. Athrun, later Kira vs. Rau
- Robot Buddy: Athrun loves making them; he gave Kira a robot bird named Torii (Birdy in the dub), and Lacus has a couple dozen Haros rolling around her estate. In the Game Boy Advance game Tomo to Kimi to Senjou de, he decides to make one for Cagalli and ends up settling on a hamster design; unfortunately, when she first sees it she mistakes it for a rat and smashes it, but after Kira explains things she's quite touched by the gesture.
- Running Gag: Kira, despite being a coordinator who can pilot a humongous mecha who also happens to be the ultimate coordinator, does not know how guns work. The first time he uses a gun, he throws it at a person and kicks him, in order to knock him out. The second time he gets a gun in his hands, he's chasing an armed person. Mu La Flaga quickly notes that Kira's gun still has the safety on.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Rusty Mackenzie, Miguel Aiman and George Allster all die shortly after being introduced. Their deaths are mainly events for characterization other characters.
- Sacrificial Lion: The series isn't sunshine and rainbows to start with, but it's after the deaths of Tolle and Nicol that the series gets progressively darker.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: Everything seems to have it. But Athrun in particular seems fond of blowing up his own mobile suits. First with the Aegis to kill Kira, then with Justice to destroy GENESIS.
- The Earth Alliance uses the CYCLOPS system to destroy JOSHA in a trap to wipe out a huge chunk of ZAFT forces. In the expanded materials, it's revealed that the EA had done this before at the Battle of Endymion during the battle where Mu got his nickname. But the plan also destroyed the Alliance elite Mobeius Zero corps, Mu being the only one left.
- At the end of the series, Patrick sets Jachin Due to self destruct.
- Sergeant Rock: Natarle
- Separated at Birth: Kira and Cagalli are actually twins.
- Lacus painting a mustache on one of her Haros is a clear one to Turn A Gundam, which Fukuda has noted is one of his favorite series by Tomino.
- Erica Simmons is named after Mark Simmons, the Biggest Name Fan of Gundam in America, and possibly elsewhere too. It's not the first nod he's received, either.
- Waltfeld's personal MS, the LaGOWE, is a nod to Fukuda's earlier series GEAR Fighter Dendoh.
- Murrue Ramius, captain of a ship who is out to defect is a shout out to The Hunt for Red October, where the titular ship is captained by Marko Ramius, who spends the film trying to defect.
- Signature Move: The Freedom's Full Burst Mode
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Somewhere in the middle of the scale initially. By the end, it's murky. The main crew champion their ideals and "win" militarily, but at the same time, both ZAFT and the Earth Alliance go off the deep end in their philosophy, show that they are more than willing to use weapons of mass destruction on both their enemies and their allies alike, and the whole background of Coordinators and Naturals is revealed to be tainted with depraved science experiments. Seeing how the end of the series didn't actually change these facts, there's still a good amount of cynicism left in the Cosmic Era.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In Phase 41 (39 in the HD Remaster), while Lacus and Patrick were engaged in a propaganda war on the PLANTs, Siegel, Lacus's father, was assassinated by Patrick's soldiers, with Lacus's image song, "Mizu no Akashi", playing in the background.
- Space Is an Ocean
- Spoiler Opening: Nichol is notably absent in the third opening, despite appearing in the first two. This is a war story, so it's not hard to guess what that means. Sure enough, two episodes after the third opening's debut, he's killed off.
- The So-Called Coward: Nicol Amarfi. Yzak even straight up calls him a coward, but in reality he is a pretty decent pilot, especially considering he made it to the Red Coats.
- Standing Between The Enemies: The Three Ships Alliance does this to the Earth and ZAFT armies, but it soon devolves into a Mêlée à Trois.
- Stock Footage: Used throughout the series, but it's most noticeable with Murrue's Gainaxing and the Freedom's Beam Spam.
- Strange Salute: ZAFT military
- Super Mode: SEED mode, which only certain people can access, effectively turns all the user's abilities Up to Eleven.
- Power Makeover: People in SEED mode lose the "light" of their eyes, resulting in an effect similar to Mind-Control Eyes except that their pupils don't disappear.
- Super Prototype:
- Mu's Moebius Zero, which is a Space Fighter equipped with wired "gunbarrels" (essentially self-contained gun pods mounted with thrusters to allow them to move independently), is the forerunner of the various Attack Drone units used in the CE timeline.
- At the beginning of the series the Earth Alliance creates prototype mobile suits developed under the G-Project: The GAT-X102 Duel Gundam, GAT-X103 Buster Gundam, GAT-X105 Strike Gundam, GAT-X207 Blitz Gundam, and the GAT-X303 Aegis Gundam. Four of them are stolen by the Le Creuset Team and Kira pilots the Strike.
- For the last half of the show, ZAFT releases its own ZGMF-X series of Gundam units using technology derived from the four captured Alliance Gundams. After the Strike and the Aegis are destroyed, Kira acquires the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam and Athrun gets the ZGMF-X 09 A Justice Gundam. The ZGMF-X13A Providence Gundam is piloted by Rau Le Creuset in the final episodes. These Gundams are not only far more advanced than the originals but are nuclear powered with limitless stamina because of the N-Jammer Canceller technology.
- The second set of prototype mobile suits developed under the G-Project was developed solely by the Atlantic Federation: The GAT-X131 Calamity Gundam, GAT-X252 Forbidden Gundam,and the GAT-X370 Raider Gundam. These Gundams are piloted by Super Soldiers under the supervision of Blue Cosmos leader Muruta Azrael.
- Super Soldier: While the Coordinators' enhanced abilities are in no way limited to combat, they do make them far better fighters than Naturals, e.g. before Kira develops an MS operating system suitable for Naturals, only Coordinators can efficiently pilot mobile suits; also, "artificial Coordinators" a.k.a. "the Druggies" are literal super soldiers developed by the Atlantic Federation.
- As Rau Le Creuset had received gene therapy to deal with his imperfect clone status (resulting in shortened telomeres), was taking medication on a daily basis, and performed so admirably as to kick serious ass in the Providence with no prior practice, he was probably kept at an "Artificial Coordinator" level as well.
- Surprisingly Good English: Most of the time, but it's particularly noticeable when Engrish appears, such as in Episode 20.
- The previews of the next episode at the end seemed to suffer from Engrish more frequently than the episode itself.
- Take a Third Option: Instead of siding with one of the two equally extremist factions of the war, the Archangel crew eventually forms their own side together with Orb and Clyne Faction.
- Take My Hand: In episodes 40 and 50, we see Athrun being rescued.
- Team Mom: Murrue, later Natarle.
- Techno Babble: Lots of it.
- Theme Naming:
- Of Humongous Mecha, no less — OMNI's Gundams tend to reflect their combat role (eg, Duel, Strike, Blitz, Raider) while ZAFT's are named after philosophical ideals (Freedom, Justice, Providence).
- The title of the series itself is an aversion, though. The lack of a "Seed Gundam" makes the show the only Gundam series to not be named after a specific mecha — instead "seed" refers to the series Super Mode.
- In an early interview, Mitsuo Fukuda said that "Strike" and "Aegis" were named for the unstoppable spear and the invincible shield from the Chinese version of the irresistible force paradox.
- The Big Bad: Rau Le Creuset, the team leader.
- The Dragon: Athrun Zala, who acts as "first among equals" for the rest of the team.
- The Brute: Yzak Joule, who hurls himself recklessly into battle.
- The Evil Genius: Dearka Elsman, the team's Deadpan Snarker.
- The Dark Chick: Nicol Amalfi, the most emotional member of the team
- The Hero: Kira Yamato, the main character
- The Lancer: Athrun Zala, his best friend and the only one as skilled in combat
- The Smart Guy: Mu La Flaga, the Big Brother Mentor
- The Big Guy: Dearka Elsman, with his Mighty Glacier mobile suit
- The Chick: Cagalli Yula Athha, the Token Girl and The Heart
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: ZGMF-X13A Providence
- To Be Lawful or Good: Many characters to a greater or lesser extent, but the two most prominent examples are Athrun (who chooses "good" after much soul-searching) and Natarle (who chooses "lawful", but changes her mind and betrays her superior later, at the cost of her life).
- Tragic Keepsake: Murrue's locket, Kira's origami flower.
- Transforming Mecha: Athrun's Aegis, Clotho's Raider.
- Tsundere: Cagalli is simply adorable when blushing in embarrassment.
- Villainous Breakdown: Many of the villains feature rather nasty ones.
- War Is Hell: People are dying left, right, and centre. Kira and the rest of the cast are going through trauma-induced mental breakdowns. ZAFT is run by a General Ripper and has no problem executing prisoners or firing a Wave Motion Gun at Earth. The Earth Forces are controlled by a fanatically anti-Coordinator psychopath who wants to nuke ZAFT out of existence and considers his troops expendable cannon fodder. Out of Gundam's alternate universes, SEED's is easily one of the darkest.
- Warfare Regression: Neutron Jammers inhibit fission reactions and jam radio waves. This allows for all-out warfare without the risk of mutually-assured destruction, and prevents the use of long-range radio communication or radar, leading to the rise of close-range mobile suit combat.
- Wave Motion Gun: The Lohengrin positron cannons mounted by the Archangel, which (as the name implies) are a type of Antimatter weapon; there's also GENESIS, a Kill Sat that used nuclear weapons to generate a gamma radiation laser capable of attacking Earth from high orbit.
- Weapons Of Mass Destruction: The nuclear weapons used by the Earth Forces, ZAFT's GENESIS, and arguably the Gundams themselves.
- Wham Episode: Episodes 29, 30, 35, ...and pretty much everything between 40 and 50.
- What Measure Is a Non-Super?: Azrael to his mom in the movie compilation.
- What the Hell, Dad?: Sums up Patrick and Athrun Zala's relationship quite nicely. Patrick, a General Ripper if ever there was one, treats Athrun as though he were any other subordinate. He expects a lot from Athrun, but only because of his elite status, and has no qualms about shooting him when Athrun starts to question orders.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The "Druggies", whose use of performance-enhancing drugs that make them able to fight on even terms with Coordinators has also made them... unstable.
- A World Half Full: The combination of Fantastic Racism and good old fashioned human greed makes the world of Gundam SEED a less-than-pleasant place to live, but that doesn't stop the protagonists from improving things — if only a little — through properly applied violence.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Azrael is all-but-worshipped by the EA generals, has the Earth's rulers in his pocket, and Natarle has heard of him.
- Visual Novel: The little-known Game Boy Advance game Tomo to Kimi to Senjou denote , which did have action sequences, but those played second fiddle to letting the player wander the Archangel as Kira and interact with the rest of the cast. Special Event Flags could let the player obtain the MSV-only Gunbarrel Strike for Flaga, prevent Flaga, Natarle, and Flay from dying, and even have Kira partner up with Lowe or Gai on one stage.
- Xanatos Gambit: The Big Bad, Rau La Creuset, tries to set one up as part of his Evil Plan, so that regardless of who eventually won the war, both sides would end up wiping each other out with various WMDs. When one side gained the upper hand or calmed down, he gives technology to other to keep the fighting going.
- You Are in Command Now: Murrue in the beginning of the series.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Flay and Miri use really short skirts and really long socks.