A space colony in Earth's orbit, Heliopolis is part of Orb territory, and is thus neutral in the conflict between ZAFT and the Earth Alliance. Unfortunately for them, they're attacked by Rau Le Creuset nonetheless, and the colony is eventually destroyed. A number of refugees end up on board the Archangel, and become de facto Earth Alliance crewmen despite being citizens of a neutral nation.
"If you just did nothing because you thought it wouldn't help, than you'd end up doing less than nothing. Because nothing would change."
The main character, who was attending a technical college on Heliopolis when the series began. Naturally, he ends up Falling into the Cockpit of the Strike Gundam. He's a Coordinator, which he attempts to hide at first, but it quickly comes out into the open. Kira undergoes the most Character Development of anyone in the series; starting as a somewhat goofy but generally normal kid, he forces himself to become cold and nearly mechanical in order to deal with the realities of war, but eventually breaks out of this and becomes much more idealistic (but no less determined) before the series ends.
Ace Pilot: He's the main character in a Gundam show. Yes he ends up achieving this status, and quickly at that.
Ambiguous Disorder: Kira has a lot of Amuro's personality traits, including social awkwardness, skill with machinery, and a tendency towards trying to do everything himself and losing himself in his work. If there's a difference between the two of them, it's that Kira lacks Amuro's deliberately antisocial behaviour—he wants to interact with others, he's just not that good at it.
Badass: He doesn't want to be kicking twelve different kinds of ass, but that won't stop him from doing it if he has to.
Heroes Want Redheads: In the beginning of the series, Kira has an obvious crush on Flay which later blossoms into a full fledged sexual relationship, but it just gets ugly from there. His final love interest has pink hair, which might or might not qualify their relationship for this trope.
Heroic BSOD: He pretty much lives one during the middle part of the series, as he shuts his emotions down in order to cope with the ravages of the war.
Heroic Self-Deprecation: During the series' mid-point it doesn't matter how good Kira is or how much the others praise him: he can't live up to the only person whose standards matter to him, namely, his own.
He's Back: When he and the Freedom interrupt the Battle of JOSH-A.
It's Personal: With Athrun after Tolle's death and Le Creuset after Flay's.
Knife Nut: The Strike's basic form is armed with two Armor Schneider knives, and nothing else. They come in useful a bunch of times though and some of his most critical victories with the Strike are made with them.
Multiform Balance: The Strike. Aile Striker is more or less a Jack of All Stats, while the Launcher Striker is a Mighty Glacier with heavier weaponry but less mobility, and the Sword Striker is a borderline Lightning Bruiser (not quite as fast as the Aile, but faster than the Launcher) balanced by the fact that it lacks ranged firepower.
Nice Guy: Which makes the horror show he's thrust into all the sadder.
Not Quite Dead: To the ire of his enemies and the relief of everyone else.
Pro-Human Transhuman: There's a few of these around, but Kira's the most notable example, fighting to protect his Natural friends from Coordinator soldiers from the earliest episodes of the show.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: The war has a very detrimental effect on Kira's mental health, causing him to hit rock bottom around the series midpoint. He recovers to a degree, but is sporting one hell of a Thousand-Yard Stare by the time Destiny roles around.
Super Reflexes: Like most Coordinators, Kira possesses reflexes that are notably superior to those of regular humans. This is one reason why he's able to operate the Strike better than pilots who trained for years to do it—he doesn't require the clumsy OS that would enable a Natural to operate the system.
Technical Pacifist: After getting the Freedom and going through a lot of soul searching, he aims to disable MS and spare the pilot, rather than destroying them outright. He will break this rule if he has to though, most notably against Le Creuset who couldn't be stopped any other way.
Tender Tears: He can be a bit weepy early in the series, though only when he's alone. Note, however, that he only does this after a battle — he's not crying for himself, he's crying for the men he's killed.
Tragic Keepsake: The origami flower he was given by a little girl he'd helped protect and who was later shot down by Yzak.
Unlucky Everydude: He starts the series doing piles of extra work for his college professor and with an unrequited crush on Flay. His fortunes do not improve.
One of Kira's friends from Heliopolis. Dates Tolle and serves as Kira's Mission Control, Miri is probably the most level-headed of the press-ganged civilians. After Tolle dies, she goes through a period of growing instability before getting over it and eventually ending up in a relationship with Dearka.
A friend of Kira's and Flay's boyfriend. He seems to be the unofficial leader of Kira's social clique — he's the cool, confident guy with the hot girlfriend. Between Flay's issues and Kira's rising importance, this is slowly Deconstructed over the first half of the series, though Sai's resilient enough to bounce back from it. During the second half of the series, he reprises his leadership role, acting as the unofficial first-among-equals for the bridge crewmen.
Took a Level in Badass: Following Kira's apparent death, Sai mans up and takes command of the bridge crew, tells Flay exactly where she can stick her issues, prevents she and Miriallia from killing Dearka, and essentially becomes one of the most important people on board the Archangel, all without ever changing his rank or official job.
Woman Scorned: Except, you know, male. He gets better much sooner than the standard, though.
One of Kira's friends. Dates Miriallia and looks up to Kira. The one to come up with the idea to join the Archangel's crew, he's always looking to make himself useful. One of the Bridge Bunnies at first, he eventually spends enough time in the simulator to graduate to Skygrasper pilot, and begins to help Kira and Mu in battle. During the mid-series Wham Episode, he is killed by Athrun while attempting to help Kira.
Beta Couple: With Miriallia who he's been dating since before the series started.
Hot-Blooded: Tolle is certainly the most enthusiastic of the Heliopolis crew, and constantly pushes to improve himself. Over the course of the series, he goes from refugee, to bridge crew, to combat pilot!
One of Kira's friends, he's something of a minor character compared to the rest of the Heliopolis crew. He's the most average of the clique, lacking any outstanding quality comparable to Sai's confidence, Miriallia's warmth, or Tolle's determination. When the Archangel reaches Orb, he decides not to stay on.
The Everyman: His main role in the series is "the average guy" — his response to things like The Reveal that Kira's a Coordinator stand in for the "normal" reaction.
"Why didn't you save him? It's because you're a Coordinator too!"
Living on Heliopolis at the beginning of the series, Flay is the daughter of the Atlantic Federation's Vice Foreign Minister, George Allster. She'd recently begun dating Sai at the beginning of the series, though Kira had had a crush on her for some time. A fairly air-headed type, the war is not kind to her. After having the misfortune to witness her father's death, she... reacts badly. Using her feminine wiles, she manipulates Kira emotionally and sexually, in the hopes of getting him to die in battle, after taking as many fellow Coordinators with him as possible. Separated from the Archangel's crew at Alaska, she ends up in Rau Le Creuset's custody, where he uses her to bring the N-Jammer Canceller to the Earth Alliance. Assigned to the crew of the Dominion, she finds the courage to stand up to Muruta Azrael and escapes its destruction but is killed by Le Creuset during his Final Battle with Kira.
Becoming the Mask: Pretends that she loves Kira because she blames him for her father's death and wants to make sure he'll die as punishment, but later she finds herself really falling in love with him. Sai says itto her directly.
Character Development: While her Becoming the Mask phase happens earlier on, the more obvious development happens very late in the series, after Rau brings her to ZAFT and she spends time with him and Yzak, seeing the conflict from the other side.
Daddy's Girl: Flay speaks rather fondly about her father. Also why she takes her father's death so badly.
The Dark Chick: Towards Azrael, following her coming aboard the Dominion. Like Badgiruel, she quickly realises just how mad he is.
Fille Fatale: Only fifteen and already seducing Kira into doing what she wants.
Foil: To both Lacus and Cagali, with her general bitchiness, immaturity, and self-centredness contrasting with both Lacus' forgiving nature and Cagali's insistence on joining the fighting. She's the Fallen Princess to Lacus' All-Loving Hero and Cagali's Rebellious Princess.
Freak Out: After her father's death. It lasts for most of the show.
The Load: Despite having volunteered, Flay has no role aboard the Archangel, spending most of her time hiding in her room, complaining about things like a lack of hair care products, and causing emotional trauma in Kira and Sai. She herself acknowledges this during her time on the Dominion, where she insists on becoming a part of the bridge crew, and makes a genuinely heartfelt effort to be useful to Badgiruel.
A military alliance consisting of the nations who funded the construction of the PLANTs, formed when the Coordinators living there declared themselves independent. Devastated by ZAFT's mobile suits, they develop the Gundams with the aid of neutral nation Orb in order to counter this. Initially presented as the more sympathetic faction of the war, they're still no barrel of laughs, conscripting several of the Heliopolis refugees to crew the Archangel. As the series progresses, they become less and less sympathetic as the true nature of the leaders running it is revealed.
"It's becoming more and more difficult to understand who or what we're fighting for."
A Lieutenant stationed on the Archangel, she's forced to take command after the ZAFT attack on Heliopolis. Though uncertain of herself at first, she eventually grows to be a capable officer and a dangerous opponent to ZAFT. Keeping the Archangel in one piece through space, reentry, and all over Earth, she defects after the Earth Alliance betrays the Archangel at Alaska.
Badass Normal: Probably the best ship commander we meet in either show, capable of outmanouvering both fellow Naturals and the genetically superior Coordinators.
The Captain: Of the Archangel. She gains the title following her promotion.
Expy: A young lieutenant who initially comes off as unfair and overbearing is forced to take over a brand new assault carrier. They gradually grow into the role of Captain and leader, eventually becoming one of the most respected officers in the fleet, while striking up a romance with one of their senior officers. Are we talking about Murrue Ramius, or Bright Noa? She's practically his Distaff Counterpart.
The Leader: Of the Archangel crew, Type IV. Ramius is a capable officer and has the full respect of everyone working for her.
The McCoy: Albeit in a primary leadership role; Mu is her Kirk, although Natarle (who rounds out the Power Trio in the superego role) only marginally qualifies as The Spock.
Hot Teacher: Well, she was before she became a military officer.
Lady of War: Calm, collected, feminine, and the best battleship captain in the EA Navy.
Military Maverick: Though kinder and gentler than most, Murrue doesn't hesitate to trample all over military regulations as necessary in order to protect the people on her ship. This causes problems for her with her Number Two, Natarle Badgiruel.
You Are in Command Now: La Flaga pushes her into command after the Archangel's commanding officers are killed in Le Creuset's surprise attack. He could have taken the position, as he has seniority, but Murrue is more familiar with the ship and better-suited to the position, while Mu, as the only available pilot other than Kira, is better off not tied to the bridge.
One of the few mobile armour pilots to survive the war long enough to appear in the series, he's also lucky (and good) enough to survive the initial ZAFT attack on Heliopolis. Surprisingly laid back for a guy who's been on the brink of a messy death for months at a time, he provides much needed advice and experience for the Archangel's rookie crew. Provides support for Kira and Murrue most specifically — he outranks them both, but having no experience as a ship's officer and being unable to pilot the Strike, he prefers to leave the lead roles to them. Has a rivalry with ZAFT commander Rau Le Creuset, which precedes the beginning of the series. Pilots first the Mobius Zero mobile armour, then the Skygrasper, and finally the Strike. He is apparently killed during the climatic battle with the Dominion.
Abusive Parents: Al Da Flaga was an asshole, all right, and his mother seems to have been a relative non-entity.
Mid-Season Upgrade: Both inverted and Played Straight. When the Archangel touches down on Earth, he is no longer able to use his Moebius Zero due to the fact that it is a Space Fighter and won't work in atmosphere, so he settles for a Sky Grasper fighter jet instead, which is a capable craft but lacks the Attack Drone capability of the Moebius. The trope is played straight later on, when after abandoning the Earth Alliance, he gets to pilot the Strike Gundam.
Mildly Military: Despite being the senior officer present for most of the beginning of the series, Mu's not really one for standing on ceremony.
Sole Survivor: Of his Mobius Zero squadron during the Endymion lunar campaign during his backstory, and of the Earth Alliance pilots during the attack on Heliopolis — though neither really affects his personality much.
Space Fighter: His Mobius Zero, which is one of the more realistic designs out there.
Super Prototype: The Mobius Zero, which is vastly superior to the mass production Mobius in terms of armament and speed. Justified in that only a very few pilots had the level of skill and spatial awareness required to operate the Zero and its Attack Drones effectively.
Sympathy for the Devil: A poignant scene towards the end of the series has Mu sympathizing with Rau le Creuset in a conversation with Murrue; Mu is the only character who seems to fully consider what effect his past had on him. He does, however, state firmly that what he's doing can't be excused.
The Unfavorite: To his father, Al. Oddly for the trope, there is no favorite; Mu was an only child, but he looked too much like his mom. So Dad locked him away and cloned himself. And treated the clone like crap as well.
Originally an Ensign on the Archangel, she graduates to Murrue's Number Two after the attack on Heliopolis. Harder and more pragmatic than Murrue, Badgiruel remains loyal to the Earth Forces, and is eventually named captain of the Archangel'sEvil Counterpart, the Dominion. A professional soldier, she buries any doubts she has behind her ironclad faith in the military, even when forced to work with MurutaAzrael and his squad.
Badass Normal: In much the same vein as Murrue Ramius, proving that as a ship captain she's more than capable of taking on supposedly superior Coordinators.
The Captain: Was briefly acting captain of the Archangel, before passing the role to Ramius. She later becomes the actual captain of the Dominion.
Voice Actors: Isshin Chiba (Japanese), Philip Pacaud (English)
The soft spoken helmsman of the Archangel, Mr. Neumann is one of the unsung heroes of the show. Taking on a leadership role among the ship's NCO's in times of crisis, Neumann's greatest contribution to the survival of the Archangel is without a doubt his insane piloting skills.
Badass: Hell yeah! He's the main reason—more so than Kira, or La Flaga, or Ramius—that the Archangel hasn't been sunk.
Badass Normal: The best helmsman of the Cosmic Era, Natural or Coordinator.
Hidden Depths: Neumann keeps to himself and rarely speaks, but when the Archangel is in lockdown aboard Artemis, he's the one who rallies the crew and organises the breakout. Supplementary materials suggest that he may have had a crush on Natarle Badgiruel as well.
Improbable Piloting Skills: Good Lord yes! This man flies a several thousand tonne battleship as though it were a freaking fighter plane. Doing a barrel roll to point the ship's guns down or circumvent an enemy battleship? No problem. Recovering from a botched atmospheric re-entry? Not even worth a mention. Dodging beams and guided missiles alike between the time they are fired and the time they reach his ship (many times maneuvering so quickly it looks like the crew would surely be turned to red paste against the walls)? All in a day's work.
Love Hurts: In some of the video games based on SEED it is revealed that Neumann had a thing for the Archangel's Number Two, Badgiruel. This means that he had to help kill her when Ramius ordered the Dominion sunk. Ouch.
Voice Actors: Naoki Tatsuta (Japanese), Richard Newman (English)
"Firing on retreating men? You're a damn disgrace Le Creuset."
The commander of the EA's 08th Fleet, Admiral Lewis Halberton was the commisioner and mastermind behind the G-Weapons' project that created the Gundams. A capable battlefield commander, and a mentor Captain Ramius, Halberton is one of the few high-ranking OMNI officials to have any sympathy for the Coordinators, and Kira Yamato in particular.
Badass: Leads his troops in person from his flagship, the Menelaus, and will not demand they make any sacrifices he isn't willing to make.
Meaningful Name: Not Halberton himself, but his ship, the Menelaus, which is named after a Greek king, whose wife was kidnapped, starting a war. Given that SEED opens with the G-weapons that Halberton had built being stolen, it seems likely that this is more then a coincidence.
The Mentor: To Captain Ramius, who was one of his students at the military academy.
"Misunderstandings create enemies, and when you have enemies, you shoot them."
The leader of the anti-Coordinator terrorist group Blue Cosmos and a powerful figure in the Atlantic Federation. Boyish. Charming. Takes his evil Up to Eleven. He joins the crew of the Dominion with his squad of modified soldiers, more or less subverting Badgiruel's position as captain. Killed when the Dominion is destroyed in combat with the Archangel.
Ax-Crazy: You get hints about just how crazy he is throughout the show. Then the last few episodes hit and holycrap.
Bad Boss: Controls Shani, Clotho, and Orga through drug addiction, and everyone else through fear. Really starts to show after his Villainous Breakdown.
Big Bad Wannabe: A truly nasty—and very competent—one. He's the real leader of the Earth Forces and would be The Big Bad if Rau Le Creuset weren't in the story. It's worth noting that of all the contenders for this title in the series he is without a doubt the most evil.
Big Bad Ensemble: Subverted. It appears that the plot is coming down to the war between him and Patrick Zala but in reality they're both Unwitting Pawns of Rau Le Creuset.
Bigger Bad: In the Destiny spinoff, Stargazer where he, and then Djibril, take on this role vis a vis Sven Cal Bayan.
Bishōnen: Which accounts for his ridiculous popularity with the female fanbase.
Evil Is Petty: A condescending sexist and all around jerk, as well as a genocidal madman. Better yet, even his genocidal intentions are rooted, not in ideology, but in childhood grudges. He's petty all through.
Evil Laugh: Gives an epic one when he receives the plans to ZAFT's defenses and N-Jammer Cancellers.
Expy: It's not as obvious as with Patrick, but Azrael's charismatic personality, dynamic leadership, public popularity, and utter goddamn sociopathy are all derived from Mobile Suit Gundam's Gihren Zabi. They even share a passion for overkill and Weapons Of Mass Destruction. In the meanwhile, his appearance, enthusiasm, excitableness, creepy interactions with women, and manipulation of the Extended, all call to mind Gihren's clone/bastard son Glemmy Toto
Final Solution: Plans to nuke the Plants, ending the war, and killing every Coordinator in existence in the process.
Freudian Excuse: See above. Subverted in that it is intended to make him more despicable, not less.
He-Man Woman Hater: Has some aspects of this. He's openly contemptuous of Badgiruel after finding out she's a woman, condescends to her because of her gender ("Listen to me, woman!") and is the only character in-series to use the word "bitch" to describe a female character.
Hypocrite: Genetically modifying fetus' to create Born Winners is evil! Using drugs and mental torture to create Super Soldiers out of children is not! It's also hinted that his hatred of Coordinators is a case of Driven by Envy, making him an even bigger hypocrite.
Psychopathic Manchild: Azrael's smarter then most characters of this type, but still has the attitude, reacting like a spoiled child when he doesn't get his way. "You'll pay for treating me like this!"
Smug Snake: Ungodly arrogant, and self-assured to the point of suicidal overconfidence. It's worth noting that simply holding a conversation with him can be a trying experience for characters like Badgirel.
The Sociopath: Hits every requirement on the checklist. Heck, just read the page quote.
Sore Loser: Goes out ranting and screaming about how he always wins.
Stepford Smiler: Type C. An odd example in that he's not hiding his evil (which is public knowledge), but just how unstable he is.
Straw Hypocrite: It's heavily implied that Azrael's muggle power rhetoric is just that; his real motivation is jealousy and childhood grudges.
We Have Reserves: Azrael doesn't give a damn about casualties, and goes so far as to classify Shani, Cortho, and Orga as equipment, rather than soldiers, making them totally expendable. After GENESIS is revealed, he still prioritises destroying the colonies over stopping GENESIS and saving the world.
Western Terrorists: Blue Cosmos got its start as a terror group that assassinated prominent Coordinators, and despite Azrael's public legitimacy, he's still one of these at heart.
Would Hit a Girl: Bitch slaps Flay, tries to strangle Badgiruel, and then empties his gun into her.
Captain William Sutherland
Voice Actors: Minoru Inaba (Japanese), Ron Halder (English)
"For the preservation of our blue and natural Earth!"
The one in the centre
A member of the OMNI General Staff and a card-carrying member of Blue Cosmos, Captain Sutherland is a key member of Azrael's network and provides his link to the upper echelons of the Earth Forces' military. The mastermind behind the use of the Cyclops system at JOSH-A, Sutherland sees to it that the worst of Azrael's proposals are made a reality by the military.
Armchair Military: Surprisingly, no. Sutherland is every inch the Obstructive Bureaucrat in terms of personality, but at the Battle of Jachin Due he's on the frontlines in the Earth Forces' flagship, The Doolittle.
Knight Templar: The most charitable interpretation of his character. Unlike Azrael (who's Driven by Envy) he genuinely seems to believe that the Coordinators need to be exterminated in order to save the Naturals.
Non-Action Guy: He's a General Staff officer, so he doesn't become personally involved in combat. His willingness to go to the front captaining The Doolittle keeps him out of Armchair Military territory though.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: He acts as one during his initial appearance, where he heads the investigation into the Archangel's actions, and even after his Insane Admiral status is unveiled, clearly has the heart and soul of a pencil-pusher. The absoultely banal nature of his evil provides for a sharp contrast with his flamboyant boss; he's essentially Adolf Eichmann to Azrael's Adolf Hitler.
Oh Crap: Immediately before being blown up by Yzak.
Weapons Of Mass Destruction: He's the one who decided to use the Cyclops system, and turns the key to activate it, while giving a little speech about preserving the Earth's purity.
We Have Reserves: Like his boss, Sutherland doesn't care too much about individual lives. At JOSH-A he deliberately sacrifices the lives of thousands of his allies in order to halt ZAFT and weaken Eurasia's influence.
Three "biological CPUs" brought in by Azrael to pilot his shiny new Gundams during the attack on Orb, Clotho Buer, Orga Sabnak, and Shani Andras are the Earth Alliance's most powerful weapons during the final weeks of the war. Fed a steady stream of drugs that are both performance enhancing and highly addictive, it's unclear whether this is what drove them nuts or if they were always that way. Regardless, the trio are capable of taking on Coordinators in superior mobile suits toe-to-toe and coming out on top more often than not, despite being completely and utterly psychotic. Clotho pilots the Raider; his primary hobby outside of battle is playing Shmups, and he's fond of shouting gaming-inspiring phrases like "game over!" in combat. Orga is assigned to the Calamity; outside of battle, he's usually found reading paperback novels. Shani pilots the Forbidden, and spends his downtime ignoring the rest of the world by listening to music on his headphones. He cultivates his Peek-a-Bangs to hide his heterochromia.
Ax-Crazy: At least in combat; outside of battle they tend to ignore everyone around them. Shani is probably the worst.
Flawed Prototype: They manage to be this and Super Prototype at the same time. While it's true that they have far superior combat skills to their successors in the Extended, they're also highly unstable emotionally, cannot be trusted with any jobs outside of piloting, and have a two hour time limit on combat that is absolutely crippling when it comes to usability. The later versions essentially swap out the better piloting skills for increased loyalty and versatility, and a far longer time limit (they only have to be maintained once a day).
Lack of Empathy: All three have got it bad. Clotho views it all as some sort of real-life video game, Orga doesn't care who he mows down with his BFGs and Shani... Shani's an out-and-out psycho who kills enemy soldiers for fun.
Peek-a-Bangs: Shani's help to enhance his rather emo appearance when he's out of combat.
Power Trio: Orga's the Ego, Clotho's the Superego, and Shani's the Id, although all three are certifiably insane.
Psycho Prototypes: It's revealed in the sequel that they are the forerunners of the Extended program. The Extended might have issues, but compared to these three, they're pillars of stability. Arguably an example of a Super Prototype as well given their better combat record.
Psycho Serum: Used partly to increase combat performance and partly to ensure loyalty; the effects of withdrawal are fatal, precluding any attempt at desertion.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: None of them are team players, which occasionally devolves into them fighting each other instead of their enemy. Orga is rather careless about what he's shooting at, Clotho hates it when his teammates need to hitch a ride on his flight-capable Gundam, and Shani prefers to ignore his teammates' existence entirely during combat. Still, when they do cooperate, it really sucks to be the other guy.
Transforming Mecha: Raider switches between a normal MS mode and an almost bird-like flight mode, while The Forbidden features a retractable superstructure and deflector shields.
Vitriolic Best Buds: They may not like each other very much, but they hate the rest of the world far more, and are pretty dependent on one another for emotional stability. When Shani dies, the other two freak.
The group representing the Coordinators living in the PLANTs, its military arm is the primary antagonist at the beginning of the series. Fighting for independence from the Earth nations that built the PLANTs they live in, their fight is far more complicated than an idealistic crusade against tyranny. Their presentation changes drastically during the course of the series, managing to become both more and less sympathic at the same time.
"Suspicion, ignorance, prejudice, the dark emotions directed at those who can be loved. If love is the brightest light, then are these emotions created from the shadow it casts? Things that are different, things we don't understand, differences that foster anxiety, leading to hatred, and ultimately...confrontation."
Athrun's commanding officer and Patrick Zala's right-hand man, Le Creuset is a feared ZAFT ship captain and mobile suit pilot, renowned for his ability and his ruthlessness. He is assigned to hunt down the Archangel, and is later given command of the assaults on Alaska and Panama, and the defence of Jachin Due. Aways masked, Le Creuset is an enigmatic figure with a grudge against Mu La Flaga. He is eventually revealed to be a clone of Mu La Flaga's father, created to be a perfect "son". This doesn't work out very well; he inherits a serious case of Cloning Blues, manifesting physically as premature aging due to shortened telomeres. This eventually leads him to decide that he is in a uniquely objective position to judge humanity as a whole. He finds them wanting, and decides that he will engineer the self-destruction of the entire human race, a goal he has been working towards since the start of the series. A very dangerous man, Rau originally pilots a series of Elite Mook mobile suits, but eventually upgrades to the Providence.
Ace Custom: Flies several heavily modified mobile suits, all of them painted white. These include a high-manouvere GINN, a CGUE command suit, a DINN, and one of the new production GuAIZ's, which had just come off the line, and incorporates an OS based on the one in the stolen Gundams.
Ace Pilot: One of the few Snipers in Gundam, fighting all of his battles at a distance, and to lethal effect.
Alertness Blink: Experiences a Newtype Flash whenever Mu La Flaga is within a few kilometers. It's one of the few things that point to their having newtype-like abilities.
Badass: To the point where he can fight Kira on an even footing.
Badass Normal: He may be a clone of Al La Flaga, but that doesn't give him any special abilities- aside from the hints that he and La Flaga may be Newtypes (see Alertness Blink above). Yet he's still good enough to fake being a Coordinator.
Beam Spam: He manages to out-spam Kira while piloting the Providence.
Break Them by Talking: Rau makes a habit of this — particularly with Flay, Mu, and Kira. His effectiveness varies.
Broken Ace: A villainous example, to say the least.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's not so much "quirky" as he tends to act on his own initiative more than his superiors might wish. And then there's the whole "constantly wearing a mask" thing. Damned if he doesn't get results, though.
The Chessmaster: He beautifully orchestrates events so that the Earth Alliance will fire nuclear weapons and ZAFT will fire GENESIS.
Cloning Blues: More psychological than anything else, though see below. He believes that he has no real identity, and a result his sense of self-worth is more than a little damaged.
Clone Degeneration: Rau's telomeres are too short, leaving him effectively dying of old age at 28 years old. He's forced to take increasingly large doses of drugs to counteract this, and is subject to seizures at irregular intervals as his body breaks down.
Enigmatic Minion: To Patrick Zala. From the beginning it's clear that Le Creuset has his own agenda, but just what that agenda is remains a secret until the end of the series.
Evil Counterpart: To no fewer than three characters: Mu (as his cloned "brother" and fellow Mentor), Kira (they're both results of Genetic Engineering experiments, with Le Creuset showing how badly Kira could have turned out if he hadn't ben raised by the right people), and Lacus (on a purely philosophical level).
Freudian Excuse: Was cloned by a Jerk Ass father whose first words upon seeing his new son were "this is me, right?" Said father went on to abandon and possibly abuse him. Add in his Clone Degeneration, and the fact that he's a dying man at twenty-eight, and his actions become much more understandable, if not excusable.
Manipulative Bastard: Beautifully manipulates everyone, from his subordinates to his superiors to his enemies, to further his goals.
Man in White: His suit is white, he flies white mobile suits and there's something very off about him.
Meaningful Name: "Le Creuset" is French for "crucible". Doubly meaningful, as he chose the name himself once he discovered what he was.
Mercy Kill: Seems to believe he's performing one on the human species as a whole.
Mid-Season Upgrade: Le Creuset upgrades his suits throughout the show, starting with a Ginn High Manouvere Type, than flying a CGUE, a DINN, and the first of the new GuAIZs. It's not until the finale, however, that he gains a Gundam, in the form of the Providence.
Mighty Glacier: Averted. The Providence is big and slow, but the speed with which the Dragoons move more than counterbalances this defect, and as his sword-fight with Kira shows, the suit's still quick where it counts.
The Unreveal: Done in the televised show whenever he's shown maskless, even when the protagonists get to see his face. Even in the Compilation Movie, his face is only ever shown in one shot, and for just a few seconds at that. There isn't even anything odd about his face, which is the point. He only wears the mask to cover the face of the man he was cloned from, the man he despises most in the world.
Villainous Breakdown: Inverted. Previously calm and collected, Le Creuset suffers from some seriousSanity Slippage in the final episodes, due to his belief that his plan has succeeded. After all, if it's all going to end, why pretend to be sane anymore?
The captain of the Vesalius, Ades is Le Creuset's right-hand man and a capable officer in his own right. Sometimes taken aback by Le Creuset's penchant for acting without orders, Ades nevertheless follows his superior's instructions loyally. Despite his secondary role on the ship, he seems to command the respect of the Le Creuset team's pilots. Goes down with his ship when the Eternal destroys the Vesalius
"I can't exactly fight a war with a big smile on my face."
Kira's former best friend and one of ZAFT's elite pilots, he spends the first half of the show trying to capture Kira and the Strike. Much more cynical than Kira, he considers himself the realist of the two, and believes Kira is being manipulated by the Naturals. He too grow progressively darker and more bitter as the series progresses, culminating in a brutal fight between he and Kira in the middle of the series. Afterwards he slowly recovers, pulls a Heel-Face Turn, and ends up dating Kira's sister, Cagalli. Pilots the Aegis and then the Justice.
Ace Pilot: Like Kira, he quickly reaches this status.
Anti-Villain: Though not a bad person by any stretch, he's still trying to capture Kira and destroy the Archangel, until he joins the heroes later in the story.
Arranged Marriage: With Lacus Clyne, as set up by their respective fathers. They both seem okay with the arrangement, even if it does end up becoming a moot point when they both fall for other people.
Badass: Few of the people in this series can survive a fight with Kira. Athrun regularly goes one on one with him, and darn near kills him a couple of times.
Mutual Kill: Narrowly averted during his and Kira's midseason throwdown.
My God, What Have I Done?: Though he "wins" the final fight against Kira and the Strike he was very shaken up by the event and it caused him to begin questioning what he was really fighting for. eventually lead to his Heel-Face Turn.
Sky Surfing: With the Justice, when it's in Earth's atmosphere.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: He's quieter about it than Kira, but yeah. The war slowly wears away at the better aspects of Athrun's personality, and by the time the sequel comes along he is pretty damn broken.
Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Repeatedly accuses Kira of being impressionable and idealistic, and refuses to believe that his and Lacus' idealism will solve anything in the long run. This changes after the revelation that he's the one being used.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Shown in flashbacks and invoked by Lacus. The bitter and cynical Athrun we all know and love is rather different from the nice kid who believed Earth and the PLANTS would never go to war.
"Well Done, Son!" Guy: While he sincerely wishes to end the war with as few victims as possible, he also fights to earn the approval of his father, whose own agenda is much less benevolent. This clouds his judgement from time to time. Lacus calls him out on it towards the end of the series.
"Come out and fight, Strike! Or else this pain I feel will never go away!"
A member of the Le Creuset team, he's the most bloodthirsty and callous of the group. He has little respect for anyone he considers weak, and absolutely zero respect for Naturals as a consequence. He's close friends with Dearka, who shares many of his views, and has a developing rivalry with Athrun. He has no particular hate for the Earth Alliance (just contempt) until he's wounded during a battle with the Strike. After the resulting scarring, he develops a massive hate-on for Kira. Extremely temperamental and impulsive, he's the member of the group most loyal to ZAFT as a whole and Le Creuset personally. Pilots the Duel.
Badass: It's easy to forget just how good Yzak is. He goes toe-to-toe with Kira regularly, kills two Super Soldiers in the finale, saves Cagali's life and even takes down Captain Sutherland, all while using a first generation Gundam.
Even Evil Has Standards: While not very high standards, he still has them. He is ok with shooting down a fleeing enemy shuttle (after all, the enemy that runs away will come back to fight you another day), but shooting down the enemy when they are helpless and trying to surrender? That makes him frown. After all, if you kill surrendering enemies, the rest will fight To The Death, making your job much harder and costing you more casualties.
He's genuinely upset in the sequel when he discovers that the shuttle he thought was filled with fleeing soldiers was actually filled with civilians, commenting that he probably should have been killed for that.
Expy: His character design bears a striking resemblance to Henri Claytor from another one of Fukuda's series Future GPX Cyber Formula (sans the red streak on the strand of the bangs). He's also got a lot in common with Zeta Gundams Jerid Messa, in terms of his characterisation as a Hot-Blooded pilot who Can't Catch Up, and has the personality of a stereotypical Jerk Jock. Also like Jerid, Yzak initially serves to remind us that his side are the villains with his aggressive, vicious behaviour, only for the situation to change so much that by the end, he's serving as a reminder that some of them are human beings.
Kick the Dog: He has a few, such as mocking Nicol as a coward early in the series. His biggest is undoubtedly when he destroys a shuttle full of refugees during atmospheric reentry for being in his way, though in his (partial) defense, he didn't know it was filled with civilians.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: The Duel featurs a shield. Yzak's not a big fan of it (preferring to dual wield) but it saves his life during his encounter with Shani.
My Beloved Smother: To a slight degree, though mostly justified by the fact that the few interactions we see between them is just after Yzak has returned from the front lines and will be heading back into combat soon.
Murder by Mistake: He thought the shuttle he shot down was filled with fleeing OMNI personnel, and doesn't find out until after the war that they were civillians. Still a war crime, but not nearly as bad a one.
Politically Incorrect Villain: He's certainly picked up some of his mom's Fantastic Racism. Unlike Ezalia, however, Yzak's manifests more as contempt for the Naturals than out-and-out hatred, and when he finds out about the Final Solution she and Patrick Zala have cooked up he's less than happy. By the sequel he's pretty much over it.
A member of Athrun's team, he, along with Yzak Joule, formed the darker half of the foursome. Snarky and condescending at times, he eventually defects to the Three Ships Alliance after being captured mid-show, when he realises that Naturals are people too. Pilots the Buster.
The Brute/The Big Guy: While he's no dummy, he fills this role in Le Creuset's Five-Bad Bandand later the Three Ships Alliance. With his BFG and heavily armoured mecha, Dearka is set to do some serious damage.
The youngest and most sensitive member of the Le Creuset Team. He looks up to Athrun, but is often bullied by Dearka and (especially) Yzak. He pilots the Blitz, and pulls his weight in combat despite the fact that he's not as skilled as the rest of the team. A genuinely Nice Guy, Nicol's only real character flaw seems to be his belief in My Country, Right or Wrong. He's eventually killed by Kira before his climatic battle with Athrun.
Anti-Villain: More so than the rest of the Le Creuset Team, even.
The Other Darrin: Mami Matsui retired from voice acting after SEED wrapped, so Nichol has been played by Romi Park in every appearance since.
The So-Called Coward: Yzak calls him a coward and he's mostly quiet, self-effacing and unsure of himself as well as more reliant on technology than the others, but he soloed Artemis by himself. Yes, he earned that red uniform.
Token Good Teammate: He lacks Athrun's cynicism, Dearka's snark, and Yzak's anger issues, making him the only member of the team who's even remotely capable of being objective. See The Dark Chick, above.
"I'd like you to inform them: from now on, Lacus Clyne will be singing the song... of peace."
The daughter of PLANT Supreme Council Chairman Siegel Clyne, Lacus is an extremely popular Idol Singer and political activist, and is engaged to her friend Athrun. Early in the series she is picked up by the Archangel and meets Kira, an event which will come to define the rest of her life. She eventually abandons ZAFT after her father's assassination, waging a propaganda war (and then a physical one) against Chairman Zala. The public face of her father's moderate political stance, the "Clyne Faction", and later the Three Ships Alliance, Lacus is a pleasant, friendly, idealistic girl, who is a heck of a lot smarter than you'd think.
All-Loving Hero: She holds no grudges and instead shows compassion to everyone.
Guile Heroine: Necessary, given that she's not a combatant of any type. Between her father's political allies and her own status as an Idol Singer, she's got... resources.
Establishing Character Moment: Two very important ones early on in the show. First, asking Mu if he knows her father because he mentioned his name, giving us the impression she is ditzy and a little too innocent. The second, and far more important, happens two episodes later, where she reprimands Rau of all people for trying to start a battle, showing us that she is more than she appears.
Obfuscating Stupidity: More like "Obfuscating Innocence", her biggest advantage is that virtually everyone underestimates her. While it's never stated, it's hard to believe that she didn't deliberately cultivate that image.
▄bermensch: Begins her trek towards this status in SEED, reaching it in Destiny. While everyone else tries to play by the cynical, realpolitik of the Cosmic Era, Lacus flat out rejects the premise, choosing intstead to overhaul the series' morality and try for something better.
"We Coordinators are very different. We should view ourselves as a completely new species. There's no reason to coexist with Naturals."
Athrun's father, Patrick Zala was one of the founding members of ZAFT alongside Siegel Clyne. At the beginning of the series, he's the head of ZAFT's armed forces. Patrick is a stoic but driven man, throwing himself into the execution of the war to the exclusion of all else — including his son. Patrick's fanaticism comes from the loss of his wife Lenore in the Bloody Valentine tragedy, which has left him with a deep-seated hatred of Naturals. He believes that Coordinators are a new species, distinct from (and superior to) Naturals. He eventually replaces Siegel Clyne as the PLANT Supreme Council Chairman, at which point he has Clyne assassinated and enacts his plan to wipe out the Naturals entirely. At the end of the war, he is killed by an underling to prevent him from destroying Earth.
Final Solution: He intends to fire Genesis at Earth, wiping out all the Naturals.
General Ripper: What happens when one of them becomes Supreme Council Chairman.
The Generalissimo: Continues to appear in his uniform as Chairman, and effectively transforms ZAFT into a military dictatorship, using the army to suppress all dissent.
Glorious Leader: Becomes closer and closer to the archetype as the show progresses and he becomes convinced that only he can save his people.
Hoist by His Own Petard: When his Bad Boss tendencies backfire on him. He shoots one of his underlings for questioning his orders. Said underling, wounded but alive, draws his own sidearm and kills Zala with it.
In the Back: Shot from behind by a man he failed to kill.
Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: They keep setting you up to think that Patrick's going to show his nice side, only to promptly dissapoint you.
Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: First he runs against, and defeats, his old friend and former political ally for the position of PLANT Supreme Council Chairman. Then he has said friend framed for treason and assassinated. It only gets worse from there.
A Nazi by Any Other Name: Brags about Coordinators being a Master Race that deserves to rule the world? Plots the genocide of his Natural adversaries? Wins an election and then promptly suspends the democratic process? Why yes, he is a Nazi. In fact, he's basically Adolf HitlerIN SPACE!
Start of Darkness: It's implied that he was a warmer father figure and a better human being prior to Lenore's death at Junius 7.
Superior Species: Convinced that Coordinators are far superior to "unevolved" Naturals.
Unwitting Pawn: Though less of a pawn than most, Rau Le Creuset is using him to help drive humanity to extinction.
What the Hell, Dad?: Patrick treats Athrun like any other subordinate, except when he's making sure that Athrun lives up to his high standards. Athrun seems to hold him no ill will, however; it may be that he was a warmer father figure prior to the Bloody Valentine tragedy.
"You still fail to grasp the underlying truth, Patrick. We [Coordinators] didn't evolve."
Siegel Clyne is Lacus's father. He helped found ZAFT with Patrick Zala, and is the PLANT Supreme Council Chairman at the beginning of the series. Leader of the moderate faction of Coordinators, he and his allies believe in coexistence with the Naturals, but they're steadily losing ground to the radical faction favoring all-out war. Eventually voted out of office and replaced by Patrick Zala, he is soon thereafter assassinated by his successor.
Yzak's mother, and a member of Patrick Zala's faction on the ZAFT Supreme Council, Ezalia is his second-in-command, and is even more ardent than Patrick in her belief that Coordinators are a new, superior species. Proud of her son's military service, Ezalia nevertheless worries about his safety, and can be quite controlling — if well-meaning — in her interactions with Yzak.
Absurdly Youthful Mother: She's 33. Her son, Yzak, is 16. That means she was 17 when she gave birth to him. In real life, it's unlikely for a woman like this to have success in politics. In a country with an aggressive pro-birth policy, it makes sense.
Dissonant Serenity: Patrick rants and raves about how the Naturals have to be exterminated. Ezalia takes it as a simple fact.
"At what point do we put an end to [war]? When every single one of your enemies has been destroyed? Perhaps then."
Known as "the Desert Tiger", Waltfeld is a feared ZAFT commander operating in the Libyan desert. He serves as the first major opponent Kira faces other than Athrun and his team, and poses a serious threat to the Archangel and her crew, despite being a pretty decent guy. Meeting him forces Kira to further reevaluate his moral stance on the war. Apparently killed in combat with Kira, an event that pretty much pushes the kid over the edge, he eventually resurfaces as the captain of Lacus's ship, the Eternal, and pulls a Heel-Face Turn.
Noble Demon: Burns down a town after letting the civillians evacuate, leaves the areas he's conquered in relative peace, lets Kira and Cagalli escape when he could have captured them... it's no wonder he couldn't stomach the Zala regime.
Shout-Out: To Erwin Rommel. Has a nickname similar to "The Desert Fox", not to mention being courteous and honorable to his enemies. Bonus points for the fact he even gives the civilians of a town time to evacuate before leveling it, which is something Rommel would have done.
"You're taking this rather well. This is difficult for you, isn't it? I can tell you're really fond of him."
Girlfriend of Andrew Waldfeld, the Desert Tiger, and a capable pilot in her own right. Just as sympathetic a character as Andy, she's rather friendly toward Kira and Cagalli when they encounter each other. She's killed in action by Kira.
Deadpan Snarker: When she's not being sweet and understanding, she's making full use of her snarking abilities. Her best moment is probably her response to Yzak's claim that he and Dearka have more experience against the Strike than she and Waldfeld do: "Losing experience doesn't count."
An island nation in the Pacific, Orb has a high-tech industrial base but little in the way of resources; they built Heliopolis primarily as a way to mitigate this strategic weakness. A very idealistic nation, their stance in international politics is one of aggressive neutrality; though they will not attack others, they will vigorously defend themselves against any attacks. The war between the Earth Alliance and ZAFT has strained this position to its breaking point, especially after the destruction of Heliopolis.
"That's right, I'm a girl. What is it with you guys?"
The adopted daughter of Uzumi Nara Atha, Chief Representative of the Orb Union. Also a rebel leader, guerilla soldier, and a capable, if brash, politician. Hates ZAFT and distrusts the Earth Forces. Eventually revealed to be Kira's twin sister. She provides the military backbone of the Three Ships' Alliance. Pilots a Skygrasper and then the Strike Rouge.
Nice Girl: Violent tendecies notwithstanding, Cagalli is the first person to be unambiguously kind to Kira in the series, without professional distance or ulterior motives; notably in the form of a much needed hug when he was on the verge of a suicidal breakdown. She is also consistently considerate, warm hearted, compassionate, and openly expresses kindness without consideration to maturity or social appropriateness.
She Cleans Up Nicely: Not that she was ever considered ugly, mind you, but get her in a dress and not scowl about it and she goes from cute in a Tomboy-ish way to really beautiful (as the 3rd and 4th Openings show).
Super Mode: The only Natural to activate SEED mode.
"We can't leave Orb, or this world, in the hands of those bastards."
The leader of Orb and Cagalli's adopted father, Lord Uzumi is completely dedicated to maintaining Orb's neutral stance. This becomes ever more difficult as the war spirals out of control. Faced with increasing pressure to choose a side in the ZAFT-Earth Alliance conflict, he refuses to compromise his nation's ideals. In the end, he commits suicide in the process of self-destructing Orb's mass driver to keep it out of the Earth Alliance's hands.
"I have a body capable of greater strengths and a brain capable of acquiring greater knowledge than a human being who was born naturally."
The original Coordinator, he gained international fame and fortune excelling at basically everything ever (from professional sports to cutting-edge scientific research); he eventually revealed that his spectacular success was largely due to having been genetically engineered. He released instructions for his enhancement process to the public, inadvertently coining the term "Coordinator" at the same time. Eventually assassinated by Blue Cosmos.In the Gundam SEED Astray side stories it is revealed that his brain was kept alive inside the "GG Unit", a device resembling a very large futuristic boombox, which eventually came into the possession of the Junk Guild. Equipped with a holographic avatar to interact with the living, Glenn now serves as the captain of the salvage ship/Gundam carrier Re-Home.
The Ace: A brief overview of the man's accomplishments: earning a PhD from MIT at 17, winning a silver medal at the Olympics, becoming a football star, an ace air force pilot, and a world-renowned aerospace engineer (in that order), travelling to Jupiter and back in a ship of his own design (releasing the information on how to make Coordinators to the public as he left), and designing the PLANTs during his free time on the trip. George Glenn is The AceUp to Eleven.
My God, What Have I Done?: In the Astray series Glenn expresses regrets over the events he started by revealing the process to make Coordinators. Resulting in racism, war and genocide. He also regrets that people took his term "coordinators" to name genetic engineered humans, since it was never meant to name a race but simply people who can lead humanity into a better future which is not related to their genes.
Too Cool to Live: An in-universe example. People were so pissed at how awesome he was that they assassinated him!
Virtual Ghost: Though technically still alive, Glenn's only physical presence aside from the unwieldy life-support system containing his brain is an Arnold Rimmer-style holographic projection of his old self in a captain's uniform, complete with goofy white skipper hat.
A blind monk who is one of the few individuals trusted by both the Earth Alliance and ZAFT, he acts as a mediator on the rare occasions that the two sides get along well enough to discuss anything. Among other things, he also maintains an orphanage on Earth. Responsible for smuggling Kira into the PLANTs after his climatic battle with Athrun, he turns out to be a staunch ally of the Clyne faction.
"Laws can be broken after all. They're only made by humans."
Mu La Flaga's deceased father. He considered his son too weak to be his true heir, and is later revealed to have cloned himself in an effort to gain a more worthy successor. He went on to deny said clone (Le Creuset) any sense of identity, which ended with his death in a "mysterious" fire. Whoops.
Above Good and Evil: How he saw himself. If the few quotes we have from him are a fair representation, he honestly seems to have thought he was something more than merely human.
Abusive Dad: Anyone who effectively disowns his young son because said son has his mother's genes is not going to win any Father of the Year awards, to say nothing of his treatment of Rau.
Narcissist: In fact his abusive style of parenting is what psyciatrists terms "narcissistic abuse." He disowned Mu for daring to be something more than a vehicle for his own ego, and upon seeing his clone, the first words out of his mouth are "this is me, right?" Al seems to have been incapable of viewing people as anything more than extensions of his own personality, and that's without getting into his delusions ofgrandeur.
Posthumous Character: Dies years before the series begins, but is nontheless an enormous part of the plot, given that he not only inadvertently created the Big Bad, but also funded the Ultimate Coordinator project, the process that eventually led to Kira and Cagalli's births.
Pride: In addition to being a textbook narcissist, Al's hubris knew no bounds. Le Creuset calls him out on it posthumously in a rant to Mu.
"The urge to make things better has always driven progress, and then that is what brings about happiness."
A very brilliant, very ambitious, and totally amoral scientist who was behind the Ultimate Coordinator project. He also cloned Al Da Flaga and created Rau Le Creuset (And Rey Za Burrel. And other cloned kids, who ultimately died). And then we see that the subject of the Ultimate Coordinator project... was one of his kids.
Abusive Dad: How abusive? When he needed a test subject for the project, he used one of his own soon-to-be-born twin babies... Kira Yamato.
Ulen Hibiki's wife, also implied to be his scientific partner. She does have standards, though, as she's horrified when he goes too far with his experiments — especially if they involve their own babies...