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Crew of the Minerva

    Shinn Asuka 

Main mecha: ZGMF-X56S Impulse Gundam, ZGMF-X42S Destiny Gundam

Voice Actors: Kenichi Suzumura (Japanese), Matthew Erickson (English)
"Do you want to start another one?! Another war?!"

The series' initial protagonist. His family was killed attempting to flee when the Earth Alliance invaded Orb during the First Bloody Valentine War; he became a refugee and ended up in the PLANTs. He blames Orb (and the Athha family in particular) for their deaths, and carries a lot of hatred for both. He joined ZAFT and became a Redcoat alongside Rey Za Burrel and Lunamaria Hawke as the pilot of the Impulse, the Minerva's flagship Gundam.

Shinn has a problem with authority figures in general; he tends to lash out at his immediate superiors and resents being given orders. Due to this, he relies heavily on his peers for support; Rey acts as his moral compass, while Lunamaria eventually provides him with much-needed emotional support.

Pilots the ZGMF-X56S Impulse, a Combining Mecha with three Silhouette Packs which specialize in one combat aspect, and then the ZGMF-X42S Destiny, an all-around Gundam that proves to be one of the most powerful in the show.

  • Accidental Pervert: Accidentally grabs Stella's chest in their first meeting.
  • Ace Pilot: Swiftly reaches this status, becoming one of ZAFT's highest-scoring aces of the Second Bloody Valentine War.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Destiny basically rolls all of the individual combat specializations of the three Silhouette Packs (or more visually, the three original Striker Packs) into one multi-purpose mobile suit.
  • Anti-Hero: He's not a bad kid, he just has a lot of issues, which consistently derail his attempts at being heroic..
  • Anti-Villain: One of the best examples in the Gundam franchise. No one does all the wrong things for all the right reasons like he does. He starts out as an antiheroic protagonist, shifts to an antagonistic, but not necessarily villainous figure once the perspective flip goes down, and then moves up to Well-Intentioned Extremist during the show's last act.
  • Astral Projection: Semi-standard for a Gundam show. He has a couple with Stella. At the end she tells him that he gave her a yesterday, and because of that she understands tomorrow; that's she's happy because of it, and she'll see him then.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: When Shinn becomes particularly enraged (which in turn usually drives him into SEED mode). Deconstructed as Shinn gradually undergoes Sanity Slippage and increasingly lapses into uncontrollable rage. Shinn can singlehandedly mow through hordes of grunt mobile suits and even a few Destroys, but against experienced pilots like Kira and Athrun he becomes more and more predictable, especially later on.
  • The Atoner: Implied at the end of Final Plus. More for what he became during the war rather than what he did.
  • Bash Brothers: With Rey, after acquiring the Destiny and the Legend, respectively; Shinn usually fights head-on, while Rey provides support. Often, the main reason Kira and Athrun is able to gain the upper hand against Shinn is because the two are separated.
  • Battle Boomerang: The Sword Impulse and the Destiny both possess two beam boomerangs to be thrown.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: This is a major theme with Shinn; he basically wanted to become strong because out of a desire to prevent tragedies like the one that took his family. However, Rey and Durandal's manipulations and his own inability to deal with his anger and bitterness gradually turn him into the kind of person that caused those tragedies in the first place. And he doesn't even realize it. He's called out on it during the final battle, which causes him to have a breakdown.
    Shinn: It's not the same! IT'S NOT!
  • The Berserker: Shinn is a very headstrong and very emotional young pilot, and as such, during battle he rushes headlong at his enemies (often without much regard for his own safety), relying on sheer aggression to win fights. As the series progresses and Shinn's mental stability degrades it arguably becomes a weakness when forced to fight equally skilled opponents like Kira and Athrun and he's still doing things like reckless, mad charges with his BFS, to the point that by his final duel with Athrun he's taken a massive mental nose-dive and loses the ability to tell between friend and foe.
  • BFG: The Blast Impulse and Destiny are equipped with powerful beam cannons.
  • BFS: The anti-ship swords, large physical blades with a beam generator across its length, is Shinn's preferred weapon of choice in combat. He is first shown dual-wielding them with the Sword Impulse; he would later switch to using just one with the Force Impulse and the Destiny.
  • Bigger Stick: The Destiny is superior to any mech the Earth Forces have, and allows Shinn to run rampant for a while. It thus comes as a rather nasty shock to him when the equally powerful Strike Freedom and Infinite Justice arrive on the battlefield.
  • Black-and-White Insanity: He's not insane per se, but his obsessive belief in Black-and-White Morality is certainly unhealthy, and is portrayed that way. Shinn's biggest problem is his inability to see anything in shades of grey. He and his friends are right, everyone else is wrong, and away we go. The root cause of this is his mess of anger issues; he gets wound up too damn fast and lets his feelings cloud his judgment.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Blast Impulse is equipped with two beam javelins.
  • Blinded by Rage: Shinn's SEED factor is always triggered by rage and he admits to feeling only a subconscious amount of control and awareness when it activates. This trope comes into full effect during the final battle when in his mad desperation to kill Athrun, Lunamaria gets between them hoping her presence will get the out-of-control Shinn to stop. She was wrong, but she was thankfully saved by Athrun.
  • Break the Haughty: Compare his attitude after disobeying orders to return Stella to Neo to that after her death an episode later. And there's his reactions once Kira and Athrun make their comeback and demolish his unchecked belief in his own superiority.
  • The Brute: Shinn really wouldn't know what "subtle" means even if it slapped him in the face. He's far from stupid, but favors brute force over anything else, and only resorts to tactics when he absolutely has to, making him the Brute to the Chairman's Big Bad and Rey's Dragon, post-perspective flip.
  • Character Development: Gets the most of any character in the series, almost all of it negative. He starts out as a relatively sympathetic Jerk with a Heart of Gold with anger and depression issues. But as the series progresses his personality conflict with Athrun, war-trauma, stress from his relationship with Stella, and inability to see beyond moral absolutes slowly eat away at his sanity. He becomes increasingly convinced of his own self-righteousness, even as he grows more unstable by the minute, and has to rely on Rey to justify his actions and Lunamaria to keep him from being completely consumed by rage. Stella's death and Athrun's defection finally break him, leaving him more susceptible to Rey and Durandal's manipulations than ever. When he loses his Sympathetic P.O.V., he is eventually shown the way the Archangel crew sees him: an Anti-Villain with lots of issues. It's not until the very end of the series when he realizes exactly how badly he's been acting all this time.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Subverted; while Shinn certainly favors close-range combat, his skills are flexible enough that he can effectively pilot the Impulse and its diverse Silhouette Packs as well as the Destiny and its versatile weapon set. This tendency really comes to bite him in the ass whenever he decides to fully embrace close combat over versatility in his fights against Athrun and the Infinite Justice. As the latter suit is a true Multi-Melee Master, Shinn plays right into its strengths rather than playing to the Destiny's strengths, resulting in him losing both fights.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When he's actually using his head in a fight Shinn's shown to be remarkably resourceful and has a good grasp of combat tactics. He makes good use of his equipment (such as Impulse's Silhouette packs), and can be surprisingly creative at times by coming up with unconventional uses for the resources at his disposal. note  Above all else he's driven, and willing to do whatever it takes to beat his opponents. Add access to SEED Mode and it can make him a very dangerous opponent. However, Shinn's volatile personality (and ego) prevent him from making full use of this, and goes out the window once he gets the "Destiny".
  • Combining Mecha: His Impulse is composed of three parts — Core Splendor, Chest Flyer and Leg Flyer, as well as the Silhouette Packs that change its combat capability.
  • Corporal Punishment: Shinn gets punched by Athrun twice — after disobeying orders, and after apparently killing Kira. Bragging about killing someone's best friend to their face is neither intelligent nor kind, Shinn. Of course, it backfires in that it basically just convinces Shinn that Athrun hates him.
  • Cry Cute: As unbelievable as it is, Shinn actually cries in the OVA epilogue when he meets face-to-face with Kira and Kira, despite the many times Shinn tried to kill him and the one time he very nearly did, offers to bury the hatchet and work together for building a better world.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Most of his character can be traced back to his family's — and in particular his little sister Mayu's — death.
  • Dark Is Evil: Major antagonist suits in Gundam SEED employ a downplayed version of this, wearing slightly darker shades of the iconic Gundam red, white, and blue (the white is replaced with grey, for instance). The Destiny, the suit Shinn gets after his Face–Heel Turn, is no exception.
  • Darth Vader Clone: Anakin Skywalker Clone, to be accurate. They're both young, talented fighters who eventually become well-respected and good at what they do. But he also develops a serious ego problem and insecurities, making him an easy target for manipulation by the Big Bad. Though unlike Anakin His Mentor/Rival, Athrun, stops him before he can cross the line. The way Athrun severed three-out-of-four of the Destiny's limbs in the final battle is even reminiscent to how Obi-wan dismembered Anakin in their climatic duel on Mustafar.
  • Dash Attack: His signature attack, and favorite tactic, is to Bonzai charge his opponent with his BFS (sometimes with the blade held in front of him like a skewer).
  • Death Glare: To the Hibiki siblings; Cagalli for daring to preach her father's and nation's ideals that failed to protect his family, and Kira (actually more towards the Freedom) for his constant interference and dominance on the battlefield. Also just about anyone that somehow draws Shinn's ire, which among the simplest tasks in this series.
  • Death Wail: Twice. When his family was killed and when Stella dies in his arms.
  • Decoy Protagonist: We follow Shinn for the first half of the series, learning to sympathize with him and his point of view. Then Durandal is outed as the villain, the POV shifts, and Kira and Athrun become the protagonists.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: How ZAFT and Shinn himself view his mid-season takedown of the Freedom.
  • Deflector Shield: Unlike the previous Gundam units, the Impulse is equipped with a shield enhanced with a beam deflecting forcefield, allowing it to bounce beam shots and defend against powerful attacks that mundane shields cannot effectively block. When Shinn feels like being creative, he often takes advantage of this by throwing the shield at the opponent and firing his beam rifle at it for a trick-shot.
  • Emo Teen: He's often accused of this by the fanbase and he certainly is very angsty. Then again, he has reasons for it and no one around him is helping him get over it.
  • Expy: Shinn owes a lot to Kamille Bidan of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, and more or less shows what the latter might have become without proper guidance, being swallowed by his anger issues instead of overcoming them. In fact, by the fourth arc of the series, Shinn ironically starts to become more like Kamille's rival Jerid Messa, becoming (more) arrogant, egotistical, and convinced of their own self-righteousness and the supposed "righteousness" of their respective sides.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He turns his back on his friends thanks to Durandal's manipulation.
  • Face Palm Of Doom: The Destiny has the "Palma Fiocina" palm beam cannon. Deconstructed somewhat in that the cannons don't have to be fired at point-blank range - the fact that Shinn never thinks to use it any other way (except once in the rerelease) says a lot about his mental state.
  • Fatal Flaw: Zigzaged in that Shinn is a flawed character, period. But from a narrative standpoint his tragic flaw, the one that eventually caused him to go over the edge, is his relationship with Stella. While understandable given his history, it leads to him getting involved in the darker consequences of warfare that Shinn was just not prepared to deal with. When it turned tragic Shinn snapped; the darker aspects of his personality got out of hand, particularly his Victim mentality, and allowed Durandal and Rey to take control of him.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Exploits Kira's need to not kill anybody during their mid-season showdown. Rey and the Chairman exploit Shinn's own insecurities to keep him on their side.
    • Kira himself actually pulls this back at Shinn later; during the their confrontation in Orb, Kira seems to pick up on Shinn's preference of just wildly slashing at him with his BFS and uses this knowledge to effectively deprive Shinn of his favorite weapon.
    • Completely used against him in his fights with Athrun in the Infinite Justice. The Destiny is meant to be a versatile Lightning Bruiser and its gear reflects this; however, Shinn can get too caught up in using his sword, to the point of ignoring the suits other features, especially when he's riled up. Athrun knows this and uses it to his advantage in the same way as Kira by removing it from Shinn's arsenal.
  • Freak Out: Late into the series, Shinn's issues are so out of control that Rey and Durandal's "guidance" is the only thing keeping him from having a breakdown. But when Duranda's good image starts to fall apart, so does Shinn. Things finally come to a head in the final battle when he engages in a duel with Athrun and the Infinite Justice... a fight that starts taking a real toll on his Mecha, and his sanity. The final nail comes when Athrun begins chewing him out for his hypocrisy and need to destroy. In a mad fit he tries to charge the Justice with one of the Destiny's palm cannonsnote  and is so far gone that when Luna jumps in an attempt to break up the fight, he nearly attacks her instead. When that happens Athrun realizes the time for sentiment is over. A few seconds later the ''Destiny'', now missing most of it's limbs, is sent careening into the surface of the moon with an unconscious Shinn still on board.
  • Freudian Excuse: His family died in front of him, he's never gotten any help for it, his superior officer is a Shell-Shocked Veteran with No Social Skills and his Only Friend is a Manipulative Bastard who doesn't want him to get better.
  • Freudian Trio: One of the only consistent group dynamics in the series; Shinn is the Id, Luna the Ego, and Rey the Superego.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Rey is less than thrilled when he appears to be getting closer to Luna. Luna doesn't do much fighting back though.
  • Foil: Shinn is what Athrun would've become had he chosen loyalty over conscience. There's also some parallels to how Kira could have become if he'd chosen emotion over reason or allowed himself to obsess over the past.
  • Genius Bruiser: Shinn's violent, aggressive, and favors a fighting style that's based all around brute force. At the same time, he's far from stupid, and demonstrates a knack for tactics and improvisation that can be surprising to his allies and enemies both.
  • Good Is Not Nice: ...Hoo boy. Shinn means well, but between his trauma and his general attitude he's not really capable of being nice about it (though he does Pet the Dog with Rey, Stella, and Luna), and even his attempts at winning people over frequently backfire (witness some of his interactions with Athrun).
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It's not hard to make Shinn lose his temper. The number of times he devolves into a berserk rage is actually a little disturbing.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Shinn is a damaged set of goods, and his pain fuels his rage in combat, letting him take on the likes of Athrun or Kira.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Whatever one thinks of his motivations or whether he was right or not, he ends up on Kira, Athrun, and Lacus's side at the end of Final Plus, after Kira, whom he met earlier at the very same place — a memorial to the victims of the OMNI invasion that killed his family — shook his hands and said that he's willing to forgive him and even invites him to fight alongside him.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Shinn is a versatile pilot that can effectively wield most MS weapons, but his favorites are definitely large anti-ship swords.
  • Heroic BSoD: Although whether he's "heroic" by the time it happens, or if he ever truly was, is arguable. When the Infinite Justice appears at Orb and Athrun contacts Shinn, the latter completely freezes up in disbelief - to the point that even fighting Kira is forgotten about. When he does finally regain cognition, the only thing he can do is mumble in shock that he'd already killed Athrun.
  • Heroic Wannabe: One of his subtler flaws. Shinn desperately wants to be a champion to those being subjugated by oppressive powers (i.e. the Earth Alliance), probably most evident during the battle in the Indian Ocean where he disobeyed orders to free some civilians trapped in the Earth Forces base. Shinn also craved recognition for his "heroism" as shown when he indulged the praise and veneration he was given by the Gulnahan villagers following his liberation of their settlement from the Earth Forces. It's ultimately how Durandal secures Shinn's loyalty - Durandal does nothing but praise and awards Shinn for his skills and "heroism", making Shinn feel like The Paragon he also wanted to be. At the end of the day though, Shinn's a genuinely good kid and means well, but he's far too screwed up to ever be The Hero.
  • Hero with an F in Good: God knows he tries, but he just can't seem to get anything right. He seems to realize this, as well, which only adds to his frustration.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Rey; even closer than the ZAFT example of the previous war. A rare undivided Gundam example.
  • Hot-Blooded: To a degree that reaches deconstruction.
  • Hypocrite: A major aspect of Shinn's character is he contradicts himself - a lot.
    • He bawls Cagalli out for Orb's actions during the last war, claiming (not unfairly) that Orb's attempt to stick to it's neutrality lead to a lot of people getting killed, his family among them. Then, when Orb sides with The Earth Alliance to keep from being invaded again, he gets pissed off and calls them hypocrites, even though that was essentially what he was advocating to Cagalli.
    • He's outraged by what the Earth Forces have done to Stella, and is enraged when Kira—who had no other options available—cuts her down in the middle of a fight, going so far as to try and get revenge on him for it. He himself does the exact same thing to Auel and Sting (who he is fully aware are Extended) without batting an eye. note 
    • He also got his start with his family dying in a war. What does he do? Fight in wars. Especially bad once his side invades the country that his family died in, essentially making a cycle of pain.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Mayu was already this; then Stella bites the dust as well.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • He called Cagalli out on how Orb's actions led to the death of his family, but as Athrun later points outnote  Cagalli lost family too.
    • In episode 35, he out and out brags about about shooting down Kira. To ATHRUN, Kira's closest friend. To make things worse, he claims it is revenge, not just for himself due to Kira's defeat and accidental killing of Stella, but also for Athrun due to Kira disabling the Savior several episodes prior. Needless to say, it doesn't end the way he expects, as Athrun punches him out for it.
      • What made the situation worse is that it served as a Trigger for Athrun's PTSD, as it was a near repeat of his own fight with Kira 2 years earlier. Thus when Shinn started bragging to him about the fight Athrun, already upset, blew a gasket.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: Played with. Despite being born in Orb, he's one of ZAFT's most loyal soldiers. We never see him waving a flag or claiming PLANT is a better place, though. He's certainly angry at Orb, but too traumatized and disinterested to become very enthusiastic. In the last two CD dramas, it's revealed Shinn has returned to Orb and enlisted in their military.
  • It Only Works Once: Shinn gets hit hard with this trope near the end.
    • When Kira makes his comeback; he takes a much more aggressive approach in dealing with Shinn, so that the little hothead can't use the same tactic that he used in their last fight when Shinn destroyed the Freedom. Not that he need have bothered, as Shinn doesn't even try to use the tactic.
    • Worse still, Shinn gets stuck in a rut and keeps trying the same tactics over and over again (particularly charging attacks) even after his opponents develop counters. Athrun manages to get him with the same trick at least 3 times.
  • Javelin Thrower: The Blast Impulse has a pair of beam javelins for close combat but can be thrown like traditional javelins, which Shinn makes use of to kill Auel and destroy the Abyss.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Personal preferences aside, Shinn is this skill-wise. Both the Impulse and the Destiny are geared to be versatile machines that emphasized combat adaptability. Alas, while Shinn can be pretty damn creative when actually using everything available in his arsenal, his emotional hang-ups means that he tends to favor just charging in guns-blazing or swords-swinging to slaughter his enemies up close, especially near the end of the show.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his anger and depression issues, he does care about his friends. Then he has a Face–Heel Turn until the end of the series.
  • Kubrick Stare: Towards Kira/Freedom, particularly after Stella's death.
  • Lack of Empathy: Zig-zagged. Shinn is ruled by his emotions and often forgets or outright refuses to acknowledge those of others, especially if they're someone associated with the Earth Alliance or most especially Orb. If someone else's troubles don't resonate with Shinn's own tragedies and personal conflicts, Shinn will have a hard time feeling any sympathy or consideration.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: His biggest weak spot in combat. Shinn's temperament often gets the better of him during fights, meaning his Hot Bloodedness actually undermines his performance. Impulsive and reckless to a fault, he often runs off into the think of things without a clear strategy, or giving much consideration to his allies at all. And like most berserkers, he lacks what you would call "restraint"; he puts all of his energy into offense at the expense of everything else (at most using quick dodges or blocks), and never retreats from an opponent even when it would be prudent to do so. This puts a lot of strain on his machine and its energy/ammo reserves and makes long, drawn out engagements very dangerous for him, especially since the more frustrated and angry he gets, the more likely he is to try something risky. During the battle over Orb, he's forced to retreat midway through his fight with the Strike Freedom because he nearly ran out of fuelnote . What's worse, he didn't notice; Rey had to call him out on it and more-or-less wrench his arm to get him to come back (if he hadn't, it's likely that Shinn would have kept fighting until the Destiny dropped out of the sky). Later he loses an arm when he tries to rush the Infinite Justice. This eventually leads to his defeat in the finale. After losing his other close-combat weapons, he tries to rush Athrun using the palm beam cannon on Destiny's hand, only to get bashed aside with the Justice's shield. Even though he has two beam shields generators in both of his hands, Shinn is too shocked to even defend himself, and the Destiny gets cut to pieces.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Destiny. Designed to be an all-purpose mobile suit, it has a BFS, beam sabers that double as beam boomerangs, palm beam cannoms, and a BFG, as well as "Voiture Lumière" system, which allows it to grow wings of light to move at very high speeds and create afterimages in its paths, allowing it to disorient enemies who are trying to aim at it.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: The Impulse's Silhouette Packs — Force (flight), Sword (melee) and Blast (long-range).
  • The Mentally Ill: A milder example than many in this franchise, but Shinn is still in desperate need of emotional and mental counseling for his PTSD and anger management issues.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The Destiny, which is vastly more powerful than the Impulse.
  • Military Maverick: Displays no respect for the chain of command, and frequently disobeys orders, yet is allowed to get away with it due to his skill.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: During his final attack on Sting Oakley's Destroy, the two of them do this. It's a pretty good demonstration of how bad Shinn's Sanity Slippage has gotten, when he and the Extended could use each other for shaving mirrors.
  • Mood-Swinger: Like you would not believe. He shifts from almost catatonically depressed to berserker rage to cheerful and back at a frightening rate. Gets worse as he suffers his Sanity Slippage.
  • Moral Myopia: Shinn has a lot of trouble understanding or sympathizing with the actions of anyone outside his small group of friends. When a ZAFT pilot is killed, it's the actions of an EA monster. When an EA pilot is killed, even if it's just some poor bastard doing his job, it's heroism. This is especially obvious with regards to the Extended—it isn't okay for Kira to kill Stella, whom Shinn was in love with, but his own take downs of Auel and Sting (whom he very clearly recognizes) were entirely necessary. He finally grows out of it at the very end of the series.
  • Multiform Balance: The Impulse's Silhouette Packs. Force Impulse has great mobility and standard weaponry, Sword sacrifices said mobility for close combat might with a pair of beam boomerangs and Big Freaking Swords, and Blast trades said speed for heavy firepower, with missiles, railguns and a pair of beam cannons.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He has this reaction after attacking Lunamaria during the final battle (and, to a lesser extent, coming to his senses about his behavior during the series as a whole).
  • Mythology Gag: Not funny at all, but Shinn loses his entire family in an explosion in the exact same way as Frau Bow in the very first episode of Gundam — accidentally, inadvertently surviving by having jumped a highway guardrail in a battle to go after something seen as important. It's what inspires a boy to pilot a mobile suit...
  • Never My Fault: A golden example of this is his blaming Freedom for killing Stella, as Kira was the one to strike the final blow. However, Shinn cannot or refuses to acknowledge the fact that Stella was on a rampage (having already obliterated thousands of civilians and half of Berlin) and that it was the Earth Alliance that put Stella in the Destroy. Going even further, it was Shinn who returned Stella to Neo, a complete stranger and his enemy, with the only "assurance" being a (empty) promise that Stella will never again be forced to fight.
  • No Social Skills: Shinn is bitter, brusque, and cranky, likely due to PTSD. Rey and Lunamaria are his only real friends, and even with Luna, a good deal of their relationship is a back-and-forth belittling of each other.
  • Not So Different: A positive version. Athrun introduces him to Kira in the epilogue of Final Plus, and Shinn is struck dumb by the realization that guy he he spent the entire show trying to kill wasn't just not much older than himself, but that he was also someone he'd already met in a peaceful situation without knowing it, just like Stella had been. This to his first real bit of positive character development as he realizes how easily he'd generalized all his enemies as a uniform evil without acknowledging that they were people the same as himself.
  • Oh, Crap!: His reaction to seeing the Strike Freedom at Orb and recognizing from it's movements that it's the same pilot as the original.
  • One-Man Army: He all but singlehandedly wins the war for ZAFT, especially once he gets the Destiny.
  • Only Friend: He's Rey Za Burrel's and given his rocky relationship with Lunamaria, Rey is his. Except for gaining Luna's support very late in the show, they're basically all each other has. They're even described in official art as "alone together".
  • Parental Abandonment: His mom, dad, and sister were all killed in the previous war.
  • Pet the Dog: Played with; while he retains his strict Black-and-White Morality turned Black-and-White Insanity views throughout the series, Shinn did take pity on, if not outright sympathize with, Stella Loussier after finding out she was the Gaia's pilot. Unlike his reaction to Kira killing Stella, Shinn overlooks, if not forgives, the fact that Stella was both the one who killed Heine Westenfluss and prior to that had been part of the attack that sparked the second war in the first place - likely due to her never knowing anything else but war and thus it not really being her choice, whereas Kira's actions were conscious decisions. When he learned Durandal basically planned to keep Stella for study even if it meant she died, Shinn went against Durandal by temporarily going rogue to return Stella to the Earth Alliance as they were the only ones who could treat her - which was not only a big shock due to how much he'd respected and admired Durandal, but was arguably the last truly good independent act he did before Durandal and Rey buckled down hard on getting Shinn loyal to them.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Plays this a lot as justification for his attitude and self-righteousness.
  • The Power of Hate: Thoroughly deconstructed. Shinn whole life since the day his lost his family has been defined by his hate. He hates the Earth Alliance for attacking Orb, yet hates Orb just as much for failing to protect his family. He wholeheartedly wants to end war forever (which he hates), but is so desperate to make it happen that he, consciously or otherwise, hates anyone or anything that threatens that dream, which eventually becomes in his view anything that opposes ZAFT and the chairman.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Though toyed with in that he becomes not the Big Bad or The Dragon, but an Anti Villainous Brute.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Shinn keeps Mayu's cell phone, occasionally listening to her "leave a message after the beep" recording. It's really not that uncommon for survivors of tragedies to hold onto keepsakes, but try telling that to some of the fandom.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: He has dull, red eyes that makes his gaze very striking.
  • Red Is Violent: Shinn can be an absolute animal on the battlefield, and while he isn't associated with red Gundams like Athrun, red is a fairly prominent color to Shinn's character; red coat pilot, red eyes, and before he acquired the Destiny, every battle beforehand when he goes SEED mode he utilizes the Impulse's red-colored Sword Silhouette and proceeds to slaughter every enemy that's a mook or not protected by plot armor.
  • Redemption Demotion: His FAITH badge is missing in the epilogue, implying he was demoted.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Some see his relationship with Stella as romantic. Others believe that she's a substitute for his deceased sister, Mayu.
  • Rescue Romance: If you interpret his relationship with Stella as a romantic one. He not only saves her from drowning during their first meeting, he later prevents her from dying on the Minerva by returning her to Neo.
  • Revenge: He makes it very clear when he goes after the Freedom that he sees it as a way of paying Kira back for Stella. One could argue that revenge on the EA was what motivated him to sign on with ZAFT in the first place.
  • Revenge Before Reason: He's trying to kill Kira for defeating an enemy that he himself was fighting. Rational thought was not involved in this decision. Especially considering that even if Shinn could have successfully talked Stella down before Kira killed her, Stella would likely have died anyway from a repeat situation of being drug-starved in ZAFT custody the same as before. As for his personal war against the EA, as has been pointed out numerous times here, Shinn's actions aren't solving anything.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Not only is this arguably his default state in battle, but his rage is actually the trigger for his SEED mode - though unlike Kira and Athrun, his is more uncontrollable. It doesn't help that he seems to have a convenient reason (be it real or imagined) for him to hate everyone aside from his own team; he wants payback against the EA for causing the renewed war, he blames Orb and it's policies for causing them to be invaded and result in his family's deaths, he holds the Archangel and Kira responsible for the attacks on his comrades and later the death of Stella, then again when Athrun joins them after he and Meyrin were nearly killed by Shinn.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Off duty, Shinn more or less dresses like a closet explosion, randomly mixing and matching scarves, sleeveless shirts, you name it. This outfit was actually based on something T.M.Revolution wore at one point. There's a fine line between looking like a homeless guy and looking like a J-Rocker.
  • Sanity Slippage: His mental health takes a dramatic turn for the worse over the course of the series. He hits the pinnacle of this when he battles Athrun for the last time where Athrun's words of reason headbutt all of Rey and Durandal's manipulation that he turns into a screaming berserker. It's not until the epilogue that he even starts to recover.
  • Screaming Warrior: Usually while hacking things to bits with his BFS.
  • Second Love: Lunamaria, after they each lose their respective first choices.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Shinn's an interesting example in that his PTSD stems from his experiences as a civilian during the First Bloody Valentine War, with the trauma he experienced when his family died serving as the core of his characterisation. None of this is helped, of course, by his time as a soldier in the Second Bloody Valentine War, which only contributes further to his Sanity Slippage.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: It would be hard to find anyone in this show who's more badass than Shinn. It would also be hard to find anyone who's more gullible or easy to manipulate.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Justified. Shinn is very, very good, and the fact that his opponents tend to hold back, or suffer mental breakdowns makes him seem even better. It would be impossible, however, for anybody to be as good as Shinn himself thinks he is by the end—which leads to some very harsh lessons.
  • Smug Super: Crosses into this when he's released after being imprisoned because he let Stella go, he pretty much brags to Athrun his superiors are on his side due to the amount of skill he has. Thus it's quite the nasty shock for him when Athrun cripples the Destiny in the battle over Orb. (Probably would have been worse for Shinn had he known that Athrun was still recovering from the injuries he'd received during his flight from ZAFT)
  • Speed Echoes: The Destiny's Wings of Light have Mirage Colloid incorporated in them, which when they "light up", allows the Gundam it leaves a trail of afterimages as Shinn charges his enemies. This helps Shinn better combat remote drone weapons.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: A possible interpretation of his relationship with Stella. It certainly ends tragically enough.
  • Super Mode: Like Kira, Athrun, and Cagalli, Shinn has access to SEED mode, entering it in almost every battle he participates in. Unlike Athrun and Kira, who are able to activate theirs at will in Destiny, Shinn's is entirely rage driven and thus he loses himself to it more easily.
  • Survivor Guilt: Shinn's clearly suffering from a bad case of this in regards to his family; the situation with Stella only makes it worse.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Though he starts the series as the viewpoint character, he eventually loses it — first to Athrun, and then to Kira.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: One of the few people to express any sympathy for the Extended. Not that this stops him from cutting down two of them without a second thought...
  • There Are No Therapists: Kira and Athrun's lives would have been a lot easier had someone taken the terminally depressed kid who just watched his entire family die to see a shrink. Or at least anger-management. Then again, Durandal needs him to be that screwed up because it makes him easier to control.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Shinn threw one of the Sword Impulse's BFSs when he was taking on the Gaia, Abyss, and Chaos at the beginning of the series.
    • Subverted later with the Destiny, as it has two beam boomerangs that can alter its beam length to become beam sabers, but he always throws them in the former mode.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Faces this a few times, and as the show goes on, his Good decisions (freeing imprisoned laborers, moving heaven and earth for Stella) turn Lawful after deciding to execute Athrun and Meyrin.
  • Tragic Hero: He's a sympathetic but very flawed individual who makes some bad choices (as seen by the other entries on this page). Yet it's hard to actually fault him for his actions at the same time, as he's naive and smack dab in the middle of a situation he barely understands. The people around him were also a factor; Durandal and Rey were just using him, Athrun failed to be a good mentor, and Luna (bless her heart) was in over her head. Reagarless of how you spin it, Shinn's story is not a happy one. He starts out with noble intentions, but his inability to grow past his flaws ultimately made him no different than the people he hated. And he came very damn close to becoming a full on case near the end, when in a moment of blind rage and insanity, he nearly kills Luna. Thankfully, Athrun intercepted the attack.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: When Athrun defects and is escaping Gribraltar with Meyrin in a stolen GOUF Ignited, Shinn is unable to reason why Athrun would betray ZAFT and soon his rage overtakes him. After he seemingly killed Athrun and Meyrin in a maddened fury, he could only weep in silence for what he had done.
  • Tragic Mistake: Makes a few of these, though it's not till rather late on that he sees most of them as this:
    • Returning Stella to the Roanoke and the Extended was this for Shinn. It's hard to fault him for it. He took pity on someone (an enemy at that, rather surprising for Shinn) and tried to save their life Stella was so drugged up that she would die if she went into withdraw; but it blew up into a cruel and tragic mess. Roanoke lied when he promised Shinn that Stella wouldn't have to fight anymore. Instead he threw her into the Destroy and sent her on a rampage.
    • Happens again in the end of the series when he nearly goes through Luna to attack Athrun, having lost all control of himself. This is what finally snaps him out of his self-righteousness and realize that he'd become just another killer the same as what he'd claimed to hate, driven to tears upon realizing he'd not only nearly helped enact a mass genocide but nearly killed someone he cared about just because she was in his way.
    • By the time of the epilogue, he seems to view not just his nearly killing Athurn and Meyrin as this, but even admitting he doesn't know whether his original hatred of Orb was justified or not anymore.
  • Unstoppable Rage: His best weapon in a fight, but it's also a deconstruction. He increasingly slips into bouts of this as his experiences in the war slowly gnaw into his sanity. This becomes something of a problem for him in the latter half of the series, as his urge to charge in blindly lets him cut through countless mooks, but screws him in combat against fellow aces like Athrun and Kira, who are much more composed.
    • Eventually, this is Played for Drama. Shinn just can't let go of his anger. He feels like it's the only thing he's got left and he clings to it, even though becomes harder to really justify it as the series goes on. It's not that he can't see shades of grey, but rather that he just doesn't want to admit it because it would mean giving up the one feeling that has kept him going.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Shinn has no idea of the extent with which Rey and Durandal are pulling his strings and encouraging his madness, and he trusts the two of them to the very last episode, only snapping out of it after his berserker rage nearly gets Luna killed.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The enraged berserker and the kid we see playing with his sister in the flashbacks don't really have a lot in common.
  • Walking Armory: While all major Gundams by the end of the series carried a relatively balanced set of armaments, the Destiny in particular possessed at least one one weapon suited for nearly any type of engagement — it had two beam swords and a physical sword for close combat, a beam rifle for mid-range, and a beam cannon for long-range.
  • With Us or Against Us: Starts expressing this kind of attitude as the war progresses. The scary part is that he doesn't realize that he's doing this.
    • This is ultimately rooted in his Black-and-White Morality way of thinking (see Black-and-White Insanity above); Shinn is so utterly convinced that ZAFT and Durandal is flawlessly just and righteous that, in his eyes, any other factions in the world that doesn't submit to or support Durandal's regime is either ignorant or evil.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The boy either needs a vacation, a psychiatrist, a goddamn hug or all three. Instead, he's turned into a weapon to be manipulated.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Shinn makes a pretty determined effort to kill Cagalli when she confronts him in the Akatsuki. He also tries to go through Luna when she gets in the way during his final confrontation with Athrun (though this leads to a My God, What Have I Done? moment soon afterwards).
  • Wrecked Weapon: Happens several times in the final episodes at the hands of Kira in the Strike Freedom and later Athrun in the Infinite Justice. And each time it happens, Shinn is left with a look of stunned disbelief.

    Lunamaria Hawke 

Main mecha: ZGMF-1000 ZAKU Warrior (red), ZGMF-X56S Impulse Gundam

Voice Actors: Maaya Sakamoto (Japanese), Maryke Hendrikse (English)
"I'm fine! I got defeated splendidly, though."

One of the Minerva trio of ZAFT Redcoats. She apparently comes from a totally normal background and family life, compared to the other two. "Luna" is cheerful and outgoing, and a "people person", which balances out her friend Shinn's frequently-wrathful disposition and their friend Rey's nigh-disturbing calmness. On the other hand, she can be a bit petty, insensitive, or oblivious, especially to subtle things or pessimistic emotions. Her younger sister, Meyrin, is one of the Minerva's Bridge Bunnies.

She is the pilot of a red ZGMF-1000 ZAKU Warrior and later inherits the Impulse after her ZAKU gets trashed and Shinn upgrades to the Destiny.

  • Ace Custom: Her ZAKU Warrior is a standard Mook unit, except painted red.
  • Ace Pilot: Decorated, even, though overshadowed by Can't Catch Up. While not as over-the-top badass as the other main characters, Luna holds her own against Gundams and the Extended, despite piloting a ZAKU for most of the series.
  • Badass Adorable: Sweet ray of sunshine, she is.
  • BFG: On her ZAKU Gunner. How big? The stock and part of the barrel are both collapsible when the weapon is not in use, and even then, the weapon is as long as the ZAKU is tall.
  • BFS: On the Impulse. She actually seems better with it than she was with her ZAKU's BFG.
  • Break the Cutie: With absolutely no warning, she's informed her two best friends have executed her little sister and the man she's been idolizing together, for treason. And she ends up wailing in Shinn's arms due to shared grief and trauma, anyway. Ow.
  • Can't Catch Up: Lampshaded from the very beginning, when the engine of her ZAKU blows midair as she and Rey are racing to Shinn's aid, and it isn't helped by the fact that she's stuck in an inferior mobile suit throughout the show. By the end, Rey and Shinn have been given a promotion and are more or less shutting her out of any and all serious discussions. She carries on with relatively good grace nonetheless, but it's quite clear that it's frustrating her as she can't really discuss anything with Shinn without Rey becoming a Clingy Jealous Boy.
  • Celeb Crush: On Athrun. She seems a tad disappointed when she actually meets him. Whether her feelings for Athrun were truly romantic (she thought he was engaged, after all) or just very enthusiastic subordinate Hero Worship is another question.
  • Character Development: It starts with Break the Cutie, and is tied to developing maturing feelings and sensitivity due to grieving and developing a much closer, more romantic relationship with Shinn.
  • The Chick: Among the ZAFT pilots.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • She becomes jealous of Meer/Fake!Lacus being so glompy around Athrun.
    • After she hooks up with Shinn, she constantly finds herself fighting a losing battle with Rey.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Receiving end. Even after getting her own Gundam, Athrun was just leagues above Lunamaria in both skill and experience.
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: Her uniform consists of a shortened ZAFT redcoat on top and a pink miniskirt with thigh-high socks on bottom.
  • The Dark Chick: Retains her position post-perspective flip. As a fairly classic Chick in what's otherwise a Five-Man Band she ends up filling this position.
  • Expy: Of Fa Yuiry from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, as they both endlessly bicker with the protagonist despite being concerned for him only to end up as a couple. It's mixed with Emma Sheen, as Luna is also both a trained pilot from the start, and older and what-she-believes-to-be wiser and more mature than Shinn.
  • Freudian Trio: Deconstructed. Shinn is the Id, Luna the Ego, and Athrun/Rey the Superego — but Luna spends the first three-fourths of the show completely focused on and siding with Athrun and the last quarter competing with Rey for Shinn's time and attention; she never once sides with Shinn against Athrun or Rey about anything. The trio/quartet are a very broken version of this.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Since Rey was arguably her friend as well, when her relationship with Shinn changed in the wake of her sister's apparent death, this got awkward. She endured, and is eventually shown to have regained or retained his respect.
  • Genki Girl: At first, she's cheerful and energetic, and fawns shamelessly over Athrun. Later on... less so.
  • Heroic BSoD: Appears to suffer this during Shinn and Athrun's final battle, openly shocked and horrified upon seeing how compromised Shinn's mental state is and watching frozen from the sidelines as he's eventually driven into a corner by Athrun. Even when she does finally snap out of it, it's to try and stop Shinn's rampage - which nearly gets her killed - and then make sure Shinn is alright after he's defeated, her will to fight having been completely broken.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Of Athrun, at least at first. He strongly discouraged this though, as he made it clear that his experience in the last war is not to be glamorized. Nevertheless, she persisted in believing and acting like he could do no wrong, right up until he disappeared with her sister at Gibraltar.
  • Idiot Hair: It's a Mythology Gag, in her case.
  • Just Following Orders: She tells Shinn (and herself) this as rationalization for following through with the order to kill Athrun and Meyrin.
  • Long-Range Fighter: At first. Even before she and Rey were stuck on the Minerva's upper decks to serve as fire support for Shinn, Luna always sortied with the Gunner Wizard Pack for her ZAKU Warrior, despite it being a poor matchup against Stella and her fast-moving Gaia. Fully averts this after she acquires the Impulse.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The Impulse may be an older Gundam (relatively-speaking, as it was the mascot Gundam for the first half of the show), but it's a huge cut above her ZAKU.
  • Ms. Fanservice: There's no other explanation for her uniform — Shiho Hahnenfuss wears the standard redcoat outfit and Riika Sheder in Astray wears Proper Tights with a Skirt. Highlighted with her inevitable Panty Shot in the HD Remaster. The fact that Luna wears the standard redcoat uniform at the very end of the compilation movies seems to acknowledge this.
  • Multiform Balance: The Impulse, which finally gave her a chance to show that she earned that red uniform.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Lunamaria had valid reasons to question her sister and Athrun apparently being executed for spying for LOGOS, given that she eavesdropped on Athrun's meeting with Kira, Cagalli and Miriallia and there wasn't a single thing said that would even hint at disloyalty. Furthermore, her highly-skeptical CO, who had ordered the surveillance, came to the exact same conclusion and told her the matter was closed. Instead of questioning the Durandal-issued explanation, however, Luna immediately chose to accept it to cope with the shock and grief of Athrun's desertion and his and Meyrin's "death" at Shinn's hands.
  • Mythology Gag: Her red ZAKU doesn't have Char Aznable's famous command antenna. Her head does.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has two of these moments, both during the final battle. The first is when Athrun's Justice easily overpowers her Impulse and slices off it's arm, left reeling as she realizes how badly outmatched she is. The second is when she tries and fails to stop Shinn's berserk rampage, only able to stare back in shock upon realizing he can't tell friend from foe anymore and is about to tear right through her - and it's only because of Athrun saving her that he doesn't.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Inverted. Shinn is the only one who calls her "Luna".
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Being a ZAFT red ace, Luna's a perfectly competent if not exceptional pilot, capable of holding her own with Stella's Gaia using only a ZAKU Warrior. Unfortunately for her, she's on the same team as far-more-skilled Shinn and Rey, and ends up going up against even-more-skilled Neo and Athrun in the
  • Relationship Upgrade: She and Shinn go from being friends who bicker and aren't very focused on each other to having a romantic relationship and supporting each other emotionally.
  • Second Love: Shinn, after they each lose their respective first choices.
  • Shorttank: While undoubtedly attractive, Luna isn't nearly as feminine as other female cast members.
  • Third Act Stupidity: Given her spying mission on Athrun, you'd think she would be suspicious of there actually being two Lacuses or that there might be some foul play going on on ZAFT's part. She proceeds to do nothing with this information for the rest of the series, even when it is globally revealed that there were two Lacus Clynes (though it seems to color her attitude somewhat). Perhaps most glaringly is how she accepted that Athrun and Meyrin were agents of LOGOS, despite all evidence to the contrary.
  • Token Good Teammate: Post-perspective flip. It's not that any of her teammates are truly evil, but Luna's the only one who manages to keep her sense of perspective and avoid going totally over the line.

    Rey Za Burrel 

Main mecha: ZGMF-1001/M Blaze ZAKU Phantom (white), ZGMF-X666S Legend Gundam

Voice Actors: Toshihiko Seki (Japanese), Kirby Morrow (English)
"Whatever kind of life it is — we want to keep on living, if we can."

The third of the Minerva's pilot trio. He is calm, stoic, and loyal to Durandal — his Parental Substitute — as well as a mentor to Shinn, providing some much-needed stability to offset Shinn's volatile emotions. When the others are confused, questioning, or doubtful, it's Rey who brings them back to focus on their mission. Rey displays a Well-Intentioned Extremist streak that makes him a useful right-hand man for the Chairman.

He pilots a white ZGMF-1001/M Blaze ZAKU Phantom, performing the same function as Lunamaria (standing atop the Minerva and providing fire support). Eventually he gets his own Gundam — the ZGMF-X666S Legend — and begins to demonstrate exactly what he is capable of; he and Shinn provide most of the muscle for ZAFT in the later battles.

  • Ace Pilot: Like his brother before him, he is a sniper who keeps his distance and picking off enemies one at a time. At least until he gets the Legend, with which he can Beam Spam like both the Freedom and Providence from the previous series.
  • Ace Custom: His first suit, the Blaze ZAKU Phantom, a Mecha-Mook painted white.
  • Affably Evil: Rey is a loyal friend and effective subordinate, so long as you're on his side. However, he's also a badly damaged Manipulative Bastard who thinks that humans are scum and wants to install a One World Order based on genetic determinism, and is willing to cross any lines to get there.
  • Anti-Villain: Rey honestly thinks he's making the world a better place, but his methods are ruthless, he tends to be unforgiving and he's not shy about shooting people to do it. At one point he tells Shinn that he won't accomplish anything by being too kind.
  • Arch-Enemy: Considers Kira as his enemy, as revealed near the end.
  • Attack Drone: Being the Providence's successor, the Legend also has the DRAGOON System. Eight of them are equipped with 2 standard beam guns; the other two are larger and are equipped with 5 beam cannons and 4 beam spikes, the former being powerful enough to tear through gigantic mobile armors and the latter can penetrate their Deflector Shields (which is weak against close range beam weapons such as beam sabers). Unlike the Providence, they can also be used while attached to the Legend's backpack as well as after deployment, allowing it to be more consistent with its Beam Spam.
  • Avenging the Villain: Given his intense focus on destroying Kira, who killed Le Creuset and represents everything Rau loathed, this likely plays a role in Rey's motivations.
  • Bash Brothers: With Shinn. From target practice and discovering crimes against humanity, to sharing a room to plotting combat tactics, to freeing Stella and getting thrown in the brig, to bringing humanity to the brink of a One World Order, Shinn and Rey are always together.
  • Beam Spam: The Legend has a total of 26 beam guns across its ten DRAGOON units, and it can fire them while they're still docked, allowing it to achieve this trope in Earth as well as in space.
  • BFG: Legend's beam rifle is very large, even longer than the Providence's beam rifle, which is already the size of a beam bazooka.
  • Bigger Stick: Although understated, the Legend is among the best Gundams in the entire storyline, on par with the Destiny, Strike Freedom and Infinite Justice. Although on paper it doesn't seem to be anything impressive (it even has less Beam Spam than Providence), it is much faster, has better offensive and defensive options, and can use its heavier firepower even in Earth. Two of its Attack Drones are capable of close range engagement as well, and when combined with the drone's speed the Legend is a nightmare for most mobile suits specializing in close combat. Even Athrun in his Infinite Justice avoids a one-to-one confrontation with the Legend.
  • Bishōnen: Probably the prettiest member of the male cast.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Appears to be a rational, likeable young man. Is actually a bitter Manipulative Bastard with plans for a genetic determinist utopia.
  • Broken Pedestal: For Shinn, who falls apart when he realizes what Rey and the Chairman were doing to him.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Kira Yamato eventually convinces him of this, which leads to his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Cloning Blues: Unsurprisingly (given his blond hair, blue eyes, voice actor, and oddly constructed last name), Rey is a clone of Al Da Flaga, and believes that it's his job to be a better version of Le Creuset.
  • Conflicting Loyalties: Emerge after his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Dark Is Evil: Downplayed - see Shinn's entry above. In his case, it's the Legend Gundam that wears these colors.
  • Deflector Shield: The Legend is equipped with a pair of beam shield generators, just like the Destiny.
  • Double Weapon: Equipped with two beam javelins (really just ordinary beam sabers) in the Legend's legs, although Rey only seems to use them as a combined doubled-ended beam saber rather than Dual Wielding.
  • The Dragon: Operates subtly as Durandal's, enforcing his will aboard the Minerva, and acting as his primary physical defense.
  • Evil Mentor: Can be considered one to Shinn. Rey keeps Shinn in line, is his greatest advisor and provides him with nearly all of his emotional stability and support, but he's also using his friend to his and Durandal's own ends, ensuring that Shinn's actions match the agenda they ostensibly share. Worse yet, he doesn't try to fix any of Shinn's underlying emotional issues, which only leaves the kid more screwed up than he started out, while simultaneously feeding him a With Us or Against Us attitude.
  • The Evils of Free Will: Shares the Chairman's belief that free will is what ultimately leads to suffering, and thinks that if everyone has their path in life laid out for them in advance the world will be a better place.
  • Foil: To Rau Le Creuset. See Straw Nihilist for how.
  • Freak Out: He has one at the Extended lab, foreshadowing both his clone status and his eventual Villainous Breakdown.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Rey gets downright bitchy when Shinn starts getting closer to Lunamaria, and does his best to shut her out of the decision making process. Given that Luna has her doubts about the Destiny Plan, which Rey needs Shinn to believe in. Also, Shinn's the only friend Rey has.
  • Freudian Trio: One of the only consistent group dynamics in the series; Shinn is the Id, Luna the Ego, and Rey the Superego.
  • Hidden Depths: As shown in episode 15, he has a fondness for playing the piano.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Of the cool and unflinching variety.
  • Irony: In an effort to keep Shinn loyal to Durandal, he does his best to stop the former from listening to the opposition. Yet ultimately, he ends up being swayed by Kira's words and shoots Durandal.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Vaporizes Djibril by firing through the bridge of his battleship while the latter is trying to escape from yet another losing battle. Also doubles as a Mythology Gag.
  • The Last Dance: Much like Rau le Creuset, drugs stave off the Clone Degeneration to some degree, yet he tells Shinn he'll die shortly. This clearly factors into his desire to see the Destiny Plan implemented soon.
  • Light Is Not Good: Blond hair, blue eyes, white mobile suit and pilot get the idea by now.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Legend is much faster than the Providence, fast enough to fight toe-to-toe with the Strike Freedom, and has absolutely no issues avoiding the latter's own Beam Spam.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Acts as the voice of reason for Shinn both on and off the Battlefield. Deconstructed in that Rey actively encourages this to keep Shinn under his sway- something that proves to be a mistake. Rey makes a tactical error in the final battle when he orders Shinn to go on alone, apparently not grasping that without his presence Shinn would start to fall apart.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He has Shinn wrapped around his little finger for the entire series, maintains control over the Minerva through his role as The Political Officer, and almost drives Kira into a Heroic BSoD during the final battle by revealing his Cloning Blues. Both Justified and Subverted; because he believes he needs to be his "Brother" Rau; a view fostered onto him by Durandal. Then subverted when Kira rebuffs his arguments, showing that Rey is not the same Rau, and that he himself had been manipulated
  • Mythology Gag: Well, everyone was wondering who'd get the bazooka to the head in a show featuring Shuichi Ikeda and Mami Koyama...
  • Not So Stoic: During his Freak Out at Lodonia, and his Villainous Breakdown at the end.
  • Number of the Beast: ZGMF-X666S Legend.
  • Only Friend: Shinn and Rey are one another's only friends for most of the show. Calling them "alone together" is pretty accurate.
  • Only Sane Man: Subverted. Rey appears to be the rational one in the Minerva's crew, but he's actually the single most damaged person on the ship.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: As with Lunamaria, Rey pilots a ZAKU (and simply tasked with fire support) for most of the series, leaving Shinn and Athrun to receive most of the spotlight in their flight-capable Gundams. He breaks out of this later when he becomes the pilot of the Legend.
  • The Philosopher: Very much in the same vein as Lacus, Durandal, and Le Creuset, he spends a lot of time brooding about meaning, nature and actions.
  • The Political Officer: Very quietly plays this role on the Minerva, ensuring that Luna, Shinn, and the rest of the crew stay loyal to the Chairman, and thoroughly subverting what authority Captain Gladys has left in the process.
  • The Quiet One: During Athrun's time on the Minerva, he generally keeps his head down, as it wouldn't do for Athrun to recognize Rey's similarity to Rau le Creuset.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Shinn's Red. Just look at their eyes.
  • The Reveal: A rather subdued one, when Shinn (and the viewers) see him taking some of Rau Le Creuset's trademark little pills, and he casually remarks that he suffers from short telomeres, which confirms his status as a clone.
  • The Stoic: Always calm, always controlled.
  • Straw Nihilist: Subverted. While Rey has a very negative view of humanity, he consciously rejects Rau-style Omnicidal Mania, believing instead that Utopia Justifies the Means. Further cemented in the finale, when the realization that he can be his own person and make his own choices — rather than blindly following the path set out before him by others — leads him to betray the Destiny Plan and shoot Durandal.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: He's the only person other than Shinn to expresses some sympathy for Stella's situation. He also has some sympathy for Le Creuset, whom he regards as a rescuer, as well as a brother/other incarnation of himself.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Rey is not a good influence on Shinn. While the friendship is quite real, Rey is more interested in using Shinn to further Durandal's ideal world since he can't do it himself due to his short lifespan. He goes to great lengths to keep Shinn dependant on him, such as having Athrun framed for treason, and trying to drive a wedge between Shinn and Luna. All the while remaining unaware (or indifferent) to Shinn's failing psyche.
  • Undying Loyalty: Ultimately subverted. For most of the show, Rey's loyalty to Durandal is his signature trait. However, this loyalty is based more on a belief that he has to be loyal to the Chairman or end up like Le Creuset, than from anything else, and when his Arch-Enemy Kira points out that he can, in fact, choose to be whoever he wants, Rey finally snaps.
  • Unknown Rival: To Kira. Once he reveals his Cloning Blues, however, he immediately has Kira's attention.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: If Durandal's flashbacks are any indicator.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Why Rey is loyal to Durandal; he honestly believes that Durandal's world will be a better one, regardless of how many bodies are used to line the foundations.
  • Villainous Breakdown: An utterly epic one, during the final battle. Kira convinces him that clone or not, he is his own person who has to make his own decisions. Rey takes this rather hard. By the end, he's crying for his "mother" in Talia's arms as Messiah Base caves in on them.
  • Villainous Friendship: Had one with Durandal and Le Creuset. He has one with Shinn as well, though Shinn's hardly evil.
  • Visionary Villain: Shares Durandal's vision of the future.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In the same vein as Durandal. Having seen what his "other self" tried to do, Rey is convinced that something has to change.
  • When He Smiles: His smile isn't seen much due to his stoicism, but it's surpisingly warm and endearing.
  • With Us or Against Us: The show's main proponent of this attitude.

    Athrun Zala 

Main mecha: ZGMF-X23S Saviour Gundam, ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice Gundam

Voice Actors: Akira Ishida (Japanese), Samuel Vincent (English)
"My name... my name is Athrun Zala. I am the son of Patrick Zala, the man who fanned the flames of war and poisoned the whole world with his hatred. I believed what my father said. I fought in the war, I killed the enemy, I fought my best friend... and even when I realized how wrong he was, I couldn't stop him and I lost everything."

The true main protagonist of the series. A veteran of the first Bloody Valentine War, and an old friend (and enemy) of Kira Yamato's. He rejoins ZAFT when war breaks out once again and is assigned to the Minerva. His accomplishments and fame earn him the adoration of much of the crew, apart from the surly Shinn. He initially opposes his old friends on the Archangel, citing their actions as doing nothing but making the conflict worse.

He pilots the ZGMF-X23S Saviour while aboard the Minerva, a Transforming Mecha just like the Aegis from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, and eventually obtains the ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice, a melee-oriented Gundam and the Justice's Spiritual Successor.

  • The Ace: The Minerva's crew treat him like this, but see Broken Ace, below for how he feels about it.
  • Ace Pilot: Though his record is overshadowed by Kira, and later Shinn, Athrun is probably the most skilled and experienced pilot on the show; excelling in Close-combat and battlefield tactics. During combat, he keeps a close eye on the overall tactical situation, issuing orders and engaging key (or difficult) targets to keep the pressure off his allies. He's the only pilot that was able to go one-on-one with Kira's Freedom at first, and did so with the less advanced Savior while not in Seed Mode. In the two times he faces against the Destiny, Athrun can handle everything that Shinn throws at him, and then starts destroying weapons when the latter's hotheadedness gets the better of him. And while Shinn was in SEED mode for most of the fight, Athrun wasn't. He didn't activate it until the very end in order to shield Luna from a berserk Shinn, after which he basically wrecks the Destiny into pieces.
  • Aesop Amnesia: After Lacus confronts him with a To Be Lawful or Good decision two years ago, he chooses to listen to his conscience, rejected a "My Country, Right or Wrong" mentality, and tried to bring about genuine peace. By the beginning of Destiny, he seems to have forgotten all that, signs up with ZAFT again, and has to undergo the whole process a second time. Admittedly, this was probably deliberate on the part of the writers; a major theme of Destiny is how easy it is to repeat the mistakes of the past. Athrun's deeply conflicted feelings about the role he played in the last war (particularly issues regarding his late father) allowed Durandal to manipulate him into fighting on his behalf. It worked for a while, but coming into conflict with Kira caused Athrun to realize he was going down the same path again.
  • Big Brother Mentor: He tries to be this for Shinn, but Shinn's not really interested, and Athrun doesn't have the people skills to pull it off. The two do still manage to develop a relationship however, one which is strong enough for Shinn to be fairly distressed after Athrun's "betrayal". Athrun, in turn, continually attempts to talk sense into Shinn about the wrongness of Durandal's plans for the remainder of the series, up through their final fight in the last episode.
  • Break Them by Talking: Twice towards Shinn near the end series. First time they meet, he goes the Kirk Summation route. The second time he's not so nice.
  • Broken Ace: He doesn't live up to his own standards, fails to mentor others, and is very conflicted about what's right.
  • Broken Base: In-universe example. Athrun's a controversial figure in his (former) home country, wildly regarded as one of the best pilots ZAFT ever produced, but is also technically a traitor.
  • Broken Pedestal: To Lunamaria and the other ZAFT soldiers who idealize him. They were expecting a legendary Ace Pilot. They got, well, Athrun. The end of Final Plus indicates that he's reconciled with both Shinn and Luna, but the hero worship remains gone.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Suffering from this for a little over half of the series. Though he was capable of using Seed Mode at will by the end of the first series, he has since lost that ability. He still remains a highly skilled pilot and field commander, retaining all of the experience he gained during the first war. This makes it so that even without the ability to access Seed Mode at will he is still one of the best fighters around. By the end of the series however, he regains the ability to access Seed Mode whenever he wants.
  • Character Development: Subverted. Starts out the series as a Broken Ace and a Shell-Shocked Veteran trying to find out what his purpose in life is. By the second half of the series, he realizes that he should be fighting on Kira's and Orb's side, and regains his lost confidence, complete with being able to activate SEED mode at will... Unfortunately, it's the exact realization he had last time, after being forced out of ZAFT, again. See Aesop Amnesia.
  • Chick Magnet: Despite (or because of) being somewhat stilted and awkward, women throw themselves at Athrun.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Like Shinn, it's subverted, as Athrun is quite versatile in all forms of combat with no real preference, but many of his most impressive feats occur when he busts out his beam sabers.
  • Combining Mecha: As Justice's successor, the Infinite Justice is comprised of two units - the core mecha, and a glider unit that can serve as either a backpack or a remote-controlled mount. While it retains the two beam cannons from the Justice's design, its shape is more streamlined and is equipped with beam blades instead of machine guns. This makes its ramming attack much more lethal, and although Athrun doesn't risk using it against dangerous enemies like the Destiny and Legend, it is very effective against slow moving targets like battleships, allowing to Athrun to later destroy the Minerva by simply deploying its backpack to ram straight through it.
  • Corporal Punishment: Administers it to Shinn a few times. It doesn't take.
  • The Cynic: His attitude towards the entire war. Shinn and Luna's idealism in particular seem to grate on him.
  • Cynical Mentor: Vaciliates between being this and a more traditional Big Brother Mentor to Shinn. It doesn't really work.
  • Deal with the Devil: Chairman Durandal offered him a role and a purpose with ZAFT, the chance to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, and even the freedom to follow his conscience. He lied about the last one. Big time.
  • Death Glare: Athrun glares darkly at Shinn after he apparently kills Kira and happily told him that he got revenge for both of them.
  • Deflector Shield: The Infinite Justice, but unlike the Strike Freedom, Destiny and Legend, it only carries a single solid shield that is equipped with an additional beam shield generator to defend itself.
  • Determinator: Though he tends to waver when he's uncertain of himself, once he makes up his mind he's nigh-unstoppable. See Freedom vs. Saviour for the former and Infinite Justice vs. Destiny, when Athrun enters the Battle of Orb and takes on Shinn while still wounded for the latter.
  • Double Weapon: Just like with the Justice, Athrun always combines the beam sabers of Infinite Justice into a double-bladed beam saber.
  • Dual Wielding: While he definitely prefers the more practical 'sword-and-shield' approach, Athrun has dabbled in this on at least one occasion with both the Savior and Infinite Justice.
    • During the Battle of Lohengrin Gate, Athrun used both the Savior's beam sabers in its Literal Disarming of the Gells-Ghe.
    • The Infinite Justice's beam boomerang can be used as a shield-mounted beam saber, which Athrun is able to wield simultaneously with its beam Double Weapon, effectively being able to triple-wield (not accounting the beam blades on the shin areas). Athrun effectively uses all five blades to disarm the Destiny in the final battle.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: A rare protagonist example; even though he'd been growing increasingly distant, it was a huge blow to the crew of the Minerva when he aparently turns traitor (not that he had much choice in the regard)
  • Expy: Plays Quattro Bajeena to Shinn's Kamille Bidan, ultimately deconstructing the relationship that the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam heroes shared.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Stays at the medical bay with Neo for several episodes because they are both injured, assuming the entire time that Neo is Mu La Flaga. Which he is, but Athrun somehow completely forgot that Mu apparently died at the end of the first series, just assuming that Mu somehow got injured during a fight or something. When he calls him Mu, Neo vehemently denies it, which finally prompts Athrun to remember Mu's Heroic Sacrifice. He is understandably shocked and confused. To his credit, Athrun had bigger things on his plate to consider.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Athrun takes advantage of Shinn's tendency to favor Attack! Attack! Attack! over other tactics when angry, as the Destiny isn't geared towards melee combat exclusively like the Infinite Justice is. As such, his tactics involve riling Shinn up so that he won't be thinking about using the Destiny's other weapons as effectively as he might have if his head was on straight.
  • Foil: To Shinn, with his burnt out apathy contrasting Shinn's rage and idealism.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Occurs in the final battle when Shinn tries to kill Luna in a moment of berserk rage. For most of the battle, Athrun had been sticking to the defensive, as he really didn't want to fight either Shinn or Luna. But when the previously mentioned spoiler happens, his restraint breaks and the fight ends VERY quickly especially since the Destiny had lost most of it's close-range options.
    Athrun: "You Damn FOOL!!"
  • The Hero: While Shinn is The Protagonist of the first half and Kira takes over in the second, Athrun is ultimately the overall main character of the sequel.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Athrun's opinion of himself and ZAFT's hero-worship of him do not exactly match up. Durandal exploits this in order to induce the Aesop Amnesia mentioned above.
  • Knight in Sour Armour: Some things never change. Athrun is absolutely dedicated to doing the right thing. That doesn't mean he'll be anything approaching cheerful or optimistic about it.
  • Knightly Sword and Shield: Athrun always wields the Infinite Justice's double-ended beam saber and shield in close quarters combat and Miriallia has even once referred to Athrun as a knight. The original name of the Infinite Justice was even going to be "Knight Justice".
  • The Lancer: To Kira, when they finally end up on the same side again.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: What is it with Athrun and red Gundams?
  • Lightning Bruiser: In the Infinite Justice. It's fast enough to keep pace with the Destiny, and carries enough melee weapons to make an NRA member cry.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The Infinite Justice.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Considering his Chick Magnet status, yes.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Athrun takes this to new levels of insanity with his Infinite Justice by having two combinable beam sabers, beam blades on its wings and lower legs, and a shield sporting a beam boomerang that double as a beam saber, a beam shield generator, and a rocket anchor that he never actually uses (except once in HD Remaster). To top it off he uses its beam shield as a makeshift melee weapon.
  • Mythology Gag: His "Alex Dino" disguise wearing Cool Shades is an obvious reference to Char Aznable's Quattro Bajeena persona in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. And the one who revealed his identity? Gilbert Durandal, who shares the same voice as Quattro/Char himself!
  • No Social Skills: Athrun's cynical outlook and inability to relate to the younger generation of pilots more or less sabotage his relationships with the entirety of the Minerva's crew.
  • Not So Different: Shinn reminds Athrun of himself during the First Bloody Valentine War. Given that he's not real proud of his actions during that war, it explains why he's so tough on Shinn. The greatest difference between them ultimately lies in what makes both of them so similar; while Athrun is cynical and Shinn is idealistic, they are both devoted soldiers who feel that they need to be a part of a chain of command to fight for peace, which ZAFT and Durandal handily provide.
  • Older and Wiser: Though in a subversion, his experience and advice doesn't really make much of a difference. If anything, they create a bigger gap between himself and the more idealistic Shinn.
  • Red Is Heroic: In the Cosmic Era apparently, red Gundams are heroic.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Athrun still doesn't want to fight, but unlike Kira he doesn't go out of his way to avoid killing when he does fight.
  • Roundhouse Kick: His Signature Move with the Infinite Justice, made more effective due to the cutting beams built into its legs. Though they're more of quick sweep kicks instead of the flashy kind usually seen in fiction.
  • Secret-Keeper: For Meer. She confides on him about her role as Lacus's Body Double, and he doesn't spill the beans about it.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Athrun tries this by re-enlisting in ZAFT. To say it does not work would be an understatement. He ends up having to flee, again.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Not a full on example, but he's definitely got some aspects of this trope. May or may not explain his Aesop Amnesia, as he struggles to come to terms with his actions in the previous war.
    • It does explain his initial reluctance to becoming involved with the military in any capacity, instead opting to become a civilian bodyguard by Cagalli's side.
    • He's not impressed, much less flattered, by the Hero Worship he gets from the Hawke sisters, and actively discourages Lunamaria to not make himself out as a war hero.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": An odd example: The Saviour, its official (Anglophone) name, is frequently rendered as Saber in Japanese sources, as the official name and the katakana used for it are at odds with each other. Specifically, it's not possible to get "Saviour" out of the katakana as the katakana lacks an "i" syllable. There's also the usual thing with "Savior" vs "Saviour"
  • The Stoic: Though Kira now outdoes him in this respect.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: As Athrun learns when he tries to be someone in ZAFT again. He really does not fit in, start to finish.
  • Super Mode: SEED mode again. He's the only pilot to have never lost in SEED Mode.
    • Back in Gundam Seed, Athrun could activate this mode at will. However he's since lost the ability to do this due to his internal conflicts interfering with his focus. Once he obtains the Infinite Justice, he no longer has any difficulty activating it, signifying that he's finally found some clarity in his purpose.
  • Supporting Protagonist: For both Shinn and Kira.
  • The Reason You Suck: Gives a rather abbreviated but very deep-cutting one to Shinn Asuka in the final battle, lambasting him for taking part in what's effectively attempted genocide on Orb purely because of his own selfish inability to let go of his angst and hate. He then further goes on to imply the reason Shinn can't allow his anger to fade is because he himself has become someone who lives off of the hate and death of war, the very same as the people he claimed to despise - that since Shinn doesn't know anything else except pain and how to cause it, he pathologically needs to think himself on the "right" side so that he can always have a way to justify continuing his hate. To say Shinn doesn't react well to this assessment is a gross understatement, but in doing so only proves Athrun right as his mad desperation to kill him nearly resulted in Shinn killing Luna instead, forcing Athrun to finally go on the offense and cut the Destiny down to save Luna.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Saviour, which converts into a jet-like mobile armor.
  • Would Hit a Girl: As Lunamaria can attest.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: He has navy blue hair.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After the Freedom is shot down, Rey and Durandal decide that he's become too much of a liability and make plans to frame him as a traitor. However, Meer overhears their plans and tips him off before they can arrest him, and he busts out of the base with Meyrin's help (though he's forced to bring her along with him after Rey spots them in the MS hanger). Rey then dupes Shinn into thinking that Athrun really has turned traitor, and the Destiny ends up shooting down the spare MS they had used to escape. Fortunately, they're picked up by the Archangel shortly afterwords.

    Meyrin Hawke 

Voice Actors: Fumiko Orikasa (Japanese), Nicole Bouma (English)

A Bridge Bunny on board the Minerva, and Lunamaria's little sister. Shy around people she doesn't know well, Meyrin is an important part of the bridge crew as the one in charge of communications, yet frequently gets overshadowed by her more outgoing older sister. Like Lunamaria, Meyrin also admires Athrun.

  • Act of True Love: She betrayed ZAFT, threw away her old life, and came very close to being killed herself, all in a snap decision to help a desperate Athrun.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: She wore Girlish Pigtails until her defection, after which she let her hair loose. Subverted later: in the final episodes, she wore her ZAFT uniform, complete with bridge cover, and her hair up in pigtails again.
  • Celeb Crush: On Athrun Zala. Unlike her sister, she's able to accept him for who he is, rather than who she expected.
  • Communications Officer: Her job on the Minerva and later on the Eternal. In charge of everything incoming and outgoing, also issues Talia's alerts and oversees the pilots' launches and communicates with them in their mobile suits.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Gets a huge one when she ends up engineering Athrun's escape from Gibraltar and then having to go with him — after which she pretty much goes back to being quiet in the background again, and doesn't say or do anything important until the last episode.
  • Defecting for Love: Unlike Athrun's trumped-up charges, Meyrin actually did betray ZAFT several times while helping him, when she could have just let him try to escape. Athrun even asked her why, initially, and – still in shock – she said she didn't know. Cagalli remarked it must be this, but it's equally likely Meyrin just wanted to do the right thing. Given what we see of Athrun and Meyrin's relationship, if it ''is'' this, it's not overtly romantic.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Deliberately Invoked via Modesty Towel in order to delay some soldiers. She wasn't even naked underneath the towel!
  • Foil: To Flay Allster. They're both redheaded Bridge Bunnies who are very concerned with their appearance, take their clothes off for plot-important reasons, wear nearly the same uniform and end up clinging to a ZAFT officer after a heroic, side-switching rescue. However, where Flay was a Broken Bird Spoiled Brat and Manipulative Bitch Evil Redhead using Kira and hoping he would die for part of SEED, Meyrin is a genuinely Nice Girl who spontaneously and selflessly saved Athrun using her wits, her tech skills, and her body.
    • Also to Cagalli: They both saved Athrun and display reckless tendencies. But where loud, brash Bifauxnen Cagalli fought Athrun at gunpoint and ended up getting The Big Damn Kiss, then later chose to separate from him several times, gentle, feminine Shrinking Violet Meyrin was constantly on (and later at) Athrun's side and part of an apparent Chastity Couple.
  • Girl Next Door: As opposed to high-status near-princesses Cagalli or Lacus or her own flashy, Dangerously Short Skirt-wearing Action Girl sister, Meyrin is this. She even gets an image song with Miriallia to emphasize it.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Downplayed. Meyrin demonstrates some jealousy of Lunamaria's looks, but it's a minor aspect of her character.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Has a serious hero-crush on Athrun. In a twist, she may actually be the more heroic one.
  • Implied Love Interest: With Athrun, but given the status of his on-off relationship with Cagalli, no one is sure how platonic or romantic the two of them are.
  • Inside Job: Meyrin busts out her computer skills to create a distraction inside the Gibraltar database for Athrun's escape.
  • Plucky Girl: When under pressure, she can be pretty resourceful.
  • She Knows Too Much: Gets caught by Rey when helping Athrun sneak into the MS hanger bay, forcing Athrun to take her with him least she get tried for treason alongside him.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Red coat, green coat. Mobile suit pilot, bridge crew. Short hair, long hair. Custom Uniform of Sexy, standard one. Brash, confident, chatty; shy, nervous, hides behind people. Hangs all over Athrun... hangs all over Athrun (but actually ends up with him). Meyrin and Lunamaria are very different people, in spite of (or because of) only eleven months between them.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Like Athrun, Meyrin ends up wearing the same red Morgenroete jacket both he and Cagalli wore in the last series when they ended up falling for each other... but she ultimately goes back to her ZAFT uniform and old hairdo, and we really have no idea how she and Athrun feel about each other. Subverted.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The girly girl to Luna's tomboy. Also Cagalli's.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Makes up a secondary trio by hanging out with the young Minerva mechanics Yolant Kent and Vino Dupre. Vino later seems absolutely shattered after she's apparently executed, while Yolant tells him not to mention her any more.
  • The Unfavorite: Seems to consider herself this. She shows occasional bouts of jealousy over Luna's popularity (for example, trying on Luna's pink miniskirt while Luna was in the shower — and becoming annoyed when it doesn't fit).

    Talia Gladys 

Voice Actors: Mami Koyama (Japanese), Venus Terzo (English)

"War is a part of politics, in which the whole picture cannot be read."

Captain of the Minerva and Shinn's commanding officer. Tries very hard to be a fair commander, despite an increasing amount of stress and strain. Later revealed to be an old flame of Durandal's, she remains loyal to ZAFT and PLANT while her doubts continue to escalate.

  • Authority in Name Only: She battles the Chairman's increasing subversion of her authority right till the end, but with little real success. Vacillates between rage, despair, and resignation towards the end.
  • Benevolent Boss: She's variously temperamental, professional, or introverted, but Talia cares very much about every single one of her subordinates.
  • Broken Bird: Her history with Durandal left her one of the more jaded and resigned of the cast, especially where he's concerned.
  • The Captain: She serves as the Minerva's captain.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The original scene between her, Head-Turning Beauty Murrue and Arthur has her firmly shoving Arthur out of Murrue's way when he's done nothing more than smile politely. To make it funnier, Talia's not even looking at him. She's also really unimpressed by his enthusiasm at Meer's concert. See Tsundere.
  • Commissar Cap: Part of the standard ZAFT captain's uniform.
  • Cool Ship: The Minerva. It's named after the Roman goddess of defensive warfare AND wisdom! - which only serves to make an already cool winged ship more awesome still.
  • Foil: To both Murrue and Natarle Badgiruel, with Talia's sharpness and stricter approach contrasting Murrue's original naivete, and her anger and skepticism contrasting Natarle's unquestioning loyalty and unemotionalism, and Murrue's current idealism. In a Call-Back, Talia also ends up trying to take out a non-military boss she can no longer stand, in the end. Acknowledged by Talia herself when she expresses the wish for Murrue to meet her young son, someday.
  • Freudian Slip: In the original, she does refer to Arthur once the way a wife usually does to her husband. Japanese fandom noticed the Ship Tease.
  • I Choose to Stay: At the end of the series, she opts to stay with the dying Durandal and Rey as Messiah collapses on itself.
  • Improbable Age: She's a flagship captain who's just twenty-nine. Justified as her boss is only thirty-four, but she does remark on how young her crew is.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: While the entire world is confused over which Lacus is real, she points out that Lacus has no authority over ZAFT or the PLANTs due to her position as a rogue third party, so she doesn't bother pressing the issue.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Arthur's constantly at her side and she has a mix of affection and annoyance for him, so they come off as this.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Her gray eyes match her Cool Ship. Appropriate - as in "gray-eyed Athena".
  • Modesty Bedsheet: She uses it after her one time with Durandal.
  • New Old Flame: To Durandal. Almost instantly begins turning to an Old Flame Fizzle, due to his ever-increasing callousness and her responsive disgust.
  • Parental Substitute: Becomes this to Rey at the very end, in the most tragic way possible.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: She's tough and firm but generally fair and sympathetic; again, a good balance between Murrue and Natarle.
  • The Reveal: In succession, she and Chairman Durandal are lovers, at least for one early episode, were romantically involved more than a decade ago, and she is a mother with a young son from the marriage she chose over him.
  • The Rival: She and the Minerva are very much the morally ambiguous counterparts to Murrue and the Archangel faction.
  • Ship Tease: With Arthur. Even the fact that she calls him "Arthur" implies more of a degree of familiarity than strict professionalism (not that their relationship is terribly professional to begin with).
  • The Skeptic: Is there an order of any kind from HQ? Talia will be questioning it, and what's behind it. Professionally, she simply tends to ask "why" more often than not. (Whether this is a good or unfortunate thing for a highly-placed military officer might be another in-show example of nature vs. role.)
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: Talia's brilliant military record has nothing to do with her being involved with the Chairman. However, she's not well-liked in ZAFT for a combination of reasons (mostly 'capable, young, and female') and her appointment to the Minerva seems to have put her in the position of being an easy target for accusations of this.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: We get to hear an older white (and white-coat) male ZAFT officer complain at one point about how things are "Gladys'" fault because she's a woman.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Would just as soon NOT be in this position with the Chairman.
  • Team Mom: She tries, but she isn't really emotionally equipped for it, the Chairman's overarching and arbitrary authority means hers is being constantly subverted, and her crew's problems are just too much for her to handle.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Zigzagged; ostensibly lawful yet unhesitatingly skeptical through the entire show, she refused to invade Orb, and Durandal's use of the Requiem on friendly forces may have been her final justification for setting out to kill him on her own.
  • Tsundere: Talia is shown multiple times to have affection for and be very possessive of Arthur. Whether it's romantic and extends to Subordinate Excuse or not, for a few reasons (like her boss or being his boss), she can't express it normally and it comes out as her being very critical of him (or shoving or yanking him). It extends to the post-show audio dramas, where Arthur (who adores her and does express that), says "She probably didn't like me at all." That might be grief and trauma talking, but she's still a tsundere.
  • Woman Scorned: Ends up as this to the Chairman, though she's not goaded into action so much by her personal feelings as she is horrified by the monster he's become.

    Arthur Trine 

Voice Actors: Hiroki Takahashi (Japanese), Jonathan Holmes (English)

"I believe what the Chairman says about getting along with the Naturals, but if someone doesn't get shot, this war is never going to end."

Talia's second-in-command, Arthur is a likeable and competent, if remarkably panicky executive officer. Totally loyal to Captain Gladys, he has a good rapport with Shinn and the other pilots.

  • Accent Adaptation: He has no accent in the original, but in the first English dub (likely due to his name, quirky personality, etc.) he gains a British-Australian one (and loses his Catchphrase).
  • Black Comedy: "And if they all decided to turn on us, that'd be the end of Gibraltar! Ahahaha..." (Given his ''other'' specialty, Talia might have been right in getting mad here.)
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Arthur's goofy and inexperienced but is never shown to be less than competent at his job. Justified, in that ZAFT is a militia.
  • The Cassandra: "Impulse can beat the Freedom"? "If someone doesn't get shot, this war is never going to end"? "Hey, maybe it's NOT a good idea to go after The Chosen Many on the Archangel"? This is his non-Plucky Comic Relief role. Arthur tends to be rather startlingly accurate when he predicts something, but for various reasons, he's not terribly effective at getting taken seriously.
  • Catchphrase: In Japanese. EHHH??
  • Commissar Cap: Part of the standard uniform.
  • Cowardly Lion: Arthur is nervy, jumpy, and prone to freaking out, yet he's a perfectly capable officer, sticks by The Captain's side to the end, and adapts remarkably well to the Minerva's increasingly crazy plans.
  • Dork Knight: Fanboying Shinn and the Impulse; bouncing at Meer's concert; gaping up against the glass of the bridge window; clapping two beats too long at an assembly, glancing at Talia, and stopping... Up to Eleven.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: In the Remaster, Talia yanks him by the EAR for daring to ogle the Head-Turning Beauty Murrue.
  • Ensign Newbie: Unlike his boss, Arthur is not a veteran. Fortunately, he's the Number Two, not The Captain, and acquits himself fairly well.
  • First-Name Basis: Talia addresses him this way, and it's noticeable because ZAFT is more of a Last-Name Basis kind of place.
  • Flanderization: On the one hand, Arthur was never going to be a typical military character — Takahashi says he was asked to audition with the line "Looking lovely as usual, Captain!". However, he was introduced with some very stern-looking lineart, and his serious and questioning behavior still takes up most of his time for the first several episodes. Then the goofy moments get increasingly more focus. He is still shown doing perfectly normal executive officer things, but the former are all anybody remembers, to the point where many people think he's incompetent or wonder why or how he has his job, despite being a Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
  • The Fool: Plays this so well, it obfuscates his other talents.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: His relationship with Talia, and it's very much played for all the comedy inherent.
  • Likes Older Women: Very mildly, but Talia's three years older.
  • Mildly Military: He gets called by his first name, yelled at by his boss, and his personality makes him seem like he's not much of a soldier, but he does know what he's doing and can get strict about it.
  • Nice Guy: Arthur is a rarity in this show—hell, in this franchise—an unambiguously affable guy.
  • Non-Action Guy: Subverted. He may not pilot a mobile suit, but he's the first officer of a battleship.

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