Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.
I have a love-hate relationship with the anime Gundam SEED Destiny. After the original SEED ended, I thought I wanted another one and SEED Destiny came along. A few episodes later, I thought this was SEED all over again. With too much repetition and a lack of originality, it was like the first series was recycled. On the plus side, I enjoyed the added human emotions and plot twists. I’m single, so romance won’t turn me on, but I loved the tragic Shinn-Stella twist. And when Meer got shot, my first reaction was thinking, "what a waste!" Heartaches and tears would add flavour to the series.
But I got to admit that things went too far. I feel that we have to blame the main character for the weakness of this show.
I've seen a lot of annoying Gundam pilots before, but why does Shinn Asuka annoy me the most? The character had potential from what I saw in the beginning of the show. Shinn Asuka is the result of the earlier war. His family was killed as mobile suits, including the Freedom, dueled in the air. He is connected with Kira Yamato in some ways as he is the living consequences of his actions. Unlike the overly meek Kira, Shin proves to be a livelier and more entertaining person at the start of the series, only to degrade later on.
At first, I wasn't really sure what made me loathe Shinn, but here is my attempt to explain my reasoning.
Who is Shinn Asuka?
Those who followed Gundam SEED Destiny like me are familiar with him. Like what was stated above, his story starts with him and his family fleeing from a battlefield. They are caught in crossfire between the GAT-X131 Calamity and the ZGMF – X10A Freedom and the resulting explosion blew his family to pieces. The traumatic death of his family made him hate Orb for failing to protect them. He later joins ZAFT and got the mobile suit ZGMF-X56S Impulse.
He is involved in several interesting twists across the series. Athrun Zala becoming his commanding officer, much to his displeasure, is one of them. He then hooked up with Stella Loussier after he saved her from drowning. The two were doing well until Stella died in combat. Blaming Kira Yamato for Stella’s death, the angry Shinn nearly killed him in their duel, and he received the ZGMF-X42S Destiny as a reward. He pilots the suit well, wrecking most of the Earth Alliance forces before Athrun Zala defeated him.
Wondering why I went through all of this trouble to narrate his story? By delving into how things went for Shinn, maybe we could see why the character suffered a meltdown.
Special Mention: Shinn Resembles Kira
Before we go deeper, I have to say that I never liked Shinn's character design. It is not exactly crappy and it could have been worse. But it is not the best either. It's pretty plain. Amuro Ray was pretty plain too and the same could be said for the rest of the Gundam pilots. It's a subjective issue, but I wished they made him more unique. If not for his pale complexion, I would mistake him for Kira Yamato.
Yup, in my opinion, he resembles him too much. I could say he is a dishevelled Kira. But then again, other people kept noticing how much the SEED characters resembled each other. Stella could pass for Cagalli when seen in other angles. Overall, it made me feel that Shinn was a recycled protagonist.
He Has Too Many Flaws
A problem I had with Shinn is that he has too many flaws. Imperfections are not bad things. In fact, they can enhance a character. It can make them more human and it helps them connect with the audience. Overcoming a major weakness will make the hero larger than life.
And that’s what annoyed me most about Shinn.
I know that watching your family get blown up and seeing your girlfriend die in your arms will turn you into a stubborn and impulsive lunatic. But instead of getting better as the series progressed, Shinn worsened to the point that he nearly became arrogant and antagonistic, even a little obnoxious. This is what turned me off from Shinn. The fact that he let his flaws overcome him and turn him into a monster made him the weakest character in the series. He is simply a person that lost to his demons.
He Blames the Wrong People
To be more precise, he always blames others but himself. In real life, we hate people who love to point fingers. I mean, when we hear stuff like, "Because of you my life is hell," it makes our ears bleed. And when someone blames the wrong person, things could spiral into chaos! Shinn has a habit of finding faults since his family was killed. I mean, he blamed Orb but he could have just blamed the Earth Alliance for sending those damned machines. And it is easy to blame Kira for the death of Stella even though she was about to go into a murdering spree. He blames and blames and blames and failed to find the root of his problems in the end. So much for a hero!
Capable of Stupid and Cruel Stuff
I’m not sure if seeing the mutilated bodies of his folks unhinged Shinn a bit. Too much anger and little sense is not a good mix. Impulsive behavior is Shinn’s hallmark. In an unfortunate event, a surge of emotion will skew his judgement. Just look at what he did when Stella was dying. He ignored his superiors and acted on his own. And did you know that he dug his fist into a poor nurse’s stomach to get Stella out?
It’s no surprise how brutal Shinn can get as he will kill without question. Operation Angel Down will surely resonate to SEED fans.
Arrogant, Obnoxious and Immature
We all know how he got pissed off when Athrun Zala became his superior. Why? Because Athrun once worked for Orb, an entity he hated. Their relationship went into a spiralling downfall when Athrun got creamed by Kira. The two would often snarl at each other due to Shinn’s habit of succumbing to his personal feelings. But Athrun should have known that the brat never respected authority in the first place. Shinn thinks he is better than everyone. When things are not going his way, Shinn will defy orders. Remember how he sneaked Stella out? What a jerk indeed!
We may love a rebellious hero, but based on what I saw, there was nothing oppressive going on around Shinn. In fact, I could say that ZAFT had problems with Shinn instead. He just refused to listen.
We often hear how this brat will act according to emotions and not to reason. Revenge drove him and made his behaviour erratic. Shinn Asuka is perhaps the angriest character there is, even worse than the homicidal Wing pilots. As violent as they were, they were cool about what they were doing. Shinn on the other hand is all about anger. He is angry at Orb, angry at Kira Yamatao, angry at Athrun Zala, and probably angry at anyone who is against him. He is so angry that I became tired of his angry tirade.
At some point, I’m not sure what he is so angry about. And it seems this uncontrollable angst made him whine more than previous pilots. It just made Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala look good. And thanks to his uncontrollable rush of emotions, he tends to cry a lot. In fact, the epic battle between him and Athrun ended with him crying near the wreckage of his suit, in the arms of Lunamaria. Man, that was hard to watch! With so much anger and tears, I thought Shinn Asuka lacked b**ls.
The Complex Character Doesn't Fit
To conclude it all, Shinn Asuka is a mishandled protagonist. They created a hero that couldn’t handle their complex characterization. Being friendly and gentle while mingling with an emotionally dark psyche has never worked, no matter how interesting the concept is. It failed to turn him into a hero or an anti-hero. The result was an emo character that no one could connect with. In the end, Shinn Asuka could be the most annoying Gundam pilot there is.
Questions & Answers
Question: According to you, how would you rank Shin as a pilot when compared to Athrun, Kira or even other war veterans like Izac and Jules? Please state your reasons.
Answer: Let's see, for me, Athrun is number one, Kira comes in second. Being rash and reckless made Shinn just number three. In fact, the reason he managed to destroy the Freedom is that Kira refused to go aggressive and kill him. He is just marginally better than Izac and Jule, and both could match him if they receive better mecha.
Question: In GSD Shin received a faith badge from Durandal but we don't see him wearing it in GSD final plus. Was it revoked? Based on wiki, faith is the highest order. Does Shin deserve a faith badge?
Answer: Okay, this is my opinion. Though Shinn got serious attitude problems, he is deserving of the FAITH badge due to his piloting skills. But possibly after they lost to Kira and the rest in the last episode, he got demoted.
Question: What improvements would you make to Shinn?
Answer: Simple, man up and whine less. It's the same advice we give to our overly emotional friends when we have a drink.
Question: Is there any worse gundam pilots (at least in gundam anime) than Shinn Asuka? Character-wise, not piloting skill-wise.
Answer: As of now, I cannot think of someone who is worse than Shinn. But who knows? Maybe Bandai will give us a bigger crybaby in the future.
And did you know that Kira Yamato is more hated in Japan than Shinn? But that's another story.
Miya on April 13, 2020:
@ruru I think that there are more than 3 reasons y he defeated freedom. The other reasons other than what u already stated might be the fact that the impulse can get new parts attached if the they are broken. Kira disarmed him several times B4...without meyrin and reys help, he couldn't have won. Plus, Minerva was pressuring AA. Then, there's plot, Kira needed to lose to get strike freedom and to make Shin not appear as the useless unskilled brat he is.
ruru on March 06, 2020:
Shins anger is misdirected from day one. Blaming orb for taking a stand is childish and stupid. To add insult to injury he keeps climbing up with his faults.
Before thid i hadnt stood still at the shin kira comparison. Its true they both let a captive girl go and the way they went about it shows the difference.
Kira released a hostage on basis that she deserved to be free. As a non military man its understandable i dare say chivalrous considering he came back. shin on the other hand is a red coat meaning he is an elite pilot with alot of training. He simply ignores his training for the power of boners and get rewarded in the end. (In part thru durandals manipulation i think).
The defeat of kira by shin is often brought up 2. While i commend shins tactics he was heavily reliant on 3 things: kiras battle style of no casualties, archangels retreat and 3 kira being distracted constantly. But sadly nobody points this out
Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on November 22, 2019:
Tron1981 agree on that one. It only proves that Shinn is a bigger psycho.
Tron1981 on November 21, 2019:
You left out the way that he treated Cagalli, that was one of the things that bugged me most, because she did not deserve any of it. He went so far as to try and kill her when she posed no threat to him.
And he definitely came off as a villain too many times, like when he used Kira's own nature against him, trying to kill a man that he knew damn well wasn't trying to kill him. It would be one thing if he were following orders, but the fact that he made it personal was the biggest issue.
J.Cross on July 12, 2019:
Or you know it could be because he is literally what happens when you fuse Kira Yamato and Kamille Bidan. Good characters alone, too much together. Also I stand by this, there is no way that he should have been able to defeat the Freedom.
Artriven on May 14, 2019:
I 100% agree with you, I'm not SEED/Destiny fans but I like the mobile suits design but the characters? Well not so much. What good is a pilot and a member of some organization if what he can do is just complaining and angry about literaly everything..