Part I  |  Part III  |  Part IV Welcome back, everyone! If anyone needs a reminder of what the first part was about, skim through i...

When Destiny Takes Over: Athrun x Cagalli (Part II)

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Welcome back, everyone! If anyone needs a reminder of what the first part was about, skim through it over here, please. The above image leads to the link to buy the AsuCaga covered GSD Remastered Part II.

As the title implies, I'll be continuing from where I left off. This second part is more about the development both of them undergo through the major events they encounter on their journey. The sad part is that it becomes increasingly difficult to write about them together, as I did the first time, which can also be seen as how they are drifting apart.

On another note, I wanted to write about Meyrin & Meer in this part but it wouldn`t do them justice as it is long enough already. This part is dedicated to the struggle Athrun and Cagalli are currently facing as individuals instead of as a couple.

Following the kidnapping of Cagalli & Athrun's revelation of Orb being a hostile territory towards him, both begin paving their own path towards a peaceful future.

Athrun-sad


Since Athrun was enlisted with ZAFT alongside the once main character, Shinn, we see much more happening than on the Archangel side of things. So let's begin there.

We see that Athrun had been granted rights as a member of FAITH by Durandal, meaning he could place himself outside the regular chain of command as he saw fit on the battlefield as well as give orders as he deemed appropriate. The only person he was accountable to was the Chairman.

Let's quickly return to SEED for a moment when we saw Athrun as an individual who believed war will come to a successful end if soldiers followed orders. As seen in SEED, a major flaw of his character was his indecisiveness. Perhaps this was what the Chairman picked up on, considering he knew about Athrun's former defection. So granting him entry into FAITH would almost be an incentive for Athrun to stay in ZAFT, considering he was seen as a hero and had extraordinary piloting skills, two things which work in Durandal's benefit.

While mentoring Lunamaria & Shinn on the right path would also be an incentive, he had also lost communication with the three most important people in his life: Kira, Cagalli & Lacus. Since they are abroad the Archangel, a renegade ship, they are to remain hidden, especially after committing an international crime by kidnapping Cagalli from her wedding and surviving an assassination attempt on Lacus.

It's best to keep hidden.

Until events such as the Battle of Dardanelles happened. It's here that the Archangel made their first official appearance. Cagalli attempted to speak to the Orb fleet, requesting them to cease fire with Kira by her side for protection, should things go wrong. Athrun, naturally, is confused. Why are they doing this?

Strike-Freedom-Strike-Rouge


Athrun-angry


Things definitely went wrong as Yuna claimed it wasn't the true Cagalli. Unfortunately, they were attacked and chaos ensued, causing her to cry at her lack of power. She finally witnessed the consequence of her mistake - destruction.

Athrun, on the other hand, recognized everyone but is unable to make contact. Sadly, Heine was killed by Stellar and Athrun mistook Kira for killing Heine. He was angry at Kira & Cagalli and it seemed that this was the beginning of his misunderstanding of Cagalli.

Following the battle, Athrun finally received the chance to meet with Kira & Cagalli. He wished to tell them what they did was not right, causing so many sacrifices and that there was another way.

The Archangel team, on the other hand, thought Athrun returned to them and was amused by Cagalli's declaration to go with Kira. Everyone thought he could shed light as to what was occurring in PLANTs.

Unfortunately, the objective each party wanted couldn't be achieved since revelations were abound. Athrun informed Kira & Cagalli he enlisted in ZAFT once again, Kira questioned Durandal's motives and who ordered Lacus' assassination and we also see how tense things truly have become with Athrun & Cagalli as they only criticized one another's decisions instead of being happy to see one another - it was one-sided on Cagalli's part. Perhaps Athrun still held a grudge against her for near marriage to Yuna?

asucaga-remaster-blueray


When I look at this image, it's almost as if Cagalli's saying goodbye to Athrun, who has lost his way.

In a way, this scene served to show that there wasn't a 'true' right path as it questioned whether or not the Archangel should've interfered with battle. But that's for another discussion. In another way, we also witness Athrun's mindset on ZAFT & PLANTS - even after Kira told him of the assassination attempt, he stuck to his opinion of Durandal.

And so continued Athrun's path of solitude of which he wasn't aware just yet. At this moment, he believed he was not alone, especially when he found a friend in Heine Westenfluss. In regards of who developed Athrun's character down the line, I would have to say Heine, Shinn & Meer.

Heine demonstrated that one did not need to keep a professional level among the fellow soldier, Shinn constantly pointed out his hesitation to fight when it concerned the Archangel and Meer served as a catalyst for the truth and reminded him of who he could've been for the rest of his life - a puppet.

Then we have Cagalli, whose actions and reactions are affected by Kira, Uzumi and surprisingly, Shinn. For her, Shinn is the embodiment of failure. This was what happened when a nation failed its citizens and when Orb's ideals weren't followed through. Uzumi was her constant reminder of the strength she should've maintained and Kira was her rock.

As the show moved onto the Battle of Crete, it only becomes more chaotic and solidified what Athrun & Cagalli do think of one another at this point.

For me, it was upsetting to watch this battle from Cagalli's perspective. She had been told to return to Orb but Yuna wouldn't have her back. When the Archangel interfered once again, the plan failed yet again. Orb soldiers had resolved to taken down Minerva as it was their orders and the scene between Cagalli and the Captain (?) was quite touching.

Cagalli-Orb-army


Even though they do not want to do this, they must. They are soldiers of the nation and their leader had given orders. Although his words were harsh, he threw her away to keep her from harm. He then sacrificed himself to damage the Minerva immensely.

The relationship between Cagalli and the army was showcased well in this episode. Despite everything, they still consider her the true leader and commander, to the point where a pilot protected her from Shinn's attack near the Takemikazuchi, losing his life in the process.

When she cries this time around, it's on a different level of understanding. She's not just crying for Orb but for those soldiers she knew well. How could she ever make it up to those who lost their lives?

Along with the emotional struggle, we see that Cagalli & Athrun didn't particularly care for one another on the battlefield, more so Cagalli as Athrun did time to time show some concern when she was in slight danger. Athrun was angry that they interfered yet again and that the Minerva was in danger. Cagalli was concentrating on stopping the battle. It wasn't until Kira said to Athrun in an emotional state that Athrun's resolve was hindered:
I know what you're saying. I know what you're saying, but it doesn't matter. Because at this moment, Cagalli is crying her heart out. She's crying because all of this is exactly what she feared. Why won't you understand that? And now you're saying that this battle... that these terrible sacrifices can't be helped!? That all of this is the fault of Orb and Cagalli? If you are saying that, then you are attacking the very thing that Cagalli is trying to save. Then I have no choice, I must defeat you!
The dedication Kira had for Cagalli and her cause was almost unbelievable. Was Athrun thinking it should have been him in Kira's place? Or that him staying in Orb or with the Archangel would have been more effective? I believe it was here that Athrun began seeing things in a bit differently and questioning his motives more.

athrun-confused


He had been seeing things solely from the ZAFT perspective and at some point, saw Orb as hostile, an entity that needed to be defeated. He witnessed the deaths incurred on the Minerva and this fueled his motives to fight for ZAFT. I don't think Athrun was wrong in criticizing the Archangel for interfering in both battles but we can only guess what would have happened otherwise.

Following the Battle of Crete, we find some respect lost for Athrun as he was beaten by Freedom. Shinn is becoming much more impatient with him and Rey increasingly came to Shinn's defense. For Shinn,Freedom`s pilot had to die, no matter what.

It was here that we were given proper insight to Athrun`s feelings - he didn`t want the Archangel crew to be destroyed or killed, he just wanted them to stop interfering and causing more casualties. He wasn`t comfortable with Shinn and Rey doing simulations against Freedom and Rey caught on to who his loyalties lay with.

And speaking of loyalties, the crew aboard the Takemikazuchi joined the Archangel in order to support Cagalli. It was very intriguing to watch as both Cagalli and the soldiers cried for those who had lost their lives. My reaction to this was, wow. Not many leaders would cry in front of their soldiers nor vice-versa happen.

Cagalli-Orb-Commander-cry


Cagalli, though at a slow pace, was becoming more confident of herself and her leadership. Athrun, on the other hand, was still struggling. Soon though, he would find the `right` path for himself.

Many AsuCaga fans say that both of them were deeply in love throughout Destiny. This is something I disagree with. If they were in love with one another, then in the original series, they would`ve been thinking much more about the other. As it was, both were more concentrated with finding themselves - they both felt powerless - and finding peace via their own methods.

One fact I found sweet was that Cagalli did keep her ring on her finger. To her, Athrun was still important and every time he noticed the right, he was surprised. Although they may not be priority or empathetic to one another`s struggle, they do care for one another in an indirect way. But things couldn't be as it were in SEED, where Cagalli spent most of her time with him after Orb's tragic battle.

No, both need to know and love themselves for who they are before they can even think about loving one another.

Will that happen in the next part? Perhaps but look forward to an end of struggle in Part III ;)




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4 comments:

  1. Very nice and thorough =) I look forward to the next part! Keep me posted

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    1. Thank you, my dear and loyal reader. I'm sure the next part will be written quicker than this one :)

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  2. Thank you for both this and part I! When I watched Destiny initially, I had so many torn feelings (I was also much younger), but yes, their relationship was definitely not as strong nor portrayed as much compared to SEED. You mentioned earlier re: the issues between Cagalli's VA and the writer -- which kind of just gobbled up Cagalli's character in a not so pleasant way.
    When I think back to GSD now, I can safely say I don't hate Meer or Meyrin (I used to), and now I can clearly see both of their characters in a fairer (I think so anyways) light. I don't see Athrun x Meyrin as a pairing still, partially because of my obsessive love for AsuCaga (oops!), but the way their characters are portrayed. The ending of Destiny, which I took quite poorly initially, now gives me hope. While I'm not expecting much from the franchise anymore, in my heart they'll always be together. ;)
    Anyways sorry for the ramble. You have done an amazing job expressing your views and opinions, and I do agree with most of them (if not all). I haven't watched the Destiny remasters yet, only because I don't think I can handle the lack of AsuCaga again, but anyways. This was very well written. I'm looking forward to a fourth part if you're planning on writing one!! :)

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    1. Hello hun,

      Sorry for the late reply,I thought I hit 'enter' the last time I tried replying. It's really sad with internal politics ruins things, Shinn's VA also took a hit since he stood up for Cagalli's VA. Again, sad and unnecessary.

      A lot of us were teens at the time this came out so it makes sense why particular characters would be hated, you know? From what we've been seeing so far, it seems Fukuda would put AsuCaga hints here and there just to satisfy the fans since there was such a loud explosion. The remastered edition really did try to fix things...not the best way to go about it since it's like the third time the studio tried to repackage it, lol.

      For the last update, I'd be posting it on my Tumblr blog at http://halcyonflower.tumblr.com/ in case that's easier to track ;)

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