So this is it, the end of Destiny, and the final chapter (if you don't count Astray or Stargazer) of the entire SEED universe. There's much to live up to...
Without divulging some core plot details, suffice to say the last 5 episodes tie up all the loose ends - the Lacus Clyne imposter, Lord Gebril's plan, the war between the plants and the Alliance, as well as the secret of Rey's past... Oh, and whether or not Shinn can actually do something smart for once.
Like SEED before it, Destiny ends in all out war, with a number of factions repeating the events of the past series and trying to wipe each other out. The only problem with this is that it really is almost identical - the Archangel gets to fight a similar ship in the shape of the Minerva, Rey and Kira fight to the finish and Shinn has an out of body experience with the girl he lost.
While some of these moments grate (especially the last one, as it cheapens the Kira/Flay moment it imitates and lacks the emotional punch it desperately needs to work), others are sheer genius and had me genuinely welling up.
In particular, (and here be spoilers), Neo once again defends the Archangel by placing himself between his ship and a lethal blast from the Minerva - the look of terror on Murrue's face as her lost lover looks as if he's about to die all over again is heartbreaking. This time however, Neo survives, and in the process his jumbled memory is jolted into sharp focus - when he appears on screen to a startled Murrue, there's no doubt that he's Mu La Flaga once more, and it's genuinely moving to see the captain's reaction. It almost makes putting up with Shinn for 50 episodes worth it...
It's a shame that Destiny didn't follow its own path, and when the fans cried out for more at the end of the first series, I think they deserved more than the redux ending we have here.
Another shortfall is that the last episode ends as the battle finishes, with no real closure. Now, there was a Christmas episode that retold the last 2 episodes with an extended battle and an epilogue to show you (at least some of) the fates of key characters. It was dubbed into English by the original voice cast (it's on Youtube) but wasn't included on the disc. It'll never be released on its own over here, and that's a massive shame.
But in the end, Destiny still stands as a fantastic series. If you wanted more development of your favourite characters as well as more Gundam action, it's a great fix. Any emotional impact will likely require some familiarity with the original SEED, as the new characters, with the exception of Meyrin and possibly Meer Campbell, lack the spark of the original cast, but I loved watching it, and you should too.
Oh, and best moment in the series: Athrun losing his temper with Shinn and giving him a much deserved kicking - with Athrun's cry of "You crazy bastard!" giving it much needed "oomph!"
The usual character info, trailers and textless opening/closing animation. The latter suffers from having the most dire opening theme of any anime I've seen in the last 18 years...
Too similar to the first series to stand alone, but some genuine emotional impact in places and still one of, if not the best space soap operas ever.