Short Answer: The SEED is an ability for humans who are at the next stage of human evolution. When activated, it gives the user enhanced mental and physical abilities, which is manifested as increased level of control and sharper reflexes.
As avid fans of Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny, we’ve been watching been watching both animes for a long time now and it is pretty clear to us that the SEED is a pretty big deal in the story of Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed destiny. It’s even in the title of the anime.
SEED is actually an acronym which stands for Superior Evolutionary Element Destined. To be more specific, there are two parts to the SEED, SEED mode and the SEED factor. Let’s talk about them separately starting with SEED factor.
The SEED factor
What is the SEED factor? The SEED factor is an unproven theory of human evolution in the cosmic era. This ability is acquired by humans who are thought to be the next stage of human development. It is pretty similar to other phenomenal abilities in the Gundam franchise such as Innovators and Newtypes.
The only known mentions of the SEED are when characters chief engineer of Orb Erica Simmons and Reverend Malchio mention them in the manga and anime. A Coordinator and a Natural respectively.
The SEED mode
What is the SEED mode? It is a state of an individual to have enhanced focus, awareness, and physical ability. When an individual is in this state, the performance of the individual, most notably in mobile suit fighting, drastically changes as that individual manifests the effects of the SEED mode immediately upon entering the state.
During his brief encounter with Kira Yamato, Andrew Waltfeld noticed his exceptional reflexes when they were ambushed by Blue Cosmos in ZAFT teritory. He later on figured out that Kira Yamato was the pilot of the strike and that he was also a Coordinator.
Physical characteristics of SEED mode that we can see are the shrinking of the pupil, the growth of the iris, and as well as the iris becomes a shady version of the eye color of the person.
Entering SEED mode
There are two ways to enter SEED mode.
- The first method is when an individual has a strong desire to protect those that he or she loves or to strike down those that threaten them. When a character enters SEED mode in this manner, it is shown as a seed, which has the same color as the eye color of the character, that bounces once and then explodes.
- The second method for activating the SEED mode is where a character has enough belief or determination to accomplish his or her goals.
Fact of interest: Athrun Zala has always entered SEED mode using the second method.
Who can activate the SEED mode?
In theory, any human being in the cosmic era can activate the SEED mode if they have reached the next stage of human evolution. It is the same with other humans in other Gundam Universes such as the Innovators of Gundam 00 and the Newtypes of Mobile Suit Gundam.
Although many would say the Inovators and Newtypes of the Cosmic Era are the Coordinators, this is not true. Innovators and Newtypes are people who have achieved the next stage of human evolution even if they have different methods of evolution.
We just see Coordinators frequently activate the SEED mode in Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny because of the fact that many of the important characters are Coordinators and many of those Coordinators are pilots of Mobile Suits.
Having to face battle frequently, pilots need to have a strong resolve not only to win, but to survive the fires of war. This is one of the reasons why these pilots, namely Kira Yamato, Athrun Zala, and Shinn Asuka, frequently activate the SEED mode while in the heat of battle.
Another reason why majority of the characters who are seen to activate the SEED mode are Coordinators may be due to the fact that Coordinators have been enhanced genetically before birth. These genetic modifications and enhancements may have given Coordinators an edge over Naturals when it comes to reaching the next level of human evolution.
Fact of interest: Cagalli Yula Athha and Lacus Clyne have entered SEED mode. Even though both of them are not Mobile Suit pilots, they managed to enter SEED mode with their resolve.
Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny characters that have entered seed mode
- Kira Yamato – Coordinator
- Athrun Zala – Coordinator
- Shinn Asuka – Coordinator
- Cagalli Yula Athha – Natural
- Lacus Clyne – Coordinator
A lot of people think that only Coordinators can enter SEED mode. They think along the lines of “Maybe Cagalli is actually a Coordinator like her twin brother Kira and that’s why she can enter SEED mode.” However this would be inaccurate when it comes to the story of Gundam Seed.
Although Kira and Cagalli are twins, their father, Dr. Ulen Hibiki, removed only Kira from the womb of his mother during his early stages of embryonic development. Their birth names are Kira Hibiki and Cagalli Hibiki.
Do the skills increase with SEED mode?
Yes, but the extent of the increase depends on the experience and training of the individual.
Although the SEED mode peaks the mental and physical capabilities of the user, giving them extreme focus and reflex, the peak of these abilities varies for each person. As such, a SEED mode user who is not a soldier may not be able to beat a seasoned Coordinator soldier. Outcomes with the use of the SEED mode depend heavily on the experience gained by the user before activation of the SEED mode.
How do pilots who activate the SEED compare to Coordinators in battle?
Coordinators are humans who have been genetically enhanced, as such; they have greater mental and physical capabilities than those of the average humans, also known as naturals. Coordinators who are soldiers of ZAFT specifically undergo military training which enhances their focus and reflexes more than the average Coordinator.
In Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny, we have SEED mode users, namely Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala face other Coordinators who do not have the SEED but still giving them quite a challenge.
We can also see Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala not being able to push back the first batch of biological CPUs of the Earth Forces, the boosted men, during the battle of Orb and during the Second battle of Jachin Due.
From these facts we can see that a SEED user does not necessarily gain more focus and reflex than soldier Coordinators of ZAFT. Only if the SEED user has enough experience can the user surpass most soldier Coordinators.
Interesting Fact: There are also “Coordinators” in other Gundam Universes
It may interest you to know that in the universe of Gundam 00, there is a different version of the SEED. The SEED’s effects on its user are enhanced focus and reflexes. Although they differ a lot from SEED users, the super soldiers of Gundam 00 also have these same enhancements.
These super soldiers, however, resemble more of the Coordinators or Biological CPUs as they gain there enhancements via experimentation on their quantum brainwaves. It can be seen that the effects of these experimentation greatly enhance their skills in battle just like the effects of the SEED.
One interesting super soldier is one of the main characters of that Gundam Series, Allelujah Haptism. What makes him different from the rest of the super soldiers is that it’s not just his mental abilities that have been enhanced, but his physical abilities as well.
The contrast between him and another super soldier is seen clearly as he fights Soma Peries as he states “Your mind is fast enough but your body cannot keep up.”
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