Marina Ismail (マリナ・イスマイール Marina Isumaīru?) (مارینا اسماعیل Marina Ismail) is a fictional character of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Marina is the princess and monarch of the country Azadistan in Season 1. In Season 2, after her exile from Azadistan, she went into hiding with Katharon as a caretaker for the orphan children within their organization.
Personality & Character
Marina Ismail is the First Princess of Azadistan, which is struggling economically due to the UN's embargo on oil exports. She is politically inexperienced and comes from an ordinary household, but accepted the position of Princess of Azadistan when Parliament chose her based on her lineage. Marina is passionate for the peace and prosperity of Azadistan. Though she fears for her own life, she risks her political position for the sake of her country and it reflects her personality of being idealistic and naive to her causes. She has a kind and friendly personality, shows concern for her cared ones. Marina is also a strong believer in common human understanding. As she sees herself unable to turn to violence to solve problems, Marina wishes for people to talk things over and reduce the bloodshed, so that happiness can be spread to all people of the world.
After learning that Setsuna was one of Celestial Being's Gundam Meisters, she slowly develops a concern for his well-being.
Early Days & Becoming a Princess
Marina had a normal childhood growing up in Azadistan. As a child, she had great interest in teaching and music. In a time of political complexities and turmoil of the middle east, monarchy was chosen as the government body to rule over the establishment of the fragile Azadistan. Because of Marina's royal bloodline, she was elected as the country's new leader.
Though a young political leader, she accepted the role as princess and devoted herself into reforming Azadistan. In hopes to gain greater political support, she attempted to enlist Imam Rasa Massoud Rachmadi, only to become her opposition. Rasa explained that there are many conservatives that are against her political ideals and reform. To support her would throw the nation in to further turmoil and felt he was better served as the voice of the conservative party to temper their emotions for a more stable country.
Political Reform Campaign & Celestial Being
Due to her nation's economic and political instability, Marina attempts to travel the world to ask various nations for aid to relieve her country's suffering. This caused some civil unrest amongst the conservative population, as many citizens are xenophobic and weary foreign interference. With the help of her top political aid, Shirin Bakhtiar, she hopes to salvage Azadistan to make it a better country.
While in Scotland for negotiations, Marina noticed a young boy in a cycle, pursuing a terrorist. She saved him from arrest, believing he was a citizen of her nation. Marina and Setsuna found a quiet area of a park to chat. Marina asked Setsuna if her action was out of line, but he answered no. Marina asked if Setsuna was from her own nation, but he angrily replied that he was from the fallen Republic of Krugis. Realizing Setsuna's nationality made conversation awkward (since Azadistan subjugated Krugis), Marina replied, "Krugis...Is that so? I don't know what to say...I didn't introduce myself, did I? I'm Marina Ismail" Setsuna gave away an alias, "Kamal Majirif" Marina wondered if he was in Scotland as a tourist, but Setsuna didn't want to answer further more and decided to walk off. Marina didn't want the conversation to end, "W-Wait! I want to talk to you some more, please..." Setsuna decided to stay.
Marina talked to Setsuna about Azadistan's foreign policy. Setsuna wondered what it was, so Marina explained,
|“||That's right. I'm sure you know, Kamal, but Azadistan is being split between the Conservative and Reformist parties. It's become chaotic. In order to rebuild the economy of Azadistan, with the oil output regulated, we need the Solar Energy System. However, the Solar Energy System is what made our lives difficult in the first place. The conservatives don't approve of it at all. If the fighting doesn't stop, they'll be sure to come.||”|
Rasa Kidnapped & CB's Intervention
When Rasa Massoud Rachmadi (the Imam who kept the conservatives in check) was kidnapped, Azadistan erupted into violent civil unrest, bordering civil war. Celestial Being was able to save Rasa and Exia returned him to the palace, unarmed. Together, they pledge to restore order to Azadistan.
Letter from Setsuna
In the aftermath of Operation Fallen Angels, Marina receives an e-mail from Setsuna, asking her about some of the lesser aspects of humanity:
|“||Marina Ismail: By the time you read this...I'm already gone. Armed interventions to put an end to war, I'm unable to do anything but fight for Celestial Being. You taught me what it means to fight back then, just like Gundam. I wanted to know why our world is so terminally distorted. Where did that distortion come from? Why there are people who are unconsciously evil? Why people don't know that their evil hurts others. Why is humanity an existence which only conflicts with itself? Why are there people who rule and those who are ruled? Why do we wound each other? In spite of all this, why do people go on living like they do? I wanted to ask you...please think of an answer if we may meet again. That being the case, I will seek out the same thing on a different path than yours. Down the path towards mutual human understanding for the answer. I'll keep looking for it, together with my Gundam.||”|
After she finished reading it, she cries disconsolately for Setsuna's sad and tragic destiny.
Shirin Resigning & Continuing Reform
After the fade of Celestial Being, Marina continued to find a means to reform Azadistan and stabilize the country. For two years, she continued to visit diplomats and world leaders for political aid, but with little success. After the formation of the Earth Sphere Federation (ESF) in AD 2310, things got even harder as the ESF become the largest oppressor to non-aligned countries that refuse to join the ESF charter. Azadistan was slowly being choked by the ESF by their dispersal of GN particles throughout the middle east to limit development and use of advanced technology.
During AD 2311, Marina was at her room, watching the first year anniversary ceremony of the ESF. Shirin decided to resign her position as her political adviser to Marina. Shirin felt being a political aid won't save their country and promised to find other means to save Azadistan, but left Marina to fend for herself in a still fragile nation. For the next year, Marina continued to seek political assistance until the return of Celestial Being.
In an unspecified time, between AD 2307-2312, Rasa Massoud Rachmadi died from unknown causes. Without his leadership and tempering their emotions, the conservative party jump-started a new wave of violence. This also made Marina a larger target as some blame their misfortunes and suffering upon her.
Political Prisoner & CB Jailbreak
In AD 2312, Marina continues her diplomatic missions for international aid. While she was staying in her hotel room and watched news about the return of Celestial Being, she wondered if Setsuna is still alive. Suddenly, her bodyguards were taken out and ESF forces came to arrest her. Marina was unlawfully taken to an ESF anti-government detention facility for questioning ( the same place where Gundam Meister Allelujah Haptism was being held).
Upon interrogation, a government agent informed her that she's a person of high-interest due to her interaction with a Gundam Meister 4 years ago (when Setsuna returned Rasa Massoud Rachmadi). Even though she told the government everything she knows before (except Setsuna's identity), the agent "grilled" her for possible leads as they have nothing else on Celestial Being. After interrogation, she was sent back to her cell and kept there for the remaining day.While in her cell, the detention facility was having a lot of commotion. Marina didn't know it, but Celestial Being infiltrated the facility to rescue Allelujah Haptism while Katharon also intervened to rescue their comrades. A person's voice over the door told her to stand back and the door lock blew open. Marina was surprised to see it was Setsuna who have come to rescue her. Setsuna took her inside GN-0000 00 Gundam and gave her shelter inside Ptolemy 2.
While Setsuna apologized for dragging her into their affairs, Marina wanted to know why Setsuna continues to fight when he could've chose a different life. Setsuna replied that ending conflict was his wish, fighting was the only way. Marina couldn't help but started crying for Setsuna's way of life.
The Path to Azadistan
After free from ESF imprisonment, Marina refocused her attention back to Azadistan. She's aware that her absence and lack of leadership can easily unstable things and desires to return home.
Pleading Setsuna & Katharon Assistance
While in a meeting room with Setsuna (including Ian Vashti, Lockon Stratos, and Lasse Aeon), he wanted to know what were Marina Ismail's plans after escaping from the Federation. Marina wanted to head back to Azadistan due to the country's instability and internal turmoil. While the others objected, in consideration of ESF retaliation, Setsuna made the decision to send her back to Azadistan and Ptolemy II adjusted course accordingly. At the end of their conversation, Mileina Vashti abruptly popped in to ask if Setsuna and Marina were lovers and both simultaneously responded with a resound "NO".
Some time after, Setsuna went to check on Marina and found her alone in the observation room. Marina asked Setsuna to come with her to help repair Azadistan together. Setsuna refused and reasoned that he was only capable of fighting. Marina told Setsuna that nothing can be gained through fighting, only loss. He told her he used to think that way before joining Celestial Being, but said he and his Gundam's reason for fighting is to sever the distortions (source of conflict) for the future. Marina had no response to his resolution and left the conversation at that. Shortly after their conversation, Setsuna and Marina were walking in the hallways of Ptolemy II when the ship was suddenly under attack by an enemy submersible (GNMA-04B11 Trilobite). Setsuna told Marina to head to the center of the ship while he sortied 00 Gundam for battle.
After the battle, Marina learned from the Ptolemy crew that they encountered Katharon rebels when engaging A-Laws. There was a request by Katharon for Marina Ismail. Setsuna went with Marina to check out Katharon. It was then Shirin Bakhtiar appeared to Marina and requested Celestial Being for a meeting.
Transfer to Katharon & Destroyed Home
In their meeting with Katharon, the Meisters and Sumeragi decided to leave Marina and Saji Crossroad to Katharon's care. While they talked about war matters, Marina played with a few orphaned children who lost their families to the A-Laws. Marina asks Setsuna to take her back to Azadistan. But when they get there, they find the country destroyed by Ali Al-Saachez. Despite her pleas, Setsuna takes her back to Katharon, where their base was ravaged by the A-Laws. Marina helps evacuate the children. When they get to another base, Marina learns that Azadistan is no more as the Federation set up an administration and dissolved much of the Middle East nations. She collapses to the ground, devastated.
Shirin tells Marina that the only way to rebuild Azadistan is to destroy the Federation; Marina protests that it won't solve anything.
Exile with Katharon
A Song of Innocent Wishes
Compiling the requests of the orphans, Marina made a song to play, with the children singing as the chorus. After Shirin and Klaus left to negotiate with Federation dissidents, Marina decides to play her song  so everyone can hear. Her song is soon heard by everyone in the base and by Setsuna, due to the effects of the Twin Drive's Trans Am. This makes him hesitate from killing Ali Al-Saachez.
Soon enough, Setsuna/00 Raiser arrives at the Suille base, collapsing in Marina's arms after trying to stay conscious from his bullet wound. Katharon medics were able to remove it but they lacked regenerative equipment. Marina remained by Setsuna's side as he recovered; the children gave them privacy, thinking that they will be "lovey dovey". However, they instead talked before Setsuna headed for the African elevator to find Ptolemy, where the dissidents had taken control.
Unfortunately, the coup d'état was covered up by the A-Laws and Katharon cells were being ruthlessly hunted down. Marina, the children, Shirin and Klaus hid at a log cabin in Europe. Somehow, the latter heard Marina's song over the radio, as many people were pleading for peace. Unfortunately, their little bit of peace was interrupted when the Security Bureau located them. One of the children, Joseph, panicked and pulled up a gun but Marina stopped and shielded him as Klaus guns down the operatives. While he held off their attackers, the rest escaped the cabin in underground tunnels made in 20th century World Wars. Shirin held up a gun for Marina to take but she refused, as she would never be able to look the children in the eye if she did. Once they reached the end of the tunnel, Shirin directed Marina to another cabin, where she and the children will be safe, due to her refusal to fight.
Refuge in Space
Marina and the children were later picked up by Shirin and Klaus to head into space to meet up with the remnants of the coup d'état faction. The former were with Shirin, watching the ensuring battle from afar from their lone Virgina-class ship while the rest of Katharon and the ESF Coup D'état faction assisted Celestial Being against the Innovators.
When it seemed like the Innovators would prevail, Setsuna synchronized his quantum brainwaves with 00 Raiser's GN drives, releasing Trans-Am Burst System that flooding the colony ship Celestial Being in a cloud of pure GN particles. Marina and her friends witnessed this from afar.
Returning Home & Peace
Because of the Innovators' defeat, the Federation reformed, the A-LAWS disbanded and Azadistan was rebuilt. Marina was reinstated as the sovereign princess, taking the young orphans in as her wards and made sure that other nations will receive similar aid. She is also shown writing an unsent letter to Setsuna in which she expresses:
|“||Setsuna: Even if you cannot read this letter, I want to entrust you my feelings. You were forced to fight in The Republic of the Krugis when you were still a child. You only knew how to live in a battlefield, even so you feel the same way as me when it comes to looking for peace. Even if we understood each other... why couldn't we walk the same path? You use force to eradicate the conflicts on this world... If that were possible, then, where would your happiness be? You carry the sins and you fight even if you end up wounded. It doesn't matter how many times I think about it, your way of life is too painful. Sharing the happiness you have with others, and in exchange that the others do the same with you... I think that's the way that will lead us to true peace. This is why you should take your own happiness... Setsuna, I pray that you find your own happiness.||”|
Assassination Attempt & Mysterious Rescuers
By 2314, Marina and Shirin headed out to the Lagrage 3 Colony S0E to negotiate with the Colony Corporation to transfer Azadistan citizens who were moved to the colonies as a workforce by the previous Federation administration back to their homeland. Shirin was suspicious as the Colony Corp. representatives didn't allow them to inspect the colony itself. The representative said that entering the colony would be too dangerous, so Marina suggested that they should compromise and schedule a visit with the workers and their families. The representative agreed to the deal and left. However, the company desired to keep their workforce and thus attempted to assassinate Marina. Three GN-X IIIs pursued her shuttle, only to be interrupted by the sudden appearance of a Union Flag Jean One, which quickly dispatched all the GN-Xs. However, another assassin on board the shuttle attempted to take a shot at Marina. Luckily, she was saved by Lockon Stratos, who was posing as one of the shuttle pilots, and then non-fatally shot and disabled the assassin, before escaping with the Flag. Marina then realized that Celestial Being must be still actively involved. Later, she spoke with the remaining assassin and wanted to understand his motives.
No sooner had the Federation successfully negotiated the return of the Azadistan citizens did humanity make first contact with an alien race dubbed Extraterrestrial Living-metal Shape-shifter (or ELS). The ESF government took steps to safeguard the planet by escorting everyone into underground shelters. However, in Azadistan, there wasn't enough room in the shelters, so Marina allowed her people to take refuge in her palace.
Marina could do nothing but wait and pray for the ESF fleet to prevent the ELS from reaching Earth. Hostilities were soon ended when Setsuna finally managed to communicate with the ELS, who then transformed their mothership into the form of a desert flower, visible from Earth.
Keeping a Promise
The year is AD 2364, 50 years has passed and Marina is now 81 years old. Much of Marina's history has been left out as a complete blank. Her lifelong quest in reforming Azadistan, her marital status, and the bonds she's made with people in between, nothing had been answered. It's only presumed that she's become a retired queen, however that title is another presumption.
Marina is now a blind and elderly woman. After wondering nearly a lifetime about Setsuna, he finally makes his appearance. After joining the ELS, Setsuna hasn't aged at all, maintaining his youthful 23 year old form, while technically 73 years old. He has returned to see Marina, Setsuna apologized for the time that it's taken for both of them to see each other again.
Main article: Celestial Being
- Setsuna F. Seiei
- Setsuna and Marina first met in Scotland during Marina's tour to gain aid for Azadistan. Setsuna's cold personality and his troubled past made their relationship very strenuous at first. Marina seems unable to understand why Setsuna cannot live with happiness and without fighting until he further reveals his insights for joining Celestial Being with a personal e-mail; her heart goes after him after reading his letter.
- It is in season 2 that they grow somewhat closer, in large part due to the circumstances (and Middle East's situation) at their reunion. At some time later on, Marina asks Setsuna to join her to rebuild Azadistan, but he declines the offering claming that he can do no more than fighting, at which Marina replies that it is too sad and painful. Later on they had an intimacy moment after Setsuna was recovering from the injuries caused by the battle with Ali Al Saachez. During their conversation they got so close and intimate that even the orphan children went out of the room because they were acting in a lovey-dovey manner.
- Thanks to this event Marina comes to the realization that Setsuna's way of life is too painful and therefore asks him to find the way where people understands each other. Though the two had previously claimed they are not in any way emotionally involved, the two of them do frequently debate about war, peace and life's aspects. This later makes Feldt Grace feel embarrassed when she gave Setsuna a flower, but once again he stated that he did not have "that kind" of relationship with Marina. At the end, in Marina's letter to Setsuna, she greatly regrets that the two of them cannot walk the same path and she whole-heartedly wishes for Setsuna to be happy.
Main article: Kingdom of Azadistan
- Shirin Bakhtiar
- She's the political adviser, confident and coordinator to Princess Marina. She has the determination and strength that Marina lacks due to her calm personality. Shirin does not doubt to scold Marina when she hesitates. After the formation of the Earth Sphere Federation, she leaves the Palace and becomes a member of the rebel group Katharon to keep fighting for Azadistan. Marina is shocked when she discovers this but she slowly acknowledges that Azadistan's situation can not be solved by her way. Besides their political relationship, Shirin and Marina seem to be very close friends.
- Massoud Rachmadi
- It is hinted that Marina had some previous relationship with Massoud Rachmadi (before she became Azadistan's first monarch). They have a mutual respect and admiration relationship. Massoud Rachmadi took upon himself the mission to be the leader of the opposition with the purpose to maintain balance and to guide the opposition's efforts in a good way. Massoud Rachmadi acted as a deterrence of war for Azadistan.
Main article: United Nations
- Alejandro Corner
- Alejandro Corner was the United Nations envoy to Azadistan. He went there with a team of technicians to build a solar energy reception facility; but his real objective was to provoke Celestial Being's intervention in Azadistan. Marina's counselor, Shirin, did not trust his intentions from the beginning (showing once more her great wit and insight).
Notes & Trivia
- It was hinted in the series how Setsuna remembers his deceased mother through Marina. In the first novelization of Season 1, after their first meeting, Setsuna thought to himself that Marina's voice sounds just like his mother's. After his operation against La Eden, he noted how he find some kind of sanctuary remembering her voice, which he likens to a beautiful rhyme.
- In the Gundam 00 the prelude to the movie (drawn by the character designer, Yun Kouga), entitled "The Place Where the Sky meet the Earth", tells the story of Setsuna of his thoughts about Marina. And the scene on his last visit at Marina's Kingdom, to speak with her for the very last time, that he is the enemy of the world and he does not want to meet her anymore for his fighting to make the world peace (much the same for Marina's wish for the world peace as well). As Setsuna is about to leave from the balcony, Marina tells him that she will always stay to protect her country, Azadistan and will wait for him until he return to the country. Setsuna replied, "You are the only princess of Azadistan...of my county." Marina continues to protect Azadistan and at the same time, spreading roots to make the flowers(Marina) grow for Setsuna(sky) to see them. And lastly her words to Setsuna: I am your measure of eternity.
- The manga adaptation of the 00 Movie features additional take on Marina and Setsuna's reunion. The two were reunited and married metaphorically as if they were themselves fifty years back before the ELS Conflict
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