Shinn Asuka (シン・アスカ Shin Asuka?) is a fictional character from the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Although he is main protagonist of the first half of the series, he constantly sides with the antagonists of the series, as he is unaware of their true motives, which eventually causes him to becomes an enemy to the returning protagonists from the original Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, and thus he serves as the anti-hero of the series as well.
Witnessing his family's death right before his eyes has, had a traumatic effect on Shinn's life. However, during flashbacks of his past he was shown to be a very cheerful person, showing how much he changes through this tragedy.
He is impulsive, stubborn, hot tempered, and sometimes acts arrogant even towards his superior officers. Shinn has also shown to act on his own feelings, this sometimes put him in odds with his superior officers. His family's death has also left him with anger against his homeland of Orb and the rulers of Orb, the Atthas though he still seems to have some faith in Orb. The tragedy has also left Shinn with deep hatred for war and the ones who cause war giving him a determination to end conflict to prevent tragedies like his from happening again.
Despite this, Shinn has shown to be a very kind and gentle person mainly to his two love interests in the series Lunamaria Hawke and Stella Loussier both of whom he is very protective of. He still deeply saddened by the world's cruel actions and all the people that have died in his life; despite his conflicted emotions, he fights for wanting to change the world for the better.
Skills & Capabilities
Shinn was depicted to be a well trained pilot with high team-oriented combat capabilities in the beginning of the series where he was able to, with the support of Athrun and later Ray and Lunamaria, fend of the three stolen Gundams. Shinn was honored with FAITH title after he was able to take down the Freedom, showing his skill progression. With well thought out strategies and team-work he is also able to fight almost on par with experienced pilots from the last war such as Kira and Athrun, and as the Second War goes on his skills constantly improve. He is, however, shown to have hard time dealing with remote controlled weapons both in the beginning as well as the end of the war against the TS-MA4F Exus's gun barrel pods and the Strike Freedom's DRAGOONs respectively.
Shinn is talented in close-range, medium-range combat and also decent in long-range which come in handy due to both of his mobile suits capabilities to handle any form of combat. He also able to channels his anger and hatred into his combat style to draw out the most from his Gundams; hence, boosting their destructive power. It should be noted that when Shinn went into SEED mode he was virtually unstoppable against anything that wasn't an enemy pilot in SEED mode. Despite his talents he has not fully mastered his SEED mode as he is unable to activate it at will thus leaving the full-scale of his potential unknown.
Shinn lives with his parents and his younger sister in the neutral country of Orb, but the Earth Alliance attacks Orb on June 15. Only Shinn survives when his family is caught in a crossfire between the GAT-X131 Calamity and the ZGMF-X10A Freedom mobile suits Shinn watches in horror of the death of his family and cries in anguish, though it is not clear whether the Calamity or the Freedom was responsible for the explosion that kills Shinn's family. Shinn blames Orb’s rulers, the Athhas, for his family’s deaths, Orb soldier Captain Todaka then takes care of Shinn and later sends him to the PLANTs, where he joins ZAFT and graduates as one of the top students in his class as a "ZAFT Red".
After graduation, Shinn is assigned to pilot ZAFT's ZGMF-X56S Impulse, and is stationed aboard the battleship Minerva under the command of Talia Gladys along with former military academy classmates and friends Rey Za Burrel, Vino Dupre, Lunamaria Hawke, Meyrin Hawke, and Yolan Kent.
Theft at Armory One
The Extended pilots of the Earth Alliance's special forces team, Phantom Pain - Sting Oakley, Stella Loussier, and Auel Neider - infiltrate Armory One and steal three ZAFT prototype mobile suits, the ZGMF-X24S Chaos, ZGMF-X88S Gaia, and ZGMF-X31S Abyss.
At first, Shinn fights them single-handedly with his ZGMF-X56S Impulse, but the three Extendeds overpower him until Athrun Zala intervenes with a ZGMF-1000 ZAKU Warrior, saving Shinn. Athrun then withdraws because Cagalli Yula Athha, who he is protecting, incurs a head injury during the fight. Rey Za Burrel assists Shinn as he tries to recover the stolen mobile suits, but the Extendeds retreat outside the colony and back to the Mirage Colloid-cloaked Earth Alliance battleship Girty Lue. Neo Roanoke provides cover for the Extendeds, fighting both Shinn and Rey with his TS-MA4F Exus.
Junius Seven Colony Drop
Eventually, Shinn and Rey are ordered to fall back to the Minerva. On board, Shinn is shocked to learn that Athrun had saved him from the Extendeds. He also is irritated to learn that Cagalli is on board as well, for he blames his family's deaths on her father, Uzumi Nara Athha, and he shows this readily in Cagalli's presence.
The Minerva is ordered to aid the Joule Team with the demolition of Junius Seven, which is on a collision course with Earth. This is caused by a rogue ZAFT force that supports the late Patrick Zala. The Minerva pilots, the Joule team, and Athrun kill the terrorists and drive off the Extendeds, but only partly succeed in their demolition efforts. During re-entry, Shinn saves Athrun, whose heavily damaged mobile suit was in danger of being destroyed.
Ambush at Orb
After returning Cagalli and Athrun to Orb, the Minerva is station at Orb for repairs during this time Shinn goes to visit the place where his family died at Orb's memorial he then meets Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne without knowing who they are. During the confrontation Shinn and Kira talk only to have Shinn telling Kira that no matter what happiness there is, people will destroy it again.
The Minerva then leaves quickly because Orb is about to join the Earth Alliance Forces. Yuna Roma Seiran and his father plan to offer them to the Earth Alliance fleet waiting outside Orb territory, and Yuna deploys the Orb fleet to prevent the Minerva from reentering Orb. Because of an unexpected fight, Minerva is severely damaged and is also in a downside situation. With the Impulse, Shinn battles the massive mobile armor YMAF-X6BD Zamza-Zah created by the Earth Alliance Forces. However due to its new technology, the Impulse runs out of energy. With rage and anger, thinking that he has to still avenge his family, Shinn awakens Seed Mode for the first time. Using Seed Mode, Shinn saves the Minerva and also destroys nearly every Earth Alliance Ship. Shinn starts to be recognized by enemies and starts to become a ZAFT Ace.
Fight over the Indian Ocean and the Battle of Gulnahan
En route to the Black Sea, the Minerva is joined by Athrun Zala in his ZGMF-X23S Saviour. Athrun has re-enlisted into ZAFT as a member of FAITH, which surprises Shinn not knowing Athrun's history as a ZAFT Hero. As they fly over the Indian Ocean, they are attacked by Phantom Pain again. While fighting the Gaia, Shinn discovers that the Earth Alliance is forcing civilians to work on their secret military base. Earth Alliance soldiers fire on civilians who are trying to escape, which made Shinn attack and kill the soldiers, and freeing the civilians instead of following orders. Afterwards, Athrun reprimands him with a slap in the face for disobeying orders.
Later, Athrun assigns the key part in breaking through an Earth Alliance fortification at the Battle of Gulnahan to Shinn. When the Minerva arrives at Diocuia, Shinn meets chairman Gilbert Durandal, who awards him the Order of the Nebula medal and tells Shinn about the secret society Logos an organization that Durandal says is behind war.
Meeting Stella Loussier and the Freedom
While stationed in Diocuia, Shinn saves Stella from drowning after she falls from a cliff into the water. Stella becomes frantic when Shinn yells at her for being careless, asking her "Are you trying to die, you twit?!" Stella panicked when Shinn accidentally said her block word, "die", Shinn tries to assure Stella that no one was going to hurt her, she became more scared. Stella yelled out to Shinn that she was scared to die. He grabs her and gives her a hug, telling Stella that she won't die. He tells her that he will protect her. Stella, hearing the same thing that Neo had said, starts crying in Shinn's arms. To calm her, Shinn swears to protect her. They are stuck at the bottom of the cliff until a ZAFT boat arrives to rescue them. They become closer, but when Stella returns to Phantom Pain, her memories of Shinn are erased.
Following the addition of Heine Westenfluss and his ZGMF-X2000 GOUF Ignited, the Minerva is attacked by Phantom Pain and the Orb fleet commanded by Yuna Roma Seiran. The ZGMF-X10A Freedom, piloted by Kira Yamato, and the Archangel intervenes. Kira damages the, LHM-BB01 Minerva, Impulse, the GOUF, and other mobile suits. Heine and his crippled GOUF are sliced in half by the Gaia when he unknowingly moves between it and the Freedom. Since the Freedom intervened, Shinn has been wanting to defeat the Freedom as he was awed by its abilities. Heine's death angers both Athrun and Shinn.
Discovery at Lodonia
The Minerva is sent to investigate the Extendeds facility in Lodonia, the place where the Extendeds are created and trained. Shinn becomes even more angry with the Earth Alliance's Blue Cosmos leaders, asking how can they say tampering with genes is wrong when they do things like this.
Stella attacks by herself, but she is defeated by Shinn and Athrun and becomes a prisoner on the Minerva. Shinn is shocked when he learns that Stella is the Gaia's pilot and one of the Earth Alliance's Extendeds. While tied to a bed due to her violent behavior, she cries out for Neo, and Shinn again attempts to calm her, though she does not recall who he is. When waking up again, tired and less aggressive, she sees Shinn and recognizes him this time, indicating the erasing of her memory was not completely successful.
Battle of Crete
The Minerva heads for Gibraltar, but they are intercepted again by Phantom Pain and the Orb fleet commanded by Yuna Roma Seiran and Captain Todaka. The Archangel intervenes and Cagalli Yula Athha gives a speech, which angers Shinn, who fires at her. Kira destroys the missiles and attacks Shinn. Shinn goes into SEED mode and destroys the Abyss, killing its pilot, Auel, and decimates the Orb mobile suit force. Shinn then directly engages the Orb fleet, sinking several ships. Captain Todaka, is killed when Shinn attacks the Orb carrier Takemikazuchi.
Afterward, Shinn overhears his commander's discussion which concludes that the Extended prisoner Stella will die without the right medical treatment, and her body will be transported to a ZAFT science facility for dissection and testing to study the Extended program. Horrified, Shinn decides to return Stella to the Earth Alliance, and does so with Rey's help. Both are confined as punishment and could have been executed, but are released on Gilbert Durandal's orders.
Battle of Berlin
Stella is designated as the pilot of the transformable mobile armor GFAS-X1 Destroy, and goes on a rampage leveling several cities in Western Eurasia territories that have sided with ZAFT - as an object lesson. She is intercepted by ZAFT over the city of Berlin, but Berlin is heavily damaged and ZAFT forces there are obliterated. Soon after, the Archangel and its mobile suits arrive and battle the Destroy, much to the surprise of the Minerva, which arrives shortly afterwards.
Kira in the Freedom engages the Destroy and is joined by Shinn in the Impulse. When Shinn cuts open the Destroy's cockpit, Neo tells Shinn that Stella is the pilot. Shinn's feelings stop him from finishing the Destroy, and Stella's feelings for Shinn cause her to stop fighting, too. But when the Freedom approaches, Stella panics and prepares to fire the Destroy's chest beam cannons. Kira stabs his beam saber through the Destroy's cannons, causing a chain reaction that destroys the giant mobile armor and mortally wounds Stella. Stella tells Shinn that she loves him and dies in his arms, and Shinn cries out in anguish.
Operation Angel Down, Impulse vs Freedom
After Shinn lays Stella's corpse to rest in a lake, he becomes intent on absolutely destroying the Freedom to avenge Stella. Shinn admits to Rey that the Freedom is perhaps the strongest mobile suit in existence and its pilot is exceptional and practices computerized battle simulations between his Impulse and the Freedom.
During this period of time the Chairman Durandal presents a speech around the entire world about the organization Logos and claims that by destroying them the war will end, and Shinn easily agrees, later when the Minerva is ordered to subdue the Archangel in the mission code-named "Operation Angel Down", Shinn gets his opportunity for revenge. After receiving the message that Archangel won't surrender, Shinn sees the Freedom. Shinn takes off on the Impulse and starts to fight Kira. Using the analyzed information from Rey that Kira will not attacks people's cockpits, Shinn and Rey devised a plan that will shut down the Freedom's attacks. Kira however activates Seed Mode and cripples the Impulse. However, all backed up and ready, Shinn immediately uses the 2nd Force Silhoutte to repair back the damage. With time running out and Shinn becoming more and more harder to defeat, Kira decides to run. The Minerva then shoots the Taunhauser Cannon at the Archangel causing an explosion which made Kira falter. Taking chances, Shinn who also called in the Sword Silhouette, charged in and aimed straight at the Freedom's cockpit, destroying the Freedom. Afterwards, Shinn is shown with tears, too happy that he defeated probably the No.1 Gundam and also avenging Stella's death. Unknown to Shinn, Kira survives the ordeal.
When Shinn returns to the Minerva after destroying the Freedom, his comrades cheer him. Shinn tells Athrun that he defeated Freedom and killed its pilot, avenging Stella’s death and Athrun’s defeat. Furious by Shinn's rejoicing at the apparent death of Kira, a distraught Athrun punches Shinn in the face. Athrun adds that Shinn killed Kira but Kira never wanted to kill him. Rey counters that destroying Freedom and the Archangel was a direct order from ZAFT's headquarters, that all of them, including Athrun, were obligated to obey.
PLANT Supreme Council Chairman Gilbert Durandal presents Shinn and Athrun with ZAFT's two newest mobile suits the ZGMF-X666S Legend and the ZGMF-X42S Destiny. Durandal later confers with Rey and concludes Athrun will no longer work with them after the apparent "death" of Kira, and decides to frame Athrun. He sends soldiers to detain Athrun, but Meer Campbell warns him. Athrun subdues the soldiers and flees ZAFT's Gibraltar military base with the help of Meyrin Hawke in a stolen ZGMF-2000 GOUF Ignited mobile suit.
Durandal sends Rey and Shinn to hunt down Athrun. Rey tells Shinn that Athrun is a defector working for Logos and that Meyrin is an accomplice, not a hostage. When Rey and Shinn catch up with Athrun, Rey starts to fight Athrun. Shinn initially tries to persuade Athrun to return to ZAFT. Athrun refuses and tries to persuade Shinn not to fight, or to at least let Meyrin go. Shinn accuses Athrun of betraying their trust and stabs Athrun's GOUF Ignited with his anti-ship sword, causing it to crash into the ocean and explode.
Unknown to Shinn and Rey, Ledonir Kisaka rescues Athrun and Meyrin. Shinn is shown to be sad and conflicted, believing he killed Athrun and Meyrin. He apologizes to Lunamaria and cries with her, though he feels his action was necessary to achieve the Chairman's goal of peace.
Battle of Heaven's Base - Operation Ragnarök
After some comforting by Chairman Durandal, Shinn prepares for the assault against Logos' Heaven's Base Headquarters in Iceland. In the Minerva mobile suit hangar just prior to "Operation Ragnarok", he encourages Lunamaria about her first sortie with the Impulse, and they console each other about Athrun and Meyrin's deaths. Both blame Logos for the apparent betrayal by Athrun and Meyrin. Shinn kisses Lunamaria and promises to protect her.
Shinn enters the battle and goes into SEED mode. With the help from Rey in the Legend and Lunamaria in the Impulse, Logo's five Destroy units are destroyed. Heaven's Base surrenders and both Talia (Minerva's captain) and Arthur Trine (Minerva's executive officer) are impressed by Shinn's battle skills. Chairman Durandal is obviously pleased by Shinn's victory.
ZAFT's invasion of Orb - Operation Fury
ZAFT forces occupy Heaven's Base, arresting many Logos members. However, when Shinn learns that Lord Djibril escaped, and is rumored to be hiding in Orb, he becomes furious and vows to hunt Djibril down no matter what.
Shinn has nightmares about Stella's suffering, his fights against the Freedom, the killing of Athrun and Meyrin, and the battles against Logos. Rey tells Shinn that he did the right thing because they were all ZAFT's enemies. PLANT Supreme Council awards a second Nebula Medal to Shinn for his performance in Operation Ragnarok and Supreme Council Chairman Durandal appoints both Shinn and Rey to FAITH. After confirmation that the Seirans (the rulers of Orb at the time) are providing sanctuary to Lord Djibril, ZAFT initiates "Operation Fury", a full-scale assault on Orb in order to capture Lord Djibril.
Using the privileges as a member of FAITH, Shinn launches alone from Minerva in his Destiny and faces Cagalli in the ORB-01 Akatsuki. Shinn attacks the Akatsuki, identifying it as the leader, knowing that destroying it will demoralize the Orb defense, but Kira arrives in the ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom and protects Cagalli. Shocked and enraged that the Freedom has survived, Shinn attacks the Strike Freedom. The two engage in extended battle until Rey orders Shinn to return to the Minerva to resupply and recharge. After this, Shinn and Rey launch to face the Strike Freedom together.
Athrun arrives in the ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice. Shinn is surprised that Athrun survived their last encounter. Athrun demands that Shinn stop attacking Orb and questions the motives of the war. Believing that Athrun is a traitor, Shinn goes into SEED mode and attacks. Shortly thereafter, Minerva Captain Gladys orders the retreat of all ZAFT forces, including Shinn and Rey.
Cagalli's broadcast from Orb is interrupted by Meer (speaking as Lacus Clyne). But then Meer is interrupted by the real Lacus, leaving the crew of the Minerva confused. Shinn asks Rey for his opinion. Rey replies the enemy is using another "Lacus Clyne" as a psychological weapon. Rey then discusses Athrun's survival with Shinn. Lunamaria wonders if her sister Meyrin survived as well and Rey stats that she is likely on the Archangel. This conversation upsets Shinn.
Battle of Daedalus
Later Lord Djibril unleashes Requiem and destroyed some of the PLANTs, both Shinn and Rey blame Kira and Athrun for their interference, Rey in particular blames Lunamaria for her failure to shoot down Djibril however Shinn quickly defends her.
The Minerva is ordered to attack the Requiem and the Daedalus base. Shinn is concerned for Lunamaria's safety for she has been given the mission to destroy the Requiem's controls but she convinces him to believe in her. Shinn in the Destiny and Rey in the Legend act as decoys and cripple the defenses of the lunar stronghold. Lunamaria in the Impulse destroys the Requiem's firing controls and Rey kills Lord Djibril. Afterwards their comrades cheer them and Shinn and Lunamaria embrace.
With the last remnants of Blue Cosmos/Logos eliminated, Chairman Durandal unveils his ultimate solution to war - "the Destiny Plan". Chairman Durandal as an expert geneticist will act as the overseer and assign roles to individuals according to their genetic makeup. Everyone will then be governed by their genetic "destiny" and not by their individuality. According to Chairman Durandal, the ultimate goal is to make wars obsolete.
Battle of Messiah
For the Destiny Plan to become a reality, Chairman Durandal has to defeat any nation with the capability and the resolve to challenge him. Before the battle, Durandal calls Shinn and Rey to meet in person at his mobile fortress Messiah. When they arrive, Durandal tells Shinn about his goals and that the ones they are fighting now are remnants of Logos, however Durandal is lying to Shinn when the ones they are fighting are actual Orb forces. Shinn hesitates about putting his full support behind the Destiny Plan. After some convincing arguments from Rey, Shinn agrees. After all the pain Shinn has endured and wanting an end to the war, the Destiny Plan is the only answer to humanity's problems that makes sense to him.
A ferocious and furious battle starts near the location of the Requiem cannon on the Moon. The Impulse, piloted by Lunamaria, tries to stop the Infinite Justice, piloted by Athrun. Seeing Athrun fighting Lunamaria, an enraged Shinn attacks Athrun, then goes into SEED mode. After realizing the terrible mistakes being made by both Shinn and herself, as she witnesses the heated argument between Shinn and Athrun, Lunamaria interposes herself between the two, begging them to stop fighting, which mas Shinn hallucinate visions of Mayu, Stella and the Freedom bewilderingly. As Shinn charges madly at a shocked Lunamaria for the kill, Athrun goes into SEED mode as well, saves Lunamaria from Shinn, and cripples the Destiny, which crashes onto the Moon's surface.
While he's unconscious, Shinn has a vision of Stella, in which she tells him that she's finally got her past and thus very happy, and bidden him to see each other in the future. When he awakes with Lunamaria holding and watching over him, he then starts to cry with Lunamaria, after realizing that he was being used by both the Chairman and Rey, as well as the fact that he could have hurt and even killed Lunamaria unknowingly. He and Lunamaria then watch the Requiem explode and the Messiah crash into the moon.
At the end of Gundam SEED Destiny "Final Plus", Athrun rescues Shinn and Lunamaria with his Infinite Justice. Later, Shinn is seen paying tribute to his deceased family at the memorial in Orb. Also present are Athrun, Meyrin and Lunamaria. There he expresses his conflicted emotions for his homeland Orb, and then, he encounters Kira, who is accompanied by Lacus. Athrun introduces Kira to Shinn as the pilot of Freedom. Shinn is stunned; he had previously encountered Kira at the memorial several months earlier. Kira makes an overture to Shinn to make peace with him, indicating he doesn't have any grudges against him. Kira asks Shinn to join him and Athrun to fight for humanity's peace, a crying Shinn accepts Kira's offer and reconciles with Kira and Athrun. Afterwards Shinn and Lunamaria smile at each other and leave together.
In Gundam SEED Destiny: Special Edition, Shinn is seen along with Lunamaria, Kira, Athrun, Meyrin, and the three ZGMF-XX09T DOM Trooper pilots going to meet with Lacus - who is accompanied by Yzak Joule, Dearka Elsman, Shiho Hahnenfuss, and Arthur Trine - before she enters the PLANT Supreme Council chambers. Shinn is not wearing the FAITH pin insignia in this scene (probably demoted).
Gundam SEED Destiny: The Edge
In Gundam SEED Destiny: The Edge, Shinn's relationship with Athrun is expanded. Although it is still a harsh relationship, he is more respectful to Athrun at times. During the Junius Seven colony drop, when Cagalli unintentionally hurts Athrun's feelings, Shinn reminds her that one of the terrorists had invoked the ideals of Patrick Zala as their reason for carrying out the drop. He then says that Athrun is too pitiful if Cagalli comforts him with mere empty words. Athrun also has a somewhat greater role acting as his mentor, reminding him before the Battle of Gulnahan that he is ZAFT's trump card. Athrun also scolds him when he throws tantrums at the briefing.
- Shinn has only been seen piloting Gundams rather than any other Mobile Suits.
- Shinn along with Kou Uraki are the only two protagonists to be defeated in the end in their Gundam storylines. With Kou being unable to prevent Operation Stardust and Shinn being soundly defeated at Messiah.
- Shinn seems to have forgotten or does not even know that Freedom was involved in the death of his family members two years before he joined ZAFT. Instead of indicating anger or surprise, Shinn looks puzzled in his first meeting with Freedom as a ZAFT pilot as if he's just seen it for the first time, when the Freedom intervened in the war between ZAFT and Orb Forces.
- In Super Robot Wars Z, Shinn was able to arouse his SEED factor in his battle against YMAF-X6BD Zamza-Zah due to Amuro Ray's advices.
- Shinn is the only Gundam series' main character in the motion picture who sided with the antagonist.
- Shinn's name may be a reference to Kenichi Suzumura's role in Macross Zero, were the main character was named Shin Kudou and was an orphaned refugee.
- In the first Gundam SEED Destiny game, Gundam SEED Destiny: Battle Assault (GBA), Shinn has no Seed Factor animation in his awaken mode. This is due to the game being released before episode 12 of Gundam SEED Destiny aired, the episode where Shinn aroused his Seed Factor for the first time. The only characters with Seed Factor in the game are Kira Yamato, Athrun Zala, and Cagalli Yula Athha.
- On August 8, 2011, Shinn's voice actor, Kenichi Suzumura, got married to Maaya Sakamoto, none other than Lunamaria Hawke's voice actress.
- Shinn, along with his family, makes a cameo appearance in episode 36 Remastered Version of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. He was seen again briefly in episode 39, along with his Minerva colleagues.
- The names of the anti-ship swords of Shinn's two mobile suits may reflect Shinn's status in the series. The Sword Impulse's weapon, deemed "Excalibur" (King Arthur's sword), reflected him as a hero. The Destiny's weapon, deemed "Arondight" (Sir Lancelot's sword), showed him falling into an anti-hero classification. Evidenced by the fact that Lancelot in Arthurian lore was once a hero that became an enemy.