Kira Yamato
imagesCAG1V5TZ.jpgKira Yamato

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Kira Yamato

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny character

Kira Yamato in Gundam SEED

First appearance

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED episode 1

Voiced by

Japanese
Sōichirō Hoshi[1]
English
Matt Hill[1]

Profile

Notable relatives

Caridad Yamato (adoptive mother/aunt)[2]
Haruma Yamato (adoptive father/uncle)[2]
Cagalli Yula Athha (twin sister)

Genetic type

Coordinator[3]2365-kira_yamato___freedom_gundam_large.jpg

Kira Yamato (キラ・ヤマト?) is a fictional character first introduced as the protagonist from the 2002 Japanese anime television series Mobile Suit Gundam SEED by Sunrise, part of the Gundam franchise. In the series, Kira is a first-generation Coordinator, a genetically enhanced human being born of normal humans (Naturals). At the beginning of Gundam SEED, Kira lives on the neutral space colony Heliopolis to avoid the war between the Coordinators and the Naturals, but the colony becomes involved in the war shortly thereafter. Born as a Coordinator, Kira is the only person within the Earth Alliance, the Naturals' military faction, who is able to effectively pilot their mobile suit, a type of a mecha created by them. He is forced to become a mobile suit pilot to participate in various battles to protect his friends. Kira has also been featured in Gundam SEED's direct sequel Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, where he once again fights to stop a new war between the races' military organizations. He is voiced in the Japanese series by Sōichirō Hoshi and in the English adaptation by Matt Hill.

Kira has also appeared in the manga adaptations from the two TV series as well as the film compilations. Various video games from the Gundam franchise as well as crossover games also feature Kira as a pilot from mobile suits. Director Mitsuo Fukuda regarded Kira's actions as based on Japanese people's thoughts, and emphasized a large development occurring to his character across the series. Kira is one of the most popular characters in the Anime Grand Prix popularity polls for favorite male characters, often coming in first or second between 2002 to 2005. His character has also been well received by publications for manga, anime and other media due to his personality and role in both Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny.

Contents
[hide] 1 Appearances 1.1 Television series
1.2 In other media

2 Creation and conception
3 Reception
4 References

[edit] Appearances

[edit] Television series

At the start of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Kira is a shy yet friendly teenager living peacefully in the Heliopolis colony. Kira is a highly skilled computer programmer who assists with research and development at the Heliopolis technical college which he attends.[3][4] When the war between the Naturals and Coordinators is brought to Heliopolis, Kira takes control of the mobile suit GAT-X105 Strike (GAT-X105 ストライク?) to protect his friends from ZAFT, the military organization of the Coordinators, as they were attacking Heliopolis.[5] Born as a Coordinator, Kira's advanced mental and physical skills allow him to skillfully control the Strike.[6][7] However, he is shocked to discover that one of the ZAFT members is his childhood friend Athrun Zala. When they last met, Athrun gave Kira his robotic pet Birdy (トリィ Torī?) as a sign of their enduring friendship, (voiced by Naomi Shindou in the Japanese anime and Tabitha St. Germain in the English dub) which Kira is often seen with.[8][9] Several survivors from Heliopolis are brought on board the Archangel and Kira takes the initiative to defend them from numerous enemy attacks until they arrive in Alaska on Earth. Kira has strong reservations against fighting, fearing he may confront Athrun, as well as the possibility of killing a person.[8] However, due to manipulation by Flay Allster, Kira gradually becomes more aggressive when defending the Archangel to the point where he could kill a person without hesitation.[10] During one of the Archangel's battles against ZAFT, the Strike suffers multiple damages by Athrun and Kira is declared MIA.[11][12] He is found alive but injured by Reverend Malchio who transports him to a mansion in an undisclosed location where his wounds are treated by Lacus Clyne,[13] a Coordinator who befriended Kira when she was taken aboard the Archangel and was used as a hostage.[8] After hearing that ZAFT plans to attack the base his friends are staying at, Kira decides to continue battling to bring an end to the war. Lacus then gives Kira ZAFT's new mobile suit ZGMF-X10A Freedom (ZGMF-X10A フリーダム?)[14] which he uses to accompany the Archangel, whose objective has also changed to ending the war.[15][16] When piloting Freedom Kira is noted to avoid hitting enemy mobile suits' cockpits to reduce the number of human casualties.[17]

Kira joins the Archangel and Lacus' faction to fight both the Earth Alliance and ZAFT in order to stop both sides from destroying each other.[18] He also learns of his origins from ZAFT commander Rau Le Creuset during these battles. Kira is a Super Coordinator (スーパーコーディネイター Supā Kōdineitā?); his fetus was artificially developed outside his mother's womb and his genetic enhancements were meant to be superior to all other Coordinators. Kira was the only fetus to survive the process.[19] He was born as the twin brother of his comrades, Cagalli Yula Athha. But both do not learn of their relationship until the latter half of the series.[20] At some point in time, Kira was adopted by his aunt Caridad and uncle Haruma Yamato and was led to believe they were his biological parents.[2] Despite being shocked by his origins as the Ultimate Coodinator, Kira continues to fight along side the Archangel until their opponents, including Rau, have been defeated and the war comes to end.[21]

During Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Kira has been living on one of the secluded Marshall Islands in Orb territory since the end of the war.[22] He and Lacus have spent the two years that have past since the end of the war assisting Reverend Malchio and Kira's adoptive mother with their orphanage.[22] When an incident triggers the Second Bloody Valentine War, Lacus becomes the target of an assassination attempt by Coordinators and Kira pilots Freedom to defeat again.[23][24] Kira reunites with the Archangel to help Orb in their struggle to stay away from the conflict, and he fights the soldiers when the soldiers refusing to believe the idenity of Orb's leader, Cagalli.[25] Kira suspects Gilbert Durandal, the chairman of the PLANT colonies and leader of ZAFT, to be behind Lacus' attempted murder, but his motives are questioned by ZAFT.[26] Later, when the Archangel becomes a target of the ZAFT ship Minerva, Kira is defeated and the Freedom destroyed by pilot Shinn Asuka.[17] Kira is later given the Freedom's upgraded version, ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom (ZGMF-X20A ストライクフリーダム?), by Lacus to continue fighting.[27] Once Durandal announces his Destiny Plan to control people's jobs or task's according to their genetics, Kira, the Archangel and their allies confront ZAFT's forces in space and defeat them in the final battle.[28] Kira personally confronts Durandal, who is shortly thereafter killed by one of his own subordinates.[29]

[edit] In other mediastrikefreedom10249rf.jpg

Besides starring in the TV series, Kira appears in the original video animation Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Final Plus. Following Durandal's death, Kira meets Shinn in persona and they promise that they will work for a peaceful future.[30] He is also featured in two series of films Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Special Edition and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: Special Edition which retell the events from its respective series. In the latter film's ending, Kira becomes a member from ZAFT after the end of the war.[31][32] He is also featured in the manga adaptations of both Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny, the latter also including Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: The Edge.[33][34] Kira's designs, according to Masatsugu Iwase, author of the Gundam SEED manga, was supposed to be "a spineless wimp while not making him look too childish", but he later decided to make him one of the series' strong characters in the manga.[35] The manga Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: The Edge Desire also features a sidestory focused on Kira's recovery following Freedom's destruction.[36]

The manga series Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray explores Kira's survival after the Strike's defeat; a technician named Lowe Guele finds Kira wounded and takes him to Reverend Malchio to treat his wounds.[37] While not having physical appearances other than in the ending, Kira's defeat is the objective of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED X Astray's protagonist, Canard Pars, the other result of the Ultimate Coordinator project.[38] In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73 Δ Astray Kira makes a brief appearance when he kidnaps Cagalli from Orb during the events of Gundam SEED Destiny.[39] He has also been featured in two character CDs from the series with tracks performed by his Japanese voice actor, Sōichirō Hoshi.[40][41]

Kira has also appeared in various video games from Gundam franchise including Gundam Seed: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. and its sequel Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. II piloting various mobile suits.[42][43] He is also the main playable character from the mobile phone game Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Phase-Act Delivery.[44] He also appears in the fighting crossover games from the Gundam franchise such as Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 with Strike Freedom as a playable mobile suit.[45][46] Other Gundam crossover games also feature Kira as a pilot including Gundam vs. Gundam Next and Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs..[47][48] Another crossover game in which he is playable is Gundam Assault Survive, piloting the Strike.[49] Kira is also one of the Gundam SEED characters who appears in various video games from the Super Robot Wars series.[50] He has also appeared in Another Century's Episode 3 piloting the Freedom mobile suit and the following game, Another Century's Episode R, with the Strike Freedom.[51][52]

[edit] Creation and conception

Director Mitsuo Fukuda stated that initially the story from Gundam SEED was made from Kira's point of view, but also mentioned that onwards it was neither from the main characters of the series.[53] Kira's personality and common sense was derived from what Fukuda considered to be Japanese thoughts. He commented that his story was about his forced wish to fight in contrast to Shinn Asuka who was set as a civilian in the start of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. In retrospective, Fukuda emphasized a contrast between both Kira's and Shinn's characters to the point both were the opposite from each other regarding their opinions, with the former being easier to foresee his development. Nevertheless, as with Shinn's future role in Gundam SEED Destiny, Kira was also stated to have gone through a notable change across Gundam SEED. Fukuda also commented on both Kira's and Shinn's character as both were similar in not being difficult to voice.[54] The staff from the series have also joked about Kira's personality with script writer Yuichi Nomura that during Gundam SEED Destiny, he was going to be highly observed and controlled by Lacus.[55] An official guidebook from the series made an official count of the number of the times Kira had cried in Gundam SEED by the time the book was released. He was pointed to have cried over ten times, and thus a comical message of support was made towards him.[56]

[edit] Reception

Kira's character has been well received by anime viewers, appearing various times in the Anime Grand Prix popularity polls for the favorite male characters category. He ranked first in 2002,[57] second in 2003 and 2004,[58][59] first in 2005,[60] and second in 2006.[61] In a Newtype poll, Kira was voted as the second most popular male anime character from the 2000s.[62] In another poll focused on all the characters appearing in the Gundam franchise, Kira was voted as the most popular out of all of them.[63] In a poll organized by Sunrise regarding which was the best couple in the Gundam franchise, Kira and Lacus were second,[64] and in another regarding the best team ups between former enemies, Kira and Athrun were second.[65] In another poll from the same site that asked fans which character would they would want to meet, Kira was at the top.[66] Two other polls asked what was the most memorable characters from Gundam SEED and from Gundam SEED Destiny; Kira was at the top in both polls.[67][68] In an online poll from 2012, Kira once again was voted as Gundam SEED's most popular character.[69] Kira, along with five other notable mecha and pilots from the various Gundam series, were recognized in the second set of "Anime Heroes and Heroines" stamps, released in Japan in 2005.[70] In the 2007 Seiyu Awards, Sōichirō Hoshi was a nominee in the category "Best Actors in supporting roles" for his portrayal as Kira in the Gundam SEED Destiny OVA, but lost to Akira Ishida and Kōki Miyata.[71][72]

Publications for manga and anime have commented on Kira's character, and he received mainly positive critical response. IGN's Andy Patrizio found Kira's character likable and the only problem he found was how he often repeated Athrun Zala's name in some of the series' first episodes.[73] He was found as one of the strongest characters from the series by THEM Anime Reviews' Derrick L. Tucker who also noted him as a likable one despite his angsty displayed.[74] Chris Beveridge from Mania Entertainment liked his handling of the mobile suits mainly due to how he is able to reprogram them, finding it as a new concept in the Gundam franchise.[75] Writing for the same site, Kim Wolstenholme was worried about how much would Kira's and Athrun's relationship would be focused in Gundam SEED, but liked how Lacus Clyne's introduction also added tension to it, because of how she and Kira started relating.[76] A similar comment was made by Ever Cheung from Animefringe who wondered about the future regarding Kira and Lacus as he noticed the two about to embrace in the anime's opening theme. He commented if his doubts may be right, he would find the story more interesting that he thought.[77] Moreover, Ross Liversidge from UK Anime Network enjoyed Kira's and Athrun's rivalry as it resulted in well done fight scenes from each of their mobile suits.[78] Liversidge also praised the development from such rivalry as the two started hating each other and their battle.[79] On the other hand, DVDTalk writer Don Houston considered Kira to be similar to other anime protagonists because he fights for peace and not glory, labelling him as the "reluctant hero".[80]

Reviewers have also commented on Kira's role in the sequel Gundam SEED Destiny. Initial reviews have mentioned his lack of appearances during its first episodes and whether the new characters could be as apppealing as him.[81][82] He was also expected to return in the series to fight the new lead character Shinn Asuka.[83] While writing an article for later episodes, Liversidge found Kira's actions more appealing than the ones from Shinn, and was looking forward to them.[84] Luis Cruz from Mania Entertainment found that a large expansion of depth occurred to his character, pointing one of Kira's discussions with Athrun about the relation between people's dreams and conflicts.[85] In such series' OVA finale, Kira was also noted to have been highly developed as commented by Anime News Network writer Carl Kimlinger. Kimlinger stated that Kira had "grown into a martial leader of Buddha-like calm and compassion" with the last OVA allowing viewers to enjoy his actions. Matt Hill's performance as Kira's English voice actor in the OVA was criticized by Kimlinger in comparison with other voice actors from the series who were praised.[86]

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