Mobile Suit Gundam SEED begins when the neutral space colony Heliopolis is attacked by ZAFT, a military organization composed of Coordinators. Coordinator Kira Yamato pilots the mobile suit GAT-X105 Strike to protect his friends on the Naturals' ship Archangel from potential enemies as they head towards Earth. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny continues two years after Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and follows the teenager Shinn Asuka and his duties in ZAFT.
Kira Yamato (キラ・ヤマト) is a first-generation Coordinator, who lives on the neutral space colony Heliopolis to avoid war between the races of Coordinators and the Naturals, but such area ends involved in the war. Born as a Coordinator, Kira is the only person able to pilot the Strike mobile suit created by the Naturals, and is forced to pilot it into numerous battles to protect his friends. He is voiced in the Japanese series by Sōichirō Hoshi. In English, he is voiced by Matt Hill in the Ocean dub and by Max Mittelman in the NYAV dub.
Athrun Zala (アスラン・ザラ Asuran Zara) is a member from the military organization ZAFT. Participating in the war between Coordinators and Naturals, Athrun discovers that his childhood friend Kira Yamato became a member from the Naturals' military organization, the Earth Alliance, despite being a Coordinator. Across the series, Athrun encounters Kira various times, and after almost killing him, Athrun starts questioning his own motives to participate in the war. He is voiced in Japanese by Akira Ishida. In English, he is voiced by Sam Vincent in the Ocean dub and by Chris Hackney in the NYAV dub.
Lacus Clyne (ラクス・クライン Rakusu Kurain) is a good natured and popular female vocalist from the space colony PLANT. Born as a Coordinator, Lacus is introduced when she is found in space by the Archangel, a ship of Naturals and befriends the Coordinator Kira Yamato. Late in the war between the races of Coordinators and Naturals, Lacus becomes the co-leader of the Clyne Faction, stealing the Freedom Gundam to give to Kira Yamato, and then later stealing the space battleship Eternal and joining with the battleship Archangel to stop both sides from fighting. Lacus is voiced in the Japanese series by Rie Tanaka. In the Ocean English dub, Chantal Strand is her regular voice actress, while Jillian Michaels does her singing voice. In the NYAV dub, she is voiced by Stephanie Sheh.
Cagalli Yula Athha (カガリ・ユラ・アスハ Kagari Yura Asuha) is one of the Naturals, fighting against the Coordinators in an ongoing war. Despite fighting on the battlefield various times alongside the Naturals' military organization the Earth Alliance, Cagalli is later revealed to be daughter of the leader from the neutral country of Orb. After helping her new allies to stop the war, Cagalli becomes the leader of Orb, role mainly explored in the series' sequel, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. During the series, Cagalli is later revealed to be Kira Yamato's sister. Cagalli is voiced by Naomi Shindō in Japanese. In English, she is voiced by Vanessa Morley in the Ocean dub and by Cherami Leigh in the NYAV dub.
Shinn Asuka (シン・アスカ Shin Asuka) is a member from the military organization ZAFT who joined them after his family was killed during a previous war between ZAFT and the Earth Alliance, and bears an enormous hatred towards his home country Orb for not protecting them. Across the series, Shinn starts questioning his motives to fight for ZAFT, but is still determined to follow their orders. He is voiced in the Japanese series by Kenichi Suzumura and by Matthew Erickson in the English dub.
Rau Le Creuset (ラウ・ル・クルーゼ Rau Ru Kurūze) is an elite ZAFT commander, a skilled mobile suit pilot, and an adept tactician, whose abilities are greatly valued by the ZAFT leadership. He always appears in public with his unique mask covering his face. He becomes famous early in the war during the Battle of Yggdrasil, using his ZGMF-1017M GINN High Maneuver Type mobile suit to destroy thirty-seven Earth Alliance mobile armors and six warships.