Rau Le Creuset (ラウ・ル・クルーゼ Rau Ru Kurūze?) is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. He shares a strange connection and rivalry with Earth Alliance pilot Mu La Flaga.
Personality & Character
Rau Le Creuset appears at first glance to be a calculating strategist, capable of predicting many of his opponents' moves. He also treats the members of his team with a reasonable amount of dignity and respect and can be charismatic to persuade people for his own ends, however below this calm exterior lies the persona of a nihilistic omnicidal maniac. When confronting his enemies directly, Rau's true colors are revealed, he believes that he's the only one with the right to judge both Naturals and Coordinators and has a deep hatred for both. As a clone, he suffers from accelerated aging due to shortened telomeres, a side effect of the cloning process, and he has to take regular medication.
Skill & Abilities
Rau is a skilled pilot, capable of piloting a number of suits with ease. Like Mu La Flaga, he has high spatial awareness and thus capable of controlling multiple remote guided weaponry, as shown when he used the Providence's DRAGOON System to dominate Kira Yamato's Freedom Gundam for most of the fight. He is also skilled with firearms and tactics, capable of seeing through feints and decoys to determine the enemy's true plan.
The Grimaldi Front
Already a ranking officer within ZAFT at the time, Rau Le Creuset was assigned the then-still-experimental ZGMF-1017M GINN High Maneuver Type. The machine had yet to be formally test-flown, and this would be its first sortie. Launching shortly before the end of the Battle at the Endymion Crater, Rau in the GINN is engaged by Mu La Flaga's TS-MA2mod.00 Moebius Zero, the two fighting an intense duel that is prematurely ended by the detonation of a Cyclops System that destroys the Alliance base, ending the battle and destroying most of the remaining forces on both sides. Shortly thereafter, he was assigned command of the Nazca-class destroyer Vesalius. This encounter on the battlefield would mark the beginning of a rivalry between the two soldiers.
Despite his allegiance with ZAFT, Rau bears no loyalty to it, or anyone, for that matter. Rau's true aim is to put an end to humanity and what he sees as a 'world of endless desires'. He believes he can accomplish this through the nuclear arsenal of the Earth Forces and GENESIS, ZAFT's super weapon. Furthermore, he believes he is the person best suited to carry out the judgment and execution of humanity. Rau seemingly does not value human life in the slightest—not even his own. His intentions almost come to fruition at the Battle of Jachin Due, but they are thwarted by Kira Yamato and the crew of the Archangel.
His reputation is high enough that the ZAFT National Defense Committee Chairman, Patrick Zala, reveals to him the real plans for Operation Spitbreak. Le Creuset passes this information to the Atlantic Federation, then betrays Zala again by handing over confidential information regarding the nuclear technology behind the two Gundams, Freedom and Justice. This information is given to the Blue Cosmos Chairman, Muruta Azrael, who is also the director of the Azrael Conglomerate, the Earth Alliance's primary arms supplier and uses this information to use nuclear weapons again.
Neither Zala, members of the Supreme Council, nor ZAFT suspected Le Creuset of treason. Although Rau supposedly answers to Patrick Zala, it becomes quite clear that he is actually manipulating Chairman Zala.
A chance encounter with Mu La Flaga and Kira Yamato in the abandoned colony of Mendel reveals his true identity and motives. His birth name is Rau La Flaga, a clone of Mu La Flaga's father, Al Da Flaga.
Considering his own son Mu as "nothing" because he was "diluted" by the inferior DNA of a mother, Al Da Flaga, a powerful and wealthy Atlantic Federation politician, conspired with Professor Ulen Hibiki to create clones of himself, of which Rau would be the first, and his heir, superior in every way to his brother, Mu, who was to be disinherited. Despite the fact that Coordinators had existed for quite some time, direct human cloning was illegal, but Al believed his wealth and influence put him above the law, and Dr. Hibiki agreed to this transaction in exchange for the funds to finance his Ultimate Coordinator project.
Eventually, Al Da Flaga took the young Rau home and decided to educate him strictly. It was during this period that the young Mu and Rau briefly met for the first time. However, Al Da Flaga later discovered that Rau shared the same telomere length as him, meaning Rau's lifespan was the same as his own remaining lifespan, rendering it impossible for Rau to suceed him. As such, Flaga deemed Rau a failure and abandoned him. Angered, Rau burned down the Flaga family mansion, killing Mu's parents. With no past and no future, Rau was filled with a deep hatred towards humanity as a whole, both Naturals and Coordinators.
Rau donned a mask to conceal his resemblance to Al Da Flaga and adopted the persona of "Rau Le Creuset" ("le creuset" being French for "The Crucible"). He travelled to the PLANT and joined the Zodiac Alliance, which eventually became ZAFT. His skills and superhuman intuitive abilities allowed him to not only pretend to be a Coordinator, but also rise through the ranks; any doubts about his background were put to rest by his military accomplishments, which in turn brought him to the attention of Patrick Zala and his radical faction. During this time, he also became acquainted with geneticist Gilbert Durandal, who provided him with drugs to alleviate his rapid aging, and took Rey Za Burrel, another clone of Al Da Flaga, under his wing.
Rau believes, that all people are selfish creatures who will do anything to "get ahead." He justifies this point of view by his very existence; he is the direct result of human hubris - cloning. While he believes, that humanity will eventually wipe itself out, he is not satisfied with waiting for that to happen on its own and works towards making that end a reality.
Heliopolis and First Battles with the Archangel
Rau, as head of the Le Creuset Team and having his personal ship, the Vesalius, orders the team to attack the neutral Orb Colony of Heliopolis when it is revealed that factories within the colony had been secretly manufacturing prototype mobile suits for the Alliance. Their suspicions are proven correct when Le Creuset's team successfully return with four of the five suits. Unfortunately, the last of the units, the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam, was not taken due to Rusty Mackenzie's death during the attack, and, to the surprise of the Vesalius' crew, had been used to successfully destroy Miguel Aiman's ZGMF-1017 GINN.
Intrigued that Miguel had been forced to abandon his unit, Rau departs in his ZGMF-515 CGUE to see the Strike in action. He encounters the unit in the GAT-X105+AQM/E-X03 Launcher Strike Gundam configuration and quickly has his CGUE's arm melted by the Launcher Strike's cannon. Although aware that any succeeding battles within the colony would cause it to crumble, Rau allows Miguel, Olor and Matthew depart with their GINNs to face the Strike and the Archangel which had remained within the colony. The colony was eventually destroyed in the battle, and the trio were killed in the skirmish. After the battle, he asks Athrun why he defied orders to stay and departed with Miguel's team, and Athrun explained that the Strike's current pilot was Kira Yamato, an old friend and a Coordinator. Though Athrun promises to turn Kira to their side, Rau has his subordinate promise to be the one to shoot the Strike down should Kira refuse their offer.
Following this, he would have his team hunt the Archangel throughout its journeys in space. The first skirmish has the Le Creuset team successfully destroy the Alliance's Artemis Base, but the Archangel is able to escape amidst the chaos. Following this, Rau deploys the four stolen units against the Archangel and the Strike. Although the Strike is overpowered, the Vesalius is ambushed by Mu La Flaga's TS-MA2mod.00 Moebius Zero, forcing Rau to order a full withdrawal empty-handed.
In their next battle, they engage with the advanced forces of the Alliance's 8th Fleet, which had moved to protect the ship. When the battle goes south for the Alliance forces, the Archangel's officer, Natarle Badgiruel contacts the Vesalius to inform them that they were holding PLANT celebrity Lacus Clyne hostage. As Lacus was the daughter of then-chairman Siegel Clyne, Rau called off further attacks on the Archangel and deliberated with the others over what to do. Ultimately any plan they had would be unnecessary as Kira, having grown guilty of using a hostage, would return Lacus back to Athrun in secret.
Knowing that the ship would escape the Vesalius by entering Earth, Rau gave chase once again when the Archangel began nearing Earth's orbit. Rau's forces once again engage the 8th Fleet in its attempt to reach the Archangel and wiped them out at the cost of letting the Archangel escape once more. Unfortunately, Yzak and Dearka had become too eager in their pursuit and were unable to return to the Vesalius and were forced to perform an atmospheric entry on their own. As he had to answer to ZAFT's higher-ups for the previous events, including the destruction of Heliopolis, Rau, Nicol and Athrun return to the PLANTs to give their report. While Rau is kept in the planning desk for ZAFT's next big decisions, Athrun is assigned to become to new team leader in Rau's absence and is sent to Earth with Nicol.
The ZAFT forces eventually finalize the plans for Operation: Spitbreak and Rau is sent to Earth to help supervise the attack on JOSH-A. Secretly, Rau establishes a relationship with Muruta Azrael, the leader of Blue Cosmos and secretly tips them off on the impending ZAFT invasion. Predictably, this causes most of the more extreme Atlantic Federation to escape safely leaving the members of the Eurasian Federation alongside the Archangel to die at JOSH-A. Rau also participated in the attack on JOSH-A's main gate, and he captured Flay Allster in the process. He later sends Yzak to chase after the Archangel when it is revealed that the ship has now abandoned the battle and is fleeing. To his glee, the remaining Blue Cosmos members in the Alliance base use the underground Cyclops System to wipe out both the defenders and most of the attacking ZAFT forces.
Following this, Rau took part in the battle of Panama in order to take the Alliance's mass driver and cut their access to space. Though the Alliance unveils the new GAT-01 Strike Daggers, the new mobile suits are easily disabled by ZAFT's Gugnir EMP emitter. As he predicted, many ZAFT soldiers, still bitter over the pyrrhic victory at JOSH-A, would slaughter the Alliance's soldiers.
Returning to space, Rau rejoined the Vesalius to hunt for the FFMH-Y101 Eternal, which had been hijacked by Lacus Clyne. His search takes him to the Mendel Colony, where he and Yzak engaged with Mu and the accompanying GAT-X103 Buster Gundam. The tide soon shifts against him when Kira joins the fray with the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam and Rau's ZGMF-600 GuAIZ is shot down, but he flees into the colony with Mu and Kira in hot pursuit. There, he reveals his secret parentage to Mu and Kira as well as revealing that Kira was created to be the "Ultimate Coordinator". While his mask is shot off, Rau successfully escapes when Mu cannot proceed due to his injuries. As the Vesalius was sunk in the skirmish, Rau returned to Jachin Due to report back to Patrick Zala.
In the lead-up to the final battle, he leaks information he obtained through Patrick about the N-Jammer Canceller technology used to create the Freedom Gundam and ZGMF-X09A Justice Gundam through a disc held by Flay. This gives Azrael all the justification he needs to finally be able to use nuclear missiles on the ZAFT forces; starting with their military asteroid Boaz.
When the Alliance forces near the PLANTs with their nukes, Yzak is sent with a small task force to defend the colonies while Rau continues to deliberate with Patrick over whether or not they should use nuclear weapons as well. To his delight, ZAFT unleashes GENESIS when the Alliance attempts to send its nukes towards the PLANTs and the attack swiftly decimate half of the Alliance fleet. Aware that this would likely not be enough to stop the Naturals, Patrick orders Rau to take his new ZGMF-X13A Providence Gundam and make up for his failure at Mendel by also destroying the third-party forces that had entered the battle. Rau quickly questions if this also meant killing Athrun. While surprised and secretly pained by the question, Zala gives Rau the authorization to shoot Athrun down.
Second Battle of Jachin Due
In the final battle of the war, Rau commented that "I can do anything he (Mu) can". Impressed by the power of the Providence's DRAGOONs, Rau later has his final meeting with Mu, who demands to know if this was all part of his twisted plan. Rau confirms this and laughs of humanity's destiny to eat itself out and the futility of Mu's efforts. Eventually, Rau damages the Aile Strike severely, forcing Mu to withdraw back to the Archangel. Mu would never complete his trip back, as he would seemingly die protecting the Archangel's main bridge from the Dominion's positron cannon. It is implied that Rau also sensed Mu's demise. Seeing that the Dominion was defeated and that Azrael was killed, Rau takes matters into his own hands and attacks the damaged Archangel, quickly crippling Buster in the process.
To his surprise, Kira returns to fight him with the METEOR-docked Freedom. Despite the Freedom's strong firepower, Rau easily takes advantage of the METEOR's size and lands multiple hits on Kira's support unit thanks to the power of the DRAGOONs. During their fight, he notices Kira attempting to protect the escape shuttle launched from the Dominion that contained Flay Allster and shot it down before Kira's eyes. Seeing that Kira had been knocked out, Rau quickly moved to attack the Eternal. Once again, Kira intervenes and fights with Rau again. Though Rau scores hits on the Freedom's limbs, Kira progressively destroys Rau's DRAGOONs one at a time.
As they fight, Rau yells out his beliefs of humanity's self-destructive nature. Rau then begins to laugh maniacally, declaring that he had already won; the fortress Jachin Due was due to self-destruct, thereby triggering GENESIS to fire at Earth, forcing an escalation that would eventually wipe out humanity. However, Kira declared that the world is still worth protecting and attacked the Providence with a double-bladed beam saber, hacking off its remaining arm. Rau desperately used his remaining DRAGOONs to defend himself, but the Freedom powered through Rau's final attacks, ultimately impaling Providence, penetrating the cockpit and wounding Rau. As he drew his last breath, Rau smiled as his visor shattered and his mask came off. Meanwhile, Athrun detonates the Justice's reactor within GENESIS, foiling Rau's plan, but not before the superweapon fires one last beam that destroys the Providence.
Gundam SEED Destiny
Although Rau dies at the end of Gundam SEED, he appears in flashbacks in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Kira is still haunted by his memories of him, and tries to ensure that no one like Rau threatens mankind's future again.
In Episode 29, Gilbert Durandal, Rau's former friend and doctor, imagines conversing and playing a metaphysical game of chess with Le Creuset. Le Creuset asks Durandal why he feels humanity is worth saving, and pities him for believing that anything other than disappointment, reminding Durandal of his own failure to save him. Durandal swears that he will do anything to ensure the continued survival of humanity, no matter what the cost of that might be.
Later on during the series finale, Rey Za Burrel, a fellow clone, decides to take on the name of Rau during his battle with Kira. As Rey battles Kira, he blames Kira for all the faults that humanity has caused, including being ignorant and arrogant towards both Rau and himself, and thus he wishes to finish the job that Rau has started, which means total annihilation and reformation. However, Kira refutes and counterpoints that Rey is his own person, and his life and fate should belong to himself and not anyone else, because everyone has got only one life to live out. After Kira critically damages Rey's Legend Gundam, Rey goes back to the Messiah, where he witnesses the heated and tense confrontation between Kira and Gilbert. Moved by Kira's words, Rey momentarily sides with Kira by rejecting the Destiny Plan and shooting Gilbert, mortally wounding him. He later hugs Talia Gladys, whom he sees as his surrogate mother, and joins her and Gilbert in death, aboard the exploding Messiah, as it crashes upon the lunar surface.
- A common misconception is that Rau is a Coordinator and his accelerated aging is a result of this genetic modification. The Gundam SEED novels and Rau's profile in the instruction manual of the Master Grade 1/100 Providence Gundam model kit makes it clear that he is a Natural, not a Coordinator.
- The notion of accelerated aging due to shortened telomeres was an oft explored theme in science fiction at the time when the anime was first shown.
- As Gundam SEED takes most of its elements from the original Gundam series, Le Creuset would fall into the position Char Aznable played as an antagonist to the main characters, thus establishing him as a Char Clone. However, as a character, Rau is something of a departure from the usual Char Clone, as he is a far more malevolent being that delights in destruction and seeks to fulfill a warped philosophy. In that sense, Rau has more in common with Yazan Gable, Paptimus Scirocco, Bask Om, Ginias Sahalin, Carozzo Ronah, Crux Dogatie, Callisto's Light/Callisto's Shadow, Ulube Ishikawa, the Frost Brothers, Gym Ghingham, and later Ali al-Saachez; all characters that were stereotypically evil as opposed to the Gundam standard of morally gray.
- In Rau's case, he can be considered as a tragic villain due to his hatred of humanity originates from how Al Da Flaga treats him no more than a tool.
- In Gundam Wars card game, he is listed as a Newtype. However, the term "Newtype" was never officially used in Gundam SEED or Gundam SEED Destiny and the category of characters with his abilities was unnamed.
- While Rau is still a major villain, in SD Gundam G Generation Advance, Rau is shown piloting a completely different unit at the end - the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam. His death was also different - he's killed in a final duel with Mu La Flaga, but only as a special event.
- The unmasked Rau Le Creuset was omitted in the Filipino dub of Gundam SEED.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Vs. Gundam Next PLUS, whenever Shinn Asuka fought against or alongside Rau, he commonly mistook the latter for Rey, given the fact that we was a clone and the Providence being similar to the Legend Gundam.
- Rau acts as the Providence's pilot for the Extreme Vs. series. Due to being one of the Char Clones, Rau will be mistaken or compared to the other Char Clones from other Gundam series. Char himself will see Rau as "another one of the imposters". Rau, however, does have a slightly different version of Char's trademark kick, being able to follow-up the kick with a beam rifle shot.
- In Gundam SEED's arcade intro in Extreme Vs. Full Boost, Rau's duel with Kira in space oddly has the Providence square off against the Aile Strike rather than the Freedom.
|“||Nobody is ever born into this world as a soldier.||”|
|“||I'm the only one in the universe who has that right! The right to pass judgment on all of humanity!||”|
- ^ a b "ZAFT character introduction" (in Japanese). Sunrise. http://www.gundam-seed.net/01cool/character/main2.html. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- ^ "Rau Le Creuset trading card". http://img191.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/users/6/4/6/5/dzz00000-img600x445-1148361599c06u.jpg. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- ^ a b "Timeline". GundamOfficial. Bandai America Incorporated. http://www.gundamofficial.com/worlds/ce/background/timeline.html. Retrieved 2008-02-09. "C.E. 46: Al Da Flaga visits the Mendel colony at Lagrange point 4. He commissions Dr. Ulen Hibiki, the chief researcher of GARM R&D, to create a clone of himself. Rau La Flaga is born later this year."
- ^ a b c "Rau Le Creuset". GundamOfficial. Bandai America Incorporated. http://www.gundamofficial.com/worlds/ce/seed/characters/chara_rau.html. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
- ^ "PHASE-29: FATES". GundamOfficial. Bandai America Incorporated. pp. PHASE 23-34. http://www.gundamofficial.com/worlds/ce/destiny/story/page3.html. Retrieved 2008-02-09. "In his imagination, Durandal hears the mocking voice of Rau Le Creuset."
- ^ Gundam Seed MSV Senki, Chapter 3.