Athrun Zala
Athrun 4

Genetic type





October 29, C.E. 55








PLANT (Formerly Orb Union)




FAITH Special Forces operative


MVF-M11C Murasame, ZGMF-X23S Saviour Gundam, ZGMF-X56S Impulse Gundam, ZGMF-YX29R Knight Saviour Gundam

Athrun Zala is a major protagonist, a twenty-year-old ex-ZAFT mobile suit pilot and veteran of the First Junius War who defected to Orb around the time of the Alliance invasion of that country in C.E. 71. Since then he has been living in Orb under an assumed identity, until following the outbreak of a second conflict he rejoins ZAFT, and is assigned to the LHM-BB01 Minerva as commander of its mobile suit team and pilot of the next-generation ZGMF-X23S Saviour Gundam, then the even more advanced ZGMF-YX29R Knight Saviour Gundam.


Athrun is quiet, reserved, and a kind-hearted young man, who strongly believes in the possibility of peace. He is generally level-headed and even-tempered, and is also a natural leader, capable of taking charge of a situation with relative ease and is firm and decisive in these situations, to the point that he can sometimes seem somewhat harsh. In spite of initial hostility between them, he finds himself becoming a mentor of sorts to Shinn Asuka

Skills & Capabilities

Athrun was previously a ZAFT Red Coat, a graduate in the top percentile of his class at ZAFT's military academy, and was a member of the élite Le Creuset Team before his assignment to the special forces(a forerunner of FAITH), shortly after which he defected to Orb. He is an exceptionally skilled mobile suit pilot, and although he specializes in high-mobility, close-quarters combat he is also able to hold his own at longer ranges. Athrun is also a first-rate hand-to-hand combatant, both armed and unarmed. He also has an innate talent for mechanical engineering and robotics, as demonstrated by his creation of "Birdy", a mechanical bird he made and gave to his best friend Kira Yamato, or the dozen or so spherical "Haro" robots he created for his then-fiancée Lacus Clyne.


Athrun was born in the PLANTs' December City on October 10th, C.E. 55, the son of Patrick Zala, a founding member of the Zodiac Alliance. In C.E. 61 he was sent to a preparatory school in Copernicus City on the moon, where he met and befriended Kira Yamato, a fellow Coordinator who was from the Orb Union. At some point during this time Athrun created Birdy, eventually giving it to Kira. The young Athrun was, despite the tense geopolitical situation of the Earth sphere, confident that the Earth and the PLANTs would eventually see eye to eye and be able to avoid all-out war, and told Kira as much on at least one occasion. However this was not to be, as on February 14th, C.E. 70, the Atlantic Federation space carrier Roosevelt deployed a team of mobile armors armed with nuclear weapons, one of which struck and destroyed the agricultural colony Junius Seven. 243,721 innocent civilians were killed, the colony's entire population - Athrun's mother among them.

Athrun had returned to the PLANTs a little over a year earlier, and a week later he joined ZAFT, the PLANTs' militia, along with Yzak Joule, the son of Ezalia Jule, who served with Athrun's father on the PLANTs' National Defense Committee. The two boys became rivals at ZAFT's military academy, a rivalry that continued through their training and afterwards. During this time Athrun also became friends with Nicol Amalfi, also the son of a ranking member of the PLANT Supreme Council. Graduating at the top of his class, Athrun had earned the right to wear ZAFT's prestigious Red Uniform, the mark of an élite pilot - which he was. Athrun, Yzak and Nicol, along with Dearka Elsman - a good friend of Yzak and, like the others, the son of a member of the Supreme Council had all earned this privilege, and were assigned together to the Team commanded by legendary ace Rau Le Creuset. Also with them was Rusty Mackenzie, another classmate and good friend to Athrun as well as Yzak, Nicol and Dearka. Their immediate commander was an older pilot named Miguel Aiman, and Athrun and Miguel got along well.

Athrun's first assignment was a raid on the Orb colony Heliopolis, which had been producing mobile suits for the Alliance. Athrun succeeded in capturing one of the five prototypes, the GAT-X303 Aegis Gundam, but found himself face to face with his old friend Kira, who took control of the GAT-X105 Strike, the only prototype not captured, as its intended pilot Rusty had been killed. In the ensuing battle, Kira killed Miguel and the Strike escaped along with the new warship Archangel, only to be pursued relentlessly by the Le Creuset Team over several months. During this pursuit, Yzak would be defeated by the Strike as well, suffering a large scar on his face as a result.

The pursuit continued on Earth, eventually culminating in the first of two duels between Athrun and Kira, during Nicol sacrificed his own life to save Athrun when Kira gained the upper hand. Ravaged by grief and anger at his own weakness, Athrun would face Kira one final time, during which Kira killed Tolle König, a friend of Kira's who attempted to intervene in the battle. The duel that ensued was brutal, both pilots equally determined to kill the other, and ended when, just as Athrun was about to kill Kira, the Aegis ran out of power. Ejecting from the cockpit, Athrun self-detonated the Aegis, the explosing destroying both mobile suits and, as Athrun thought, killing Kira.

The injured Athrun is recovered by Cagalli Yula Athha of Orb, whom Athrun had met once before. She confronts him about his actions and Athrun breaks down into tears as Cagalli explains some of the teachings her father, that killing for vengeance will never bring peace but simply more conflict and asks him again how his thinking will ever bring about peace. Before returning him to ZAFT, Athrun calls Cagalli strange and wonders if he should thank her and just resigns to saying that he really doesn't know. Cagalli gives Athrun her Haumea amulet as a good luck charm, hoping that it will protect him.

Athrun is awarded the Order of the Nebula for his accomplishments and assigned to an élite Special Forces unit under the direct command of the PLANT Supreme Council. He is subsequently assigned the new ZGMF-X09A Justice, and ordered to track down and retrieve the ZGMF-X10A Freedom, which had been stolen by Kira with the aid of Lacus Clyne, who is accused of selling ZAFT out to the Earth Alliance. Athrun has trouble accepting that Lacus could be a traitor, and when he eventually finds her saves her from assassination by agents under orders to kill her. Learning that Kira is alive and is the one who stole the Freedom, Athrun heads to Earth and eventually finds Kira in Orb, engaged in combat with the Alliance invasion fleet and its new-model Gundams. Athrun watches, wrestling with his own loyalties, until Kira is slowly overpowered by the enemy. Athrun then makes his choice and steps in to save his friend. As the enemy mobile suits retreat, the two friends try to work out their differences. Uncertain at first, Athrun makes no promises, but he eventually aids Kira during the fall of Orb, instead of fighting him and retrieving the Freedom like he was originally ordered to do so. Athrun then follows the survivors of the battle into space.

Athrun returns to the PLANTs without the Justice and speaks to his father about the war, to find out his father's true intentions. During the argument that ensues, Athrun is shocked and angered to learn that Patrick Zala's aim is genocide, in revenge for the death of his wife, Lenore. Athrun is arrested for treason, but is freed and escapes to the Eternal, which is hijacked by Lacus Clyne and her supporters and leaves the PLANTs. Along with Kira, the Archangel, and the Orb spaceship Kusanagi, the Eternal form the Three Ship Alliance, and along with them Athrun is instrumental in ending the First Junius War, between ZAFT and the Earth Alliance Forces by thwarting the Alliance's attempted nuclear attack on the PLANTs and destroying ZAFT's superweapon GENESIS, though in doing so Athrun witnesses his father's death.

After the war's end, Athrun leaves the PLANTs and heads to Orb under a false identity arranged with the assistance of interim Supreme Council Chairwoman Eileen Canaver. As "Alex Dino", he becomes Cagalli's bodyguard and an officer and mobile suit pilot in Orb's defense forces. It is in this capacity that, in February C.E. 75, Athrun escorts a multinational memorial delegation intending to visit the ruins of Junius Seven, when they are attacked by rogue ZAFT forces who are using the late Patrick Zala's ideals to justify the dropping of Junius Seven. The terrorists are killed, but fragments of Junius Seven fall in what becomes known the Break the World Incident.

Subsequently, the Alliance declares war on and once again attempts to destroy the PLANTs with nuclear weapons, though the attack is thwarted by a new anti-nuclear defense system installed onboard the ship Marie Curie. Going back to the PLANTs, Athrun meets with Chairman Gilbert Durendal and also encounters Meer Campbell, who is impersonating Lacus. Durendal convinces Athrun to use his power to keep the world on the right path. Athrun re-enlists in ZAFT, and Durendal appoints him a member of the elite special forces, FAITH. Athrun is assigned the new mobile suit ZGMF-X23S Saviour, and given total freedom of action. At Durendal's request, Athrun heads to Earth, where he meets up with the Minerva and takes command of its mobile suit team. After arriving at Carpentaria, he hears from Lunamaria that Cagalli is missing, and Luna also tells him she has heard Cagalli was to marry Yuna Roma Seiran. Luna herself begins to show interest in Athrun, complicating the situation still further.

Athrun's first sortie as commander of the Minerva's mobile suit team was in the Indian Ocean, when the ship was attacked by Phantom Pain, and Athrun found himself primarily engaged by Lukas O'Donnell's mobile armor Chaos. During this battle, he attempts to recall Shinn when the latter begins straying too far from the ship, and again when he begins destroying the Alliance base they had found. After the battle, Athrun disciplines Shinn for his insubordination, and confronts him about his abuse of power. Thereafter Athrun starts to be somewhat of a mentor to Shinn, though the two do not always get along well.

Athrun leads the successful attack on the Alliance outpost in the Gulnahan Ravine, personally defeating the new mobile armor fielded by the Alliance, as well as in the disastrous battle in the Dardanelles against an Alliance fleet reinforced by Orb ships, led by the Takemikazuchi. During this battle, he once again confronts and engages against Kira when the Archangel intervenes, severely damaging the Minerva, and during the subsequent three-way battle is once again unable to prevent the death of one of his teammates.

After the battle, while the Minerva undergoes repairs Athrun, through a chance encounter with ex-Archangel crewmember and freelance photographer Miriallia Haww, is able to locate the Archangel and confronts Kira about his actions. The two argue, and during the conversation Athrun learns of Lacus's assassination. Much remains unresolved as Athrun leaves, the parting less than amicable. The following day, Athrun and Shinn are sent to investigate an abandoned Alliance facility which turns out to be the lab where Blue Cosmos produced their "Extended Humans". He and Shinn are subsequently attacked by the Gaia Gundam, which by working together they are able to defeat, capturing its pilot. In a second engagement with the Alliance and Orb fleets, in which the Archangel once again intervenes and Athrun duels Kira. In this engagement the Saviour is destroyed, and Athrun is severely injured.

Despite generally good relations with his crewmates, tension persists between Athrun and Shinn, which is further exacerbated when he learns that Shinn is attempting to determine a way to defeat the Freedom Gundam. Reluctant to assist, Athrun nonetheless realizes that they are correct in that Kira, regardless of Athrun's personal feelings, has set himself against ZAFT, something he made perfectly clear to Athrun in their last conversation. He makes a vague comment about Kira's piloting style and capabilities, which Shinn is able to correctly interpret and use, with some assistance from Heine, to devise a strategy he then uses during Operation Angel Down to destroy the Freedom and apparently kill its pilot, even as the Minerva, commanded by Yzak, succeeds in destroying the Archangel.

Angered at the apparent death of his best friend, Athrun confronts Shinn about his actions and punches him. Shinn leaves angrily, commenting that without Athrun he could not have defeated the Freedom. Athrun is subsequently confronted by Heine, who chides him for being out of line, and reminds him that whatever Athrun may have felt, by their actions the Freedom and the Archangel had shown themselves to be enemies of ZAFT. 

Athrun mourns his best friend's loss, but realizes that Shinn too has lost someone very close to him because of the Freedom. The following day, when Athrun goes out to the deck to speak with Shinn, the latter recounts to him the death of his family, four years prior, at the Freedom's hands during the Battle of Orb. In the subsequent conversation, the two are reconciled, as Shinn apologizes not for having defeated the Freedom, but for having ended the life of a close friend of Athrun's.

The following months are spent on training for all of the Minerva's pilots. With the Saviour destroyed, Athrun briefly pilots a second Impulse Gundam during this time. However, he is assigned a new mobile suit of his own, the drastically more advanced ZGMF-YX29R Knight Saviour Gundam, which he would pilot in most engagements through the end of the war, beginning with the successful attack on Heaven's Base.

When Jibril is found in Orb and the Minerva leads the ZAFT fleet in an attack, Athrun would take one of the ship's two Core Splendors to attempt to resolve the situation diplomatically, leaving Impulse Gundam unit 2 inoperable. Its pilot, new ZAFT recruit Stella Loussier, would then take the Knight Saviour and pilot it during the operation, which would end in failure in spite of the best efforts of the Minerva's pilots, as Blue Cosmos leader and sole remaining Logos member Jibril escapes into space. After this, the Minerva would return to outer space, where Athrun would continue to distinguish himself as the Knight Saviour's pilot in the First Battle of Daedalus, which ended with the capture of the base and the death of Jibril. After this, the Minerva would head to the PLANTs.

Shortly thereafter, Athrun is promoted and given his own command, the Nazca-class Argenteuil, with two additional ships: The Nazca-class Jouvenel and Laurasia-class Gaensler. And in his capacity as Commander, he would prove pivotal in the second, final attack on Daedalus, which brings about the war's end.

After the war, Athrun would play a pivotal role in the unilateral negotiations between Orb, the PLANTs, and the Alliance, as a member of the PLANT Supreme Council's Diplomatic Committee.