Holy hand grenade people was that an episode or what? Forget what I said last week about being cheated out of a battle, as this made up for it one hundred times over. Seriously this was one of the best battles I’ve seen in a Gundam series ever. The fact it was basically the entire episode with each scene as good as the one previously is an achievement to marvel at. Not to mention a sign that Sunrise has serious faith in the series as the budget must have been substantial to get this done.
It is kind of funny for such an amazing episode I can’t really write too much about it. As a visual spectacular you just need to see it to understand. However I’ll try my best to get it done to the best of my ability as there are some new pieces of information to unpack.
As the episode opens we find Tekkadan aboard the Isaribi as Orga and McGillis’ tête-à-tête from the previous episode has born fruit. Meeting with Gjallahorn forces under the command of now Brigadier General McGillis who has received a substantial promotion from his “Specialist Major” Rank in Season One.
Following their meetings with the Gjallahorn/“Montag” representatives Orga is shown getting lectured by Merribit, who finally gets a decent amount of screen time. In the scenes Merribit is playing a more motherly role with Orga commanding him to get some rest as he’s been up for 36 hours, which she knows as yes “she’s been counting”.
It’s an interesting scene as previously Merribit has had a more flirty relationship with Orga, with strong hints at mutual affection between the two. Of course Orga still seems perplexed by the older woman’s actions all the same, I guess our boss still needs some growing up to do. That being said the relationship between the two is the weirdest in the series and that is saying something as this series also has Atra’s weird love triangle fantasies and whatever Lafter - Akihiro - Naze is... and before you say I’m reading too much into this the writer is Mari Okada who brought us Toradora.
Moving on the rest of the episode is one extended battle sequences and as my fanboy squeals up above showed what a battle it is! Since writing about battles shot by shot is no fun for the reader nor the writer, I’ll forgo doing that as really if you haven’t seen the episode close this page now, go to Daisuki or Gundam.Info AND WATCH THIS EPISODE. Seriously its a spectacle you don’t often see in a Gundam.
One thing that struck me was how well composed, animated, and directed every scene was right up until the end. The budget to make this happen must have been substantial leading me to believe despite the endings cliff hanger we won’t be seeing a prolonged battle sequence for at least three episode or so. Regardless that is perfectly fine as this episode was more then good enough to last us until November.
During the battle we get our first look at the upgraded Gusion Gundam, now the Gusion Rebake Full City it’s less a Mobile Suit and more a Mobile Gunboat. However damn it plays its role on the battle field properly providing overwhelming offensive covering his allies who try to engage for closer attack. Showing Iron-Blooded Orphans commitment to at least semi-realistic battles remains true.
Furthermore the introduction of the Gusion Full City was pure eye candy. With something like three or four moving objects in the background as we get our first shot of the machine, it reminded me of something out of a Michael Bay film and yes that is a compliment. Which say what you will however the guy knows how to film action sequences.
That being said one thing did start sticking in my head as I was watching the episode, just how overwhelming is the Barbatos Lupis in space? Seriously, we’re not yet at Freedom/Wing Zero levels of power overwhelming but damn it is getting close. Nothing could stand against Mikazuki, he seemed to be able to single highhandedly take on half the opposing forces. At the very least Iron-Blooded Orphans remembers when you shoot a lot of bullets sometimes you need to reload and refuel, an issue other recent Gundams forgot about with their beam spam, Gundam SEED looking at you...
Furthermore during this battle we see more examples of Mikazuki’s cool attitude in battle and disregard for his opponents lives. In one striking scene Akihiro spares a pilot who surrenders and asks for mercy. While just a few scenes later Mikazuki finding a completely defenseless pilot in an exposed cockpit slaughters the random enemy, despite being able to easily parry or dodge the fools attack. Mikazuki may be the protagonist of the story but he’s no hero, that is for sure.
Considering the taboo of the Alaya-Vijnana system and how it was supposed to drive people mad. With the examples of Ein and Mikazuki there is the possibility Mikazuki may be slowly slipping down this path. As its striking how Mikazuki has never once shown any emotion piloting the Barbatos to the best of my recollection.
Despite being massively outnumbered due to Dawn Horizons trick at the start of the battle Tekkadan due to the power of their Gundam frames, superior teamwork, and support from McGillis’ Gjallahorn faction have taken a commanding position within the battle. It appears its only a matter of time before Tekkadan takes the scalp of the Dawn Horizon Corps. a big win for Teiwaz as well as Gjallahorn.
However as the battle seems to be winding down a massive number of Gjallahorn forces arrive. Expecting it to be the rest of McGillis’ forces Tekkadan and their allies are shocked to see the Arianrhod Fleet - the fleet designed to protect the Earth Sphere and the personal fleet of Rustal Elion. Orga decides to ignore the new arrivals and launch an all out assault of Dawn Horizons leader Sandoval, now piloting a Mobile Suit on the field of battle.
As Mikazuki is about to engage Sandoval, Julieta Juris piloting the successor unit to the Graze a Reginlaze blocks his path. Showing a level of strength and skill it’s clear she is no ordinary pilot and makes sense why such a young girl is one of Rustal’s elites. However before their battle can really begin the episode ends.
It’s during these final confirmations the viewer finally hears the mask man speak who has been assisting Rustal Elion. After Elion gets confirmation of McGillis’ collaboration with Tekkadan the masked man walks out, looking at a striking mobile suit, he vows revenge against McGillis.
An interesting point here following this episode I searched for a voice actor credit for this mysterious character and came up with nothing. It’s not even available in the Official English Sites, considering that Gundam SEED Destiny hid the voice actor of their Masked Man to hide the fact Mu was alive it’s possible they’re doing this now as Gaeleo’s voice actor is not credited yet for Season Two. He totally is credited and shares Gaeleo’s VA... Of course this could all be an elaborate fake out and be somebody like McGillis’ Father who also fits the character. What do you think?
Anyways this turned out longer then I thought it would? There was more plot hidden in the amazing battle sequences then I thought it seems. Anyways what does everyone else think, just an awesome battle sequence or one of the best battle sequences as really it’s got to be up there. It was raw, well animated, and and flowed great. I’m personally looking forward to next Sunday all the more now, although I’m not expecting much out of Mikazuki and Julieta’s battle. Until next week!
“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”
Note: You can witch the series for free on Gundam.Info
We’re going a little different route this week with such an over the top episode a good compliment is the more subdued tones of Char’s Advice. Considering our Char Clone from Season One McGillis is more moving into a behind the scenes “ally” for now Gundam Zeta’s Char seems a fitting analogue for the moment. As always leave some recommendations in the comments if you have some epic non-vocal songs all the better OP and EDs are fine and all but it’s hardly the full Gundam experience.