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Episode 2: Gundam Meisters

 

Review by Chris Guanche

October 14, 2007

 

Summary

 

By the year 2307, fossil fuels have been exhausted, forcing humanity to turn to solar power for its energy needs. A solar power system centered between the three orbital elevators serves as an energy source. The world has been reorganized into three great military powers: the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations, based in America; the Humanity Reform League, based in Russia, China and India; and the Advanced European Union (AEU), comprised of Western Europe. At the Union's special economic district of Tokyo, Saji and Louise watch the Celestial Being broadcast repeat on TV, and Saji wonders if there really are people who would act without having any personal gain. At the HRL Head of State's office, officials examine the footage from the attack on Tenchu and see that the Gundam Virtue is one of mobile suits referred to in Celestial Being's video. At the AEU capital, an official is shocked that their newest mobile suit, the Enact, could be taken down so quickly. Another says that Celestial Being must have the financial backing of an advanced country to develop advanced mobile suits in total secrecy. At the Union capital in Washington, President Brian Stegmeyer believes Celestial Being is undermining their work because the Union intervenes in foreign conflict for its own benefit and national interest, not out of philanthropic spirit. On a small island, Lockon tells Setsuna that news stations across the world are talking about nothing but them. Wang arrives with Hong Long and says that Celestial Being's ideas are being shown through its actions. On the road, Graham tells Billy that he wants to find out more about the Gundam Exia, specifically how the light it emitted scrambled radar and communications. Billy says that the light is probably a special particle created by photon decay, but he also thinks the Gundams have another secret. Another officer pulls up and tells Graham and Billy that they've been ordered to return immediately. In space the Ptolemaios prepares to launch the Gundam Kyrios and Gundam Virtue. Allelujah is uneasy about testing the Gundams during a real battle, but Tieria explains that they need to assess their abilities. Sumeragi passes by and apologizes, but Tieria says he's prepared for the risk, especially since being part of Celestial Being is risky. Allelujah then launches in the Gundam Kyrios, which has been equipped with a missile container, followed by Tieria. On Earth, Setsuna and Lockon activate their Gundams and load their weapons from the containers and takeoff. In space, Allelujah and Tieria spread GN particles to protect the Gundams during atmospheric re-entry. At the HRL orbital station, Sergei is informed that they've picked up the Gundams on radar. Based on their trajectory, the Gundams will arrive in the HRL territory of Ceylon (aka Sri Lanka), which makes Sergei wonder if they really are planning armed intervention.

 

After entering the atmosphere, Allelujah and Tieria join up with Setsuna and Lockon. The Union and AEU hear that the Gundams are headed to Ceylon, and the HRL leader orders a mobile suit deployment because he thinks they might have a chance to capture a Gundam. As they approach Ceylon, Setsuna recalls the mission briefing with Sumeragi, where she explained that the Sinhalese and Tamil ethnic groups have been fighting on and off since the 20th century. On an carrier plane, Billy recalls that the HRL has been supporting the Tamils for the last ten years, ostensibly to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Graham says that's all a lie and that the HRL's true motive was to prevent Ceylon from advancing in solar energy research, but their intervention has worsened the situation and instead led to anarchy. Graham calls the bridge to change course and order the completion of maintenance on his Flag, which surprises Billy. In Ceylon, HRL Tierens are engaged in ground combat against Anfs. The Tieren squad leader is informed that Celestial Being is on its way. Lockon wishes everyone good luck because they're expected to get results, but Setsuna doesn't respond. Watching the live combat feed, he's reminded of the fighting years ago in the Krugis Republic, as well as the appearance of the 0 Gundam. Declaring that he's the Gundam, Setsuna rushes forward into the battle, followed by Tieria and Allelujah. Setsuna arrives and uses his GN sword to slice several Tierens apart. A Long-Range Tieren Cannon Type bombards the Gundam Exia from long range and causes no damage. From the air, Lockon snipes several Tierens with his rifle. He then sees Setsuna fighting on the ground and says to himself that Setsuna is overdoing it. From the air, Allelujah bombards an HRL base with missiles and ejects the missile container. He then transforms to mobile suit mode and attacks the remaining targets. He comments that he's a mass murderer now, but that's the way Celestial Being is. Several Tierens on a ship fire at Tieria, but he fires his GN cannon from the shore and destroys the ship. Surveying the damage caused by Setsuna, two Tieren pilots retreat. Two Anfs run past Setsuna to chase the Tierens, and Lockon prepares to fire, but Setsuna destroys them first. At the JNN headquarters, an employee digs up a file on Aeolia and shows it to Kinue, which states that Aeolia has been dead for 200 years. The news comes in that Celestial Being intervened in Ceylon, and Kinue wonders if attacking both sides doesn't make it worse. Sergei hears the news and wonders if Celestial Being thinks they can stop a three century old ethnic conflict with a single intervention. Alejandro says that Celestial Being will intervene until the end of all conflict, when hatred is directed toward them. Tieria asks if the Gundam Exia was destroyed, and Lockon explains that Setsuna went on ahead. He says Setsuna probably has a lot to think about after their first armed intervention, and Tieria doesn't understand why Setsuna is a Gundam Meister. Setsuna is surprised when he suddenly picks up a Union air transport nearby. A Flag launches and attacks the Gundam Exia with its plasma blade. Graham introduces himself and says he's dying to know more about the Gundam.

 

Commentary

 

This episode mainly focuses on the world's reaction to Celestial Being, as well as the group's first armed intervention. Director Seiji Mizushima stated that placing this series in the current AD calendar was meant to ground the series closer to the present, and that's clear in this episode. Although every past Gundam series has featured real world locations, they've never covered the issues associated with those areas. The setting of Ceylon/Sri Lanka is a perfect example, since the Tamil Tiger separatists have been fighting the Sri Lankan government for decades. It just goes to show that the problems of today won't be easily resolved in the near future. Another surprise is the revelation that Aeolia has been dead for 200 years. He could have indeed made the message 200 years ago, or he could've put himself in stasis, or something else entirely. We get to see more of the pilots' personalities here, with Allelujah coming off as someone who is a bit cautious and is aware that what he's doing is getting his hands dirty. Tieria seems the most cold-blooded of the group, and he questions Setsuna's status as a Gundam Meister. Setsuna displays some more emotion here, and we see that his past as a guerilla still has an effect on him. As for other characters, it remains to be seen what connection Saji and Louise have to the story, so hopefully that will be clarified soon. The episode ends on a cliffhanger with Graham attacking Setsuna, giving us something to look forward to next time.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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