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Episode 4: International Negotiation

 

Review by Chris Guanche

October 30, 2007

 

Summary

 

The crew of the Ptolemaios watches a press conference where the HRL's leader announces that 148 soldiers have been killed as a result of Celestial Being's intervention in Ceylon. He says that although they claim to want to end disputes, they're nothing more than terrorists. He pledges that the HRL will do everything in its power to fight Celestial Being. Christina wonders if this won't just lead to the HRL strengthening itself, and Tieria says they'll have to continue their armed interventions. In Tokyo, Setsuna reads a newspaper article about Aeolia and watches the press conference on TV. In Azadistan's capital, fires break out as a result of terrorist attacks. Marina watches the fires from the palace, and her advisor Shirin Bakhtiar suggests that she implement some reform before the moderates unite against her. Marina says she understands that and needs the assistance of the nations with solar energy, but Shirin counters that they don't have much to negotiate with since they didn't participate in the construction of the orbital elevators. Shirin says that if the present condition continues to deteriorate, Celestial Being will eventually appear. On an uninhabited island, automated vehicles conduct repairs to the Gundam Kyrios. Lockon and Allelujah discuss the Real IRA's recent disarmament, and Lockon thinks that support for Celestial Being is just a temporary way for nations to avoid interventions. Allelujah believes things will go back to the way they were if they disappear. At an HRL command center, Sergei reports to a commander named Kim about his experience with the Gundam, and he says he doesn't think there's a mobile suit anywhere in the world that's on the same level as the Gundams. Kim assigns Sergei to a new task force and charges him with capturing a Gundam before the Union or AEU do. He leaves the personnel selection to Sergei, with the exception of one soldier - a young woman named Soma Peries, who is an enhanced "super soldier" from the Super-Human Institute. Kim explains that the project was carried out secretly and that the brass consider her a trump card against the Gundam. Setsuna eats a hot dog in a park and has a daydream about the park being bombarded and destroyed. Saji and Louise then walk by, and although Setsuna remembers Saji's name, Saji didn't remember Setsuna's. Elsewhere, Eifman shows Graham his new Custom Flag, which has been reinforced across its body and covered with anti-beam coating. Billy points out that Graham will experience a high level of Gs during flight, but that's exactly what Graham wants. Two soldiers named Howard Mason and Daryl Dodge then report for duty as part of Graham's team. Stegmeyer is informed that the South American nation Taribia will be making an announcement tomorrow. Sumeragi examines 12 response plans generated by the Veda quantum computer and concludes that they're all risky. Suddenly, Taribia announces it is withdrawing from the Union because it's energy is selfishly controlled by America. Watching the news, Marina says that instability near an orbital elevator will affect energy production, and Shirin concludes that Taribia knows America will launch an attack. Sergei asks Soma for an opinion about Taribia, and she explains that the country must be hoping for an intervention from Celestial Being. On the Ptolemaios, Sumeragi announces that they're starting the next mission.

 

The news reports that the Union has authorized the use of military force against Taribia. Setsuna runs to the waterfront and jumps into the water to swim down to his concealed Gundam container. On the uninhabited island, Lockon and Allelujah suit up and launch in the Gundam Dynames and Gundam Kyrios. Graham and his squad fly toward Taribia, and he wonders how his Custom Flag will fare against a Gundam. A Union fleet stations itself within Taribian waters, and the Taribian military deploys its Union Realdo mobile suits throughout the capital. Setsuna, Lockon and Allelujah arrive at Taribia and head for the country's three major cities. Shirin says that if Celestial Being fights for Taribia it will be aiding extremists, but Marina says if they don't stop the Union, it will run counter to the group's stated goal of eradicating conflict. From the sky, the Gundam Exia begins blasting the Taribian Realdos stationed on the ground. Wang and Alejandro both state that Celestial Being will attack any countries that incite war. Elsewhere, Lockon and Allelujah attack Realdos from the air as well. Lockon doesn't believe that Taribia should try to exploit Celestial Being for its own selfish goals. The Taribian prime minister calls Stegmeyer, and Stegmeyer states that he'd be happy to send troops to help if Taribia takes back its secession announcement. The prime minister agrees, and Stegmeyer orders the Union forces to defend Taribia and attack Celestial Being. Christina reports to Sumeragi that the Gundam are proceeding along their escape routes, but a Flag is approaching Setsuna at twice the normal speed. Graham catches up to Setsuna and attacks with his experimental rifle. Setsuna returns fire, but Graham's Custom Flag is able to dodge thanks to its increased maneuverability. Graham continues to attack, forcing Setsuna to escape underwater. Graham is satisfied with the Custom Flag's performance, but he's even more surprised that the Gundams are versatile enough to operate underwater. Marina can't believe that Celestial Being attacked Taribia, and Shirin says that Taribia and America must have expected such an outcome. She says that Taribia asked America for help, which serves to quell anti-American sentiment. In addition, American support props up the Taribian government. She wonders which country has benefited the most from what happened and says that if Marina can't figure that out, she's not qualified to save Azadistan. Watching the news, Saji asks Kinue why Celestial Being attacked Taribia if Taribia didn't attack anyone. He says it's not right that Celestial Being is creating conflicts, and Kinue tells him that the world doesn't work so simply.

 

Commentary

 

Things are certainly starting to heat up around the world. This time, the story focuses on the fictional South American nation of Taribia, which from the looks of the Union tactical map encompasses modern Venezuela and Guyana. Given the involvement of Venezuela, I wonder if the Taribian prime minister's criticisms of America are supposed to echo the anti-American sentiment of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Celestial Being is certainly having an effect on the world, but as Lockon notes, it's only temporary, as countries are taking actions merely to avoid a Celestial Being intervention. Taribia takes it a step further by attempting to manipulate the situation and have Celestial Being fight for them. But what they got was the opposite. By attacking Taribia, they brought the country closer to the Union and squelched a rebellion before it occurred. There's also quite a few other developments. Graham attacks Setsuna with his Custom Flag, and although the battle is brief, we see he at least can fight on more equal ground with a Gundam now. The HRL wants to capture a Gundam as well, so they stick Sergei with "enhanced human" Soma Pieris. Enhanced humans are a common Gundam theme, so we'll have to see if Soma fits the mold of the brainwashed/drugged/psychotic enhanced humans of past series. Marina returns after her short appearance in episode 1, and we see that Azadistan is in some trouble. Given her prominent appearance in the opening sequence with Setsuna, I'm sure Celestial Being will end up there at some point. Although this episode solidifies a bit where the story is going and what effect the Meisters are having, there is one thing that continues to bother me, and that's the practice of having Wang and Alejandro constantly show up to "answer" questions posed by characters they aren't even having conversations with. It gets annoying after a few episodes, and given the large cast this show has, I'd rather Wang and Alejandro not appear for a while until they have something substantive to do, instead of just appearing randomly to muse about what Celestial Being is doing.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Gundam 00 Episode 4 Gundam 00 Episode 4
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