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Episode 32: The Traitor

 

Review by Chris Guanche

May 27, 2012

 

Summary

 

In space, Vagan commander Zanald Beihart looks out at Earth from orbit and comments on how beautiful the planet is. A message comes in from codename Maria saying only "I've found a castle in the jungle." A Vagan officer comments that it took a long time to get the coordinates and that Zeheart's spies aren't what they used to be. Zanald says he expected them to work harder since they report directly to Ezelcant, and he orders all ships to begin landing operations to target Rostroulan. On the Diva, Wendy, Taku, Yu and Lucca deliver food to the mechanics. Kio asks Wootbit about the modification to make the Gundam a single-seater and wonders if he can do it alone. Wootbit explains that Flit requested the change in acknowledgment that Kio can fight on his own. Wootbit asks Kio to help him, but Kio says he doesn't know anything about maintenance. Wootbit is surprised since Kio is the grandson of Flit, and he explains that he learned a lot about mechanics from Dique, although Arisa always tried to get him to read a book instead. He says that Arisa was against his being posted to the Diva to the very end, and Kio comments that he doesn't think he's ever seen Romary upset before. Taku stares covetously at Wootbit's food, and Wendy tells him to stop bothering everyone. Unoa then walks in and tells Kio that if he doesn't get a medical check he can't pilot the Gundam. Wendy asks Kio if he's contacted Romary, but he shrugs it off and says he'll do it later. Shanalua tells Kio that he should be more considerate of his family and do it now while he still can. The bridge crew gossips about Natora not being present and getting more lectures from Flit. Flit tells Natora that she can't be indecisive because delaying orders will lead to more people dying. He tells her to take more pride in having a ship and says she has the makings of a captain. Natora is uneasy about people's lives depending on her orders, so Flit says they'll have to work on that indecisiveness. Bridge operator Wong Kastrova enters the room and reports that he's found an information leak. He says that encrypted data is being sent out on the crew's network in an innocuous message, but its destination is a facility associated with the Vagans. Natora asks who the sender is, and Wong answers that it's Shanalua. Shanalua's connection on her phone gets cut off, so she grabs a photo of her sister and leaves her quarters. Natora then gets a call from the bridge that the Vagans have initiated a large scale landing operation against Rostroulan. Natora comments that the Vagans were never able to find Rostroulan before, so she wonders if Shanalua leaked its location. Rostroulan's automatic defenses open fire as Zanald's ships descend and deploy Danazines, Reganners, Gafrans, Dorados and Wrozzos. Zanald orders the mobile suit deployment to speed up and wonders how well Zeheart's team will perform. Zeheart launches in his custom Wrozzo R, followed by two Wrozzo teams. The Diva's mechanics get orders to inspect Shanalua's Clanche, but she sneaks by during the confusion and takes off on her own. Seric asks what's going on, and Derek announces that Shanalua is a spy. Kio asks Shanalua what's going on, but she ignores him and flies out of the Diva before the hangar doors close.

 

Shaldoll Customs, Adele Cannons and Adele Mk-IIs come under fire from the advancing Vagan forces. Algreus gives orders and is impressed that Flit knew when to arrive. Seric takes off in his Clanche Custom, followed by Derek in his Clanche with Obright's Genoace O-Custom already on the ground. As the AGE-3 Fortress is loaded onto the catapult, Kio says he's going after Shanalua, but Flit orders him not to. Kio argues that the don't have proof yet that she's a spy, but Flit says her launching against orders is the proof. He says their priority is to defend Rostroulan, but Kio ignores him after take off and starts searching for Shanalua. In a nearby river, Zeheart and his team find one of the outer walls of Rostroulan and blast their way in. Shanalua is forced to destroy an attacking Danazine and wonders where she can escape to. Another Danazine approaches from above, and Kio comes under attack from a Wrozzo. The Wrozzo dodges his attack, but Kio has an X-Rounder reaction and blasts it at point blank range. He has another X-Rounder reaction and spots the Danazine shooting down Shanalua's Clanche. The Danazine gives chase after she crashes, but Kio destroys it with his SigMaxiss cannons. Shanalua points her rifle at Kio, who asks her why she's a spy. Shanalua explains that she did it for money because her sister is very sick and needs medical treatment. Shanalua says she didn't have a choice because she doesn't want to lose her only family. Kio says that he thought of Shanalua and wants her to come back, but she tells him she'd be executed if she returned. Wrozzo pilot Darest Goon picks up the Gundam on his radar and decides to take it down. Shanalua tells Kio that war isn't nice and that he needs to have resolve to pilot the Gundam. Shanalua fires a warning shot near Kio, and when he tries talking, she fires again and says he's a child throwing a tantrum. Darest attacks from behind and hits both of them. He rushes in to attack Kio, but Shanalua fires and blocks him. She tells Kio to snap out of it if he doesn't want to die. Darest activates the Mu-szell and tears off the Clanche's right arm, so Shanalua grabs her beam saber. As he punches the Clanche's cockpit, Shanalua sticks her beam saber through the cockpit of Darest, the man who recruited her as a spy. With her dying words, Shanalua tells Kio to make sure he survives. She reaches out to grab the picture of her sister and tells Kio to become strong. Kio and Seric cry over her death. Inside the base, an Adele Mk-II takes down a Wrozzo and leaves to fight enemies in another zone. Pilot Leil Light then activates a bomb inside the suit and leaves with Zeheart's team.

 

Commentary

 

This is without a doubt the most disappointing episode of the third generation thus far. If you weren't somehow spoiled by the previous episode's preview, then the totally not ambiguous title of "The Traitor" helps reveal that, SHOCK, Shanalua is a spy. So here we have an interesting and competent female pilot (which is rare in this series), and she gets killed off within four episodes. So how is it that skilled pilots like Shanalua die, but utterly useless people like Arisa live? Also, the whole reasoning for her being a spy is pretty lame. Are the Federation's healthcare plans so bad that a pilot has to become a spy to get treatment for her family? If anything, it would've been more effective if her sister was being held hostage, but I guess they wanted to have Shanalua in a situation similar to Miharu from the original series. And why did she get paid off with a pouch of gold coins like it was some generic RPG? I can see if they were going for a Judas type image, but it just comes across as silly. Also, what an incredible coincidence that the very same guy who recruited her as a spy is the one who kills her. It's also an even more amazing coincidence that Kio freezes up at this moment so that Shanalua has to fight and die. Even before this, why did the Diva's crew let her roam the ship and sneak out instead of arresting her immediately and locking down the hangars? I can see that the point of this story is that it's Kio's first experience losing someone in war, but it's so poorly executed that it carries no weight. It also takes away the focus from a large scale battle, so hopefully the next episode will make up for it.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam AGE Episode 32 Gundam AGE Episode 32
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