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Episode 2: Kings of the Jungle, Roll Out!

 

Review by Chris Guanche

February 22, 2009

 

Summary

 

On July 21 a Federation soldier on a smoking European battlefield is shot by Zaku II pilot Elmer Snell, nicknamed as the White Ogre. Through constant attacks, the Zeon are forcing the Federation toward the Strait of Dover. Laban Surat asks several soldiers sitting on a Type 61 where he can find his platoon. One of the soldiers tells Surat that he's unlucky to be paired with Herman Yandell, and another mentions that Yandell lives with a angel of death. They tell Surat that he can find Yandell at the Type 61 with a stalled engine. Surat reports for duty, and Yandell tells him to get into the driver's seat. Surat hops into the tank and asks about the engine, but Yandell tells Surat that the tank will start if it likes him. The engine doesn't turn on at first, but Surat tries again and it finally activates. Yandell tells him to start driving so they can begin training. Yandell tells Surat to speed up, but Surat cautions that they could overload the suspension. Surat shakes from the intense movement and nearly slams into two other Type 61s head on, but they swerve to avoid him. Surat and Yandell reach the training ground and immediately begin firing paint rounds at the other Type 61s. The other tanks open fire at Surat and Yandell, but all their shots miss. Yandell keeps firing and hits the remaining tanks, which leaves Surat surprised. Afterward, Surat catches his breath and is surprised when he actually sees Yandell for the first time. Yandell jumps down from the Type 61, revealing the creaking sound of his artificial leg. Earlier, Yandell's Type 61 encountered Snell and was crushed by his Zaku. Yandell tells Surat that his predecessor went crazy and was hospitalized. He says that there's apparently a angel of death on his back, and he asks Surat to tell him what it looks like if he ever sees it. Four days later, the Type 61 battalion assembles for combat. The commander tells them that the Zeon units led by Neuen Bitter are being led south to a decoy unit, giving them the chance to fight Zeon ground forces that won't have mobile suits. As the rest of the battalion advances, Yandell orders his platoon to stay put. He says his tank's engine won't start because it's only happy when it fights mobile suits. Mechanics complain about always having to check Yandell's tank and wonder if he's just faking sickness. Surat rushes at the mechanics and knocks one of them down, but they punch him. Over the radio, Yandell tells Surat that he wants to defeat Snell. The angel of death says that she wants to see Yandell's revenge. On the battlefield, the Type 61s force the Magella Attacks to fall back, but they come under attack from a Zaku. Yandell is furious when he watches a Zeon propaganda video declares that their forces were again victorious in Europe, especially Snell. At night, Surat tells Colematta that Yandell has a personal vendetta against Snell, so he can't follow Yandell's orders anymore. Colematta points out that Yandell has survived up to now, and that if Surat listens to his orders, he'll survive too. Colematta says that after the losses earlier in the day, they need talented individuals like Yandell, who suddenly appears behind Surat. Yandell comments that Surat is the first to ever question his ability to command. Yandell asks Colematta what he thinks of the plan, and Colematta answers that he's already leaked the false info, so they'll sortie tonight. Surat doesn't understand, and Colematta says that if Yandell can defeat Snell it might derail some of the enemy's plans.

 

As they drive out in the night, Surat asks Yandell what Colematta meant by false info. Yandell explains that it's a common lie where it's leaked that high-ranking officers are coming to the battlefield for a meeting. Surat asks if Snell will fall for a trap like that, but Yandell says he won't. Nearby, Snell's Zaku squad marches and prepares to intercept. Snell knows that he's going into a trap, but he's waiting for the enemy that will change his destiny. Snell stops moving and requests to withdraw because his Zaku isn't working. Surat asks Yandell why they're taking position at the site of the earlier battle, but Yandell just tells him to get some sleep. Surat says he can't sleep, and Yandell tells him he should've shared his opinions with Colematta earlier. Surat asks Yandell if he can hear the voices of the fallen soldiers. Yandell grabs Surat by the collar and asks him if he can see the angel of death on his back. Surat answers that he saw it the moment he met Yandell, and he thinks it's the Zeon angel of death. Yandell says there have been times he hears a voice that isn't his own echoing inside his head. Surat asks Yandell why he keeps fighting and didn't get a discharge, and Yandell answers that there's no place to go home too. He was defeated by Snell, and he no longer has a homeland or family. He put all his resentment onto Snell's Zaku, believing that if he could defeat it he could start over. Surat says he doesn't understand and comments that Snell is probably possessed too and has no home to return to. Snell stops and tells the other Zakus he can detect the enemy, but they can't find anything with all the heat radiation in the wreckage. The Type 61s then open fire, and the Zakus return fire. The three Zakus slide down the hill and destroy one of the tanks. Yandell tells his men not to get too close, but another tank is destroyed. Yandell fires his bazooka and destroys another tank. One of the Zakus jumps over and destroys another tank. A Zaku trips on a wrecked tank and falls, but the other attacks from the side and destroys a tank. They blind it with their flash bangs and destroy it while the pilot can't see. One of the Zakus kicks a tank over to Snell, who crushes it with his foot. Yandell tells Surat to fire smoke rounds, which quickly fill up the battlefield. One of the Zakus destroys a tank, and Surat climbs onto a ruined tank to lift the Type 61s barrel. Yandell fires and destroys the Zaku, leaving only Snell. After the smoke clears, Snell destroys a tank and assumes he's gotten both platoons. He says he's seen this scene in his nightmares daily, but he didn't know the ending. He smashes a wrecked tank and declares that he's defeated the angel of death. He's then shot from behind by Yandell and Surat. Yandell laughs because they had nine tanks instead of eight, and he fires several more rounds, destroying Snell's Zaku. Surat hops out of the tank and looks at Snell's ruined Zaku while Yandell laughs at his victory. Yandell believes he's also free of the curse, but he gets hit by a round from Zeon infantry, which destroys his Type 61. Surat dives for cover in a nearby hole and survives. He wonders if he was left behind by the angel of death as a witness, but like Yandell, he has no home to return to.

 

Commentary

 

The second episode features more ground combat on the European front, but this time it focuses on Type 61 drivers. Like Ben Barberry before him, Herman Yandell is a battle hardened solider marked by the angel of death. He lost a leg and has a heavily scarred face because of Elmer Snell, so he naturally has a grudge. Surprisingly, Snell has similar feelings and is also haunted by the angel of death. Unlike the first episode, this one focuses on Laban Surat, who is lucky enough to survive. Because he's a younger soldier, I kind of see him as being the Federation equivalent of Oliver May from the first IGLOO. Gundam nuts will also catch a reference to Gundam 0083 when Neuen Bitter is mentioned. For those who don't have instant Gundam memory, Bitter was the commander of the Kinbareid forces in Africa who was killed while trying to destroy the Albion. Because this episode features tanks fighting Zakus, it's a bit similar to the second episode from the first IGLOO. However, instead of a powerful mobile suit-tank hybrid like the Hildolfr, these soldiers have plain old Type 61s, which makes their accomplishment a bit more notable. The whole angel of death thing was strange in this episode too, and I was a bit annoyed that Yandell was killed so quickly in the end simply because it's an IGLOO cliche. I fully expected it to happen, but that didn't make it any less annoying. However, it was nice to see Surat survive, so hopefully he'll be in the third episode.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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