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Stage 1

 

Review by Chris Guanche

July 27, 2006

 

Summary

 

In October C.E. 73, a group of extremist Coordinators dedicated to the ideals of deceased ZAFT leader Patrick Zala attach flare motors to the remains of the Junius Seven PLANT. Their goal: drop Junius Seven on Earth and end the false peace from the last war. Although the main chunk of Junius Seven is destroyed in space by ZAFT, many small fragments enter the atmosphere. These fragments slam into the ground and ocean, triggering massive tidal waves that devastate coastal cities. Deep Space Survey and Development Organization employee Edmond Du Cros speaks over the phone with Sol Ryuune L'ange about the launch of the GSX-401FW mobile suit. Although the area around the DSSD facility has been flooded, Selene McGriff tells Sol that they can't delay the GSX-401FW's launch. A tsunami approaches, and Edmond grabs Selene so that they can seek shelter. On a cold mountainside, Phantom Pain pilot Sven Cal Bayang is informed by Mudie Holcroft that they've been placed on standby for launch. Shams Couza hopes it's not for emergency aid, and Mudie tells him no idiot in the world would want help from Phantom Pain. Sven wonders if there's going to be another war. From the United States to China to South America, the Earth Alliance mobilizes and surveys the damage. In a speech, PLANT Supreme Council Chairman Gilbert Durandal expresses shock at the devastation. After reaching safety, Edmond tells Selene they have to act on their own because they can't expect anyone to pick them up. At a temporary Alliance camp, Edmond is recognized by Reyes, a former subordinate from Edmond's time in the military. Edmond asks for a helicopter and is told there aren't any resources to spare. Suddenly, a GINN appears and destroys a helicopter with its bazooka. It then opens fire on an area where refugees have gathered.

 

Edmond tells Selene they need to get out of there because the GSX-401FW is waiting for her. At the DSSD facility, less than two hours remain before the shuttle launch. Attempts are made to reduce the flooding, but the water level is too high. The GINN continues its attack and fires on the damaged buildings and refugees, destroying the Alliance command post. Edmond leads Selene to a small raft and tells her to ask Sol to buy him something that's good for seducing women. Reyes pulls up in a linear tank, and Edmond takes a ride with him. As Selene speeds away, she recalls a conversation with Edmond where she asked him why he joined DSSD, aside from having an excuse to see her. Edmond answered that he had no real reason - he just wanted to look up for a while. At the DSSD facility, the GSX-401FW is loaded onto a space shuttle. One of the walls around the facility crumbles and unleashes raging flood waters. As Sol prepares for the launch, Selene finally arrives. A helicopter fires on the GINN and manages to destroy its wings. As the GINN fires on other tanks, Edmond tells Reyes to move in closer. On the shuttle, Selene tells Sol what Edmond wants, and Sol says the only woman Edmond would want to seduce is Selene. Edmond tells Reyes to keep moving in so they can pierce the GINN's armor. The GINN fires its bazooka, and Reyes fires several times. The bazooka shell hits the tank, killing Reyes and mortally wounding Edmond. The fire from the tank hits the GINN and destroys its legs, disabling it. As he lays dying in the wrecked tank, Edmond looks outside and smiles as the DSSD shuttle takes off. Later, several Alliance soldiers open the GINN's cockpit and are shocked to find three dead children inside. At a military briefing, officers discuss how forces loyal to Patrick Zala have begun revolts across the world, though ZAFT has denied any participation. When word is received of an attack on a base, the Phantom Pain unit is mobilized. Mudie's Blu Duel Gundam and Shams' Verde Buster Gundam are airlifted to the site, while Sven launches on his own in the Strike Noir Gundam.

 

Commentary

 

Understandably, many fans were left unsatisfied by Gundam SEED DESTINY. However, STARGAZER is the product of a different staff, and that's pretty clearly evident in the final product. This short ONA places its focus on the "Break the World" incident, which was the most interesting part of DESTINY (and pretty quickly glanced over). Here we see the full range of the destruction, with entire cities wiped away by tsunamis. There's some haunting imagery here that's evocative of the 2004 Asian tsunami as well as the devastation in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We also see that the Alliance just didn't rush into war - we see soldiers attempting to provide humanitarian aid in the face of such a massive disaster. If there's one failing to this series, it's the length. Edmond was an interesting character, so it was a shame to see him die so quickly. Also, Sven gets barely any screen time here. With such a short running time, I hope the remaining two episodes provide a decent story. Of course, if they aren't enough for you, Sven can also be seen in the DELTA ASTRAY manga.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam SEED C.E. 73 STARGAZER Stage 1 Gundam SEED C.E. 73 STARGAZER Stage 1
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