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Stage 2

 

Review by Chris Guanche

September 21, 2006

 

Summary

 

Alliances forces come under attack from ZAFT ground troops, as well as GINN, BuCUE and GAZuOOT mobile suits. However, Sven, Shams and Mudie arrive as reinforcements and easily dispatch the ZAFT mobile suits. Later, the unit commander reports over the phone that guerilla resistance was fiercer than they expected. In a bar, Sven and the others watch a video created by the three children who used a GINN in a terrorist attack immediately following the "Break the World" incident. In the video, one of the children explains that his parents were doctors, and that they were killed simply because they were Coordinators. The children proclaim death to Blue Cosmos and all Naturals. Sitting at the bar, Mudie says her teacher told her that the only good Coordinator was a dead one. Sven has a flashback of when he was a child and looked at the stars with a telescope his father gave him as a birthday present. Because of his interest in astronomy, Sven watched rocket launches and read books by Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. One night, while attending a party, Sven's parents were killed by a terrorist bomb attack. Now orphaned, Sven was taken into Alliance custody. Later, Sven is given a new mission by the commander. The commander explains that a nearby refugee camp has been confirmed as a terrorist training facility. Sven's mission is to destroy the facility and kill all terrorists. Sven asks if the enemy will be restricted to just terrorists, and the commander asks Sven if he can tell the terrorists apart from the refugees. Sven launches in the Strike Noir, followed by several Slaughter Daggers. As they land in the refugee camp, Sven recalls how he was placed in a military training program with other children. Sven and the other children were brainwashed by constantly watching videos of Naturals murdered by Coordinators, and they were repeatedly told that Coordinators were devils to be destroyed for the sake of a pure, blue world. Sven gives the order to open fire, and the Slaughter Daggers use their foot-mounted Gatling guns to massacre the refugees. Sven also remembers his combat and mobile suit simulator training, supervised by Blue Cosmos leader Muruta Azrael. As the smoke clears, the refugee camp is left in ruins and with no survivors.

 

At the DSSD's Troya space station, personnel prepare for a test of the GSX-401FW's systems. Selene visits Dr. Segawa, who is experimenting on a more human-like mobile suit-sized hand. Selene and another employee examine the GSX-401FW's AI system. Selene says it only has the information inputted into it, but over time it'll be able to make its own judgments and explore planets. The suit features an optional cockpit so that the AI can learn from the pilot's actions. Selene asks about the status of the "Voiture Lumiere" system, and he tells her it's ready. He believes it's an interesting technology because it will allow faster travel without using hydraulics. In Europe, ZAFT forces attack the Alliance land carrier Bonaparte, which is carrying the massive Destroy Gundam. Mudie destroys several BuCUEs and ZAKU Warriors and comments that she's annoyed by ZAFT's persistence. Several BuCUEs attack from behind, but Mudie destroys them with her explosive "Stiletto" armor penetrators. Another BuCUE attacks from behind and slices off the Blu Duel's right arm and left leg. A trio of Kerberos BuCUE Hounds approach and attack Mudie. Sven destroys several ZAKU Warriors and sees the BuCUE Hounds slashing into the Blu Duel repeatedly with their beam fangs. As Mudie cries out, the beam fangs penetrate the cockpit and kill her. The BuCUE Hounds then turn their attention to the Strike Noir and attack Sven. Sven slams one of his beam blades into the ground, and one of the BuCUE Hounds crashes into it and is sliced in two. The other two BuCUE Hounds pass Sven, but he grapples them his hand-mounted rocket anchors and smashes them together. Shams jumps out of the Verde Buster's cockpit and runs to the remains of the Blu Duel while Sven watches on, expressionless. Later, on the Bonaparte, Sven and Shams are passed in the corridor by Sting Oakley and Neo Roanoke, who are escorting Stella Loussier on a gurney. Shams asks what the deal with her is, and Sven comments that she's probably a ruined Extended, noting that they don't live long. Shams tells Sven about their new orders, which are to attack DSSD and steal the GSX-401FW. He says that they have permission to kill personnel and criticizes Sven's unconcerned attitude. At the space station, the "Voiture Lumiere" unit is attached to the GSX-401FW. Sol thinks it's rude to call the AI "401FW" and remembers something Edmond said about looking up at the stars beyond, so Selene christens the mobile suit "Stargazer." The Stargazer Gundam activates the "Voiture Lumiere" and emits a massive wave of light. When the Stargazer receives the propulsion beam and moves on its own, the test is declared a success.

 

Commentary

 

The second episode of STARGAZER jumps ahead in the timeline a bit. Whereas the first episode was concurrent to episode 7 of DESTINY, this one is set around episode 31, just before Stella attacks Berlin with the Destroy Gundam. Quite a few plot developments are packed into just 15 minutes here. One of these developments is the death of Mudie. Although she didn't get much screentime in the ONA, her death was certainly effective. The fear she experiences before dying is nicely done. Also, the imagery of the BuCUE Hounds attacking the Blu Duel is evocative of a group of animals savagely mauling their prey. Also, we see Sven's backstory. He was an innocent boy interested in astronomy, until a terrorist attack put him in the hands of the Alliance's cruel brainwashing and military training programs. The imagery here is also effective, because it shows the depths the Alliance will go to in fighting Coordinators. It's somewhat of a shame that in just five minutes, Sven gets more character development than many of the characters from the two SEED TV shows. Also, I think the issue of terrorism is dealt with more effectively here than it was in DESTINY. DESTINY made references to current political events, but it never went deeper than that. Here, we see how dirty morality can become in war with the slaughter of the refugees in the camp. Foot Gatlings are somewhat of a strange weapon, but they certainly get the job done. With only one episode left, Phantom Pain is on a collision course with DSSD and the Stargazer Gundam.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam SEED C.E. 73 STARGAZER Stage 2 Gundam SEED C.E. 73 STARGAZER Stage 2
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