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Stage 3

 

Review by Chris Guanche

November 22, 2006

 

Summary

 

The war between the Alliance and ZAFT shifts to space following the escape of Logos leader Djibril from the Orb Union on Earth. At the DSSD station, Selene discusses the Stargazer Gundam with another scientist. She explains that its AI is still very rough and won't be able to make choices on its own for about 10,000 hours. The scientist informs Selene that a branch of the Alliance has taken an interest in the Stargazer Gundam's AI unit. A news broadcast discussing Durandal's Destiny Plan is suddenly cut off when the station's communications are cut off by the Alliance. Suddenly, a squad of Slaughter Daggers enter DSSD airspace, followed by the warship Nana Buluku. The ship's captain calls DSSD and orders them to surrender, noting that they have orders to use force without prejudice. The scientists are shocked, mainly because DSSD is neutral and is currently working with the Alliance on a project. DSSD launches its custom Astrays, which quickly engage the Slaughter Daggers in combat. Sven launches in the Strike Noir, and Shams blasts several Astrays, vowing that he will never forgive Coordinators. Inside the station, several workers are killed by Alliance infiltrators. With a launch bay captured, invasion troops enter the station. Civilians are ordered to evacuate to another of the station's rings. Elsewhere, Selene and Sol prepare to launch in the Stargazer Gundam, which has been fitted with the optional pilot's cockpit. As the Stargazer boots up, Selene asks Sol if he's scared and apologizes for making him kill people by coming along. In space, Sven and Shams continue to destroy Astrays. Inside the station, the invasion troops break past one of the barricades. The Stargazer launches and blasts two Slaughter Daggers with its beam rifle. As more Slaughter Daggers attack, the Stargazer Gundam spins around and captures their beams, causing them to shoot back and destroy the Slaughter Daggers. Sven takes notice of the Stargazer Gundam and moves in to attack. The Stargazer Gundam flies through the exterior of the station, closely followed by Sven's Strike Noir. Soldiers report that they've captured control of the area, and the Nana Buluku's captain says he doesn't care if the station is destroyed now. Shams combines his beam rifles and blasts the station, killing several survivors. The Stargazer Gundam heads deeper into the station, and Sven wonders if he thinks they've lured him in. He uses his rocket anchors to latch onto the station's superstructure and quickly dodge the Stargazer Gundam's fire while returning fire himself. The Stargazer Gundam exits the station, and Sven quickly follows. He fires several blasts from his short beam rifles, and the beam shots are captured by the Stargazer Gundam and begin to orbit it.

 

Elsewhere, Shams continues to wildly blast the station and runs out of power. Shams is asked to return to the ship, but he ignores the call, and the Verde Buster Phase Shifts down. A large group of Astrays surround the Verde Buster, but with no energy left, Shams can't fire back. The Astrays bombard the Verde Buster with attacks from their beam rifles and destroy it. Sven dodges the Stargazer Gundam's spinning beams, but he's momentarily distracted when informed of Shams' death, which allows one of the Stargazer Gundam's beams to cut off part of Strike Noir's left arm. Selene tells Sol that they're out of power, but Sol says they have to at least take down the Strike Noir first. A beam slices into the Strike Noir's torso, and the Stargazer Gundam begins to lose power. Nearby, the Nana Buluku fires off a beam barrage at the station. Selene tells Sol to use the Apollon A satellite to shoot the Nana Buluku and ejects him from the cockpit. Sven thinks the pilot has ejected, and he's surprised when the Stargazer Gundam grabs onto the Strike Noir. Selene calls the Apollon A satellite and asks them to shoot the Stargazer Gundam with the propulsion laser so that she can destroy Strike Noir. Sol shouts out that the force of the laser will crush her to pieces. As Sol drifts to Apollon A, the propulsion laser fires and hits the Stargazer Gundam, propelling it and the Strike Noir away. Sol turns Apollon A around and has it fire at the Nana Buluku, destroying the ship. Far away, Selene wakes up in the drifting Stargazer Gundam and rescues Sven from the Strike Noir's cockpit. Sven wakes up inside the Stargazer Gundam with his arms restrained. He says he won't become a prisoner of Coordinators, and Selene says she has no intention of holding him as a prisoner. He asks where they are, and she tells him they're somewhere between Earth and Venus. Selene takes what little energy the Strike Noir has left to power the Stargazer Gundam's systems. She then tells Sven that even with medicine and oxygen conservation, they can only last for 27 days. Sven asks Selene why she saved him, and she tells him she was saddened by the thought of dying alone. She then injects herself and Sven with medicine and activates the Voiture Lumiere. She explains that the Stargazer Gundam uses solar winds and will accelerate forever, allowing them to get home. Sven and Selene converse briefly, but as the medicine and temperature drop kick in, they fall asleep. The Stargazer Gundam continues to build up speed and slowly heads toward Earth. About 669 hours later, Sol approaches the Stargazer Gundam in a rescue ship and calls Selene over the radio, but neither she nor Sven respond.

 

Commentary

 

The problems of having as short a series as this catch up at the end. Phantom Pain is sent to capture the Stargazer Gundam's AI unit, and it's never explained why they want it. Do they plan to outfit their mobile suits with AI units to have mobile dolls like Gundam Wing? Whatever their purpose, they failed miserably. Once again, the Alliance is shown to be incredibly incompetent. Why are they getting beaten by civilians with cheap mobile suits not intended for combat? Shams has to have one of the stupidest deaths I've ever seen. What kind of so-called elite soldier is so consumed by his insane hatred that he wastes all of his ammo and stands around to get killed? Also, Strike Noir gets taken down with a few cheap tricks, so there isn't really a conclusive final duel. The ending is also left wide open: 669 hours translates to 27.8 days, so Sven and Selene may be just barely hanging in, or dead. I was disappointed to see the animation quality take a dive here. For something that's already so short, is it too much to ask for consistent animation at least? STARGAZER presents an interesting story and characters, but in the end it's hamstrung by its impossibly short length. This story should have really played out across several full length episodes, like Gundam 0080.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
Spacer

 

Gundam SEED C.E. 73 STARGAZER Stage 3 Gundam SEED C.E. 73 STARGAZER Stage 3
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