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Episode 2: The Second Coming of Char

 

Review by Chris Guanche

November 11, 2010

 

Summary

 

The Unicorn Gundam’s cockpit transforms around Banagher as the NT-D system is activated. The exterior of the suit transforms into a familiar Gundam look, and the Unicorn Gundam rushes toward the Kshatriya, slicing several of its bits apart. It then uses its beam saber to slice apart one of the Kshatriya’s binders, and Marida realizes that it has psycoframe technology throughout its whole body. Micott doesn’t know what a Gundam is, so Takuya explains that it’s the name of the first mobile suit developed by the Federation. Otto is surprised to hear that the horned suit is a Gundam. Marida pulls out her beam saber and begins fighting at melee range. The Unicorn Gundam slices into the Kshatriya’s already damaged binder, and Marida sees a signal from Zinnerman on a nearby Geara Zulu to fall back. She unleashes a beam barrage to cover her retreat, and Banagher passes out as the Unicorn Gundam transforms back into its normal mode. After returning to the Garencieres, Zinnerman is berated over video call by Angelo Sauper for failing to retrieve both Laplace’s Box and the princess. Zinnerman explains that they couldn’t have predicted these events and will have to wait to hear from the princess. Full Frontal steps in and comments that he’s intrigued by the appearance of the Gundam and might have to check things out personally. He tells Zinnerman to track the Nahel Argama, and Zinnerman vows to make up for his mistakes. Banagher has a memory of being a child in the Vist mansion and being strapped in to a mobile suit simulator. The Nahel Argama hides in the wreckage of a ruined colony while Riddhe and the rest of the ReZEL team fly out on patrol. Squad commander Norm Basilicock hails an approaching vessel, which turns out to be a drifting wrecked Salamis. Otto gives orders to stand down and recall the mobile suits, but first officer Liam Borrinea wonders if that’s the right move. Down in the hangar, Daguza and Conroy Haagensen attempt to open the Unicorn Gundam’s cockpit with the help of an Anaheim engineer named Aaron Terzieff. Daguza asks Aaron about the UC Project, and Aaron tells him it’s a secret part of the EFSF Reorganization Plan, with the Unicorn Gundam as its flagship. He starts to explain the NT-D system, but Alberto comes down and interferes.

Daguza calls the bridge and says he thinks the Unicorn Gundam is connected to Laplace’s Box, so he suggests going to Luna II. Alberto butts in and suggests heading to Anaheim’s lunar headquarters at Von Braun. Riddhe spots Mihiro Oiwakken speaking to Audrey and introduces himself. Riddhe asks Audrey if she wants to take a look at the Gundam, but Mihiro doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Takuya excitedly says he wants to go and comments that the Nahel Argama was the ship of the Gundam Team during the First Neo Zeon War. Micott isn’t interested in going, but Mihiro insists on coming along. Alberto and Daguza argue about their destination, and Otto cuts off the comm line. He’s informed that the wrecked Salamis is blocking their path, so he orders the mobile suits to move it, but Liam reminds him that he recalled them to the ship. She asks him if he wants to send out the suits again, and he orders her to just blast the ship with their main guns. The ship then fires at the Salamis, revealing its location to the Garencieres. Riddhe tells Audrey that he’s seen her before and says she reminds him of the actress Natsume Swanson. When the Unicorn Gundam’s cockpit is finally opened, they’re shocked to see Banagher inside. Later, Banagher wakes up in the infirmary under the care of Dr. Hasan and surrounded by everyone. Daguza then comes in and orders everyone to leave so he can interrogate Banagher. Elsewhere, Angelo tells Rewloola captain Hill Dawson to sit back while his team launches. Daguza doesn’t believe Banagher’s story, and Banagher asks if Daguza would believe that he’s the son of Cardeas. The ship suddenly rocks from a missile attack by the Rewloola. More missiles come in and hit the colony wreckage surrounding the Nahel Argama. Sensors then pick up four mobile suits coming in, but one of them is approaching at three times normal speed. Daguza sees Audrey in a corridor and tells her to get into a normal suit, and he does a double take after seeing her face. Full Frontal approaches in the Sinanju and systematically takes out the ship’s guns. The ship fires several missiles, but Full Frontal easily dodges them. Banagher walks out of the infirmary and sees that Riddhe has dropped his good luck charm. He gives it back, and Riddhe tells Banagher there’s nothing for him to do this time. Audrey then approaches Banagher and tells him that the Unicorn Gundam is set to Banagher’s biometrics and won’t work without him. She says they should both escape so that he can hide in another Side while she disposes of the Unicorn Gundam. Daguza and Conroy do some quick research on a computer, and he’s surprised by the results.

 

Banagher asks Audrey how she can expect him to agree with her if she won’t tell him anything. Banagher asks Audrey what she really wants to do, but he’s interrupted when Daguza comes in to take her away. Norm, Galom Gorga and Riddhe manage to launch, but Full Frontal snipes Homare’s ReZEL as it takes off, destroying it and part of the catapult. Alberto comes to the bridge and tells Otto that they can’t fight the Red Comet’s Sinanju. He explains that two years ago the experimental mobile suit MSN-06S was stolen from Anaheim. The Federation pursuit force sent to retrieve it was destroyed, and the culprit Full Frontal is said to be the second coming of Char Aznable. Liam comments that she’s heard that story about a man taking out two Clops with a single suit, but Otto points out that Char went missing after the Second Neo Zeon War. Alberto gives them data on the Sinanju and explains that the Unicorn Gundam was made with data collected from the Sinanju. Riddhe fires a shot at the Sinanju, but Full Frontal dodges and uses an asteroid as a shield. Full Frontal then destroys Galom’s Jegan, and Norm wonders if he really is Char. Norm and Riddhe shoot at Full Frontal, but he dodges and blasts the right leg off of Riddhe’s ReZEL. Daguza then calls Full Frontal on an open frequency and tells him to stop attacking because they have Mineva Lao Zabi – Audrey, on the ship. Full Frontal responds and wants to know what Daguza’s demands are. Daguza demands that Full Frontal pull back and let the ship reach a safe location. Full Frontal notes that he has no way of knowing if that’s the real Mineva, which Daguza thinks is overly cautious for the supposed Red Comet. Full Frontal makes a counter demand that they turn over all materials relating to Laplace’s Box. Daguza says they don’t have the box, but Full Frontal notes that they have a Gundam type suit. He threatens to destroy the ship in three minutes if they don’t respond. Daguza thinks Full Frontal is bluffing, but Mineva says that if he really is Char, as the son of Zeon Deikun he wouldn’t care about her because he blames the Zabis for his father’s death. Daguza puts a gun to Mineva’s head, and she notices that the comm line on his headset is still open. He says that there must be soldiers in the Sleeves who still believe in the Zabis, and Mineva says Zeon soldiers would be committed to destroying Laplace’s Box. Alberto then butts in and ruins everything by saying they should destroy the Unicorn Gundam’s electrical systems because it’s just the key and not the Box. Mineva dares Daguza to kill her and destroy the key, and Banagher comes to the bridge. He wants her to come with him and says he doesn’t care what her name is. Daguza tells him to butt out, and Full Frontal demands an answer. When they say nothing, Full Frontal announces he’ll destroy the ship. Banagher asks why so many people have to die for the Box, and Daguza explains it’s so that even more people don’t die. Banagher vows that he’ll take down the Sinanju and leaves the bridge.

 

Full Frontal dodges Riddhe’s attacks and is about to return fire, but Norm attacks him. Full Frontal uses his beam saber to slice into Norm’s ReZEL and destroy it. Riddhe rushes in to attack, but he has a flash in his mind and stop. He looks over to the Nahel Argama and sees the Unicorn Gundam about to launch. Daguza sees that this is Alberto’s doing, and Alberto says the Gundam will buy them time, even with an inexperienced pilot. Daguza says that’s practically giving the Box to the Neo Zeon, but Alberto counters that if the key is broken, it’s useless. Alberto says that Banagher will keep fighting until the Unicorn Gundam is destroyed. He then calls Banagher and tells him that his pilot suit will counter the effects of the NT-D. Banagher then detaches from the catapult and takes off just as Full Frontal fires at the ship. Banagher fires his beam magnum several times, but Full Frontal dodges. One stray shot kills Geara Zulu pilot Sergi, which angers Angelo. Angelo then fires at Banagher, but Banagher is able to dodge. Full Frontal dodges more shots from the beam magnum and says that it doesn’t matter how powerful the weapon is if it can’t hit him. He pulls out his beam saber and slashes at Banagher, but Banagher dodges. The Unicorn Gundam’s shield then activates an I-field to block a shot from Angelo's Geara Zulu. Full Frontal disconnects two propellant tanks that are then hit by a beam magnum shot, causing Banagher to wonder if he hit the Sinanju. Full Frontal then sneaks up on Banagher and kicks him away. The NT-D system activates and transforms the suit. The Unicorn Gundam dodges the Sinanju’s beam saber and speeds through the asteroid field. It fires its vulcans at the Sinanju, but Full Frontal bounces off an asteroid and attacks with his beam saber. Riddhe tells Banagher to help him flank Full Frontal, and Banagher manages to land a shot on the Sinanju’s leg. He gives chase over Riddhe’s warning and has a Newtype sensation. He barely manages to dodge a beam barrage from the Kshatriya, which grabs the Unicorn Gundam and punches the cockpit. Banagher vomits into his helmet and apologizes to Mineva before passing out. Full Frontal and Marida then escape with the captured Unicorn Gundam in tow. Later, Riddhe comes into Mineva’s room and tells her that as a boy he saw her uncle Gihren give a speech that rallied together thousands with cries of “Sieg Zeon!” He asks if the Neo Zeon still chant that way and angrily demands that Mineva say it for him. He asks her to convince him that she’s the princess of Zeon, because otherwise he can’t understand why someone like her would sneak aboard a Federation ship alone. As he leaves, he tells Mineva that Banagher was calling the name “Audrey” to the end. Mineva tells him he doesn’t understand anything because no one will ever know she was there. She asks him why Full Frontal refused to believe who she really was and asks Riddhe to think how she’s been able to survive. She asks him to think how it is that Neo Zeon has been able to survive for so long, and he asks if there’s been backroom deals. She tells him that the incident at Industrial 7 will fade from the public view, and she says the Federation uses Neo Zeon as a scapegoat. She thinks the Federation is taking steps to resolve the Neo Zeon issue, which is why the Vist Foundation took a gamble with its legacy, Laplace’s Box.

 

Riddhe says he tried to think of himself as just a pilot, and that even with some corruption the Federation could correct itself. But he knows that’s a lie and again asks why Mineva is doing what she’s doing. She says that her family takes the blame for the One Year War, so she can’t separate herself from that, and if she can stop another tragedy from happening, she will. Riddhe tells Mineva that she’s still an enemy, and he can’t forgive the Neo Zeon for killing Norm. Mineva notes Riddhe’s last name, Marcenas, and he tells her he wishes they could’ve met under different circumstances. On the asteroid Palau in Side 6, Zinnerman and Marida escort Banagher to Full Frontal’s opulent office. Full Frontal greets Banagher and explains that the room is a replica of one in A Baoa Qu, the former Zeon fortress from the One Year War. He says the room was built by the governor-general of Palau, a Zeon sympathizer. Full Frontal dismisses Zinnerman and Marida and tells them that there’ll be more chances to rescue Mineva. Banagher sits down to drink tea, and Full Frontal walks over to shake hands. Banagher pulls his hand back and asks Full Frontal to remove his mask. Angelo is angered, but Full Frontal says it’s ok and takes it off. He says it’s useful for propaganda and forgets to take it off. He then asks why Cardeas gave Banagher the Unicorn Gundam, but Banagher says he’s explained everything. Full Frontal explains that the Vist Foundation built its whole power on the possession of the Box, but it risked everything to give it to the Neo Zeon. He thinks that even if something went wrong, they wouldn’t give it to a total stranger, so it’s likely that Banagher is part of the Vist family. Banagher asks if he’s obligated to answer, and Angelo grabs him by the collar. Full Frontal tells him to stop and tells Banagher that he’s asking nicely only because of Banagher’s connection to Mineva. Banagher then says that Mineva said Neo Zeon couldn’t get the Box because it would start another war. He asks why they want the Box, and Full Frontal asks Banagher if he believes in a Box that no one has ever seen and doesn’t know what’s inside, but could destroy the Federation. Banagher answers that he doesn’t know, but he believes there are things that can instantly change the world, like Zeon’s colony and asteroid drops, the invention of mobile suits, the discovery of Minovsky particles and the invention of nuclear bombs in the old era. He says an idea at the right time could change the world, and Full Frontal agrees. Full Frontal comments that space colonization was really just a program of mass exile, and since all power stayed in Earth, the colonies had no rights. Full Frontal says that Neo Zeon wants to fix the distorted system, and Banagher counters that terrorism and murder aren’t ever justified. Angelo calls Banagher a hypocrite and throws him against the wall. He says that if it’s never right to kill, Banagher is a murderer for using the Gundam. He sticks his boot in Banagher’s shoulder and says that even if it was a stray shot, Banagher was the one who killed Sergi. Full Frontal comments that Banagher was acting out of desperation, and Sergi was just unlucky. He calls for Zinnerman says he hopes that some day Banagher can understand them. As Zinnerman and Marida drag Banagher out, he asks Full Frontal if he’s really Char Aznable. Full Frontal answers that he’s just a vessel for the hopes of those abandoned in space, and if that’s what the people desire, he’ll be Char.

 

On the Nahel Argama, Alberto briefs the crew about Palau and says that’s where the Unicorn Gundam is. A soldier complains about attacking a place like that, and Alberto points out that they have reinforcements and two ECOAS teams working together. The soldiers don’t like the plan and think it’s a suicide mission. Otto leaves the room and begins kicking the elevator wall in anger, until he’s interrupted by the door opening in front of Liam and Daguza. Liam asks what they’re going to do, and Otto says they have no choice. Daguza says he thinks of the mission as a hostage rescue because they owe Banagher. Full Frontal tells Angelo that they might have to abandon Palau and asks about the analysis of the Unicorn Gundam. Banagher has dinner with Marida, Gilboa Sant and his family. Gilboa’s son Tikva asks Banagher if he’s with the Federation and starts talking about how badly they treat people. Banagher says lots of people died because of Zeon, and Tikva says it’s the same for both sides in a war. Tikva asks why a Spacenoid like Banagher is helping the Federation, and Banagher asks if war is ever justified when so many have died. Banagher says he never wanted to kill anyone, but he would’ve died otherwise. Marida then takes him through the seedy streets of Palau and says she agrees that war isn’t justified, but sometimes it’s necessary to save lives. She takes him to a chapel and recalls that the beginning of the UC era was supposed to be the end of the era of God. She says that people can’t live without light and found a new light to replace God: the Zeon. She says that Zeon gave hope to the people that the world could change. In space, two camouflaged Lotos approach the asteroid and drop off several troops, who plant explosives. Banagher recalls what Cardeas told him about the god of possibility, and Marida thinks he must be an optimist. She tells Banagher not to worry about Sergi or when he fights, because there’s no time for regrets. She thanks Banagher for protecting Mineva, and he asks if she’s a pilot too. She answers that she does when they’re short on manpower, but she doesn’t mention that she pilots the Kshatriya. Riddhe knocks out Mineva’s guard and tells her to come with him to Earth. On Palau’s street, a seemingly drunken man bumps into Banagher and gives him a piece of digital paper and a tracer pen. Banagher looks at it in his room and reads the message on the map, which tells him to get to a specific spaceport by midnight. He says to himself that the battlefield is coming here now.

 

Commentary

 

The second episode of Gundam Unicorn continues right from where the first ended. The suit’s NT-D system takes over and puts up a good fight against Marida, which is too much for Banagher’s body to handle. We’re then treated to the standard Gundam cliche of people being surprised that a kid is piloting a Gundam. Are people really still surprised by this point? There are quite a few nods to older Gundam series, mainly with the appearance of Full Frontal and the question of if he’s Char. You've got stuff like the Char kick, or the classic "three times faster" when the Sinanju first appears. We also see the return of Dr. Hasan, who served as the ship’s doctor in both Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ. The battles in this episode are well done, especially the animation of the Sinanju maneuvering through the debris field. Otto doesn’t seem like a very competent captain, and Alberto has instantly become one of the most annoying Gundam characters this side of Monsha. Audrey’s true identity is revealed here, and Daguza tries to use that skillfully to save the Nahel Argama. It would’ve worked too, but Alberto ruined it. Although Banagher gets captured, he has a few interesting encounters with the Neo Zeon. Full Frontal basically says that he’s playing the role of Char because it’s what Spacenoids want. Banagher also has a good conversation with Marida, and she highlights that Spacenoids took up Zeon as their “light” to replace God. It certainly goes toward explaining the constant revivals of Zeon, and why people cling to it so fanatically as though it were a religion. Riddhe gets to have some dialogue in this episode, and he has a few encounters with Mineva. It’s interesting that he’s running from his family name, but she’s doing everything she can to stop a tragedy because of her family name. This second episode doesn’t disappoint and builds up anticipation for the next episode.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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