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Episode 5: The Black Unicorn

 

Review by Chris Guanche

July 22, 2012

 

Summary

 

The Unicorn Gundam "Banshee" flies over Earth in a Base Jabber and descends toward Torrington. The Banshee transforms into Destroy mode as it descends and fires its Armed Armor BS at Riddhe's Delta Plus, forcing him to seek shelter underneath the remains of the Shamblo. The Banshee's fire causes the Shamblo to collapse around Riddhe, and it then slams into the Unicorn Gundam, knocking Banagher out. Later, Banagher wakes up in the Ra Cailum's mobile suit hangar and sees technicians trying to open his cockpit. He spots Alberto and looks over at the Banshee, where Marida exits from the cockpit. New information then appears from the La+ program. Riddhe asks Alberto what the deal is with the black Unicorn, but Alberto says it's more complicated than he has time to explain. Riddhe puts his arm on Alberto's soldier, and Marida immediately grabs Riddhe and flips him onto the floor. Alberto tells Riddhe that it's a family matter and the military has no right to meddle in it. He explains that Banagher is Cardeas' illegitimate son and asks Riddhe to not inquire further. Elsewhere, Martha travels aboard the Garuda and gets a report from Alberto that Banagher has put a lock on the La+ program. Martha asks Alberto if he knew about Banagher, and Alberto answers that he was already away at boarding school when Banagher was born. Martha comments that Banagher shares his father's stubborn streak, so she thinks they should use Mineva to convince him to help. Mineva is brought in to meet with Martha, who says she wants to seal Laplace's Box for good. Mineva is surprised to hear that Cardeas was Banagher's father, and Martha asks her to help them. Mineva demands the release of Marida, but Martha answers that Ple Twelve is working for them of her own will. Mineva accuses her of reconditioning Marida, and Martha says she didn't do anything that Neo Zeon hadn't already done to her. The Ra Cailum's crew complain to Bright about being in the dark, and he tells them that they're working under the orders of the General Staff Headquarters, which the Vist Foundation is part of for this mission. Bright tells his men that Londo Bell's mission hasn't changed, and they will hunt down the Garencieres. He states that the Unicorn Gundam will be sent to space via shuttle, and at that time the Vist people will also leave. Meran tells Bright in code that everything shipped to the Garuda was fit for royalty, which Bright says confirms what he heard from Luio & Co. Bright visits Banagher in the room where he's confined and comments about how difficult he's being with the interrogators. Banagher says he can't let any more places become battlefields, and Bright tells him to keep the coordinates to himself. Bright asks about the Garencieres, and Banagher explains that Zinnerman didn't exactly approve of the operation in Torrington, which Bright believes. Banagher says he didn't think they were enemies like the Federation claims and explains that he's not used to lumping people into categories of friend or foe. Bright says he understands, and as he leaves he tells Banagher that he can see the strength in his eyes and that he shouldn't give up. Banagher writes everything off as luck, and Bright tells him that like every other Gundam pilot, he made the active decision to get in and pilot it. Bright asks Banagher what gave him the resolve to pilot it, and Banagher said he wants to help Mineva. Bright takes a call from Beltorchika Irma, who is calling with news that General Staff HQ has deployed the General Revil for an operation, and Bright says they must be after the Nahel Argama to eliminate everyone who knows about the Box. Beltorchika asks Bright what he's going to do, and he asks her to help him contact the Garencieres. Beltorchika can't believe it, and Bright comments that he's got the perfect negotiator in mind.

 

Journalist Kai Shiden contacts Zinnerman and informs him of the Foundation's plans, including taking Mineva to space, where she'll be out of their reach. Zinnerman asks how he can trust Kai, and Kai answers they don't like the Foundation having the military at their disposal, plus Luio & Co. is the Foundation's business rival. He says that whatever the Box is, they don't want the ties between the Federation and the Foundation to deepen. Zinnerman asks Kai to get him a Base Jabber and says he's not sure they can pull it off, but Kai tells him it'll be a joint operation. On the Nahel Argama, Otto pours tea for himself and his senior staff when Mihiro interrupts with an emergency message. Otto reads the message as he drinks and spits out his tea. Bright looks at a picture of Amuro and says he's betting on Banagher's intuition. Alberto boards a Dish and leaves the ship as final preparations are made to transfer the Unicorn Gundam to the Foundation. Banagher runs away from some Foundation men and asks Riddhe where Mineva is, but Bright grabs him and takes him aside. He tells Banagher that Mineva is on the Garuda and that he should help the Garencieres during their rescue operation. Bright comments that like every Gundam pilot, he'd like to think the Gundam chose Banagher. Bright thinks to himself that if Banagher is a Gundam pilot and a Newtype, he can be brave enough to fight off despair. Mineva sticks a steak into a bread roll to make a sandwich and thinks about what Martha told her earlier. The Black Tri-Stars prepare to launch in their Jestas and wonder what Bright said to Banagher. Bright calls Riddhe and tells him to protect the Unicorn Gundam and that his father's decisions are his alone. The Jestas and Delta Plus launch, followed by the Unicorn Gundam and Banshee on a Base Jabber. Marida warns Banagher that his weapons have been disabled, and when he tries to address her as Marida, she insists that she's Ple Twelve. He tries to tell her about Zinnerman and her crewmates, but Alberto interrupts and orders her not to listen to Banagher. Banagher spots the Garuda in the clouds above, along with the shadow of the Garencieres. The Garencieres deploys a Geara Zulu and Skiure weapons platform while the Garuda launches multiple Anksha suits. The Ra Cailum's bridge operators react to the situation, but Meran tells them there's no need to get involved because their mission was only to deliver the Gundam to the Garuda. One of the Ankshas is destroyed, and Zinnerman tells Flaste to move in closer to the Garuda. Another Anksha is downed, and Marida has a strange feeling when she targets the Garencieres. Banagher uses the opportunity to attack her and wrestle on the Base Jabber. He breaks free and jumps into the air while dodging fire from her Armed Armor BS. He then lands on Watts' Base Jabber and kicks his Jesta off of it. Banagher tries talking to Marida again, but he's interrupted when an Anksha attacks him. He knocks the suit away and steals one of its beam sabers before returning to his Base Jabber. He then looks over and spots Zinnerman hanging from a Base Jabber that's attached to the top of the Garuda.

 

Alberto orders Marida to destroy the Base Jabber, but Banagher gets in the way and tells her not to do it. Riddhe sees that the Neo Zeon and Ra Cailum are working together and becomes angry. A woman comes into Mineva's room and tells her that they're moving up the shuttle launch. Banagher continues to argue with Marida, and she tries to insist that her Master is Alberto. He tells her again not to listen to Banagher and says the Gundam is the enemy. Riddhe transforms and lands inside the Garuda's hangar. He exits the Delta Plus and tells Mineva he's come for her. Zinnerman infiltrates the Garuda, and the Banshee activates Destroy mode. The Unicorn Gundam attempts to activate its own Destroy mode, but Banagher forces the cockpit controls to stay in place. Martha asks Riddhe if he understands what he's doing, and he asks her if she understands what'll happen if she kills the son of Ronan Marcenas. Mineva asks Riddhe what he intends to do with her, and he answers that they can figure that out once they leave. Mineva asks him if he's trying to protect her, the secret of the Box or his family's honor, but he interrupts her and says he doesn't care about his family. He says everything has gone wrong since the Laplace colony was destroyed 100 years ago, and they're all the playthings of its consequences. But he says that no matter how twisted the world is, all they can do is protect it, so he won't let things be turned upside down like was by the Zeon. Alberto says they want to protect the secret of the Box, but Riddhe tells him to shut up and says it's the Vists who are responsible for everything. He says it was just dumb luck that the Box fell into the hands of Syam Vist, who used it to his advantage. Mineva realizes that Riddhe knows what the Box is and asks him to tell her what it is. Riddhe asks her to come with him again and says the Unicorn Gundam is dangerous. He says the world is imperfect, but he'll protect it and Mineva along with it. Zinnerman opens fire in the hangar, and Marida destroys Banagher's Base Jabber. The two Gundams grapple each other on the Garuda's surface, and Martha orders her men to get Mineva back. Alberto thinks the two Gundams might be resonating their psyco fields, and Martha asks if another Axis Shock is going to happen. Zinnerman gives Mineva a parachute and tells her to escape. An Anksha tries to get in close and is damaged by the psyco field, which causes it to explode near the Garuda's rear hatch. Marida activates the Armed Armor VN claw and tries to hit Banagher with it, but he manages to hold her back. With Zinnerman injured, Mineva hangs by a piece of damaged metal near the hatch. Riddhe comes over to rescue her, and she tells him they're walking on different paths. She said she used to believe a twisted system was better than war, but if that system is used to stifle humanity, she might be as guilty of crimes like the one of her family. Riddhe asks her if she intends to fight the world alone, but she says she's not alone and jumps out of the Garuda. Banagher senses her and jumps off the Garuda. The Unicorn Gundam transforms to Destroy mode and quickly descends to catch Mineva. Banagher brings her into the cockpit and uses his thrusters to land on top of the Garencieres. Riddhe cries inside the Delta Plus' cockpit, and Flaste asks Banagher to rescue Zinnerman and Marida. Banagher tells Mineva that he feels he understands what he should do now, and he hopes his voice will reach Marida.

Mineva gets off, and Banagher is attacked in midair by Marida. They both slam into the Garuda's hangar, where Riddhe also comes under attack. Marida uses the Armed Armor VN to smash the Delta Plus into pieces. Banagher asks her to stop, and Zinnerman calls out to Marida from the floor. She recognizes him as Master and struggles in pain. She remembers Zinnerman showing her a picture of his dead daughter Marie, and Zinnerman pleads with her to come to space with him. Riddhe exits the cockpit of the wrecked Delta Plus and shoots at Marida with a pistol before passing out. Marida sees that she's also a Gundam and the enemy before having a flash of memories and passing out. She falls out of the Banshee's cockpit, but Zinnerman catches her. The Nahel Argama deploys a ballute as it enters Earth's upper atmosphere. Liam asks Otto if he's sure about helping the Neo Zeon ship they've been fighting since Industrial 7, and he tells her that whether he likes it or not, it's an order from Bright. The Garencieres begins to lose engine output as it deploys its towing hook for the Nahel Argama to catch. Zinnerman sees how it's a problem because they don't have enough fuel to circle around the planet again. The ships suddenly begins to ascend when Banagher and Geara Zulu pilots Kwani and Ivan start pushing it. Zinnerman asks Flaste if they can make it, but Flaste says they don't have enough power to reach their old trajectory. The Nahel Argama deploys its towing cable, and Banagher transforms to Destroy mode to haul the Garencieres up. He catches the towing cable with one arm and buckles under the strain. Banagher sees the images of dead people, and the Unicorn Gundam's red psycoframe changes to green. The light envelops both ships, and Bright is pleased by what he sees. Riddhe breathes in some air from a can of oxygen and walks over to the abandoned Banshee. The Garencieres reaches space, but it and the Nahel Argama immediately come under fire from the General Revil. The ship then deploys its custom ReZELs and ReZEL Defenser B-Units. Banagher tries to take off, but the Unicorn Gundam is completely out of fuel. The ReZELs then come under fire from Angelo's new Rozen Zulu and Full Frontal's Sinanju. The ReZELs change their targets, but Angelo easily disables them with his incom claws. He also disables multiple Jegan Type-A2s before bowing and moving out of Full Frontal's way. Full Frontal engages his thrusters and dodges attacks from the General Revil's cannons. He connects a bazooka attachment to his beam rifle and fires.

 

Commentary

 

Banagher's time on Earth comes to an end with this episode, which stands as the sole release of Unicorn for 2012. This episode immediately picks up where the previous one left off, showing the debut of the Banshee and the not-so-surprising revelation that Marida is the pilot. After being captured, Banagher has a few interesting conversations with Bright. After his experiences with three rowdy teenagers in Gundams, it looks like Bright has realized whom he should be betting on. He knows that he's being manipulated again by the Federation and can't trust them, so he bets everything on Banagher and the Garencieres. Character wise, we get some interesting reversals here. The last episode left me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding Banagher's attitude and his actions, but he comes out better during this episode and more sure of himself. In contrast, Riddhe flips out and is out of sorts by the end of the episode due to his dislike of Banagher and the Gundam. They're on opposite paths now - Banagher (and Mineva) want to find the truth, while Riddhe has set himself up as the defender of the status quo, even when that status quo is a corrupt, broken system. I guess it also doesn't do much for his self-worth when Mineva would rather jump out of an airplane without a parachute rather than be rescued by him. The extended battle here was interesting, since we don't usually get battles so high in the sky. Given the overload of MS porn last time, I'm surprised that this episode's cameo appearance was limited to the highly obscure Skiure from MS-X. Speaking cameos, we have mention of Luio & Co. from Zeta Gundam, along with appearances from Beltorchika and Kai. It's interesting to see how Banagher mastered the Unicorn Gundam's destroy mode and changed its color from red to green. We also get the term Axis Shock to describe the psycoframe phenomenon that happened at the end of Char's Counterattack. The episode's end gives us a brief battle with Full Frontal and Angelo, although unfortunately they're voiceless appearances. Angelo can certainly cause lots of damage with his new suit, but he oddly chooses to not kill the Federation pilots. The bow he gave was also a nice touch and fitting of his flamboyant nature. It'll be a long time before we get the next episode, but it'll be interesting to see where things go from here now that the Federation is trying to wipe out everyone involved with the Box.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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