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Volume 3

 

Review by Chris Guanche

November 8, 2005

 

Summary

 

Lowe hears about an object that fell into the ocean and decides to investigate local stories of an evil god returning to the area. As Kisato and the Professor lay in the sun to tan themselves, Kisato says that she feels sorry for Liam because Lowe dragged him along. For his underwater expedition, Lowe has modified part of a GOOhN to function as a diving suit for the Red Frame. Lowe and Liam search ocean floor and discover a large meteor. Liam guesses that the metal ore in the meteor is extremely rare and probably not on the elemental charts. Lowe spots a ZAFT Vosgulov class submarine approaching, and the ship's captain orders the mobile suits to launch so that the Alliance doesn't get the meteor. A ZnO, two GOOhNs and a GINN WASP Type launch from the sub and attack Lowe and Liam. Lowe calls Kisato to tell her to tow the meteor up, but the intercom isn't working. Lowe dodges an attack and pulls out his Gerbera Straight. When the attacking force closes in, Lowe discards his GOOhN armor and slices apart all the ZAFT suits. The sub captain orders ramming speed to destroy the Red Frame, but an officer objects and says the sub can't handle that kind of damage. As the sub begins its kamikaze run, Kisato plugs in a cable on the radio and hears Lowe's request to pull up the meteor. Lowe approaches the sub and uses his Gerbera Straight to slice it in half. Lowe and the meteor reach the surface, and he tells Kisato that he has to go back down. Liam's Works GINN suddenly rises out of the water. He says he saw a dark shadow lifting him to the surface, and three old fishermen conclude that it must be the god of the ocean.

 

Late one night, Kisato goes to the bathroom on the Lesseps and sees what she believes is a ghost. When she returns to her room, she sees the ghost again before it vanishes. The next morning, Kisato tells everyone about the ghost, but no one believes her. Later that night, Lowe walks through the ship wearing a backpack that uses flexible blocks for various tasks. He and Kisato spot the ghost near the Professor, and the ghost tackles them to escape. The ghost is a actually a ZAFT pilot in a stealth suit, who is attempting to steal the rare metal from the meteor. Lowe climbs onto the ship's deck and finds the pilot jumping into his stealth GINN Tactical Air Recon Type, which vanishes. The stealth GINN then punches the Red Frame and knocks Lowe down. He puts his close combat beam rifle up against the Red Frame's cockpit and tells Lowe to hand over the meteor and metal if he wants to live. Lowe remembers seeing the GINN when it moved and realizes that the stealth system only works when it isn't in motion. Liam thinks that Lowe needs help, but the Professor thinks he'll be fine. Liam turns around and is shocked to see George Glenn, the long-dead first Coordinator. A giant shadow of George appears outside the Lesseps, and the distraction gives Lowe enough time to pull out his Gerbera Straight and destroy the GINN. Liam asks what's going on, and George explains that someone saved his brain when he was assassinated and put it into the GG unit. He says he asked the Professor to create a new holographic body for him, but it's not complete yet. Liam says Kisato will be happy when she hears the news because she's such a big fan of George, but he asks Liam not to say anything until his holographic body is complete.

 

Later, Lowe and the others board a shuttle and head back into space. Kenaf calls Gai and tells him that Lowe and his friends are in danger. Gai asks Kenaf why he's telling him this, and Kenaf says he just wants to hear Gai's reaction. Lowe and the others reach their new spaceship, the Cornelius class Re.H.O.M.E. George introduces himself as the ship's captain, and Kisato is shocked to see him. George admires Lowe's Gerbera Straight, and Lowe tells him the story about Un No and the Graveyard. Suddenly, the ship receives a distress call from a ZAFT ship. They follow the signal and find a destroyed Laurasia class ship, along with Rondo Ghina's Gold Frame Amatu. Gai asks Kenaf what Rondo Ghina wants with Lowe, and Kenaf tells him that Rondo Ghina is working with the Alliance. Rondo Ghina tells Lowe that he's looking to build the ideal world, and to do so, sacrifices must be made. He then activates his Mirage Colloid and attacks Lowe from behind with his spears. The Re.H.O.M.E. moves in to help Lowe, and Rondo Ghina is distracted long enough for Lowe to break free. Lowe rushes in and attacks with the Gerbera Straight, but Rondo Ghina blocks the attack and breaks the sword. Suddenly, Gai appears with the Blue Frame 2nd L and gives his Tactical Arms sword backpack to Lowe. Lowe takes the sword and uses it to attack Rondo again. Later, Lowe heads to the Graveyard to find Un No and repair the Gerbera Straight. Kisato thinks it's strange that the area is so quiet, and Liam spots Un No's dog, Denpachi. Lowe follows Denpachi and finds Un No lying on the floor.

 

Lowe takes Un No and asks him what happened. Un No insists that he's fine and says that an apple he ate before a nap made his gums bleed. Un No pulls out a katana and gives it to Lowe so that they can spar. Un No taunts Lowe at first, but Lowe beats him. Un No tells Lowe that he's kept his skills sharp, and Lowe says that he'll show Un No that he can repair the Gerbera Straight. Kisato tells Un No it must be a fluke that he lost, but Un No says that Lowe has achieved the rank of "sword of the master." He explains that in kendo, one must first learn the basics to gain the rank of "sword of the assassin." Afterwards, he says that one develops their own fighting style to achieve the rank of "sword of the master." He says that Lowe has improved since they first met and has found his purpose. Lowe then comes up to them with the Red Frame to show off the re-forged Gerbera Straight. Un No examines the sword and says that it's better than the first one. Lowe says that he used his own techniques along with what he learned from Un No to re-forge the sword. He then says he plans to use the rare metal from the meteor to build a giant sword, but right now he isn't sure how big it will be. Elsewhere, Elisa asks Kenaf why he's monitoring Lowe. He says that ZAFT is trying to get that rare metal back, so they sent an assault team to the Graveyard. Lowe shows Un No and Kisato his latest creation: a 150 meter long Gerbera Straight created from the meteor's metal. Un No looks at the sword and says he's glad there's idiots like Lowe in the world. Suddenly, a squad of ZAFT GuAIZ mobile suits enter the Graveyard and demand that Lowe hand over the metal. Un No pulls out his katana and uses it to slice off the barrel of one of the GuAIZ's beam rifle. He then jumps into his custom GINN and deflects a beam attack from another GuAIZ. Un No attacks the other GuAIZs, but one of them fires a beam rifle and damages the GINN. Un No is injured, and a GuAIZ pilot asks again where the metal is. Lowe says that he'll show them where it is and destroys them with the giant Gerbera Straight. Lowe asks Un No if he's okay, and Un No says that he was dying anyway. He asks Lowe to erase the data of all the Graveyard craftsmen. He says that even though he's going to die, his knowledge will live on inside Lowe.

 

On the Three Ships Alliance ship Eternal, DaCosta tells Lacus that the Re.H.O.M.E. is bringing them supplies. Andy spots his old custom BuCUE and asks DaCosta what happened to it. DaCosta says that they couldn't bring it up from Earth, and Andy comments that his ferocious tiger has become a tame house cat. Lowe tells Kisato that it's very odd to see an Alliance, ZAFT and Orb ship together. Kisato tells him he managed to repair the Red Frame quickly after it was damaged swinging the giant sword. Lowe says that if he doesn't think of a solution to that problem, he won't be able to use the sword. On the Eternal, DaCosta greets Lowe and thanks him for bringing supplies. Lowe says that it must've been hard to get independence from the Alliance and ZAFT, and DaCosta says they've been in several battles because of it. Andy introduces himself to Lowe and explains that he was in the capsule on the Lesseps. Lowe understands who DaCosta was defending now, and Andy thanks Lowe for saving his life. After supplying the Eternal, the Re.H.O.M.E. docks with the Archangel and begins sending over supplies. Lowe meets chief mechanic Kojiro Murdoch and notices the headless Freedom Gundam. He asks Murdoch if he wants to put a GINN head on it, but Murdoch answers that they already have replacement parts. Lowe is disappointed and comments that he would've liked to have seen the Freedom Gundam in action. Later, Lowe begins sending supplies to the Kusanagi and meets up with the M1 Astray girls. Lowe tells Liam that although they're watching the war from the sidelines, he wants to do the best he can in any situation. Later, as the Re.H.O.M.E. prepares to leave, a battle alert is sounded. Lowe asks DaCosta if he wants him to help with the Red Frame, but DaCosta tells him it's okay. Lowe watches Athrun Zala's Justice Gundam take off and is amazed when it docks with the METEOR weapons platform. DaCosta explains that the METEOR is a top secret reinforcement part, but he trusts Lowe. Lowe thinks about the METEOR and believes that he can build reinforcement parts to wield the giant Gerbera Straight.

Nine months earlier, Gai visits the space fortress Artemis to negotiate on behalf of the Alliance for the release of Commander Garcia. After Artemis was damaged in a ZAFT battle, pirates invaded the fortress and repaired the lightwave Umbrella. Pirate leader Anstan asks Gai how much he's going to pay for Garcia, and Gai tells Anstan he can pay with his own life. He says that if Anstan surrenders Artemis and releases Garcia, he'll let him live. Anstan asks Gai who he thinks he is, and suddenly the base rocks from an explosion. Anstan is informed that the shield generators have been damaged, and Gai tells Anstan he should've accepted the offer. In the shield control room, Loretta attacks several pirates and takes control of the area. In space, the Serpent Tail shuttle approaches Artemis. Elijah and Reed discuss how the pirates would've never expected Loretta to drift into the base by herself. Anstan asks Gai who he is, and Gai answers that he's from Serpent Tail. Reed slams the shuttle through one of Artemis' gates to pick up Loretta and Gai. Anstan jumps into his custom GINN and heads into space to attack Gai. Gai tells Anstan that he sealed his death when he refused the offer, and he uses the Blue Frame's beam saber to destroy Anstan's GINN.

 

Commentary

 

The third volume of Toda's ASTRAY R focuses its plot on a meteor containing a rare metal that crashes to Earth. ZAFT makes several attempts to retrieve it, starting with a secret operation by a pilot with a stealth pilot suit and stealth GINN. That ultimately fails, along with the attack on the Graveyard. Unfortunately, Un No dies, but Lowe is able to re-forge his Gerbera Straight, along with a giant 150 meter long version. Several TV characters make cameo appearances, which ties in with the Re.H.O.M.E.'s cameo in episode 47 of SEED. In addition, there's a bonus chapter focusing on Gai and his Serpent Tail crew. Commander Garcia from Artemis makes another appearance, but this time he's been reduced to being a gimp for a space pirate. An error should be noted with TOKYOPOP's release - Rondo Ghina Sahaku is again referred to as a female. TOKYOPOP made this same error many times with Tokita's ASTRAY, although there they inconsistently referred to him as man and a woman. Here, Rondo Ghina's character profile refers to him as being "androgynous." I haven't seen the original Japanese version to compare, but it seems as though TOKYOPOP is just attempting to cover up their prior errors.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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