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Volume 4

 

Review by Chris Guanche

July 1, 2007

 

Summary

 

As Junius Seven heads on a crash course for Earth, ZAFT's Joule squad deploys meteor breakers that will cause the ruined PLANT to break into smaller pieces. As the devices are installed, the ZAFT forces come under attack from the terrorists who set Junius Seven in motion. The Earth Alliance ship Girty Lue also deploys the stolen Gundams to attack ZAFT, and the Minerva sends out the Impulse Gundam and its ZAKUs. As Junius Seven continues to descend, Yzak Joule, Dearka Elsman and Shiho pull back while the Minerva descends into the atmosphere to fire its "Tannhäuser" positron cannon at the wreckage. As she pulls away, Shiho spots a mysterious mobile suit cutting away at the wreckage with a katana. Although the Minerva is able to break Junius Seven into smaller pieces, those pieces slam into Earth and cause substantial damage. Matis calls Djibril, who says at first that he has no time for her, until she mentions that she has proof of ZAFT being behind the fall of Junius Seven. She says that should help them in punishing Coordinators, and Djibril says the evidence will become their trump card. On the PLANTs, Bernadette reports that the Alliance is broadcasting images of GINN High Maneuver Type II units at Junius Seven, which has led to the widespread belief that ZAFT is responsible for the drop operation. A guest speaker explains that it must be an Alliance plot. He says that some soldiers may have defected from ZAFT, but that all Coordinators can't be blamed for the actions of a few. Bernadette then shows video of GENESIS Alpha attacking an Alliance space station, which the Junk Guild says was a malfunction. She adds that PLANT is being criticized for that as well because GENESIS Alpha used to belong to ZAFT. Another panelist points to a picture of a mysterious mobile suit at Junius Seven with a katana. He says that weapon is the trademark of Lowe Guele, who causes trouble and uses the power of the Junk Guild. He believes that proves the Junk Guild's involvement, but Bernadette points out that the Junk Guild helped with reconstruction after the war. The guest says that the Junk Guild has anti-society members, so they were probably involved in both incidents. Matis watches the news and concludes that both the Alliance and ZAFT will restrict the freedoms of the Junk Guild. She tosses away Lowe's card and picks up the next one to focus on: Edward. Elsewhere, Mikhail tells Edward that he has to leave because war is looming. He cautions Edward not to go outside because he doesn't want the patient he's been treating to get killed. Soon after Mikhail leaves, someone enters the room and shoots Edward. Later, Matias watches a news report of Edward being found at a PLANT, and Matias wonders why intelligence is being leaked before his own network gets it. He thinks Matis is responsible and has a flashback to when they were children and he was raised as a girl. He then gets a call that the Alliance is taking military action against the Junk Guild. As the Alliance forces attack, Jess uses the Out Frame D's beam signs to try to stop the fighting. The Professor wonders if they want to destroy the Junk Guild, and Liam recalls what Rondo Ghina said. An N Dagger N attacks Jess, but Kaite attacks in the Testament Gundam and saves Jess. Liam announces that the Junk Guild can no longer defend GENESIS Alpha, so they will abandon it and head to Orb's space station Ame-no-Mihashira.

 

At Aprilius One, Bernadette reports to Durandal on the status of damage to Earth caused by Junius Seven. She mentions that they've confirmed that the stolen Gundams were there. She adds that it's currently under investigation where the terrorists got their mobile suits and the flare motors, but they had help on the inside. With the GENESIS Alpha incident, she mentions a report about a ZAFT deserter (Ash Gray) being present just before the firing. Durandal asks what happened to the deserter, and Bernadette says the Junk Guild took care of him. Bernadette wonders how Durandal can take the news about Junius Seven so calmly, but be surprised about the deserter. She wonders what he knows that she doesn't. Bernadette then asks for a pass to visit Earth, but Durandal says he'd like her to stay on the PLANTs because Earth is in a state of chaos. She says that as a reporter she wants to see things with her own eyes, and he grants her permission. As Bernadette drives away, she thinks to herself that something has been strange ever since the Second Stage tests, as if something is moving behind the scenes. Several soldiers stop her at the gate and ask her to get out of her car. Back at GENESIS Alpha, Liam announces that they're abandoning the station and heading for Ame-no-Mihashira. Jess wonders how they'll lose the Alliance, and Kaite tells him the Alliance won't let them escape easily. The Professor self destructs GENESIS Alpha, and the Junk Guild ships escape in the confusion. Elsewhere, Matis is annoyed by Durandal's actions and the fact that Lowe can't be found, but she has other plans. After hearing about GENESIS Alpha's destruction, Matis orders operative 0646 to launch in the Proto-Saviour. Negative news about the Junk Guild begins to appear, and Jess thinks it's dangerous because people are stirred up by the Junius Seven terrorist attack. Kaite thinks the Junk Guild is the perfect target, because it's been made to look as if they didn't properly control Junius Seven and have turned against the Alliance. The Professor reports that a mobile suit squad is approaching from ahead, and Jess decides to launch in the Out Frame D, despite the objections of Kaite and Liam. Liam wants Jess to escape, but Jess says he'll catch up with the G-Flight, prompting Kaite to launch as well. As several Dagger Ls and a Windam approach, Jess uses his beam sign to display a message asking them not to shoot. Jess asks them not to attack the Junk Guild, and the Windam pilot says they are clearly the enemy based on what was in the video. Jess asks the pilot not to go by just what others say, and he gets the pilot to momentarily agree with him until the Daggers attack. Kaite attacks the Launcher Dagger L, but he's hit by a Doppelhorn Dagger L. He then attacks the Dagger L and rips off its Doppelhorn pack, which he gives to Jess. After escaping, Jess and Kaite arrive at Ame-no-Mihashira, where they meet with Liam and Rondo Mina. Jess asks why the Junk Guild is at the station, and Liam says it was Rondo's idea because she predicted that GENESIS Alpha would fall. Liam expects more Guild members to arrive soon, but Yoon says they still can't reach Lowe or the Re.H.O.M.E. Setona thinks Lowe will be ok, and 8 reports that the Alliance has declared Lowe a wanted criminal for his involvement with Junius Seven. Rondo takes them to a hangar and shows them the Red Frame's Gerbera Straight, which was found near Junius Seven fragments. On Earth, reporter Miriallia Haw finds a mysterious mobile suit while photographing Junius Seven fragments. The pilot asks if this is Earth and is overjoyed when she says it is.

 

Now under arrest, Bernadette is accused of acting on her own to smuggle Edward into the PLANTs. Later, she and Edward are placed on a shuttle to be handed over to the Alliance. As Riika escorts the shuttle in her Blaze ZAKU Phantom, Morgan arrives in an Exus mobile armor to take over. Back at Ame-no-Mihashira, Rondo sits down for a meeting with Jess, Kaite, Liam and underworld informant Kenaf Luchini, who is disturbed by Jess' piercing glares. In space, Ile de Llorar approaches the shuttle in the Proto-Saviour, despite Riika's orders to stop. He opens fire, and Riika fires back. She tells him she'll shoot him down if he continues to interfere with her escort mission, and Ile says she knows nothing because the shuttle has a bomb on it. Morgan realizes that Edward and Bernadette know too much to just be handed over. As Riika gets close to Ile, Morgan warns her to stay back because Ile is about to spread a virus that attacks quantum computers. Riika's ZAKU is disabled, and Morgan deploys his Gunbarrels to attack Ile. Ile transforms the Proto-Saviour to mobile armor mode and says that as a graduate of the Circus training group, he won't lose. Going on the offensive, he destroys one of Morgan's Gunbarrels. Elsewhere, Rondo finishes outlining her plan, and an excited Jess says he wants to help. Rondo says they will announce the plan to the world in three days, and Jess says he wants to get help on Earth. Kenaf says the timing is perfect and shows Jess a picture of the mysterious mobile suit that was on Lowe's ship. After hearing about the situation with Bernadette and Edward, Jess wants to help, but Kenaf tells him it's already taken care of. Ile destroys all the Gunbarrels and moves in on Edward, but Jean Carrey arrives in his M1 Astray with a refitted Verne support unit. Jean opens fire and asks Ile to surrender, and Matis calls to order a retreat. On Earth, Jess and Kaite arrive to find Lowe's mobile suit surrounded by ZAKU Warriors. The ZAKU pilots order the pilot to surrender because they're conducting a terrorism investigation, but the pilot insists he wasn't at the crash site. The ZAKU pilots attack, and the pilot ejects his outer armor to reveal the Red Frame underneath. In space, Jean takes Bernadette, Edward, Morgan and Riika to a secret base hidden in the debris belt. Bernadette wants to know what their intentions are, and Jean says they will meet with Rondo at Ame-no-Mihashira to hear her plan. He tells them to decide on their own afterward and adds that Jess has offered his support.

 

The Red Frame rushes in to attack the ZAKUs, but Jess jumps in and uses his beam signs to destroy their beam rifles. He tells the pilot not to use anger to fight and asks why he's piloting Lowe's Red Frame. Another ZAKU rushes in, but Kaite takes care of it with the Testament Gundam. As more ZAKUs attack, Kaite gives the Divine pack to Jess so he can escape along with the Red Frame. Nearby, the Red Frame pilot explains that he met Lowe at Mars, but they parted ways in space. The Martian then stole the Red Frame, which was equipped with the Mars Jacket. Jess asks him why he's on Earth, and the Martian says he's looking for someone. Suddenly, a Strike Dagger locates them and attacks. At Ame-no-Mihashira, Bernadette and the others are introduced to Rondo. Bernadette asks where Jess is, and Rondo explains that he went to Earth to find Lowe. Jess calls from Earth and says he's happy to see Bernadette safe, while Jane is angry with Edward for ignoring her. Jess reports that the Martian vanished with the Red Frame, and Setona repeats again that Lowe is ok. Jess decides to stay on Earth and report on the fall of Junius Seven. Morgan asks what the plan is, and Rondo says she will broadcast a speech to the entire world. Elsewhere, Matis recalls how her cross dressing brother Matias was banished from the family for being a boy, making her the family's heir. Matis is informed that Lowe has been located, and she orders Ile to attack with the intention of capturing them. Elsewhere, Matias hires Canard and Elijah for a specific job. In space, Ile closes in on the Re.H.O.M.E. and tells Lowe to surrender because he's a wanted criminal. Lowe asks what happens if he doesn't surrender, and Ile says he's fine with that because it's boring if Lowe doesn't resist. He tells Lowe to hurry up and attack, but Lowe says that Red Frame was stolen. He asks if they can talk it out, and Ile says no and opens fire.

 

Rondo begins her announcement to the entire world. She says that the fall of Junius Seven has caused both sides to blame each other, even drawing the Junk Guild into the crossfire. Jess arrives at Matias' mansion and says he wants to know what was in the message he received about "family" and "one who distorts truth." Canard and Elijah leave, and Matias says he intends to tell Jess the truth. Rondo continues her speech and says that the current government is creating the situation to manipulate the people. In space, Ile says he's bored by Lowe's refusal to fight, and Lowe says that Ile must be lonely. He says that if Ile continues to act irrationally, no one will want to be his opponent. Kisato tells Lowe that he's just provoking Ile, and Lowe adds that the Proto-Saviour received conventional maintenence, so the mechanic doesn't trust the pilot. An enraged Ile wants to ignore orders and kill Lowe, but Matis calls and gives him new orders. Ile leaves, and the ships receives a call from Kenaf. Rondo says that there are a group of people who act on their own and can see through the darkness, making them a model for others. Rondo shows a picture of Jess and says that he's taken part in events that have changed the course of history. He can do this as a normal person because he follows his own path, and Rondo believes everyone can do this. Matis watches the speech and dismisses it as idealistic nonsense. Rondo says that a new world could eliminate nations and territories, existing on ideals. She implores people to live according to their own beliefs to overcome darkness. Kenaf reports that the Alliance and the PLANTS have issued cautious statements in response, but nothing has come from Orb yet. Morgan says he doesn't approve and leaves. Gai prepares to leave for his next mission, and Kenaf tells him to be careful about Matias's request. At Matis' space station, Canard and Elijah come under attack from Pergrande mobile armors. Jess wonders if they'll be ok, and he recalls Matias' instructions to record the battle. Gai arrives in the Blue Frame 2nd L and hooks up to Canard's N-Jammer Canceler to fire his Lohengrin launcher at the station. Matis laughs it off as she escapes on a battleship, but she's shocked to find Matias on the bridge. Matis asks if he's come for vengeance and says people will perish without their family, but Matias disagrees. He thinks people can do things just like Jess and change the world. He tells Matis that she sees the world only through lies and manufactured data. Matis calls him a liar, and he says she still doesn't understand. The ship's self destruct sequence activates, and Matias says he won't let his sister die alone. The Re.H.O.M.E. arrives just after the station's destruction, and an Alliance fleet closes in. Kaite and Gai expect trouble, but Jess intends to convince the fleet not to attack by talking to them. Deploying his beam sign, Jess tells the fleet to stop.

 

Commentary

 

No, you didn't read wrong, and no, this review isn't missing a paragraph. That's the end you get after reading four volumes of the manga series. If you're wondering why that is, it's because the true ending is contained in the DESTINY ASTRAY photonovel. Now, I don't mind the photonovel having a supplemental story, but this is pretty reprehensible. The story began in the manga and should end there too. Also, a lot of this volume is a waste. There's a lot of build up to Rondo's big speech, which turns out to just be a bunch of syrupy nonsense about changing the world. Given what happens in this volume, I think it wouldn't been better served by getting to a definitive conclusion, rather than leaving the photonovel to do that. The first three volumes in this series were a great read, but this last one is definitely a disappointment.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

2.5 out of 5 stars
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