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Gundam: Ecole du Ciel Vol. 2

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Summary

At the training site, cleanup crews remove the Guntanks defeated by Yahagi. Yahagi is miffed that the students are getting a three day break before heading into space, and he thinks the administration is trying to cover up the truth. Forma thinks it’s a good thing, because it will give the students a chance to get a reality check. Outside, Asuna and Emilu watch Shinn and several other boys play volleyball. Yahagi asks them what they’re doing and if they realize what they’ll have to face in space. Forma tells Yahagi to lay off and comments that he’s dressed like a chump. Asuna says she thinks Yahagi looks good, and he asks Emilu if she thinks he looks like a chump. Asuna then runs off to join Shinn in the volleyball game. Forma asks Erisia if she’s going to join the game, but she says her hand still hurts. He comments that if she hasn’t forgiven herself yet and is upset over that, she’ll never make it. Erisia thinks to herself if she can’t forgive herself for making the mistake, or if she can’t forgive the mistake itself. Erisia tells Forma that she knows, and she thinks about how she lost her brother in the war. Elsewhere, Rau meets with Michal and tells her that the investigation into the live ammo incident is nearly over. He thanks her for making the council look good, and she says its’ the least she could do. Rau says that the list has been narrowed down to two names, but Yahagi’s recent feats are a problem. Michal asks if the council was behind the accident, and Rau says he doesn’t know the details. He adds that it’s probably best if she doesn’t know the details either. Rau then comments that the Zeon National Defense Academy is supposed to have beautiful terrain, so he’s looking forward to seeing it. Outside, Asuna and Shinn have a drink after losing the volleyball game. Asuna apologizes, saying that Kerry’s serves are strong and that he hates her. Shinn tells her that she shouldn’t be scared because she has to step up the most when she’s scared. Shinn then says that Asuna is good at stepping up, and he likes her because she’s strong. Emilu then interrupts the moment and says that the two of them look very comfortable. They say it’s not like that, and Asuna thanks Shinn before walking off.

Late at night, Asuna uses the mobile suit simulator to recreate the live exercise in the forest with Guntanks. As she fights, she thinks about what Shinn said to her earlier. Asuna hits a Guntank, and Erisia suddenly warns her that there’s another nearby. She tells Asuna that if she’s caught using the simulator without permission she’ll be left on Earth, and Asuna notes that Erisia is doing the same thing. Erisia tells Asuna to act as if all the bullets are real, and they begin to work together. Forma watches their simulation and sees that no one cares about who replaced the blanks with live ammo, which was him. Afterwards, Asuna and Erisia sit outside and talk. Erisia mentions that she had a brother, and because her father was away so much on business, her brother was like a second father. However, her brother was killed during the One Year War. Erisia shows Asuna a picture of him, and Asuna comments that he’s cute and looks like a kind man. The next day, instructors and students practice by playing dodgeball. Yahagi gets into it and takes off his shirt, revealing a large scar on his back. Asuna, who is concerned with her ice cream, is criticized by Yahagi for not being good enough yet. Erisia comments on Yahagi’s scar and says that the war left scars with many people. She asks Asuna why she wants to fight and says that she wants to protect those whom she loves. Later, the students board the space shuttle Valentine, which launches from a Garuda class aircraft and heads for space.

In space, the Valentine docks with the supply ship Ericcson near the Moon. Most of the students, being Earthnoids, have trouble moving without gravity, but Asuna does so naturally. As the students bumble through the corridor, Yahagi looks away in shame and calls them idiots. Asuna looks at a GM Canard in the mobile suit hangar, but Emilu suddenly bumps into her. Erisia tells Asuna that she doesn’t have enough simulation credits, and Asuna cries to Yahagi when he enters the area. Yahagi tells Asuna that they’ll practice in space, and that he’ll personally tutor her. Forma meets with Captain Yogan Phara, who comments that the children are acting too relaxed. Phara looks at Asuna and says that he can’t believe Forma got access to the Flanagan Institute’s Newtype files. He figures it must be the “council” and asks Forma what kind of group it is, but Forma says it’s nothing special. He says that Rau, an elite businessman, stands out because he wants to make Asuna his property. He recalls a conversation with Rau where Rau asked to be informed about Asuna’s progress before the rest of the council. Rau believes having all that data will give his company the edge on Newtypes and psycommu weapons. Phara cautions Forma to keep his ideas under control. Forma says he believes the theory that Newtypes awaken on the battlefield, and he wants to see if that will happen with this space training. If Newtypes are the evolution of humanity, Forma wants to see how they’ll change the world. He says that if nothing happens he’ll have to hang himself.

Later, the Valentine returns from Granada and docks with the Ericcson to unload several passengers: Titans. An Ericcson bridge operator mentions bad rumors about the Titans, but Phara explains that the Titans are important allies. Phara then leaves the bridge to greet the Titans and runs into Forma along the way. In the storage bay, Erisia launches in the GM Canard for space training. In the waiting room, Linny gives a lecture on how to properly negotiate through the space obstacle course. Asuna and Emilu discuss how they’re both nervous, and Linny tells them to shut up. Asuna thinks to herself that she’s still nervous after nearly a month in space, and she gets called up for her turn in the obstacle course. In the captain’s office, Phara, Forma and Ryan meet with a Titans representative. The Titan wants Asuna to have some leave to visit her mother Haruka Elmarit. He says that the person in question regarding the mobile suit rampage is being watched by the EFF, so it’s best for the Titans to not be involved. Forma asks what that has to do with Haruka, and the Titan tells him it’s a part of the investigation. Forma says he knows that the Titans are after Professor Elmarit. Since they can’t act directly, they probably want to see if Asuna can lead them to her father. He also figures that they don’t want the EFF to know why they’re after Professor Elmarit. The Titan yells at Forma, but Forma says he’ll help them if he can join them. Erisia lands in the Ericcson‘s storage bay, and Asuna takes off. While flying through the course, Asuna realizes that she loves flying through space. After completing the course, the results come in, with Asuna’s scores about a second behind Erisia’s. Many of the students comment that Asuna has been improving since coming to space. Shinn comments on Erisia’s top score and says that by being five seconds behind, he’d be dead in a real battle. Erisia says that Asuna’s scores are just behind hers, and Shinn says that their styles are different. Erisia moves without excessive motions, but Asuna excels in avoiding objects and acceleration. He thinks that’s due to Yahagi’s training and says they’re similar. Asuna continues to practice in space and finally gets used to the panoramic monitor. She senses something strange and spins out of control, earning her a null score. Forma announces to the students that the ship will be landing in Side 3’s Colony 26 Achilles for re-supply, allowing a short leave for them. He tells Shinn and Erisia to ask Asuna to visit Haruka because she’s ill. Yahagi asks Asuna if she’s ok, and she tells him he is. As she comes in for a landing, she wonders what she was trying to do.

At Achilles, Asuna runs home and hopes that nothing is wrong with Haruka. She searches the house and calls out for Haruka, who is in another part of the house. Asuna hugs Haruka, and Haruka asks her why she’s home. Asuna says she heard Haruka was sick and assumed it was the worst. Haruka explains that she had a cold recently, but it was no big deal. Nearby, Yahagi watches the Elmarit home from his car. Asuna says that her instructors looked somber, but that doesn’t matter since she was able to come home. Haruka comments that Asuna has grown, but Asuna thinks she’s shrunk from all the beatings she’s taken. Haruka asks if her chest shrunk, and Asuna is shocked that Haruka actually said that. Haruka says her father would be happy to see her happy, and Asuna asks her not to mention him. Outside, Yahagi has a flashback of meeting with Haruka years ago during a snowfall. On the Ericcson, Ryan sits in the cockpit of a GM Canard that will be used in a space battle. As the ship enters Achilles, Ryan has a discussion with Forma about a Side 3 activist named Marie Albertia. Having joined extremist forces, she’s been conducting sabotage operations with a Gelgoog. Forma asks if she’ll be the one attacking the students, and Ryan says they need real combat to discover Newtypes. Forma asks if it’s ok to let Titans investigators run loose, and Ryan mentions that their council is affiliated with the Titans, so it’s his job to prevent infighting. Forma thinks to himself that Ryan is crazy because he wants to see a world of Newtypes, which is beyond what anyone on Earth wants. Later, Forma and another man eavesdrop on an argument between Asuna and Haruka over Professor Elmarit. Asuna says it’s his fault she has to be in a military academy and Haruka has to live alone. Haruka says he was just researching ways to let Spacenoids lead happier lives, and Asuna asks her if she really believes that. She says her father wanted her to be a soldier because he couldn’t be one. She says she was nothing more than an experiment to him. Haruka asks her not to speak of him that way, and Asuna screams out that he isn’t even her real father. Asuna says she shouldn’t have come and runs away. Although he didn’t find out anything about Professor Elmarit, Forma thinks he learned something important. Haruka walks up to a car to ask about Asuna, and she’s surprised to see Yahagi is the driver. Asuna walks through the colony alone and eventually arrives at the former Zeon National Defense Academy.

Several months earlier, Asuna runs through the Ecole du Ciel campus, and students whisper that she’s the girl from Zeon. They comment that she’s joining a week late and think she must have special skills. As Asuna runs, Shinn pulls up in a jeep and tells her that he’s been ordered to help carry her things. Shinn tells her not to worry about the others because it’s very rare to see a Spacenoid in the school. Shinn offers to take Asuna’s bag, and Emilu approaches and tells him not to help Asuna because she’s the enemy. She says that Asuna is a Spacenoid and should therefore be in space. Emilu tells Asuna there’s no place for her on Earth, and Shinn yells at her to stop. Asuna then slaps Emilu and says she’s just an average girl. She then says that Emilu’s glasses are awful, and Emilu fires back that Asuna is flat chested Emilu then warns Shinn to stay away from Asuna and leaves. Shinn comments that they’d make a good match, and Asuna leaves to see the principal. Asuna recalls an earlier meeting with the principal and Ryan, where she insisted that she wanted to go to art school, not a military academy. Ryan says that he knows Asuna received special training as a child. He explains that the military is forceful, so she doesn’t really have a choice. If she refuses their offer, Haruka will suffer for it. Asuna looks at a GM Canard and thinks to herself that mobile suits are so boring she doesn’t even want to draw them. Asuna searches for art supplies and asks an ice cream vendor if she can open the supply store next door. Shinn stops by and orders two sea urchin ice creams. He tells Asuna that her attitude gets her into fights, and he gives her some ice cream. Elsewhere, Emilu laments that guys like bubbly airheads like Asuna, and she wishes someone would pay attention to her. She suddenly remembers a scene of devastation from the One Year War. Shinn gives Asuna some sketches that she dropped, and she tells him she wanted to go to art school. He says that they’re stuck at the school for a year, so they should make the best of it. Emilu and a crowd of students yell that they don’t want to spend a year with someone from Zeon, and that Asuna should leave before they kick her out. Shinn tells them to stop, and Asuna tosses her sketchbook at them. She cries and says that her family receives money from the military, and that if she can’t make it at the school, her mother won’t be able to sustain herself. Shinn asks Asuna where her father is, and she says he abandoned them after the war. Emilu yells out that her parents were killed by Zeon. Forma suddenly appears and tells them to fight it out and get it over with. The fight takes place in a mobile suit simulator, with Asuna and Emilu using GM Kais. Emilu easily wins and asks Asuna if she lost on purpose. Asuna says she was distracted by the panoramic monitor and that she didn’t come to fight. Emilu tells her that if she dies, she won’t be able to draw. Kerry calls Asuna a Zeon loser, and Emilu throws ice cream at his head. She wonders if it should be so easy to pull a trigger and kill people. Asuna then goes to her admission ceremony and takes a picture with her Zeon uniform.

Commentary

The second volume of Ecole du Ciel moves the story forward, but it also takes us back to the past. We see the events leading to Asuna’s admission to the school, as well as the reason for her early, lackluster performance. She never wanted to go to the school, but the military threatened her and forced the issue. Also, it’s surprising to see that Asuna and Emilu, who are such close friends, didn’t get along at the beginning. We learn that Emilu’s parents were killed by the Zeon during the One Year War, so it’s understandable why Emilu would hate a Spacenoid. In the present, Asuna has a not-so-tender reunion with her mother Haruka, revealing that the Professor isn’t her real father. We learn a bit more about the mysterious council, mainly that they’re connected to the Titans. The Titans are the driving force behind everything, as they want Newtypes for military purposes. Having moved to space, the training goes to a new level. Aside from standard training, the council is planning on inciting a real battle with Zeon extremists. They must be hell bent on getting Newtypes if they’re willing to go that far. The Titans are starting to move, and given the current date in the story, it shouldn’t be too long before the infamous Colony 30 gassing occurs.

Overall Rating
3.5/5
Ecole du Ciel Info


Writer:

Haruhiko Mikimoto

Artist:
Haruhiko Mikimoto

Mechanical Designer(s):
Yoshinori Sayama
Takayuki Yanase

Format:
12 volumes (incomplete)

Manga Release:
Japan 12.18.2001 – 02.26.2011
U.S. 09.13.2005 – 03.30.2010

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