In UC 0105, the luxury passenger shuttle Haunzen proceeds on course to Earth. The shuttle’s passengers are among the elite, including Earth Federation cabinet ministers. A flight attendant named Mace Flower asks Hathaway Noa if he’d like another drink and comments he’s the only person to eat a full meal since they launched. Hathaway overhears a young woman named Gigi Andalucia talking to Kenneth Sleg about the terrorist Mafty Navue Erin. Despite Kenneth’s civilian clothes, Gigi correctly guesses that he’s an officer in the Earth Federation Forces. She guesses he must have special connections to get on the Haunzen, especially since many of the passengers are heading to the Adelaide conference. Gigi also notices that Kenneth removed the ring from his left hand, which annoys him. Kenneth answers Gigi’s question about his opinion on Mafty by stating that Mafty is a dangerous person disrupting the order of the government. Gigi notes that the public seems to love Mafty and points to a news article on her tablet that asks if Mafty is the next Char Aznable. Kenneth notes Mafty’s stated goals, which are to assassinate cabinet ministers and force people to leave Earth to save the environment. Kenneth thinks that the idea of forcing the rest of humanity off Earth is childish, but Gigi counters that sometimes a child’s logic is correct. Kenneth doesn’t think the world works that simply, and Gigi comments that everything he says is predictable. As the Haunzen approaches Earth, its mobile suit escort falls back. The shuttle positions itself to begin atmospheric reentry, and a Gaplant approaches it from the rear. Mace chats briefly with Kenneth, but he stops talking when he notices the shadow of the Gaplant pulling away. An overhead hatch is then opened by armed masked terrorists. Kenneth pulls Mace into a cabin to avoid getting caught in the crossfire between security and the terrorists. The terrorists quickly advance and reach the cabin. A cabinet minister named Karl Eyinstein tells Kenneth not to get them caught up in the situation, but Kenneth counters that if this is Mafty, they’ll come to kill the ministers onboard. Three terrorists enter the cabin, including the pumpkin mask wearing leader who calls himself Mafty. Kenneth drops his gun on Mafty’s orders, and Mafty then addresses the hostages and states that he’s not here to kill them. Instead, he wants to ransom them off to obtain war funds from the government. A panicked old woman yells at her husband, and one of the terrorists opens fire to shut them up. Mafty looks through the passenger manifest to identify all the ministers. Gigi laughs at a cartoon and tells Mafty that his name is an amusing mix of Sudanese, Irish and Arabic. Mafty sees her name on the passenger list and asks why the seat next to her is also reserved, and she answers that it’s to avoid unwanted advances. The Public Health Minister annoys Mafty with some questions, and Kenneth then tries to tackle Mafty, which results in Mafty firing at the minister and killing him. Mafty then orders another minister to deal with the corpse, but Hathaway volunteers instead. Hathaway uses blankets to wrap up the corpse and then secures it to the seat. The minister’s wife cries over his body, so Mafty kills her too. Gigi tells Hathaway to do it because they’re fakes, so Hathaway attacks Mafty and shoots him and another terrorist. Kenneth assists in taking down another terrorist, and Hathaway rushes into the cockpit to deal with those terrorists. Hathaway physically takes down one of the terrorists, but Kenneth shoots the other before he can open fire. With the Haunzen secure, the flight is diverted to the city of Davao in the Philippines. Hathaway watches over the captured terrorists and sees Gigi disembarking down an emergency slide.
Kenneth tells Hathaway that Gigi might’ve been right about the terrorists being fakes. Kenneth wonders if they’re a splinter group from Oenbelli, a town in Australia where tens of thousands have gathered in support of Mafty. Kenneth orders soldiers to take custody of the prisoners before the Bureau of Investigation arrives. Kenneth tells Hathaway that they’ll need to take his witness statement before arranging his transfer flight. Kenneth mentions he never caught his name and formally introduces himself as the new EFF commander in Davao, and Hathaway responds with his own name. An old woman from the flight thanks Hathaway at the airport lounge and drags him away to make introductions. Later, Hathaway is approached by Hundley Yeoksan of the Criminal Police Organization, who recalls that Hathaway is the son of Capt. Bright Noa and who piloted a mobile suit during Char’s Rebellion in UC 0093. Hathaway downplays things and says he basically just stole a mobile suit and flew around in it, but it was overlooked because the EFF won the war. Hundley mentions that his colleagues need to interview Hathaway, but they’re having a disagreement with Kenneth, so they want him to stay in Davao until the morning. Hathaway responds that he needs to get to Manado on Sulawesi Island tomorrow because he’s training to be a botanical observer on the Minahasa Peninsula. Hundley asks if he’s working under Professor Amada Mansun, and Hathaway answers that he is. Hathaway asks if they could do the interview right now, but Hundley says that they’re done for the day. Hathaway wonders if Hundley runs Man Hunter, and one of Hundley’s subordinates, Gass H. Huguest, asks if they could talk for a bit. Hathaway sits next to Gigi and asks why she laughed earlier, but she doesn’t remember. He then asks how she knew the terrorists weren’t Mafty, and she responds that a person’s body reveals who they are. She recalls that she laughed because Mafty Navue Erin is the name for a rightful king of prophets, like Hathaway. He laughs her statement off and says he’s just an ordinary man. Hathaway thinks to himself that Gigi is capable of seeing through lies. He asks why she thinks he’s Mafty, and she explains that he’s too young to afford his way onto the Haunzen, and that he seemed upset when the fake Mafty appeared. Gigi says she won’t tell anyone about Hathaway and thinks this is all thrilling and fun, but he warns her that words can kill. Gigi stands up and insists she’s not like that. Hathaway thinks they should forget their conversation, but she doesn’t think either of them can. She then gets called away for her interview, while Hathaway sits down for his. Hathaway is then given a hotel card with unlimited charges and told to be ready in the morning for the next interview. Hathaway finds Gigi outside the airport, and she suggests sharing the ministerial limo since they seem to be at the same hotel. Gigi asks what’s the matter, and he whispers that he won’t talk about it so as to not put them in danger. The car drops them off at the luxurious Tasaday Hotel, where each of them has a two-bedroom suite. Gigi tells Hathaway to stay with her because she doesn’t want to be alone in such a big suite, and he reluctantly agrees. She then dips her feet into the infinity pool on their private balcony. Hathaway asks Gigi if she’s going to live in Hong Kong, but she answers that she’d prefer the mountains of Japan. Hathaway notes that his mother’s ancestors came from Japan. She then changes the subject and comments that Mafty is doing things the wrong way, so Hathaway asks what her way would be. Gigi answers that the best thing is a dictatorship that never errs, and Hathaway laughs that a person who could do that would be God. She counters that Hathaway had better become a god, and he answers that by the time there’s someone like that, all of humanity will be gods. Gigi asks if he means Newtypes, but he says they don’t exist. Hathaway returns to his room to shower and wonders how he should deal with Gigi. He then looks up Oenbelli on a printed map and wonders why people are gathering there. He leaves the room and sees Gigi topless while trying on a swimsuit, and she yells that he’s rude. Hathaway counters that they’re not married, he didn’t agree to stay with her and he hates women who run around naked and don’t care where they are. Gigi runs into her room, and Hathaway wonders if she’s trying to trap him. He knocks on her door to say he’s going for a walk, and she yells at him. Hathaway wonders if he was being rash, just like with Quess Paraya.
Hathaway walks the Davao Environmental Botanical Garden and meets with Mihessia Hence, a Mafty operative. He tells her that the time is decided and gives her a book to pass along to Iram Masam. He then asks about Oenbelli, and she explains that people have been gathering there because that’s where they think Mafty’s base is. Hathaway asks if Quack Salver is behind this, and Mihessia answers that the general is happy, but they haven’t had any contact with the estimated 30,000 people there. Hathaway asks about Kimberley’s movements, and operative Kenji Mitsuda walks up and says that happened yesterday, giving them more freedom of movement. Hathaway mentions that Kenneth looks like he’ll be more trouble, and Kenji says that a new model mobile suit is being tested. Kenji takes Hathaway’s hotel card to a local shop and has it checked out for tracking functions, but it doesn’t have any. Kenji comments that Hathaway could live forever on the unlimited charge card, which earns him an angry lecture from Mihessia. The three head to a Jollibee fast food restaurant and sit at two tables. Hathaway tells them he’ll be under surveillance from both the EFF and the Bureau of Investigation. Mihessia asks if he wants a diversion, and Hathaway answers that he’d like to keep his civilian cover intact. She then asks about Gigi, and Hathaway explains that he doesn’t know if Gigi will help him or turn out to be a spy. Mihessia doesn’t understand, and Hathaway answers that Gigi would be a dangerous person to have as an enemy. Hathaway tells them to organize a diversionary attack and to aim for above the 32nd floor where he’s staying. Kenji tenses up when a Man Hunter patrol vehicle drives by and stops to harass citizens on the street. The Man Hunters begin checking for residence permits, and Mihessia slips away with Kenji because she’s already been deported once. Hathaway hides out in a small store and chats with the owner’s child about the Man Hunters checking permits. A Man Hunter Jegan lands on the street, and an officer opens fire randomly with an externally mounted anti-personnel machine gun. Hathaway catches a ride in a taxi, and the driver complains about the Man Hunters and wonders why Mafty doesn’t attack. However, the driver doesn’t understand Mafty’s goal to have humanity in space, and Hathaway notes that there’s less greenery and it’s harder to fish now. The cabbie comments that there’s enough fish for everyone on the island, and Hathaway says that Mafty is talking about a millennium in the future. The cabbie laughs and says he can’t think that far ahead when he’s too busy trying to make a living right now. The cabbie explains that he has to earn money so he can bribe his way into getting a proper residency permit, so he can’t focus on the future. Hathaway returns to the hotel and finds a message waiting for him from Huguest about tomorrow’s interview. He sits alone to eat room service when Kenneth walks in with Gigi. She explains that they’re going to eat because Hathaway abandoned her for his walk. Gigi leaves, and Kenneth asks Hathaway if he’s going to sleep with her. Kenneth jokes that he’ll have to steal her away first, and Hathaway answers that he doesn’t care. Hathaway asks about his statement, and Kenneth explains that after the interview with the Bureau of Investigation, Hathaway can sign the statement he’s preparing for him. Kenneth mentions that he looked into Hathaway’s background and read about his shooting down an enemy with no training during Char’s Rebellion. Hathaway tries to downplay it, but Kenneth thinks it’s a big deal. Kenneth then mentions that he’s exasperated by his predecessor Kimberley, who attacked Oenbelli just to spite him before he assumed command. After they leave, Hathaway lays in bed and says that all humanity can’t live on Earth together, and if he does nothing there will be no consolation for everyone who died during Char’s Rebellion.
Two of Mafty’s Galcezon sub-flight systems fly over the ocean carrying Messer Type F-01 suits. Messer pilot Gawman Nobile isn’t worried about enemies because it will take Kimberley’s forces 15 minutes to get to Davao. Galcezon pilots Civet Anhern and Raymond Cain warn him about Kenneth and the new mobile suit, but Gawman dismisses those concerns and notes how easy it’ll be with seven cabinet ministers all gathered together in Davao. The Galcezons ascend before releasing the Messers piloted by Gawman, Fencer Mayne and Golf. Gawman sees an immediate EFF response and apologizes to the innocents who will get caught in the crossfire. Hathaway sees a nearby building under attack and wakes up Gigi so they can evacuate. Gawman lands under heavy tree cover to hide until his next scheduled movement. Hathaway hesitates when an elevator arrives, but Gigi tells him it’ll be OK. As they ride down with a cabinet minister and his mistress, Gigi asks Hathaway why he asked her, and he answers that he trusts her instincts. She then tells him he should clear up that confusing conversation from before. Gigi comments that Hathaway does scary things. Gawman jumps into the air and opens fire on the Tasaday Hotel, but Hathaway and Gigi manage to escape. Hathaway spots Mafty operative Emeralda Zubin across the street, and Gigi asks if he’s going to leave her. He answers that he won’t and takes off his jacket to put it over her. Emeralda is annoyed when Hathaway and Gigi run in a different direction, and Hathaway spots the new Penelope flying overhead, which he presumes was made by Anaheim Electronics. Gawman wonders if a new commander can make such a huge difference as he engages multiple Gustav Karl Type-00s. The Penelope buzzes Gawman, and its incoming fire causes him to drop his shield on the city below. Emeralda chases after Hathaway and thinks to herself that his weakness has come to light. A beam blast hits the ground behind her and kills multiple evacuating civilians. Gawman’s engines are damaged by fire from a Gustav Karl, causing him to lose altitude. Hathaway grabs Gigi and pulls her to safety before a downed Gustav Karl crashes into the ground. He then follows Emeralda to a nearby park. Gawman lands outside the park, and a Gustav Karl lands near him and opens fire. Hathaway pulls a terrified Gigi away as Gawman and the Gustav Karl fight. Gawman takes the suit down, but another lands nearby and attacks with a beam saber. Hathaway thinks to himself that this is all Gigi’s fault and he should just leave her and escape with Emeralda. Gigi cries and says this is all awful. A wall crumbles near them, but Hathaway grabs Gigi and runs away as a Gustav Karl lands on the building and crushes it with its weight. One of the Gustav Karls stabs Gawman’s Messer and disables it. A Kessaria sub-flight system lands nearby, and Kenneth arrives on horseback with several men. As Gigi runs toward him, Hathaway remembers Quess running toward Char when he fought Amuro Ray at Londenion in UC 0093. Kenneth is surprised to see Gigi and Hathaway there, and he has her taken into the Kessaria’s cockpit. Kenneth comments that this is the first time he’s seen a Mafty mobile suit. The Penelope lands nearby, and Kenneth explains that’s a new Gundam he had sent over. Hathaway calls it an ace’s machine, but Kenneth disappointingly notes that the pilot, Lane Aim, hasn’t drawn out its full potential yet. Captured Gawman is led away to a personnel carrier, and Kenneth orders the soldiers not to harm him since he’ll need to be interrogated. Lane descends from his cockpit, and Kenneth criticizes his performance because they lost three units to take down one enemy. He threatens to give the Penelope to Hathaway if Lane has another poor performance. After Lane leaves, Kenneth comments that he’s exceptional as a test pilot, but not so great in the field. Hathaway comments that Lane looks pretty eager and reminds him of his youth. Hathaway bristles at the cold and joins Gigi in the Kessaria’s cockpit, where she gives him some of her coffee.
Hathaway and Gigi are transported to the EFF’s Davao Air Base, where she gets some fresh clothes from the military store. A soldier tells them that Kenneth is running late but wants to meet with them, and that the Bureau of Investigation is coming to the base for the interviews. Hathaway and Gigi sit down to eat in the mess hall and are soon joined by Kenneth, who announces that he’s decided on a new name for the Kimberley Unit. He thinks naming it after himself would be egotistical, so he decided on Circe Unit. Gigi doesn’t think it sounds tough, but then she realizes it refers to the mythological Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios and an enchantress who made fierce animals obedient. Kenneth comments that Gigi can make fierce men obedient and thinks that she’s a goddess of luck, so if she sleeps with him, the Circe Unit will gain the power of Circe. Hathaway doesn’t like that type of talk, and their conversation is interrupted by Ray Lagoid making a report. Kenneth tells Gigi she’s still a child, and she counters that she hates the way jaded adults like him talk. She leaves, and Kenneth blames everything on Hathaway’s indecisiveness. Hathaway tells Kenneth that he’s blatant and crude, and Kenneth notes that Hathaway sometimes acts like a shy youngster. He wonders if Hathaway had his heart broken in the past, and Hathaway leaves to get some sleep. Kenneth comments that he won’t be getting any sleep dealing with Mafty since they’ve now assassinated 18 government ministers. Hathaway comments that no matter how many people Mafty kills, he’ll eventually be sacrificed. Kenneth vows that he’ll be the one to take Mafty’s head. Later, Hathaway sits down for his interview with Huguest, who concludes they don’t need to speak further. Hathaway asks why so many government ministers traveled to airspace where Mafty was active and stayed together at that hotel, but Huguest answers that he’s assigned to this backwater and doesn’t know about things happening in space. Huguest thinks that they’ll start to see more people claiming the Mafty name, but whether they’re real or fake, they’re still terrorists who will eventually lose public support. Hathaway signs his witness statement in Kenneth’s new office. Kenneth comments that if Hathaway had joined the Circe Unit, he would’ve assigned him to the Penelope. However, Hathaway explains that his performance in Char’s Rebellion was a fluke and caused lots of problems for Bright. Kenneth figures it must be hard to have a famous father, but Hathaway notes that girls would often approach him to talk about Bright. Kenneth asks Hathaway if he’s going to say goodbye to Gigi, but Hathaway answers that if he did, he’d have second thoughts. Kenneth mentions that he doesn’t know where she’s going because the apartment she registered is unoccupied. Hathaway rides away in a military limo and wonders if Gigi kept her mouth shut about him. He then second guesses himself and wonders if she’s talking to Kenneth right now. Hathaway reaches the ferry terminal and leaves his suitcase in a locker. Mafty then hijacks the airwaves to play a propaganda message on TV. Hathaway works his way to a beach and sits down on the sand. A boy pulls up in a canoe to pick up Hathaway and rows out to a location to rendezvous with Emeralda and Kenji in a small boat. Hathaway gives his jacket to Kenji and tells him about the locker, and Kenji takes his place in the canoe and leaves with the boy. Emeralda comments that none of the people on the Haunzen realized they were with the real Mafty, but Hathaway thinks that Kenneth would figure it out. After traveling for a fair bit, Hathaway transfers over to a flying boat. Gigi sits in Kenneth’s office and mentions how Hathaway left without saying a word to her. Kenneth tells her what Hathaway said and explains that he’ll take her to Hong Kong after the operation ends. He then mentions that he looked into Gigi and learned that she got onto the Haunzen with a referral from Boundenwooden. He asks why she was on the shuttle, and Gigi answers that she has a close relationship to Count Boundenwooden, which she feels explains everything. Kenneth mentions that her Hong Kong apartment is empty, and she explains that the count bought it for her. Kenneth comments that it’s fine if she stays because soldiers have superstitions and he thinks she might be a goddess of victory. Gigi notes that Hathaway avoided her, and Kenneth says he’s not a real soldier. Kenneth then has a revelation and asks Gigi if Hathaway told her something or if she sensed something about him.
The flying boat reaches its destination and lands at an abandoned underground EFF base now occupied by Mafty. Hathaway greets Iram and apologizes to Civet about Gawman, but Civet tells him not to feel sorry. Iram thinks they need to consider a rescue operation, and Hathaway agrees. Hathaway asks about the Valiant, and Iram answers it should reach the designated location. He then asks about the midair pickup, and Iram says he talked about it with Mihessia. He then mentions that a group calling itself Mafty’s 1st Army texted them a request for help from Oenbelli, where they’re under attack from more than 10 of Kimberley’s Gustav Karls. Hathaway is annoyed that these people are disrupting their work, and he doesn’t want to risk “it” falling into the hands of the EFF. An alarm goes off when a signal is intercepted from an enemy submarine. A Messer and Galcezon launch to intercept the sub. Kenneth is shown a picture of Hathaway’s boat and tells everyone to step up their efforts. Hathaway and Emeralda depart from the base in an ekranoplan, and elsewhere, pilots tease Lane about when they’ll be able to launch. The ekranoplan rendezvous with the Valiant, and Hathaway is told he shouldn’t have any trouble, but there’s no guarantee about making it back. Emeralda worries about if she can do this, but she knows they don’t have any regular pilots to spare. Kenneth is told the boat belongs to a Side 3 official on his way to Hong Kong to connect to the Adelaide conference. Kenneth is then informed that the sub reports the appearance of unidentified forces. He goes to interrogate Gawman, who insists he knows nothing because knowing too much would endanger the mission. Kenneth mentions Hathaway and asks if he has a connection to Mafty, and Gawman answers that Hathaway is Mafty Navue Erin. Kenneth asks who is pulling the strings and threatens to label Gawman as Mafty and have him executed. Gawman answers that he doesn’t know and flippantly says there are rumors that Mafty is the ghost of Char. Kenneth then slams Gawman’s head into the table and knocks him to the floor. Gawman later wakes up handcuffed in the cockpit of the Penelope with Lane, who explains that Kenneth ordered him to use Gawman as a shield in case things don’t go their way. Gawman thinks that’s foul, but Lane counters that compared to Mafty’s indiscriminate terror attacks, the loss of just Gawman’s life is a small price to pay. Lane adds that he doesn’t do things like that and guarantees Gawman’s life as long as he can fight.
Golf returns from taking down the sub, only to have Iram tell him that they have to abandon the base because of incoming EFF mobile suits. From underwater, the base vertically launches a Galcezon attached to a rocket booster bed. The booster bed separates once the Galcezon achieves low Earth orbit to rendezvous with the descending Cargo Pisa. Raymond detects the Cargo Pisa and purges the Galcezon’s shields, revealing a Messer Type F Naked piloted by Emeralda and with Hathaway as a passenger. An enemy unit is detected, and Emeralda slowly maneuvers the Messer over to the Cargo Pisa. The Cargo Pisa slips away, and Hathaway tells her to just ram into it. Emeralda grabs onto the Cargo Pisa, and Hathaway exits the cockpit to transfer over. Hathaway blames his naivete for causing this situation because he was coming back from Anaheim and wanted to be on the Haunzen to see the ministers’ faces. Kenneth is informed that they likely won’t be able to contact Lane’s unit, so that means he’ll have to trust Lane’s judgement. Kenneth thinks about Hathaway fighting on the Haunzen and is convinced he’s Mafty. Lane orders the Gustav Karls and Kessarias to intercept the descending Cargo Pisa. Inside the Cargo Pisa, Hathaway changes into a pilot suit and enters the cockpit of the new Xi Gundam. The Cargo Pisa is damaged as it re-enters the atmosphere, and Hathaway hears the voice of Amuro saying that the Grim Reaper won’t come when Hathaway is expecting him. Lane fires his beam cannons at the Cargo Pisa, forcing the Xi Gundam to emerge. Hathaway dodges an attack, and Lane is surprised to see that the Xi Gundam has a Minovsky flight system. Gawman tells Lane not to pursue, but Lane yells at him in response. Hathaway opens fire on the Penelope, but Lane is able to dodge. Gawman warns Lane that Hathaway will attack from the right side. Gustav Karls deploy to attack Hathaway, but he dodges and destroys their Kessarias, forcing them to land on a nearby island. Hathaway blocks another attack from Lane, and the two then attack each other with beam sabers. Lane calls the Xi Gundam a Gundam copy, and Hathaway hears Gawman yelling at Lane. Hathaway calls out to Gawman and asks if he’s a traitor or being used as a shield. Lane answers that he’s not like Kenneth, and Gawman tells Hathaway not to worry about him. Hathaway thinks that Lane is pathetic for using a hostage in a fight, and Lane responds that he can have Gawman back since he’s only there on Kenneth’s orders. Lane kicks the Xi Gundam away and fires his beam cannons to force Hathaway to maintain distance. He then opens his cockpit and tosses Gawman out, so Hathaway repositions and opens his hatch to catch him. Hathaway wants to settle the fight in one strike and wonders if he can do it. Lane unleashes a barrage of funnel missiles, but Hathaway evades. Hathaway responds with his own funnel missile attack, and a few manage to hit the Penelope and cause it to crash in the ocean. Lane emerges from his cockpit underwater and swims up to the surface, and he assumes that he had to have shot the Xi Gundam down. At the Davao Air Base mess hall, Gigi asks about Lane, and Kenneth comments that it’s a miracle he came back alive, so Gigi must really be a goddess of victory. She doesn’t feel that way, and Kenneth says that surviving on her own is proof of her good fortune. She comments that she has her own plans and feels sorry for the count. The Xi Gundam lands on the Valiant, where Hathaway receives a hero’s welcome. Emeralda tells the other pilots that she wants to scout out Oenbelli. Kelia Dace tells Hathaway that they only recovered half the spare parts for the Xi Gundam because the rest sank. Hathaway is surprised that she’s joined them already, and she answers that it was easier to come back from Hong Kong than space. Gigi prepares to leave and tells Kenneth that she plans to test if she’s lucky. Hathaway steps out on deck as the ship continues on course.
Gundam Hathaway‘s path to the screen was a long one – it started out as a novel series in 1989, and its eventual theatrical release was delayed over a year by COVID-19. This movie gives us a look at a previously unexplored part of the UC world, and our entry into that world is through the eyes of Hathaway Noa, who we saw as a child in Zeta Gundam and a teen in Char’s Counterattack, but now he’s an adult. He leads a double life where he’s publicly the son of a famed war hero, but secretly leads the anti-Federation group Mafty. The opening hijacking is well done and draws Hathaway, Gigi and Kenneth together. The relationship between the three definitely gives me a Code Geass vibe, with Hathaway worrying about whether or not his real identity has been figured out, and having a good rapport with a future nemesis. This movie is definitely much more character focused than other original Gundam theatrical releases, but that’s in keeping with the structure of the novel that it faithfully adapts. While the action scenes in this movie are not high in quantity, they are high in quality. The Philippines have never been featured as a setting in Gundam, but Davao is beautifully depicted in backgrounds that often look photorealistic. Given that Tomino wrote the first novel in 1989, the staging of the mobile suit battle in Davao leads me to wonder if he adapted this for the later opening battle in Gundam F91. There are many good small moments in this movie, but one that merits specific mention is Hathaway’s conversation with the cabbie. We often hear in Gundam of the grand, sweeping principles that all these factional leaders aspire to, but the viewpoint of the common civilian is often overlooked. Hathaway (as Mafty) can talk about a big vision of moving humanity off Earth to save the environment, but that means little to someone trying to scratch out a meager living. Veteran mechanical designer Hajime Katoki handled the adaptation of Yasuhiro Moriki’s original designs from the novel, and the anime versions are both distinctly modern but also echo their 80s origins. Hiroyuki Sawano provides the soundtrack, returning from both Gundam Unicorn and Gundam Narrative, and while Hathaway‘s score is distinct, you can hear bits that evoke his earlier work. Overall, I’d say this movie is great achievement as an adaptation of an existing work, and it’s a worthwhile entry in the Gundam saga, as long as you watch it with the proper expectation that it’s lighter on mobile suit battles than other entries. This opening chapter in the trilogy leaves plenty of room to explore several open questions, such as what led Hathaway down the path to becoming Mafty, and what is Gigi’s real agenda?