In the year Regild Century (RC) 1014, Capital Army Catsiths and space pirate Grimoires chase the Gundam G-Self as it enters Earth’s atmosphere. Grimoire pilot Cahill Saint fires an electric wire at the G-Self, and the cockpit opens to eject the pilot, a dark-skinned girl. Catsith pilot Dellensen Samatar grabs the girl as her descent continues. In the Capital Territory city Biclover in the Elraid continent, SU-Cord religious leader Gell Trimedestus Nug delivers a sermon. At the Capital Tower space elevator, Recten mobile suits are loaded onto the Crown transport module. The Crown then activates its engines and begins its ascent. In the passenger area, Dellensen uses a whip as he lectures Capital Guard Academy cadets about their first practical training exercise. Cadet Bellri Zenam dodges Dellensen’s whip, and Bellri’s friend Luin Lee notes that he skipped two grades. Dellensen’s lecture is interrupted by the arrival of cheerleaders from the St. Flower Academy, including Noredo Nug and Manny Ambassada. Noredo cheers for Bellri, and another student tells him that being the Operations Director’s son doesn’t allow him to bring girls from Kuntala aboard. Dellensen phones ahead about the cheerleaders running around and tells everyone to get back to their seats. Noredo and the others stumble into a cabin where they encounter the restrained dark skinned girl, who calls herself Raraiya Monday. A Capital Army soldier kicks Noredo for butting in, and the Crown approaches the Under Nut. Dellensen asks the students why the Under Nut isn’t counted as one of the elevator’s 144 nuts, and Torriti answers that it was built before the Tower to clear space debris from the Universal Century era. Dellensen quizzes students about the cables and nuts moving in sync with Earth, and Bellri answers that it has to do with the Minovsky Magnet-ray Field. The Earth’s upper atmosphere has an Airglow Belt that generates energy the cables absorb. Dellensen reminds the cadets that visual skills are necessary in space combat since Minovsky particles cancel out radar. Kerbes Yoh orders the cadets to get their helmets ready. Noredo and her Harobe robot Nobell are escorted back to the cabin where the other cheerleaders are. Noredo asks the soldiers what the difference is between the Capital Guard and Capital Army, but they don’t answer because the Crown arrives at the First Nut. Dellensen watches Raraiya’s catatonic behavior and wonders if she’s from Ameria, Gondwan or Towasanga. Noredo asks Dellensen about Raraiya, but he says nothing. Kerbes orders everyone to their Rectens, so Bellri goes first because he’s youngest. Bellri gets into the cockpit and tests the Recten’s arms, but a bunch of static comes in from Minovsky particle interference. He then spots several Grimoires flying by, plus the G-Self. The G-Self lands on top of the crown and fires its beam rifle.
Bellri and the other cadets are ordered to remain still, and a panicked Raraiya keeps repeating the letter “G.” The female pilot of the G-Self announces that she’s taking the Crown hostage for the next 20 minutes. Torriti’s Recten takes off with a welder and metal bar to fight, but its leg is shot off by the G-Self. Bellri attaches the big arms to the Recten and attacks the G-Self from behind. He then maneuvers around and attacks with his big arms before grabbing the G-Self’s head. Dellensen takes off in an orange Recten and is joined by Luin’s unit. Bellri tells the G-Self pilot to return to the Crown because she’ll get pulled down to Earth if she leaves the MMF field. Dellensen notes that this is Luin’s first practical experience, but Luin knows that a welder can double as a beam rifle. The G-Self attacks with a beam saber and cuts off one of Bellri’s big arms. Dellensen and Luin grapple onto the G-Self and threaten to damage its engine. Manny sees that Raraiya isn’t in good shape because she’s crying now. The G-Self is brought back to the Crown, which gets Raraiya’s attention. The G-Self’s pilot, Aida Rayhunton, thinks to herself that Cahill’s unit must’ve retrieved the photon battery by now. Bellri dismounts and watches as Dellensen yells at Aida for shooting at Torriti. He asks for her name and rank in the Amerian military, but Aida answers that she’s a space pirate. She refuses to answer Dellensen’s questions, and he shouts that pirates have no rights. Luin notes that the G-Self’s cockpit won’t open, and Aida explains only she can open it. However, Bellri walks up to the cockpit and opens it instantly, which baffles her. He examines the cockpit and sees that it confirms to international standards. The console detects a Rayhunton Code and ejects a small object. Dellensen asks Bellri to try to move the G-Self, which he does.
To mark the franchise’s 35th anniversary, Yoshiyuki Tomino returns to direct a TV series for the first time since the 20th anniversary. The character designs and bright colors are highly reminiscent of Tomino’s last TV series, Overman King Gainer. This debut episode jumps into the action with little set up or even an establishing shot. When it immediately opens with the G-Self being pursued, you feel like you’re watching something right after the commercial break and you missed what happened before. We know that this series is set in the future, long after the Universal Century, but not much is known about this changed world. The central focus is the Capital Tower space elevator, which looks very different from the ones used in Gundam 00. As far as debuts go, this one is pretty standard issue. Bellri is a blank slate, and so far nothing distinguishes him from his predecessors, so we’ll have to see how he develops. Some of the characters speak in weird ways, which is completely typical for a Tomino show. Despite the modern animation, it feels like an older series, which isn’t a bad thing. The mecha designs are pretty different for Gundam, with the G-Self being a nice standout. There are also some touches from Turn A Gundam, including Ameria as the future name of America, or the G-Self’s open arms pose. The series has my attention, but only time will tell if it can stack up to Tomino’s earlier entries in the franchise.