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Volume 2

 

Review by Chris Guanche

December 12, 2020

 

Summary

 

Ford sets a new record in the combat simulator, but then wonders what the point is. Luce asks Annie to check the generator module one more time, but she tells him they can’t figure out how to stabilize the energy in the Gundam 4th’s mega beam launcher. Luce then chews on the end of a cigarette and tells Annie that he won’t smoke again until the war is over. On the bridge, Kilstein receives intelligence from Anaheim employee Tracey Lamour that a Zeon reinforcement fleet will likely launch from Granada. At Granada, Nord tells Mallet that they’ve reassembled the reinforcement fleet, but they have to deal with the EFF fleet hiding nearby. Mallet vows that he’ll take down the EFF fleet and also hunt down the Gundam 5th. Nord thinks they can counter the EFF fleet if they can figure out its strength. He intends to launch the fleet and expose its flank to the lunar debris field to lure in the EFF. He estimates that it takes time for the Gundam 4th to charge energy for its launcher, so Mallet’s mission is to destroy it before it can fire. Nord asks Mallet what he thinks about the mobile armor, and Mallet answers that his squad is running tests on it. He thinks he can beat the enemy just with his Act Zaku, and Nord tells him he’s too arrogant. A soldier named Kowalle shows the Newtype use mobile armor to Gusta, Huyman and Lilia, but Mallet dismisses Newtypes as EFF propaganda. Kowalle insists that Newtype technology is real, but he can’t talk about it because it’s classified. Mallet yells that they have orders to launch and will destroy the Gundams. After he walks away, Gusta wonders aloud if Mallet is crazy. Kilstein is informed that the Zeon fleet is launching from Granada, and Luce asks for permission to use the launcher again even though it’s incomplete. Miyu disagrees and thinks it’s too risky, but Luce argues that normal attacks don’t work, so he’s willing to take the risk. Kilstein approves, but on the condition that Luce only fires it at their direction. Ford vows to have Luce’s back in battle, and Luce tells him not to lose his cool. Luce and Ford launch in their Gundams, followed by the Guncannon team. Guncannon team leader Wesley Navarro joins Luce and Ford in traveling into the debris field while pilots Daryl Boyd and Kirk Wahlberg stay behind to defend the Thoroughbred. Luce has a bad feeling and prepares the launcher, but just at that moment he’s attacked by Gusta, Lilia and Huyman in the Braw-Bro. Ford tries to provide back up and comes under fire from Mallet’s Act Zaku. Luce can’t dodge the Braw-Bro’s all-range attack, and Wesley fires his cannons at Mallet. Ford fires his giant Gatling into the debris field and destroys some debris, revealing the Braw-Bro. Ford uses his beam saber to stab what he thinks is the cockpit, but the pilots survive the attack by launching their escape capsule. Mallet chases after Ford, and Ford sees this is what Luce meant about keeping his cool. Luce charges the launcher and is informed by Miyu that his target is the fleet’s flagship, a Chibe cruiser. Miyu tells him the external generator pack is unstable, but Luce doesn’t want to switch back to normal energy distribution. Luce fires and destroys the fleet, and Mallet sustains a head injury while barely avoiding being fully caught in the line of fire. Miyu sees that the external energy pack is going critical and tells Luce to eject, but he informs her that the hatch is broken. The external energy pack then explodes, killing Luce.

 

Ford dashes over to the site of the explosion and retrieves the remaining upper torso of the Gundam 4th, which he hauls back to the Thoroughbred. Inside the mobile suit hangar, Ford is pulled away as he yells that there’s no way Luce can be dead. Later, Miyu gives her report to Kilstein and explains that an external energy pack for the beam launcher exploded and killed Luce. After Miyu leaves, Kilstein blames himself for making the same mistake again. At Granada, Mallet is placed on a stretcher and rushed into a treatment room. His faced wrapped in bandages from his injuries, he angrily screams the name “Gundam.” Lilia, Gusta and Huyman wonder if Mallet will survive. Although the Act Zaku suffered minor damage, Gusta notes that Mallet’s visor fragments went deep into his head. Lilia loudly declares that Mallet will make a speedy recovery, and she wonders what will happen to them now. Elsewhere, the Thoroughbred arrives for resupply at the former Zeon space fortress Solomon, which the EFF captured during Operation Cembalo and renamed Confeito. Annie supervises the transfer of new equipment and asks Miyu if anything is wrong. Miyu says she’s just curious about the Gundam’s maintenance. Annie asks if she’s calmed down, and Miyu answers that she cried her eyes dry. Miyu says that she still feels pain and doesn’t want to give up now that the peace Luce wanted is within reach. She starts to cry again, so Annie puts her arm around Miyu. Miyu thanks Annie for supervising the Gundam’s upgrade, and Annie asks how Ford is doing. Miyu answers that he’s still locked in his quarters, but she thinks they can’t sit idly by, or everything Luce fought for would be for nothing. Ford lies in his bed and has a dream of being left in the darkness without Luce. He’s awoken by the noise of pilots pounding on his door and demanding to know why he didn’t come to Luce’s burial. Miyu arrives and tells the pilots that she’ll talk to Ford, so they leave. Miyu notes that Ford didn’t come down to say goodbye to Luce, and he responds that there’s no point in doing that with an empty casket stuffed with flowers and shot into space. Miyu thinks that Ford doesn’t want to acknowledge Luce’s death and says he can’t stay in his quarters forever. She notes that the Gundam 5th has been upgraded with new equipment, so they need his help fine tuning it. He says they can do that without him, and when Miyu presses the issue, he yells at her that he doesn’t want to pilot the Gundam anymore. Ford explains that he’s afraid of fighting and that after Luce’s death he finally became aware of a fear of drifting alone in the pitch black of space. Ford could always count on Luce to guide him, but Luce died first and abandoned him. Miyu asks what he means, and Ford explains that now it’s his job to protect the ship, but he doesn’t know how to do it alone. Miyu slaps him across the face and tells him not to be conceited because everyone on the ship is fighting to protect each other. Miyu starts crying and asks Ford if he feels no shame since everyone is doing their best. Miyu says that Luce believed in fighting on until the end, and that the person he wanted most to understand was Ford. Ford thinks about all the times Luce said he was alive only because people were supporting him, and he finally understands. He then apologizes to Miyu and thanks her for everything. At that moment, the Zeon fire the Solar Ray colony laser, which destroys a large portion of the EFF fleet and its commander, Gen. Revil, along with Zeon Sovereign Degwin Sodo Zabi, who was meeting Revil for peace talks. Kilstein meets with senior officers in a briefing room and is given a new assignment to escort a Zeon Chibe ship arriving from their homeland. Kilstein asks if this is to end the war, and he’s told that Zeon Prime Minister Darcia Bakharov is on the ship and coming to sign a peace treaty at Granada. The Thoroughbred departs Confeito and rendezvous with the Zeon fleet. Ford pilots the upgraded Gundam 5th Bst and finds it odd that they’re now cooperating with the Zeon.

 

Bakharov asks Kilstein to escort him to Granada, and Kilstein offers to do his best. Miyu watches them shake hands and wonders if this will be a turning point in history. In space, Ford tells an inexperienced GM pilot to keep his distance from a Zaku II, but the pilot ends up causing a collision. Ford apologizes to the equally inexperienced Zeon pilot, and both suits end up drifting towards the bridge of a Salamis until a Gelgoog safely intercepts them both. The Gelgoog pilot shares the same weird feeling about cooperating with enemies and tells Ford that many in the Zeon military are opposed to peace. Ford asks the pilot if he would fight his own comrades, and the pilot answers that he would if it came to it. Ford admits that he doesn’t fully trust the Zeon and still suspects he’ll get shot in the back. Miyu tells Ford that it’s time for a shift change, so he returns to the ship and heads to the bridge. Bakharov is concerned that the Zeon fleet at Granada might try to block their attempts at peace negotiations. Bakharov thinks they might have to surrender in advance, and Ford angrily asks what they’re even here for then. Kilstein tells Ford to stand down, and he states that Luce died for a chance like this. Bakharov asks what Ford will do if the Zeon escort unit doesn’t want to fight the Zeon forces at Granada. On one of the monitors, the Gelgoog pilot tells Bakharov that he and his men want to end the war and are committed to their mission. Ford apologizes for doubting the pilot earlier and declares that he wants to work together for the sake of peace. Nord deploys his fleet to block Bakharov from reaching Granada. An officer asks if he’s going to fight Bakharov, and Nord explains that he wants the war to end too, but he can’t cede Granada while their comrades are still fighting at A Baoa Qu. Kilstein has Public ships launch to commence Minovsky radar jamming, and Miyu tells Ford this will be a joint operation with the Zeon. Ford launches in the Gundam 5th Bst and is joined by a Zaku and Rick Dom. Ford opens fire on the enemy, and the Gelgoog pilot destroys a Zaku. Nord issues orders to his fleet to outflank the Thoroughbred. Ford runs out of ammo and abandons his giant Gatling. The Thoroughbred opens fire on an enemy Musai, which was part of Kilstein’s plan to lure the Zeon out and target their flank under the cover of Minovsky jamming. Kilstein’s plan is to use the Thoroughbred as bait to draw away the Zeon forces, allowing Bakharov’s Chibe to reach Granada. The Zeon forces don’t take the bait, and Nord calls the Thoroughbred to propose a cease-fire. Kilstein asks why the sudden change, and Nord answers that the Zabis are dead and A Baoa Qu has fallen to the EFF. Nord says that any further fighting would be useless, and Kilstein accepts the cease-fire. Mallet, enraged by news of the cease-fire, forcefully leaves the infirmary and declares there will be no cease-fire. 

 

The Gelgoog pilot feels guilty because he almost wanted A Baoa Qu to fall so the war would end. The Guncannon pilots start cheering at the end of the war, but Ford tells them not to let their guard down yet. Nord tells an officer that while this is a military embarrassment for him as a soldier, there’s value in being able to live without fighting. Mallet grabs mechanic Jasto by the collar and demands that he explain that the Act Zaku’s mobility was supposed to surpass the Gundam. Jasto explains that the magnetic coating allows the Act Zaku to have near superhuman reaction speed, but a limiter is in place because the reaction depends on the pilot’s mastery of the suit. Mallet orders Jasto to disable the limiter, and his squad asks if he’s going to break Nord’s cease-fire. Jasto tells Mallet that it’ll take time for the suit to be ready, and Mallet vows to deal with his own limiter. Ford finds a damaged Zaku and offers to take it back to its ship, but the pilot angrily rejects his help. Ford tells the pilot that there’s no need for hostility because everything is over. As the joint fleet advances on Granada, Lilia discovers that Mallet has killed a doctor to get his hands on an experimental drug that dramatically expands awareness, but has the side effect of mental deterioration. Mallet says that a true soldier never disobeys orders and tells her to prepare for launch. Nord tells his men to prepare for Bakharov’s arrival and is informed that Mallet’s squad has launched. Nord issues orders to stop Mallet, and Mallet destroys a Rick Dom attempting to block him. Mallet injects himself with the drug and demands to know where the Gundam is. The Gelgoog pilot rushes toward Mallet and says he won’t let him destroy the peace everyone fought for. The Gelgoog attacks, but Mallet uses his increased mobility to evade and attack from behind. The Guncannons open fire on Mallet and come under attack from his squad in their Rick Doms. Ford tells them there’s a cease-fire, but Lilia responds that she doesn’t know anything about that and is following Mallet’s orders. Mallet charges toward Ford and uses his heat hawk to destroy Ford’s beam rifle. Ford notices the difference in Mallet’s movements and tells him there’s no point fighting now that Zeon has lost. Mallet denies that the Zeon lost and declares that they won’t lose as long as he lives. Ford pulls out his beam saber just in time to block another melee attack. Nord apologizes to Kilstein and reassures him that they want peace. Nord wants to deal with Mallet, but Kilstein doesn’t think Mallet will stop, and either way, he believes in Ford’s abilities. Nord is envious that Kilstein has soldiers he can trust, but Kilstein counters that such trust was bought at a great price. Ford is kept on the defensive and realizes that Mallet’s mobility is higher than his own. Ford recalls Luce’s advice about keeping his cool and stabs the Act Zaku through the cockpit, killing Mallet. With Mallet dead, his squad immediately surrenders. Miyu radios Ford to return to the ship, and he hopes he did well enough in Luce’s eyes. The Thoroughbred completes its escort mission, and on January 1, UC 0080, Bakharov signs a peace treaty that ends what is now known as the One Year War. Miyu finds herself filled with emotion and starts to cry, so Ford puts his arm around her.

 

Commentary

 

Events take a dramatic turn in volume 2 as Luce is tragically killed in an explosion following a gambit to use his beam launcher to destroy a Zeon fleet. Ford is mopey about it for awhile until realizing that he has to carry on Luce's will to bring an end to the war. Major events from the original series play out in the background here, including the battles to capture Solomon and A Baoa Qu. However, instead of participating in Operation Star One, the Thoroughbred is charged with escorting Bakharov, a character who first appeared in Yoshiyuki Tomino's Mobile Suit Gundam novels before being added to the compilation movie trilogy. (Of note - his son, Monaghan Bakharov, appears as a minor antagonist in the 2018 movie Gundam Narrative.) Ford definitely does some growing up in this volume following Luce's death, as evidenced by him being able to trust the Zeon that he's forced to work with. Unfortunately, there's no growth on Mallet's side, and he descends further into his one-dimensional villainy by killing a doctor and injecting himself with a dangerous drug just to be able to beat Ford, which he fails to do. It was also disappointing to see his squad go along with his violating the cease-fire when they were obviously wary of his mental state, and yet raised no protest to his actions. Overall, it was interesting to see a different side of the war precisely because the story isn't covering the same ground as the original series or other One Year War OVAs. As the volume ends, we can see quick cameos by Matt Healy and Ken Bederstadt from Chiba's previous Lost War Chronicles series. The story officially ends with volume two, but strangely this series features a third volume with an alternate scenario where Luce didn't die and events play out quite differently. If you're not interested in that, this volume is a good stopping point.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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