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Volume 4

 

Review by Chris Guanche

May 3, 2020

 

Summary

 

Karas’ grenade hits Tobia’s Pez Batalla and damages the cockpit. When Tobia opens the hatch, Karas tells him his senses are dull and shoots him. Later, Tobia awakens and finds himself bandaged, naked and chained to a wall on the Jupitris 9. Karas speaks to him over a loudspeaker and says he doesn’t know what happened to the Mother Vanguard, but it’s likely to end up a ghost ship. Tobia demands that Karas let Bernadette go, and Karas laughs that she is their princess who was rescued from pirates, so there’s no giving her “back.” He then mentions that she’s no longer Tobia’s concern because a tribunal has sentenced him to death for collaborating with the Crossbone Vanguard. Karas says that Tobia will be executed tomorrow in an elaborate production, and Tobia wonders if he’s going to lose here. Bernadette is brought to Dogatie’s chamber and says she wants to speak to her real father, not a puppet. The Dogatie bio unit responds that he’s the same and then reveals all the other bio units in tanks in the room. He states that they’re no longer bound by flesh and asks Bernadette what she wants. She asks him to stop his invasion because this isn’t the right way to find a new home for the Jovian people. The Dogatie bio unit laughs and says he wouldn’t send soldiers to Earth just to conquer it. He says there’s no meaning in taking over Earth and that he couldn’t care less about her and whether she’s dead or alive, but rumors start up when she’s not around. She asks what he’s doing, and Dogatie answers that Earth isn’t necessary to control mankind. On another part of the ship, Giri supervises Zabine’s torture and asks what his real agenda is, but Zabine answers he only wishes to serve Dogatie. Zabine says that he wants to carry out Dogatie’s ideals because they’re similar to aristocracy, and he gets hit with a shock club again. Giri says it’s too dangerous to use Zabine until he shows his true colors, and he asks Zabine if he thought they’d trust him so easily. Barnes expresses his distaste for the torture, but Rosemarie says she’s thrilled by it. Barnes wonders who Giri is since he doesn’t even think of people as human beings. Rosemarie doesn’t know, but she explains that Giri is a Newtype who received special training from Dogatie to become a future leader. Barnes sees that commanding the Death Gale Team is a test of Giri’s skill, and Rosemarie wonders if he sees it all as a game, but she doesn’t care as long as she profits. The next day, Tobia is brought to the ship’s coliseum for his public execution. A man tells him that his punishment is to fight and die in the coliseum. Karas shows up and tells Tobia that he has to survive and become his student again. He says the world allows only the strong to survive while the weak perish, and he serves the Empire because it is the only power that can run the Earth Sphere. He thinks it would be tragic if they let Tobia die and again urges him to survive. Tobia, armed only with a machine gun, is sent out into the coliseum to fight the Crossbone X2. The master of ceremonies says it’s fitting for a pirate to be executed by a pirate suit, and he announces that the victor will receive a full pardon from Dogatie.

 

Tobia quickly jumps out of the way as the Crossbone X2 attempts to step on him. He then fires his machine gun, which has no effect. The Crossbone X2 then attacks with its shot lancer, and Barnes tells Rosemarie to ease up on Tobia because he’s just a kid. Rosemarie counters that she’s having enough trouble piloting a unit she isn’t used to. Rosemarie then pins Tobia under the Crossbone X2’s hand and wonders what she should do next. She figures the audience wouldn’t be satisfied with a quick ending, but Tobia fires at the Crossbone X2’s hand. She wonders what that could possibly accomplish, but Tobia triggers the dummy balloon dispenser and breaks free with it. He then jumps onto the Crossbone X2’s head and fires his machine gun at the balloon to destroy it. A piece of the balloon covers the Crossbone X2’s head, leaving Rosemarie blinded. She opens the cockpit to try and see, but Tobia swings in and kicks her out of it. Tobia moves over to the stands and picks up Bernadette to bring her into the cockpit. Tobia smashes out of the coliseum and is attacked by Security Mobile Suits, but he easily disables them. Karas laughs in astonishment and says that Tobia must become his student again. A commanding officer is told about Tobia’s escape, but he says they’re between Jupiter and Mars, so there’s no one within a one million kilometer radius to rescue him. The Crossbone X2 escapes into space, and the officer is told that even if their mobile suits caught Tobia, they wouldn’t be able to return to the Jupitris 9, which is traveling at interplanetary cruising speed. The officer orders that the Llivia, which is still under repairs, be launched in pursuit. A technician picks up a minor system anomaly, but the officer tells him to ignore it. Barnes sees the anomaly and wonders if it’s Tobia. In another part of the ship, Tobia attaches a booster to the Crossbone X2’s ejected Core Fighter and tells Bernadette to fill the oxygen tanks. She asks him where they can go and mentions they could hide in a nearby asteroid. Barnes enters the room and applauds Tobia for using the Crossbone X2 as a decoy. He says that Tobia’s chances of being rescued are slim to none, and he adds that he doesn’t hate Tobia because he’s reminded of his dead son. He says that if Tobia thinks his chances out in space are better than being caught, he’ll look the other way. However, he adds that Bernadette has to stay and threatens to kill Tobia if he resists. Tobia responds that he can’t leave Bernadette behind, but she agrees to stay. She tells Tobia that he’s made it this far and that she believes he’ll do everything he can to save her. She adds that she wants to convince her father to stop the war and that she’s the only one who can do so. Barnes hears soldiers in the distance and tells them nothing is wrong. Bernadette tells Tobia that if she’s scared again he should come save her, and then she kisses him. Tobia takes off in the Core Fighter and vows to meet Bernadette again on Earth. Three days later, Dogatie receives a report on data from their observation pod showing that the Mother Vanguard picked up Tobia’s Core Fighter and is following them to Earth. Dogatie is amazed that Tobia figured out the Mother Vanguard’s trajectory and wonders if he perceived it instead.

 

The Core Fighter is brought into the Mother Vanguard’s hangar, and Kincade is glad to see Tobia alive. The rest of the crew greets him on the bridge, and Yona asks how he found them. Tobia answers that he calculated the most direct course for Earth and compensated for the broken sail, and after that he put the Core Fighter on autopilot. Berah asks about Bernadette, and Tobia answers that she wanted to stay behind to convince Dogatie to end the fighting. Tobia meets with Berah privately for a debriefing and reports what Dogatie told Bernadette about Earth not being necessary to control humanity. Berah comments that Spacenoids have become accustomed to their surroundings, and the people of Jupiter have become Jovians in the sense that they’re not from Earth. Berah thinks that Dogatie might be worse than she imagined and a threat to all of humanity. The Mother Vanguard continues on course for Earth, but with no sail the journey will take them two and half months and they won’t arrive before Dogatie. Tobia and Kincade meet with the chief mechanic to discuss a way to fight the Death Gale Team, and the mechanic answers that they'll improvise and produce new weapons with extended range. The Mother Vanguard eventually reaches Earth, but Dogatie has introduced himself in the media as a peaceful ambassador of the Jupiter Sphere. Berah is informed by a crewman that Sherindon Ronah’s Eos Nyx is on a rendezvous course with them. He says that EFF patrols have prevented SNRI from shipping them supplies, so the Eos Nyx is delivering on their behalf. Tobia asks who Sherindon is, and Berah explains that she’s a cousin who continued to support the aristocracy after the fall of Cosmo Babylonia. She wonders why Sherindon is showing up at a time like this and decides to meet. In a corridor, Tobia asks Umon why the people who support aristocracy think that way, and Umon answers that they believe people should be ruled by the elite, but Tobia wonders who determines who the elite are. Umon thinks the Earth Federation’s democracy has been around too long for there not to be revolts. Tobia thinks that’s a bad system, and Berah hits him on the head with a notebook and tells him to watch his mouth because many of the ship’s crew used to support Cosmo Babylonia. The Eos Nyx arrives, and Berah greets her cousin. Sherindon introduces herself to Tobia and asks if he’s not a true Newtype yet. Tobia and Kincade see that the Eos Nyx has crates of supplies, along with the new Crossbone Gundam X3. Tobia asks if it’s a new model, but Kincade explains it’s mostly the same. Tobia wonders who the pilot will be, and Umon jokes that it won’t be him. Sherindon meets privately with Berah and asks to take Tobia with her. She believes he has a lot of potential as a Newtype and that he could reach that potential with her. Berah responds that Tobia isn’t her property to give away and asks what Sherindon really wants. Sherindon refuses to hand over the supplies unless Berah stops fighting. Sherindon explains that she couldn’t have met with Berah unless she brought the supplies, and she says that these senseless battles only bring confusion and hate. She thinks negotiating with Dogatie is a better way to save Earth, but Berah counters they’re in no position to do that anymore. Sherindon thinks Berah just wants to spread conflict and that it will destroy humanity. She thinks that even if Berah can defeat Dogatie, another force will appear in the future. She thinks the only way to avoid this is for humanity to change and evolve into Newtypes to usher in an era of peace. She wants to amass more Newtypes and prevent Earth from being spoiled until the Newtypes outnumber the Oldtypes. Berah asks if she cares who rules Earth and if she’s just willing to surrender it to the Empire. Sherindon answers that she’s consider it if it led to fewer battles. Berah is informed that an EFF fleet is approaching, and Sherindon admits that she called them. She wants to force Berah, the Earth Federation and the Empire to the negotiating table. A squad of Type 133 Balls launches, led by a Gundam F91. The EFF commander orders the Crossbone Vanguard to surrender, and Umon sees that they’ll have to fight the EFF without their full strength.

 

The EFF commander announces that the Crossbone Vanguard will be escorted to an EFF space station to stand trial, and Berah sayss that their battle is over now. A crewman asks if they’re giving up, and she answers that their enemy is the Empire, not the EFF. The crew wants to fight, but Berah refuses and notes that they don’t have the numbers to take on the EFF. She thinks a trial might be a good thing because they can publicly reveal the existence of the Jupiter Empire and Dogatie’s ambitions. She tells the crew to escape and warns them that there will be severe penalties if they’re caught. Kincade asks Berah if she’s going to tell him to run away too, and she cries in his arms. The EFF fleet commander thanks Sherindon for her help, and Tobia is annoyed that he’s locked in a room on the Eos Nyx. Sherindon tells him to give up and that she will keep him safe and help him become a true Newtype. Umon asks Kincade what he’s going to do, and Kincade answers that they have to wait for the right moment. Kincade sees a Gundam F91 fly by and feels nostalgic. Jared asks if they have any way to win, and Kincade responds that it’ll be difficult. The EFF commander is informed that Minovsky particle density is increasing, and a Clop cruiser is suddenly destroyed by the Crossbone X2 Kai. The EFF commander assumes that the Crossbone Vanguard is to blame and has his fleet fire on the Mother Vanguard. Kincade launches in the Crossbone X1, along with Umon and Jared in Batallas. Kincade says he didn’t fight this long to die a pointless death here, and he attacks two Gundam F91s. One tries to block with a beam shield, but Kincade’s beam saber cuts through it. Another attacks with VSBRs, but Kincade dodges and cuts off the right arm. Kincade comments that a good machine is worthless if the pilot can’t bring out its full potential. Kincade then attacks the Ra Cailum cruiser to destroy its cannons, but he’s hit by VSBRs from Harrison Madin's Gundam F91. The Mother Vanguard suffers continued damage from the EFF assault, and the Death Gale Team is picked up on radar. The EFF commander thanks Dogatie for his help, and Dogatie mentions that the pirates have also been menacing Jupiter. Kincade realizes that the Jovians planned to set them up all along.

 

Berah warns Kincade that the Death Gale Team is approaching, but he’s occupied in a beam saber duel with Harrison. Kincade is forced to deploy his beam shield for defense, so Harrison switches to VSBRs, which Kincade dodges. Harrison gets a lock and fires again, but Kincade detaches his beam shields and uses his beam saber to block the blast. Kincade then uses his beam saber to slice off Harrison’s right arm, leg and VSBR. Harrison expects the next attack to be the killing blow, but Kincade sheathes his beam saber and answers that the EFF isn’t his enemy. As the Death Gale Team attacks, Giri tells Rosemarie and Barnes to extract the Mother Vanguard’s computer core in case it has useful data. Kincade returns to the Mother Vanguard to fight the Death Gale Team. On the Eos Nyx, Tobia listens to news about the battle and is shocked to hear the announcement that Bernadette will be fighting the Crossbone Vanguard. On the Jupitris 9, Bernadette bathes and dresses in a pilot suit. She’s taken to Dogatie, who tells her she doesn’t have to do anything because her mobile armor is automated. She comments that this is the sort of dramatic story the masses love, and Dogatie mentions that if she happens to die, it’ll raise the morale of his soldiers. She asks if that’s ok, but he yells at her to shut up. He says his emotions might’ve stopped him if he were still bound to flesh, but now he exists as pure thought. He says this is what Dogatie truly desired because Bernadette is too much like her mother. Bernadette launches in the Elegolela and wishes for Tobia to help her. Tobia breaks out of his room and sneaks around the ship, but Sherindon finds him. He says if she’s a Newtype she knows what’s happening with the Mother Vanguard, and Sherindon answers that it will be destroyed and he won’t reach it in time. She tells him he should be able to see it too because he’s a Newtype. He asks if that’s true, and she explains that in just a few months he’s grown as a pilot to match Kincade and escaped from the Jovians and made it back to the Mother Vanguard. She tells him that his soul will get dragged down if he goes back and that the people trying to resolve things by fighting will soon die. She thinks a Newtype’s power is a gift from God, and she pleads with him to consider the future. Tobia comments that he thought Berah releasing captured Jovian soldiers was naive, but he prefers that to the way Sherindon does things. Several armed men surround Tobia, and he tells Sherindon that he’s a human and that’s enough. She threatens to have him shot if he tries to leave, so he punches her in the face and knocks her down. He then tackles one of the men and grabs his knife, which he uses to cut his own arm open and bleed on Sherindon. A man gives orders to chase Tobia after he runs away, but Sherindon says to let him go. Tobia gets into the Crossbone X3 and blasts his way out of the Eos Nyx.

 

Commentary

 

Coming as no surprise to anyone, Tobia survived Karas' grenade attack, but he certainly didn't come out unscathed, as he was shot and captured. Karas is a really odd sort, with his utter devotion to this ideal of survival of the fittest and his strange desire to see Tobia become stronger, even though they're enemies. Tobia definitely demonstrates his ingenuity in the coliseum by taking advantage of Rosemarie's unfamiliarity with the Crossbone X2, and he further demonstrates that by detaching the Core Fighter and using the Gundam as a decoy. Barnes seems increasingly at odds with the Empire's ways, which raises the question of if he'll change sides in the future. As expected, Zabine didn't get the hero's reception in the Empire that he wanted, and Giri definitely seems to enjoy torturing him to break him, although seemingly it worked since Zabine was deployed later on. Dogatie demonstrates how much he has lost his humanity by showing that he doesn't care about his own daughter - to the extent that he's willing to sacrifice her for a morale boost. I hope this finally makes Bernadette realize that trying to convince her father to stop is a waste of time. On another front, one of the lingering questions since the start of this series has been what happened to the rest of the Ronah family? We don't have that answer, but we do meet Sherindon, a Cosmo Babylonia supporter and Newtype supremacist who uses flowery language to cover up an aristocratic agenda. A world where Newtype elites use their special abilities to rule over the Oldtype masses is just Cosmo Babylonia with a different name, so it's good that Tobia so forcefully opposed her ideas. Finally, it's interesting seeing the Gundam F91 pop up again, and Kincade demonstrates his skills by exploiting the weaknesses of his former mobile suit.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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