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Volume 2

 

Review by Chris Guanche

December 20, 2020

 

Summary

 

In November UC 0079, Ford Romfellow and Luce Kassel walk in on Agar in the mobile suit simulation room at the EFF’s Jaburo headquarters. Ford gets excited when he sees that the simulator is loaded with the specs for the new Gundam 6th, and Agar lets him try it out. Ford conducts multiple simulations until he’s finally satisfied. Agar comments that Ford demonstrates the high performance expected of a Gundam pilot, but he seems to lack experience with ground combat. Agar tells Ford that he would’ve died in a real battle and that if he treats war like a game, he’ll eventually regret it. Although Ford is angry, Luce tells him that Agar is right. Ford then storms off, and Agar apologizes to Luce for saying too much. Later, Ford and Luce argue with Woody Malden about when the Thoroughbred can take off, and Woody notes that the port is crowded with ships waiting to launch into space. Their argument is interrupted when Rachel Milsteen arrives to tell something to Woody. An alarm is sounded when the Zeon attack the surface above the base. In the air, Gaw bombers bomb the surface and drop many mobile suits into the jungle. Ground cover is provided by the Experimental Unit, which includes Matt Healy’s Gundam Ground Type, a GM Ground Type and a GM Sniper II. Amidst the confusion, a Zaku II blasts its way into Jaburo and targets the Thoroughbred. However, it is immediately destroyed by Agar, piloting the incomplete Gundam 6th. Capt. Kilstein Lombard thanks Agar for the support and tells him to return to the Blanc Rival. Operator Miyu Takizawa reports that their Guncannon team has launched, but Luce’s Gundam 4th and Ford’s Gundam 5th won’t be ready in time to launch. Ford is upset about not being able to fight, and Luce reminds him that their units are optimized for space combat, so they’d only get in the way down here. Luce understands Ford’s frustration and tells him that they’ll have their own battles to fight. Although both sides suffer casualties, the battle ends in failure for the Zeon. After the battle, Experimental Unit mechanic Annie Brevig transfers to the Thoroughbred before it launches into space.

 

Following their loss at the Battle of Odessa in November UC 0079, Zeon forces begin their retreat from Earth. In space, pilots Lilia Flaubert, Gusta Piper and Huyman Carlyle travel on a Papua supply ship on course for the lunar city Granada. Gusta is annoyed that their new superior officer, Mallet Sanguine, is the same age as him and was the same rank until recently. Gusta recalls that Huyman was Mallet’s instructor in officer school, and Huyman explains that Mallet is more qualified to lead than he is. Gusta asks Lilia for her opinion, and she says only that Mallet’s promotion was official. Gusta grabs Lilia’s pendant and ridicules it as a cheap amulet before saying he’s glad she wasn’t chosen as their commander. The two then argue until Huyman yells at them both to stop. Huyman explains that there’s nothing wrong with having an object of emotional support, and he notes that Gusta always keeps a picture of his family in his pocket. At Granada, Mallet yells at a mechanic about the delay on his new Act Zaku, and the mechanic explains that Pezun is having trouble with the rollout, possibly due to the new magnetic coating. Several soldiers comment that Mallet was a test pilot until he was promoted to command a new special forces unit, and that he comes from a military family and was an elite in officer school. Mallet is informed that the Papua carrying his new squad mates is under attack from an EFF fleet. After the EFF destroys a Musai, Capt. Will Fredd orders Balls to launch and attack the enemy forces. As Lilia, Huyman and Gusta don their pilot suits, a hull breach sucks Lilia’s pendant into space. Lilia wants her pendant because it’s a memento of her father’s that has helped her survive until now, but Gusta dismisses that as superstition. Huyman tells fleet commander that they’re commandeering the Papua’s Rick Dom cargo, but Wolf is happy for the help. Believing that she can’t fight without her pendant, Lilia is frozen in terror in her Rick Dom. Two GMs target her, but Mallet arrives in his Rick Dom II and pushes her out of the way. He yells at her to get her act together, and she finally stops panicking. The team attacks the GMs and Balls, and Mallet gives Lilia his bazooka with orders to sink a ship. Gusta is annoyed by Mallet’s late arrival and says he hasn’t acknowledged him yet, but Mallet counters that he doesn’t care about Gusta’s feelings. He then aims his machine gun in Gusta’s direction to destroy a Ball approaching from behind, which changes Gusta’s mind. Wielding two bazookas, Lilia destroys a Salamis ship, marking the battle’s end.

 

In UC 0087, the Titans task force aggressively hunts down Zeon remnants and quells any anti-government activity. At the Green Noa I colony in Side 7, three young boys named Will, Jerry, and Levi search a junkyard for usable mobile suit parts. Will is amazed when he finds a mobile suit motor, which Levi notes is better than anything they’d find in town. Jerry wants to leave before they get caught, and although Levi tells him there’s no patrols around at this time, an EFF soldier suddenly appears nearby. The three boys run away and stop in an alley in town, where they discuss how they finally have enough parts now. They’re confronted by a group of older boys led by Kiefer, with a girl named Shane in tow. Kiefer comments on their dumpster diving and says they’re like beggars. Kiefer says he’s willing to give them some parts if they ask, but Will says no one would want favors from Kiefer. Kiefer’s goons grab them all and shove them to the ground, and Shane pleads with Kiefer to refrain from violence. Kiefer reminds the boys that his father is in the Titans, and anyone who defies him is in for a world of pain. The boys return to their hangar and install the new parts to complete their junior mobile suit, Gordie. Will wants to be a junior mobile suit champion like the previous winner, Kamille Bidan. Shane brings ointment to treat everyone’s injuries from the earlier scuffle, and she’s impressed by Gordie. She looks at Gordie’s output data and is accused of being a spy, but she insists that she only wants to help them. Will insists that she must be a spy since she’s Kiefer’s younger sister, so he forcefully kicks her out of the hangar and slams the door shut. Jerry and Levi comment that she’s nice and very smart, but Will tells them to shut up and says he’s going to do maintenance to prepare for the competition. At the Green Oasis junior mobile suit competition, Will successfully pilots Gordie and advances to the secondary qualifier. Kiefer appears in his Koenig junior mobile suit and declares that Will is no match for him. Kiefer boasts about how his Koenig has military grade parts, so their garbage suit can’t compare. Will succeeds in a punching demonstration and qualifies for the final round, but the arm gives out. Levi explains that the military grade motor they salvaged is too powerful and is putting strain on the other parts. Levi thinks they’ll have to forfeit since they lack spare parts, but Shane offers them some new actuators. Will asks what her game is, and she explains that she saw their data and predicted this would happen. She wants to help them so they don’t feel any regrets, and she wants them to open Kiefer’s eyes. As the final round begins, Kiefer boasts that his father is one of the judges. Before the match, Levi told Will that he’d have to drop the motivator’s output to avoid overloading the arm, and Will asked how he was supposed to win. Will hears a sound coming from Kiefer’s suit and puts up his arms defensively. Will insults Kiefer, who threatens to punch him at full power. He tries to do so, but his motivator breaks down, and Will uses the opportunity to flip him to the ground and win. Kiefer declares that the match was rigged and tries to rat out Will to his father, but his father slaps him and tells him not to blame his weakness on others. Kiefer’s father tells Will that the Titans don’t oppress Spacenoids and that he won the match fairly. The winning team poses for a picture with Gordie, and Will asks Shane to join them.

 

In March UC 0079, Flyarrow pilots Max Brauer and Jimmie Will conclude their nighttime patrol and begin their return to the EFF’s Port Moresby Base. Jimmie thinks the town’s lights are beautiful, but all Max sees is how their town was screwed up by Operation British. The town suddenly lights up with explosions from a surprise Zeon attack. As a result of the attack, the Zeon occupy both the town and the base. Two months later, the EFF submarine Fregat surfaces and crosses paths with another allied sub, the Anantha. Capt. Clancy has the Fregat flash light signals and receives a response from Capt. Bulfheim indicating that they’re under his command and that a new weapon will end the Zeon threat. The two subs then rendezvous with a fleet of surface ships led by the aircraft carrier Westmoreland. The fleet’s mission is to retake Port Moresby, which Max and Jimmie are eager to participate in. They’re now assigned to a Don Escargot anti-submarine fighter, and Jimmie is eager to reunite with his girlfriend, Angelina. Max tries to tell him something, and Jimmie mentions that they got engaged three months ago. Jimmy asks Max what he was about to say, but Max changes the subject. An alarm sounds when one of the fleet’s scout planes engages the enemy, and the fleet commander initiates the operation. After the Fregat dives, Clancy tells his crew that since the Zeon are using stolen Juneau class subs, they have to listen closely to sound. Zeon Jukon subs fire torpedoes at the Anantha, and Bulfheim orders a torpedo launch to intercept. In the sky, Max drops a sonar buoy into the ocean, which gives targets to Jimmie to drop bombs on. One Zeon sub is destroyed and the other retreats, but Bulfheim orders pursuit. Clancy cautions against chasing the enemy too far, and Bulfheim calls him a coward. The Zeon subs launch their new Gogg aquatic mobile suits, which climb onto the Westmoreland and destroy its tower. Max flies in close and opens fire on a Gogg, and though he’s able to destroy it, the Don Escargot is damaged and crashes in the water. As the Westmoreland sinks, Max and Willie abandon their damaged plane.

 

The Fregat surfaces from underneath the downed Don Escargot to rescue Max and Willie. Max wants to see the battle to its end, and Clancy tells him that they’re preparing for the next fight, so there’s no point dying now. Several Goggs return to a Jukon sub commanded by Dorf, who is impressed by their performance. Max and Jimmie are brought to Clancy, and after thanking him for the rescue, he says they’ll be part of his crew for now. He asks them about Port Moresby and if they have family there, and Max explains that all his family died during the Zeon invasion. Jimmie asks Max what he’s talking about, and Max explains that before the recent battle he stumbled upon a list of Port Moresby casualties. Jimmie is upset that Max didn’t tell him, and Max responds that there wasn’t time before the operation. Jimmie asks if Angelina’s name was on the list, but Max reassures him that she wasn’t. The executive officer tells Max and Jimmie that he’s glad to have some pilots so they can finally use the new transforming Core Fighters. He gives them the manuals and orders them to become familiar with their new planes. Later, the Fregat rendezvous with the Anantha and Clancy takes a raft over to meet with Bulfheim. Clancy is shocked to hear that Bulfheim intends to continue with the plan to retake Port Moresby even though they only have two subs left. Bulfheim is confident of their victory because he claims to have a trump card that will take down all the Zeon in one swoop. Clancy continues to question Bulfheim, but Bulfheim becomes agitated and pulls out a gun. He accuses Clancy of being a coward and boasts that he can defeat the Zeon on his own. He then tells Clancy to get off his ship. As they leave, Clancy’s executive officer asks what the trump card is. Clancy explains that it’s a weapon of mass destruction that’s not covered by the Antarctic Treaty, and he doesn’t intend to let Bulfheim use it. The Anantha departs for Port Moresby, and Clancy orders a pursuit course. Clancy addresses the crew and announces that Bulfheim intends to use a vaporization warhead missile, which would not only destroy the captured base, but also the entire town. Clancy adds that disobeying their orders is a capital offense, but he can’t accept what Bulfheim is trying to do. He intends to stop Bulfheim, but will note the objections of any soldiers. Clancy wants to fire torpedoes the second Bulfheim launches his missile, but the executive officer notes that Minovsky particles will make interception difficult. Clancy wants him to calculate the missile trajectory and also put the Core Fighters on standby. Six Goggs approach the two subs, with four attacking the Anantha and two breaking off to pursue the Fregat. The Anantha’s engine room begins flooding, so Bulfheim orders the missile launch. The Fregat fires torpedoes and misses, so Clancy orders the sub to blow tanks for emergency surfacing. The Fregat’s top hangar opens, and Clancy tells Max and Jimmie that they have 18 minutes to intercept the missile. The Anantha is destroyed, and Max and Jimmie come under fire from a Dopp immediately after launch. Jimmie’s Core Fighter takes damage and explodes, and Max reports to Clancy that his weapons triggers aren’t working. Max says his targeting lock is still working, so the Fregat can link its interceptor missiles once he gets a lock, but Clancy notes that Max would be caught in the explosion. Two Goggs grapple onto the Fregat, and Clancy asks the Zeon for a temporary cease-fire. Dorf radios back that he understands the situation, but he can’t trust that any missiles launched by Clancy wouldn’t target them. With 50 seconds left until impact, Clancy fires his missile and tells Dorf to attack if he wants to. The Goggs hold back, and the interceptor missile destroys the vaporization warhead missile. Max parachutes into the ocean and is picked up by a Gogg. Dorf returns Max to the Fregat and explains that all he did was pick up the body of a brave enemy warrior and give him a proper sea burial. He asks Max to deliver a message to Clancy that he wants the next time they meet to be at a bar in Port Moresby. After returning to the Fregat, Max receives condolences from Clancy, and Clancy hands over a photo of Angelina they found in the wreckage of Jimmie’s Core Fighter. Max says he couldn’t bring himself to tell Jimmie the truth about Angelina, but now Jimmie has returned to her side.

 

In UC 0082, Operator Noel Anderson relaxes by the pool at the EFF’s Augusta Base. She’s then approached by Miyu, who introduces herself and mentions that she’s been assigned to train new recruits. Nearby, men gossip about how attractive Miyu is and how she was an operator for a Gundam unit on the Thoroughbred during the One Year War. Two women tell Noel that they’ve heard about her record with the Experimental Unit and that she’s famous among operators in training like them. The two women comment that it must be difficult dealing with pilots who don’t follow rules, and Miyu criticizes them for being rude. Miyu apologizes to Noel, but Noel tells her not to worry. Miyu then comments that pilots who don’t listen to their operators are a pain, so she understands. Noel then comments that results are everything and that the best grades in officer school don’t mean anything in actual battle. Miyu defends her units as having gotten good results, and Noel counters that elite units only ever conduct sweeping operations. Miyu doesn’t agree and suggests they have each of their units participate in a mock battle. Noel agrees and boasts that she’ll show elite cadets how experienced soldiers fight. Later, a three-on-three mock paint ball battle is set up, with each team having the goal of planting their flag first in enemy territory. Each side is granted a Guntank II for territorial defense. Miyu addresses her team, which consists of Kraust in a GM Custom, Renaldo in a GM Command and Gyunei in a GM Sniper II. On the other side, Noel’s team includes Young in a GM Cannon, Robert in a GM Ground Type and Tokushima in an Armored GM. Tokushima asks what the point of all this is, and Noel tells him it’s a chance to smack around elite cadets. The mock battle begins, and Miyu realizes that Noel will probably predict any attack patterns that rely on topography or equipment. She orders Gyunei to take the lead and coordinate with Kraust. Noel assumes that Miyu will play by the book and moves the Guntank to the north, with her three suits moving in a V-formation to find the GM Sniper II’s predicted sniping point. She then orders Tokushima to break formation when they spot the enemy while the rest take on the GM Sniper II. Miyu sees that Noel is using the Guntank as bait to lure out Gyunei, so she decides to take the bait. She orders Gyunei to retreat as soon as he fires because the GM Custom is looking for him. Gyunei is discovered by Robert, but Kraust takes him down. Gyunei manages to get a lock on the Guntank before being shot down by Young. Miyu tells Kraust to jump and place the sun behind him, which allows him to take down Young. Noel is impressed by Miyu’s skills and the kinds of orders she’s giving to novices. Miyu’s team is excited about being near victory, but she tells them not to let their guard down. Kraust moves through a ruined city and spots the flag point, but he decides to ask Miyu for instructions instead of charging in. Miyu is suspicious that Noel hasn’t attacked yet and tells Kraust to plant the flag immediately because there’s no enemy. At that moment, Tokushima fires on the Guntank and Renaldo, hitting both. Renaldo accuses Tokushima of cheating because he hit him, but Miyu notes that Renaldo only hit the external armor. Tokushima then activates his beam saber at the flag point and wins the match. After the battle, Miyu and Noel relax in the sauna and complement each other on their skills. Noel comments on Miyu’s style, and Miyu says she wishes she was as thin as Noel. Noel thinks that Miyu has a good figure, but Miyu thinks of herself as fat. The two then begin arguing again and decide to settle things with another mock battle.

 

Commentary

 

Volume 2 presents five new stories, with three being set in the One Year War, one in the post-war period and one during Zeta Gundam. The first story shows us a different perspective on the Jaburo battle from the original series and has Agar crossing paths with the crew from the Space Beyond the Blaze manga. The second story focuses on the Zeon side of the Blaze cast and shows the first battle of Mallet's special forces. It's rather bizarre how Lilia is so fixated on a pendant that it nearly kills her in battle, but the fact that Mallet snapped her out of that daze might explain her later devotion to him. The third story switches gears entirely by focusing on a bunch of kids building a junior mobile suit and dealing with the bratty son of a Titans officer. This story feels pretty atypical for Gundam and is a refreshing change of pace, even if it's a small story that has no wider impact in its world. The fourth story, spread across two chapters, features manga-original pilots Max and Jimmie and their struggle to liberate their hometown. It seems like Max got lucky and dodged an awkward conversation now that he doesn't have to tell Jimmie that his fiance was actually dead. The old Gundam theme of the honorable enemy is also invoked when Dorf decides to trust Clancy and also returns Max rather than keeping him captive. The final story is more light-hearted and has Miyu and Noel competing to see who's the better combat operator. Overall, there's a good variety of stories here with differing tones, compared to the pretty standard Gundam all around seriousness from the first volume.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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