On December 31st, the battle between the EFF and Zeon continues at A Baoa Qu. The EFF fleet has been greatly damaged by the firing of the Solar Ray, and Zeon soldiers are encouraged to fight on to victory. In lunar orbit, Oliver examines the cockpit of the Big Rang, a massive mobile armor created by combining a Bigro with the fuselage of a battleship. Oliver isn’t impressed with the design because it sacrifices the speed and maneuverability that the Bigro was designed for. Since the Big Rang was designed to support Oggos for an extended period of time, Prochnow wonders if that means they’re supposed to fight to the death. Kuspen storms onto the bridge and declares that with the Big Rang, they can defend E field. Elsewhere, the EFF fleets launch attacks on N and S fields. GMs and Balls launch from battleships and begin engaging Zeon mobile suits. The Jotunheim receives a message from the command office stating that the Kuspen Combat Battalion must devote all its power to defending E field. Prochnow wonders if they can complete a mission where they send rookies to fight while they take refuge themselves. As the fighting spreads to E field, Prochnow notes that while the Big Rang may be capable, the pilot might have a tough time. Kuspen counters that fighting is what being a soldier is about. He says they need time to save their soldiers and must proceed to the front line. Acting in place of Monique, Prochnow assigns Oliver as the pilot of the Big Rang. Oliver can’t believe it, so Washiya volunteers instead, but Kuspen refuses because they need Washiya on the Zudah. Kuspen then says he can’t wait to see Oliver pilot the Big Rang and laughs. Monique contacts Oliver and coldly tells him that the Big Rang’s capabilities will be assessed in a front line battle. She asks him to say hello to Erwin if he sees him out there. The Jotunheim moves toward the frontline and is escorted by a fleet of Musais. As the Oggos prepare to launch, Prochnow addresses the pilots. He tells them that the Jotunheim was originally used for a drop experiment, and that many people have come aboard and died over time. He tells the pilots that the can’t explain how the battle will proceed, so they can’t die until he’s able to give them the answer. Several GMs close in, and Washiya destroys one in his Zudah. The Jotunheim and its escorts break through the EFF fleet and launch the Oggos. The Oggos attack from behind, destroying several GMs and Salamises. However, more ships attack from another angle and destroy the Jotunheim‘s escorts. The Jotunheim narrowly evades the fire of the Salamises, and the blast of a mega particle cannon from the Big Rang suddenly destroys the Salamises. Oliver pulls in behind the ship and is surprised that he hit his targets.
Oliver says that by sitting in the cockpit, he finally understands. He says he’s watched over men who have risked their lives in experimental machines. He said those men entrusted their lives to those machines, whose records would stay around for future generations to see. As the fighting continues, the massive mobile suit super carrier Dolos is destroyed. Zeon soldiers fight on in confusion as the EFF presses in on N and S fields and lands invasion forces on A Baoa Qu’s surface. Oliver comes under attack and launches beam dispersion chaffs. He then fires his Gatling cannons and destroys several Balls. He then grabs a Ball and tosses it into two others, destroying all three. Two Salamises close in, but Oliver destroys them with anti-ship missiles. Suddenly a Magellan comes in at close range and fires its beam cannons, but Oliver destroys it with his mega particle cannon. Several Oggos close in around the Big Rang, and Oliver fires more beam dispersion chaffs. The GM and Ball pilots momentarily pause, and when they spot the red Big Rang, they wonder if it might be Char Aznable and decide to retreat. With the surrounding area temporarily quiet, the Oggos begin to land inside the Big Rang for quick repairs and ammo replenishment. The Jotunheim fires signal flares to begin drawing in surviving troops. A friendly fleet led by a Gwazine class ship approaches from the rear. Kuspen wonders if they’re reinforcements, but the fleet leaves. Prochnow says that they lost contact with A Baoa Qu ten minutes ago, but Kuspen can’t believe that they could’ve lost. Kruger reads an emergency message from A Baoa Qu, which states that the command structure has been lost and that all forces are to cease fighting. Kuspen refuses to accept surrender, and Prochnow says they have to accept the reality that they’ve been defeated. He says that with their forces retreating and the EFF pursuing, they could probably hold E field for only 30 more minutes. Kuspen pulls a gun on Prochnow and says there’s no time for theories, and he wants his Gelgoog prepared for launch. Monique then pulls a gun on Kuspen and asks if he plans to dump his subordinates and escape alone. Kuspen says he’s had enough of Monique’s retorts, and she tells him a disobedient commander is something to laugh at. The EFF pilots laugh menacingly and open fire on the Big Rang and Oggos, despite the cease fire. Oliver asks them to stop because there’s a cease fire order, but the EFF pilots tell him they want to the Zeon to pay for killing their comrades. Oliver opens fire to defend himself. A GM attempts to attack from behind, but it’s destroyed by Monique’s Zudah, joined by Kuspen’s Gelgoog. Kuspen destroys two Balls and orders the Oggo pilots to defend E field until their troops can safely escape. Kuspen’s Gelgoog is suddenly destroyed, and Oliver transmits the Big Rang’s combat videos to the ship. Monique’s Zudah loses an arm, and the Big Rang is destroyed under heavy fire. Later, Kruger informs Prochnow that the last ship has escaped and that they should follow. He says that they used their lives to protect them and allow the ship to escape. As the ship sets course for Side 3, several Oggos, Zakus and Gelgoogs appear from the rear, along with Monique’s Zudah, which is carrying Oliver in its hand. With the war over, Oliver realizes that the things he has seen have shown him the path he will take with his life.
And there ends the second half of MS IGLOO. Story wise, this episode picks up where the last one left off. This sets them apart because the other four episodes were all self-contained. Here, Monique is understandably distraught over the death of her brother. Also, Oliver is shocked over being selected as the final test pilot for the 603rd, in what is clearly the most dangerous mission possible. However, Oliver steps up to the task and manages to destroy many ships, GMs and Balls before the Big-Rang is finally taken down. Comparatively, Oliver, an inexperienced pilot, manages to destroy more stuff with the Big-Rang than Gundam 0083‘s Kou Uraki did with the equally massive Dendrobium. As for Kuspen, sort gets what he deserves for his harshness and inflexibility. The best part of this episode (and the previous one as well) was the epic depiction of the battle at A Baoa Qu. The third Gundam movie did a very good job of it back in 1982, but it obviously doesn’t compare to what’s possible with computer animation in 2006. This episode in particular succeeds in showing the massive scale of the battle, as well as the tense, confusing nature of close combat between mobile suits. Although IGLOO‘s story could be a bit repetitive and it took the Nazi aesthetic a bit too far, it pretty much succeeds at everything it sets out to do. It manages to show the war from Zeon’s side with interesting characters, along with the deterioration of the war for Zeon. This is accomplished mainly by showing everything through the eyes of Oliver. Episode 1 of The Hidden One Year War opened at the very start of the war, showing Oliver as an optimistic, greenhorn college graduate. We see him harden a bit over time as he begins to understand the nature of warfare, as well as the fact that the war isn’t going in favor of the Zeon. By not becoming a pilot until the very end, Oliver’s development as a character sets him apart from all the heroes of past Gundam shows. Next to some characters from 0080, Oliver is as “realistic” a character as has ever been shown in a Gundam series.