In UC 0096, Arlette Almage sleeps while riding on a shuttle to Axis. Earlier, Danton Hyleg received a visit at his laundry business from Mehmet Merca. They speak in a café, and Arlette agrees to travel to Axis because she wants to know what happened to Char Aznable. On Axis, Mehmet’s team comes under attack from the mysterious Gundam AN-01 Tristan and a purple Jegan. During the One Year War, young Arlette introduced herself to Danton as one of Char’s new engineers. In the Axis hangar, Arlette parts ways with Danton as he boards a red Zaku III Custom. Danton emerges in the street and attacks the Gundam AN-01 Tristan. He gets close enough to use his beam saber to destroy its rifle and smash the suit up against the asteroid’s inner wall. Mehmet asks why Danton isn’t shooting at the Gundam, and Arlette explains that Danton can’t shoot people and became a test pilot. Danton barely dodges beam weapons fire from the incoming Byarlant Isolde. He turns his attention to the Byarlant Isolde and loses his left hand in the attack. He attacks again and traps the Byarlant Isolde in rubble, so the pilot cuts off its left leg to escape. The Byarlant Isolde opens fire and escapes with the Gundam. Years earlier, Danton’s R-Jarja was damaged in a test flight, but Arlette vowed to fix it. Gundam pilot Quentin Fermo is annoyed that Scharnhorst didn’t tell him about any pilots being at Axis, so the plan has to be adjusted. Near the end of the One Year War, Arlette helped with the designs of Lalah Sune’s Elmeth. Years later, Danton reminded Arlette that Lalah was no longer around. Arlette was depressed and walked around Axis’ streets by herself until Danton found her, acting on Char’s orders. Danton told Arlette that she was the best mobile suit engineer he’d ever seen, but she didn’t believe him. On the surface of Axis, Arlette sees the wreckage of Char’s Sazabi from the Second Neo Zeon War. Quentin vows to deal with those getting in his way.
Outside Axis, the mobile armor Kurwenal destroys one of the landing craft used by Mehmet’s team. Mehmet calls Arlette to inform her and reports that Danton went to find a mobile suit. Arlette removes a psychoframe sample from the Sazabi and decides to find a unit that she can use as a distraction: the experimental mobile armor Ahava Azieru. Arlette heads into space and opens fire on Quentin’s Gundam AN-01 Tristan, which is docked inside the Kurwenal. Quentin is surprised to see that Arlette has an I-field, and she launches funnels to attack him. Quentin fires a barrage of missiles and destroys all of Arlette’s funnels. He then fires another round of missiles, which damage her I-field generator. He then deploys remote beam launchers that use a multi-directional attack. Arlette destroys them with her main cannon, but the mobile armor is damaged from the high energy output. Quentin attacks with two claw arms to grapple the Ahava Azieru, but Arlette destroys one of them. His next attack is interrupted when Danton appears in his old damaged R-Jarja. Arlette apologizes and says that she’s a failure of a pilot. Danton tells her to return to where Mehmet is, and he won’t answer her questions about what he intends to do. Arlette begs Danton not to go alone, but he vows to return. Quentin undocks the Gundam from the Kurwenal and opens fire on Danton, blowing off his right arm. Arlette tries desperately to get the Ahava Azieru to move, and she recalls being dismissed as a Newtype test subject when she was a child. The psychoframe sample activates and envelops Quentin and Danton. While other failed child test subjects were “disposed” of, Char took in Arlette. The light of the psychoframe spreads to cover all of Axis. After the Second Neo Zeon War, Danton told Arlette they should start a cleaning business. Quentin is annoyed that he couldn’t shoot Arlette after what she showed him. Later, Mehmet brings laundry to Arlette and Danton’s laundry business.
If the summary portion of this review seems inadequate and disjointed, I can assure that this is the fault of the source material. Twilight AXIS is an adaptation of a novel by Ark Performance, but in contrast to other recent adaptations, it’s an unmitigated disaster. Its story is told in 22 minutes, divided up into five three minute chapters and one eight minute chapter. This is barely enough time to tell a story, and on top of that, writer/director Se Jun Kim frames the story with constant flashbacks, even though nothing is established at the outset. The result is a story that makes no sense and is nothing but a collection of seemingly random scenes. And those scenes demonstrate a lot of stiffness due to limited animation. The real story is like this: following Gundam Unicorn‘s Laplace Incident, the Earth Federation becomes wary of psychoframe technology and dispatches Mehmet’s team to catalog what Newtype technology remains on Axis. That’s where Arlette and Danton come in. While on Axis, they find it being scavenged illegally by Birnam, which is connected to the Buffo Concern. Scharnhorst Buffo is the company’s founder, and his family later buys the noble family name of Ronah, providing a connection to Gundam F91. But none of that is in this ONA. For all its faults, Gundam SEED C.E. 73 STARGAZER managed to tell a better story, even though I found that its 45 minutes was also inadequate. The result is a mess of a project that serves as nothing more than a commercial for the novel and model kits. This is more embarrassing when you consider that literal commercials were animated to sell Gundam SEED ASTRAY kits in the 2000s, and even they managed to tell better stories with about five minutes each. The story presented in the novel is somewhat interesting, but the mess shown here is a waste of time and represents a complete failure of storytelling. It’s not worth your time, unless you want to spend 22 minutes in total confusion about what you’re watching.