Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury – 01 – Rich Kids Are Scary

Fast-forward over a decade from the prologue, and Ericht Samaya is now the teenaged Suletta Mercury, pilot of Gundam Aerial, arriving at the Asticassia School of Technology, where she has just transferred. While surveying the giant space station, she spots someone floating free in a spacesuit and executes a rescue operation. The person she rescues, Miorine Rembran, doesn’t want to be rescued.

She was trying to escape, and was about to succeed but for Suletta’s sharp eye and impeccable timing. Now that I know where these two end up by episode’s end, one could call it kismet. I also hasten to add that Miorine is the daughter of Delling Rembran, the man whose actions led to the death of Suletta’s dad and destruction of her family’s home. Obviously Miorine didn’t play a role in that, as she was only four at the time.

Upon arrival at her new school, which is full of rich, stuck-up jerkwards, Suletta is quickly treated like a Mercurian “country bumpkin” and also given the cold shoulder by Miorine. That said, she also meets a potential first new friend in mechanics student Nika Nanaura.

All of a sudden, all of the fake blue sky is replaced by clear windows out to space, and the campus is transformed into the ground for a duel between Guel Jeturk, son of one of Delling’s top business generals, and some nobody who dared to call him “a man with a runaway bride”.

Jeturk, an unrepentant preening jackass of the highest order, is Miorine’s fiance, a decision made not by either of them but by their parents. Her father, however doesn’t even bother to review the bodyguards assigned to his daughter, as he’s too busy financially destroying a business partner who posted too many quarterly losses.

As Suletta learns by following her like a puppy, Miorine would prefer to be left alone with her garden that emulates earth environs, and even lets Suletta sample a tasty real tomato before downloading the map app of the school and sending her on her way. But before Suletta leaves, Jeturk and his clique of syncophants arrives to declare that Miorine will live with him at his family home from now on.

When Miorine protests, Jeturk starts wrecking her garden. When she tries to stop him, he shoves her aside. Suletta, who has a stutter and is clearly not great with social situations, nevertheless knows very well between right and wrong,. What Jeturk is doing is wrong, so she spanks him. She even gets giggles from his patsies when she calls him a “pushy suitor”.

Jeturk doesn’t take these affronts lightly, and suggests that if Suletta has a problem with him, they can settle it with a duel. Despite learning he is the school’s undefeated “Holder” (i.e. Ace) with a 26-0 record, Suletta doesn’t hesitate to accept the challenge. Jeturk tells her if he wins, she’ll be kicked out of the school. Meanwhile, Jeturk’s dad intends to speed up his and his son’s ascension by arranging to assassinate Delling.

When the duel commences, both Jeturk and Suletta are surprised to find that Miorine has commandeered Suletta’s Aerial, having gained access when she had her school handbook. That said, she has no idea how to pilot a mobile suit, let alone a Gundam, and Jeturk proceeds to make quick work of her.

With an assist from Nika, Suletta is able to get to Aerial before Miorine loses the duel, and those observing the duel accept the second change of Jeturk’s opponent back to Suletta. Having been head-butted when they first met, Suletta returns the favor and takes over in the cockpit, asserting that she and Aerial grew up together (indeed, when she was four, she considered her a little sister).

No one can pilot her but her, and as long as she’s piloting, Aerial won’t lose to the likes of Jeturk. She maintains that running away gains you only “one” by not losing, but going forward and rising to fight gains you “two” – experience and pride…as well as trust (so many three?).

Jeturk repsonds to that insult with a charge, but he’s totally out of his league. His beam weapon is reflected by Aerial’s shield, which then disassembles into a swarm of drones that tear Jeturk’s suit to pieces, giving Suletta a clear path to behead him with her energy sword.

As one would expect of a high-class Sunrise flagship production, the battle is absolutely top-notch in design and execution, fast, fierce, and gorgeous, accompanied by Ohmama Takashi’s stirring cinematic score that calls to mind Hans Zimmer with its blend of classical and futuristic electronic orchestration.

After the episode wasted absolutely no time showing what a sonofabitch Jetark is, I was literally cheering and laughing at the television as Suletta effortlessly put him in his place.

Again, Suletta’s timing is impeccable, as she defeats Jeturk just moments before his dad is about to press the detonate button on Delling’s transport. His aid quickly informs him that Jeturk will inherit neither Miorine nor her father’s company, because he was just defeated in a duel for the first time.

To the victor belongs the spoils, so Suletta not only wins the title of Holder of her very first day, but also becomes Miorine’s new fiancé, effective immediately. When Suletta points out that she’s a woman, Miorine tells her that unlike the apparently more conservative Mercury, such things are commonplace here. Suletta’s look of bewilderment says it all: these rich kids are crazy.

The Witch from Mercury follows up its thrilling, bittersweet prologue with an equally impressive opening sortie, establishing Suletta as a meek but determined and clearly immensely talented heroine (the first female Gundam lead), Miorine as her frenemy-cum-fiancée, the current financial and political power dynamics in play, and the system of duels that determine far more than they probably should. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next week.

A Couple of Cuckoos – 23 – Breaking Bad

Having come up with butkis in the search for Sousuke, it’s time for the crew to head home. But just as Erika and Sachi pile into their car, Hiro takes Nagi’s sleeve and declares that they’ll be taking the train home instead. On the ride home Erika tells Sachi about how Hiro said she wanted to “have” Nagi, and neither they nor their driver are convinced they’re not concerned.

As for Hiro, one reason for staying behind with Nagi is to visit a local shrine and collect another shrine stamp (naturally both these stamp nerds have their books on them). While Nagi prays for academic success with the occasional smidged of romance, Hiro admits to not praying for anything in particular, only expressing her gratitude that they made it there.

She could also be grateful for simply having Nagi to herself, a time that heavy winds and rain extend when the station is closed. With no buses home and a taxi too expensive, the two decide to spend the night in an inn. Sachi and Erika panic when they see Nagi’s text to this effect.

Nagi is a little out of his element too. It’s clear he and Hiro are being bad here, not just because they’re both engaged, but because they lie about being 22-year-old newlyweds (much to the delight of the inn staff). That said, youth is the time for being bad and testing boundaries.

This episode is replete with cute Hiro faces and poses, as she is in particularly playful mood, no doubt out of the aforementioned gratitude and contentment that comes with being all alone with the boy she likes. After the two bathe (in separate baths) and change into warm robes, they play the word chain.

Then a lizard (or gecko?) appears in their room and Nagi wigs out. Hiro moves towards it but trips on her robe, and the two end up in a very amorous position. Not only that, a flushed Hiro weaves her fingers into Nagi’s and asks him if, after a day of doing bad things, why shouldn’t they…keep going?

Nagi locks up, and Hiro then waves away the proposition by saying she wanted to go buy liquor, having placed a 1000-yen bill in Nagi’s hand. Nagi is scandalized, but understands Hiro’s desire to break free of her Model Student binds on occasion. That said, he’d rather they not get tore up. Hiro compromises and says she just wants sake.

Then a firm knock at the door comes, someone calls “POLICE!”, and Nagi indeed sees a Police badge through the peephole. Turns out it’s Erika and Sachi in sexy cop cosplay, complete with Sobasshi ID and pink cuffs. This is as Nagi was starting to change in preparation to make a run for it. I won’t linger on the questionable logistics of how the girls got there so damn fast.

Suffice it to say, their arrival prevented Nagi and Hiro from getting up to any more no good than they actually did, and on the ride home Nagi passes out after barely getting any sleep the night before. Erika asks Hiro what they did, and Hiro replies “just…stuff”, and cryptically declares that Nagi “really is a boy”.

Regardless of her lack of detail, Erika and Sachi now know Hiro is serious about Nagi. We’ll see if this spurs any action in them in the final episode, or if we’ll have to wait for another cour for any kind of break in the logjam.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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