Gundam 00 – 04
After the events on Ceylon, the leader of the Human Reform League makes a public speech about how they lost 148 soldiers and how Celestial Being has committed nothing less than terrorism despite how the group talks of eradicating war. Hearing the leader challenge their so-called terrorism, one of the Ptolemaios’ crew members think that this is a natural reaction, but Christina points out that the Human Reform League is now increasing their military preparations because of this. Tieria, however, feels that if the Human Reform League does this, then Celestial Being will just continue intervening since the eradication of war is its long-cherished desire. During this time, Setsuna is in his room watching the broadcast and reading a newspaper article about how the founder of Celestial Being is Aeolia Schenberg.
Over in the kingdom of Azadistan that is being rocked by a wave of terrorism, Princess Marina Ismail is talking with her adviser Shirin Bakhtiar about how they have to move ahead with reforms before the moderate faction will ally. Marina understands that because of their reliance on fossil fuels, they now need the help of the nations with solar energy generation systems to get the country back into shape. However, Shirin points out that their country didn’t participate in the orbital elevator’s construction project, so they don’t have a right to the energy supply. And with oil currently being subject to export regulations, she wonders if a country would help them free of charge. Marina knows that looking for that is her duty now that Azadistan’s parliament has restored the monarchy, and so there’s one thing they have to do. Still, Shirin notes that if their domestic problems continue, then Celestial Being will appear before long.
Lockon and Allelujah are meanwhile discussing the Real IRA’s announcement that they are halting activities and how countries fear the military intervention. Allelujah thinks that without them, those countries would soon be back in action, and he knows that eradicating war isn’t something that can be so easily achieved. After Lockon urges him to get some rest, Allelujah looks at the hanger and comments on how the Gundams are for realizing permanent peace. At the Human Reform League’s General Command Center, Sergei is telling his superior that there isn’t a mobile suit in the world that can go against the Gundam. His superior thus orders him to seize a Gundam and to do it before Union or the AEU does. For this, they’re establishing a full-time force under Sergei, and there’s one soldier in particular that his superior wants him to look after.
This soldier is a white-haired girl who introduces herself as Super-Soldier No.1, Soma Peers, from the Superhuman Agency’s Technology Institute. Sergei’s superior explains that this superhuman program is thought of by the brass as a trump card against the Gundams, but Sergei is privately concerned about how she’s too young for this. Back in Tokyo, Setsuna is in a park by eating himself when he suddenly envisions an artillery shell landing in front of him and killing everyone. He is unaffected by the sight of death and destruction all around him, and everything soon returns to normal. By chance, Saji is walking through this park with Louise and recognizes him, though Saji’s forgotten Setsuna’s name. Meanwhile, at a Union base, Professor Eifman is introducing to Graham a customized Flag that has had its backpack and each part strengthened, has gotten an anti-beam coating, and is armed with a prototype rifle. Also joining Graham’s Gundam investigation unit are two pilots named Howard Mason and Daryl Dutch.
At the residence of Union’s president, the leader is talking with his subordinate David about how a television commentator was discussing Celestial Being being designated as the world police. David jokes that it’s a good idea because unlike the United Nations, there are no upkeep costs for them, but the president thinks that no one would cooperate with them. He then receives news about how Taribia is going to be issuing a statement. Up in space, Sumeragi gets her computer’s predictions and finds that it matches her own forecasts. They have 12 plans to deal with the problem, but Sumeragi knows that choosing any of them would jeopardize their position. Christina then informs her that Taribia is making their statement, and being broadcast around the world is Taribia’s leader giving a speech on how, despite Union’s parliament system with over 50 countries, the United States alone controls the solar energy distribution rights. Since Taribia is succeeding from Union, the Union president tells David to call a special assembly with representatives of all the major powers.
Taribia’s leader then talks about the right to use their own energy and finishes his speech with a declaration of adamant opposition to United States control. Watching the broadcast from her palace, Marina is a little surprised that Taribia would go as far as to secede even though it’s always had strongly-rooted anti-American sentiments. Shirin, however, thinks that it might be a strategic move in advance of the next Taribia elections. Marina is worried about the deteriorating situation affecting the operation of the solar energy generation system, but Shirin is confident that Union will launch a military intervention at the request of the United States. That being said, she also thinks that Taribia has predicted this. Over at the Human Reform League’s General Command Center, Sergei asks Soma if she knows why Taribia is pursuing such an extreme plan, and she answers that Taribia thinks that Celestial Being will intervene if Union takes military action.
Shirin tells Marina the same thing about Taribia using Celestial Being, and attributes their ability to use such blackmail with how they are located near the orbital elevator. She’s not sure if Celestial Being will appear, but she feels that how they deal with the Taribia will affect the future of Azadistan. Despite all this though, Wang Liu Mei is at this moment thinking that even though they know they’re being used, Celestial Being will still act. And as planned, a new mission is begun and the Gundam Meisters are contact by the Ptolemaios. Setsuna, Lockon, and Allelujah quickly get to their Gundams – including the Exia which is hidden underwater – and they all proceed to fly towards Taribia. In the meantime, Union succeeds in taking control of Taribian airspace and positions its fleet off the coast. When the Gundams do get there, they each head for one of the three major cities, but nobody is sure what course of action Celestial Being will take. If they intervene against Union, then it’d be helping Taribia’s hard-line stance, but if they don’t intervene and thus permit Union’s military action, then their ideals would fall apart.
Everything begins when Sumeragi orders the start of the mission, and Setsuna starts blasting the Taribia mobile suits despite the fact those forces haven’t acted yet. What the Taribia leaders weren’t counting on is that Celestial Being targets countries that aid and abet war, and it now sees Taribia as such a country. The Taribia forces are soon wiped out, and their leader has no choice but to contact Union President Bryan. When two talk by phone, Bryan notes how Celestial Being regards Taribia as the cause of the dispute and claims that he feels Celestial Being’s actions are regrettable. Since the Taribian leader brings up withdrawing the succession, Bryan agrees to send his army to defend Taribia. And with that, he orders the American forces to attack Celestial Being in order to protect the now friendly Taribia. The crew of the Ptolemaios had been expecting this, and the Gundams start to retreat according to the plan.
However, one particular Union Flag mobile suit is going after the Exia, and it can move twice as fast as a normal. This Flag is Graham’s custom, and not only is it fast enough to dodge all of the Exia’s ranged attacks, it also manages to hit the Exia with its prototype rifle. Unfortunately for Graham, Setsuna elects to take the Exia underwater and out of the fight. With everything now over, Shirin tells Marina how the U.S. military helping Taribia has quieted anti-American sentiments there and allowed American-led policymaking. The current Taribian administration also gets the backing of the America. What’s more, other countries won’t come out with blatantly anti-American policies now in order to avoid what happened with Taribia, and Shirin asks Marina who gained the most from this series of events. Shirin feels that if Marina doesn’t know, then she’s not qualified to save Azadistan.
Having watched the news report on what happened, Saji in Tokyo asks his sister why Celestial Being attacked Taribia if they hadn’t done anything yet. He finds it strange that Celestial Being is causing the battles even though they claim to want to stop them, but his sister tells him that the world isn’t that simple.
I didn’t think it was possible, but there seemed to be a lot more political speak (export regulations, distribution rights, policymaking) and maneuvering this week than in past weeks. A lot of that might have to do with how we were basically treated to a foreign policy lesson from Shirin, though it does set the stage for whatever Marina ends up doing for her own country later on. The actual situation with Taribia was interesting because Celestial Being didn’t do what was expected, and you can rationalize it if you say that doing this might prevent future rebellions, and that would lead to less war. However, the flaw is that less war might not be good for humanity in general, especially if situations develop where certain people or countries are being oppressed. That wasn’t quite the case here, but it’s not too much more of a stretch.
I’m still a bit disappointed that the story is focusing so much on what’s going on in the world politically rather than the Gundams and their pilots. Setsuna got a little bit of character development this week with the nightmare-like sequence to show how unaffected he is by the violence, but this was a relatively small portion of the episode. Graham getting a custom Flag and performing well with it is a good sign that the Gundams will have at least some competition, and the supersoldier Soma might be the Human Reform League equivalent. I’m not quite sure what they mean by supersoldier yet (aka. Newtype abilities or what), but I hope it’s not a redux of SEED’s Extended humans. Speaking of Newtypes, it looked like Allelujah was getting a Newtype reaction in the preview, and next week seems like it might be focused on him.