Gundam 00 – 08
Following the worldwide terror acts, the terrorists have sent out a message demanding the complete disarmament and cessation of armed intervention by Celestial Being. They affirm that what they do isn’t evil and that they are the voice of the people and the apostles of justice rising against those who would oppress the world with military force. Lockon is particularly frustrated with all this and still harbors memories of a terrorist act from his own childhood that resulted in many deaths. All four pilots plus Ian meet with Sumeragi, Christina, and Felt onboard a boat, with the girls in swimsuits, waiting to hear from Wang Liu Mei’s agent. Wang Liu Mei meanwhile returns home and immediately gets to work with Hong Long monitoring the situation across the world. All of the major powers have been struck with acts of terrorism, and she thinks that there must be terrorist-supporting states at work here. Shortly thereafter, Sumeragi briefs the pilots on how the terrorists have multiple bases of activity, so the Gundams are being sent to certain places to wait for orders to attack before the terrorists move their bases.
Up in the Human Reform League’s Low Orbit Station, Sergei is getting a casualty report of the recent terrorist attack. Soma had thought that this didn’t have to do with them, but Sergei realizes that since the root cause of these attacks is Celestial Being, they could get involved. Marina meanwhile is in a hotel in the AEU’s Scotland and blames Celestial Being for the postponement of her meeting with the English foreign minister. Shirin reports to her that there was an incident in the Parliament the other day where the conservatives and the reformists started fighting. She thinks that it’s just a matter of time before this turns into a clash between the people, so this is probably Marina’s first and last trip. Over in Japan, Saji is on the phone checking up on Louise and learns that her mother wants her to return to Spain. He thinks that one trip back will make her mother feel better, but Louise knows that her mother was against the study abroad and thinks she’ll be kept there if she returns. Saji’s sister then comes home, exhausted from all the work she had to do because of the terrorist attacks, each country’s leaders’ official statements regarding them, and the demonstrations that followed against Celestial Being.
Saji comments to her on how he had thought of all this as someone else’s problem because they weren’t fighting here in Japan. It wasn’t until he was personally involved with the bus explosion that he realized he didn’t understand or know anything. His sister feels the same way because she had to cover the family of a victim, and these families blame Celestial Being. Saji feels that what Celestial Being is trying to do is unreasonable, and to his surprise, his sister suggests that the people in Celestial Being feel the same way. She suspects that there’s something behind their goal of eradicating war – a true objective that they want to accomplish. Saji then wonders what their father would think if he were alive, and his sister thinks that he’d be saddened like Saji. By now, the Gundams have arrived at various points around the world: the Virtue in some mountains in Australia, the Kyrios in a desert in the Human Reform League, the Dynames in a jungle in Union’s South America, and the Exia in Scotland. Sitting in his cockpit, Setsuna remembers a scene from his past where he tried to stop another boy from heading out to carry out his duty for God. The other boy had questioned if Setsuna was afraid of dying and called it a blasphemous act. Ali Al Sarshes had used this death to teach them about God inviting the soul of a person who lived and died for Him, but Setsuna now believes that there is no God.
Setsuna then gets a report of a terrorist act and heads out into the city on a motorbike. Apparently someone suspicious was seen leaving the site of the explosion in a brown-colored coupe, and Setsuna is tasked with going after this person. He quickly spots the car, pulls alongside, and tries to shoot it with his pistol, but the car does a sudden 180-degree turn and gets away from him. Unfortunately for Setsuna, he gets caught with his gun out by a local police officer before he can continue the pursuit. Right as the officer is demanding to see some ID however, a black car pulls up and a man in a suit comes out to claim that Setsuna is one of their companions. This turns out to be the same black car carrying Marina who was in the process of being moved to a different hotel and had seen what was going on. She thinks Setsuna is a fellow countryman, but in talking to him, she finds out that he’s actually from the Kurdis Republic. This catches her a little off guard, however she still introduces herself, and Setsuna replies with a fake name. When she asks if he’s sightseeing, he doesn’t answer and starts to walk away, but Marina still wants to talk more.
Marina proceeds to tell him all about her diplomacy efforts, including how Azadistan is split between the reformists and the conservatives. She feels that if she doesn’t stop both sides, then Celestial Being – which she considers to be a group of fanatics – will come. Although Marina understands that war isn’t good, she also knows that there are people on the receiving end of the armed intervention who die, and there are countries whose economies decline. She questions if the people of Celestial Being think of themselves as God, but Setsuna simply points out that people die when wars happen. Marina then tries to argue that the method of intervention is too one-sided without seeking a peaceful resolution, however Setsuna notes that more people would die while talks are held. He reinforces his point by citing how Azadistan destroyed the Kurdis Republic and how a lot of people died before a peaceful resolution could be reached. This causes Marina to realize that Setsuna might have fought in that war despite his young age, and when she tries to get him to confirm it, he reveals that he’s still fighting. Marina now becomes fearful that he’s going to kill her, but Setsuna believes that killing her wouldn’t change anything. Since she’s still addressing him by his fake name, Setsuna informs her of his Setsuna codename and explains that he’s a Gundam Meister for Celestial Being. Before walking back to his motorbike, he also warns her that if the strife continues, they come to Azadistan sooner or later.
Back at Wang Liu Mei’s place, Hong Long reports that they’ve traced the international terrorist network to an organization called La Idenda, but all of the group’s primary bases have already been vacated. Fortunately, it seems that information from various intelligence agencies such as the NRO, the DND, and the DGSE have made it onto the network. In particular, the AEU Intelligence Agency’s head did this because he felt it’s not easy for them to go after a terror cell in a different country. He recognizes that Celestial Being can, and so he let the information out this time because they had mutual interests. Knowing now that La Idenda has three bases of activity, the Gundams are split up to go to each location. The Virtue blows up the base on the Human Reform League’s Marshall Islands, the Dynames takes care of the one in Union’s South America, and the Exia destroys a tanker in the middle of the ocean. However, the Exia unexpectedly gets pulled underwater by an old mobile armor. Setsuna manages to free the Exia before the mobile armor fires off a volley of missiles at point-blank range, and though the missiles still hit the Exia, it survives and slices apart the mobile armor.
Marina meanwhile is onboard an airplane ignoring one of Shirin’s reports and thinking about what Setsuna said instead. Right as she’s wondering if he was telling the truth, she sees a Gundam flying alongside the plane. Though it’s only there for a brief moment, it’s enough to make an impression on her.
Despite the Marina and Setsuna focus this week, they’re developing a lot of different story angles, including Lockon’s past, Setsuna’s past, and Saji’s sister’s suspicion that Celestial Being has some hidden objective. I’ve criticized the series in the past for jumping around too much, and even though it still is, the story is beginning to feel a lot more coherent since nearly every scene this episode was related to the terrorism in some shape or form. Maybe I’m just finally getting used to this style of storytelling.
As for Setsuna, I see that he didn’t learn much from last time, seeing as how he so easily revealed his true identity to Marina. I still remain unconvinced that a pilot/princess relationship will happen here, but it isn’t out of the question, especially since Setsuna and the Exia made such an impression with the flyby on Marina’s airplane at the end of the episode. I tend to think of Wang Liu Mei as more of the princess character, but that might just be because she’s shown that she has a good dose of pink in her life (just like a certain other girl). Anyway, we probably won’t be going back to Marina and Setsuna again for a couple of episodes unless they really want to show how huge an impression he made on her. Next week looks to have Sergei and the Human Reform League going up against Celestial Being, and the shot of the Felt crying in the preview made me think Haro broke or something since she seems to have such an attachment to it.