In the year 2301 in the Kurdis Republic, large mobile suits blare a message about dealing a crushing blow to the non-believers who encroach on God’s land. By fighting and dying, they believe that they’ll be guided to God. Among the people opposing them is a boy named Setsuna F. Seiei – armed with only an assault rifle – who feels that there is no God in this world. Unfortunately, he can’t do much except to stay on the run as the mobile suits try to pick him off, and he eventually gets cornered. Setsuna is saved only when an energy beam suddenly falls from the sky and destroys the mobile suit. More of these attacks soon follow, with each destroying another one of the enemy, and Setsuna looks up to see a mobile suit that appears to have wings due to the particles coming out of its back. Fast-forward to the year 2307 when the Advanced European Union (AEU) is holding a military demonstration near the location of its orbital elevator. In the crowd of spectators, a man notes that this is the first solar energy type mobile suit for the AEU. A second man, mobile suit ace Graham Acre, says that the AEU wanted these suits by any means since they’ve been delayed with development of their orbital elevator. The first man then comments on the AEU’s courage in making the announcement of this new model on the tenth-anniversary of the Human Reform League. He thinks that the Enact is an imitation of their Flag mobile suit, and the only thing original thing about it is its design.
Unbeknownst to them, another mobile suit – the Exia – is falling rapidly through the atmosphere with Setsuna as its pilot. His target is the Enact, and he starts the first phase of his operation. The people on the ground soon detect the Exia’s approach, and Graham realizes that this isn’t another one of the AEU’s new models. Once the Exia lands on the ground, the pilot of the Enact, a man named Patrick Corlasawar, pulls out its sonic blade and charges. Setsuna responds by telling the Exia to destroy their target, and the Exia promptly cuts off the Enact’s hand. An angry Patrick then tries to shoot his opponent at point blank range, but the Exia is able to dodge it and proceeds to slice off both of the Enact’s arms as well as its head. Grabbing a pair of binoculars from the guy in front of him, Graham sees that the word GUNDAM is written on the Exia’s head, but he’s never heard the term before and thinks that it’s the name of this mobile suit. Inside the cockpit, Setsuna tells the Exia that the first phase is complete, and he starts the second phase. Watching the Exia fly away, Graham wonders if this was a warning and thinks that the AEU won’t stay silent about it.
Up in space, on the Celestial Being transport ship Ptolemaios, the crew is monitoring the progress of the operation, with one of them wondering if Setsuna did things properly. The ship’s tactical forecaster Sumeragi Ri Noriega has already started drinking alcohol in celebration of the beginning of Celestial Being’s introduction to the world. While this is going on, the Gundam Kyrios with its pilot Allelujah Haptism moves to the ship’s catapult deck, and it takes off in its flight mode. Meanwhile, on the station at the top of the Human Reform League’s orbital elevator, there is a party being held in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the its opening. In attendance is Wang Liu Mei, a beautiful girl who comments to her attendant that Celestial Being is finally moving after learning from him that things have begun. Back on Earth, the Exia has come under attack by numerous AEU fighter aircraft, and help arrives in the form of sniper fire from the Gundam Dynames and its pilot Lockon Stratos on the ground. The two Gundams destroy all the aircraft, completing the operation’s second phase. At the AEU base, Graham is explaining to his companion that this is both containment for and a warning to the AEU for having military power that’s more than it is allowed in the treaty. Graham doesn’t know why the Gundam or its pilot is doing this, but he reiterates that he doesn’t think the AEU will stay silent.
During all this, terrorists in their own mobile suits have started approaching the Human Reform League’s geostationary satellite orbit station. The station’s defenses are scrambled, and an officer named Sergei Smirnov thinks that this situation is due to the AEU selling weapons randomly to third countries. The defense forces manage to fire on the terrorists, but they don’t land any hits before the terrorists unleash a trio of missiles aimed at the structure where the party is taking place. Fortunately for all those inside, the Gundam Kyrios shoots the missiles down and flies in to save the day. Allelujah destroys two of the terrorist mobile suits, but he can’t make it in time to the third one that appears to be making a suicide run, so he calls in Tieria Erde on the Gundam Virtue. One heavy cannon shot later, the terrorist mobile suit is destroyed, and the third phase is complete. It is some time later that day that the television station JNN airs a report about the incident with some footage taken by a camera crew at the party. They also show a video message that they got from the group that claims it stopped the terrorists. In it, an old man introduces his group as Celestial Being, a private military organization that possesses Gundams.
According to him, the purpose of Celestial Being is to eradicate warfare in this world. He claims that they’re not acting for their own profit, but rather for this large objective. With this declaration aimed towards all of mankind, he says that Celestial Being will use armed intervention against all warfare, no matter if the reason is territory, religion, or energy, and they will act against the countries, organizations, and companies that support war. Of the people reacting to this speech across the world, one of them is Marina Ismail who is concerned about the solution to war being war. Graham also hears the speech and laughs at how this contradicts Celestial Being’s existence. Onboard the Ptolemaios, Tieria comments on how Celestial Being is testing mankind, and Sumeragi calls it evildoing. Down on Earth, Lockon is excited that things have started, and he asks Setsuna if he understands that they’ve picked a fight with the world. Replying that he does, Setsuna then affirms that they are Celestial Being’s Gundam Meisters.
ED: 「罠」 (Wana) by THE BACK HORN
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Mirror 3
Honestly, I didn’t really like the OP or ED all that much. They were okay, but didn’t particularly stick with me or make me want to listen to them again. The ED especially started off a bit too rough for me, though I did like the chorus.
The first episode of a new Gundam is fairly exciting as we get to see all four Meisters in action and get a feel for what Celestial Being stands for. I had been wondering about Celestial Being’s contradictory purpose, so I’m glad they’re highlighting that early on in the story because some just feels fishy about it. For all we know, they could have been responsible for the terrorists that they stopped. In any case, I’m interested in how this will turn out since the setting of three major powers plus Celestial Being means that there are more sides at play compared to some past Gundam series, and after Gundam SEED, it was refreshing to see all the “good” guys together on one side to start without a Gundam that needed to be stolen. Of course, something might happen down the line that could change that.
Overall, this wasn’t the greatest beginning (it lacked a certain oomph), but it got the job done introducing the characters and the story, and the animation quality didn’t disappoint. I couldn’t help but think of Death Note’s Light whenever I heard Setsuna talk (since both are voiced by Miyano Mamoru), though that should only take a little getting used to, and Setsuna didn’t really have that many lines this episode. I assume we’ll get more information and background on his character (like how he became the Exia’s pilot) as the series progresses. So far so good…