「望みの果て」 (Nozomi no Hate)
“The End of Hope”
If last week could be called the descent into despair I dare say this one was reaching rock bottom proper. Witch from Mercury has been gearing up for its climactic showdown for a few episodes now, it’s about time some tangible movement was had and the stakes put into proper perspective. Only thing I don’t know is whether this was the right way for it.
Although I’m holding off serious critique until that upcoming finale, this episode really laid bare some of the more irksome features of Witch from Mercury, most notably the progression. Or lack of it. Elan and Norea are case in point: I can get Norea’s hatred and Elan’s interest in her, but damn if this side-story didn’t feel rushed and superficial. The whole thing seemed as though it was missing a couple episodes worth of material, particularly when Norea gets the death she was seeking and Elan loses it. These moments are the quintessential bread and butter of Gundam after all, the stark emotional release which drives even larger changes and resolutions vis a vis the main storyline. To get it so rapidly though takes away a good chunk of the impact, especially in light of knowing Elan will be going right after the source of Gundams in Prospera. Or in other words, the execution didn’t match the intent.
Not helping on this front other was the other major bit of conflict in Guel and Shaddiq. Again nothing unexpected here: Guel loses his cool, Shaddiq reveals all, and both duke it out with Guel ultimately proving the winner all the while little brother learns about Guel’s patricidal ways. Hell for a fight it was pretty damn fun too – but again there’s that pacing which takes what is usually a 2-3 episode affair and crams it into ten minutes, complete with Sarius being rescued and Shaddiq’s plans torn asunder. For me at least it rams home just how rear-loaded this series is, how excessive the first season slice of life buildup was, and ultimately begs the question if Witch from Mercury wasn’t originally a four cour show that belatedly got cut down to two after the initial numbers weren’t looking too rosy. Would certainly explain some of the more noticeable quirks this Gundam has on display.
The one positive, however, is that there’s still four episodes to go, and with it the likelihood of lots of choice (read: fun) mother-daughter time. Suletta for one, having blamed herself for everything which has transpired, is basically at the point where she’s ready to flip; all it will take is an equally shocked and remorseful Miorine to beg forgiveness and seek to right wrongs with Suletta’s help to bring that part of this story full circle. Couple it with both Benerit’s overseers and loose cannons like Elan both converging on Prospera and Quiet Zero and it ain’t too hard seeing the next logical course of events. The climactic showdown is coming, it’s going to be tragic, it’s going to be bloody, and you best be sure it’ll leave a few questions to chew on.
I’m not sure yet if the ending can make up for the ride getting to it, but at least you can rest assured knowing it won’t prove boring.