「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.



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  1. [i]I can get Norea’s hatred and Elan’s interest in her, but damn if this side-story didn’t feel rushed and superficial. [/i]

    Yeah, basement backstreet boys was just an excuse to keep Nika busy for a half season because Okouchi can’t think of any good plot to write like when he put Kallen on a bus to Britannia in Geass R2 because cautiously it is becoming an official Lelouch X Kallen Doujin. Norea and Sophie was just a pointless side quest that need no resolve, how surprising….. now i see why i can’t get to like them both first time i seen their presence. Because their pointless red herring is so damn noticeable.

    On the otherside, i wonder if those investigator are joking about “Goddamn Hamburger” when they are inspecting Norea’s remnant. Also so many people died but, who cares? Only Petra is important, and she doesn’t need to die. Damn okouchi

    And finally…. the most pathethic villain mastermind in Gundam falls to Shaddiq, a.k.a Prince…. this nick name still reek an unhealthy dosage of inferiority complex narcisism. Yeah, i know we still have Muruta Azrael and Lord Djibril as strong contender… but at least they suceed and any bad writing is atributed to Fukuda’s wife who is too busy writing her silly fanfic in her last minutes, so… oh well… at least Seed and Destiny give me quite a nice haul of netorare and reipu dojin…. shaddiq, his character is accurately and fairly summed by his daddy “What an idiot.” But i wonder why Sunrise and Bandai let Okouchi write him like this? Mihaelis is the only gunpla to not selling even with enormous discount (it also reeks of OC donutsteel mecha design any teenage brat will come up with) and do they think making his pilot even more pathetic will sell his toys? His silly merch didn’t sell either…. are they nuts or what?

    Good news is….. Shaddiq silly little harem didn’t need to pointlessly die like Shrike Team, except if later episode turned it into oxymoron by giving them weird plot excuse. Okay maybe they will be executed for accessory for terrorism and conspiracy, but with their fate left ambiguous (unless later episode kills them with freak accident or else), reipu doujin by other prisoner or reipu vengeance plot doujin. Nice design like them shouldn’t be wasted pointlessly. BUT WHY KILL PETRA? There are lots of creepy hags, fatasses, and strange oldman and you have to kill the only kouhai character who exudes ‘senpai, please notice me.’ presence?? wtf…. i like mesugakis and that sitting gyarus….. sooo….

  2. The pacing in Witch from Mercury definitely feels imbalanced. Sometimes it takes its sweet time, sometimes all sorts of things happen very fast, without enough build-up. Having many secondary characters and many subplots is difficult to manage, and Witch from Mercury has a lot of both.

    This is hardly unique and has been par for the course for Sunrise’s mecha shows for years, though. As you say, the series’ strength is in its core family drama (Suletta, Prospera, Aerial, Miorine), which reminds me of how Code Geass managed to elevate the formula by focusing on a similar core around Lelouch.

    Not that it is boring or that the themes don’t resonate. Norea’s and Shaddiq’s annoyance at Spacian privilege (even victims can be first class and second class) rang close to our own world’s situation, even if their methods were terrible.

    1. I wouldn’t say it’s a product of Sunrise per say as much as writing staff. The Code Geass similarities for one make sense given Ookouchi Ichirou is basically responsible for the script here, and considering he also did Valvrave a lot of the choices start making sense.

      Moreover it’s ironic in comparison to say IBO because while that Gundam was also flawed it was arguably better structured with more time to simmer on its major events. As you say though Witch from Mercury ain’t boring or unrelatable, it’s just different.

      1. I suppose so, although I’d say it is still partly inherent in the formula. With IBO too I felt that many characters got uneven screentime, pacing and development, with those shortcomings being camouglaged (again) by the strength and focus of its core cast and plot. That wasn’t a strong point for Valvrave, in comparison.

        This is almost unavoidable, since Sunrise mecha shows tend to be grand space operas with lots of interconnecting characters and plots, and those are difficult to juggle (just ask Game of Thrones showrunners). Honestly, I’d say that Witch of Mercury is doing better than most in this regard, since my main complaint is “I wanted to see more about these people before things went to hell”, not “I wanted to see less”.

  3. I personally don’t really agree with the critique of some things being too rushed and lacking proper development. Some things just have been cooking for a good while now over time and only needed to be brought to an end. Was that done in a fast pace? Sure, but I wouldn’t call it rushed. Rather it didn’t overstay its welcome.

    Well except Norea and El5n. That felt more like they just didn’t know what to do with them.

    1. I can definitely see where that perspective is coming from, especially when compared to some other mecha series. I think what bothers me most is that we’re effectively getting all of this for (arguably) secondary cast now after over a season of largely ignoring them so it comes across as rushed. Basically not so much that Witch from Mercury is tripping, but more so that it’s failing to take advantage of certain things.

    1. First time I’ve been accused on contrarianism in my posts 😁

      I’m already well on record stating my interest and enjoyment of Witch from Mercury, but such thoughts don’t preclude noting the flaws of the series and what it could do better. Anything I bring up in my posts is always done because I think they’re worthy points of discussion, whether one agrees or disagrees with my thoughts. I never make any claim of being right – that takes a good deal of fun out of watching and blogging anime in the first place!

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