We’re in the Endgame now
If Gundam The Witch From Mercury was a bowling alley, this would be where they started setting up the pins for an assured strike. This episode seems tame enough, but it has lit the fuse on several things at the same time and if you haven’t been paying attention, it can be easy to write this one off as a simple filler, but that friends, would be a mistake. Luckily, I’m an obsessive, meticulous, overly critical neurotic who loves Gundam not for its sci-fi and mecha, but for its ability to expertly craft politics and worldbuilding alongside that encapsulating sci-fi. So, let’s break it down by faction to make it a bit easier to understand.
At the start of the series, the factions were Grassley, Peil, Jeturk, Benerit, and Earthian. However, with three episodes left in the cour before the first half of this Gundam ends, the factions have drastically changed. Now, the factions are Grassley, Peil, Benerit, GUND-ARM, and Dawn of fold. Due to Guel’s losses and Vim’s machinations, Jeturk has all but dissolved as a faction, with their heavy hitters either siding with Peil or GUND-ARM. Plus, a new faction has just been introduced, that threatens to flip the entire board upside down.
Shaddiq VS Benerit
Let’s start with Grassley, aka the two-headed hydra. What may be the second most influential group in Benerit is currently going through a clash of ideals between its king and its prince. Shaddiq, whom we’ve assumed was a daddy’s boy who did everything and anything his adoptive daddy said is revealed to most likely be a lovestruck teenager. As we’ve seen last two episodes, he truly does care for Miorine. He truly does want her out of her situation. He was never one to duel like Guel, but that didn’t mean he doesn’t care for the girl. So as Henao suggests, his intention was never to rescue Miorine through a duel, he always had a bigger plan. My only wonder is, with all the people he surrounds himself with, can he truly be sure he’s outsmarting his father?
We move on to Peil next. Elan 2.0 is out of the oven, and he’s revealed to be just as big a prick as original flavored Elan, maybe even bigger. My heart does break that the first Elan truly is dead though. He had such an opportunity for character development, such an inside to be a good supporting character. His death is not unexpected in a series like Gundam, but it is most certainly hopeful in a show that’s painted itself as Shonen. I would have liked Suletta’s mindset to change through another means than Elan 2.0’s machinations, but hey, anything that gets the tortoise across the finish line.
The King of Benerit
The king on the hill, aka Delling Rembran. This miserable old bastard has so many pieces moving for and against him this week, I’d be amazed if he doesn’t have a nuclear bomb up his sleeve for everybody. The fact that his meeting with Prospera is happening at the same time as another group’s political plays, is also chin-scratching.
By far, the biggest group moving anywhere this week was GUND-ARM. I feel like they are just a corral of lambs for slaughter. Between Nika, Prospera, Elan, Miorine, and Shaddiq, everyone’s sticking their fingers in the Gundam pie and it’s unfortunate that the filling of this pie, is a sheltered fifteen-year-old girl who isn’t world-weary at all and doesn’t know any better. At this point, it’s hard not to see the massive splinter forming and were this any other series I’d exhale with the comfort that everything will be alright. But this is Gundam. Protagonists die here. The villains win here. Causes and ideals and justice fall to the wayside because, in the real world, no one puts the pen down if the story isn’t headed toward a happy ending.
Dawn Of fold
Speaking of Nika, let’s talk about the final new faction introduced this week. Damn of fold. I’ve been begging for news about Earth since we saw that massive protest earlier in the series. My interest in Earth was only bolstered when Nuno and Shaddiq talked about being war orphans. Earth is as I pictured it. A dystopia, forgotten by those with money and who seemed to leave it for space. The few shots we do get are of an abandoned town. Bombed out and dilapidated. Within a deserted school complex, it seems that an orphanage of sorts has taken root. One that Nika seemed to belong to. I get such complex emotions when I think about this character, because I know she’s a traitor, and I know her story won’t end well, but if you just look at how these corporations with money have left Earth. If you look at how money is both running and ruining not only Earth but the entire solar system, then I can’t blame the poor girl for what she has to do for survival.
Learning that her relationship with Shaddiq is that she is the go-between between him, and the Dawn of fold is fantastic. Not to mention, that I screamed twice when I learned that the Gundams we’ve been seeing behind Delling since episode 8 aren’t GUND-ARM-made Gundams, but actual black-ops Gundams from Earth. I should have known that just because something is illegal doesn’t mean they’re out of production. After all, narcotics are illegal all over the place, doesn’t mean people in those places don’t get high.
I haven’t talked about Guel at all because I feel like he needs his own section. I love, love, love, Guel Jeturk, and I will go to bat for him a thousand times over. We learn in this episode that Guel has refused his father’s offer to join his business. He’s moved on to working as a cleaner on a rig out in space. Is it faith or it is kismet that Guel then gets a job that takes him back to a Benerit-owned factory. Not only a job that takes him back to Benerit but a job that sees him confronted by the two Black ops Gundams of the Dawn. At this point, Guel is headed two ways. Join GUND-ARM as a tester pilot alongside Suletta, or Join Dawn of the fold as an act of rebellion. Either way, whichever way the anime positions him I feel that he’ll be one of Suletta’s only true allies when the coming storm finally hits. This week, Gundam The Witch From Mercury Episode 10 gets a 9/10