With last week shocking with (spoiler alert) the death of Garma, Mobile Suit Gundam looks at how the death of one man can reverberate through those around him and affect an entire war. Meanwhile, the White Base inches ever closer to the safety of Federation airspace.
Join us as we look at the eleventh episode of Mobile Suit Gundam, “Icelina – Love Remains!”
1. The Zeon Side Of Things
Like last week, this episode opens and instead of showing us what’s going on in the White Base, we see the Principality of Zeon and their home on Side 3. We’re introduced to the Zabi family, Garma’s extended family, including Degwin, who saw at the end of the last episode, and his other children: Gihren, Dozle and Kycilia. Boy, those are some interesting names.
What this does that’s especially cool is it establishes the Zeon side of the narrative as more than just a generic enemy presence. Sure, we’ve known Char and Garma before this, but the chain of command above them was pretty nebulous. Here, we see the people giving the orders and who create and control the ideology of Zeon. It’s interesting to see the faces behind the force that’s hunting the White Base.
2. Icelina’s Revenge
Weirdly, despite her name being in the title, Icelina isn’t in this episode a whole bunch. I mean, sure, she’s present during the attack on the White Base, but she doesn’t really come into focus until she crashes her Gaw into the Gundam and confronts Amuro over the death of Garma. Then she just… fucking dies? She just falls off the Gaw, snaps her neck and that’s her away. I am genuinely in shock.
It didn’t really sink in what had happened until afterwards when they cut to the funeral. It’s weird, it’s one of the few times I’d say that the animation failed the storytelling of the episode. I was honestly going to complain that there’s no way Icelina could survive landing on her head until the episode cut to her in an open grave. I’m really not sure what to make of this. I think I need some time to process the plot point.
3. Putting The Mobile In Mobile Suit
Each episode, Mobile Suit Gundam continues to impress me with inventive new ways to have cool robot fights. This episode, as the White Base is approached by three Gaw gunships while being buffeted by heavy turbulence, Amuro and Ryu just jump from the White Base onto the Gaws in their Mobile Suits. It’s a really cool play that keeps the established rules of how the Mobile Suits operate in gravity while having them face off against aircraft.
It includes great moments like the Guncannon blasting away a turret from right next to it and the both of them jumping out of the way just as another Gaw fires at the one they were standing on which destroys it. It’s just so cool to watch a nearly 40 year show and each week be impressed with the inventiveness of the storytelling.
4. The White Base Goes Down
While Amuro and Ryu are busy confronting the Gaw, Char manages to do something incredible with just one ship: he downs the White Base. Hitting the engines with a missile, he forces the White Base to make an emergency landing and then… tries to capture it by himself? I know Char’s impressive, but I don’t think even he could hijack the White Base all by himself.
What is pretty interesting, though, is how the refugees take the opportunity of the emergency landing to abandon ship. It continues the thread that the refugees are sick of being caught up in the conflict around the White Base, so much that they’d rather face being trapped in a desert than be stuck on the White Base. That is, until Char starts gunning them down.
5. Breaking Format
As much as I’ve liked most of the episodes up until now, I’ve appreciated how the past couple of episodes have really started to break away from the mould established early on. We’re seeing episodes open and offering new perspectives outside of the White Base, we’re getting a firmer idea of the people behind the Principality of Zeon, and we continue to see inventive and unique scenes of Mobile Suit action.Continued below
I was mildly worried that Mobile Suit Gundam would become rote in its episode progression after a few episodes, but this show has once again proven me wrong and I couldn’t be happier to be wrong. After 40 years, this is genuinely one of the best animes I’ve ever seen and I’m barely a fourth of the way through. Gundamn.