After destroying one of M’Queve’s secret mines, Amuro continues his journey alone through the desert. Isolated from his friends and on the run from the enemy, Amuro stops off for some much needed food only to be cornered by Ramba Ral and his Zeon forces. But will the two even recognise each other outside of their Mobile Suits?
1. The Amuro With No Name
So we join this episode with Amuro once again wandering the west Asian deserts alone, cut off from the support of the White Base and on the run from the patrols of the Zeon forces. This is a pretty episodic arc so far, with this episode definitely feeling like the middle of an arc. It doesn’t necessarily introduce anything new and has no real concrete beginning or end, it’s all middle.
That being said, this is an arc that I was not expecting from this show and is a twist in Amuro’s direction as a character I was not expecting at all. Having him go renegade and separating him from the White Base really feels like a shaking of the status quo, like the show refuses to let things become rote in its storytelling.
2. It’s All A Bit Inglorious Basterds
The main conceit of this episode is pretty much “What if our main hero and his current main antagonist both walk into a bar and neither of them recognise each other?” Which, to be fair, is a pretty interesting conceit. Because of the way Mobile Suit combat works, Amuro is still largely anonymous to Zeon forces because they have no idea who pilots the Gundam, but that also works in reverse because Amuro has no idea who’s been piloting the Gouf despite having multiple battles with it.
I did kind of wish they had done a bit more with this idea, though, because at a certain point it felt like they kind of gave up on the whole thing. Holding Amuro hostage and using Fraw Bow as a leverage, the show could have had Ramba Ral in a real position of power, but he just kind of… lets them go so he can follow them to the White Base. It’s a little disappointing because that tension they built up felt a little deflated by the end of it.
3. The Space Between Amuro And Fraw Bow
Amuro and Fraw Bow were, initially, our introductions to the Gundam world. They were the first characters we connected to and it was through their eyes that we saw the evacuation of Side 7 and the journey to Earth. While their bond was left unspoken, it was clear there was a connection there and feelings left unsaid. Now, though, those feelings are coming back to haunt them as the ghost of what they once had rears its head during and after the confrontation at the bar.
Their drive away from the bar was painful only in so much as it crystallised jut how far apart they’d drifted. I don’t think either had even noticed the extent of the drift, but it’s definitely there. I’m hopeful for some sense of reconciliation in the future, but I’m not holding my breath for a happy ending.
4. Showdown Of Amuro And Ramba
Remember when I mentioned that part of the fun of Gundam is the anonymity of the pilots in combat? Well, in an episode that shone a spotlight on that by having two arch rivals confront each other with no idea of one another’s identity, it only makes sense for there to be a moment during Ramba Ral’s attack where he and Amuro meet face to face. With the chassis of both the Gundam and the Gouf damaged, the two pilots are confronted with the notion that they’ve both crossed paths with no idea of the other’s true identity.
Thankfully, the show allowed Ral to survive the encounter despite the destruction of the Gouf. Ramba Ral has been a very interesting antagonist for Amuro thus far (not quite Char, but more so than Garma, certainly) and I can’t wait to see how the show develops their rivalry from here.
5. How Do You Solve A Problem Like Amuro?
Well, then. That’s not the ending I was expecting this episode to have. For one, I was expecting this whole “Amuro With No Name” arc to go on for another couple episodes yet and for another, I was perhaps naively expecting the situation that would result in Amuro and the White Base reuniting to be one that would essentially bury the hatchet between the two. But, much like Sayla before him, Amuro is interred in the brig for the episode to end with him calling out of his cell that he has to defeat Ramba Ral.Continued below
It’s a pretty downer ending to the episode and really made me feel bad for Amuro. Remember, he’s just a kid. He never signed up for any of this and he was trying his best, but just couldn’t gel with Bright and the pseudo-Federation operation he’s been running on the White Base. To see him locked up for it genuinely makes the rest of the White Base crew feel like they’re as much the villains of the story as Zeon.