MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: THE WITCH FROM MERCURY EPISODE 12 REVIEW – Welcome to the Gundam franchise!
Ever since the Prologue, we all expected Witch from Mercury to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors. But for much of the entire season, the series constantly subverted expectations; it’s light-hearted, sweet, with just the right amount of drama and political intrigue to set it apart from previous Gundam installments.
And yet, this episode finally brought down the hammer, reminding fans, both new and old, of what the Gundam franchise is really all about.
War, despair, and bloodshed.
Attack on Quetta
Much of the episode is dedicated on action scenes involving the Dawn of Fold’s surprise attack. Indeed, a lot of the scenes focused on the mercenary group blowing up stuffs outside and even inside the factory, reminiscent of the original Gundam and its spiritual successor, Gundam SEED.
But what really makes these particular scenes in WfM so refreshing is the emphasis on the characters’ experiences, and a little bit of worldbuilding as well. Those from the Earth House, particularly Lili, is obviously terrified, having been unexposed to the harshness of war. Meanwhile, we got a glimpse of one of the reasons why Earthians hated Spacians; polluting Earth. Of course, this makes them a bit of a hypocrite, as their mobile suits’ physical ammunitions left a lot of junk in space.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking part about this is how several characters finally showed their true colors to their very own children. First, we have the Jeturk father and son duo, which is the second best subplot of the series. Ever since his defeat against Suletta, Guel has underwent an astonishing amount of character development, though the way it happened really makes you want to root for him. Time and again, Guel has experienced defeats, and we got to see that underneath all the former cocky and arrogant attitude hid a thoughtful and humble personality. As for his father, Vim, he’s been a secondary villain, scheming and plotting behind the scenes.
But the attack threw most of that into a different light. Guel, as can be seen in this episode, had changed because of Suletta. It’s not clear yet if he harbors romantic feelings for her, but it is obvious that he admires her. On the other hand, Vim truly cares for his son’s wellbeing, and this is revealed in the most horrifying way possible when Guel unknowingly killed his own father out of pure survival instinct.
Unfortunately, Vim isn’t the only dad who got a heart-to-heart talk with his child during their close encounters with death. Though it is quite a typical moment and trope, Delling blocking a debris meant to hit Miorine is still shocking to see considering their strained relationship. However, what really turned out to be a surprise is the fact that Delling didn’t die with his wife because they both agreed to put their own survival so that, if worst comes to worst, there will be someone left to take care of Miorine.
Of course, as the Rembran heiress noted with annoyance, both of her parents could have simply escaped together. Nevertheless, it gave us further insight on Delling’s character and his relationship with his daughter. And Miorine’s desire to save him simply showed that she truly loves her father despite everything.
Move Forward, Gain Two… And Lose Your Humanity
How far would someone go for revenge?
One of the underlying themes of the show is that very question, embodied by none other than Suletta’s own mother, Elnora. Though to be fair, Elnora, or Prospera, had a significant lack of screen time to properly answer that question, despite the fact that her presence is felt in most of the episodes, especially during the times she actually appeared.
And yet, we could already understand much just from this episode alone. There were scenes where she didn’t really act like a mother, and if we go by the tie-in prequel novel, she never actually cared much for Suletta, treating her as a tool.
A tool meant to kill her enemies.
It seemed a horrifying thought. Indeed, Suletta was shaken at the sight of blood and seeing Elnora kill people without remorse. But in this moment, we finally understood just how innocent and gullible Suletta could be. She was actually being brainwashed by Elnora using the motto “Move Forward, Gain Two”. And while that did help her overcome her insecurities, it turned her into something that she shouldn’t be.
At first, we never saw the effects, though there were already hints of her fate. One such clue is the very scene of her conversation with her mother, where she stepped onto a smudge of blood and accepted Prospera’s hand. For the most part, Witch from Mercury cleverly used symbolism to foreshadow events, and it really worked well in this scene.
But that’s not the only hint. While Suletta’s fight with Sophie and the Dawn of Fold is an epic scene to watch, especially since she’s piloting an upgraded Aerial, it can be easy to misinterpret the tweaked version of the Witch From Mercury theme in the background. It sounded cool and epic at first, but if we listen closely, it is a sinister and quite villainous soundtrack. Suletta actually trying to kill her enemies using a mega beam cannon only solidified this drastic shift.
However, it was not really until the post credits scene that we got to see the horrible effects of Prospera’s little “pep talk”. As luck would have it, a terrorist tried to kill Miorine and her father, only for Suletta to arrive and save them by reducing the man to a red paste. And how did Suletta reacted to that?
By smiling innocently at Miorine and acting like a knight in shining armor.
Miorine’s terrified and even outright disgusted response was only natural. Because at this point, Suletta is no longer the innocent girl she, and we viewers, knew and loved. What’s really scary in this scene is that Suletta seems to see killing as nothing more than similar to swatting a fly, making her nonchalant about it. And once again, the anime perfectly portrayed her mindset using symbolism.
For the last shot had Aerial kneeling in the dark—a contrasting parallel to the final shot of Episode 1.
While the majority of this episode focused on death and destruction, there were other things worth mentioning about.
First, Sophie and Norea. At this point, the definition of Witches is still a mystery, and hopefully, season 2 finally explains it. Regardless, the Witches of Earth seem to be highly skilled pilots—strong enough to use Permet Score Four without dying.
But this begs the question: where are they really coming from? And who is the real Witch From Mercury?
We also have Nika, who is still an enigma. Is she truly a friend? While her actions in this episode could be attributed to her wanting to save her friends, it is undeniable that part of the situation was her fault. And now that she had been caught in the act, her fate is no longer uncertain. Would she betray Earth House fully by silencing Martin, or could she come up with a believable reason?
And finally, Shaddiq. He didn’t really appear for more than a minute, but it is obvious that he’s not done yet. Although the operation technically failed, judging by the last shot of him, he’s quite satisfied with the results: Vim is dead, Delling is dying, and Plant Quetta is in shambles. It is certain now that he’ll be one of the antagonists for the second season, though it remains to be sen if he will become an ally near the end or receive justice for everything he did.
A satisfying season finale, episode 12 is exhilarating and packed with emotions and unexpected twists. While the previous 11 episodes gave viewers a fun and sweet story with a touch of drama and action, this one fully delivers a drastic shift in tone, one that the franchise is known for. In a way, this sends a direct message to the audiences.
WELCOME TO THE GUNDAM FRANCHISE.
Episode score: 10/10