For the longest time since the series started, Shaddiq has been surrounded by an air of mystery, perhaps even more so than Elan. He initially comes off as a background character who merely observes, even though he is featured quite prominently in the opening credits.
This episode finally gives us an insight on who he really is, and unlike the others, Shaddiq’s backstory is somewhat bittersweet when we realize that he actually harbors some feelings for Miorine.
Negotiations and Battle Preparations
At his core, Shaddiq is not really an antagonistic individual. He’s level-headed, cool, and practical. This is evident when his business proposal with Miorine involves taking over the company in name only—with a share in the profits, of course—and leaving Miorine to handle everything else.
But the thing is, it is more or less treating Miorine like her father did, and this is what she hates the most. We know that Miorine values her independence above all else, so it is not really surprising that she would fight for it, literally, through a duel.
The rest of the first half deals with Earth House’s preparations. And as we already expected, they are not well equipped to handle a team battle. While they have pilots and mobile suits, courtesy of Peil Technologies, only Suletta, and Chuchu by extent, have extensive combat training.
It is worth nothing that even if the Pharact is available, Elan would not allow it to be used by Miorine and her team due to its secrets. Thus, Earth House had to make do with what they were given in their first team battle.
The Duel of Two Houses
Despite appearing only briefly during the previous episodes, Grassley House is actually popular, even more so than Jeturk. Unsurprisingly, this is due to Shaddiq’s clique, which are all women, and we are treated with a cute scene of everyone, boys and girls alike, cheering for their favorite “idols”. Meanwhile, Earth House doesn’t have anyone cheering for them, though it’s really funny how the episode showed their various reactions to the duel, including a very reluctant Martin.
At the start of the duel, and indeed before it, we know that Grassley House is a cut above the rest. Their teamwork is simply top notched, with Shaddiq going for Chuchu immediately to prevent her from sniping them while his friends isolate Suletta and the others.
For the majority of the battle, this strategy does work, and we can see that Suletta is not the skilled pilot she displayed in previous duels. This becomes more evident when she’s the only one left and Shaddiq deployed his trump card: an antidote that disables the GUND Format from Aerial, rendering it useless.
Now this development does reveal crucial details: the fact that Suletta has always relied on Aerial to fight, which in turn means that Aerial is built with an advanced A.I. system. This makes a lot of sense if we consider that, while it is a Gundam, there is no threat to its pilot.
But what does this mean? For now, Aerial is still shrouded in mystery. But regardless of what it really is, there is no denying that Suletta does have the skills even without Aerial’s help, as evident when she pilots it on her own and decimates Grassley House for a moment.
The scene itself is both epic and a tearjerker, especially when it shows Elnora crying after the antidote is overridden—something that she failed to do before, resulting in the death of her husband and Suletta’s apparent father.
Given Suletta’s track record in winning against all odds, it is only natural that we expect her to win in this duel as well, even though Aerial is missing an arm and a leg. But once again, Witch From Mercury subverts expectations in a way that also gives an further insight on Shaddiq’s personality.
Hubris and Love
During the course of this episode, Shaddiq has been discouraging Miorine away from the duel, confident in his team’s abilities. And for the most part, this is true. If not for Suletta deciding to use her own skills, Earth House never stood a chance.
This stems from his desire to protect Miorine, and as we see during his battle with Suletta, Shaddiq believes that the girl is much too soft to keep Miorine safe. In a way, this plays a big part on his plan to deal the endgame blow personally on a damaged Aerial, something that could have been done by his remaining team mates.
But this hubris is Shaddiq’s own downfall, as everyone participating in the battle sets up a well-placed trap, allowing Chuchu to fulfill her intended role as a sniper.
As viewers, we are definitely rooting for Suletta and her team mates, especially with her cute victory/promotional dance right after the battle, which is essentially like rubbing salt in a very deep wound. However, Shaddiq is someone that is easy to sympathize with. His affection for Miorine is genuine, and judging by Miorine’s reaction to his subtle confession, it might be that the Rembran heiress wouldn’t mind being his bride.
An action-packed yet character-driven episode, episode 9 brings several revelations to the front while providing solid development for several characters. As always, the fight scenes are phenomenal, though the emotional impact is definitely the highlight of this episode.
Episode score: 9/10