The Gundam franchise is known for dropping insane revelations and battles all in the same episode, and Witch From Mercury is no different. In fact, we can say that this episode has solidified the series’s place among its predecessors.
The catch? We all know this particular plot twist is coming, but it is still as shocking and as horrifying as it sounds.
The Wish To Be A God
Continuing right where the previous episode left off, we finally get some answers as to what Quiet Zero is. Sort of. In true Ichiro Okouchi style(Code Geass, Valverave), Quiet Zero’s purpose is to use the data storms that is causing the deaths of Gundam pilots to control systems quite similar to a master computer like Skynet.
Or so Prospera tells Miorine. And while she’s not even hiding the fact that Suletta’s attendance in Asticassia is to prove that data storms can be overcome, something feels off about her rather nonchalant attitude toward it. Of course, Miorine suspects Prospera before, and not even the revelation that her mother is its originator stirs her mind away from her suspicion.
It does, however, poses a question; why does Delling, and even Notrette, started the project in the first place?
At this point, there are still questions left unanswered. Still, the anime executes this brief conversation between Miorine and Prospera really well, employing clever use of lighting and angles to give the scene a rather ominous atmosphere.
The Calm Before The Storm
With Suletta challenging Norea and Sophie to a duel, it is only expected that the two, including Norea, would give each other the cold shoulders. But once again, the anime subverts expectations by spending some time for the characters to deal with the aftermath of the incident with the Pharact and act as if nothing has happened.
Suletta, for the most part, remains friendly with the two Witches, though obviously subdued and disturbed. And what’s really interesting is how Sophie treats her as a big sister, even going as far as to request that as a reward for their duel. But the thing is, Sophie still expresses her violent thoughts, bordering on possessiveness, evident when she threatens to kill Miorine because Sophie thinks that the Rembran heiress is holding Suletta back.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on one’s perspective, Suletta is innocent and kind. She never hates Sophie for saying that, though she is obviously uncomfortable, even troubled. Indeed, even when Elan has made another creepy advance toward her, she couldn’t bring herself to call him ‘gross’. She’s simply too pure and innocent to see the bad side in all people.
Speaking of whom, Elan is growing to be an interesting character so far. Sophie coming to the rescue as he attempts to seduce Suletta once more is hilarious to watch, but his interaction with Norea is intriguing. There is a throwaway line that essentially confirms the tragic end of the previous Elan, but the highlight is how Elan and Norea seemingly understands each other despite practically being strangers. In fact, Elan doesn’t even react when Norea returns his phone.
Perhaps it is due to their similar nature as cursed pilots, and it should be fun to see where this strange relationship would go.
The Rumble Ring
What is Witch From Mercury without a duel? Hinted at in the previous episode, we finally get to the much-awaited Rumble Ring, a battle royale-style duel system. But the thing is, it doesn’t really seem like a battle royale at all. In fact, everyone is ganging up on Suletta for the title of Holder.
There are several interesting and fun scenes throughout this segment, foremost of which are the various deployment phases of the mobile suits, quite reminiscent of scenes from other Gundam series. And for the first time, we actually see Lauda participating in a duel. Then we have Sabina and Renee, and a host of other students with their own mobile suits.
Thankfully, Suletta isn’t alone in this fight. Chuchu and Elan are her wingmen this time, both of whom are excellent pilots. And it is really cool to see the Pharact fighting with Aerial. However, we soon realize that our dear Chuchu may not have been as fine after the incident on Plant Quetta as we initially thought, evident when she freezes for a second during combat.
In any case, Suletta’s status as Holder makes her the first target, and naturally, it is Lauda who would go for her first. Of course, he has every right; the Jeturk family has suffered tragedy after tragedy ever since Suletta enrolled into the school, and this is his way of revenge.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Jeturks are always destined to lose. Worse, Lauda got the shortest end of the stick by being disabled by a very familiar Gundam.
The Lfrith Ur.
No Longer A Game
With Sophie and Norea’s appearance at school in the last episode, we already know that something horrible will occur. Indeed, their attempt to eliminate both Nika and Suletta is just the taste of the chaos they would unleash. So when they finally appear in their respective Gundams, it is really not surprising. What is surprising, however, is the kind of chaos they bring with them.
Sudden attacks in space colonies are a staple in the Gundam franchise, but what makes this segment particularly refreshing is the fact that the attack happens in a school setting and during a safe duel. The initially fun atmosphere has become bloody and suspenseful, and we get a lot of heart-pounding scenes as the Ur and Thorn wreak havoc with their unmanned Gundams, the Gundvolvas.
One of the most interesting part here is when Chuchu finally snaps and vows to kill the terrorists, unaware that most are just unmanned drones. She may be an Earthian, but it is obvious that Chuchu holds values and is one of the most affected from the Plant Quetta. But instead of succumbing to her rage, she decides to save two unlikely people: Lauda and Felsi. In a way, this is a turning point for Chuchu, giving her a surprising character development.
The attack, obviously, is just a distraction for Shaddiq’s real goal to kidnap his adopted father, Sarius, cementing his role as an antagonist. And frankly, the fact that Shaddiq is even sparing Sarius is a testament to his character. While most antagonists would have simply eliminated Sarius from the first opportunity, Shaddiq goes out of his way to kidnap him, albeit in a massacre.
The Things They Fight For
Villains in anime usually have clear motivations for the evil deeds they do, and the Gundam franchise is no different. Indeed, what sets it apart from others is the fact that there are no villains in the story, though there are obvious antagonists. And often, their motivations are just the same as the protagonist.
Such is the case with Suletta and Sophie. Their rematch isn’t one of pure hate, but a violent clash of ideals and principles. And what makes the scene work so well is the way Sophie begins to warp Suletta’s view of Prospera and the existence of Gundams in general. Sophie sees them as a tool for bloodshed, meant to be used to achieve one’s desire, and try as Suletta might to counter the Witch’s reasoning, she can’t deny it because she herself has taken a life to protect the person she holds dear.
But what does Sophie really fights for? The answer is simple enough: a life and a family. It is no surprise then that she’s so obsessed with Suletta, and this simple desire paints Sophie as simply human, though life has been unkind to her. It does give her something to strive for, even if she has to hurt other people.
Unfortunately, her obsession with Suletta proves to be her undoing as Aerial unleashes a new power.
Her True Nature
Ever since the duels against Elan Four and the Grassley House, there’s an aura of mystery surrounding Aerial’s true nature and origins as well as her connection to Suletta. We know that Aerial is sentient to a degree, but only Suletta seems to hear her.
But more than that, there are other subtle hints that could complete this mysterious puzzle pieces together. Foremost of these is Prospera’s unusual affection for the Gundam itself, going as far as to call it her “daughter”.
And yet, perhaps this is the biggest clue. We, the viewers, are simply denying the facts because of their tragic and outright horrible implication. Even Belmeria, who finally confronts her old friend about this, couldn’t help but be nauseated when she learns the truth at last.
Aerial is Ericht Samaya.
The revelation is as shocking as it sounds, though perhaps not so for those who’ve already guessed it. Still, the fact that Prospera reveals it so casually and nonchalantly lends a sinister atmosphere, especially when it is happening at the same time as Aerial preparing to kill Sophie on her own without Suletta’s command.
What happened to Eri? At this point, the show still haven’t fully revealed the complete story nor the real identity of Suletta. What we do know is that Eri is the “trigger” for Quiet Zero as she is capable of taking over of the Gundvolvas.
One terrifying detail about all this is how Eri seems fine with killing. And if we go back to the last season’s finale, it throws the end credits scene into a new and skin-crawling perspective. This, combined with Sophie’s obsession of fighting Aerial after hearing Eri’s voice promising to kill her, paints little Eri in a darker light.
It is easy to understand, of course, that Eri may have been fed lies just as Suletta was. And this really makes her one of the most tragic characters in Gundam’s entire history.
Everything Has Changed
With Sophie’s death and the successful kidnapping of Sarius Zenelli, the massacre on Asticassia has come to an end. But that doesn’t mean everything will remain the same. Suletta, though assured by Eri that they did the right thing, may or may not have developed a doubt to everything she knows. Nika is discovered by Henao Jazz just before she could confess to the authorities, and presumably killed given that she no longer serves purpose, both in Shaddiq’s plan and the plot itself.
And then we have Prospera, whose motivations remain a mystery. But one thing is for sure: Suletta’s life will no longer be the same.
Action-packed and full of dark twists, episode 2 of Witch From Mercury’s season 2 delivers the much-awaited answer to one of the show’s biggest mysteries. Still, it does open another room of questions, which only makes the series even more interesting.
Episode score: 9.5/10