(#MechaMarch2023) Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury Part 1


If you haven’t been a part of Mecha March before, then you wouldn’t know that the last week of March is usually when I have a post about the mecha series that aired during the previous year. In this case, what series am I supposed to talk about? The last, but fantastic episodes of 86 part 2? The mediocre AMAIM series that Irina and I reviewed weekly last year? Muv Luv Alternative that I had zero interest in watching? The only mecha show that stood out last year was this one. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury was a show stopper. It broke so many molds of the usual Gundam fair without breaking a sweat. Honestly, you should watch this.

So what makes this one stand out? What about if I told you that part of it is based on Shakespeare? Specifically, The Tempest? What about if I told you that the first episode is almost shot by shot references and plot points to Revolutionary Girl Utena? Some of those ideas make it into the series in differen ways. Oh I know, what if I told you that it takes place in its own universe and you can just straight up watch no questions asked? Lastly, what if I told you that the main pilot in this entire series is a young woman in a series full of good, young woman and her title is “The Groom”. There are so many good things about this first part of G-Witch and I haven’t even started talking yet. 

The Plot of G-Witch

For this post, I am going to barely pay any attention to the prologue other than the main backstory of it. In the far future of the Ad Stella Gundam Calendar system, the solar system is split in two status based on locations. The Earthian people, who are of course, people on the Earth and are second class citizens. Spacians, of course, are the ones living around space colonies and on different planets and have primary citizen status. There is also the GUND man-machine system that not only allows humans to live in harsh environments, but can be used to help people with disabilities. Too bad it is used in military applications and people can die from it. 

So finally the prologue. An incident happens where the Mobile Suit Development Council calls the Earth Och mobile Suits to be illegal and sends out to kill them. Only test pilot Elnora Samay and her four year old daughter Ericht Samay escaped the destruction. 21 years later, Suletta Mercury shows up to Asticassia School of Technology and immediately makes an entrance by saving the mysterious Miorine Rembran from escaping her father’s control. This is where we see the Gundam Aerial from the prologue just being sent to save her. You know, even if the runaway bride, Miorine, didn’t want to be saved.

So yeah, the set up is going to sound very familiar to some very specific anime. Suletta is a new character in the system of Asticassia Academy because no one knows how to deal with this person from Mercury. But she comes in and calls a bigger wave than she expected and instantly calls how Guel Jeturk is treating Moirine as wrong causing a bigger wave. You know, even if she can barely speak to anyone besides stutter and from other people. Suletta duels for Morione to be her bride with her Aerial Gundam against whatever unit Guel has and she wins. She is now the Rose Bride and is heavily involved in Asticassia’s duel system just on her first day. 

There are still more things next. More duels, more character conflicts, more politics, and everything else you can imagine. It’s Gundam from a different point of view and I love it. 

The Complications of Asticassia Academy

I am going to start my little discussion about the anime here because the world is the thing that informs how the character exists. In this series, the microcosm of the Gundam’s universe is Asticassia Academy. I mean, the characters barely go to class besides one lecture hall and one test that requires mobile suits. That’s it. Otherwise, Asticassia Academy is a major excuse for these people to be here in this one location during this one moment of time. Naturally, these characters are older teenagers so the school is the natural sort of environment for them to be here anyway. It just means that the pressure each of them faces is for real. 

The first and most obvious aspect of this show is the classes. I’m not talking about the non existent school that is kind of there but not. I’m talking about Earth vs Spacian dynamics. The Earth being second class citizens versus Spacians who are at the top. Especially considering how the Spacians come from rich families whose colonies are thriving off of capitalism. Then the Earth House can barely afford to help Suletta when she joins in to the whole fray. Suletta is a spacian technically, but she is from the backwater and failing Mercury. Her company her mother is attached to aren’t on the high level that the elite spacians are when it comes to their grand scaling mobile suits. Except, Suletta is the key that is there to shake up the system.

Which moves onto the duels which are things that the elite flaunt against everyone else. Which can slow down the series from a lot of people’s perspective, but I loved seeing the dynamics put into play here. It really shakes up so many parts of Asticassia when these gigantic figures fight each other and the students bet money on the results. Each of these kids piloting their parent’s latest robots to compete against each other for some small act of supremacy. Seeing Suletta sink into that system where she can actually win with her Gundam Aerial to disrupt it is so crazy too. 

That in itself is the main plot of this first cour. Suletta finding a way to win a duel and then dealing with the relationships that happen around her winning. Whether they are positive relationships like Suletta making friends and developing relationships with good people. Or the negative ones where Suletta doesn’t know she is being played and/or pranked in a way that could possibly make her lose. Those people being Guel who eventually watches out for Suletta as much as she can, then Elan who thought Suleeta was like her until that was proven wrong, and then Shaddiq who decided to approach the duels from different angles. It’s some crazy stuff. 

Parental Issues Are Mandatory in Gundam

This is something that has been standard in Gundam since the very beginning. Especially regarding Amuro Ray’s relationship with his father Tem who was the worst father possible. But yeah, the generational and parental trauma is a much stronger cornerstone of The Witch From Mercury.  We can start with Suletta’s relationship with her mother because she listens to her mother’s guidance to push her forward. Something which has really pushed her to some interesting ways in the finale of the show, but helped motivate her forward when she struggled with what happened around her. . Whether that is a mindset that has messed with her or not depends on a lot of the circumstances. 

Not to mention Moirine running away from her dad’s crushing judgment on almost every aspect of her life. Something she has to rebel against with Suletta as her bride at first and then has to ask for her father’s permission to form a company based on the GUND format during Suletta’s witch trial. Guel obviously has some pride that he refuses to hold onto what his father wants him to do after losing duels which pays off in the final in horrible ways. Then there is just the adopted parental trauma throughout the show. When the dueling system isn’t considered important and the kids can’t play in the “safety zone” presented by those duels, the parental trauma really shows up. It’s kind of scary and presents some horrifying cliff hangers for the second cour. 

It Really Is a Gundam Series

I don’t know what else to say here other than Witch From Mercury is as gundam as other gundam series come. The space wars have, between after the prologue to the final episodes of this cour, have been pushed aside for now. I say that when there are strikes and protests on Earth over their status of being used as second class citizens. The war system is still in place. Capitalist companies send their children to Asticassia Academy to show off their mechanical weapons. The elites live high while the protagonists live on the bottom of the social spire waiting for their moment to destroy the system in place. Honestly, what is more gundam than that? I have no idea.

Then there are the usual Gundam things that do make an appearance. Experimental children used as pawns in a system in order to exploit it further are heavily important things. Same as special systems to make pilots stronger. Not to mention all the sorts of Gundam references throughout the entire show as well. The terrible parents, the Gundam becoming the most important unit in play, and the operating system which is also a major sort of Gundam thing in AU series. Same with teenagers who are so far away from the realm of war until it hits then at the end of this cour. Welcome to Gundam, it is a sad place here. 

Some Finishing Thoughts for Cour 1

This show is a crazy looking show in the right moments and can be a little jarring and not as consistent in others. Such is anime production right? IN all cases, the mecha battles are exceptional with so many layers and so many things going on all the time. It’s the character animation that can suffer depending on what the episodes are trying to do or convey to the audience themselves. I can also mention some production delays and issues which happened somewhere from this show airing during the Japanese special events on television and other times where there were actual delays. Such is the history of the production of mecha anime it seems.

Which ties into my final thoughts considering this cour. I really like this show. I know that I wrote a post about how I enjoy that this show is so different from other sorts of Gundam series. Regardless of that, this is still a Gundam series to its very core. The space wars controlled by large entities inside and outside of the government of Gundam universes are replaced by kids piloting their parent’s corporation’s robot to show which one is the best. It is a bit of an interesting twist to not only simplify the usual conflict in Gundam, but make it more potent in such really amazing ways that makes sense for this series. I really love that and I hope that it allows the Gundam franchise to try more things in the future which will shock people. 

With all this good, I hope the second cour is just as good as the first because you never know with any Gundam series too. The second halves have a habit of being a bit too out there and unhinged. Maybe this won’t be the case or the show will be longer. We shall see what happens. Especially since I haven’t mentioned any running theories over Suletta and Aerial considering how some things just don’t line up at least in terms of years being unaccounted for.  

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