What a better way to celebrate the month of Satan himself than to talk about Gundam. So, like my upload schedule, I did not expect them to release The Witch from Mercury yesterday. And just like my posts, I was a bit disappointed and demand the creator to publicly apologize for the crime of testing my patience.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a good first episode…but it really wasn’t. I’ll first talk about the Prologue and then the actual episode to get a better understanding of my criticisms. Admittedly, this is my first real recent Gundam show. I haven’t watched Iron Blooded Orphans, Age, or any Build Fighters. The most recent show has been 00 and I’m not even done with that. I’ve primarily watched Universal Century, but I’ll only bring up comparisons when necessary but not judge WFM based on the past.
I loved this prologue when it came out. The animation was stellar, the plot felt like a tragedy for the main character despite the show not starting yet, and I loved the plot that it set up. What I found really interesting about the conflict is how none of it really centers around war, at least for now. Sure, the mobile suits are still weapons of war here, but the ending never sets up that a war is coming. Rather, WFM’s conflict is centered around corporate greed and the Gundams being this dangerous device. There’s a heavy emphasis of mobile suit manufacturers and I believe the Gundams were denounced because of how better their performance could have been compared to the rest. In one shot, it showed that, unlike most Gundam shows, that spacenoids are actually doing better financially than the Earth. Considering Ochs Earth is from…Earth, I think Delling’s secret motive was to keep Earth “in line.” I like this new approach to Gundam storytelling. Whether or not war will become apart of the storyline, the fact that we’re getting the before rather than the after is such a fresh change of pace. At least for me. Again, haven’t seen Iron Blooded Orphans yet.
I loved the concept of the Gundam being this dangerous and experimental machine that uses the technology used for mechanical limbs to have the pilot connect with it better. I got this feeling that the show will explore the themes of man somehow combining with machines to expand further into space. It kind of turns over the UC’s themes of nature over humanity, where WFM wants to explore how these giant machines could be used outside of war. I live for that. I wanna see how giant robots can help with our day-to-day activities.
I also love how depressing Ericht’s story is. On her 4th birthday, her entire life is ripped from her. Lost her father, lost her home, and now she’s cursed with being a Gundam main protagonist. My favorite scene is when her mother, Elnora, realizes that Ericht is the registered pilot of the Lfrith. The sadness and fear in her eyes as her naive daughter barely acknowledge the death around her is tragic. There’s a meta aspect to it, like her mother had watched previous Gundam shows before and knows what her daughter is about to go through. It’s perfectly executed. And that last scene of her father singing happy birthday as his last breath. Fucking sad man. Suletta is shaping up to be my favorite main character, including what happens in the first episode.
The prologue is amazing, managing to hit all the dark aspects of Gundam while bringing something fresh to the table. It’s dark but in the right ways.
The First Episode: Is This the Same Show?
I think they handled the first episode poorly, but what we got wasn’t half bad. I liked the twist at the end when it’s revealed that Weiss-I mean Miorine is now Suletta’s fiancé because she beat up her previous one. So now Suletta, the girl with a Gundam, is gonna be married to the daughter of Dellings, the guy who staged that whole raid to get rid of Gundams.
I love the mecha designs, going for a style that’s between the blocky aesthetic of UC while also having feminine designs that give it its own style. Especially the Demi Trainer. They’re my favorite Zaku inspired mech now because of how adorable they. But I love how the Aerial, which is now one of my favorite Gundam designs. The show presents it like a mystical force of nature, slender than the other mechs shown while having its blits fly around as if powered by magic. The fight scene was pretty good, although it was really dumb how Guel, Miorine’s previous fiancé from the 18th century, kept missing shots for no reason. Other than that, the score as Aerial formed its shield was stellar. The presentation alone is enough to enjoy the show, and the milk all the spectacle they can get.
Besides all that, I felt really disappointed with the episode. The whole way through, I thought that I was watching a different show. The events of the prologue were barely ever mentioned. Sulletta’s tragic backstory and the Gundam incident is barely brought up, and even Dellings is just glazed. He’s in this episode for like 2 minutes and he has the importance of a Starscream in the Bayverse movies. I loved him in the prologue as this (possibly) honorable veteran who hated the idea of Gundams hurting their users. You might be thinking, “but Samuel, you ameba, isn’t that the point? Everything you want is in the prologue.” That would be the case, except the first episode is tonally different and everything that happens is not continuing what was establish beforehand. It felt like something was missing in-between both episodes. Why would Suletta be sent to school run by the very people who murdered her father? Why is she going to school to help Mercury? How did they sneak the Gundam in when it literally looks the same from when it was the Lfrith?
What’s worse is that there is a short story does a better job at being a continuation of the prologue and a first episode. Titled, “The Cradle World,” it shows Eritch’s life on Mercury after the incident. From age 4 to age 16, it dives into the loneliness she feels, how she wants to go to a normal school, how the people of Mercury don’t like her, and explains that she’s been piloting the Aerial for months in order to help the Mercurians. The short story actually gives a better reason for why Suletta is going to school that connects better with the Prologue. Her mother is sending her as part of a revenge scheme, hoping Suletta would duel and win Mirone’s right to marriage just like what happened in the first episode.
With the way the first episode making it seem like Suletta’s marriage to Miorine is the focal point of the show, without the context mentioned above, it almost seems like Sulleta’s mother’s plan is supposed to be some kind of reveal that’ll change up the story later. But then why put it in a random short story released at the same time? It’s like the writer thinks hiding really basic, important information for the story as some kind twist reveal is good writing. They might have well not released the prologue at all if they’re gonna treat it like something we should have and shouldn’t have watched at the same time.
Like I said, the first episode isn’t that bad. It’s just the way they handled the overall story is messy. There could have been better ways to connect the prologue to the main story, instead of acting like it doesn’t exist just to “surprise” us with basic plot points that should have been in the first episode instead of a random short story. I’m not gonna drop the show, it’s been like one episode, but I do hope the plot and writing gets better. At least I know about the short story because Suletta’s marriage plotline got a whole lot more interesting. Cause, if that was gonna be the entire show’s premise, I would have been bored out of my mind.