Written by Dawfydd Kelly on 09 Sep 2022
Distributor Bandai • Certificate n/a • Price n/a
“Year A.S. (Ad Stella) 112. At Fólkvangr, a front constructed inside an asteroid, the Gundam Lfrith is undergoing operating tests in the Vanadis Institute's laboratory. The Lfrith has not yet managed to meet the conditions imposed by the council, and test pilot Elnora Samaya is growing impatient.
That same day, her daughter is celebrating her fourth birthday…”
Well now, this was an interesting release. Doing exactly what it says on the tin - acting as a prologue to the upcoming Witch From Mercury series - this single episode (as of writing airing here on the GundamInfo YouTube page) is set 10 years before the series proper and introduces us to the underlying conflict, the major players within the main factions and of course showcasing some top-tier mecha action. Now from my viewing it appears to be a conflict between two factions. Firstly, those who believe humanity must adapt itself more completely to survive & thrive in space, essentially becoming one with their mecha by way of GUND-pattern cybernetics, but the process of reaching that point of symbiosis/apotheosis remains innately (often fatally) harmful to the pilots at this stage of the technology’s development. The second faction are those who see the risks of the technology distasteful and wish to maintain the status quo. This is an interesting take, and my suspicion is the series will be dabbling in questions of post-humanism and the singularity, but I guess we will see….
Arriving six years after the last proper televised Gundam series, Iron Blooded Orphans, Prologue goes hard to show how Bandai’s animation arm Sunrise have improved in that time and the result looks absolutely stunning, with the mecha combat being exceptionally fluid and well orchestrated. The Gundam Lfrith shows great promise of what is to come in the main series, though amongst the UKAN team there is a concern over whether this level can be sustained over a full-Gundam series. I guess we will see…
Finally I’d be remiss in not mentioning the (frankly adorable) 4-year old who will become our heroine, Suletta Mercury. In this episode she is known as Ericht “Eri” Samaya, daughter of test-pilots Elnora and Nadim, and boy, is this a bad, bad day to be trying to celebrate her 4 birthday. And as many commentators have mentioned, Eri in a lot of ways represents the ultimate end point of the Gundam franchise’s fascination with child soldiers, and it is genuinely horrifying when, after she and her mother have launched in the Lfrith, Eri is able to take control of the suit with ease and uses it’s systems to shoot down several of the attacking mobile suits, crying out in joy at how “They look like candles”, all whilst her mother Elnora looks on in horror. Given how the main Witch From Mercury series is (at least initially) set at an academy for aspiring mobile suit pilots, it will be interesting to see if the show returns to touch on this…
In all, this is a fantastic opening salvo from Bandai and real statement of intent.
Wargamer. Anime fan. Giant robot enthusiast. Congenietal absorber of science fiction & fantasy. Dawfydd is most definitely too old for this ****, but see's no point in stopping now. If only he could cut down on his use of the words 'dude' and 'groovy' in everyday conversation...
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