The Infinite Zenith

Victory costs. Every time, you pay a little more.

Gundam Unicorn

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn takes place in Gundam's Universal Century timeline. Begining in U.C. 0001, at the very beginning of human space colonization, a space colony called Laplace is destroyed during a ceremony hosted by the Federation's Prime Minister ushering in the Universal Century dating system. The main story takes place in UC 0096, three years after the events of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack and 27 years before Gundam F91. The story revolves around Banagher Links, a seemingly normal boy living and going to school in the space colonies. His life changes one day when he meets a girl named Audrey Burne, as the encounter brings him into contact with a new Gundam and its connections to an item called "Laplace's Box." 

Personal Opinion

Gundam Unicorn is a return to the events of the Universal Century, following Char's Counterattack. The art style and mood of the story contrasts those of previous continuities; set in a universe already rich in history, the sheer amount of depth in how the characters interact is incomperable, with both the Federation and Sleeves having a multi-fauceted role extending far beyond the typical polarisation of factions. As a consequence, Gundam Unicorn feels far more mature than something like Gundam 00, as morality and conflict are no longer in simple shades of black and white. The art itself is spectacular, bringing the old-school art of the UC into high definition and returning character designs that distinguish themselves from current anime trends; instead of young female officers, experienced, burly men command their fleets into battle. The sound is also finely crafted: the orchestral pieces breath emotion into all of the scenes, and subtle sound effects like the hum of clashing beam sabres and the distinct blast of the Unicorn's beam magnum serve to add yet another layer of complexity to UC Gundam, reminding us of just how chaotic conflict is and ushering in a new standard for not just the Gundam franchise, but anime as a whole. Episodes release on a semi-annual basis, but with the quality we've seen thus far, the wait simply translates to the sheer amount of effort and quality that goes into producing each episode.

 

Episode List

 

Day of the Unicorn

A Neo Zeon remnant group called the "Sleeves" travels to Side 4's Industrial 7 colony, so that its captain, Zinnerman, can receive a "key" to something known as "Laplace's Box" from Vist Foundation leader Cardeas Vist. The item is said to be capable of either restoring the future or destroying the world. Audrey Burns seeks to meet Vist first and convince him not to turn over Laplace's Box, believing the Sleeves will use it to start another war. Along the way, she is rescued by 16-year-old student Banagher Links, who agrees to take her to Vist. Meanwhile, a battle breaks out between the Federation's Londo Bell taskforce and the Sleeves. As the collateral damage rises, the colony is evacuated. Amidst the chaos, Banagher discovers the fatally-wounded Cardeas Vist in the cockpit of the Unicorn Gundam. Before his death, Vist entrusts the Gundam to Banagher, who realizes that Vist is his father. Banagher then launches in the Unicorn and confronts the Sleeves' elite pilot, Marida Cruz, who is piloting the Kshatriya.

  • The destruction of the Laplace station is the triggering force behind all of the events in the Universal Century. Laplace's Box becomes the MacGuffin; holding the original UC Charter, it has the power to create the world that humanity had dreamed of, but also has the potential to destroy it. Its acquisition and opening serve as the basis for the entire story, much as how the Sugar Bowl drives the Series of Unfortunate Events. 

 

  • A Jeagan gets ripped apart by the Kyshatriya. This was the first combat scene in Gundam Unicorn, and a highly impressive one, at that. The Jeagans contrast the grunt suits of other universes in the sense that as trained pilots, they actually stand somewhat of a chance against plot-central characters, such as Marida Cruz, who pilots the Kshatriya.

 

  • Banagher Links is the protagonist. He normally composed and mature, as demonstrated when he saves Audrey, a person of great importance to Zeon. Once the workloader they are in runs out of fuel, he merely responds that he would think of something to rectify the situation. 

 

  • Banagher contrasts previous Gundam leads: instead of being proficient pilots or having previous military experience, he is simply a kind individual who constantly considers the consequences of his actions and their impact on those around him. As a normal high school student, he works part time using a workloader to clear debris from around Industrial Seven.

 

  • Cardeas Vist is the head of the Vist foundation,  the organisation that has been guarding Laplace's Box for the past century. At the start, he takes responsibility for the box and follows his grandfather's request to give the box to the Sleeves, the remnants of the Neo-Zeon movement.

 

  • A ReZEL takes on the Kshyatria, only to be stomped. The NZ-666 Kshatriya is derived off the NZ-000 Quin-Mantha. Despite being a massive mobile suit, its four binders possess thrusters that increase its mobility greatly. Its primary weapons include its funnels, although it also wields beam sabres and has twelve mega-particle cannons. 

 

  • At a younger age, I never understood much about Gundam, but always thought that the beam sabres resemble light sabres from Star Wars. Laser swords have been around for a long time; much as how Star Wars popularised them in the Western world, Gundam has done the same in East Asia. 

 

  • Otto Midas is the captain of the Nahael Argama, a EFSF vessel designed for undercover operations. Just as the Sleeves are presented as having antagonising traits, the EFSF also use questionable tactics, such as using the Argama's main cannons to demolish Industrial Seven's airlock to gain access. It is things like these that indicate the nature of warfare, and how it is difficult to take sides.

 

  • Cardeas is captured by ECOAS, a special forces team. Gundam Unicorn takes the art style of the original Universal Century and brings it into the present: the end result is that animation and art-wise, Gundam Unicorn is incredibly detailed and enjoyable to watch. 

 

  • Riddhe Marcenas is a Federation pilot who enlisted to escape his upbringing. He is a loyal and well-spoken soldier, believing in luck. He saves Micott, Audrey and Takuya from burning wreckage.

 

  • The battle between the Sleeves and Londo Bell inflict a massive toll on Industrial Seven, forcing an evacuation. As with other Universal Century depictions of the brutal nature of war, civilians are seen being crushed by wreckage, vaporised by stray rounds and even the detonation of a Minovsky reactor inside the colony

 

  • Cardeas Vist is revealed to be Banagher's father, and ultimately passes his legacy forward with the hopes that Banagher can bring about a better future for the world. Cardeas also expresses regret at being unable to spend more time with Banagher because his mother did not wish for Banagher to get involved with Laplace's Box.  

 

  • Following Cardeas' death, Banagher resolves to do what he can to protect those around him, and activates the Unicorn. As with all universes, the Unicorn's eyes light up to indicate that it has activated, although it lacks the same cool sound as the suits from Gundam 00.

 

  • After pushing the Kshatriya out of the colony, the Unicorn's NT-D is activated, transforming the suit into its Destroy mode; the suit's face reveals a Gundam design, and the horn splits into the signature V-fin that defines a Gundam, sharply contrasting its unconventional Unicorn mode design. In the final moments of the episode, Banagher ignites a beam sabre and charges towards the Kshatriya. Gundam Unicorn was my first exposure to the Universal Century timeline, making a return to the styles that characterized the Universal Century. The political and war aspects come off a lot more serious and the series as a whole doesn’t feel swept up by current anime trends, giving rise to a significantly more mature plot and characters. Initially, I wasn't sure what to expect, because there is a great deal of history with UC already, I was thinking that I might get lost with things like the Earth Federation, Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG), Zeon, and various empires including the Crossbone Vanguard and their stories. No Gundam series has ever been able to have the same amount of history; indeed, there are a lot of references to past events, such as the One Year War. However, having done a little reading, I was able to follow the story fairly easily, indicating that Unicorn can be enjoyed as a standalone anime. The other aspect about Unicorn was the art; no detail is spared as every element and scene is animated so fluidly that I might as well be watching a live action movie. The next episode is scheduled for release in Novemeber 2010, but considering the quality of the OVAs, the wait is worth it.

The Red Comet: The Second Coming of Char

The transformed Unicorn Gundam overpowers the Kshatriya and Marida is ordered to retreat. The Unicorn is picked up by the Londo Bell ship Nahel Argama. Banagher is questioned by Daguza Mackle about how he came to possess the Unicorn Gundam but is interrupted by the Sleeves' surprise attack. Full Frontal, the leader of Neo Zeon, demands that the Nahel Argama hand over any items related to Laplace's Box, including the Unicorn. Daguza tries to ensure safe passage by holding Audrey, revealed to be Zeon Princess Mineva Lao Zabi, hostage, but Frontal refuses to accept they have the real Mineva. With no other choice, Banagher sorties in the Unicorn against the Sinanju; he fights well, but is captured when blindsided by the Kshatriya. Banagher is taken to meet Frontal at the Sleeves asteroid base of Palau. 

The transformed Unicorn Gundam overpowers the Kshatriya and Marida is ordered to retreat. The Unicorn is picked up by the Londo Bell ship Nahel Argama. Banagher is questioned by Daguza Mackle about how he came to possess the Unicorn Gundam but is interrupted by the Sleeves' surprise attack. Full Frontal, the leader of Neo Zeon, demands that the Nahel Argama hand over any items related to Laplace's Box, including the Unicorn. Daguza tries to ensure safe passage by holding Audrey, revealed to be Zeon Princess Mineva Lao Zabi, hostage, but Frontal refuses to accept they have the real Mineva. With no other choice, Banagher sorties in the Unicorn against the Sinanju; he fights well, but is captured when blindsided by the Kshatriya. Banagher is taken to meet Frontal at the Sleeves asteroid base of Palau.

After discussing the nature of Zeon with Marida, who is placed in charge of watching over Banagher, a crew member from Nahel Argama disguised as a bum bumps into Banagher and passes him a map and a transmitter, telling him to get to the 14th space gate or risk being killed in the coming battle. Banagher laments over how the colony will become a battlefield soon.   

 

  • The Unicorn overwhelms the Kshatriya before the latter is forced to withdraw, revealing its mega-particle cannons. The pacing of mobile suit combat is rather different in UC, with the mobile suits feeling heavier and more powerful compared to their AD counterparts; even the beam sabres sound more powerful, with their distinct hum reminiscent to those of light-sabres.

 

  • Takuya is very keen when it comes to Mobile suits. He is highly knowledgable about the details of the One Year War and declares it to be fate that the Nahael Argama is carrying the Unicorn. This interest sharply contrasts the nature of war: it's one thing to read about it at home during peacetime, but another to be involved in one.

 

  • Following Banagher's recovery, Daguza Mackle questions him about the Unicorn and cites that it is a capital offence for a civilian to operate military equipment. Commander Daguza is a member of the ECOAS team, well-known for its combat efficiency: in fact, he single handedly disables the Kshatriya during the Battle of Industrial 7, which I forgot to mention last time.

 

  • The Sinanju is Full Frontal's custom mobile suit, designed to resemble the late Char Aznable's Sazabi. Full Frontal is a genetic clone of Char Aznable, with his memories retrieved from the psycho-frame of a previous mobile suit. Like Char, Full Frontal is charismatic and is a skilled pilot, desiring to bring about the destruction of the Federation.

 

  • Full Frontal practically solos the Nahael Argama and its entire complement of mobile suits, bearing testament to just how accomplished of a pilot he is: in fact, he is designated as the Red Comet, an honorary title bestowed upon the original Char. Again, note how much more realistic things are done in UC: the Sinanju's beam shot pierces the ReZEL's armour and melts it, rather than causing it to explode in a purple mist.

 

  • Audrey reveals herself to be Mineva Zabi, an heir to the Zabi empire. Daguza seizes the moment to try and negotiate with Full Frontal using her as a hostage, although the latter decides that since the Mineva's identity could not be confirmed, he would disregard their terms. Banagher's naivete is demonstrated here when he tries to convince her to stand down: while he despises conflict, he does not yet understand the consequences of seemingly simple solutions. In this case, handing the box over to the Sleeves would likely result in the deaths of countless Federation citizens.

 

  • Since Full Frontal resumes his assault on the Argama, Banagher decides to buy them a little time by sortieing in the Unicorn, despite protests from the bridge. He is shown to have a degree of natural talent and some degree of piloting experience using the workloaders for his job, but piloting the Unicorn is a different experience altogether. It is important to note that Banagher chooses to pilot solely for Mineva's sake.

 

  • The beam magnum wielded by the Unicorn produces a shot of the same magnitude as a mega-particle cannon, capable of ripping through asteroids but also draining an entire e-pac per shot. To allow for continuous usage, specialized magazines are used. 

 

  • As a clever callback to the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the sound of the Unicorn's beam magnum is the same as that of the RX-78 II's beam rifle. When the Unicorn was first announced, fans expressed disbelief that the RX-0 lacked the features typical for a lead Gundam, instead sporting a pure white finish, a visor similar to those present on the Londo Bell units and a single horn in place of the V-fin. 

 

  • The Unicorn's entire frame expands to reveal the psycho-frame when the NT-D is activated by the presence of a Newtype. When the NT-D is active, the pilots consciousness merges with the machine, increasing its responsiveness in combat, although it places a great strain on the pilot's mind and body. As a failsafe, the NT-D system disengages after 300 seconds of sustained use. 

 

  • It appears that emergent properties and behaviours are quite the rage in Japanese popular science these days: by the definitions used at the ESD lab, emergence occurs when a system exhibits properties and complex behaviours that are not explicitly defined in the original design. In this case, the Unicorn's internal frame glows red from the psycho-frame luminescence, although this behaviour was not inherently present in the original blueprints.

 

  • Banagher meets Full Frontal on person following his capture. Frontal presents himself to be a well-mannered individual, offering Banagher tea and offers Banagher the choice to further the Sleeves' cause rather than forcing him to do anything against his will. In doing so, while Frontal still comes across as a manipulative and calculating antagonist, this meeting reveals that, again, the enemy is nonetheless human and drives home the point that there isn't a single right side to the war, as he acknowledges Banagher's perspective on things. Angelo Sauper contrasts his superior's attitude, flat out manhandling Banagher when the latter refuses to show respect for Frontal.  

 

  • The next episode looks to be an intense one: Londo Bell and ECOAS prepares for the upcoming assault on Palau, where Banagher and the Unicorn are being held. The Argama's complement is updated with several new Jegans and the new Delta Plus unit. Plans to use the vessel's hyper mega-particle cannon were also discussed. 

 

  • Angelo expresses concern at the movement of the Federation forces, but Frontal expresses more interest in how progress on the Unicorn is going. I recall reading somewhere that the poverty of the Palau residents might be because of the extravagant projects and amenities the elite members of the Sleeves have access to. 

 

  • During dinner with the Sant family, Tikva claims that the Federation does not comply with the Geneva convention with respect to how it handles POWs, but Banagher counters that both sides of the war have committed atrocities, and that neither side is true justified in their actions. Marida then takes him to a small alter, telling him that for the populations in the colonies (spacenoids), Zeon became their new God and source of hope. 

  • After a stranger (actually a recon unit from the Argama) bumps into Banagher and gives him a map telling him of the assault on Palau, Banagher wonders why force seems to be the only viable solution for problems. The next episode will be centred around the recovery of the Unicorn, and attempts to understand more about the La+ Program, which seems to share a strong connection with the box. I was highly impressed with the way the story played out, and of course, the battle between Banagher and Frontal. The duality of the sides of warfare was also nicely explored, reminding us that the 'good guys' and 'bad guys' in war are strictly defined by which side we are on. In this case, we find it difficult to definitively classify either the Federation or the Sleeves as the antagonists: this is evident in Full Frontal's mannerisms. While he desires the defeat of the Federation, he nonetheless is a rational individual who follows his objectives based on what the people wish for.

The Ghost of Laplace

The Earth Federation and ECOAS execute their assault on Palau, with the intention of rescuing Banagher and the Unicorn. Saboteurs destroy Palau's connecting bridges, while the Nahel Argama unleashes its Hyper-Mega Particle Cannon, pushing the asteroids towards each other to damage much of the Sleeves' forces. Any Sleeves unit getting out is ambushed by ECOAS units hiding in the rocks. Riddhe springs Audrey from detention so they can go to Earth and talk to his father, Ronan, but not before trying to convince a surprised Micott about their intentions. Banagher finds the Unicorn Gundam and tries to escape, defeating Marida in the process. She is eventually captured and Alberto Vist is allowed to escort her to an Anaheim Electronics facility on Earth.

Banagher and Daguza proceed to the remains of Laplace with the intention of activating Laplace's Box, but hear the original broadcast of the Earth Federation establishment ceremony. The Sleeves are not far behind and the EFSF/ECOAS units fight them. The Sinanju appears and Daguza sacrifices his life to buy Banagher some time to activate the Unicorn's Destroy mode. The fight sheds parts of the Laplace colony and sends them into the atmosphere. Banagher continues to pursue Full Frontal during the reentry, but a beam magnum shot meant for the Sinanju hits Gilboa Sant instead. As Banagher and the Nahel Argama enter the atmosphere, Audrey arrives at the Marcenas estate. 

 

  • Micott's mistrust of anyone associated with Zeon is such that she intended to alert the bridge when she came across Riddhe and Mineva heading to the mobile suit hanger. Mineva is able to convince Micott that she has no intention of betraying Londo Bell to the Sleeves, but Micott does not feel that Mineva is forgiven. This moment defines Micott's character and contrasts those of other female Gundam characters, who are typically more stubborn. 

  • This is the Nahael Argama's single most powerful weapon, the hyper mega-particle cannon. It is fixed under the central catapult and requires the vessel's full output in order to fire. While the cannon is charging, the vessel is unable to use its other weapons or perform manoeuvres of any sort. 

 

  • Banagher reaches the 14th space gate and finds the Unicorn there. By this point in time, it is remarkably difficult to determine who the antagonists really are, as everyone has their own motivations for taking up arms and fighting. Members of both factions are presented as ordinary humans who have families, values and ideals, with Gilboa Sant and Daguza Mackle being two of the more noteworthy individuals

  

  • The battle between Londo Bell and the Palau forces was the most impressive combat sequence of any kind I've ever seen, showing off the best that the Universal Century has to offer in full high definition. However, combat is only one of the many things that make Gundam Unicorn a step above the other universes; the story is perfect for both newcomers like myself and old timers who know the Universal Century as well as historians know about real events.The conflict between the Federation and Sleeves is not impossible to follow; instead, events are told from both factions to let viewers catch up on what's going on.

 

  • The Delta Plus is an impressive machine. being a transformable prototype that has a well-balanced loadout. The unit acquired by Londo Bell is assigned to Riddhe; he quickly disables several mobile suits before meeting up with Banagher. Once the fight at Palau ends, Riddhe and Mineva will use a mass driver and set course for Earth so the former can meet up with his father.

 

  • Banagher questions whether or not Mineva is comfortable with the path she is taking. When she affirms it, he entrusts her safety to Riddhe before heading off to engage the Sleeves' forces.

 

  • The Unicorn curbstomps the Kshatriya, settling the score from their previous battle. The Unicorn makes to kill Marida, but Banagher overrides the NT-D, and in a telepathic space, comes to learn about Marida's past and reach an understanding with her, signifying his first step towards his growth as a Newtype. With her past now in mind, Full Frontal's decision to treat her as bait reflects on his own character and how he is willing to resort to extreme measures to accomplish his goals.

 

  • While Daguza was initially presented as a single-minded soldier, he eventually receives greater character development and comes across as a father-like character for Banagher, reminding him of the responsibilities that he must take for choosing this path, despite not being a soldier. he becomes far easier to relate to, likening his purpose to being an important but common part of a bigger system, and that he merely does what is expected of him.

 

  • Banagher accepts the task of piloting the Unicorn to the Laplace wreckage; upon reaching the destination, the speech made by the prime minister is played. Full Frontal and his forces show up, pinning the Londo Bell/ ECOAS forces down near the wreckage. Despite Banagher trying to engage them, he is unable to pilot effectively. Daguza notices this, and feels that the Unicorn may be a test of an individual's character. Understanding the nature of the La+ system, Daguza tells Banagher to follow his heart, before disembarking the Unicorn and attempting to buy Banagher some time before being killed by Full Frontal. 

 

  • Banagher goes on a rampage following Daguza's death and shows us what the Unicorn's capabilities are; up until this point, he was engaging opponents to disable them, but Full Frontal's actions draw out Banagher's satsui no hadou. He relentlessly pursues the Sinanju, disables one other Gaera Zulu and rips Angelo's unit into pieces.

 

  • When the NT-D was activated, an awesome new song played in the background. It's not heroic, but has darker motifs, signifying the ominous and dangerous power the Unicorn wields. The Unicorn displays a lot more of its power during this fight, managing to physically tear off one of the Sinanju's legs and using a beam sabre rivalling the 00 Raiser's to cut through debris. 

 

  • Full Frontal implores Banagher to cease his attacks lest they both burn up in the atmosphere, suggesting that not all mobile suits have the capacity to perform independent atmospheric reentry. 

 

  • In all honesty, this battle reminded me of when Setsuna faced off against Ali Al Saachez back in episode 14 of season two. Both characters came on the verge of madness as they were blinded by rage, although this is where the similarities end. Whereas Setsuna stopped short of killing Ali Al Saachez by Marina's song, nothing stops Banagher from firing a shot that misses Frontal...

 

  • ...and hits Gilboa's unit instead. With the death of two important characters, Banagher will likely suffer from a degree of guilt and regret from all this. Whether or not he overcomes the bitterness and hatred from these events is uncertain, consuming the innocence in his heart. This has implications on what the contents of Laplace's box might be capable of. 

 

  • Mineva and Riddhe arrive at the Marcenas estate in the ending credits, while the Unicorn is swept up by the Earth's gravitational pull and is recovered by the Garencieres. The Spectre of Laplace ended up being as much as about the purely epic combat sequences as it was about human nature; in particular, Daguza's conversations with Banagher suggest that the destruction of the Laplace station may have been a staged attack in order to consolidate the Federation's rule over space. When all is said and done, this is not too dissimilar to real-world politics, which is often muddy. Unfortunately, those who observe such consequential events usually are no longer around to give their opinions on it when sufficient time has passed. Therefore, it seems appropriate that those in the present should not be acting on behalf of the past, but instead, uphold their responsibility by understanding what has happened and moving forward. Indeed, responsibility is a key factor in driving Daguza's actions, and his hopes that Banagher will do what is right for those around him. This was easily the strongest so far in the season. Words may be able to describe thoughts well, but visual things like the combined Londo Bell/ECOAS assault on Palau, or the fight between the Unicorn and Sinanju were astounding, and quite honestly, well worth the wait.

At the Bottom of the Gravity Well

The Neo-Zeon and the Zeon Remnant forces attack the Federation Senate complex at Dakar in a feint operation. Banagher crashlands in the Australian desert and is captured by the Garencieres crew. Marida is transported to a Federation facility in North America, where Martha Vist Carbine manipulates her using the wreck of an old Mass Production Qubeley, which she had piloted in the past. Audrey is held at the Marcenas estate. Riddhe escapes after his father, Ronan, tells him the truth about Laplace's Box. Bright Noa returns to command the Ra Cailum and is ordered to capture the Garencieres. Called in from around the world, the Zeon Remnant troops assault Torrington base en masse. Banagher flies out in the Unicorn and activates the NT-D mode to try reasoning with the Shamblo's pilot, Loni Garvey, who's mind had fallen victim to the the mobile armor's malfunctioning psycommu system and had begun to indiscriminately massacre the population of the nearby city. Incensed by Banagher's refusal to kill Loni, Riddhe decides to kill her himself and is given orders Banagher at gunpoint to hand over the Unicorn Gundam to Federation control. Before he can go further, the Unicorn Banshee is deployed on the scene and engages its NT-D.

  • There really is a lot of history in Gundam UC, a constant reminder of the complexities in the Universal Century. During the One Week Battle of the One Year War, Zeon forces moved a depopulated colony from Side 2 and attempted to use it to wipe out Jaburo, a Federation base that was invulnerable to even nuclear strikes. However, they missed and hit Sydney, Australia, instead. The colony exploded with 60 GT (60 000 MT) of force and completely annihilated Eastern Australia. Contrasting the original scene, which depicted the colony dropping on New York, the flashback depicts Sydney as it is now: the Sydney Opera House can be seen on the lower right of the image.

 

  • A RGM-86R GM III uses a beam spear to disable a MSM-04G Juaggu, a heavy amphibious mobile suit derived off the MSM-04 Acguy. It is designed to provide medium-range fire support for other mobile suits on the front lines, and has sufficiently heavy armour to repel a beam sabre cutting into its cannons.

 

  • Banagher and Zimmerman discuss their views on the world after the Garencieres crashes in the desert. Zimmerman feels that humanity lost a vital part of themselves when they advanced into the Industrial Age, and that the increasing complexity of society was what drove much of the strife the world faced. With the migration of humanity into space came the development of new ideologies; and the disparities between the new ideals and existing ones lead to conflict. Naturally, this holds true even in the present era. While we may not have advanced into space just yet, human civilisation is characterised by conflicting ideals, and the belief that armed resolutions are the only possible solution because the 'other side' is always unwilling to back down and compromise. Whether it was in European Imperialism or the Cold War, conflict always results from incompatible ideologies, because what one party finds to be functional may be detrimental to the other party. This is partially why I disapprove of activism: while their cause may be valid, their methods and objectives disrupt the status quo in the existing system sufficiently as to destabilise it. This rapid change activists so desire will lead to chaos within a society, given that its citizens are not ready to accept them as readily as the activists themselves would; alternatively, introducing change slowly into a society would give its citizens more time to adapt to change, and thus, improve the probability that they accept and even embrace it. This scene parallels a scene where Mineva and the owner of a diner discuss the nature of humanity, and how there are no simple answers to their situation. This scene is especially significant because the diner (an Earthling) and Mineva (a spacenoid) reach a mutual understanding about humanity's errors over a cup of coffee, something that no one seems to have even made an effort to do since the beginning of the Universal Century. 

 

  • That's enough of my own personal thinking; the rest of the episode is about stuff blowing up, so let's focus on that. Before we go on to discuss how awesome the battle sequences are, I would like to bring out a screen cap of what Amuro Ray appears as in 1080p glory. Truth be told, I would be most impressed if Sunrise decides to do a Mobile Suit Gundam Anniversary Edition, similar to Halo CE Anniversary, complete with superior graphics, but the same original concepts and dialogue.

 

  • The Zeon Remnants forces gather to mount a brutal assault on Torrington base to ensure the safe activation of the Unicorn's NT-D in the hopes of breaking the seal on the La+ program. When I say brutal, several instances come to mind, including an AMX-109 Capule crushing and exploding the head of a RAG-79 Aqua GM, and the MSM-08 Zogok ripping a RMS-179/RGM-79R GM II into shreds using a heat blade (shown above). This is easily the most extreme battle between mobile suits I've seen; back in the days of Gundam 00, I mentioned that physically tearing suits apart was something I might have expected out of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but I suppose UC Gundam just takes things one step further.

 

  • The Federation Forces are totally overwhelmed by the Zeon attack. It bears testament to just how aged hardware that the Federation continues to deploy: we see more conventional weapons like tanks and fighter jets being deployed, although those are easily wiped out by the Zeon forces, including a Zaku customised for long range sniping.

 

  • Bright Noa is a loyal and dedicated soldier both in war and peace. He enforces strict military discipline and regulations, yet he never hesitates to make the morally right decision for the better of all, even if he has to disobey orders from his superiors. Fans were most pleased with his return in Unicorn: he is considered to be one of the most successful field commanders in UC Gundam timeline, as he has led his ships and fleets victorious in the One Year War, The AEUG-Titans/Gryps War, The First Neo Zeon War, and The Second Neo Zeon War.

 

  • The RX-160S Byalant Custom is a Federation mobile suit designed for self-sustained atmospheric flight and is a direct upgrade of the original. Its capabilities were achieved through the incorporation of powerful thrusters in its shoulders, waist and back with two large-capacity fuel tanks in its back to keep the thrusters fuelled. Its unique hand design prevent it from using any standardised weapons: instead, it is equipped with beam sabres and a pair of mega-particle cannons in its arms. During the battle at Torrington base, a single Byalant Custom was able to decimate entire squadrons of Zeon mobile suits without any assistance, and is piloted by Robin Diez. That said, fans were completely blown away by the Byalant's performance and felt that its appearance may have surpassed the confrontation between the Unicorn and the Shambloo.

 

  • Banagher confronts Loni about the choice of her actions: the latter claims that it is a duty for her to carry out her parent's wishes, although Banagher is able to sense that she is being enslaved by the Shamblo's own psycommu system; Yonem Kirks is able to make this interpretation, as well, and feels the mobile armour itself may be thirsting for revenge. I know the whole point of episode 4 is the confrontation with the Shamblo Mobile Armour, so I'll quickly provide some background. Designated the AMA-X7, the Shamblo is a massive amphibious mobile armour developed by Zeon remnants with the technical support of the supporters of Neo Zeon. It possesses three mega-particle diffusion cannons and ten reflector bits which render it impervious to beam weaponry, and is deployed to allow rapid advancement on a battlefield. Riddhe arrives at the battlefield in his Delta plus to assist Banagher; while he also realises that Loni is enslaved by the machine and her past, he believes that taking out the Shamblo is the only means of ending her blood curse and the carnage.

 

  • Banagher's attempts to release Loni from the dark emotions in the Shamblo are reminiscent of Setsuna's use of the Quantum System and Trans-Am burst. The effects and objectives are similar enough, too; both are trying to communicate with someone rather than fighting them in the hopes of resolving the conflict peacefully. Right before confronting Loni, Banagher expresses his wish to the Unicorn that its purpose is to understand the wishes of others and why sadness may arise, rather than being a machine built for destruction.

 

  • The evil festering within the Shamblo come into contact with the Unicorn's field. Those who have been long-time followers of the UC have said that physic powers have never been depicted in this manner before, although it is thought that something similar occurred during Char's Counter-attack, when Amuro Ray disappears after his Nu Gundam's psycommu system gives one final push to prevent Axis from colliding with Earth.

 

  • When the Shamblo brings Loni's mind to the brink of no-return following Kirk's death, Riddhe tries to convince Banagher that shooting down the Shamblo is the only way to prevent any more casualties. With one shot left in the beam magnum, he consents to take the shot, but at the last moment, Loni overcomes the Shamblo's psycommu. It is here that Banagher realises that he was able to save Loni and refuses to fire on the Shamblo.

 

  • Through quantum telepathy, Banagher reaches out to Loni's heart and manages to reach her, in the end, despite great resistance from the Shamblo's psycommu. Banagher's desire to save Loni was driven more by not wishing to see war claim another individual, and while his feelings reach through, he ultimately is unable to save her.

 

  • This fact is unknown to Riddhe, who seizes the beam magnum and fires the shot that stops the Shamblo. The shot vaporises its cockpit and ends the mobile armour's rampage in Torrington, although the recoil of the shot also takes out the Delta Plus' right arm. He then receives orders to remove Banagher from the Unicorn and relinquish it to the Federation. 

 

  • I've deliberately left out Marida's capture and brainwashing by Martha Vist Carbine; Martha shows a great deal of interest in Laplace's box and appears to be intent on obtaining it to serve her own ends. having captured Marida, she modifies her mind and makes her the pilot of the RX-0 Unicorn Banshee. This action suggests that Anaheim Electronics itself may be preparing to oppose the Federation to obtain the box and preserve both AE and the Vist Foundation's interests, which remain unknown for the moment. What happens next remains to be seen, although it will undoubtedly differ from the events of the light novel. On careful inspection, the OVA Banshee appears to be equipped with a folding rifle more similar to AD-type weapons. While this is a cliffhanger, it nonetheless boosts anticipation for the answers that will come in May 2012, although as it stands, we are about half a year away from that point; having thoroughly enjoyed this episode for all the moral and philosophical questions it raises, as well as the fight scenes and the beautiful orchestral accompaniments, I'm content to wait next episode.

Black Unicorn

After neutralising the Delta Plus, the newly-arrived Banshee captures the Unicorn and returns it to the Ra Cailum, where Riddhe encounters and attempts to question Alberto Vist of Anaheim Electronics' motives, only to be ignored. Meanwhile, on the Garuda, Martha requests Mineva's assistance to coerce Banagher's cooperation in disclosing the location of Laplace's Box. On the Ra Cailum, Bright speaks with Banagher and comes to terms with the latter's actions, before learning of the Federation's covert deployment of the new Dogosse Gier-class battleship General Revil. He sends orders to the Nahel Argama, instructing them to rendezvous with Garencieres. The Tri Stars, Riddhe, Marida and Banagher are assigned to provide cover while Mineva is transferred back to the Garencieres. However, combat between the Garuda and Garencieres' forces breaks out, and in the ensuing chaos, Banagher restrains the Banshee long enough for Zimmerman to board the Garuda. Riddhe enters the Garuda's rear docking bay and confronts Anaheim staff in an effort to rescue Mineva, but before he can do so, Zimmerman begins firing on them. Mineva takes advantage of the distraction to reach Zimmerman, who gives her a parachute. An exploding Anksha damages the docking bay and incapacitates Zimmerman. Riddhe pleads with Mineva to no avail; she leaps off the Garuda and is caught by Banagher, who activates the Unicorn's NT-D. After he brings Mineva to the Garencieres, Banagher forces the Banshee into the Garuda hangar. Marida identifies the Delta Plus as a Gundam and proceeds to decimate it with the Banshee's VN Claw. Having regained consciousness, Zimmerman reaches out to Marida and implores that she return to the Garencieres. Realizing her identity, Marida is rendered unconscious and falls out of the Banshee's cockpit.

The Garencieres undergoes the next phase of its mission and attempts to link with the Nahel Argama as per the original mission. However, an engine malfunction causes the Garencieres to fall out of its designated trajectory. Despite this, the Nahel Argama fires its tow cable, which is caught by the Unicorn; the forces exerted on the Unicorn threaten to pull it apart, but with the assistance from the spirits of Daguza Mackle and Gilboa Sant, the Unicorn's psycoframe begins to resonate and produce a green luminesence. Having towed the Garencieres into orbit, both ships find themselves under heavy fire from the General Revil. Flast believes that this was orchestrated by the Federation, but Mineva notes that the Federation attack patterns imply their intent on destroying the Nahel Argama along with the Garencieres. Banagher attempts to engage the forces, but the Unicorn has exhausted its fuel supply. The arrival of the YAMS-132 Rozen Zulu grants them breathing room; as it neutralizes the Revil's mobile suits, Full Frontal heads straight for the warship and fires a rocket at its bridge. 

  • When the Banshee first appeared in the ending of episode four, crowds watching this at the cinema cheered. The beam smart gun wielded by the Banshee is more practical combat-wise, and is able to slice through the Shambloo's armour with ease. Consider that the beam magnum was only able to put a hole in the mobile armour. This will mark the first time I've gotten a review out ahead of the writers at Random Curiosity regarding Gundam UC: previously, they were highly efficient at getting reviews out, but as of late, a change in the writers has caused a shift in their priorities.

  • In a series where the conflict's morality is in shades of grey, it's a little interesting to note that Anaheim Electronics appears to be sliding towards the immoral side, as their actions are largely motivated by self-interests. Martha's words to Mineva suggest that Anaheim Electronics is more concerned with its own objectives rather than the fate of the world.

  • While Gundam Unicorn is largely a serious anime, this scene served to add a bit of comedy to things. When Captain Midas receives his orders to participate in a joint operation with the Garencieres from Captain Bright, he spews out his tea in surprise, shocking the officers. 

  • Captain Bright proves his skill as a commander and leader when he tells Banagher to retain hope and continue to work towards what he believes in. Banagher's refusal to disclose the next set of coordinates from the La+ Program results from the fact that the new location is at Magallanica, better known as the Snail, a colony building structure. He confides in the latter that Gundam pilots have a tendency to be chosen by their machine, a clever callback to Amuro Ray's days as a Gundam pilot. It is here that Banagher makes his decision to take responsibility for his actions.

  • Half the combat sequences in this episode are focused around the rescue operation on the Garuda. Banagher stays true to his word, and tries tirelessly to break Marida's brainwashing to prevent her from firing on the Neo Zeon forces. I've heard back-and-forth arguments between viewers in forums and YouTube concerning the performance differences between the Unicorn and Banshee. I've mentioned this countless times, but to clarify, the Unicorn and Banshee are functionally identical as mobile suits. The Banshee simply has had its operating system modified for atmospheric combat and wields more aggressive weapons, giving it an edge over the Unicorn in an atmosphere.

  • It is fitting that the Delta Plus gets a moment of glory as it soars to intervene in the duel between the Sleeves and Garuda forces. Much of Riddhe's actions in this episode are motivated by his conflicting feelings for Mineva; when he is unable to recover her, he more or less succumbs to feelings of intense hatred.

  • Banagher gracefully catches the falling Mineva with the Unicorn, contrasting the more impromptu rescue he executed when the two had first met. Mineva found that she was able to call out to Banagher, reflecting on the unusual connection between the two; the latter expresses his happiness that he was able to hear her voice, and finds a new resolve in carrying out his responsibility. 

  • The Delta Plus is wrecked in a brutal fashion when Marida goes after it upon realising its resemblance to a Gundam. Riddhe was targeting Banagher for having taken Mineva from him, but in a turn of events, is rendered combat ineffective by the Banshee's VN Claw.

  • Captain Zimmerman is able to bring Marida back, completing the Garencieres' mission on the Garuda. Having rescued Mineva and Marida, Banagher demonstrates his capacity as a Gundam pilot; in fact, despite being largely unarmed the entire time, he is able to successfully carry out his objectives.

  • Episode five is a continuous series of events that increase by orders of magnitude in terms of awesome. Viewers consider this scene to be one of the most awe-inspiring moments in Gundam Unicorn: as a result of the emotions resonating within the psycoframe, Banagher is able to draw out the very same phenomenon that was produced in Char's Counterattack, albeit at a much smaller, controlled scale. The accompanying music for this scene is spectacular; this can be said for the entirety of the third OST, which features, amongst other solid compositions, a five-movement symphonic suite that must be heard to be believed.

  • If viewers thought that it was time to break out the champaign following the Nahel Argama's completion of its mission, they were mistaken. When I first watched the episode, it was in raw format without any subtitles or dubs. Thus, I was chilled by the General Revil's arrival. I later rewatched the episode in English dub, and realised that its objective was to neutralise anyone associated with Laplace's Box to preserve the Federation's interests. When they show up, Banagher makes to defend the Garencieres, but is prevented from doing so, as the Unicorn has exhausted its fuel supply. This is yet another nice touch that reflects on the realism found in UC

  • Before the Revil can make Swiss Cheese out of the Nahel Argama and the Garencieres, Full Frontal and Angelo arrive to, surprisingly enough, save the day. Angelo is piloting the shiny new YAMS-132 Rozen Zulu, a mobile suit based on the concept of the experimental Newtype mobile suit AMX-103 Hamma Hamma. It was designed as an Anti-Newtype warfare mobile suit and is a heavily modified Geara Zulu equipped with INCOM Claws, a pair of wire-guided weapons equipped with a mega beam cannon of adjustable output.

  • I've casually noticed that Angelo is shooting to disarm and disable rather than to kill. During the period of intense beam spamming, it appears that not one suit had its Minovsky reactor destroyed. In a matter of seconds, over 20 ReZELS are disabled, and Angelo politely bows to indicate that Full Frontal is ready to complete his own objective.

  • The Dogosse Gier-class battleships were originally used by the Titans in Zeta Gundam. At over 600 metres long, they are among the largest warships fielded by the Earth Federation and sported the highest number of weapons and mobile suit carrying capacity of any Earth Federation warship. The General Revil is the second vessel in this line and was deployed as the flagship of the Federation fleet, carrying four battalions' (48) worth of mobile suits and a 1,500-strong workforce.

  • Full Frontal fires on the General Revil. Check out his expression: it totally reflects his excitement to fire that weapon. Truth be told, the size of the weapon does not appear to be capable of destroying a 600-metre long vessel, although the warhead might have unique properties. That will remain a matter to be seen in episode six, which is set for release in Spring 2013. The fifth instalment in an OVA characterised by high quality in almost all regards did not disappoint at all. With well-choreographed combat sequences and careful exposition of the plot, the fifth episode was absolutely brilliant. It appears that the writers have been particularly fond of cliff-hangers of late, as we see the Shinanju fire right before the end credits roll. Based on the posters and the revelation about Magallanica, the final two episodes will occur primarily in space and concern the last set of coordinates required by Laplace's box. Riddhe's roles in the upcoming episodes will also be important: having been shafted by Mineva, he will pilot the Banshee for better or for worse. Finally, hints that the Full Armour Unicorn will make an appearance have surfaced. I myself will likely purchase the HG Full Armour Unicorn if one is ever released. In the meantime, viewers are left to contemplate the sheer amount of stuff that happened in episode five, and will doubtlessly be awaiting episodes six and seven, which will wrap up the story.

Two Worlds, Two Tomorrows

Full Frontal and Angelo Sauper comes in to rescue the Nahel Argama and the Garencieres as the EFSF flagship General Revil bears down on them. The Londo Bell Tri-Stars chase down the Garencieres, which suddenly blows up as a decoy to buy time for the Sleeves to take over the Nahel Argama. In explaining the takeover, Full Frontal says it was an opportunity to finally open Laplace's Box, reveals his memories of the events of Char's Counter-attack and his reasons for continuing to oppose the Earth Federation; implying very strongly that he is in fact Char Aznable. He leaves Angelo in charge of the vessel as it heads back to Industrial 7 (where the last clue leads to) along with the Rewloola.Angelo has the Nahel Argama crewman send out an SOS beacon, prompting the Federation's Luna II base to send a Salamis cruiser in pursuit. Captain Otto defies Angelo's orders to destroy the warship. An ECOAS team led by Conroy Haagensen assaults the Nahel Argama and gradually fights the Neo-Zeon troops back to the MS hangar deck. Banagher activates the Unicorn to aid in the attack, but Full Frontal faces him and threatens him with death if he doesn't join the Neo-Zeon's cause, since Mineva already knows where the Box is. With Mineva's help, Marida reactivates the Kshatriya to prevent Angelo from destroying the Nahel Argama but declares not joining Full Frontal’s plan to use the Box to launch another war with the Federation. As Marida seeks Zinnerman's permission to fight the Sleeves, he decides to finally let her go and live her own life. Angelo and Full Frontal fly back to the Rewloola in Angelo's Rozen Zulu.

Back on Earth, Martha Vist threatens Bright Noa and Londo Bell with being left out of the pursuit operation if they do not collaborate with her. She also barges into a meeting of Ronan Marcenas and several EFSF politicians to announce her intentions to prevent the Box's opening. Upon entering the region near Industrial 7, Banagher flies out in the Full Armour Unicorn Gundam to get closer to opening the Box. A surprise awaits him though - the Unicorn Banshee Norn, piloted by Riddhe Marcenas, who was earlier briefed by Alberto Vist about the origins of the Vist Foundation. 

  • The first six minutes of the episode is a continuation of what we saw in the previous episode: the under-barrel rocket launcher Full Frontal carries turns out to be of a moderately low yield, intended to act as a distraction above other functions. The fight sequence was spectacular, with Full Frontal netting countless headshots against the Federation forces.

  • The Tri-Stars are sent to deal with the Garencieres following the events from the previous episode, but the freighter self-destructs. Contrasting the other episodes, Two Worlds, Two Tomorrows heavily emphasises all the parties' motivations, rather than enthralling combat sequences. However, the producers manage to keep this episode interesting through the dialogue and exposition.

  • I immediately picked up and watched Char's Counterattack following this episode to gain more insight into what was going on.

  • The Neon Zeon forces rescue the Nahel Argama only because the Unicorn is present, and the two sides do not cooperate for a common interest even under trying circumstances. Indeed, this episode's central focus is on the human aspect pertaining to conflicts, particularly, how past events may preclude the possibility of cooperation.

  • Full Frontal announces his plan for a Side Co-prosperity Sphere. Conceptually, it is a more modest approach against Char Aznable's original plan to depopulate the earth via a nuclear winter, reflecting on Full Frontal's role as a symbol for self-governance amongst the spacenoids. Mineva's counterarguments against such a plan would only provoke rebellion, thereby repeating an endless cycle of war and terror, while Full Frontal believes that such a dramatic option is the only means to halt the years of terrible hardship experienced by both spacenoids and earthnoids.

  • More optimistic parties tout Riddhe's role as a vital character, representing the lion in the Lady and the Unicorn. With his role seemingly entrenched as a chaotic neutral as a result of his unreciprocated love, the role he will serve has yet to fully be determined. 

  • Marida's character is fully brought-out through her interactions with Banagher and Zinnerman, revealing a side that viewers can easily sympathise with. Subsequently, the exchange between Zinnerman and Marida reveals the true extent of Zinnerman's hatred for the Federation, and his willingness to finally move on when he gives Marida one final order: follow your heart.

  • Viewers get a glimpse of Full Frontal's new mobile armour, which resembles the MSN-02 Zeong, on board the Rewloola; Zinnerman comments on how the unit has no legs, mirroring Char's reaction to the Zeong.

  • Hostilities between the Sleeves and Nahel Argama's crew finally break out in Full Frontal's absence. The federation forces manage to drive off the Sleeves, and Captain Midas delivers a brilliant verbal beat down on Angelo, commenting on how the Sleeves are terrorists and how their short-term alliance has effectively ended.

  • With a combination of smoke grenades, the ECOAS forces liberate the Nahel Argama. Commander Conroy will run into Banagher and subsequently send the latter to decommission the Sleeves' mobile suits. Conroy is rather more friendly in appearance compared to Daguza, but both men are competent, responsible individuals who carry out their roles to the best of their ability.

  • This act is the episode's climax, with Mineva denouncing the Sleeves' intents, and Zinnerman coming to terms with his past. We note that the Side Co-Prosperity Sphere is functional in theory, similar to pure communism and capitalism, but human nature prevents it from ever being viable. 

  • Banagher steps into the conflict: whereas he was hesitant before about piloting the Unicorn, his experiences with it has led him to realise that the Gundam represents not destruction, but possibility, the series' tag line. His character has undergone a similar transformation: no longer a pacifist bound by unrealistic ideals, Banagher is willing to give humanity the benefit of the doubt and allow them the opportunity to understand one another. Thus, his optimism and motivations are now sufficiently mature for him to be a worthy possessor of Laplaces' Box.

  • My favourite subtle element in episode six is the clearly shifting relationship between Micott and Takuya, implying that they've become closer as a result of all that has happened since episode three.

  • In Riddhe's hands, the Banshee effortlessly decimates the Jegans and ReZELs sent to handle it. Re-christened the Banshee Norn, the unit carries the standard beam magnum with a revolve launcher and the armed armour, a massive shield that boosts the Banshee's performance. We note that all of my speculation from the previous episode turned out to be correct: we do in fact see the Full Armour Unicorn, and Laplace's Box is in fact located at Magallanica, or the Snail.

  • The last scene in the episode has quickly become a classic one, with Banagher and Riddhe clashing sabres as the credits roll. Viewers will have to wait until March 2014 to watch the finale, but for the present, I am inclined to say that episode six provides a reasonable degree of exposition with respect to Full Frontal's motivations: he is attempting the same as Char, except his means are through economic warfare rather than the total annihilation of Earth. With this in mind, Laplace's Box becomes a trump card to buy time, and the hunt for it carries all parties back to Industrial 7, where everything had originally started. Now, with all this exposition done, I fully expect the finale to be non-stop combat and basic awesomeness. Moreover, I have taken a look at the novel's ending; I am hoping that the OVA will end things differently, as the novel's ending proves a little difficult to accept, even with a willing suspension of disbelief from my end. With a little less than a year's space between now and the finale's release, I am greatly looking forward to seeing how the story behind one of the most solid Gundam series of all time will be resolved. On a parting note, the HG Full Armour Unicorn has been announced for May 15 and costs 3150 yen.

Over the Rainbow

Gundam Unicorn‘s closing act and swan song weighs in at 90 minutes, composed of a superb combination of pulse-pounding mobile suit combat paired with immensely emotional moments; from the episode’s opening at the Cheyenne base in Colorado, to the Mineva’s final speech, the finale acted as a fitting conclusion to the Gundam Unicorn OVA series. Every moment, combat or dialogue, was so powerful it raised the hairs on my neck and left me on the edge of my seat. While the ending was by no means flawless, the final outcome is consistent with Gundam Unicorn‘s major theme of possibility and breaking away from the status quo, making it a fitting conclusion to the series. Even then, possibility was only one of the main elements: Mineva’s final speech suggest that possibility can only be capitalised upon if people understand one another. Understanding was the core theme to Gundam 00: and its execution in the Awakening of the Trailblazer movie ultimately produced one of the more controversial endings in the Gundam franchise. Gundam Unicorn‘s finale, pushes the limits for what is reasonable and in fact, there are a handful of elements that are reminiscent of Awakening of the Trailblazer (such as the Unicorn’s supernatural performance and how its psychoframe takes on an ELS-like appearance). Nonetheless, through a fine balance in its presentation, this finale ultimately succeeds in wrapping up Gundam Unicorn, leaving viewers with just enough to piece together what is going on without yielding too many details. Throughout this episode, aside from the concept of possibility, there were many other overarching themes that were also explored, ranging from the futility of existence to yet another warning about how seemingly small lies can still have significant consequences.

  • When Unicorn's sixth episode concluded, audiences were left with a cliffhanger as Banagher and Riddhe clashed swords to RE:I AM. The battle resumes several minutes into the episode, finally presenting to the world the progression of a battle that Banagher has little desire to fight, but the audience doubtlessly has every desire to watch this confrontation. This is a stripped-down version of the post I've got at my blog, which has long since replaced this website. For completeness' sake, I've returned to add this to the website.

  • Despite the Kshatriya not being in top condition, Marida manages to hold off the Banshee and becomes the first person in the series to damage a Gundam substantially, when she makes use of the Kshatriya Repair’s missiles to blow off the Banshee’s right leg. As the last big Gundam post for the next while, I’ve included an array of references to other Gundam works, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, a children’s song, and some YouTube channels in this talk to liven things up a little (even with the understanding that this is probably the only talk in existence to talk about Gundam and Madoka Magica in a side-to-side manner).

 

  • The first section of the episode is dedicated towards illustrating the battle that progresses as Banagher fights through the Neo Zeon forces to reach Industrial Seven, and despite disabling numerous mobile suits, the Unicorn finds itself disabled after Angelo deploys its Psycho Jammer, which inhibits the Unicorn’s NT-D and shuts it down.

  • The Banshee’s Psychoframe projects images of Takuya, Micott, Mihiro, Zinnerman, Mineva and Alberta into his cockpit, each expressing concern for Riddhe’s well-being. Despite being a Newtype himself, Riddhe’s consciousness has not been adapted for handling such volumes of information, and he rejects them, considering them as hallucinations.

  • Overwhelmed by the Banshee’s psycommu, Riddhe fires on Marida with the Banshee’s beam magnum out of a desperate bid to stop the visions, outright vaporising the Kshatriya. In the finale’s most emotional moment, the resulting psychofield allows Marida’s final thoughts to propagate across the battlefield. Even though I had known that Marida’s path might end in the OVA, a part of me was hoping that this was not the case.

  • The Nahel Argama’s hyper-megaparticle cannon makes a glorious return in the finale to devastate the Zeon fleet.  Last time we saw firepower of this magnitude, the Nahel Argama was pushing the two halves of the Palau colony together. This time, Zeon battle cruisers are sunk: in Gundam Unicorn, after being hit by laser fire, metal elements actually melt and deform, only exploding if vital components are hit afterwards, again, standing in contrast to other universes, where things explode on the slightest provocation.

  • Back on earth, the Tri-Stars disable the forces defending the Cheyenne facility after Captain Bright orders a search of the facility for illegal activities. The Tri-Stars effortlessly secure the airspace against mobile suits who were instructed to shoot to kill, putting on yet another impressive showing. Contrary to what discussions at forums are stating, the Tri-Stars are using the minimum amount of force needed to secure the area after the facility’s forces demonstrate hostility.

  • Despite Full Frontal declaring a race to Laplace’s Box, Banagher and Mineva do manage to arrive ahead of him. In the anime blogging community, there is somewhat of a race to get posts out to optimize search engine performance in some cases. Infinite Mirai is a one-man project, so sometimes, getting large posts out (such as this one) is difficult. I’ve had requests from guest bloggers previously, although since I’m still waiting for their writing samples, this blog will remain a one-man project for the present.

  • Mineva and Banagher meet Syam Vist and Gael Chan for the first time in the depths of Magallanica. Here, the last pieces of the Laplace puzzle are pieced together, and while Syam does his recollection, Riddhe provides his own account of what he had heard from Ronan. Riddhe’s conversation with Ronan occurred back in episode four, attributing to his decisions in episodes five and six. While some discussions find it difficult to forgive him, oftentimes, people tend to forget that they also make rash decisions that have detrimental consequences. While in reality, said decisions probably won’t have the same severity as Riddhe’s, the fact is that such things can happen, especially under times of stress.

  • Full Frontal arrives to seize Laplace’s Box for his own ends, although, in a manner reminiscent of Aeolia Schoenberg from Gundam 00, Syam Vist foresaw that outside forces would interfere with the Box’s transfer and installed a security system that is subsequently used to push Full Frontal back.

  • The Neo Zeong serves as the final boss for Gundam Unicorn. Its weapons include numerous mega-particle cannons, a Psycho-shard generator for disrupting enemy beam weapons, and has thirty wire-controlled bits that can be used to take control of enemy mobile suits. Its profile gives it a maximum weight of 324.3 metric tons, with a typical weight of 153.8 metric tons. The image above gives a sense of scale between a conventional mobile suit and the Neo Zeong, bringing to mind the tale of Goliath in the Bible’s Book of Samuel.

  • This is the moment everyone’s been waiting for: the Unicorn and Banshee team up to engage the Neo Zeong, whose I-field is strong enough to completely negate the beam magnum rounds from both Gundams. Throughout the finale, the music is absolutely astounding in terms of quality, and even though the tracks are strangely named (for instance, the first song on the OST is named 2009522or311), the pieces are amazing, conveying the sense of urgency, power and grandeur in each of the moments that they accompany.

  • Upon activating its Psycho-shard system, every weapon on the Unicorn and Banshee overheat and explode, leaving both units unarmed. One of the most impressive moments here is watching the Banshee’s 60 mm Vulcan cannons melt and explode, and then noticing that this does not happen on the Unicorn. We recall that earlier, Banagher expended the Unicorn’s 60 mm rounds on missiles, potshots against Zeon mobile suits and Angelo’s Psycommu jammers. This attention to detail is but one of the reasons why Gundam Unicorn is worth watching.

  • The sheer energy from Banagher’s emotions produce a psychofield that takes him and Full Frontal on a trip through the Universal Century's history, culminating in the endpoint that Full Frontal speaks of. He questions why humans fight so hard for what they believe in when the fate of the universe is nothingness. Banagher fights this idea, and through further Newtype phenomenon, cause Char and Lalah’s apparitions to appear in the Neo Zeong’s cockpit.

  • It turns out that Full Frontal is indeed a vessel housing Char's memories: in an interview with Fukui in Gundam ACE, Fukui reveals that Char never truly died at Axis, and remained as a grudge. After the events in Unicorn, he's finally able to move on.

  • A guilt-striken Alberto confronts Martha, asking why she’s willing to go to such lengths to protect a cause that is ceasing to be relevant as their generation’s time has passed. He reveals that Riddhe is the Banshee’s pilot, shocking Ronan, who had authorised Gryps 2 to fire moments earlier. Too late to recall the firing order, visions of himself and Riddhe begin haunting him.

  • After coming to terms with his status as a Newtype, Riddhe is able to captialise on the Banshee’s full potential; in response, its psychoframe begins emitting green light. Their combined power triumphs over a weapon powerful enough to decimate colony-sized objects, and with this achievement, Magallanica is safe enough for Mineva to begin her broadcast.

  • Mineva’s speech is quite ornate and goes into depth surrounding the true nature behind Laplace’s Box; by watching it in English, I could take in everything all at once.

  • The moments between Takuya and Micott were very heart-warming to see: subtle signs may have been present in the previous episode that the two had become closer together, but if there was any doubt before, this moment will remove any doubt. Romance in Gundam Unicorn is done properly: it is inconspicuously integrated into the story but never tries to take centre stage.

  •  The finale has concluded, and this is an ending that viewers deserve at the end of four years: I openly recommend Gundam Unicorn to all audiences for its balance between story, character growth and combat, as well as its superior graphics and audio, and last but not least, the fact that it does leave viewers with things to reflect on afterwards. This is a Gundam series that gets everything right, and the hiccoughs it does make are not enough to take away from the anime. Overall, the entire Gundam Unicorn OVA series earns a ten out of ten.

Music of Gundam Unicorn

The impact of music in Gundam Unicorn cannot be denied: each of the different pieces over the four soundtracks conjure up images of the Gundam franchise’s illustrious history from its epic battles to its memorable cast of heroes and villains. Through Hiroyuki Sawano's talent, this part of Unicorn is executed with finess and boldness: the stirring soundtrack touches not only upon the victories and the heroism, but also the tragedies of Gundam Unicorn. Below is the complete track listing for the soundtrack, which can be obtained here.

 

  • Very few soundtracks can compete with the music of Gundam Unicorn: beyond Hiroyuki Sawano's orchestral pieces (accompanied by Cyua in some songs), the ending songs are also incredible, especially AIMER's RE:I AM and STAR RING CHILD. The soundtrack provided in the link above is 745 MB in size.

 

OST I

  1.  U.C.0096
  2. UNICORN
  3. THE UNIVERSE
  4. MINEVA
  5. MOBILE SUIT
  6. LAPLACE
  7. MARIDA
  8. A LETTER
  9. INFERNAL AFFAIRS
  10. E.F.S.F
  11. PIANO TO ANNA
  12. ON YOUR MARK
  13. FULL-FRONTAL
  14. BRING ON A WAR
  15. INEQUALITY~A CLOUD OF WAR
  16. OTTO~FOR A CHANGE
  17. LIFE & DEATH
  18. THE DISTANT PAST
  19. GO ON A FORAY
  20. FEAR→SORROW
  21. H@R0
  22. RX-0
  23. LICHT MEER
  24. ZERO GRAVITY
OST II
  1. EGO
  2. DESTROY→SELF-SACRIFICE
  3. MAD-NUG
  4. THE BATTLE
  5. 0001
  6. SINANJU
  7. MARTHA
  8. 0-G:EP1
  9. CAPTURE
  10. OYM-PF
  11. F2
  12. SILENT
  13. DESERT
  14. MOBILE SUIT <W-REC MIX>
  15. MOBILE ARMOR
  16. REMIND YOU
  17. DAGUZA
OST III
 
Disk I
  1. 1ST MOV.:BANSHEE
  2. 2ND MOV.:PSYCHO-FIELD
  3. 3RD MOV.:ANGELO
  4. 4TH MOV.:NEO ZEON
  5. 5TH MOV.:GUNDAM
  6. RIDDHE
  7. MINOVSKY PARTICLE
  8. SYMPATHY
  9. RED COMET
  10. AUDREY
  11. PIANO UC-NO.1
  12. PIANO UC-NO.2
  13. PIANO UC-NO.3
Disk II 
  1. Opening
  2. U.C.0096
  3. MOBILE SUIT
  4. MINEVA
  5. FULL FRONTAL
  6. A LETTER LAPLACE
  7. THE UNIVERSE
  8. LICHT MEER
  9. MAD-NUG
  10. RX-0
  11. LIFE & DEATH
  12. ON YOUR MARK 
  13. EGO 
  14. UNICORN 
  15. REMIND YOU
OST IV 

Disk I

  1. 1stMob. 2009522or0311
  2. 2ndMob. MSGUCEP7 
  3. 3rdMob. RE I AM MARIE 
  4. 4thMob. New TYPE-OYM 
  5. 5thMob. UXO--RX0
  6. 6thMob. UNICORN GUNDAM  
  7. 7thMob. 20140517
  8. 8thMob BEGINNING ORCH-VER 
  9. 9thMob.流星のナミダ ORCH-VER
  10. EGO nZK Ver 
  11. A LETTER nZK Ver
  12. Sternengeang 
  13. PM-2010 - 2014

Disk II 

  1. ZERO GRAVITY 
  2. MOBILE SUIT W-REC MIX. 
  3. THE BATTLE 
  4. ON YOUR MARK 
  5. BANSHEE 
  6. FULL FRONTAL 
  7. DESTROY - SELF-SACRIFICE 
  8. RX-0. 
  9. PSYCHO-FIELD 
  10. E.F.S.F 
  11. MOBILE ARMOR 
  12. LAPLACE 
  13. THE UNIVERSE 
  14. ANGELO 
  15. U.C.0096 
  16. MAD-NUG 
  17. GUNDAM
  18. UNICORN

  • On a note that's quite unrelated to the remainder of the post, I was able to pick up the HG Full Armour Unicorn Gundam (Destroy Mode), and have since built the model. It's a fitting representation of everything that has transpired in the series, and with this, I've said all there can be said about Gundam Unicorn.

Infinite Zenith