"Shall We Gundam?" is such a ridiculous name for a title, but you know what? It 100% fits the content of the episode. What starts as a posh dinner party escalates into an absurd witch trial over the Aerial. By the end of the episode, however, everyone at the party is investing wads of cash in Miorine's new business idea for the blatantly illegal Gundam. If there's one thing that this episode makes clear, it's that these business goons will openly not give a toss about legality if there is money to be made.
More than anything, this episode stands out for its theatricality. The highlight was absolutely Suletta's impromptu spotlight on stage, as her podium shoots up toward the ceiling and the beady gazes of the Peil Technologies women flicker on a massive screen behind her. These are prime visual flourishes for a larger-than-life anime, although one also has to marvel at how adaptable the stagehands are when Miorine steers the interrogation completely off-script. This episode reminded me of what I like about Ichiro Okouchi's polarizing writing: he has the guts to present the patently ridiculous with a total straight face. Call it silly, but it's this balancing act that made a generation fall in love with Code Geass. Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride
Underneath all the spectacles, this was an episode that involved a lot of moving chess pieces. Prospera shows her hand as a master manipulator, immediately goading Miorine into asking for her father's help. Shaddiq also shows a hint of his calculating side, as a scene with him and Nika implies that she may be leaking him info on the Earth House. Also, the real Elan Ceres shows up, predictably pretending to be the Elan whom Suletta befriended. Although it may be clear as day to the audience that he's not the same guy from the insincere way he speaks and smiles, Suletta can perhaps be forgiven for not catching the clues in the midst of all the tumult.
By the end of this episode, Miorine successfully establishes a new company absorbing the Gundam development team at Peil Technologies—seemingly an advantageous position. But given how both she and Suletta are unwittingly playing to Prospera's tune, it's evident that Miorine is stacking a house of cards. Despite her cleverness, she is thinking only of protecting Suletta, not the broader implication of her actions. As for Suletta, she only learns in the final seconds of the episode that her mother initially lied to her about Aerial not being a Gundam. Will the girls have the power to break free from their parents when they finally know the whole truth? The stage for a tragedy is slowly but surely being set, but what happens beyond that is anyone's guess.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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