The following may contain spoilers for the prologue and premiere episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam the Witch from Mercury.
It was September 2021 when Sunrise first announced the next mainline Gundam series to follow IRON-BLOODED ORPHANS and a year later we finally got the first episode. Well, we did get the prologue special a couple of months ago and got a sense of the Ad Stella world. But we are now thrust into the Witch from Mercury with episode one, “The Witch and The Bride.”
We last left Ericht Samaya, or Eri, during the end of the prologue special escaping the attack from Cathedra which killed most of the Ochs Earth staff, including her father. We then jumped more than a decade later and now see Eri, going by the name Suletta Mercury, en route to the Asticassia School of Technology.
Before even Suletta steps inside the academy, she has a rather unique chance encounter with Miorine Rembran, a surname you should recognize from the prologue, and would be pivotal to her actions moving forward.
The highly futuristic human society of the Ad Stella timeline we saw during the prologue gets fleshed out more with this academy run by the Benerit Group, the mega corporation which I assume has large involvement with the Mobile Suit Development Council.
The Benerit Group is spearheaded by Miorine’s father Delling Rembran, the same guy who instigated the attack at Folkvangr. It would be interesting once Suletta finds out that he’s responsible for her, and her mother’s, exile to Mercury.
The episode mainly revolves around the sanctioned duels in the academy and the whole arranged marriage connected to it. Many have compared this premise to that of the classic anime Revolutionary Girl Utena and while I’m not the most knowledgeable with that title, I do see the similarities.
The mega corporations and their politics take a back seat behind the school activities, but we still see elements of it with the failed assassination attempt on Delling. I assume we’ll see more of these plot elements as the series goes on.
And of course, the episode won’t be complete without the Gundam Aerial making a very impressive debut, basically doing a Kshatriya with Guel’s Dillanza.
Overall, I really liked the first episode. While there are established tensions between the Earthians and Spacians, as well as the whole conglomerate of companies responsible for mobile suit development, the shift into a more localized setting with the mobile suit duels is a refreshing way to start a series. Gundam fans are used to being thrust into war during the opening episode, so this is really a breath of fresh air. Let’s not forget the gorgeous animation and sound design — I really like the sound effect the use whenever beams hit the GUND-BIT compo shield.
And before anyone says that Gundam is becoming woke, I don’t even care about those as long as we good a remarkable story and amazing mobile suit battles.