Gundam the Witch from Mercury: Vanadis heart, the side story manga to complement the main Witch from Mercury series has been teased for some time. But with its debut in the latest issue of Gundam Ace, we finally get official confirmation of the story, characters, and mobile suits.
The story is set in A.S. 106, five years after the “Vanadis Incident” as seen in PROLOGUE, we follow Vilda Miren, who also worked in the Vanadis Institute, and has now gone to Earth. Hiding her identity in the process, she’s now traveling with her assistant Kiyu Lavot and a large transport trailer containing the Gundam Lfrith Jiu. Speaking of the Lfrith Jiu…
This is probably another heavily modified Gundam Lfrith Pre-Production unit, similar to how the Lfrith Thorn and Lfrith Ur from the main series are also modified versions. It has the shell units common to all Gundams in the Ad Stella timeline, but what makes the Lfrith Liu unique is that the shell unit extends to the head, making it look like a complete visor. When the shell unit activates is when you only get to see the familiar Gundam facial features.
The Lfrith Liu also has a rather unique weapon, the “Tiger’s Hand” as they call it, which is a composite weapon they stole from another machine, and also has its own set of shell units. As a composite weapon, it has several forms you’ll see once we get into the model kit. Speaking of the model kit…
We also got the announcement of yet another Premium Bandai kit, the HG Gundam Lfrith Liu. Unlike the HG Gundam Lfrith/Aerial/Aerial Rebuild, and more like the HG Gundam Pharact, there are no in-molded parts included with this kit, and all the shell units are smoke translucent plastic on top of foil stickers. You get two options for the stickers to use with the Lfrith Liu, you can either have the deactivated shell units as seen above or the activated ones like you’ll see below.
And as you’ve probably guessed, this is definitely a ploy by Bandai Spirits to get you to pre-order two copies of the kit as you’re likely not able to reapply these stickers if you decided to change your choice of display. For me, I’ll likely go with the activated shell units as the Gundam-like features are more prominent here, and to be consistent with my HG Gundam Lfrith/Aerial as well.
For weapons, I believe the only accessory this kit comes with is the “Tiger’s Hand,” the composite weapon mentioned earlier. It features a large manipulator at one end that has the first two joints of each finger articulated for more posing options. You can also attach it to the back as an additional thruster unit.
The “Tiger’s Hand” also has other configurations like this rocket punch-looking one, you’ll need to use the previously released the Witch from Mercury Display Base for this. It also has rifle configuration, I guess, where you put the large manipulator into a two-finger gun like pose and use the additional handle with the other hand. Unfortunately, the tiger claw markings on the weapon appear to be a sticker meant to cover the entire white piece. They could’ve used the clear marking stickers for this but, oh well.
Upon seeing the Lfrith Jiu, I immediately got Gundvölva vibes, primarily due to the same designs coming from Kanetake Ebikawa who’s the primary designer for this manga side story. I don’t think these two have any connections outside of the mechanical designer, but we’ll see. I’m also picking the kit as well, with the caveat of anything Premium Bandai nowadays.
HG 1/144 Gundam Lfrith Jiu
July 2023 / ¥1,800