Mobile Suit Gundam The Witch from Mercury episode 20: And It Comes Tumbling Down

Okouchi is not someone unfamiliar with massacres, especially when it happened in his works.
Code Geass, Valvrare, some certain episodes in Eureka Seven, and, of course, his latest work, G-Witch. 

Some knew about them, some could even anticipate it, and others, unfortunately, didn’t. But we still got shocked when it happened nonetheless. Many things could have happened in various ways, but at the end of the lines, we don’t have another choice but to accept, and find a way to settle them. It’s always easier to talk than to do, it’s just how it is.
First thing first, I want to talk about what happened before the opening began. In Japan, this would be called アバン, the short form of アバンタイトル:avant-title, the opening part, “appetizer” before the main dish.

In this part, you could feel the tension raised up, with Shaddiq’s girls lock’n’loading their Mobile Suit, even Shaddiq had already launched in his Michaelis. Accidentally, Guel couldn’t sit in his seat either and had to be reminded to stay calm by Kenanji. It was amazing to see that Guel went from shock, to disappointment, then listened and did what Kenanji said. It was a bit like a merry-go-round, but rather than round, it became something else. 

On the other hand, just after El5n calmed her down, Norea was reminded again by force about her brethren being slaughtered by Spacians. This meant she would never be able to escape this cycle, plus the scene with Miorine said “This was my fault”, it could be said to Norea as well. Norea’s fate seemed to have been sealed, and no one could change it.

Next, the first half, Part A.

For the first few minutes, it seemed calm compared to what had happened in Episode 19’s last minutes, sadly, it was neither. GUND-ARM Inc. was being pressed through numerous ways after what Prospera had done. Suletta could not do anything except went to class, even if she could not learn at all. The bad feeling that we could see from frame to frame, and could hear from the soundtrack as it was being played, could feel from our guts was justified. 

With Dominicus finally in action, Shaddiq knew he could not “win” the battle, so instead he released the unstable Norea to do a distraction for him, to “win” the war, his war. And it did work, more deadly than he could ask for.
An unstable Gundam pilot with a desire to burn everything up was a terrifying combination. His only mission was to buy time, so that one of his girls, Henao, could deliver his father to the League. But I guess that it was just his backup plan, because the moment Lfrith Thorn opened fire, his “win” has already been achieved.

Caught in that devious plan, were the Asticassia’s students, who did not know anything. The scene might cause PTSD to school-shooting survivors, because of how realistic the setup was. We saw the chaos, the collapsing buildings, and the student deaths just minutes after Norea opened fire. While Earth House had evacuated to underground shelters, Suletta, along with Petra from House Jeturk was not that lucky.

Petra shouldn’t have been there in the first place, only if Lauda did not sacrifice his date with her in order to deliver Darilbalde to Guel. She first appeared as some brat that went along with Guel’s past self in the first episode, but as time went on, she become more mature, even becoming a secretary to help Lauda, eventually had feelings for him, and he accepted. But because she was there, she helped Suletta deal with the lecture that Suletta had not paid attention to, help Suletta not meet her end, and even say things that could help Suletta’s situation with Miorine. Still, her only fault was that she expressed so much…maybe too much…hopes in her future love life.

Unfortunately for her, Part B came, and this, went from dark, to hell.
Guel’s Darilbalde clashing with Shaddiq’s Michaelis has to be one of the most hype duels, with how high the stakes and personal it has been. Directed by Masami Obari himself, its animation quality was top notch no doubt. Each blow after blow after blow felt amazing but also scary to watch as one mistake could result in their demise. Not to mention, this would be the first duel that Shaddiq has ever had with Guel, and it might be the last as well.

For Guel to win, he had to outsmart Shaddiq, and stay calm. For Shaddiq to win, he had to be calm, calmer than his opponent, and learned why he lost to Suletta. Shaddiq definitely has learned, but what happened to Miorine has become his Achilles’ heel, and he has underestimated Guel. But Guel did not win through luck, even if he did have luck, then luck only come to people that willing to take the chance when it came. In this battle, he needs to have the guts to do something unthinkable, the skills that could help him pull through the unthinkable, the Mobile Suit that allowed him to do the unthinkable, and luck, just in case. Guel had all of them, and he won.

Asticassia was not that unfortunate. Lfrith Thorn, with 3 GUNDVOLVAs, in Norea’s hands had proven to be too much for the school security personnel, even with the Dominicus team, witch-hunt specialists, as they had to fight on two battlefronts at the same time, and their opponents were not small fishes either. 

Even Kenanji, who was thought to be the Gundam executioner, the one that put the final nail onto Gundam, was shown to have some PTSD trauma through his shaking hand, made his appearance more than just a comic relief, but a copium, for those like him to relieve themselves from the stress.

Ironically, if not because El5n tried to persuade Norea, she would not be dead from a sniped shot, or just to survive a bit longer. We could say that her death was the result of karma, but could we say that to El5n?

It was his first time to be true to himself, it was the first time he actually opened his heart to someone, even ignoring his desire to be alive by putting himself out there, piloting Gundam Lfrith Ur, once piloted by Sophie, the one that Norea though to have been “alive”. He had hope and he became the very reason that killed his hope. Kudo to Natsuki Hanae, El5n’s despair has been conveyed in full thanks to his performance.

If you asked me what could make this episode easier to breathe, something to lighten the mood, then it definitely would be Secelia’s “thicc” thick thighs, Red-Eyed interrogation mode Haro, Demi Barding debut, Nika settled with Earth House, even optimized Demi Barding for Chuchu, and Chuchu fought side-by-side with Felsi Rollo, that fanged girl from House Jeturk. 

But with Norea’s death, right after that Suletta witnessed Petra’s bloody got covered by the debris from the destroyed building, presumably already dead; the aftermath of Norea’s rampage, and Lauda’s shocked, horrified face when he had to deal with the truth of his father death, possibly the news about Petra’s death, the death which was caused by his choice right after that, and the inferiority complex that was hinted in episode 19, It sure was The end of Hope.

Interestingly, Episode 20 was not “Hope was killed” nor things like that, but “The end of Hope”, which means that there will be a start of something, just like what Suletta did at the end of the episode, just like Chuchu helping Asticassia’s staffs removing the debris, to find any possible survivors, or at least get the deceased out of the ruined, and just like Earth House’s other members decided to help the Spacian students, they might become another hope, or even become a bridge between Earthians and Spacians.
Next episode: What they can do now?


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