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Episode 1: Departure 0096

 

Review by Chris Guanche

April 3, 2016

 

Summary

 

In UC 0096, Banagher Links sits in the cockpit of the Unicorn Gundam as his dying father, Cardeas Vist, says he wishes they'd had more time together. After Cardeas dies and floats away, Banagher activates the mobile suit. Ninety-six years earlier, as the Anno Domini era came to an end, Earth Federation Prime Minister Ricardo Marcenas prepared to usher in the new Universal Century on the space colony Laplace. In space, a young man named Syam Vist and several other terrorists repositioned the colony's mirrors to focus all sunlight on a single point. Marcenas said that the old nations of Earth couldn’t work together to create solutions for mankind’s problems. The colony then exploded, followed by the terrorists’ escaping ship. Syam was tossed out into space during the explosion and caught a glimpse of something floating nearby: the Universal Century charter. In the present, Cardeas visits his aging grandfather Syam and reports that they’ll proceed with the plan. Syam says that the Earth Sphere can’t continue if they do nothing. He hopes that someone will be able to use Laplace’s Box. He then asks Cardeas if he can forgive him, and Cardeas answers that what they’re doing might end the world, so he’s the only one who can give forgiveness. In space, the camouflaged Neo Zeon remnant "Sleeves" ship Garencieres comes under fire from a Londo Bell Clop cruiser. Captain Suberoa Zinnerman orders pilot Marida Cruz to launch in the Kshatriya and fend off the three chasing mobile suits. Marida deploys her funnels and quickly destroys two Jegans, but the Stark Jegan fires its bazooka with a scattering shot at her. The Stark Jegan then fires shoulder missiles, but Marida dodges them and launches more funnels. The Stark Jegan ejects its missile pods and moves into close range for a beam saber attack. Marida is able to push it away and cut it in half. At Side 4’s Industrial 7 colony, 16-year-old Banagher practices with a Med mobile suit at the Anaheim Electronics Industrial Colony. Afterwards, he and his classmates listen to a lecture about the One Year War from their teacher, Bancroft. He criticizes the students for not paying attention and is informed that their shuttle has broken down. As the students travel through Bancroft’s Zeon war museum, student Takuya Irei is impressed by an old Zaku II.

 

Banagher holds onto his Haro and looks at the Zaku, and his friend Micott Bartsch tells him that sometimes he looks like he’s staring out at nothing. Banagher answers that he’s not looking at anything, and Micott asks if he’s thinking about his father. He says he’s thinking about where he is, and she says she feels sometimes like things are off. He then looks out into space and catches a distant flash of the Unicorn Gundam, which makes him think of a unicorn painting and a piano. Nearby, Cardeas sits in the cockpit of the Unicorn Gundam with a nervous test pilot. Cardeas orders the pilot to fly toward an asteroid field and is impressed with the suit’s performance. Cardeas calls Gael Chan and says they’ll be heading back. Gael informs him that students were still at Anaheim, but Cardeas isn’t worried about anyone seeing anything. After he returns, Gael informs him that a Londo Bell ship ran into the Sleeves and lost three mobile suits. Gael tried to get information out of Londo Bell commander Bright Noa at Londenion, but he wasn’t successful. Cardeas informs his staff that all tests are complete on the Unicorn Gundam, so their next step is to seal the NT-D and start the La+ program. Cardeas sits at his desk and looks at Banagher’s student file while thinking about forgiveness. Several Geara Zulus deploy as the Garencieres docks at Industrial 7. Zinnerman tells his crew they’ll try to get Laplace’s Box, but if it’s a trap, they’ll fight. Stowaway Audrey Burne leaves the ship and takes a handrail through a service tunnel, but she reaches an area under construction and falls into the colony’s zero gravity area. Banagher suddenly has a strange feeling and runs to the mobile suit hangar. He takes off in a Torohachi petite mobile suit and flies over to where Audrey is floating. He gets in close and opens the hatch to grab and rescue Audrey. The Torohachi then runs out of fuel, so he maneuvers over a highway and crash lands on a grass field. He then gets out of the cockpit, but Audrey knocks him down and twists his arm behind his back. She asks him who he is and says she needs help getting to the Colony Builder. She asks if they can use the mobile suit, but Banagher says it’s out of fuel, so they’ll have to go to the Snail on foot. Audrey says she must speak to someone immediately so that she can stop a war. She then begins to walk away, but Banagher says she can’t do it alone.

 

Commentary

 

If Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 appears familiar, that's because it's a TV re-edit of the OVA series. This sort of thing isn't uncommon, as both the GaoGaiGar FINAL and Broken Blade OVAs were previously re-edited for TV broadcast. Of course, given how good Gundam Unicorn looked as an OVA, it makes for an even better looking TV series. I expect some new content might be added later on, but right now it plays pretty straight as the first part of episode 1, with the only difference being that Cardeas' death opens the series, casting this episode as a flashback. There isn't much more to say here beyond what I covered in my original OVA review. It's a good start for a TV version, and it's been long enough since the original release that it's a good option to revisit the story. Of course, it also works for those who never shelled out for the expensive Blu-rays and have yet to experience the story. I don't expect this version to make any major changes or do much more than have some new mobile suit cameos, but I hope it can surprise me.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 Episode 1 Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 Episode 1
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