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Episode 11: Entering the Atmosphere

 

Review by Chris Guanche

Original Review: June 15, 2000

New Review: August 8, 2021

 

Summary

 

Scirocco boards the battleship Hario and asks its captain, Ted Ayachi, to change course for Earth. Scirocco says Ayachi should change course if he wants to beat the AEUG, but if not, Scirocco will return to the Jupitris. Ayachi notes that they have no intelligence about the AEUG forces at Side 4 heading for Earth, and Scirocco asks what good any of them are if they just stay in one spot. Ayachi says that he’ll call Bask and asks Scirocco to stay, and Scirocco decides to tend to the resupply of the Messala. After Scirocco leaves, Ayachi is annoyed that Bask picked someone like Scirocco who is just back from Jupiter. On the Argama, Kamille and Astonaige work on the Gundam Mk-II and stop for a lunch break. Kamille sees Fa pushing the food cart and asks what she’s doing, so she explains that she’s helping out because everyone is busy. Henken and Bright enter the mobile suit hangar, and Henken calls Quattro over to announce that Bright is the ship’s new captain. Quattro says that he’s eager to see Bright’s skills in action, and Bright responds that he’ll be relying on him and Kamille. Haro rolls over and says hello to Bright, and Kamille explains that he found it at Amman. He wonders if it might be the original, but Bright says that Haro was mass produced as a toy and preprogrammed with the names Bright and Amuro. After they leave, Fa hands Kamille a pilot’s meal box and wonders what Bright will do since his wife and children live on Earth. She wonders if the government will take his family hostage, and Kamille angrily says they don’t know that. On the Alexandria, Kacricon asks if their ship can intercept the Argama before it reaches Earth, and Jerid answers that it can. Kacricon asks Jerid if he can do this, and Jerid answers that they’ve both been training extensively in the simulator. Kacricon is happy about being able to return to Earth so soon and goes to help with the fitting of the ballute on the Marasai. Henken mentions hearing that Bright’s family is in Jaburo, but Bright isn’t worried about them because Mirai is practically a Newtype. Quattro asks for more about Mirai, and Bright answers that she was the White Base’s helmsman during the One Year War. Bright also mentions that he’s already talked to Mirai about joining the AEUG. Henken prepares to leave for the Moon and runs into Emma on his way out. He laments parting ways with such a skilled officer, but says he needs Emma to lead the Jaburo attack team. A crewmember yells at Fa for being in this section, and she says that she just got lost. Emma asks if she had a fight with Kamille, and Fa says that Kamille has been under a lot of stress and acting like a spoiled brat. Fa states that she can understand the feelings of the pilot and asks Emma to leave her alone. On the Hario, Ayachi asks why Scirocco doesn’t want him to launch his suits, and Scirocco answers that if he can do the job himself with the Messala, there’s no need to launch outdated models like the Zaku Cannon. Another officers tries to punch Scirocco, but he dodges and floats away. Scirocco explains that he helped build the Messala and attacked the Temptation to test its performance. Bright orders the AEUG fleet to head for Earth, and all ships depart with the Argama at the head. Jerid conducts a test on his ballute, which will deploy and allow them to enter Earth’s atmosphere without burning up. On the Argama, Kamille and Astonaige test the Flying Armor, and Kamille wonders if it’ll really be able to support the Gundam Mk-II’s weight. Astonaige answers that it should, based on calculations, and he tells Kamille to get some rest before the operation. Bright asks Quattro to see about rescuing his family if they’re in Jaburo, and Quattro offers to do what he can. Quattro asks where Bright’s family is, so Bright offers to draw a map. Fa goes to Kamille’s quarters and says she heard that his parents died. Kamille says that he feels bad that Fa’s parents are hostages because of him, but he angrily says there’s nothing he can do about it. He also tells Fa that he’s not doing this because he wants to, and she says she doesn’t know what to do either. Fa cries that she wants to comfort Kamille but is still a child, so she asks him to take it easy on her. He shouts that he’s also a child and tells her to leave him alone. Fa calls Kamille an idiot and runs away in tears. 

 

Bright reports to the bridge in a normal suit and gives the order to proceed. Quattro launches in the Hyaku-Shiki, followed by Kamille in the Gundam Mk-II with Flying Armor, and Emma, Apolly and Roberto in Rick Diases. All the other ships in the fleet launch their mobile suit forces, which consist of Nemos and GM IIs. Elsewhere, Scirocco launches in the Messala and vows that he’ll stop the AEUG from attacking Jaburo. Scirocco fires his cannons and destroys the battleship Sicilia in a single shot. Torres detects a mobile armor on the port side, but there’s no info about it in the database. Scirocco makes another attack run on more ships, and Emma breaks formation to investigate. Bright wants Emma back in formation to lead the unit and orders Kamille to go instead. Quattro notes that the Flying Armor is more maneuverable and that it’s critical they get Emma to Earth. Scirocco destroys a GM II and Nemo, and Caesar calls Emma to remind her she’s supposed to lead her unit. Bright orders the other ships to proceed with their mobile suit launches so that the suits can enter the atmosphere. Emma watches Scirocco destroy two GM IIs at the same time, and Kamille shows up to warn her that the Messala is the mobile armor he encountered the other day. Emma doesn’t seem to hear and fires several shots at Scirocco, all of which he easily dodges. Quattro tells Bright that he’s rearranged the formation to put Apolly and Roberto in charge so that he can go help Kamille and Emma. Kamille and Emma are shocked when the Messala transforms into a mobile suit in front of them, and Scirocco uses his beam saber to cut off Emma’s right arm. Kamille fires, but Scirocco transforms and dodges. Kamille uses the Flying Armor’s mobility to avoid Scirocco’s cannons, and Quattro tells Emma to forget about Kamille and return to the ship. Quattro feels a different kind of pressure coming from Scirocco and knows he’s not Amuro. Bright is informed of an incoming enemy unit, and he notes that if they can get two thirds of their suits to Earth, it’s enough to take control of Jaburo. Scirocco senses pressure and evades an attack from Quattro before leaving the battlefield. Quattro tells Kamille that they have to head to the front of the fleet to deal with the incoming enemies. Kamille tells Emma that she should retreat, but she refuses. Fa heads to the bridge and asks if Kamille is OK, and Caesar yells at her to leave. Bright says that wouldn’t be safe now and tells Fa to sit next to him. Bright wants Emma to return to the ship, but she insists she can still perform reentry. Jerid spots Kamille and opens fire, and Kamille pushes Emma away. Bright orders the Argama to descend so they can pick up Emma. Quattro destroys a Hi-Zack and tries to pull Emma up toward the Argama. Some of the AEUG suits begin deploying their ballutes, and Jerid is sure that this time he’ll finally get Kamille. Emma finally reaches the ship, and Bright has the Argama increase altitude so it doesn’t get pulled in by Earth’s gravity. Emma thanks Bright but still insists she could’ve made it to Earth, so he tells her to come to the bridge later for a “correction.” Quattro is forced to deploy his ballute as Kamille keeps maneuvering between suits with the Flying Armor. Jerid and Kacricon continue to attack Kamille, and Kacricon calls Jerid a coward for deploying his ballute. Kamille yells at Kacricon that he’ll burn up, but Kacricon keeps attacking. His ballute then deploys automatically, but he’s too close to Kamille. The heat from Kamille’s Flying Armor destroys the ballute, causing Kacricon’s Marasai to burn up and explode. Jerid watches Kacricon die and vows to avenge him. The AEUG mobile suits continue their descent toward Jaburo.

 

Commentary

 

This episode continues the Gundam tradition of the atmospheric reentry battle. The AEUG is forced to contend with two waves: first, Scirocco and the high speed Messala, then Jerid and Kacricon’s team on mop up duty. Kamille and Quattro each feel pressure from Scirocco, indicating that he’s a powerful Newtype. He ends up being too much for them to deal with at this time, and he succeeds at his goals before departing. That’s when Jerid shows up, still out for blood to get Kamille. However, more blood gets spilled when Kacricon’s recklessness leads to his own death, despite Kamille’s warnings. Now that’s two people that Jerid feels he has to get revenge for against Kamille. One thing that really sticks out in this episode is Emma acting very out of character and surprisingly incompetent. She breaks formation to see what Scirocco is doing and suffers damage, and she’s completely useless the rest of the battle. She gets in everyone’s way and stubbornly insists that she can get to Earth, even to the point of violating Bright’s orders. It’s an unwelcome development since she’s been capable up to this point and now entrusted with such a big responsibility in leading the attack on Jaburo. Of course, Bright already has loads of experience dealing with difficult pilots. In a meta sense, I'm amused that Quattro tells Bright he's looking forward to seeing his skills, when we as viewers are fully aware that he's already seen Bright's skills in action many times.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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