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Episode 13: Shuttle Launch

 

Review by Chris Guanche

Original Review: June 18, 2000

New Review: August 8, 2021

 

Summary

 

At Gryps, Bask and other Titans officers gather to formally welcome the arrival of Titans leader Jamitov Hymem. As part of their fortification plans, the Titans have divided Gryps into two colonies and plan to move it close to Luna II. On Earth, Amuro flies a small Optica plane and lands it near his mansion. He’s glad to find Fraw Kobayashi and her adopted children Kikka, Katz and Letz waiting for him on the runway. After exchanging greetings, Fraw asks if they can stay over because she has many things to tell Amuro. Inside the house, Amuro comments on Fraw’s pregnancy, and she tells him he doesn’t understand anything about this. She suggests that he get married, and he asks if she thinks the EFF would allow that. Fraw asks if Amuro still has feelings for Sayla and tells him to stop hiding in his shell. Letz asks Amuro why he isn’t going to Jaburo, and Amuro writes down a note on paper telling everyone it’s not safe to talk. Fraw asks in a whisper if the servants are with the EFF, and Amuro answers that he’s sure they’re spies from the military. After dinner, Katz walks with Amuro and tells him that Hayato went to Jaburo to help the AEUG forces. Katz asks why Amuro isn’t there, and Amuro responds that he’s never heard of Karaba. Katz then asks about the AEUG, and Amuro says he doesn’t know anything beyond what’s been reported in the news. Katz thinks that Amuro should join Karaba, and Amuro says they wouldn’t have had anywhere to run to if he wasn’t in the shadows. Katz angrily counters that they didn’t run to Amuro, they only did as they were told to protect their mother. Katz accuses Amuro of inaction for the sake of maintaining a comfortable life, and Fraw walks up and tells him that’s enough. Katz tells her to stay out of it, and Amuro comments that his life here is hell. Katz asks Amuro if he isn’t bothered by a kid telling him off, and Fraw says that Amuro can’t speak his mind and that Katz doesn’t understand the military’s capabilities. Katz comments that the government’s wavering is allowing the Titans to do what they want, and Amuro responds that he fought more than his share in the One Year War. Katz notes that Amuro is still young, and Amuro explains that because he’s a Newtype he’s seen as a dangerous element and confined to this house. Katz says that Amuro was their hero, and he pleads with Amuro to admit that he secretly has a mobile suit hidden underground or something. Fraw tells Katz again to stop it, so he runs away. She tells Amuro that they’re going to leave tomorrow for Japan because she somehow got a visa. Amuro asks if she has tickets, and she tells him that she doesn’t because she was initially planning to stay four or five days. Amuro offers to help make arrangements and walks away, and Fraw cries alone. Elsewhere, the Audhumla follows the Valkyrie to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which Hayato explains is under Karaba control. Quattro jokes that he doesn’t like the name Karaba because it sounds like something for a secret society. After landing, a Karaba member tells Hayato that their two shuttles should be enough to get all the AEUG personnel back to space, but they only have one shuttle pilot. Hayato pulls his jeep up next to the Gundam Mk-II and asks where Kai is, and Kamille explains that he went to Customs with Reccoa. Quattro takes a ride with Hayato and comments that he didn’t know Karaba was this big, but Hayato notes that they won’t be able to stay here much longer because they allowed the two Garudas to land. Quattro asks where they’ll go, and Hayato answers somewhere in Northern Europe. Before getting off the jeep at the Space Museum, Hayato asks Quattro if one of his people can pilot a shuttle. Hayato returns to the command center and wonders where Kai went without even saying hello. A Karaba member gives Hayato the news that the Oakland Newtype Lab is now under the control of the Titans, and someone else delivers a hand-written letter from Kai. In the letter, Kai states that Quattro is Char Aznable and that he doesn’t like how Char is acting like a mere soldier instead of being a leader. Karaba members decrypt a message from the Argama for Quattro that states they’re currently in battle but will make the rendezvous point. Quattro asks them to calculate the time for launch and is told the next window is in just 40 minutes. Quattro asks if the shuttles will be ready to launch, and the crew debate whether they can fuel them in time. Quattro tells them they plan to also launch a mobile suit shuttle so that their new units don’t fall into the hands of the Titans. Quattro returns to the Audhumla and tells Apolly and Roberto to stop what they’re doing and prepare for the shuttle launch. Apolly feels apprehensive about piloting something so old and leaves. Quattro tells Kamille that they’re going to take the Gundam Mk-II, the Hyaku-Shiki and Roberto’s Rick Dias back to space, as everything else will be left for Karaba to use. Hayato tells Quattro that he’s finished everything and hands him the letter, saying he wants his opinion on it later. Apolly gets into the shuttle’s cockpit to start its systems and wonders if something so old will still fly. 

 

Buran Blutarch’s transformable Asshimar flies over the water, accompanied by six Hi-Zacks riding on three Base Jabbers. He spots the shuttles in the distance at the Kennedy Space Center and says the AEUG aren’t anything special. The AEUG pilots returning to space load up into a truck, and Reccoa says goodbye to Kamille as they drive past the jeep he’s riding in with Hayato. Quattro tells Hayato that Kai’s letter has nothing to do with him, and Hayato asks if he really is Char. Quattro responds that Kai is overrating his abilities and asks why Zeon’s Char would help the AEUG. Hayato answers that the Zabis have been gone for seven years, so he could see Char turning his focus to the rebuilding of Earth. He could see Char coming back to Earth and joining the AEUG, and Quattro asks that if he hypothetically was Char, what’s the point? Hayato quotes from Kai’s letter that Char has the qualities of a leader but is being a coward by hiding as a soldier. Quattro says that if Char is like that, then Kai is probably right. Hayato says that even if it takes 10 or 20 years, he thinks Char should try to lead the government. Quattro insists that he’s just Quattro, and Kamille interjects that if that’s the case, he’s a coward. Kamille tells Quattro it’d be better if he was just open with the truth, and Quattro changes the subject to moving the Gundam Mk-II to the shuttle. Kamille demands an answer, and Quattro answers that right now he’s just Quattro, no more or less. Kamille then says he’s going to “correct” Quattro and punches him in the face, knocking him to the ground. Kamille says that he doesn’t understand Quattro’s reasons, and Quattro says that humans can feel shame. An alarm then sounds to indicate incoming Titans mobile suits. Buran tells his pilots that their mission is to stop the shuttles from launching and capture the AEUG mobile suits. The Titans open fire and destroy the freighter shuttle; on the next launchpad, Apolly initiates the countdown for the shuttle transporting personnel. Quattro launches in the Hyaku-Shiki, followed by Kamille in the Gundam Mk-II. The Titans destroy the Valkyrie and fire on the Space Museum while the Audhumla taxis to the runway. Buran is impressed by how quickly the AEUG are responding and moves to target the other shuttle. Kamille fires at a Base Jabber and knocks one of the Hi-Zacks off before shooting it. Buran targets Kamille and forces him on the defensive, while Quattro chases after a Base Jabber. Apolly announces one minute to takeoff, and Roberto destroys two Hi-Zacks near the shuttle. The Base Jabber opens fire on him, but he destroys it as well. Quattro jumps to shoot at Buran and is annoyed that they’re not in space. Kamille engages two Hi-Zacks and destroys one when it trips on a downed GM II. Buran continues his aerial attacks and then transforms the Asshimar to mobile suit mode when Quattro gets close. Buran kicks the Hyaku-Shiki and knocks it to the ground, but Quattro immediately dodges and returns fire. With 30 seconds left to launch, Buran gives up on Quattro and attacks Kamille instead. Roberto shows up to prove backup to Kamille, and Buran takes to the air and fires a shot through the Rick Dias’ torso, causing it to explode. Apolly is shocked watching Roberto’s death on the video monitor, but he proceeds with the shuttle launch and takes off. Buran abandons his fight with Kamille and transforms so he can chase the shuttle and shoot it down. Quattro tells Kamille to get on his shoulders, and Kamille does so. Quattro activates his thrusters at full power, and at the height of his jump, Kamille uses him as a launching point to reach Buran. Kamille opens fire on Buran, and the distraction allows the shuttle to escape. Kamille lands a shot on the Asshimar’s torso and damages it, forcing Buran to fall back. Hayato radios Quattro from the Audhumla and tells him to get on. Quattro boards the plane and extends his hand to help get Kamille aboard. The Audhumla flies out over the Atlantic Ocean, and Buran orders his forces to secure the facility and the Sudori that the AEUG captured. Buran declares that his platoon is taking control of the Sudori, which he intends to use to chase the Audhumla. Kamille thanks Quattro for helping him and mentions Roberto’s death, but Quattro says this is war. Kamille thinks it’s unbearable, but Quattro counters that there’s no time to engage in such sentiment. Quattro wants everyone to work on mobile suit maintenance and asks where the Audhumla is heading to. Hayato says their course is for Hickory, and if that doesn’t work, they’ll figure something else out. He says that Karaba has allies near Vandenberg, and they’ll need to stop to resupply. Elsewhere, the shuttle reaches space and rendezvous with the Argama.

 

Commentary

 

Although the AEUG has escaped the Titans' trap at Jaburo, there's no rest for the weary in this episode. Hayato leads the AEUG forces to the Kennedy Space Center, which has mobile suits in its museum (including a reproduction of Hayato's Guncannon from the One Year War). It would've been nice to see Hayato meet up with his old friend Kai, but unfortunately it's not to be. However, Kai writes Hayato a letter that has become a meme in Western fandom for the Engrish phrase "Captain Quattro, he is a CHAR." While the meme is amusing, it does create a moment of drama when Kamille and Hayato demand answers and Quattro transparently lies about being Char. Kai's reading is correct that Quattro is taking the easy way out as a mere pilot instead of being a leader. Although Roberto is killed in combat, it's not anything to really be sad about because he was just a background character with no development. Elsewhere, we see the return of Fraw and the (former) orphans who are now her adopted children. Katz is now the age that Amuro was during the original series, and he's not happy to see that the hero he idolized is now a traumatized shade of his former self. Instead of being hailed as a hero for his accomplishments during the One Year War, Amuro has spent the last seven years under the microscope of a paranoid government. The Earth Federation's fear of Newtypes rising up is exactly the kind of bigotry that gives the Titans the space to exist. Amuro, unfortunately, is a casualty of that bigotry, and it's no understatement to say he's had seven years of his life stolen from him by the military.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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