Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury isn’t just the first mainline Gundam anime series since Iron-Blood Orphans back in 2015. It isn’t even just the first mainline Gundam anime series to feature a female main protagonist. No, on top of all of that, this is also the first mainline Gundam anime series to feature said female main character in a same-sex relationship. Yuri fans and LGBTQ+ content fans in general, rejoice!
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Cours 1 ~ Details
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury is the 15th mainline Gundam anime series in the franchise. Sunrise (Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion) continues to be the animation studio behind this anime series. You know, because the Gundam franchise is their baby. This time though, it’s Hiroshi Kobayashi and Ryō Andō who are directing this anime, with Naohiro Ogata producing. Ichirō Ōkouchi is the writer for this anime, with Takashi Ohmama composing the music for it. Lastly, Crunchyroll is licensing this anime for its NA release, with Medialink licensing it for its SEA release.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury cours 1 made its debut on October 2, 2022 (technically July 14, 2022, if you count the prologue episode) and recently concluded on January 8, 2022. You can watch all 12 episodes (13, again if you count the prologue episode) of this cours (unit of Japanese television production) of this anime only on Crunchyroll. Because of that, you need to shell out cash for a premium account to watch this anime. However, the prologue episode is free to watch from Gundam‘s official YouTube channel. If you want a taste of this anime for free, then check it out there.
Warning: spoilers for Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury cours 1 below. If you want to watch this firsts-filled Gundam anime for yourself, then stop here and come back once you’ve emerged from cover from the Gundam duels.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Cours 1 ~ Plot Summary
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury cours 1 may or may not begin with the prologue episode depending on your point of view. For the sake of this review though, I’ll include the plot summary for the prologue episode. The prologue episode begins with 4-year-old Ericht Samaya just celebrating her 4th birthday on the asteroid colony of Folkvangr, where R&D of Gundam technology for medical is ongoing. Unfortunately, a company ruled by one Delling Rembran that doesn’t like that finds a way of declaring all Gundams to be illegal, and sentences the entire colony of Folkvangr to death because apparently ex post facto laws carrying the death sentence in this setting are legal. The entire colony is slaughtered to the last man, woman, and child. Only Ericht and her mother survive the purge, and only because Ericht turns out to be a natural Gundam pilot.
A Timeskip This Early?!
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury cours 1 then cuts to 13 years later in one of the earliest timeskips I’ve seen for any show. Ericht Samaya has had her name changed to Suletta Mercury, and is now a 17-year-old student inbound for Asticassia School of Technology: which apparently teaches mobile suit piloting among other things. And where virtually any conflict, big or small, can be decided by mobile suit duels. This is quite handy since Suletta is attending Asticassia with Aeriel (the name she gave her Gundam).
Suletta immediately distinguishes herself by rescuing the sole daughter of Delling Rembran: Miorine. Only, Miorine wasn’t actually in trouble. She was actually trying to flee to Earth, which Suletta has just unwittingly foiled. It gets worse when Suletta tries to defend Miorine from her unwanted fiancé Guel Jeturk’s advances, only to find herself in that aforementioned mobile suit duel with him. Fortunately, there is a spot of good news. Upon winning the duel, Suletta suddenly finds herself Miorine’s new fiancé, complete with the latter now calling Suletta her new “groom”. Miorine seems pretty partial to the idea to boot, even if Suletta’s sheltered upbringing initially made her unfamiliar with same-sex relationships at first. At the very least, it seems Miorine thinks Suletta is a lot easier on the eyes (and ears) than her previous fiancé.
Suletta’s Happily Engaged Life with Another Girl?
Unfortunately, Suletta and Miorine don’t have much time to enjoy their almost honeymoon. Suletta’s victory against Guel quickly results in her getting embroiled in the politics at Asticassia. As you might expect, this results in duel after duel, which Suletta wins, but only barely. Fortunately, there are good outcomes here from this.
The first is that Suletta gets closer to Miorine just from the process of dueling and the preparations for them, and in the process: Miorine’s backstory, including the stormy relationships she has with her father. The second is that Suletta gains a whole bunch of friends in the form of Earth House. This is apparently a faction in Asticassia composed of students from Earth. Unfortunately, Spacians (people born outside Earth) discriminate against Earthians in this setting. This results in Earth House getting ill treatment from their peers. Ironically, Suletta’s status as a low-ranking outsider makes her a perfect fit in Earth House despite being a Spacian herself, and thus she quickly makes friends among them.
Terrorists Can’t Stand in the Way of Yuri!
Unfortunately, the fun and games at Asticassia comes to a sudden halt when a terrorist attack occurs at a space station Earth House happens to be at. All to assassinate Miorine’s father to boot. Miorine hates her father’s guts, but not enough to want him dead. And apparently, he actually does care about her, given that he shielded her from flying shrapnel.
As Miorine gives him emergency medical attention, Suletta finds the strength to fight off the terrorists using Ariel long enough for a rescue fleet to arrive and drive them off. Suletta even saves Miorine and her father from a surviving suicidal terrorist via blunt force impact from Ariel’s multi-ton hand. Suletta is ecstatic to see Miorine alive and well. She is so ecstatic that she completely forgets about her murder and her extending a blood-soaked hand to Miorine. A shocked Miorine calls Suletta a murderer, but we don’t see how Suletta reacts to that. That will have to come in the next cours of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Cours 1 ~ The Good
The story of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury cours 1 is without a doubt the best part about it. And no, I’m not just talking about the yuri. Although the yuri is a big part of why this particular Gundam anime is great. Suletta’s romantic relationship with Miorine not only makes this anime the first mainline Gundam anime to feature the main character in a yuri relationship, but as I said before, it’s the first mainline Gundam anime to feature the main character in an explicitly same-sex relationship period. It really does bode well for anime that a mainstream series like Gundam can allow its main characters to be in a same-sex relationship.
Again though, the yuri isn’t the only good things about the story. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury cours 1 has a fantastic science fiction story that’s pretty high on the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness. If you discount the giant mecha, that is. For example: Asticassia itself is a pretty realistic space colony. All of its habitation areas are in a rotating ring, which generates artificial gravity via centrifugal force. The mobile suits also need thrust to move around in space, and have to apply thrust in the opposite direction to stop. They’re nice treats for hard sci-fi fans, in my opinion.
The animation of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury cours 1. The hand-drawn animation is impressive, and the CGI animation is very fluid. Practically studio Orange levels of fluid, really. Once you factor in the great music too (especially Aerial’s theme music), then the result is one of the best anime ever made period.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Cours 1 ~ The Bad
Honestly, the only thing I can think of to criticize Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury cours 1 is it ending on that cliffhanger at the end of Ep. 12. And even then, you can understand their rationale for it. After all, they want to keep people hyped for cours 2. Leaving the anime on that cliffhanger is just their way to ensure that as many people as possible tune in for cours 2. And frankly, given how great this anime is, I’ll be one of them.
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