Mobile Suit Gundam, Episode 29: Tragedy in Jaburo

This is a good episode, but the beginning really ticks me off. We see the White Base traveling towards the Federation’s Jaburo base… secretly pursued by Char. Char further remarks that his spy’s intel about White Base’s destination was correct. Uh, what? Didn’t Char say last episode that he was headed to Africa, not South America? Didn’t Boone attack the White Base in the Grabro specifically because it was going to be his last chance at revenge since the Mad Angler unit wouldn’t be pursuing any further? And presumably the spy Char is referring to is Miharu, but she didn’t find out the White Base was going to Jaburo, did she? Kai told her South America, but that’s it. Basically, Char shouldn’t be here, which puts a bit of a damper on the rest of the episode for me.

At any rate, the White Base reaches its destination, unknowingly cluing Char in to the stronghold’s location. Upon arrival, the crew meets a Lieutenant Woody, who turns out to have been engaged to the late Matilda Ajan. He prioritizes the White Base’s repairs right away, knowing how much the ship meant to his lost love.

That’s good, because Char is–of course–planning an attack on the Federation forces. Zeons next offensive will be utilizing a brand-new mobile suit: the Zock.

I’m not going to sugar-coat this: I hate this design.

Char notes that he hopes this new mobile suit isn’t just for show, stealing Amuro’s iconic line almost a decade before he uses it himself. That’s cold, Char. (Also, spoilers–you’re going to be disappointed by this thing’s performance, buddy.)

Speaking of Amuro, he and the other White Base pilots have to have a physical, and our hero’s takes a lot longer than everyone else’s. It turns out Amuro was subjected to extra tests, largely focused on measuring his brain activity. It’s only mentioned in passing in this episode, but this is another important step along the path to the Newtype mythology that will shortly become prominent.

Amuro also bumps into Lt. Woody again, and the two share a nice moment. Amuro apologizes for failing to save Matilda, but Woody tells him not to feel guilty; it’s a war, and as long as Amuro is doing his best as a pilot, he can’t blame himself for the deaths that happen on the battlefield. It’s nice to see that Woody isn’t bitter about the tragedy that befell him.

Sadly, the White Base crew’s brief reprieve is cut short by Char’s attack: dozens of Gaws arrive and begin bombing the area around Jaburo, deploying Doms, Goufs, and Zakus all around the base. The Guntank, Guncannon, and G-Bull deploy, as do several of the Federation’s newest mobile suit: the mass-produced Gundam-type suit called the GM.

“Okay, roll for initiative.”

As the battle rages outside, Char deploys in his custom red Z’Gok. Alongside him are two other Z’Gok pilots, Li Hwan and Jittal, but both are shot down before the trio even lands. Char makes it to the ground, though, and quickly hops into the river that runs near the Federation base, where he meets up with the Zock and two Goggs. The four pilots split into two groups of two, both of which blow their way into the base. The Goggs are made short work of by Kai (who is a more serious, determined soldier following Miharu’s death), while the Zock and Z’Gok end up some distance from the White Base’s mobile suits. Amuro quickly switches from the G-Bull to the Gundam to go combat this threat.

It doesn’t take long for Amuro to figure out that the speedy red Z’Gok must be piloted by Char, and the two rivals come to blows for the first time in several episodes. It’s a great fight, too–it’s clear that Char’s current mobile suit is a huge improvement over his old Zaku, just as it’s obvious that Amuro has grown exponentially as a pilot since the last time the two faced off.

Unfortunately, Woody–piloting a flimsy hovercraft with a couple vulcans on it–interferes in the fight and gets a Z’Gok claw to the face for his trouble. He dies in much the same way as Matilda: the cockpit of his craft caved in by a mobile suit.

Char’s high-mobility suit allows him to fall back, and he escapes what ends up being a resounding defeat for Zeon’s forces; the new GMs served Jaburo’s defense well. Char’s buddy in the Zock isn’t so lucky–Amuro comes across the new enemy suit and takes it out in a single shot.

After the battle, Amuro reports back to Bright aboard the White Base. He informs the captain of Woody’s death, as well as the reappearance of the Red Comet… news which causes Sayla a considerable amount of shock. We’ll see how she handles her brother’s re-emergence next week!

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