Mobile Suit Gundam, Episode 39: The Newtype: Challia Bull

It’s Mobile Suit Monday again! This week we’re diving into a rather interesting episode that gives us a slightly better idea of what Newtypes actually are.

In the days since the Battle of Solomon, the Earth Federation has occupied the former Zeon base. However, all is not well; somehow, Federation forces keep being attacked and destroyed in the area, despite a seeming lack of Zeon presence. It’s quickly revealed that this is due to Lalah, who is piloting a mobile armor called the Elmeth. The Elmeth is equipped with a special set of weapons called bits that can detach from the mobile armor and be controlled independently via Lalah’s Newtype abilities (which are being enhanced by an on-board system called a ‘psycommu.’ Remember that term, it’s going to come up a lot in Universal Century shows).

As a side note, the music that is played during this segment–which is a rather long montage of Federation mobile suits exploding–is really creepy. It’s just two synth- or theremin-esque notes repeated over and over, which vaguely sound like “la, la.” Apparently this is in-universe, too, as one of the soldiers comments on it.

The White Base hasn’t been targeted, but Bright and Mirai are both able to sense that something is amiss at Solomon; they send Amuro, Kai, and Sayla out in the Gundam, Guncannon, and G-Fighter. Hayato insists that he’s well enough to deploy again, too.

Amuro once again connects with Lalah in a truly bizarre, prolonged vision sequence. It’s pretty wild; I don’t have a good way to describe it, but man is it trippy. The psychic contact seems to wear Lalah out, and she retreats back to the Zanzibar. Char, worried about Lalah’s exhaustion, orders the Elmeth adjusted to better suit her–apparently the psycommu is putting too much strain on her as-is.

From there, we cut to a character we haven’t seen in a while: Gihren Zabi! What’s he up to? Why, checking in with Zeon soldier Challia Bull, who has just returned from Jupiter. Note: I really want to make a “Man From Jupiter” joke here, but I can’t think of a slick way to do it. But trust me, that’s at least moderately amusing if you’re familiar with Zeta Gundam. At any rate, Challia Bull’s most recent medical examinations have confirmed that he is indeed a Newtype, and Gihren wants to deploy him quickly. Bull’s psychic abilities allow him to intuit that he’ll be sent to support Kycilia Zabi, so you know where this is going: Challia Bull is assigned to Char’s Zanzibar.

Arriving there, Challia Bull (by the way, he is always referred to by his full name, a la Fraw Bow) immediately senses how powerful Lalah is. He also has a short conversation with Char about his newfound desire to create peace for all Newtypes, and by extension, humanity. The two seem to get along quite well. Shortly after their discussion, Challia Bull launches in the Braw-Bro.

You remember this thing, right?

Back on the White Base, Sayla calls Bright to her room. She’s been feeling uncomfortable since last episode, worrying that the captain doesn’t trust her, so she decides to lay all her cards on the table: she admits that Char is her brother and tried to bribe her to leave the ship. She also turns over the gold, asking that it be divided amongst the crew. Bright tells her that she has been a good crew member to this point, and that she still has his trust.

Of course, at about that time the White Base detects the incoming Braw-Bro, so its battle stations for everyone. Amuro engages the mobile armor, but is surprised when it is able to fire at him from angles that don’t make sense; as it turns out, the Braw-Bro features a primitive form of the Elmeth’s bits, allowing it to attack from a variety of ranges and angles regardless of its actual position. Using these clever weapons, Bull very nearly takes out Kai, forcing the Guncannon to retreat, and he has Amuro on the ropes for a while. However, our hero’s awakened Newtype powers prove to be superior to Bull’s, allowing him to get in close and destroy the Braw-Bro with a single well-placed, point-blank shot. It’s a costly victory, though–Amuro had to push the Gundam past its limits; the machine, already struggling to keep up with the pilot’s enhanced reflexes, is put out of commission by the strain the battle placed on it.

As the Gundam heads back for repairs, we get one more scene of Char and Lalah. The Red Comet sorrowfully admits that he knew Challia Bull would die if he went out in the Braw-Bro, but he felt it would be better that the man fall honorably in battle rather than be forced to act as Gihren’s spy in Kycilia’s camp. Damn. That’s cold, Char.

We’re closing in on the end of the series now–only a handful of episodes left. Check back next week, because that one’s going to be a doozy.

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