Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Episode 2: Departure

After a long absence, we’re back to Gundam! I’ve missed you, mecha!

As you may or may not recall, last episode ended with the Argama blowing a hole in the side of our protagonist’s colony. We open with the Rick Dias team–that’s Quattro, Roberto, and Apolly–assisting with the destruction so that they can get inside and capture one of those fancy new Gundam Mk. IIs. While they’re busting in, Quattro once again senses a powerful Newtype; we viewers know it’s Kamille, but Quattro is still clueless (though he at least rules out it being Amuro or Lalah this time).

Within the colony, the Titans are scrambling to respond to the breach… or, at least, some of them are. Gundam pilot Jerid Mesa, not so much. Another Titans officer, Emma Sheen, arrives to chew Jerid out for firing on Quattro last episode since it put civilian lives in danger, but Jerid’s response is basically, “You’re not my boss, so buzz off.” That’s when a familiar face steps in: Bright! Yay! Glad to have you back, O captain my captain! Bright also yells at Jerid, this time for the pilot’s cavalier attitude about the damage to the colony. Bright rightly points out that Jerid doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about when it comes to colony infrastructure, since he only recently left Earth. Tired of getting his chops busted, Jerid heads out in a jeep to “take care of the situation,” whatever that means.

While all that’s happening, the Rick Dias squad has been moving towards the Titans base. The Federation forces have scrambled some old GMs to take on the attackers, but it’s no use; Quattro and his pals fly circles around them. More than one comment is made about the red Rick Dias and its pilot resembling the famous Red Comet.

A high-ranking Titan, Bask Om, gets wind of the situation and decides to head to Green Noa himself, eager to chase down and destroy Quattro and friends. He’s quite certain that they’re members of the AEUG–that ‘terrorist organization’ Kamille was accused of being part of last episode. This scene also features a man by the name of Franklin Bidan. As you might guess from that surname, he’s important!

Due to the battle at the Titans base, certain sectors of the colony are being evacuated. Fa Yuiry, Kamille’s lady friend, is among the evacuees. In a nice reference to the original series, she stops by Kamille’s house to check on him (a la Fraw Bow), but of course, he’s not there.

Speaking of Kamille, what’s he up to? Why, sneaking into the Titans base, of course! He’s still pissed off about the various beatings he got last episode, so he’s back for revenge. He almost gets caught by some guards, but luckily one of them recognizes him and lets him through because his dad is involved with the Titans. See? I told you Franklin Bidan was important!

Once inside, Kamille pretty much beelines for a Gundam unit and, in grand protagonist tradition, hijacks it.

A quick clarifying point: there are three Gundam Mk. II units (cleverly labeled 01, 02, and 03). Unit 01 isn’t around right now, and Kamille steals Unit 03 right before Emma gets a chance to hop in it–she’s been designated pilot since the usual pilot, Jerid, took off already. Unit 02, meanwhile, is being piloted by one of the best-named characters in the series: Kacricon Cacooler.

One might assume that a random kid doesn’t know how to pilot a giant robot, but of course, Kamille does. After all, he’s a young mecha prodigy! Plus, he stole data from his dad’s computer that explained how the Gundam works. Fair enough! Bright doesn’t know about Kamille’s inside scoop, so when he sees the kid piloting the Gundam, he thinks he’s dealing with another Amuro situation (and he’s pretty much right).

So, why did Kamille even steal this robot, anyway? Easy: to get revenge on one of the military police that beat him up! Yep, Kamille’s petty ass just runs at this poor cop and pretends that he’s going to shoot him with his big mobile suit guns. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really feel bad for the guy–I mean, he abused his authority and beat up a high school kid–but damn, Kamille, this feels like a lot of effort to go to just to scare the dude.

While Kamille trolls the bad cop, Kacricon, Quattro, Roberto, and Apolly all look on in confusion. Finally, Kamille remembers that he’s in an actual combat zone, and he quickly tells the Dias Squad that he wants to join up with them. To prove it, he tackles Kacricon’s Gundam and forces the guy out of the cockpit. This allows Kamille and the Dias Squad to head out of the colony with not one, but two captured Gundams!

They skirmish a bit more on their way out, nearly killing Fa on accident when a defeated GM II crashes into Kamille’s house. Thankfully, the girl isn’t hurt (and presumably neither was her mother, who was parked outside last time we saw her but is now mysteriously absent… uh, did Fa’s mom die? I honestly don’t remember if she mentions that later in the series, but I don’t think so).

Back at the Titans base, Bask has arrived. He’s none too happy about two Gundams getting captured. Bright points out to him that maybe the Titans shouldn’t have, you know, set up an anti-spacenoid base on a space colony, and then proceeded to treat all of the spacenoids there like trash, especially when they knew the AEUG was in the area. Bask doesn’t like someone pointing out how much of a big dummy he and his whole organization are, so he and the other Titans beat the shit out of Bright for calling them on their BS.

Nobody treats Bright Noa that way. You have made an enemy this day, sir!

Out in space, it turns out that Kamille and the Dias Squad aren’t quite home free yet. Once they get outside the colony, they’re attacked by who else but Jerid! Turns out that when he bailed earlier, it was so he could set up an ambush in space. Actually not a terrible plan… except that he’s in a mobile suit he’s not used to (the Hizack, a distinctly Zeon-looking design that has been developed by the Earth Federation) and our heroes have the Argama backing them up. Jerid and his pals are quickly forced to retreat.

I want to take a second to appreciate the mobile suit design here. I love that the Hizack is essentially a new model of Zaku, and that it’s used by the Earth Federation. It totally makes sense in-universe–the Zaku was a great workhorse of a unit, why wouldn’t the Earth Federation improve on it after the One Year War?–while at the same time being a great visual indicator that the Earth Federation (or at least the Titans) are the bad guys this time around. Really smart!

And that’s where we end things this week: Kamille has joined up with Quattro, and the Dias Squad has captured two brand-new Gundams. What’ll happen next? Tune in next week to find out!

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