Gundam 00 Episode 13 (Return of The Saint)

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We begin quite a little bit after the last episode left off, as we now learn the Coup has failed and Marina is back in power.  Still the death toll and real estate destruction is high, as are the tensions, and violence threatens to break out again at any time until Maphmoudi’s safety is confirmed.  To make matters even worse, Shirin confirms that the UN engineers have left Azadistan after the destruction of the Antennae facility.  It’s Azadistan’s darkest day in a while….

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The Price…..Thus Far

Summary: In her plane, Lockon confirms Vader’s theory concerning a third party being behind the abduction of Maphmoudi, and that he has sent Setsuna to investigate the Mobile Suit he assumes destroyed the facility. 

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Both Setsuna And Wang Play Human This Episode

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Setsuna Wigs Out At The Prospect Of Fighting His Mentor Again

Out in the wilderness Setsuna thinks he is on the right track….until he runs across a Union MS, and non other than Graham Acre.  Setsuna tries to hid behind a rock and listens while Billy talks about PMC Trust, but Graham stops him and calls Setsuna on his presence.  Setsuna plays dumb and tries to act like a local child, raising his pinch and loosening his expression, but Graham doesn’t seem convinced.  In fact, as a test he asks Setsuna what he thinks of the current political situation in Azadistan and what side he would choose.  Setsuna plays the part, but when Graham asks him what he has behind his back he slips up by hardening his features.  Graham lets slip seemingly on purpose that a PMC Trust last stolen from Moralia was supposed to be around the area and walks off with Billy.  Setsuna now knows his adversary is Ali.

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Just Another Day In Azadistan

Back in the city there are several explosions with a number of people caught in the middle.  Darryl and Howard are flying overhead and suspect terrorism, but can’t do anything about it with Mobile Suits.  Howard especially feels that nothing will be done about it as far as the Union is concerned and proclaims that their is no mercy left in the world.  On the streets below the city has descended into chaos with an armed robbery resulting in the cold blooded killing of a woman who cradling a child cries out for Marina. 

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WHOA! To Close For Comfort

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If Marina Ishmail Had An Image Song Already It Would Be Called “Like A Deer Caught In The Headlights”

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So Much Death……

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The Cloaking Still Interests Me More Than The Mirage Collioid.  I Think It’s The Shinyness

Meanwhile back at the palace is Marina herself who feels utterly powerless in the current situation.  When a maid comes into her room under the guise of normal business she suddenly pulls a gun, and proclaims that Marina will die for being an agent of the reformists.  The body guards are quick though (much quicker then when they should have kept the damn door shut) and take her down before she can carry out her will.  Marina mourns this woman and wonders why the people can’t be satisfied in their differences.  Meanwhile Setsuna is rushing back to the Exia and gives Lockon the location where he thinks the Enact is located.

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I Think 00 Set’s A Record For Largest MS Cockpit Sizes.  I Mean We Have Lockon, A Space For The Haro, And Hong Long Standing Upright All In The Same Space

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I Still Can’t Get Over The Pink Flyer There.  Somehow It Being Next To Dynames Makes It Look Less Cool

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Cool!  The Exia Just Got The Kyoto Animation Solar Flare Technique Added To It.  So Shiny It Threatens To Blind

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A Fresh Faced Setsuna, Far Too Young To Hold A Weapon Sits And Listens To Ali In A Flashback

Wang suggests Lockon take Hong Long along with him to the site and both he and Setsuna head off after decloaking.  At the site Rasa is refusing to eat or drink in an act of defiance and Ali is just chillin when he gets word of 2 approaching MS……and they aren’t from the Union.  As it turns out, the site is none other than the burnt out city that Setsuna was fighting in as a boy.  Now is his real chance to become the Gundam by rescuing someone in the same sight he was rescued all those years ago.

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Shiny But Short Battle Between Exia And AEU Enact Ali Al Sarshes Custom

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See Wang’s Car Is Gone And Now It’s Pointlessly Cool Looking With The Dramatic Shaded Pose And The Moon In The Background…..

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The Spirit Of Bruce Lee

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Nice Position

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Somehow This Guy Lost In The First Round Of Saigar 2008

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Exia To The Rescue Again

There’s little time to reminisce though as Ali quickly starts a fire fight with Exia over the city, with both seeming to mutually respect their opponents as worthy adversaries.  The two fight for a while, actually communicating openly until Ali manages to pin the Exia down.  He tries to force open the cockpit, but again falls prey to one of Exia’s many hidden swords and loses his Enacts arm.  He calls it a loss, but doesn’t seem to mind as Rasa is being shipped off to another location now.  One small problem though…..Dynames is in the way and is jamming their communications so they can’t request backup from Ali or anyone else for that matter.  Hong Long takes this opportunity to bumrush the convoy on foot, dodging through gunfire and showing some extreme martial arts skills by most of the soldiers.  He orders Rasa handed over, but the soldiers move to execute him.  Luckily Lockon is there with an actual sniper rifle and manges to take them all down.  Hong Long explains that he’s from Celestial Beings and that he is here to intervene in Azadistan’s civil war and Exia now arrives to escort him back to safety.

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Some People Are Never Satisfied

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I Rest My Case

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And Just Because There Hasn’t Been A Saji x Louise Scene In The Episode Yet…

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Here’s One Now

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And The Inseperable Trio Together

Meanwhile back on Ptolemaios Sumeragi has sent them the latest mission order, and Tieria is apparently upset over it’s contents.  Allelujah side with Sumeragi however and says that even though it puts Exia in danger, it is the best way to show the world once again how serious CB is about it’s goals.  The mission is of course for Rasa to be escorted to the palace and for Marina to host a ceasefire agreement between the factions.  This message is relayed to Marina herself, to which she agrees, despite her apprehensions about the organization and it’s intentions.  Everybody now awaits there arrival, the leaders of the three powers, Marina, Billy, Kinue, Saji x Lousie x Mama, Dr. Eifman….and especially Graham. 

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The Gundam Show Will Now Begin

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Didn’t Something Similar Happen In Turn A Gundam

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All That Space And He Still Complains

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Call It Women’s Intuition

As Exia touches down, Graham has Howard and Darryl stay out of things as does Marina with her honour guard, and Exia starts to slowly move towards the palace on foot deliberately exposing itself as unarmed.  When several of the workloaders with something to prove open fire on the Exia with several shot that rock it but do little damage as it blocks much of the fire with it’s arms.  Marina and Graham are upset with this action, but soon enough the workloaders allow the Exia to pass through and deliver Rasa.  Marina calls Setsuna out by name asking if it is him, and he replies to her that it’s up to her whether the Celestial Beings come again and until then to keep on fighting for the god she believes in.  As Exia leaves Darryl and Howard want to go after it, but Graham knows they can’t as the world would hate them if they did after the show Celestial Beings just put on.  

As the current conflict comes to a close, Wang expresses her sentiment that this is probably not the end to the current Conservative/Reformist struggle for influence in Azadistan, but that it’s a start towards something.  Amuro also informs us that Rassoud Maphmadi told the world after of his abduction by a militia group, and that somebody stood to benefit from Azadistan’s failure to modernize.  Marina and Rassoud also made a plea for the end of the civil war and terrorist activities, but despite this the conflict still continues.

Thoughts:

I don’t know, despite the fact the episode had some good combat and showed first hand some of the horrors of the conflict in Azadistan, it just didn’t feel all that interesting to me by the end.  There wasn’t really a lot of character development, and the narrator even said at the end of the episode that the civil conflict still continues despite all the Celestial Beings work.  In a way, despite it all Ali has still won as he destroyed the Solar Antennae and sewed the seeds of war that even Rassoud and Marina working together can’t seem to put an end too.  We see that Marina can’t even control her honor guard when they open fire on Exia despite her express wish for no violence.  Luckily the Exia is a Gundam and the shots don’t do much besides damage the arms a little, otherwise things could have gotten a lot worse almost instantly. 

Setsuna also got to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming like the Gundam by rescuing Massoud….or did he?  Somehow I think this might not be it because the situation with him as a kid involved leaving him having an impression on somebody.  Did he leave an impression on Marina though.  She seems to regard him highly, but then again she also seems apprehensive of him.  Most of the talk about Setsuna and the Exia being like a godlike figure comes from Setsuna himself, but Marina just called out to him by name, meaning she sees him as a boy, and not a Gundam or any god.  In this case I think Setsuna has merely deluded himself about his dream, and it will probably become obvious to him later on.  To further all this, Massoud also called the quarters cramped and didn’t seem impressed at all with the clearly staged show.  Doesn’t sound like he’s about to abandon Allah for the Gundam Exia anytime soon.

Aside from all that, there is Graham’s belief that the world will now be fully in favour of the Celestial Beings.  And that leads me to my one main problem with the episode, and that is that despite it being fairly solid, we don’t get to see any of the results of what happened in this episode until next time, all we get is a brief narration by Tohru Furuya and that’s it.  The cliffhanger is taken to the point where the episode feels unfinished almost.  I guess this was intentional since it is the end of the first season of the series and we’ll be getting a new opening and ending next time to mark the beginning of the new one, but it still doesn’t sit right with me.  Ultimately as an episode in an ongoing series I enjoyed what happened, but as a self-contained episode, it kind of fell short of the strides in plot and character development we’ve been seeing over the course of the last 8 or so episodes, because the results need to be seen for the plot of this episode to fully resolve and I can really comment on and appreciate what happened.

Rating: Seven Out Of Ten

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