As the Earth House team arrives at Plant Quetta to retrieve Aerial, Suletta can’t overcome her insecurities about her place on the team. Miorine is eventually able to reach her, and the two have a heart-to-heart. Elsewhere, Prospera/Elnora meets Delling to see his hitherto-unmentioned project, “Quiet Zero”.
Things take a violent turn when the transport ship commandeered by Dawn of Fold deploys its mobile suits to isolate and assault the station. The young Earthian pilot Sophie stumbles across Suletta, eager to meet a fellow witch.
On the one hand, episode 11 finally seems to be moving the relationship between Suletta and Miorine in some kind of direction, and it’s fun to see non-dueling mobile suit combat start to play out again after being absent for so long. On the other, the show is keeping way too many balls in the air at this point, and they’ve introduced one of my least-favorite character tropes just to rub some dirt in my eye. Needless to say, my feelings are mixed.
Watching some of the recent episodes, I was disappointed that Suletta and Miorine really didn’t have any sort of connection outside of their circumstances. Most of Miorine’s actions that have supported Suletta (confronting the girls messing with the dueling arena, creating GUND-ARM as a way to save Aerial, etc) have all been pretty self-serving. Her main goal has always been her own freedom and sticking it to her father, and while I can respect that, she’s never considered Suletta’s feelings in any meaningful way.
At the same time, Suletta continues to just be insufferable as she pinballs from accidents to misunderstandings while trying to prove her value to the team. Miorine’s dismissive words from before still sting, and some of her reactions feel valid, but as has generally been the case, her forced bumbling manner is more annoying than endearing.
On the upside, that does make it very satisfying when Miorine finally hunts her down and bullies Suletta into saying that she wants Miorine to depend on her. The two girls finally open up about what they mean to one another and how they’ve changed each others’ lives, which is pretty touching. I wish there had been more little moments for their relationship growth to feel more organic, but it’s not Gundam if someone isn’t shouting their feelings at someone else while floating in zero-G.
The rest of the episode is desperately trying to weave together all of the threads of corporate and political backstabbery that have been teased out so far. Prospera and Delling start discussing an entirely unknown project called “Quiet Zero”, which for my money will either be a giant mobile armor, or some kind of brain-scrambling neuro weapon to wipe out witches. It’s another complication in an already convoluted series of double-crosses that seems more in line with Metal Gear than most Gundam shows, but we’ll see where it all goes.
The latter part of the episode is devoted to Dawn of Fold blocking Plant Quetta from outside communications and cutting off a major block of the plant as part of their plan to isolate and assassinate Delling. Seeing a pirate operation in space is always something I enjoy, especially since it feels so different from the mobile suit duels we’ve been watching for most of the show. I think those fights have generally been handled well, but the vibe is entirely different and represents an escalation of the stakes.
What lets my expectations for this new status quo down is the characterization of Sophie, the Earth-born witch. The Child Blood-Psychopath is a favorite trope of many anime, and one that I almost always roll my eyes at. It can sometimes work well with the right supporting cast, but more often it just creates a character who’s such a liability that no one would ever have considered working with in the first place. Sophie also has that damn snaggle-tooth mouth that just looks so silly alongside more thoughtful character designs, so I’m afraid it’s going to be a real chore watching her part in this play out once she and Suletta inevitably come to blows.
Overall, this is an episode where the buildup of tension between our players starts to pay off in some interesting ways and in some shakier ones. Time will tell just how this part of the story comes together, and whether most of us will come out entertained or disappointed.