Mobile Suit Gundam – 04

機動戦士ガンダム /Kido Senshi Gundam episode 04
Mobile Suit Gundam – 04

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04After stopping at Luna II, the crew of the White Base are stunned to hear that not only will the base commander (Wakkein) not take them in, but that he is arresting Bright, Mirai, Ryu, Sayla, Kai, Hayato, and Amuro and holding them for trial for using the classified White Base ship and Gundam unit without clearance to do so. With that, the injured Captain Paolo is taken to the hospital as Wakkein orders that the Gundam and White Base be impounded and secured. Meanwhile, Char has the Musai taken right up to the Luna II asteroid base, his ship hidden from scan by Minovsky particles. His aide Dren asks if they are to attack, which Char shoots down since Luna II has good defenses. Instead, they will infiltrate and attempt to steal the Gundam. If that fails, then they’ll destroy it if possible.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04As the White Base males are held prisoner together in a large room, Amuro explains over a meal how the Gundam is superior to the Zaku and how a novice like him can fight Char and survive. While this is going on, Char leads a large infiltration team in jet packs. Taking out two lone sentries, the team easily gets to the hanger where the White Base, along with other ships, are docked. However, the hanger has many infrared sensors, so Char is left with no choice but to set charges and blow their way into the Luna II base. The resulting explosions has Wakkein asking how an enemy force could do this. When one of his subordinates remarks on how this attack is exactly what Bright predicted would happen, Wakkein shuts him up with a look of irritation.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04With the power out, artificial gravity is out as are the door locks to their cell. The guys leave, pausing to get Sayla and Mirai, and they head for the hanger. Frau Bow has the three orphaned children with her and demands to know why the civilians haven’t been taken to safety now that there’s an attack. One of the orphan girls sees Amuro and creates a distraction by stomping on one of the soldier’s feet, letting the freed prisoners to take out the two guards and get on board the White Base. As Amuro, Kai, and Hayato attempt to free the Gundam unit, Wakkein orders the warship Magellan to depart. However, Char had anticipated this move and mined the docking back so that the Magellan is crippled and blocking the exit of any other ship.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04Wakkein and crew evacuate the Magellan in a shuttle and see that the White Base is active. Wakkein is determined to stop Bright and company despite the Zeon attack because that’s what regulations say should happen. However, Mirai gets the injured Captain Paolo’s bed to a communication terminal where he tells Wakkein that due to the recent two battles with Zeon forces, the people Wakkein wants to arrest are the most qualified to use the new weapons of war. As such, Paolo makes a request of Wakkein Mobile Suit Gundam - 04to let them go and he obeys the superior ranked Paolo. Wakkein gives permission to Bright to destroy the obstructing Magellan as Amuro, in the now freed Gundam, battles Char and two other Zeon’s in Zaku. Amuro takes out one Zaku and the exploding Magellan takes out the other, forcing Char to retreat to Musai.

Captain Paolo succumbs to his wounds and dies and is given a burial at space. Bright promises to get the White Base to Earth as Paolo wanted. With that, White Base is allowed to proceed on its journey.


Mobile Suit Gundam - 04Ah, the old cliched episode with the obstinate military commander who despite all evidence to the contrary is not about to violate rules, regulations, or procedures even though it might save lives. Don’t get me wrong, rules and regulations are there for a reason and it is very important that military people follow them. However, I’ve never liked it when there is this insistence that no matter what, if it isn’t on paper as a procedure, rule, or regulation, it can’t be done.  No option to use one’s common sense here, thank you very much.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04I had a boss who was like that because if we followed the piece of paper, then we couldn’t get into trouble and he could attack other managers with the procedure club when something did go wrong. As a result, I am a bit more forceful on enforcing rules and procedures in my job (especially when the Indian support teams try to get away with murder), but at the same time, I recognize situations where things can be overlooked or not done exactly as the book says in order to get the job done. If I’m wrong, I’ll stand up and take my licks. ^_^

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04So, Wakkein’s actions came off as understandable to me, but mainly because of my own experiences. However, had Captain Paolo not been of superior rank, I think Wakkein would have lost not only the White Base, Gundam, Guntank, and Guncannon, but also Luna II and then claim he was simply doing what the book said he had to do. It is easy to bend or break the rules when someone else offers to take responsibility and that’s the only reason that I see that Wakkein allowed Bright and the others to leave.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04Again, Federation security is laughable, which is made even more ridiculous by the fact that Wakkein is such a “by the book” kind of commander. As some of you blog readers explained to me, the fact that Musai could get right up under the Luna II base was explained away in the anime by the Minovsky particles, which basically makes radar and other sensors worthless. Since there is a war going on, one would think that Luna II would have more security though beyond having two lone sentries who are easily killed before an alarm can be raised. There are no other sentries anywhere apparently and there didn’t appear to be a CAP (Combat Air Patrol) in place either. Yes, Luna II did have infrared sensors in the hanger but what good is that if an infiltration team can get in and destroy your base’s power generator? Showing Luna II’s defenses did back up Char’s assertion that the base was heavily defended, but without security, big guns mean nothing.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04The fights between Char and Amuro are getting rather redundant. The superior Char couldn’t be so much as scratched even if he were at the ground zero point of a nuclear blast, so he grins like an arrogant idiot as he fights the hapless Amuro in the superior mobile suit. The writers went out of their way to explain that only Gundam’s superior technology over the Zaku units is what allows Amuro to fight and I appreciate that. However, like every episode prior, Char comes in, waves his wedding tackle at his enemies as he fights, acts all shocked when his support mobile suits are destroyed and things don’t go as planned, then retreats to the safety of Musai. Well, Char is out of support Zaku again, so it is time for another supply ship or something.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04Speaking of Char, he was thinking about Sayla again and the possibility that this is his long lost sister Artesia. Sayla has seen an unmasked Char and thought it was her brother and he’s thought she might be his sister. Initially, I thought this might be a giant red herring but Char’s thinking that Sayla can’t be Artesia because Artesia wouldn’t be as forceful as Sayla was in their encounter makes me believe that in fact Char and Sayla will be long lost brother and sister fighting on opposite sides. I could be wrong (and I’m sure you guys will have a good laugh at me if I am ^_~ ) but it feels right and just the right amount of cliched storytelling (which is not to say it will be bad storytelling, you understand).

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04I can’t say that Captain Paolo’s death was surprising. After all, important characters died in anime shows like Space Battleship Yamato and SDF Macross. Captain Paolo doesn’t come off as all that important though considering the minor, but important role he’s played to date. I guess that’s why his death really had no impact on me, though I was struck by the imagery of the funeral scene, having seen similar scenes in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn and the re-imaged Battlestar Galactica. It would be neat if there was some influence from Gundam onto the scenes in the aforementioned titles.

Hmmmm, I wrote more than I expected. Despite the cliched elements, the episode was still entertaining and enjoyable.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04

Mobile Suit Gundam - 04
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4 Responses to “Mobile Suit Gundam – 04”

  1. junior says:

    Yeah, it’s something of a cliched episode. But then again, the military tends to come across as a cliche in most fiction. On an unrelated note, there was a very similar episode in Gundam SEED, which is when I started to realize just how much the latter series was going to follow the plot for MS Gundam.

    Also, later series will start to reveal that the Federation is very much turning into a hide-bound beast. Rules, regulations, and red tape will effectively neuter the Federation against threats that are less significant than the threat posed by the Zeons in this series. So while probably not intended at the time (since no one had any idea of the powerhouse that Gundam would become), Wakkein’s attitude in this episode fits quite well with what comes later.

    As for the rank bit…

    If I understand this correctly, the commander of an important and heavily defended military installation is outranked by the captain of an independent warship? An installation that appears to have its own warship on station? I’m a bit skeptical of that being the way that things would turn out in real life…

    Of course, if that’s what the episode says then that’s the way that it is. But it’s also worth noting that since Paolo wasn’t linked to Wakkein’s direct chain of command, in real life Wakkein probably could have ignored Paolo’s instructions if he’d wanted to. Of course, if Paolo chose to back up Bright and the others, then it’s also somewhat questionable whether or not Wakkein could have had them arrested in real life (once again due to chain of command issues).

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Interesting stuff, Junior. ^_^

    As to the rank stuff, I know where you are coming from, but then I think about the series Deep Space 9. There, the most strategic base in the entire Federation was commanded by a Commander. Indeed, in the first episode, it is Captain Picard of the Enterprise who gives Commander Sisko orders. Even when a starship is permanently stationed at Deep Space 9, Commander Sisko doesn’t get promoted to Captain until some time later. ^_^;

    That said, in the U.S. military, a Captain would be the rank for most base commanders. A Captain would also command a capital ship like White Base. I didn’t catch Wakkein’s rank, but assuming he was a Captain, Paolo would have seniority over him (I’m basing this solely on apparent age of the two characters) and thus be the senior officer. As such, Paolo could assume command under certain circumstances.

    My impression of the episode was that Wakkein respected Paolo a great deal and thus when Paolo made the request and added that he’d take responsibility if things went south, Wakkein felt protected enough to agree to do something that violated regulations.

  3. ChronoReverse says:

    Enjoying your perspective for this show.

    As a sidenote, Deep Space 9 wasn’t of the utmost strategic importance when Sisko first took over. It was important to the Bajorans whom the Federation wanted to have join but it wasn’t that important overall.

    The wormhole made the station much more important but in the end it still wasn’t absolutely critical either.

    It was only until the whole Dominion threat arose that the station became utterly important and Sisko was promoted early on in that conflict.

  4. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Glad you like it, ChronoReverse.

    As to DS9, the wormhole made it very important due to the access to the Gamma Quadrant. With the Federation in control, well…^_^

    But I still understand your point. When the Dominion were introduced, it became more important which is why they were assigned the Defiant.

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