Mobile Suit Gundam – 15 (The Episode They Didn’t Want Us To See)

機動戦士ガンダム /Kido Senshi Gundam episode 15
Mobile Suit Gundam – 15

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15Amuro is training on mid-air conversions of Gundam with Ryu in the Gunperry when White Base picks up a signal and has Amuro investigate in the Core Fighter.  He finds a downed Federation fighter with the two crew members bound inside.  He reports back to White Base, frees the crew, and attempts to treat their wounds.  One dies and the other is in bad shape before Amuro comes under attack from rocks being thrown.  After Amuro attempts to get the other crew member to safety, that man dies as well.  Amuro opens fire at the direction of the incoming rocks and moves in, only to be attacked by burning sticks.  He soon discovers three children in rags who demand he leave their island.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15Retreating, Amuro is stunned when a Zaku appears as this is not Zeon territory.  The children tell what they know as Doan, the pilot of the Zaku, puts them in a safe place.  Amuro gets the Core Fighter airborne but his first missile attack is a miss and his second is defeated by a large rock thrown by the Zaku, causing Amuro to crash.  He’s rescued by Doan and taken to an unfinished cabin to recover.  When he comes to, Amuro exits and finds a young woman named Rona, who says that Doan is in the garden with the children.  Arriving there, Amuro is sure that Doan is spreading Zeon lies to the children even though Doan appears to be protecting the island from the Zeon.  After their discussion, Amuro goes off to find the hidden Core Fighter.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15Amuro spends a fruitless day hunting for his hidden Core Fighter while White Base begins a search for him.  The following day, Amuro again attempts to find his fighter, only to again be harassed by the three children.  As they throw rocks at him, a Zeon Luggan shows up with a Zaku that immediately attacks upon being dropped.  Amuro gets the children to safely, meeting up with Doan and Rona, who take him to his fighter which has been hidden in a cave behind a waterfall.  As the Zaku continues to attack, Ryu arrives in a Core Fighter, wondering what the Zaku is attacking.  He gets an answer when Amuro emerges from the waterfall in his Core Fighter.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15After Amuro explains the situation, White Base shows up and Amuro is ordered to return to perform the conversion to Gundam.  Returning to battle, Amuro takes out the Luggan but Doan requests to be allowed to handle the Zaku.  He explains to Amuro that he was responsible for making the children orphans but when ordered by Zeon to kill the children, Doan disobeyed orders and deserted, vowing to protect the children.  Despite taking damage and having no weapon, Doan defeats the Zeon Zaku.  After Doan leaves his mobile suit, Amuro throws the damaged Zaku unit into the sea to remove the scent of war from Doan.  The children protest but Doan approves and can now live his life with Rona and the children.

Thoughts/Review:

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15Wow.  The anime actually takes the intro and really quite nicely lays out how all of the different “Side” space station colonies are laid out in addition to the Luna II asteroid base.  Now, I have a very clear understanding (beyond what commenters on this blog have said) because of the visuals.  I sorta wish they’d done this from the start, but I’m guessing that it wasn’t until now that the production team felt they really had to show how things were in space with Side 7 on the complete opposite side of Side 3/Zeon.   I’m glad they finally did this. ^_^

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15Anyway, I had heard that this is the episode that Tomino-sensei requested not be aired in the U.S. and not be released on video.  For the life of me I could not think of what could be so bad about this episode to make the series creator ask such a thing. The only negatives one could cite for this episode are (1) it doesn’t advance the main story; (2) the whole Federation bound pilots thing; and (3) the Zeon attack on the island combined with Amuro’s solution didn’t make any sense beyond having some bigger opponent to fight and some reason for Doan to have a happy life at last.  OK, those are pretty big I guess but I’ll try to break them down.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15For item 1, that really didn’t bother me at all.  Indeed, we got to see actual military training done on the part of White Base.  Even though the mid-air conversion stuff screams “fake,” I do like how Bright had the crew training on this maneuver.  After all, military forces train hard so that in a combat situation, they react on instinct and won’t panic.  This alone helps continue the believability of the crew, especially Amuro, becoming better soldiers.  Indeed, this episode had Amuro acting like a professional soldier at times but still having some maturity issues, which Doan eluded to during a chat with Rona (or is it Rolland since I’ve seen it spelled both ways?).  Doan also seems to foreshadow Amuro’s continued growth as a soldier, which is something I look forward to seeing.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15For item 2, this is the one truly bizarre and bad aspect of the episode.  For starters, just how did the Federation fighter get shot down?  It couldn’t have been Doan since Doan’s Zaku was unarmed.  Secondly, who tied up the Federation pilots?  Again, Doan doesn’t seem the sort since he didn’t restrain Amuro after defeating him.  I’m guessing that whomever wrote this episode wanted people chasing the red herring, enhanced by the rock throwing, to suggest that whomever lived on this island was at best, sympathetic to Zeon and thus create tension.  The poor, now deceased, Federation pilots are then forgotten as they are discarded with the now stinking red herring.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15The final item could be explained away to a degree so as to remove some of the objectionable bits.  Doan is officially a deserter and he also has Zeon weaponry, namely one of their Zaku units.  As such, I can accept Zeon on a manhunt for him and using his Zaku unit as a locator somehow.  If they are using the Zaku as a locator, then that would explain why Amuro throwing the thing into the sea would protect Doan, Rona, and the children.  That said, it doesn’t explain why his superiors demanded he kill the children during a battle, nor does it explain the Zeons still wanting the children dead since the Zaku’s first action was to attack Amuro (in his underwear) and the children.

Mobile Suit Gundam - 15In some ways, the episode almost appears to want to set up Rona with Amuro for some future encounter.  I say this based on the final words spoken by Doan and Rona before the episode ended as they remark on Amuro.  On the other hand, it almost appeared that Rona might become Doan’s wife after she gets a little older and help raise her siblings.  Considering Tomino-sensei’s apparently wishing to expunge this episode from the record, I’m going to make the safe call and say that we’ll never seen any of those characters again and so in my mind, Doan and Rona become a couple, have some more children, and hopefully survive the war OK.  ^_^

So, now I’ve watched the forbidden episode, which has plot holes and problems to be sure, but also has some good things too.

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2 Responses to “Mobile Suit Gundam – 15 (The Episode They Didn’t Want Us To See)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I can’t remember where but there was a interview with Tomino about this episode and why he didn’t want it released in the states. His answer went something like it was a personal grudge and that person isn’t dead yet so it would be rude to talk about it.
    And he’s still holding it since it won’t be on next year’s R1 First Gundam DVD release.

  2. Anonymous says:

    > That said, it doesn’t explain why his superiors demanded he kill the children during a battle, nor does it explain the Zeons still wanting the children dead

    Contrary to a lot of what the later non-Tomino Gundam would want to make you believe that the Zeon’s are noble and fighting honorably in a just cause, the Zeon’s are still created to be firmly based on Nazi German/Imperial Japanese such that there’s no shortage of nut jobs in Zeon that believes that they must commit genocide on Earthnoids due to the brainwashing dogma preached by Giren Zabi (Gundam’s Hilter) that affirms the Zeon’s to be the chosen race, just like the Nazi’s did to the Jews. Tomino never intended the Zeon’s lead by Giren to be “gray” (not good but not bad either), he is pretty clear in painting Giren’s Zeon to be overall evil but with a few level headed people in the lower ranks.

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