Mobile Suit Gundam: Unicorn – OVA VII Review

Gundam Unicorn P4

Gundam Unicorn comes to a close with a feature-length finale, finally revealing what Laplace’s Box actually is, and giving us a big dramatic send off. Satisfying is the word that best describes it, even if some might find the big reveal to be a let down, but those probably don’t know much about Gundam’s history with mixing politics with action… Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

The race for Laplace’s Box is on, with Full Frontal given a head start as Banagher is left dealing with an enraged Riddhe in the Banshee Gundam…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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Teamwork at its best… with two glowing Gundams?

Banagher Links (Koki Uchiyama / Steve Cannon) – Banagher has found renewed resolve as he and Audrey have sworn to stop the oncoming chaos Laplace’s Box could cause, though before he can reach the end goal he has to deal with a slightly crazed Riddhe Marcenas…

Audrey Burne / Mineva Zabi (Ayumi Fujimura / Stephanie Sheh) – Audrey, as she is getting used to being called, still thinks there is a peaceful solution to the conflict between the Earth Federation, the Zeon remnants and is looking for that peace with the group of people who find themselves in the middle…

Full Frontal (Shuichi Ikeda / Keith Silverstein) – Full Frontal believes himself to be a vassal for the people’s will, and that will is for the Spacenoids to cut out the Earth from supplies and create a world where the Moon and Colonies are lording over the people weighed down by gravity. All he needs now is Laplace’s Box…

Marida Cruz / Ple 12 (Yuko Kaida / Tara Platt) – Marida is beginning to break free from her multiple brainwashing and starting to truly think for herself. What she believes is that neither the Earth or the Sleeves should get their hands on Laplace’s Box, and she will give her everything to see that not happen.

Riddhe Marcenas (Daisuke Namikawa / Yuri Lowenthal) – Riddhe has lost everything. His father and bloodline is full of betrayal and deceit, the love of his life has run off with the Gundam Unicorn’s pilot, and he has been left with nothing to strive for… other than revenge while in the cockpit of the Banshee Gundam…

Suberoa Zinnerman (Hideaki Tezuka / Michael Alston Bailey) – Zinnerman nearly lost what he considers to be his second daughter. Now he, his men and Marida are teaming up with a rebel Earth Federation ship, no longer sworn to either side of the war…

Angelo Sauper (Tetsuya Kakihara / Michael Sinterniklaas) – Angelo is fiercely loyal to Full Frontal, and wishes only for his success and happiness.

Bright Noa (Ken Narita / Christopher Corey Smith) – Bright Noa is the leader of the Londo Bell space force, but when he hears of an Earth Federation Colony Laser pointed at the location of Laplace’s Box, he decides to intervene…

Captain Otto Mitas (Naoya Uchida / Michael Sorich) – Captain Otto is going against the grain of the Federation, joining forces with the Gundam pilot and his former rival Suberoa Zinnerman and his men, all in an effort to make sure Laplace’s Box doesn’t end up in the wrong hands…

Syam Vist (Ichiro Nagai / Troy Baker) – Syam is a member of the Vist foundation that has been guarding Laplace’s Box for decades, keeping himself alive via modern technology. He wishes to hand the box over to someone who would use it for good, and someone who is a Newtype who could inspire the future…

Plus more!

The Good:

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An intimidating showdown!

So, let’s get this out of the way: Laplace’s Box is actually the original declaration from the beginning of the Universal Century era that features an extra section that was removed by the Earth Federation’s later “recreations” of the tablet. It states that should a new form of humanity be created in space, then they should be given the right to oversee it, to put it simply. If this ever got out then all the people living in the colonies would riot that Zeon was right and that even the Earth Federation originally stated that they have the right to rule themselves, let alone the implications of Newtypes being an actual new form of humanity bred in space. This is why a Zeon remnant group should never get it, and why the Earth Federation was so willing to do anything to stop it from getting out. It’s an interesting twist that ties back into the start of this very timeline (well, the UC part anyway).

Banagher and Audrey arrive at Laplace’s Box and are greeted by very old man Syam Vist, and his attendant, who tell them everything (occasionally cutting to a depressed Riddhe saying the same things to the crew of the Nahel Argama, but more on that later). This leads to Full Frontal arriving and wishing to have the box for himself to use as a bargaining tool, rather than have Audrey just tell everyone, as was the plan she and Banagher agreed on. The tense showdown ends with everyone running off to mobile suits, getting ready for the big battle. It was a great, tense scene though!

Now, enough about the politics, what about the action? Well, there’s plenty of it! The OVA opens with Banagher and Riddhe in their respective Gundams doing battle, the latter being literally crazed through hearing the truth of his family line keeping the true contents of the box a secret for political edge, not to mention Audrey rejecting him. Eventually Marida takes over for Banagher so he and Audrey can go ahead to the box, and ends up getting killed by Riddhe when he momentarily realises that he himself is a Newtype, much like the people he’s been blaming for his problems, but then rejects the reality. Upon seeing the old classic “Newtype Force Ghost”, as I like to call them, of Marida he realises the truth, though far too late…

Then we get the big final showdown, where Banagher and Full Frontal (who is in a super-massive Mobile Armour) do battle, eventually with Riddhe joining in and teaming up with his former enemy when he connects to the crew of the Nahel Argama and realises he has friends who care for him (another classic Newtype trick!) During the battle Banagher “transcends humanity” and becomes a true Newtype, this causes Full Frontal to be contacted by the Newtype Force Ghost of Char and Lalah, who seem to suggest Frontal was a piece of Char’s soul that had been left behind, and now his spirit was full again he could… become one with the Newtype force? We also hear Amuro talking to the two of them, agreeing that they should leave humanity to figure everything out for themselves as they seemingly fly off into light. It’s surreal, even for UC Gundam, but I do like the idea that Amuro and Char vanishing during Char’s Counterattack was them using so much Newtype energy that they just joined the mysterious energy itself, reuniting with their lost love Lalah and then eventually leaving for this other plain of reality once Char’s entire soul had been recovered.

This leads to a great fakeout ending, where Banagher starts to fly off with a glowing trail after going overboard with his Newtype powers in order to stop a colony laser blast, leaving Riddhe to claim that the kid must have become a true Newtype and that he wasn’t going to let Banagher leave everyone. Just as it looks like he’s about to do a Char and Amuro, he wakes up and quietly mutters “Audrey”, and we just see Riddhe and Banager fly off towards the colony where she is. It’s a really nice ending. Also during this time Audrey makes an official announcement about that content of the Box to the whole Earth Sphere, in that old idea that everyone needs to know the truth, no matter what may happen.

Bright Noa had a good mini-role as well, arriving to stop the Earth Federation top brass of the two corrupt Vist members and Riddhe’s father from using a Colony Laser (that old chestnut!) to destroy the Box and anyone in the local vicinity. Sadly he didn’t manage to convince them in time, with Riddhe’s father devastated to hear of his son being in the conflict, and Bright hesitating to blow the facility as it’s full of 1,000s of people much like the target of the laser. Obviously it’s all stopped by Banagher as mentioned above, and the unlikable Vist woman who I can’t remember the name of is arrested. Good times!

That’s it really, there were some really good scenes with various grunt suits fighting each other, silently. No shots of pilots in their cockpits reacting, just mobile suits fighting in space, which believe it or not is actually quite rare in the series… Plus plenty of side characters getting that little bit more development before this period of UC is put to rest (well, not including Gundam NT, a film that was just released to Japanese cinemas as of this writing…)

The Bad:

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“These fists of mine and burning red! … Wait, wrong Gundam show.”

Honestly can’t think of much. I know it had been a while, and they were months and months apart in watching each one originally, but I didn’t give Unicorn enough credit it seems. Watching them this close together was a treat, you get a good feel for the characters and plot, and it turns out they’re both great!

Overall Thoughts:

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One final shot of the undeniably cool looking “NZ-999 Neo Zeong”.

As you can tell, this was a really satisfying pay-off from the six OVAs that built up to it. Feature length and properly paced like a good film, it has action, political intrigue and some surreal twists and turns, ending with a great few final scenes. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to dip their toe into Gundam (even if some of the twists in OVA 7 will be lost on you…)

5 Star Watch

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