Monday, 28 July 2014

Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team rewatch – Ep. 12 Last Resort

Welcome to The 08th MS Team rewatch! The rewatch has successfully confirmed that this is a good Gundam show but this episode might ruin everything. I remember it being bad. Really bad. Will it redeem itself after years of being aired? Probably not.

Summary: Episode 12 “Last Resort”:
Original Airdate: July 25, 1999
English Airdate: Never aired

December 24, UC 0079. The One Year War has ended. On Earth, Michel is on a board and he’s thinking about the end of the war and the giant machines left behind on old battlefields. We learn that the members leftover from the 08th MS Team where shipped around the globe as part of the post-war reorganization. Michel received a discharge and he now spends his time looking for Shiro who he believes is still alive. He does this with the help of Kiki. They find a Zeon spaceship that crashed into the jungle. They investigate and find out that someone is living in the jungle. They spend the night in the ship.

When they wake up the next day, Kiki and Michel find themselves tied up on a raft piloted by the children from the Zeon ship. They float through a village that has been flooded during the war. The children are taking them to their leader and on the way there, they pass a few graves in a field. Upon arrival they are ask to provide their names and rank. They’re very hostile towards them. The kids were drafted during the war and now that it’s over, they’re just trying to lead a peaceful existence in an abandoned village in the jungle.

Michel is speculating as to why they don’t come out of hiding and surrender themselves to the Earth Federation. He thinks they crash landed their ship on purpose to escape from the war. Thanks to Kiki’s quick thinking, they escape. The find the kids digging yet another grave in the field. They bury a girl with blue hair. She’s bandaged and we can’t see her face. Kiki interrupts them, taken aback by their lack of respect for their dead friend. Kiki puts numerous flowers into the grave and conducts a makeshift funeral. Kiki doesn’t understand how strangely the kids are behaving and she gets them to talk about the woman and how they knew her. One of the kids says her name was Aina. Kiki and Michel are surprised. She shows them a picture of Shiro asking them if they recognize him. The oldest of the children tells them Shiro is dead.

Later, Kiki confronts the leader and asks him who that girl really was. She says Aina wasn’t that young. She thinks the children are hiding things and she wants to know what it is. The next night Kiki and Michel go grave digging. They feel bad about it but finding out the truth is that important for them. The kids, without the leader, arrives and tells them the graves they’re digging up are empty. The children share their story. A man named Dr. Flanagan was conducting tests on them. After their ship crashed the man died and the children were eventually found by Shiro and who taught them how to survive. They gave all the kids some names (the names of the members of the 08th team and their friends). That’s what the leader of the group is scared of losing. He worries that Kiki and Michel will take away his name and his identity. Kiki calms him down by telling him that she, no anyone else, can ever take away his name.

Later, it begins to snow. They use the wreck of a Zeon mobile suit and they use it to warm up the water in the river and they swim around. It’s a trick Shiro showed them. The leader tells them where Shiro and Aina went. They’ve travelled North in the hopes of finding a new world to live in. When Kiki wakes up the next morning, she finds that the kids have disappeared and they haven’t even left a single footprint in the snow. She and Michel start to think maybe they never met them. Michel is thinking either an illusion or ghosts but Kiki just thinks they left in search of a new world, like Shiro and Aina.

That’s basically what Kiki and Michel have been looking for. A new life. That’s why they’re searching for Shiro and Aina. The episode ends with them finding the pair. Aina is pregnant. D’aaawwww.

While “The Shuddering Mountain, part 2” was a bland ending for a series, in part because of its lack of denouement following the show’s climax, “Last Resort” is no better. Actually, it’s worse. It doesn’t give us much of anything to enjoy. The story with the kids is forced and filled with clichés. More importantly, they don’t matter at all. They’re just an aside to the main story of Kiki and Michel’s search for Aina and Shiro. With such vague directions as simply travelling North, it’s difficult to believe that they even find them in the end. Why Michel and Kiki? They’ve both lost someone important to them and I guess Shiro is now the most important person in their lives which isn’t all that hard to believe because he has that endearing naiveté and strong personality which makes for a memorable friend.

Attempts at character development are made. Michel carries around a picture of B. B., the woman he wrote to during the entire length of the series. In the picture she is seen wearing a wedding dress and accompanied by a man (who’s face has been scribbled over) and holding a baby. That’s kind of rough for Michel, especially when you consider that her letter earlier in the series in which she said she can’t deal with the uncertainty of whether or not Michel will survive the war was probably bullshit. She just found another guy.  

The sad thing about this episode is that it doesn’t offer the viewer anything interesting. It doesn’t even work wells as a story about what soldiers (enlisted and guerrillas) do after a war is ended. Again, it’s all clichés. Michel becomes a lazy drunk with no ambition and Kiki becomes obsessed with finding a man who once rejected her love for him. What is she going to do when she meets Shiro? Does she plan on living with him and Aina and butting in our the life they’re making together? It just seems odd as I would have picture her living the rest of her life in her village, surrounded by friends. I also don’t know why Michel stayed on Earth. I guess he’s still heartbroken by B. B.’s decision to marry another man and start a family of her own? Since I’m asking questions, can anyone tell me why is the episode called “Last Resort”?

This episode is the fucking worst. I’m done rewatching Gundam: The 08th MS Team OVA but there are still two posts left. Next up is “Miller’s Report”.

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