Gundam as a franchise is no stranger to some very messed up ideas. War is hell, of course, and the ruling powers that play with it are even more hellish: for 40 years, an unending litany of bad things have happened to the good people in Gundam’s worlds. But The Witch From Mercury could be setting up the stage for a very grim realization.
The latest episode of the series, its sixth, culminates around a brewing climax between protagonist Suletta and her mysterious fellow student Elan Ceres. Elan was revealed last week to be a riff on the franchise’s long history of traumatized, enhanced peoples designed to more naturally pilot their giant weapons of mass destruction, and—piloting his secret Gundam—he challenged Suletta to a duel. Ownership of her suit, the Aerial, was on the line, and there’s also a growing corporate war between the machinations of Suletta’s mysterious mother, the masked Lady Prospera, and Peil Technologies, the corporate conglomerate behind the cloning and production of enhanced Elans to test their suits.
Two events bookending the episode blew the doors wide open on a new theory tying together the main Witch From Mercury story with that of its prologue episode, which saw Aerial predecessor the Gundam Lfrith escape destruction, alongside its pilot Elnora Samaya and her young daughter Eri, who showed a shocking ability to connect with the suit’s controversial “GUND” biotech systems. The first is the mention of a time frame in a conversation between Lady Prospera and Belmeria, one of Peil’s architects behind the Elan clones. Expressing shock that a fellow “Witch” was still operating, Belmeria noted it had been 21 years since the event that Propsera sought revenge for had occurred. Presumably, if she is indeed a disguised Elnora, this is meant to be the death of her husband and mentor in the events of Prologue. Given that Suletta is only 17 in Witch From Mercury, and Prologue takes place on Eri’s fourth birthday, a purported 21 year gap, if Prospera indeed wants revenge for her husband’s death, puts things at odds.
The second occurs at the climax of Suletta and Elan’s duel. Using the electronics-disabling GUND drones of his Gundam Pharact, Elan sets Suletta up for a loss, only for the Aerial to emit a ginormous EMP pulse, briefly disabling every piece of technology in the nearby area, from camera drones watching the duel to the Pharact itself. Elan finds himself powerless as the drone systems of the Aerial surround his suit and prepared to slice it apart with lances of laser fire... but not before he sees something while in his enhanced state of connection to the suit:
A spirit in the place of the spinning drones. One that looks an awful lot like the young Eri Samaya, echoing with the sound of a child’s laughter, before it blinks away to reveal the circling weapons about to doom him—weapons that Suletta congratulates like her own siblings in victory, telling the Aerial that it felt like she could “hear” its voice stronger than ever in the fight. So now, there are two potential pieces of information to connect: that Eri and Suletta may not be the same people, and that Eri herself is somehow connected to the systems of the Aerial.
What if she is the Aerial? It’s been noted multiple times throughout Witch From Mercury so far that the mobile suit operates with an organic precision that seemingly belies the technology within it. Suletta herself talks with Aerial like a sister, and treats it as close to as family as she does her mother. Prospera likewise treats the suit like a child. Eri’s ability to connect to the GUND format of the Lfrith in Prologue stretched easily beyond her own mothers’, and unlike pilots like Elnora or even Elan, she—just like Suletta—doesn’t show any physical stresses of exposure to its overcharging abilities. And then, of course, fans have also noted that you can’t spell Aerial without Eri. Could Lady Prospera somehow have merged her daughter’s consciousness into a new Gundam, and then raised a second to pilot it?
This wouldn’t be the first time that Gundam has explored a merging of pilot and mecha, either. In the Universal Century timeline home to much of Gundam’s primary material, the powerful psychics known as Newtypes have, at their higher limits, shown the ability to transcend physical form and connect to their Mobile Suits in profound ways. From Char Aznable and Amuro Ray’s dissipation in the climax of Char’s Counterattack, to the reality-bending climax of Banagher Links’ connection to the Unicorn Gundam in Gundam Unicorn, and even its successor the Gundam Phenex in the events of Gundam Narrative, we’ve seen examples before of a pilot so psionically in-sync with their suits that they merge to gain limitless power and potential.
The Witch From Mercury, for all its breaks from many Gundam hallmarks, has made it clear so far that its creative team understands the rich history of the franchise it is part of, playing with fundamental elements from over 40 years of stories as it presents them in new light. Whatever the mystery link between Eri, Suletta, and the Aerial is remains to be seen—but if it goes where many fans now think it’s going, it’s going to be an intriguing exploration of the ideas beyond giant robot conflict that Gundam has wanted to tackle for generations at this point.
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