The Battle of Rostroulan begins!
So I was half-right about my prediction of Shanalua’s character—more on that later. Although it’s a bit surprising that they would jump so quickly into another major battle, I thought that the Ghosts of the Desert would hound the Diva much longer than an episode, but here we are with the beginning of the Battle of Rostroulan. Longtime fans of Gundam will know exactly what this battle is emulating as it’s been done to death in previous incarnations: major Earth-based military headquarters assaulted by a massive space descending force in South America. The battle itself isn’t anything too extraordinary with the Earth Federation Forces quickly becoming overwhelmed in response to this unprecedented attack thanks to the information provided by the traitor, Shanalua.
As stated in my previous review, Shanalua did in fact turn out to be a traitor, but instead of actually being a Vagan, she was just an “Earther” coerced into selling out information in return for financial aid to help her sick sister. Well, it was inevitable that she would be found out and confronted by none other than Kio.
What was kind of surprising was how it was all resolved. For one, in all the chaos of such a major battle, they found themselves alone for a while until interrupted by the very Vagan who hired Shanalua—unbeknownst to her that is—resulting in one final act of heroism for some retribution for her. Interestingly enough, her death bore a similar resemblance to another famous Gundam scene from War in the Pocket. The manner in which it plays out is nearly the same, save for an explosion or two.
This is the first death of someone important to Kio so this will play a major factor in how Kio develops during the war. The impact of her death didn’t hit as hard as it should have, but nevertheless, it still holds great meaning. It’s sad to see her character die off so early into the third major arc of the series, but Shanalua’s death was inevitable. Her parting words will serve as motivation for Kio as she was his mentor—even if only for a few episodes—but the battle for Rostroulan isn’t over yet as the Vagan have set up powerful explosives to take out the base.
As the battle for Rostroulan continues on to episode thirty-three, we’re finally given some reason to think that Einus is a capable captain fit for duty aboard the Diva. Even with Former Commander-in-Chief, Flit Asuno, handling most of the duties, his words of encouragement allow Einus to come up with a couple of her own suggestions to the Diva, which was suffering damage from the battle. It’s a nice moment for her character, but she’s going to need to step things up even further in the coming episodes as she’ll eventually need to be a character that can stand on her own and stand out among all the other famous Captains in Gundam.
The battle continues on the ground with Kio squaring off against Zeheart once again, but this time Zeheart is piloting his custom Red Wrozzo. Despite the difference in piloting skill, the overwhelming power of the Fortress tip the balance in Kio’s favour, especially with Kio’s added motivation to avenge Shanalua’s death and make sense of why she had to be a traitor.
If there’s one thing that still bugs me in Gundam to date, it’s the chatter between mobile suits in the heat of battle. Why the two parties are on similar frequencies to begin with is beyond me, but once again it’s unexplained here as Zeheart overhears Kio’s voice and realizes he’s fighting a child. Kio goes on to be lectured about the reality of war that he is facing and that it isn’t a childish innocent game that he’s involved in now. With the Vagans in retreat, the Federation forces discover their plot and move quickly to disarm and remove the plasma bombs that have been planted across the base. The last one is removed just in the nick of time by Kio through the help of Shanalua’s parting words.
Despite the victory at the Battle of Rostroulan, it’s revealed by Algreus that Earth orbit is under control of the Vagan along with 40% of the surface. Now the battle switches into space for the Diva. This will bring about a new Gundam model pumped out by the AGE System, as well as a new ace pilot using the AGE-1 Flat to compliment the Diva’s current roster of mobile suits. Just where things will go once the Diva meets up with the Luna base is still up to speculation, but another huge battle is sure to be on its way. We’re also introduced to another character in Fram Nara, who has been assigned to Zeheart, so what role she plays in this series is still to be determined.
As for this episode alone, there are a ton of good moments here and there, but it was lacking in emotional aftermath for Shanalua’s death. Kio is only given a bit of a reprieve to mourn her death, but after a short discussion with Flit, his resolve to fight remains the same. I was expecting a bit more after he lost someone so important to him, but overall this was a good episode.
GO Rating: 3.5 (both episodes)
The Diva returns to space while Shanalua’s last act remains as a testament to her character.