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Anime / Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury

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This witch...rides a Gundam.

"Humanity was born in the cradle of Earth. Our bodies are far too fragile for us to venture into space. Just as an infant has to put on clothes, humanity must don the GUND to truly go out into space."
Dr. Cardo Nabo

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury (機動戦士ガンダム 水星の魔女, Kidō Senshi Gandamu Suisei no Majo) is a 2022 Gundam anime television series. An Action Prologue project to introduce the story and world, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury PROLOGUE, premiered in July 2022, with the full series airing starting in October 2022.

Set in the year 122 of the Ad Stella (A.S.) calendar, an era when a multitude of corporations have entered space and built a huge economic system. A lone girl from the remote planet Mercury transfers to the Asticassia School of Technology, run by the Beneritt Group which dominates the mobile suit industry.

Her name is Suletta Mercury. With a scarlet light burning in her pure heart, this girl walks step by step through a new world.

Witch From Mercury was noted by Sunrise and the creators as being the first Gundam anime TV series to feature a female protagonist,note  and the first new (non-Gunpla based) alternate universe Gundam series since 2015's Iron-Blooded Orphans. It is also the first mainline Gundam series to premiere in the Japanese Reiwa (2019-present) period.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer, Trailer 2.

The Prologue can be seen here. The series proper began airing in October 2022, via Ani-One Asia (for Asia Region) and Crunchyroll (for Western regions) with Gundaminfo joining in on December 31, 2022. A short web novel Cradle Planet ties the lyrics of the theme song to the plot and covers the intervening years between the prologue and the first episode is available in Japanese and English on the official website. As of January 29-30, 2023, without any prior announcement, the English dub of the series began streaming on Crunchyroll, starting with the Prologue. As of February 1 2023, the dub and its cast have been announced in proper, set to stream from February 5, 2023.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The Witch from Mercury is the first full Gundam series that makes use of the occasional 3D visual for the mechs rather than traditional animation. With the CGI used whenever there's a sweeping camera pan, or on the rare occasion when the mobile suits are stationary or simply out of focus; with the usual hand-drawn animation brought in for general movement and fight scenes. CGI is also used for any instances involving ships or other moving transport, but it is done to fit in with the background elements, unlike the mobile suits being rendered out in standard Cel Shaded animation.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council:
    • The Dueling Committee is made up of students and oversees duels at the school, and duels decide everything. By right, any Asticassia student can challenge another to a duel and demand any boon for winning, ranging from an apology for perceived wrongs, to ownership of the loser's mobile suit, to expulsion from the school, meaning that the dueling committee has absurd power for being a student-run organization, especially since they don't appear to have any oversight from the school board. In the very first episode, the Dueling Committee's blessing lets Suletta become the fiance of the daughter of the most powerful man in the solar system (though this is an unusual case as Delling had promised Miorine's hand in marriage to the best duelist at the school).
    • Episodes 8 and 9 show that Shaddiq has the power to unilaterally change the school regulations regarding student startups, which becomes part of his plot to seize control of Gund-Arm from Miorine.
  • Academy of Adventure: The Asticassia School of Technology, which is one of the top schools in the Earth sphere covering every subject on Mobile Suits from research and development, piloting, and even business management. Students are even allowed to bring their own personal Mobile Suits and fight in duels with them. The school is also backed by the massive Beneritt Group with the children of many of its most prominent executives attending. Not to mention, not even Asticassia is completely isolated from the corporate machinations within the Beneritt Group.
  • Accidental Proposal: Suletta ends up in an engagement with Miorine Rembran after defeating Guel Jeturk, due to becoming the school's Holder (top duelist), who is also meant to be Miorine's future spouse and thus the inheritor of his stake of the Beneritt Group, which owns the school.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In the first episode, when Suletta inadvertantly insults Guel by calling him a 'pushy suitor' for Miorine, it causes Petra Itta and Felsi Rollo, who were giving Miorine a hard time a laugh at Guel's expense.
  • Adults Are Useless: If they aren't treating their own children as pawns in their schemes or being killed, they're utterly useless in actually dealing with important situations. In large part thanks to Delling being in a position of power that effectively overrules any opinion the opposition might have against him. The facility of the Asticassia School of Technology is also completely apathetic when it comes to the safety and well-being of its students.
  • And the Rest: When Miorine needs the help of Earth House to make the preparations for the formal creation of her new company, she gives Martin, Lilique, and Till specific roles, before turning to Suletta and "the others". Chuchu is annoyed by her choice of words.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Ad Stella mobile suits operate using a substance called Permet, a special element mined throughout the solar system (particularly on Mercury and the Moon) that can share information between its particles. It can be mixed with both structural materials and propellants, and serves as the basis for GUND augmentations to the human body. Gundamsnote  are capable of drawing on increasingly high "Scores" from it on-command to increase performance.
  • Arc Words: "...if you move forward, you gain two." Seen in the Interquel short story, and each episode so far. As the anime goes on, it starts examining its significance to Suletta and other people who adopt it from her. On one hand, Suletta sees it as a "spell" her mother taught her to face adversity rather than run. On the other hand, it also serves Prospera as a way of compelling Suletta into any act.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zigzagged. Mobile suit cockpits are shown to be able to withstand the reduced-power beam weapons used during Asticassia duels. Otherwise beams go through the rest of the armor like tissue paper, low power or no.
  • Artificial Family Member: Both the Lfrith and Aerial. The former is referred to as family by the Vanadis Institute crew and Ericht becomes jealous when it takes the attention away from her birthday. The latter is very close to Suletta to the point they consider each other as sisters and Elnora actually called Aerial her daughter.
  • Artificial Limbs: The GUND Format was originally developed to combat the health effects of long-term habitation in space, and have by the prologue of the series have progressed to include fully-functioning artificial limbs and organs, with Elnora Samaya having a right arm that is able to act like a real one. Amusingly it is revealed by it suddenly running out of battery just as she is about to place a candle on her daughter's birthday cake.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: Prevalent throughout Asticassia, producing the illusion that the school is situated somewhere sunny outdoors (although the ground still obviously curves upward). It helps that the school genuinely does contain outdoors environments and is full of grass and woodlands, so the display is almost seamless. In particular, every time a duel takes place, the arena is shown switching its walls and ceiling from starfield to a more planetary environment.
  • Attack Drone:
    • The Gundam Aerial and Lfrith make use of several separate "bit staves" that can operate remotely from the Gundam itself to unleash attacks upon foes. Somewhat uniquely though, rather than just attaching themselves to the suit when not in use, they can also combine to double as the machines' shields or can be used as supplemental thrusters when they dock. Similarly, the initial lead Gundam is equipped with remote weapons, which are usually reserved for Mid-Season Upgrade or final units such as Nu Gundam, Strike Freedom Gundam, and 00 Qan[T] .
    • As seen in the prologue, the Gundam Lfrith Pre-Production Model makes use of a simpler form of drone by launching what is basically homing mines that latch onto enemy mobile suits before exploding.
    • The Beguir-Beu has something similar to the incoms from the Universal Century: a pair of wire-guided drones rather than fully free-flying ones. And rather than being offensive they instead fill a support role by acting as jammers, temporarily disabling weapons and even whole mobile suits caught in their field of effect.
    • The Darilbalde also has several of these, including its own arms. However, it uses these mostly for melee combat, as they're armed with beam blades (or in the case of its arms, its beam polearms and sabers) and not long-range weaponry.
    • The Pharact also uses them. Rather than direct fire weapons or jammers, Pharact's Attack Drones fire disabling lasers that temporarily shut down any systems in the struck parts, leaving a unit wide open. Guel attempted to block the beams with his axe, which had no moving parts.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the second episode, following Suletta's arrest, Miorine is approached by one of the people who were supposed to extract and escort her to Earth. It appears Miorine decides to go through this opportunity and abandon Suletta to her fate. A few scenes later, it is revealed she sacrificed this opportunity to confront her father and protect Suletta which culminates in her using her father's rules against him by challenging him to a duel to force him to recognize her engagement to Suletta.
  • Bayonet Ya: The Dilanza Sol's' standard beam rifles can produce elongated beam bayonets that can double as short swords in close quarter combat.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition:
    • A variation; the prologue ends with Nadim, having sacrificed himself to save Elnora and Ericht, singing 'Happy Birthday' to Eri, who happily picks up the song, unaware that her father is dead as her home colony is destroyed.
    • Used both metaphorically and literally in episode six. At the conclusion of their duel Suletta encourages Elan to think of that day as his birthday and in the episode's closing he sings "Happy Birthday" to himself just as he's incinerated on the orders of the Peil CEOs.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Being older, outdated mobile suits Desultors are equipped with wrist-mounted heat blades in lieu of the standard beam sabers ubiquitous to most suits.
  • Book Ends: The first and last episode of the first cour end with a shot of the Aerial kneeling. However, Miorine's attitude towards Suletta is the complete opposite between the two.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • Witch From Mercury is the first mainline Gundam TV series to focus on a female protagonist, all previous TV series being led by a male protagonist up to this point.
    • It's also the first TV series since Victory, and the first not directed by series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, to have a female Char Clone.
    • Attack Drones are usually reserved for the Mid-Season Upgrade/end-of-season units used by the protagonists and antagonists; e.g. Nu, Strike Freedom, AGE-FX, 00 Qan[T], Zeong, Sazabi, Providence Gundam, and so on. The Aerial, Lfrith, and the Beguir-Beu on the other hand, have them from the start.
    • A minor one but it is also the first Gundam TV series to have a lead mobile suit with blue beam weaponry. Most series have it be pink, like in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and occasionally green, like in the AU series from the 90s (G, Wing and X).
  • Capitalism Is Bad: A large part of why the Earth Sphere is in the shape that it is is because of the Benerit Group, a massive corporate body which exploits the people of Earth for cheap labor and is filled with greedy executives all making power plays, at the expense of common civilians.
  • Central Theme:
    • On a broader level, the series deals with the usual Gundam staples: the dangers of emerging technology being co-opted for military purposes, political corruption and ambition, and the corruptive, all-consuming effects of vengeance.
    • In the same vein as Revolutionary Girl Utena, there is a strong current of examining how relationships and familial love can be wielded as a weapon of control by abusers, who see the abused as tools and not people. This is reflected most in the two main characters of Miorine and Suletta: Miorine is all too aware of how her father exerts control and influence over her life and fights against it, while Suletta is blissfully unaware of how her mother uses love to manipulate her and allows it.
  • Cerebus Call-Back: Episodes 1 and 12 both end on a shot of Aerial kneeling down on one knee after defeating an enemy. Only instead of Suletta winning a duel and Miorine telling her "Nice to meet you, my groom." Suletta has used her mobile suit to graphically turn a gunman into paste and Miorine's words are a horrified "Murderer...!".
  • Character Tics: Members of the Jeturk bloodline have a habit of playing with their hair, like Vim and his father as well as Vim's son Lauda Neill.
  • Char Clone:
    • The first female example in a main Gundam series since Victory's Katejina. Lady Prospera, head of Shin Sei Development Corporation, a company under the Benerit Group, and Suletta's mother. That said, unlike most examples, she isn't a pilot nor The Rival to Suletta, and seems to actually be on her side, ala, the Quattro variant.
    • Further Playing With the trope, the show does have a mobile suit clearly meant to be a "Char Machine" in the form of the MD-0064 Darilbalde, a fast mobile suit with a red paintjob and a single antenna. However, the machine belongs to Guel Jeturk, who has nothing in common with Char.
  • Computer Equals Monitor: Guel's able to disable the Darilbalde's autopilot AI simply by breaking the control panel's display screen with his fist.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Averted in Episode 12. The Wave-Motion Gun used by Aerial Rebuild melts the legs of a Mobile Suit who dodged the beam, but was still close to it.
  • Convenient Color Change: Clothes and pilot suits supplied by the Asticassia School of Technology are able to change colors and markings on the fly by way of an app. Demonstrated by Suletta's pilot suit and subsequently school uniform changing to reflect her status as 'Holder' upon activation by Miorine.
  • Culture Clash: Suletta from the backwater Mercury hasn't heard of same-sex marriages while Miorine says its unremarkable at Asticassia, suggesting the Mercury culture is a little behind the times.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Piloting Gundams in the A.S. timeline involves a direct connection between the pilot and the Gundam via the GUND Format, originally used as an interface for prosthetics and medical support in space. This gives Gundams a significant advantage over conventional mobile suits by boosting reaction time, but presents severe physical risk to the pilot, similar to the Alaya-Vijnana System; short-term effects manifest as pain, hyperventilation, and exhaustion, and at high Permet Scores (representing deep links between the Gundam and its pilots), "data storms" can overwhelm the pilot's mind and leave them either catatonic or dead. Notably, Suletta herself does not appear to suffer any ill effects whilst piloting Aerial, and when Elan piloted Aerial himself, he was shocked to discover that raising the Permet Score didn't activate the GUND enhancements that are slowly killing him. Additionally, Suletta and Aerial together have demonstrated the ability to go as high as Permet Score 6 without any ill effects.
  • Deflector Shields: The Gundam Lfrith and Aerial are shown to have some kind of protective barrier around their physical shields that deflects incoming beam weapons. Asticassia's Artificial Outdoors Display's are protected by something similar, preventing stray shots from ventilating the space station's walls during duels.
  • Ditch the Bodyguards: Miorine's ability to do this repeatedly is justified early on: Delling never bothers to vet her bodyguards and its an open secret that he doesn't care much for his daughter personally. The guards are quickly demonstrated to be lazy, unobservant, and willing to ignore any bullying Miorine might be experiencing.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Episode 1 establishes a big case of this for the series going forward: by the end of her first day at her new school, Suletta has unwittingly saved the life of the man responsible for the death of her father and the destruction of Fólkvangr, while simultaneously getting engaged to his daughter, all without knowing about their connection. On top of that, The Cradle World web novel reveals that Suletta's mother sent her to Asticassia precisely so she could use the duels there to get closer to Miorine and thus to her father, the target of her revenge. Suletta wasn't told that and still achieved that objective within a single day.
    • In the last episode of the first cour, Sophie destroys part of the external wall of Plant Quetta while fighting a Mobile Suit without knowing her target, Delling, was on the other side. Sophie and the rest of Dawn of Fold would later leave the place when reinforcements arrive, declaring their mission to be a failure, unawares that they did, in fact, seriously wound Delling.
  • Duels Decide Everything: At Asticassia, it's written in the school rules that anything can be decided with a duel, whether it be for honor, material gain, or even the rights to marriage. As Guel summarizes in the first episode:
    Guel Jeturk: Here at this school, right and wrong are decided though duels.
  • Dying Town: Mercury, Suletta's adoptive hometown, is described as such by her. There are few other children there, and its sole purpose as a Permet mining colony is being superseded by the fact that Permet can now be mined from the Moon at less cost. Suletta's ultimate goal for going to Asticassia is to open a similar school on Mercury and draw people back to it.
  • Empathic Weapon: While a Gundam being this on some level is nothing new, the novel that came with the opening theme, "The Blessing", is written entirely from the Aerial's point of view, revealing that it is both fully conscious and capable of thinking for itself.
  • Engagement Challenge: The dueling system at Asticassia is one, as Delling set it up so that the best duelist would win his daughter's hand in marriage. Since he is the head of the largest corporation and Miorine is his heir, this means vast amounts of wealth and power are part of the deal.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The first opening theme, "The Blessing" by YOASOBI, has been confirmed to be sung from Gundam Aerial's perspective, describing how it will always be besides Suletta in her fight against her cursed destiny.
  • Fantastic Racism: A Gundam staple with an interesting inversion of sorts. Unlike virtually every other entry where it's the elites of the Earth Sphere oppressing the Spacenoids, its the elites of the Spacians oppressing the Earthians. Even more, certain Spacians look down on other Spacians, with Suletta being referred to as a "country bumpkin". On the other side of things, Chuchu looks down on all Spacians because of how Spacian conglomerates oppress Earthians, although she starts to grow out of this after meeting Suletta and Miorine.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Frequently how Gundam protagonists first acquire their machines. In Eri's case she is initially invited into the Lfrith's cockpit by Cardo. Cardo's stated reason is to help her understand what her mother is working towards but she also takes the opportunity to 'register' Eri to Aerial. During the assault on their base Elnora joins Eri in the cockpit and is shocked when the Lfrith recognises Eri as the pilot. This means that Eri takes the crown from Uso Ewin as the youngest to fall into the cockpit, being four.
  • Fiction 500: Delling, and arguably the other heads of the big three companies. Delling was able to invest 7.2 billion credits in Miorine's spur-of-the-moment company without battling an eye. Peil was ready to suffer a 120 billion credit loss as part of a gambit to destroy Gundams.
  • First Day of School Episode: Episode 1 is Suletta's first day at Asticassia, and indeed her first day at any sort of school. It's not clear if she manages to attend any classes before she gets roped into a duel with the school's top duelist, who she defeats almost instantly, conferring on her the title of Holder and an engagement to the heir of a vast corporate empire.
  • Flawed Prototype: In the prologue, the Pre-Production Model Gundam Lfrith was an attempt to adopt the GUND technology for use in mobile suits. Problem was that controlling a whole mobile suit and all of its systems is a lot more complicated than just controlling a limb or two. As such the system tended to cause datastorms to affect the pilot leading to all kinds of unpleasant health effects. While a set of limiters were added as a patchwork fix, that also defeated the whole point of using the GUND Format system in the first place. The Gundam Lfrith proper was meant to find a way to fix this issue.
  • For Want of a Nail: At the end of Episode 09, following Shaddiq's defeat against Suletta and the Earth House, he muses to Miorine about how if he had tried doing something earlier and became the Holder things could have been different. Miorine merely comments any intentions he had are 'too little, too late'.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first episode, after botching Miorine's escape attempt, Suletta insists she'll "take responsibility" for it. While she only meant helping Miorine get her freedom, several onlookers tease the two since the phrase implies a marriage proposal, usually because of an unplanned pregnancy. At the end of the episode, Suletta defeats Guel, which marks her as Miorine's new fiancé and ally, meaning that she has indeed "taken responsibility" for Miorine's well-being, in both senses.
  • Four Is Death:
    • The prologue takes place on Ericht’s fourth birthday, and ends with her father dying, aside from the multiple pilots Ms. Ericht slaughtered during the prologue's climactic battle and nearly everyone the little girl and her mom knows getting killed earlier.
    • Also, raising the Permet Score to level 4 is potentially fatal for the pilot.
    • In the fifth episode, it's revealed that the "Elan Ceres" we've been introduced to is also known as "Enhanced Person Number Four". He doesn't survive the events of episode six.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The prologue has a news broadcast including a poll asking "What issue do you want policymakers to spend time discussing?". The top issue for Earthians is poverty reduction (hinting that Earth is struggling economically), while the top issue for spacians is defense/security (hinting that spacians feel threatened).
    • In episode 1, Elan Ceres can be seen reading "A World of Will and Representation" by Arthur Schopenhauer, a book inspired by the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: It is heavily implied that Sulleta mostly had artificial food during her time living on Mercury given that she doesn't know what a tomato is past that something can be tomato flavored.
  • Gambit Pileup: So many backstabbing, conspiracy and scheming goes on within the Benerit Group between rivaling executives that it can be hard to keep track of at times.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: Played with when Miorine tries to steal the Aerial to take Suletta's place in her duel with Guel. Not only was Miorine not aware of the Aerial's status as a Gundam, she also does poorly with it since she isn't really a pilot in training (she's in the Management track in their school).
  • Gratuitous Latin: "Alea jacta est" ("the die is cast") is spoken by a duel's observer to approve it.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Following the "witch" motif, the three people most directly involved with the Gundam Lfrith are Ericht (maiden), Elnora (mother) and Dr. Cardo Nabo (crone).
  • Idiot Hair: Suletta has a large red curl popping out of the top of her hair.
  • Immoral Journalist: In episode 4, the media covers for the brutal suppression of an Earthian workers protest by demonizing the Earthians as violent and claiming they attacked first.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Guel misses several shots after Suletta takes Gundam Aerial back from Miorine, even when the Gundam is doing nothing but standing up from the ground. He is only able to land a shot when it's already powered up and able to deploy its shield.
  • Industrialized Mercury: Mercury serves as a mining colony in the Ad Stella timeline. It is considered quite out of the way and a dangerous place to live and work.
  • In-Series Nickname: An interesting case with the series is revealed in the prologue in that the titular Gundam's as it is in fact a common nickname for the machines. The proper name is GUND-Arms, a name coming from the GUND-Format system they are using, a medical technology that was coopted into military use.
  • Latex Space Suit: Zigzagged. The space suits used in the series ranks as perhaps the most diverse set of suits in any Gundam series. Some suits are only slightly less bulky than those used in real life while yet others are incredibly form fitting that really shows of parts of the pilots figure with even more suits somewhere in between.
  • Lighter and Softer: Played with. The prologue episode is just as dark as you'd expect it to be from a Gundam series proper, but the first season is much lighter in tone and in stake, akin to a high school drama show with mechs with corporate shenanigans involved. On the other hand, the Gundam staple of Fantastic Racism of people from different planets is still a thing, with Spacians despising anyone from Earth (which is off-handedly mentioned to be in a war) or even other Spacians from "backwater planets" like Mercury. The tail end of Episode 11 and Episode 12 in its entirety serves to remind fans that, yes, Witch from Mercury is a Gundam show by way of Suletta's callous, almost cheery murder of a terrorist and total obliviousness to a blood-splattered Miorine's horror.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The series Subtitle evokes the Robert Emmett McDowell sci-fi Short Story that entered the Public Domain 2 years before its release, Red Witch of Mercury, and much like that story the female lead has bright red hair.
  • Meaningful Echo: At the climax of the second episode, Miorine repeats Suletta’s Survival Mantra before using her own father’s rules against him to challenge him to a duel in order to protect Suletta and force him to recognize their engagement if he loses.
  • Mega-Corp: Witch From Mercury is set in a future dominated by corporations, with the greatest of them being the Beneritt Group, a Zaibatsu-style conglomerate that's comprised of several smaller corporate powerhouses, which are all locked in power struggles against each other and the leadership itself. This in turn affects everyone else who lives in their shadow, especially the students of Asticassia.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade:The Gundam Aerial reappears in the last 2 episodes of first season/cour, now repaired and upgraded into Gundam Aerial Rebuild after being heavily damaged in the team duel against Shaddiq's team.
  • Might Makes Right: The Asticassia School of Technology runs on a heavily darwinist mindset where strength, be it physical or metaphorical like through resources, is valued above all else. Even things that one would call cheating are seen as fair game and just clever use of what you have. This is to the point that even should a fight break out there is nothing really done about it by the teachers or management as it is seen as just another extension of this.
  • Mood Whiplash: After the very dark prologue, Episode 1 is decidedly more upbeat and optimistic at first. But then it goes back to the people responsible for the horrors of the prologue, with one of them attempting to commit murder for purely selfish reasons, once again changing the mood.
  • Mook Mobile: With the Benerit Group dominating the mobile suit industry, many of its subsidiaries have their own line of mass-produced mobile suits to compete with each other in dueling and in the corporate world.
    • Jeturk Heavy Machinery has the Dilanza, a bulky and heavily-armored mobile suit that excel in close combat with its large frame and beam sabers. It is also popular to customize the Dilanza with large polearm weapons.
    • Peil Technology has the Zowort, a sleek unit with a large backpack that contains either thrusters or heavy guns, allowing it to fight as hit-and-run Attackers or heavy support.
    • Grassley Defense System has the Heindree, a balanced mobile suit with the standard loadout of beam saber, carrying shield, and beam rifle. Grassley also develops the Beguir series, which serves as an Elite Mook equipped with anti-GUND technology.
    • House Burion, who is responsible for maintaining Asticassia facilities, also develops the Demi series. The Demis are notably weaker than mobile suits created by the "Big 3," and mostly serve as training units for pilots and engineers. Students have to customize their Demi Trainer if they hope to stand a chance against a "Big 3" mobile suit, while even the military-grade Demi Garrison relies on sheer numbers.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Gundam Aerial combines elements of multiple mobile suits from previous Gundam series. The thin waist and feet with a tall heel and cylindrical joint evoke the Gundam frames of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. The various yellow pointed vents throughout the legs and back evoke the Vagan suits, especially the Gundam Legilis, from Mobile Suit Gundam AGE. The dark, semi-transparent panels meanwhile evoke the G-Self from Gundam: Reconguista in G. The sleek, rounded head resembles the G-Self but also the Gundam Exia from Mobile Suit Gundam 00. And the glowing red frame underneath evokes the eponymous Unicorn Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. It also has some nods to the RX-78-2 Gundam from all the way back in Mobile Suit Gundam, having a pair of projections out of its back resembling its Beam Saber hilts, as well as having a beam rifle resembling a more angular version of the RX-78-2's and a shield as its most obvious armaments.
    • Gundam Aerial Rebuild has similarities to the GP01-Fb from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, such as having additional thrusters, armor, and the upgrade and repairs being done at the same time after its initial form got heavily damaged in a previous combat. It also has a mouthpiece with single slit, a rarely used Gundam face design that is only seen in less than a handful of Gundams such as Bolt Gundam from Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Raigo Gundam from Gundam SEED Frame Astrays, and Gundam G-First from Gundam U.C. 0096: Last Sun.
    • Witch From Mercury has some similarities with Mobile Suit Gundam École du Ciel such as having a female protagonist, a school setting (at least in the beginning), and the characters singing "Happy Birthday to You" as many people are being killed in a battle. Even both works' lead Gundams: the Aerial and the Le Cygne, share some similarities too, such as being equipped with a large shield with multiple functions.
    • "Happy Birthday" was also used at the end of the Space Runaway Ideon movie (created by Yoshiyuki Tomino)
    • The scene in the prologue when Gundam Lfrith destroys some mooks is very similar to the first battle scene in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. From the shot of the HUD of both the Kshatriya and the Lfrith as they lock on the targets, to the way the first two enemies are destroyed by Attack Drones, to how the third enemy dodges the drones and has to be killed with a different weapon.
    • Duels are won by destroying your opponent's mobile suit's antenna, but as Guel demonstrates in the first on-screen duel, destroying the rest of the head together with it is acceptable, like in Mobile Fighter G Gundam.
    • Due to the rule about mobile suit antennas, the regular Dilanza (essentially this season's Zaku Expy) will still have a head fin, albeit a modest one similar to the Johnny Ridden Zaku fin.
    • The logos for the Benerrit Group's major mobile suit manufacturers are similar to those of factions from previous series: Peil Technologies has the Titans' eagle (not to mention the Gundam Pharact using the Titans' color scheme), Jeturk Heavy Industries uses a lion like OZ, and Grassley Defense Systems uses a snake like Serpent's Tail.
    • Almost as a literal gag, in the AS timeline, Lagrange Point colonies are referred to as 'Fronts', while in the Original UC timeline they were 'Sides'.
    • Suletta's birth year is in A.S. 105. 105 is the Arc Number of Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash, such as the year when its story took place, the serial number of its lead Mobile Suit, the Xi Gundam, and some of its movie's advertisements uses it for promotional purposes.
    • The diamond shapes of each side of Suletta's hairband, along with the cutout notch between the diamonds, resembles Char's domino mask. Fans quickly noticed and lead to variations on this image.
    • The CEOs of Peil refer to Elan as "Enhanced Person Number Four". Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam featured a Cyber-Newtype (officially translated as thus, although the original Japanese term literally means "Enhanced Human") called Four Murasame. Extra meaningful because, as mentioned above, Peil Technologies has a logo similar to the one used by the Titans, the group who employed Cyber-Newtypes in Zeta. Elan's remark on his "borrowed" face also brings to mind later Cyber-Newtype characters which include genetic clones (Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ) and one who was surgically altered to take on the appearance of another person (Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn).
    • In episode 9, Chuchu has to connect to two more mechs to boost her beam rifle for a super-long-range shot. This tactic has been used several times in Gundam, most notably with the Methuss connecting to the Hyaku-Shiki's large particle cannon.
    • In episode 11, when Suletta is on the verge of an emotional breakdown thinking that Miorine doesn't need her, Miorine gives Suletta a much needed blow to the head to get her to shut up and focus, much like a certain Bright Slap.
    • Norea Du Noc has a huge resemblance to Kamille Bidan. Her Lfrith Thorn's face also looks like the Zeta Gundam's (except the former's chin is red-colored) and is also equipped with a BFG, just like the latter and its Hyper Mega Launcher. Meanwhile, Sophie Pulone, with her curly brown hair and happy attitude, gives her a resemblance to Judau Ashta (though Judau isn't Ax-Crazy).
    • Aerial Rebuild grappling the Lfrith Ur and using its superior thrust to force it out of the hangar and into space is near-identical to the Unicorn overpowering the Kshatriya.
    • Aerial Rebuild's posture when using the full bit-on beam cannon calls to mind the Hyaku-Shiki using the Mega Bazooka Launcher or Wing Zero using its Twin Buster Rifle.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: According to Miorine, it is not uncommon that two women would marry in this setting, even commenting that Mercury must be oddly conservative for Suletta to be weirded out at the idea of having another woman as her fiancée.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: There's an unspoken rule in duels that cheating and external influence is allowed as long as it can't be traced back to the perpetrator. The underlying logic of this is that more capable duelists should be able to find ways to skirt the rules to their advantage. If you arent cheating, you aren't trying.
  • Not the Intended Use: The GUND Format system was originally meant to be used for prosthetics and cybernetic augmentations to assist in prolonged activity in non-Earth environments. Scaling it up to control something as big & complex as a mobile suit put immense strain on pilots that would often result in crippling injuries or even death. Public outcry against these 'Gundams' gave Delling Rembran the excuse he needed to have everyone on Fólkvangr executed to wipe out Ochs Earth and their Gundam program.
  • Oh, Crap!: The entire academy has a collective one in the first episode when they witness Suletta, a transfer student who is an absolute nobody, effortlessly defeat the school's top duelist. This is even moreso among the more educated students like Elan who immediately recognize Aerial's fighting style as that of a Gundam.
  • Our Witches Are Different: Here, the term "witch" is applied metaphorically to people who can build or pilot Gundams, a potent but dangerous and forbidden technology.
  • One-Woman Wail: Presents in the soundtrack whenever Eri/Suletta is fighting on the Gundam and using the GUND System. It is evocative of a witch chanting a spell.
  • Power Glows: All of the GUND-Format equipped mobile suits have plates distributed across their frames known as Shell Units that glow whenever the system is activated.
  • Power Levels: The GUND-equipped mobile suits all have restrictions put in place known as the Permet Score to limit how exposed a pilot gets whenever the system is used but provides increased performance in exchange. At lower levels the effects are negligible, but starting at level 3 the negative side effects start to become increasingly severe. The goal with the Lfrith was to allow for the suits' higher functions to be used without causing side effects. Aerial seems to be the culmination of such efforts, reaching Permet scores as high as 6 without Suletta even noticing.
  • Primary-Color Champion: As is tradition, the Gundam Aerial possesses the typical white, red, blue and yellow lead Gundam colors. Amusingly the colors get lampshaded in the first episode with some students noting that it looks like someone tried to represent some countries flag with the color choice.
  • Privately Owned Society: The world of the Ad Stella timeline is a Corporatocracy with pretty much everything being run by a huge conglomerate of corporations bordering on being straight up feudal in nature, right down to the justice system.
  • The Purge: This occurs in the prologue when Rembran sends a full military force to exterminate everybody in Ochs Earth, forcing Elnora and Ericht into hiding.
  • Reclaimed by Nature: What few shots we see of Earth show abandoned and overgrown railway stations, cities, and highways, with humans living among the ruins. This does not appear to be the majority of the planet, however, as properly urbanized areas are shown in other scenes.
  • Recurring Element: Haros are shown performing various roles around the school.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The Witch From Mercury is The Tempest by William Shakespeare, recycled into a mecha show.
  • Recycled Trailer Music: The first teaser uses "Last Breath" by J.T. Peterson to set the general mood for the series.
  • Rule of Symbolism: During the prologue episode, the Mobile Suit Development Council bans all GUND technology, and establishes an "auditing organization" called Cathedra to "maintain order and ethics" in Mobile Suit technology. Given that a "cathedra" is the throne of a church bishop, and the organization with such a name is led by The Fundamentalist Delling, who refers to GUND technology as belonging to "witches", the ensuing crackdown on Gundams is evocative of a religious inquisition. Delling even refers to Cathedra as "The Hammer of Witches", the most common English translation for the Malleus Maleficarum
  • Running Gag: The first three episodes end with Suletta's shocked face.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Given that many of the students are effectively proxies in political wars between various Mega Corps, this is to be expected. Pilots are to use whatever resources they can muster to maintain & protect their mobile suits as well as field a support team, with very few restrictions on outside interference or active sabotage in place. Did your opponent get a new high-spec mobile suit and rig the weather systems for a duel? They're just using their resouces better. Did The Bully black out your suit's cameras right before a field exam? That's your fault for not doing proper maintenance & security. It practically becomes "If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The main plot beats and even some shots in Episode 1 are strikingly similar to the first episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Possibly counts as a Mythology Gag since writer Ichiro Okuchi wrote two Utena novelisations. This includes a mouse-like character named "Chuchu".
    • There are also several references to The Tempest, which involves the sorceror Prospero (Lady Prospera) and his daughter being exiled to a remote island, and plotting on the man who exiled him with the help of a servant spirit named Ariel.
    • Suletta and Miorine bear a resemblance to Ruby and Weiss in terms of both their red/white hair colours, and how their personalities play off one another.
    • The Gundam Pharact (Used by Elen Ceres) strongly resembles a color swap of the Dangaioh.
    • Lady Prospera's mask which only covers the upper part of her head, her prosthetic right arm, as well as her having a science-related job and her quest for vengeance gives her similarities to Joji Yuki/Riderman.
    • After getting kicked out of Asticassia, Guel becomes a construction worker named Bob.
  • Stealth Pun: Prospera Mercury is a Char Clone. “Suisei”, phonetically, is Japanese for both “Mercury” (水星) and “Comet” (彗星).
  • The Stinger: Part 1 ends with Miorine trying to get her injured father to safety only to be cornered by a terrorist. Suletta arrives in time with Aerial to save them by squashing the terrorist like a fly. However, Miorine is horrified by what she witnessed. It doesn't help that Suletta clumsily steps out of the Gundam, still in her happy-go-lucky mood, and extends her bloody hand while cheerfully telling her that she's here to save her. Because of the way Suletta acted, Miorine calls her a murderer.
  • Stylistic Suck: The advertisement the Earth House makes for GUND-ARM Inc. pretty accurately reflects what it looks like when students without much experience in video editing try to make a commercial. Suletta is clearly barely holding it together during the whole thing and keeps changing positions to indicate where the footage was edited, the Aerial has a visible outline from the green screen the Earth House filmed her in front of and does not change lighting when the sun sets, the goat wanders into frame at one point, and the part where Suletta and the Aerial form a heart shape with their arms has the Aerial's right arm inflate to be able to reach over her head.
  • Time Skip: The Prologue takes place on Ericht's fourth birthday. When the series starts, Suletta is 17 years old, suggesting 13 years and change have passed. Then episode 6 opens with Belmeria starting to say that Prospera's revenge plot is 21-years-old.
  • Title Drop: From Sophie in episode 11:
    Sophie: "Nice to meet you, Ms. Witch from Mercury."
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Poor Suletta ended up at the receiving end of two of these within days of each other:
    • First was after she wins her first duel against Guel; Miorine transfers Guel's Holder status to Suletta... Which apparently makes her Miorine's fiancé, the latter expressly declaring Suletta her "Groom". Cue Suletta freaking out, saying that she's a girl, and Miorine noting that apparently Mercurians are conservative on their views of marriage. Suletta's expression must be seen to be believed.
    • Later on, Suletta ends up winning her rematch against Guel who, upon disembarking his Mobile Suit and ending up face-to-face with her, immediately grabs her hand, kneels, and asks for her hand in marriage. Suletta could initially muster an "Eh?" in response, until the following episode reveals that she immediately refused out of shock, and fled away on the Aerial right after.
  • Wall Pin of Love: Miorine does this to Suletta accidentally at the end of episode 2, thanks to Zero G.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 6, in spades.It's been 21 years since the prologue, and Suletta is only 17, which doesn't match the time frame of what age Eri *should* be since the prologue happened on Eri's fourth birthday. The Elan we know is confirmed as not just a clone, but a disposable clone, making him the first character to die since the prologue and establishing that the school setting doesn't mean the cast is safe.
    • Episode 12 drastically changes the nature of the story, setting it on a Darker and Edgier path. Delling gets mortally wounded while protecting Miorine during the terrorist attack on Plant Quetta. Guel accidentally kills his own father while escaping, much to his horror. Then, in The Stinger, a terrorist is about to kill Miorine and Delling until Suletta in Aerial arrives in time and crushes the terrorist like a bug. Miorine is traumatized by both the brutality of the murder and Suletta's calm and cheerful nature right after doing so, leading Miorine to call Suletta a murderer.
  • Wham Line: Right at start of Episode 6, Belmeria drops a line that turns upside down everything we thought we knew about Suletta and her mother, while also raising a lot of new questions.
    Belmeria: It's no use taking revenge for a 21-year-old...
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To The Tempest by William Shakespeare: A person of some authority and nobility (Prospero, Elnora) is usurped and exiled with their daughter (Miranda, Ericht), leading them to becoming ruler of a deserted location (the island, Mercury). Years later, the person plans revenge on those who wronged them (Antonio, Delling) with the help of an entity named Ariel/Aerial, a plan which involves having their daughter marry the heir to the one they want revenge on (Ferdinand, Miorine).
  • The Worf Effect: Subverted in episode 9. Shaddiq knows his opponents well enough to go after Chuchu first, and take her down... but doesn't make sure to put her out of commission before focusing on Suletta. He pays for it dearly.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Downplayed. At Asticassia, the top Mobile Suit duelist is known as the Holder, and is granted certain privileges, including the betrothal of Miorine Rembran. When Suletta defeats Guel to force an apology out of him, she realizes too late that this makes her the newest Holder, Miorine's fiance, and potentially an inheritor of the entire Beneritt Group.


Video Example(s):


Ericht Samaya

After Four-Year Old Eri manages to awaken XGF-02 Gundam Lfrith; she uses the targeting system and the GUND-Bits to destroy three attacking Mobile Suits and kill their Pilots; much to her mothers' horror.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChildrenAreInnocent

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