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Manga / Mobile Suit Gundam: The Plot to Assassinate Gihren

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"The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim. Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it."
Lamentations 5:16-18, The Bible

Set during Mobile Suit Gundam's One Year War, The Plot to Assassinate Gihren (Kidou Senshi Gundam Giren Ansatsu Keikaku) is a manga that ran from October 2007 to March 2010. Based on the Real Life Operation: Valkyrie, and the television film, The Plot to Kill Hitler, the manga details life on the Principality of Zeon's homefront during the final days of the OYW.

The story begins with military washout and police detective Leopold Fieseler of the Public Safety Department investigating a series of attacks on high-ranking public officials. When Leopold's friend Elise Anne Finnegan stumbles onto a computer transmitter linking the bombings to a far larger plot to kill Commander-in-Chief Gihren Zabi and come to a peace with The Federation, the race is on to unmask the members of the gang (dubbed Valkyrie), including their leader, the mysterious Reginlief. As Leopold becomes more and more enmeshed in the underbelly of Zeonic politics however, he finds more questions than answers.

This manga provides examples of the following:

  • Anti-Hero: Leopold and his allies.
  • Anti-Villain: Most of the conspirators simply want an end to the war with The Federation, and the return of some freedoms to the population. How much they're actually villains is up to interpretation.
  • Badass Army: Zeon's Capital Defense Division, which pretends to be a joke. The Royal Guard would be another example.
  • Badass Boast: "We will show you the essence of within colony combat." Boy do they ever.
  • Big Bad: Depending on how you want to look at it either Reginlief (who heads the conspiracy against Gihren) or Cecilia Irene (who heads his supporters). They're eventually revealed to be one and the same.
  • Dating Catwoman : Elise is part of Valkyrie
  • Combat Pragmatist: Henri-Freaking-Schlesser. When the long awaiting uprising takes place, it makes the Attack! Attack! Attack! of most Zeon Commanders seem extra moronic in comparison. A few examples include Launching the Mobile Suit attack earlier than the Royal Guard expected, using mechanized infantry to disable as many enemy mecha as possible with rocket launchers before withdrawing, using Magella Attack tanks as improvised artillery with airburst shells to scramble the sensors of the Elite Mooks without damaging the colony, and finally, altering the colony's weather to -40, with the Capital Defense Division prepared with "obsolete" winter equipment deemed useless after the retreat from Earth.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Mecha designers extraordinaire Yutaka Izubuchi and Hajime Katoki's redesigns of the iconic Zaku II from the celebrated Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket and Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, respectively, go toe to toe in the climactic battle sequence.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Capital Defense Division, A.K.A. the Shield of Zeon, obliterates Zum City's defenses despite a 2:1 numerical disadvantage in Mobile Suits and the entire Gihren loyalist garrison fighting against them with minimal civilian casualties. Ultimately, the battle ends before Cecilia can commit her reserves. And unlike the Operation Valkyrie in World War II, this operation succeeds in its political objectives, though many of the plotters die.
  • Designated Hero: Leo and he isn't amused by that idea.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all that happens to both on Leopold and Elise involving the conspiracy, they are revealed in the epilogue to have not only earned a decent place in the post-Zabi government, but also live long enough to witness Char's Neo-Zeon rise to power. They also become lovers. Not only that, operation Valkyrie is mostly successful in resulting in a peaceful transition of power from Zabi fanatics to a much more sane civilian Republic.
  • End of an Age: There's something of this feel to it, as the Zabi family's rule comes to an end.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Leopold's investigation leads him to suspect Henri Schlesser, Lance Garfield, Cecilia Irene, Elise Anne Finnegan, and his own grandfather, among others, as various points. He also suspects that the conspiracy extends throughout the police force and the military, meaning that quite literally everybody is a suspect until proven otherwise.
    • Everybody Did It: Not quite, but by the end, almost everyone Leopold randomly suspects of having been involved in the plot, is indeed, involved in the plot—often while being unaware of one another's roles. This includes most named characters who are not Leopold himself.
  • False Flag Operation: Valkyrie in its entirety turns out to be one of these.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone familiar with the original show knows that the conspirators won't get Gihren since he has to make it to A Baoa Qu to murder his father and be killed by his sister.
    • Similarly, the events of Zeta Gundam also spoil the last minute plot hatched by Henri Shlesser to install Char Aznable aka Casval Deikun as the leader of a new Republic of Zeon, and team up with the Federation to crush the Zabis. Which is all rendered a moot point by the battle of A Boa Qu.
  • Gambit Pileup: With Leopolds grandpa as winner.
  • Genre Shift: Thriller or mecha action?
  • Gone Horribly Right: Cecilia and Gihren concocted the plot to draw his political enemies out into the open. Thanks to some highly-placed double agents, the conspiracy ends up going a little too well for Cecilia's liking, resulting in the near total loss of the capital by the time that news of Gihren's death arrives from the front.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Gihren himself, who never appears in-story, but whose presence hangs over the entire manga like a cloud. Kycilia also qualifies, though to a lesser degree.
  • Irony: Gihren tries to frame his sister Kycilia for trying to murder him. Guess who kills him in the penultimate episode of MSG.
  • Hero of Another Story: Ever wonder why Zeon's transition from fanatical war footing to relative peace with the Federation went so smoothly?
  • Hero Antagonist: The Valkyrie plotters are noticeably making a lot of sense, enough to convince Leopold to finally break his loyalty to the state.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: There are elements of this in the final confrontation between Lance Garfield and Filius Stream.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: All of Zeon is this to one degree or another, with the state representing a cross between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Gihren's loyalists take it to greater extremes than others.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Henri Schlesser's Capital Defence Divison, which pretends to be a weak unit composed entirely of crippled veterans. In reality they're the match of nearly any unit in the Principality.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Project Valkyrie, taking a cue from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Royal Guard, and in particular, Gihren Zabi's personal branch of it play a fairly major role in the story.
  • Putting on the Reich: All of Zeon does this, and the Royal Guard more than most.
  • Recursive Canon: In Investigation Report.14 Reinhard A, Leopold goes to a shop that sells model kits, such as those for MS-O 6 J Zaku II Ground Types, Dozle Zabi's personal MS-06F (currently selling like pancakes in-universe for Dozle's memorial service post-Solomon), DFA-03 Dopps, Gaw atmospheric carriers, and dolls of various characters, Ramba Ral included. Approaches Take That! territory due to not only the Merchandise-Driven nature of the series, but to those who root for Zeon, because Leopold asks for an MS-05 Zaku I equipped with gas grenades, which were infamous for the One Week Battle.
  • Recycled In Space: Operation: Valkyrie with mecha!
  • Red Herring: Everywhere.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Subverted. We know from the start that the conspiracy won't kill Gihren. However, it does force a change in Zeon's government and helps to end the war after Gihren and Kycilia are both dead.
  • Title Drop: Both the first and final chapters are named The Plot to Assassinate Gihren, however the meaning behind the title is completely different the second time.
  • Twist Ending: The entire plot was a fakeout by Gihren and Cecilia Irene, meant to frame his sister Kycilia and give him an excuse to crack down on his political rivals.
  • Weather-Control Machine: Used as very useful weapon.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To The Plot to Kill Hitler.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Deliberately invoked. What's this? Zeon soldiers and high command disgusted with Gihren's fascist rhetoric? Extra precautions taken to avoid massive civilian casualties during an armed revolt? A targeted bombing campaign that doesn't result in massive infrastructural damage? Wanting to return Zeon to the high ideals of Zeon Zum Deikun? Someone give these guys a Nobel Peace Prize.

Alternative Title(s): The Plot To Assassinate Gihren