Mobile Suit Gundam the Witch from Mercury is in the midst of its cour one broadcast, despite its lighthearted school setting, it’s embroiled in fascinating intrigue and a looming revenge plot, set to the backdrop of socioeconomic inequality, per the usual for Gundam fare.
Episode 2 of the series, “Cursed Mobile Suit”, introduces our resident Char-clone(in reference to Gundam characters inspired by Char Aznable), Prospera Mercury, the CEO of the Mercury-based Shin Sei Development Corporation, responsible for developing the series main mobile suit, the XVX-016 Gundam Aerial. She is also the mother of protagonist Suletta Mercury.
Fans that are no stranger to Gundam will instantly suspect masked characters as a calling card for someone of dubious means hiding a greater agenda, though they are not always masked. Hidden behind her charm and charisma, Prospera has displayed many manipulative qualities to suit her needs. Prospera’s true identity is Elnora Samaya, one of the few survivors of the Vanadis Incident, perpetuated by Delling Rembran from the Prologue episode. The prequel novel, Cradle Planet, which takes place between the Prologue and the main series, directly state Elnora’s desire for revenge against Delling using her daughter and Aerial to infiltrate Asticassia School of Technology to marry Delling’s daughter, Miorine. Many in the Gundam fandom have noted the glaring similarities to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The Vanadis Incident is characterized by Delling, along with the controlling Benerit Group, condemning all GUND-ARM or Gundam technology, branding the developers and anyone associated with it as “witches”, due to the grave effects on its pilots. Delling’s watchdog organization “Cathedra” enacted a “witch hunt” murdering or “suppressing” everyone from the Vanadis Institute.
Though revenge against Delling is obvious, Prospera’s ambitions may be even greater. Prospera has been steadily moving her chess pieces to re-legitimize Gundam technology, particularly using Miorine. This comes to a head when Delling himself funds Miorine’s start-up GUND-ARM Inc., which aims to use this technology, albeit for medical use. The business proposal for the start-up involves GUND-ARM acquiring the Gundam development teams from both Peil Technologies and Shin Sei, giving Prospera access to even more resources to potentially develop more Gundam-type mobile suits.
The series setting features perpetual disparity between the Earthians and the ruling Spacians. Along with discrimination, Earthian political demonstrations have occurred and have been met with Spacian military responses. Prospera may aim to take advantage of this conflict to spark a war between the Earthians and Spacians, as the Vanadis Incident was fueled by discriminatory actions against the Earthian-based Octs Earth Corporation, which assisted the Vanadis Institute in creating GUND-ARM technology. Elnora’s husband Nadim, an Octs Earth engineer, was killed during the Incident.
Prospera commented during episode 8 “Their Choice” how those with prosthetics like her’s face xenophobia. Earth House member Chuatury Panlunch makes note how many in her hometown have missing limbs as well from poor working conditions, this could give Prospera further solidarity with the Earthians to fuel her revenge. Though GUND-ARM Inc., and its war-weary Earth House employees are reluctant to become war profiteers and manufacture weapons, it may be inevitable given the fiercely competitive mobile suit market and growing tensions between the Earthians and Spacians. Prospera orchestrating a scheme to arm the frustrated Earthians against the Spacians with superior mobile suits, perfectly encapsulates a traditional, grand-scale Char-esque Gundam revenge plot, along with whatever fate she has in store for Delling.
Producers Takuya Okamoto and Naohiro Ogata have stated in interviews the series was developed with a high school setting in mind, in lieu of Gundam‘s traditional war settings, to be more relatable to a newer, younger audience. However, the series itself has all of the bones for warfare to return to the Ad Stella era.
Mobile Suit Gundam the Witch from Mercury is directed by Kiznaiver‘s Hiroshi Koyabashi, and penned by Code Geass scribe, Ichiro Ohkouchi. The series began broadcast October 2, 2022 on twenty-eight of MBS and TBS TV networks on their 5pm “Nichigo” anime block, as well as simulcasted internationally. The Bandai Namco Group announced late September at their Gundam Conference Autumn 2022 that the Witch from Mercury‘s first cour broadcast will be completed in December and the series will resume with its second cour in April 2023.