Mobile Suit Gundam: Witch from Mercury is an excellent example of how to handle shifting the tone of a series incredibly well. The show opens with a prologue episode set several years before the main body of the series, establishing what the Gundams are, and what the Gundam (or GUND-ARM) technology that powers them is based on – before setting up why the Gundams are rare and restricted, and how the main character’s Gundam, in particular, is going to be special in the series to come.
When the series proper starts, and we’re introduced to our du-protagonists, Suletta Mercury & Miorine Rembran, along with their supporting characters inside Earth House, the tone of the series gets considerably lighter. However, as Suletta & Minorine move more and more from school politics, and into the territory of adult politics, that specter of the prologue is kept well into the audience’s mind, without overdoing it. It helps that the show incorporates its humor organically. The jokes feel born of kids hanging out and doing stuff together, instead of a willful need to have dedicated jokes.
This also means that when it’s go-time, the show adjusts organically to a more serious tone. This is whether it’s the Utena-Esque duels that Suletta blunders into starting in the first episode by successfully winning (unintentionally) Minorine’s hand in marriage – or it’s the life-or-death combat seen in the season finale.
The Mech combat itself is also generally very well done – preserving a strong sense of geography with all the fights, both in more grounded environments, like the duels, or in space. They are dynamic, but I’m also able to follow where everyone is in the fight.
I don’t know if this show is going to go for the full 48-52-episode run (albeit with breaks between seasons) or will just stop at 24, but this is a ride I’m here for.
Gundam: Witch from Mercury is currently available from streaming from Crunchyroll. No physical release as yet, but there are Gunpla kits if you want to pick those up (buying anything through that second link supports the site).
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