Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube
Mobile Suit Gundam: Twilight Axis is here. But while the first episode is short, it is also crammed full of references to past UC Gundam anime—so many that you might be confused about what exactly is happening. Fear not, we’re here to help.
[Note: This article contains spoilers for Mobile Suit Gundam: Twilight Axis and the UC part of the Gundam franchise in general.]
A large portion of Gundam: Twilight Axis is centered around the titular “Axis.” For those who haven’t seen Mobile Suit Z Gundam, Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam, or Char’s Counterattack, Axis was one the multiple asteroid bases that were originally controlled by Zeon during the One Year War. At the end of the war, sensing defeat was eminent, a faction of the Zeon army, using the equipped propulsion systems of the asteroid, took Axis, and hid beyond the asteroid belt where they recuperated and waited until their chance to return. After their return in Z Gundam as Neo Zeon, Axis served as their main base until their eventual defeat in ZZ Gundam.
Later, in Char’s Counterattack, Axis served as the key to Char Aznable’s, a.k.a. Char the Red Comet’s, plan to make the Earth uninhabitable, thus forcing humanity to live in space where they would eventually evolve into Newtypes. The plan failed, resulting in Char’s death and Axis being pushed out of Earth’s gravitational field. Gundam: Twilight Axis is a return to Axis after the events of Char’s Counterattack and the subsequent series Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
With the backstory out of the way, let’s start breaking down the episode. Right off the bat, the episode begins with a woman walking. She hears a rumbling and turns. We see two figures in the hand of a red One Year War era mobile suit. The helmeted one is Char—the UC Gundam universe’s most iconic and charismatic antagonist. The woman in his arms is Lalah Sune. All in all this appears to be a flashback.
We then flash to what seems to be the present, where fighting is going on in what appears to be the asteroid fortress Axis. Here, we see our first glimpse of Twilight Axis‘ Gundam, the Gundam AN-01 “Tristan.” Its form is reminiscent of the Gundam Alex from Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket. Considering that the Alex was developed specifically to support the superhuman Newtype reaction speeds of Amuro Ray, it seems likely that the Tristan has similar or more modern Newtype-specific functions and capabilities.
We then flash to a scene where two transports are traveling along the surface of Axis. This fades to a lone woman in a pink pilot suit floating across Axis’ surface towards an object in the distance. We then return to the inside of the transport, where we see the woman in a green pilot suit asleep. The protagonist, Danton Hyleg, looks at her, slightly amazed that she can be asleep during the mission that they’re on.
The scene then flashes to Danton’s dry cleaning store, where we learn about how Danton and the woman—possible Newtype—Arlette Almage got involved in the mission to Axis. (According to the official website’s story section, the two are part of the team, Mastema, which is being sent to Axis as part of the Earth Federation’s re-evaluation of the military applications of Psycho Frame technology. This technology that played a major role in the events of both Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.)
In her dialogue, Arlette mentions that her life was saved by a “Captain.” Most likely, the person she is referring to is Char Aznable. She also notes that something or someone is the sum of her life’s work. From what can be seen in the episode, we can speculate that Arlette was involved in the development of Char’s Psycho-Frame-equipped mobile suit seen in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, the Sazabi.
We then see a few more shots of the combat going on between the team that has been sent to Axis and Gundam Tristan, interlaced with flashbacks of Arlette. We see flashes of her as a child in a white room and the image of Char—though his face is cropped off—reaching out his hand to her. We can assume that Arlette was a test subject at the Flanagan Institute—a Zeon-sponsored research center for the study of Newtypes. We can also assume from the images that, much like Lalah, Arlette was rescued/taken from the institute by Char.
The episode ends with the dream/vision that Arletta was seeing earlier where we see that the object in the distance she had been floating towards is the remains of the Sazabi.
In a post-credit sequence, we also see the appearance of a red Zaku III.
The first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam: Twilight Axis can be viewed with English subtitles on Gundam.Info.