REVIEW: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Eclipse – Episode 3, Act 1 (2021)

A manga web Series by Bandai in the Gundam Franchise, manga by Atsushi Soga and SOW

I stated in a previous review, that I assumed a traditional Gundam “information drop” was about to happen, and it appears that episode three is where it’s at for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Eclipse. Through this chapter we basically get a background on what exactly ORB’s International Disaster Relief Team or ODR is, and why it’s important in this oddly quiet period between two wars. In most Gundam shows, episodes like this have oddly stilted dialogue, where guys in stuffy suits basically speak as if writing Wikipedia articles to each other. They usually come about a few episodes in and explain political allegiances that exist in whatever scenario we are watching. That is largely the same situation here, and while kind of silly, I think this works better in manga form than anime in just about every way.

“C.E.72, a unique era which would later be called the “two blank years.” Some also call it “the time of peace on thin ice”, and others call it “the break before the oncoming frenzy.” This is the story of an interval. A story that takes place between two large wars in which members of a hollow unit known as ODR risked their lives.”

We get to see a discussion about the very sort of partisan paramilitary forces we see in other SEED material, especially all of the shady weapons dealers seen in the Astray series that dealt with the likes of The Junk Guild rebuilding and repurposing old weapons and Mobile Suits. It is postulated that this easy access to cheap weapons and other devices of war is likely a conspiracy by some bad foreign influence trying to sow discord and chaos.

Whether this is the result of meddling by ZAFT or The Earth Alliance (the two main waring armies in Gundam SEED) is a question being kicked around, but it is heavily hinted that it could very well be the work of Gilbert Durandal, the villainous mind behind most of the atrocities in Gundam SEED Destiny. This all could be a red-herring, but it fits with that characters overall goal in the second war if he was behind this.

This episode won’t be everyone’s cup of tea simply because it’s full of dialogue and there is not really any action to speak of. However, knowing what was going on politically to fill in the gap between the two shows is pretty cool, and helps one realize exactly what Durandal was up to right before he went full-on rogue in Gundam SEED Destiny. Both parts run about five minutes each, which is roughly the same as episode two. It has honestly been almost twenty years since I’ve watched Gundam SEED, reading this makes me want to dust my DVDs off and jump back in. Join me again soon, for yet another episode in this fun little project.

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