We briefly got to meet the red-pulsing Gundam and its mysterious pilot from The Witch From Mercury a few months ago, but now with the launch of a new prologue series ahead of the main show’s autumn launch, we have our first proper look at just what the next chapter in the Gundam saga will look like.
To kick off the launch of the Gundam Next Future event, today Bandai and Sunrise revealed new details and the first teaser trailer for the next entry in the Gundam franchise, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury. The series, set in a new timeline of continuity for the esteemed mecha franchise—known as A.S., or Ad Stella, the 11th official timeline in the saga—follows a young woman named Suletta (voiced by Kana Ichinose), hailing from a colonized Mercury in a future where humanity has, as it has done so in many Gundam timelines, branched out civilization into the stars. In Witch from Mercury’s case, it’s thanks to the backing and dominance of massive corporations.
The first official female protagonist of a mainline Gundam series, Suletta pilots the Gundam Aerial—a powerful new Mobile Suit developed on her homeworld—and becomes a second-year piloting student at the Asticassia School of Technology, controlled by a weapons and Mobile Suit development conglomerate known as the Beneritt Group, where she trains alongside fellow pilots in the art of mechanized combat.
The new trailer introduces us to Suletta and a few more of her fellow students at Asticassia, as well as glimpses of the Aerial and the other main mecha of the series in combat. One thing not seen in the trailer, but confirmed in a new video highlighting, of course, the Gundam Aerial’s upcoming gunpla model kit, is the reveal that the mecha’s shield can break up into a series of remote controlled, laser blasting drone units:
Typically, this sort of weaponry in Gundam, often known as Bits or Funnels, carries a very specific connotation: in the primary Universal Century timeline, they’re almost exclusively used by enhanced spacenoid pilots who have developed into the beings known as “Newtypes,” powerful psychics who are believed to be humankind’s destiny as it finds a future beyond Earth’s gravity in the stars. While Newtypes primarily exist solely in the Universal Century Gundam stories, there have been several alt-timelines where analogs exist, and it’s possible that Suletta is at least some riff on this classic Gundam concept. There’s been clues before, from the name Witch From Mercury right to the glowing red design elements on the Gundam Aerial, evoking parallels to the Psycho Frame Newtype-enhancing technology seen on prior Gundams like the Unicorn. But you don’t just give a Gundam protagonist a bunch of drone lasers and not expect fans to think they’re a child soldier in a psychic gun, so to speak, so it’ll be interesting to see what Mercury does with its very intriguing hero.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury is set to debut on Japanese TV this October, with a planned international simulcast broadcast (with a currently undisclosed provider, but I think you can make a fairly reasonable guess as to who might scoop up a new Gundam show). The Witch From Mercury Prologue prequel anime, now airing in Japan, will make its international debut at the series’ San Diego Comic-Con panel next week.
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