At the Bottom of the Gravity Well is the fourth episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
The episode begins with a flashback showing the efforts of the Earth Federation Forces trying desperately to stop the colony drop during Operation British. Their efforts are in vain as the colony falls on Sydney, Australia, obliterating the city as well as 25% of Australia's landmass. The scene then switches to Syam Vist, who appears to be watching a video report that some Zeon Remnants have begun attacking the Federation capital in Dakar. A team of MSA-003 Nemos, RMS-179 GM IIs, and some GM IIIs defeat a AMX-109 Capule and a MSM-04G Juaggu before the survivors are obliterated by a large beam fired from a mobile armor, the AMA-X7 Shamblo.
On board the Ra Cailum, Londo Bell captain Bright Noa is surprised that the Zeon remnants actually attacked the capital and sends out the Tri-Stars, consisting of Nigel Garrett, Watts Stepney, and Daryl McGuinness in their RGM-96X Jesta units to assist the Federation forces at the capital. Inside the Shamblo, pilot Loni Garvey targets the capital building and says that she had been waiting for the moment to avenge her parents. She fires the cannon and destroys the building. Yonem Kirks contacts her and says that their diversion worked and that they were to withdraw until they contacted the Garencieres. Back inside Industrial 7, Syam notes that events have begun to spiral out of control and they must resolve the issue immediately. Gael Chan tells him that the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam is still missing from the battle at the remains of Laplace, and admits he doesn't understand why Cardeas Vist chose Banagher to pilot the Unicorn. Syam thinks that Cardeas is using Banagher to fulfill the dreams of mankind.
Bright, still frustrated that the Federation is unable to capture the Zeon remnants, is summoned to the Marcenas estate. There, Ronan Marcenas is on the telephone with Martha Vist Carbine, telling her that they should stop blaming others for the Dakar attack. Martha gets to the point of their conversation and asks him to deliver his "special guest" to the Augusta Newtype Labs. Ronan wonders what Martha plans to get out of it, but Martha leaves the matter up to him. Alberto walks in on Martha as the two end their discussion. Martha also wonders what Ronan has planned himself. Riddhe Marcenas then apologizes to his father for putting him through so much, but Ronan cuts his son off and knows that he's actually in love with Mineva since he was just as rash when he left to join the military. Ronan then tells his son that he never dreamed he would get involved with Laplace's Box, and that the only way out was knowing the truth behind the Marcenas family.
Essentially a political prisoner, Mineva thinks about Banagher and wonders what she should do. A sulking Riddhe then enters the room and Mineva wonders what the matter is. Riddhe tells her that the Marcenas family has maintained their power throughout the Universal Century through bloodshed, just like the Vist Foundation. He realizes that in order to protect Mineva and end the conflict, they have to locate the box before either the Vist Foundation or Neo Zeon does, which means finding the Unicorn. Failing that, their only other option would be to try and destroy it, which would likely mean killing Banagher. Riddhe hugs Mineva and promises to protect her despite the current situation. Riddhe then proposes to her, hoping that a marriage would get his father to listen, but she declines. In frustration, Riddhe rides away from the mansion on a horse.
Later, Bright arrives at the Marcenas mansion to meet Rohan. At Augusta, Marida is placed in a cell along with Alberto. Martha believes that Marida will be quite useful towards her plans,therefore, Martha show her a AMX-004G Qubeley Mass Production Type. Marida is shock about it and Martha started to push her philosophies of feminism and "promises her to free her from the machine",this made Marida gradually getting panics and started to scream hysterically. At the mansion, Ronan shows Bright photos of the Garencieres crashed in Africa. Ronan asks him to use the Ra Cailum to locate the ship, but Bright sees it as a personal errand. Ronan tells him that the Garencieres was involved in the Industrial 7 incident and the Battle of Palau. He explains that the SCVA-76 Nahel Argama is detained above orbit and the order itself came from the EFF General Staff Headquarters at the behest of the Vist Foundation. However, Ronan wants Bright to capture the ship before the foundation does, and Bright wonders why it's special. Ronan tells him that it contains Laplace's Box and if he can't capture the ship, then he has to destroy it.
Bright thinks he's being given too much credit, but Ronan says that his legacy of captaining ships with Gundam-type suits makes him a good commander for Londo Bell. Though Bright thinks he's just lucky, Ronan also asks Bright to take Riddhe and his MSN-001A1 Delta Plus on board the Ra Cailum. Just then, Ronan's butler informs him that Mineva has escaped.
In the Sahara Desert, Suberoa Zinnerman and Flaste Schole survey the damage to the almost buried Garencieres during their crash landing in the desert. Flaste suggests cracking the hull open so the mobile suits can launch, but Zinnerman suggests they seek help from some of the Zeon Remnants located at a nearby oasis. Their inspection of the Unicorn's La+ Program reveals the next coordinates for breaking the box's seals are at a backwater Federation base in Australia. Inside the ship, Flaste berates Banagher for crashing the ship when he grabbed onto the Garencieres during reentry. Banagher is beaten by Flaste and bemoans how Gilboa could have landed them safely.
Mineva escapes to a diner where the owner offers her a cup of coffee and remarks that he hasn't seen her around before and asks where she is from. She merely points her index finger to the sky and he immediately understands that she is a Spacenoid. The diner owner explains that his generation had only heard stories of prior wars and was around when the Earth Federation was formed and established the Space Settlement Program. He says that people assume that only the middle and lower classes were forced into space while the rich stayed on Earth, but many had left of their own choosing, wanting to wait until Earth's environment had recovered. However, the One Year War undid much of the progress made, and Mineva laments that mankind is hopeless. He tells her that both the Federation and Spacenoids were motivated to fight on the basis that they could save humanity, but Mineva thinks that the motivation is more about self interests. The owner argues that there are some who will work for others without want, but he was skeptical of people such as Char Aznable. He says that even though Char claimed to be saving humanity by dropping Fifth Luna and attempting to drop Axis onto Earth, Char never learned to love mankind as a whole. Mineva wonders what can they do, but the owner admits that humanity hasn't figured out what to do yet, but they at least tried. The owner comments that all humanity has done was simply put off paying their debts, and regrets that in the end, all he can do is make Mineva a cup of coffee. Just then, Federation security forces enter and requests that Mineva come with them. She complies and thanks the diner owner. With a new determination, she accepts her own destiny as Mineva Lao Zabi.
At Augusta, Alberto stands in front of an unconscious Marida. Martha walks in and informs her that she has arranged to bring Mineva to Augusta as bait for the Unicorn. She then hands him specifications for a new Gundam-type machine and wants him to test out the suit with Marida as the pilot. In the Sahara, Zinnerman selects Banagher to accompany him to the oasis since he's not being useful on the ship. Banagher struggles to continue on their journey and Zinnerman berates him. Banagher claims he never meant to kill Gilboa and tells him that he only reacted after Full Frontal killed Daguza. Zinnerman grabs Banagher and tells him that he's a pilot that chooses how he lives and that a man's life is about struggling. Banagher hears the words of Daguza and Cardeas and is frustrated that he can't seem to stop fighting despite following their advice.
The two cross the desert for over four days, and Banagher thinks back to a conversation with Flaste. Flaste explains that the Federation saw Zeon as the devils who had dropped a colony onto Earth. While the two sides negotiated after the One Year War, frustrated Federation soldiers attacked the town of Globe and massacred its citizens. Flaste's parents as well as Zinnerman's wife and daughter were killed in the massacre. Flaste said that the official report claimed the incident was a failed attempt at pacifying a riot, but it was really Federation soldiers releasing their anger.
In the desert, Banagher starts crying over the beauty of the Earth. Zinnerman tells him that the Earth is more polluted that it ever was, and that the desert landscape was creeping on Dakar. He says that since humans have been wasting their technology destroying each other and that they were a part of nature, so too was their poison. He tells Banagher that nature was unmerciful and that their ancestors knew this. Banagher says that they created a society to defend themselves, but Zinnerman points out that a society was to protect the people, but it grew out of control over time. Zinnerman says that people moved into space to find a new direction in their lives away from the cluttered Earth, and that new direction was Zeon, which the old Earth Federation rejected. He says that both were founded on radically different ideologies, but Banagher wonders if Earth and space can ever come together. Zinnerman questions why people try to escape sadness.
Days later, the Garencieres is pulled out of the desert with the help of Zeon remnants. Zinnerman thanks Banagher for his help, and Banagher, with renewed determination, asks where the next set of coordinates from the La+ Program are. In a secret meeting between Full Frontal, Zinnerman and Kirks, Frontal thanks Kirks for the diversionary attack on Dakar, and Kirks says that the AMS-129M Zee Zulu units were formidable. Frontal then speaks to Loni about her father and how he perfected Haman Karn's legacy. Loni asks to be assigned to attack Torrington so they can eliminate the Unicorn after getting the information from the La+ Program. Frontal subtly agrees to it by implying that as the leader of Neo Zeon forces in space, he can't interfere with those who had been struggling on Earth. Zinnerman asks Frontal if it was the right decision, but Frontal explains that the Zeon remnants had waited long enough for revenge. Outside, Banagher meets Loni, who tells him not to let her down. Around the world, Zeon remnants are contacted with an old code predating the One Year War and they begin to gather for the attack on Torrington.
Near Papua New Guinea, the Federation's Juneau-class submarine Bonefish comes under attack from Zeon remnants. A team of RAG-79 Aqua GM units are attacked by a team of Zee Zulus. The Shamblo then appears and smashes the submarine in half. On the Garencieres, Banagher talks with Tomura about how the plan is to drop the Gundam at Torrington after the Zeon remnants secure the base while they wait for the next set of coordinates from the La+ Program. Banagher finds it odd that the Sleeves' Beam Gatling Gun would work on a Federation unit. Tomura explains that weapons are built to a universal standard, and Banagher wonders if the same can be applied to people. Tomura says that it benefited both parties, which Banagher takes to mean Anaheim Electronics. He goes on further to say that the standard established worked in the field, so it was kept.
Above Australia, Riddhe lands the Delta Plus inside the Ra Cailum and transforms it. There, the Tri-Stars are impressed with his skills. Riddhe is told by Bright that they are heading for New Guinea where they lost contact with the Juneau-class Bonefish. Bright says that its sinking might be connected to the Garencieres and the box. Riddhe asks Bright not to give him special treatment on missions, but Bright tells him that Riddhe is just a soldier to him, but asks him to return alive. While Riddhe looks at a picture of Amuro Ray, Bright is informed that the Garencieres has lifted off. The Garencieres travels over the Sydney crater, and Zinnerman wonders if Cardeas Vist is making them retrace humanity's failures. Flaste tells him not to worry about Banagher, but Zinnerman knows that he can't stop Banagher if he betrays them in battle.
At Torrington, the Zeon remnants begin their assault as the Shamblo begins tearing apart a Federation battleship from below the sea. A group of MSA-005K Guncannon Detector units and a RMV-1 Guntank II battle against a MS-08TX/S Efreet Schneid followed by a AMX-101K Galluss-K and a MS-06K Zaku Cannon. From the air, Kirks in his MS-05L Zaku I Sniper Type tells Loni to avoid the city and head straight for the base, but Loni says that she won't forget what the Federation did to them. Just then, the Shamblo's Psycommu system goes wild and releases the Shamblo's reflector bits. The Shamblo begins raining down beam fire on the city. Inside the Garencieres, Banagher is horrified and sees that the attack is only a slaughter.
On the Ra Cailum, Bright wonders if the Zeon remnants assaulting Torrington were the same ones that attacked Dakar. He orders all the mobile suits on standby. Riddhe laments how he and Mineva are running from the bloodshed of their respective families. Daryl McGuinness tells Riddhe that if he slows them down then he won't hesitate to shoot him. Nigel Garrett, leader of the Tri-Stars, tells Riddhe he can join the group himself if he feels like shooting one of them down. The ground battle continues as Kirks snipes various units from the air. On the Garencieres, Banagher heads to the bridge to implore Zinnerman to call off the attack. He tells Banagher to wait in the Unicorn until they finished the cleanup operation. Banagher attempts to reason with Zinnerman, saying that he should have enough of a heart to know that attacking civilians is wrong. Getting upset himself, Zinnerman throws Banagher aside, telling him that they only took him on since they thought it would make their job easier in finding the box. He then berates Banagher on how war is a lawless and violent time and space without any morals or dignity.
On the ground, a RX-160S Byarlant Custom launches and begins attacking Zeon's ground forces. After Banagher mentions how Zinnerman's rationalization of the situation is no different from that of the soldiers that killed his family, Zinnerman snaps and begins fighting Banagher in a very physical fistfight while the two argue their views. After getting the upper hand, Banagher then proceeds to punch Zinnerman continuously while shouting that the operation is pointless. Zinnerman shouts for help from from Alec, who is too scared to move, and Flaste, but Flaste simply sits back in his seat and says that Zinnerman will have to deal with things himself. Winning the fight, Banagher says that he doesn't want to be closed minded about other people's sorrow either and he wants to acknowledge that. The ground battle continues as Banagher asks Tomura to launch the Unicorn. The crew relents as Banagher thanks the Garencieres crew for helping him. He and the Unicorn descend from the Garencieres. Banagher declares that he is a human being while saying that the Gundam is meant to reach out to people's hearts. Loni is shocked by the appearance of the Gundam, which fires a shot to halt the Shamblo. He declares his intention break the La+ seal to get the Zeon forces to retreat. Noticing that their forces are starting to lose the battle, Kirks attempts to call Loni to withdraw, but she doesn't comply and wants to keep going.
The Tri-Stars and Riddhe approach, with Riddhe shocked to hear Banagher's voice. Loni expresses gratitude that the Garencieres' crashing allowed the remnants to take their revenge. Banagher tells her that the families that she killed will only harbor hatred for Zeon. The Tri-Stars open fire on the ground forces as Riddhe breaks off from them to search for the Unicorn. Banagher tells Loni that she'll only lose her humanity if she keeps fighting, but she tells him that her parents never had a chance to surrender and that opening the box won't bring back her family. She grabs the Gundam with Shamblo's claw, but Riddhe intervenes by firing missiles at the claw. Banagher breaks free and grabs onto the Delta Plus as he flies by.
Riddhe tells Banagher that she's enslaved and that they will have to destroy the Shamblo to stop it. Banagher disagrees, believing that using force won't solve the problem. The Gundam breaks off and lands. Riddhe sees that Loni is trapped by the same cursed bloodline he and Mineva are a part of. Banagher asks if the chaos and destruction is what Loni truly wants, but Loni says she has nothing else to live for. Banagher tells her its too sad to live by anger and gets out of the Unicorn's cockpit to ask her to stop. The Shamblo momentarily stops as Loni feels unsure of herself. Kirks orders Loni to retreat as his carrier is shot down by the Tri-Stars. With one shot left, Kirks has the Zaku impale itself on the beam sniper rifle in an attempt to kill the Tri-Stars and himself as the Tri-Stars shoot him down. As his Zaku falls, he tells Loni not to end up like the rest of them. Loni senses Kirks's death and begins to go berserk again.
Riddhe fires his beam rifle towards the Shamblo, but the reflector bits redirect the beam towards the Unicorn. Realizing that he has to stop Loni at any cost, Banagher asks for the Gundam's strength as the NT-D engages. Both suits begin to emit waves of psychic energy which ravages the surrounding area. Loni fires wildly at the Unicorn, but it deflects the beams. Banagher implores Loni not to let her hatred consume her. Loni counters his plea by saying that both of them are bound by blood to fulfill their wishes, and says that Banagher is hypocritical since he was given his power by family, curse or not. Banagher hops on the Delta Plus as Riddhe says they have no choice but to kill Loni now. Riddhe circles them around and lines Banagher up for a shot, with only one shot left.
Inside the Shamblo, Kirks's spirit tells Loni that their war was over. Distraught, the Shamblo charges up for one last shot as Riddhe and Banagher charge the Shamblo head-on. Riddhe tells Banagher to let go of how he feels, but just as Banagher is about to shoot, Loni finally lets go of her hate and reaches out to Banagher. This causes Banagher to cry out that he can't bring himself to shoot, while Loni uses her reflectors to block her own cannon shot to protect Banagher and Riddhe. Riddhe, in desperation, grabs the beam magnum from Banagher and fires the final shot himself. The shot hits the chest, killing Loni and disabling the Shamblo. The two of them land as Banagher begins to break down and cry. Bright gives Riddhe the order to take possession of the Unicorn as the Garencieres retreats. Riddhe believes that the whole war was Banagher's fault as he points a beam rifle at the Unicorn and tells Banagher to hand over the Gundam. However, both pilots are alerted to a new enemy from above. Descending from the sky, a black Unicorn suddenly appears and to their shock, transforms into a Gundam.
- This episode was heavily modified in comparison to the previous episodes, where minimal changes were made and little details were left out. This was probably due to the controversy of Islam. In the novel version, Mahdi Garvey showed hatred towards what he called "white men", rather than either earthnoids or spacenoids (the main conflict in UC). In huge contrary to the OVA, the Garveys had no loyalty in Zeonism but rather used the Neo Zeon to attack Dakar. Mahdi even cursed the Sleeves for being aliens when Banagher showed up in his Unicorn Gundam threatening him to stop the killing. Several examples of Islamic extremism were shown throughout the "At the Depth of the Gravity Well" chapter. Madhi is portrayed as a real-world terrorist, where the novel brings up connections of the "old world" into a far more advanced world-UC. In this chapter, Mahdi knocked down a large business building that was not in his way, creating a similar scene to 9-11. Probably due to these examples, and the time of when the OVA came out (close to the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks), the producers "censored" out the original plot to avoid controversies.
- The OVA marks the second animated debut of the Zaku I Sniper Type since Gunpla Builders Beginning G's Part A , and the first to be featured in an animated Universal Century timeline.
Notes & Trivia
- This episode was edited into three episodes for Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096: From the Scorching Earth, Battle at Torrington, and A Private War.
|Gundam Unicorn Episodes|
Day of the Unicorn | The Second Coming of Char | The Ghost of Laplace | At the Bottom of the Gravity Well | Black Unicorn | Two Worlds, Two Tomorrows | Over the Rainbow