My thoughts on Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury [warning: long]

…We waite-…

Okay, I’m gonna cut to the chase:
Look. I became a fan of Mobile Suit Gundam in 2021 inadvertently through watching a review of the dire Gundam 0079 game by Presto Studios by Rerez. The review was hilarious, and for shits and giggles, I decided to buy an Entry Grade Gundam off of Amazon. And like that, I’ve been addicted ever since, building model kits I bought off of Hobbylink Japan (though I am considering switching to Kikatek UK due to high shipping prices), and watching several of the shows, beginning with uploads of New Mobile Report Gundam Wing on Gundaminfo’s Youtube, and then, once I swapped to unofficial services, The original Mobile Suit Gundam series, the OVAs Thunderbolt: December Sky, 0080: War in the Pocket and Unicorn, the film Char’s Counterattack and I’m currently occupied with both Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Fighter G Gundam, with plans to watch Turn A Gundam after I finished SEED.

So, when they announced this new main entry, The Witch From Mercury, and announced that it will have a female protagonist, I was ecstatic! I became a new fan on the cusp of the franchise’s long-overdue return to Television and the designs looked excellent. The premise told us that the story would begin when our heroine, Suletta Mercury, would enrol at a school, and although I was skeptical, the excellent first episode, “Witch From Mercury Prologue”, got me hyped, selling me on a darker, Thunderbolt-esque series.
And then I learnt through the metathread what it actually was. And Now I’ve seen two episodes (technically three including “Prologue”… more like saw two and tried to watch the third before calling it quits midway through).
Bandai-Namco fucking lied to us. I hate to use the words “they fucking lied to us” ever since the Cyberpunk 2077 hate following ruined them in 2020 - early 2021, but I HAVE to use them with Witch From Mercury. They baited and switched us, promising one thing in the first episode and then delivering unto us something much worse in the rest of the show. Lemme explain:

The first episode has a very dark tone. It calls to mind shows like Zeta, Victory and Thunderbolt with its dark plot of a mother and daughter escaping a mass cleansing of Ochs Earth’s development labs. The themes it introduces are stuff that deserve to be explored in a Gundam show, namely Transhumanism; The idea that in the world of Ad Stella, Gundams represent the next stage of human modification and can allow us to live in a hostile cosmos. Finally, as the final lines “All Gundams will be denied” are uttered, the premise is set up as a young woman, Suletta Mercury, on the run from a sinister anti-Gundam organisation called “Cathedra”, maybe coming to Asticassia School of Technology as a way to hide her Gundam and fit in with the post-Cathedra world.
But here’s the thing: What the first episode sets up… is totally DROPPED and IGNORED/PUSHED TO THE WAYSIDE as the show proper begins in Episode 2/TV episode 1.

What The Witch From Mercury actually is… is a High School Lesbian Romance drama.

That’s right: instead of a true Gundam story that happens to have a female protagonist, we instead get a show that believes in the misconception that Gundam is about “mech action and melodrama” and pushes it to the worst excesses, aiming it at woke Twittumblr folk, Anitubers and Revolutionary Girl Utena fangirls who don’t GET what Gundam is. Mobile Suits are NOT used as weapons of war or a hope for a future, as established in the first episode: They’re instead used in battle-shonen High School Fights called “duels” where the victor becomes a bride, and missing the point of what an MS is and how it should be used in the process. The plot is actually about the romance between Suletta and another girl named Miorine, who is one of the most intolerable, bratty characters I’ve ever laid my eyes on. In fact, you won’t care about ANY of the characters because they’re cliched modern anime characters through and through. Also, the politics are just window-dressing for the love story.

I… Guys? They did it. They made another SEED Destiny. In fact, this might probably be WORSE than SEED Destiny because at least SEED Destiny was honest about what it was! This? They actively deceived us into watching an Utena knockoff that’s only Gundam because it has the brand name and Mobile Suits in it. There’s none of the DNA, no meaningful morals, there’s just no effort! It is the epitome of everything that can go wrong with making a main Gundam show. And the worst part?

This show. Has officially got me interested. In Iron Blooded Orphans.

No joke, in hindsight, my rants about how “IBO was nihilistic” came off as uninformed and unprofessional now that I’ve seen how worse it can actually get. Iron Blooded Orphans WAS dark it got TOO dark and it put the franchise on the six-year hiatus BECAUSE it got too indulgent with its darkness, but now that I’ve seen G-Witch, I realise that the darkness was used as a tool to serve the story, and that the apparent bad guy victory in the finale added to the main message of IBO, which was, from what I’ve gathered, the age old moral of how the road to hell is always paved with good intentions.

Witch From Mercury? There’s NOTHING interesting or Gundam-esque about it! The morons that made up the production staff decided to dupe viewers into watching a trite battle-tween show, and it pisses me off! We live in the age of the Slava-Ukraine Proxy War; an age of corrupt governments, evil-versus-lesser evil conflicts and bipartisanist maniacs; an age that NEEDS Gundam now more than ever before, and after six years, THIS was what they came up with? It feels genuinely offensive, let alone disappointing. If they made it its own show, with NOTHING to do with Mobile Suit Gundam, I’d be okay, but this is the new Gundam show, and I feel dirty!

To wrap up, I have one thing to say: if The Witch From Mercury is a success, the original message and themes of Mobile Suit Gundam will be but a memory, unless you do the right thing, and watch the older shows (minus SEED Destiny). These are human stories, with human messages, strong characters, and memorable mythologies and mechanical designs. And I urge you, not to watch The Witch From Mercury, but to stick to the original shows and OVAs, and pass them on through word of mouth. If I had a Reddit account, I’d still say the same thing. So go forth into that sea of stars, be brave and reach out.

EDIT: Also, I think the fans of this show are pretty butthurt, often misrepresenting what the show is, bringing up inconsequential trivia about the show in their attempts to misrepresent it and/or insulting you for disliking it. When I made it clear that I’ve said all I needed to say about G-Witch on this site’s G-Witch forum, one such G-Witch fan, who will be nameless for the sake of being professional called me a “Karen” and said my critiques were a “temper tantrum”. HELLO? CHURCH OF JESUS YAMATO, MUCH?

Look, either way, I’m done with G-Witch. I’m not gonna bother with it anymore. It came, it sucks, there are much better shows I could watch instead and some which I’ll never stop urging you to watch. Just stick with the older shows. Yes, including SEED (and maybe even SEED Destiny if you’re really curious).

I really don’t understand why people like this show… Much like you said, it doesn’t feel like gundam at all. This fees like it belongs more alongside something like breakers, or one of the side shoots of gundam, as a main entry, so long after IBO, it’s utterly embarrassing. I tried my best to stick with this…. I’ve never not finished a gundam series, but this may be the first. The worst part is, you’re not even allowed to criticize it, lest you be stigmatized as misogynistic or an incel. Which is stupid because I was honestly intrigued how they would integrate a female MC in a main entry gundam. But they chose to go the the least interesting route possible, highschool yuri bait. Pathetic. Thank god for funds info being on YouTube so I could wash the bad taste out of my mouth with ACTUAL gundam. The older gundams have plenty of great female pilots they could’ve drawn inspiration from, gwitch just feels lazy and like it’s pandering.

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Oh, I’m doing you one better: I’m watching the main Gundam franchise (and any anime show and OVA that interests me) through unofficial services like 9anime. Those services are completely free and you can even choose between Japanese and English audio if you so desire. Plus, the shows stay around if you go on a break and you get all the OVAs uncut by choosing this route.

But yeah. This completely proves my opinion to be partly factual: Witch from Mercury IS a dreadful show, and you’re not allowed to critique it in any way because the current modern anime fandom in the west is basically the Church of Jesus Yamato spread out in more ways than one (Don’t ask questions, comply). I’m just thankful that the Japanese have better taste.

If Bandai-Namco Visual were to learn anything from G-Witch, It would honestly be “Don’t hire popular YA Novelists to do a Mech Show”. The showrunners/writers/directors for past shows were mainly in the world of anime. The showrunner for G-Witch is a YA Novelist, and one who, apparently, genuinely hates the source material, going on record saying that “it’s for old folk”. “Old folk”? THE most popular mecha franchise in Japan? And an underground cult hit in the west mainly overshadowed by Neon Genesis Evangelion in terms of popularity RN? What a load! I hope that once G-Witch ends, they NEVER hire anyone like the G-Witch writer (I forget his name) ever again, because all the directors and producers in the world won’t matter if the guy who is writing it is NOT ready for the job.

Where is the “YA novelists” thing coming from? And “hates the source material”?

If you’re talking about producer Takuya Okamoto, he’s just talking about how mecha anime is currently unpopular with younger audiences and wants to reach that audience again much like some previous Gundam shows have tried to in the past. The “for old people” line is quoting teenagers he’s talked to. Here’s the actual context and interview.
Even within mecha anime, Okamoto has been with Sunrise through Code Geass, Unicorn, Build Fighters, and Iron Blooded Orphans.

And where does this idea of the show being helmed by outsiders who have never done anime before come from? This is a team of anime industry veterans and old hat Sunrise staff.

The writer is Ichiro Okouchi. He was the series creator of Code Geass, which is, well, one of the most successful mecha anime Sunrise has made. He wrote other shows like Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Devilman Crybaby, and Planetes. And episodes for other shows like Turn A Gundam, Eureka Seven, Overman King Gainer, RahXephon, Sk8t the Infinity, Princess Principal, Valvrave the Liberator, etc.

The director, Hiroshi Kobayasih, has played a big part in shows like Kill La Kill, Kiznaiver, Tiger & Bunny, and Dragon Pilot.

I can go on but any sort of research whatsoever debunks the claims. Are you just jumping to conclusions just because you’ve disliked the show?

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I agree with you on all points. In fact I’d like to add something further: this is not the first time an entry in the Gundam franchise has taken place at a school. If one remembers, the manga Ecole du Ciel - a Universal Century entry that takes place at the same time as Zeta Gundam - not only took place at a Federation Mobile Suit academy where most of the students were high schoolers but also featured a female protagonist as well.

And to you naysayers, the series only has six episodes to its name. We are not even halfway through to the finish line. If you were paying attention, there is some tension building up in the background of the series which has the potential to explode into an all out war that Gundam is known for. I suspect that the traditional war Gundam is known for will most likely take place either during the second half of the series or in a second season. Sometimes wars happen due to simmering tensions drawn out over long periods of time. If you want real life examples, here are a few: The First World War (read: The July Crisis), the Second World War (the Anchuluss of various territories) , the current Russo-Ukrainian war (tensions and animosity have existed since the illegal annexation of Crimea eight years ago and even go before that), the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War of 1853. I could on and on, but regardless sometimes wars don’t just happen and explode overnight; sometimes they are the result long feuds simmering just underneath the surface.

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Even then it being set in a school has in many ways just been incidental. This isn’t even like Code Geass where the school element were significant at points. The “school activities” so far in the show have been… several mobile suit duels, a boot camp-like exercise in locating and disarming landmines, and a single written test that took up a single short scene.

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Okouchi was the creator Lelouch of the Rebellion AND R2, doing the original story, series composition, screenplay for both. I’m not sure what made you think it was R2 only.

Oh look karen is at it again, he even created another account to back himself up.

Let me guess you lick stain glass windows thinking each pane of glass is a different flavor.