Familial politics are quite familiar
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Chairman Zeon Zum Deikun—zealot and family man—wishes for his autonomous republic to be independent of the Federation of Earth. Unfortunately, during his speech to the populace he’s struck down and killed by what appears to be a heart attack. As his family mourns, their ally, Jimba Ral, informs them the Zabi family likely poisoned Zeon and has his son, Captain Ramba Ral, transport the family to a safe location.
Degwin Zabi has already seized power and has emboldened his four sons and one daughter. Sasro, the second-oldest son, and obvious heir apparent wants to take out the Ral and Deikun families before they get too much support from the people. Sasro slaps his sister Kycilia when she disagrees, while the others decide to kill Jimba Ral.
After the chairman’s funeral, a limo explodes which kills Sasro while his younger and more muscular brother, Dozle, survives the blast. Dozle is majorly pissed off and vows vengeance against the responsible parties while Kycilia watches from afar, not looking concerned in the slightest.
The newspapers suspect the Ral clan was involved in the bombing which angers Jimba; he believes the media is in the pocket of the Zabi family. To counter his father’s erratic behavior, Ramba takes control and attempts to cool things down. He agrees to fetch young Aresia Deikun’s cat, Lucifer, from their home and gets scratched to the bone for his troubles. On the way back, he visits Club Eden and meets with a smuggler named Crowley Hamon. She agrees to smuggle Ramba’s father to Earth, well aware that chaos is about to erupt.
Back at the Ral household, Kycilia arrives in the middle of the night to speak with Zeon’s son, Casval Rem Deikun. She wants to cut a deal. If the child agrees to return home and give up the family’s power, the Zabis won’t seek retaliation for Sasro’s death. Casval threatens Kycilia and her family, blaming them for his father’s death. He says he’ll never forgive her family of scoundrels and vows to have every surviving Zabi bend the knee to him.
For an episode entitled “Children of Zeon” (and yes, I’m aware Zeon takes on a more significant meaning later in the timeline), Zeon’s children weren’t exactly the main focus. Ramba Ral appears to be the protagonist thus far, with Casval only showing prominence in the episode’s final moments. However, it appears both Casval and Artesia will be of greater significance as the saga continues.
The post-funeral explosion came as quite a shock. It looked as if Sasro was going to be the primary antagonist, only to have him wiped out before the story truly begins. It was equally surprising that Dozle survived the blast, even though anybody who has seen Casino should know the placement of a car bomb makes a considerable difference. The bloodied, bandaged Dozle and his quest to avenge his fallen brother is bound to be a most intriguing subplot.
The wheeling and dealing at Club Eden add a fun element to the struggle for power on the surface. Hamon is a commanding presence, and it’s clear her connections and guile will play an integral role in this series. The ex-soldier behind the bar and the green, yet soulful Lt. Tachi fill out the unique set piece nicely. It’s good to know Ramba has some dependable allies for the epic struggle that lies ahead.
So, this is a reimagining of a prequel to a beloved series about a giant battle robot. Fans looking for mecha battles won’t find them in this origins story, at least not right away. The events of these early episodes will lead to a war with advanced technology taking center stage but before that, there will be much exposition. The family rivalry that drives this show is interesting since the Zabis are fully grown while the descendants of Deikun are adolescents. For now, even though Casval is tough and headstrong, Captain Ramba will act as the family proxy when the warring begins in earnest.
Kycilia is by far the most watchable character. Her motivations seem to diverge slightly from the rest of her family and whatever she’s after is not yet clear. She’s brash, larger than life, and doesn’t take crap from her brothers and father who have higher positions within the political landscape.
Having never watched Mobile Suit Gundam—or any of its sequels or side stories—I’m not sure what to expect from this prequel series. The characters are interesting and the setting is a bleak dystopian-esque world that kept my attention and made me interested in what will happen next. Job well done.