Providing insight, detail and context for Suletta’s life on Mercury, Cradle Planet is essential reading for all fans of Gundam’s latest anime series.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Mobile Suit Gundam light novel Cradle PlanetIchiro Ohkouchi’s new light novel Cradle Planet provides important background information and context for the time jump that occurs between Episodes 1 and 2 the new one Mobile Suit Gundam anime The witch from Mercury.
Hiroshi Kobayashi Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch of Mercury tells the story of teenager Suletta Mercury and her quest to become a mobile suit pilot at the Asticassia School of Technology. While Suletta is already a competent pilot who survives, the school is not secured as Suletta has spent much of her life on a mining platform on Mercury. Suletta and her mother Prospera arrived on Mercury alone and on the run after her mother’s company, Och Earth, was attacked and destroyed due to their work on Gundams – mobile suits designed for military combat. Suletta, Propsera and a prototype Gundam were the only survivors of the attack, whose victims included Suletta’s father. Now a student with many people her age, Suletta must navigate all the problems of being a teenager while making sure to prove her piloting skills. Making matters worse is Suletta’s budding relationship with Miorine Rembran, a classmate and daughter of the school’s headmaster and the person who ordered the attack on Ochs Earth that killed Suletta’s father.
While the first episode of the anime describes the attack on Och Earth, and how the Gundam technology, such a key feature in Mobile Suit Gundam franchise should be banned. At the time of the attack, Suletta was four years old. In episode 2, Suletta is already 16, has already come to Earth, and is about to start her first semester at Asticassia. Although she may be socially awkward and display a rural naivete, she is already incredibly skilled in mobile suit piloting, especially with her unique mobile suit system “Aerial”. Viewers are given no information about what happened during the 12-year time jump. This is where Ohkouchi is Cradle Planet novel proves to be an important resource. It explains what happened on Mercury between the time Suletta and her mother just arrived on Mercury to the days before she leaves to go on Asticassia.
Life on Mercury prepared Suletta for life on Earth
The story is told from the perspective of the Aerial, the Gundam prototype that Suletta and her mother arrived in. Before the attack on Ochs Earth, Prospera and Suletta’s father had been working on the Aerial in hopes that it would overcome the problems the company was having with its other suits. It uses highly intuitive, cutting-edge technology. Despite their hard work, the Aerial didn’t work properly until minutes before the attack by Och Earth, so Suletta activated it on her own. Since arriving on Mercury, Prospera has used Aerial to be Sulleta’s full-time companion during the times she is away on business. Over the years, not only has a bond grown between Aerial and Suletta, at least from Aerial’s perspective, but Suletta has also learned to operate Aerial with the skills of a seasoned professional pilot.
There are many reasons why an anime would want to include a time jump between episodes, such as saving time and cost or sparing the audience non-essential content. In most cases, viewers are left in the dark about what happened or have to do their own research to find out what was missed. Fortunately for this Gundam series, the creators were kind enough to include an explanation in the form of Ohkouchi’s Cradle Planet light novel. It’s the perfect offering for interested fans without weighing down the anime. Hopefully more anime will follow in the footsteps of this, the latest iteration of Mobile Suit Gundam franchise.
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Cradle Planet is available to read online at The Witch of Mercury website.