The pirates have successfully made it into space. However, the Capital Army is hot on their heels, sending Dellensen again, this time in his own Elf Bull. Bellri, determined to pay his debt to Aida, takes off again against the Elf Bull, unaware that his teacher is the one in the pilot’s seat.
I’ve given G-Reco a lot of passes so far. And to its favor, it does some genuinely interesting things with its universe and characters. However, what happened this week is something I cannot forgive, no matter what the genre or whose name is attached to it. I’m well aware that Gundam and mecha anime in general are about the flashy suits and flashy characters. After all, the protagonist must be special for some reason to justify why they’re the protagonist, and not Generic Guy #3. Nobody likes a hapless everyman, but often I feel the mecha genre goes too far in the other direction, making its protagonists the chosen ones, the generic super soldiers, handed the super prototype over more experienced pilots, DNA-linked to the super prototype, just fucking psychic, and far more egregious narrative choices. However, what I absolutely hate is when the main character isn’t even that great of a pilot, but their robot is just so overpowered that skilled piloting can’t overcome it.
And that’s exactly what G-Reco does this week. Dellensen easily proves he is hands down the most skilled pilot in the entire show. He was also the most likeable character in the entire show. And in typical Tomino fashion, the most skilled and likeable character in the show is effortlessly killed off by the main character and his super prototype. Dellensen runs circles around Bellri, literally landing at least two or three fatal shots on the G-Self, which survives thanks to its bullshit deflector shield. Of course for the sake of drama, Bellri and Dellensen don’t realize they’re fighting each other until the last second. It is tragic and contrived, which I must admit, is likely what Tomino was trying to do with this scene. It’s a moment I couldn’t turn my eyes away from as its inevitable conclusion carried out.
Still, regardless of its effectiveness as a plot device, I can’t forgive the inherent execution. The reason I got into the mecha genre was to see the splendor of two war machines clashing against each other, each being pushed to its limit by their respective pilots. To see the inspiring presence of the giant robot itself; the man made gods that walk amongst us, crafted by our own hand. The pinnacles of human achievement made tangible. Instead I watched a superior pilot lose because of inferior machinery.
It’s a shame, because G-Reco’s plot is finally starting to come together in a relatively understandable manner. It’s all the more tragic that it should become more digestible by resorting to one of the most banal narrative devices in the entire mecha genre.