- Episodes :22
- Genre :Political Thriller, Space Opera, Mech, War, Action, Sci-Fi
- Airing Date : April 2016 – September 2016
- Producers : Sunrise
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE 0096 (No Spoilers)
Based on the Gundam Unicorn novel series by Fukui Harutoshi, this story of the Universal Century timeline takes place three years after the events of Char’s Counterattack,where the franchise’s main rivals, Amuro Ray and Char Aznable, have perished in battle. The final remnants of Zeon continue to persist in their pursuit of colonial independence and though Char has been declared KIA, the Neo Zeon have a new leader, Full Frontal. Full Frontal shares many of Char’s qualities down to the scar on his head, and even his exact voice to the point some question whether or not it’s really the infamous Red Comet himself. Their goal, this time, is to gain the mysterious Laplace’s Box, an item that could crush the Earth Federation and possibly prove that their government is an illegitimate one.
The only ones who know its true secret are inner members of the Vist family, the leaders of the military industrial complex in the Universal Century, as well as some high-ranking Federation and Zeon officials. Caught in the turmoil is Cardeas Vist’s illegitimate son, high school student Banagher Links. Upon their reunion, Cardeas entrusts his family’s legacy to him through the latest Gundam, the Unicorn. Banagher must unravel not only the mystery of his family’s 100-year secret but save the Earth and the colonies.
Banagher Links Bio
Voice Actor: Uchiyama Kouki
Due to being born out of wedlock, Banagher uses his mother’s last name despite being the son of a very influential man. Even so, his father assumed a large role in his infant years but subjected him to tests that determined his capabilities as a Newtype. However, his mother didn’t want him involved in the activities of the Vist foundation and took him from his father. Unfortunately, his mother passes at an unspecified point in time before the events of the series and lives under the care of his school.
At the start of the series, Banagher is a student attending a technical school owned by Anaheim Electronics, a contracting company where his (unknown) aunt is a board member. Like his predecessors from previous installments of Gundam, Banagher is a talented and dedicated student to the art of engineering and just wants to live a normal life. However, his advanced Newtype abilities attract him to a girl of Zeon royalty named Audrey Burne (who is really Mineva Zabi, the last remaining member of the clan that ruled the Principality of Zeon) while on an excursion.
Upon meeting her, he sees that she’s in danger and doesn't hesitate to rescue her. Feeling the need to watch over her and instantly having feelings for her, he decides to accompany her and their journey leads Banagher to briefly reunite with his father. After an unfortunate ambush, his father entrusts him to the latest line of Gundams, the Unicorn, to do the right thing just before he perishes in front of his son.
Banagher Links Highlights
1. He Never Officially Takes a Side
Though Gundam pilots in the Universal Century tend to take one side, Banagher is one of the few characters that get to see the war from all angles. Due to numerous circumstances, he finds himself throughout the series, there are instances where he has to cooperate with both sides in order to survive and to accomplish the mission entrusted to him by his father. Another reason why he can’t afford to be killed is because he is the only one capable using the Unicorn Gundam, which is necessary to unlock the secret of Laplace. Furthermore, while Banagher is under the care of a Zeon grunt and his family, he sees how their side is trying to do their best with their economic limitations and why they desire independence.
For the Federation side, he does want to see things stabilized based on the status quo he grew up under but by the time he learns the truth, he feels that the same truth should be entrusted to everyone to make the decision for themselves on how humanity can advance. Banagher is not fighting for what’s right for the Federation or for Zeon, he is doing the best he can to fight for everyone to find the solutions for themselves with the truth. But if he were to take a side, he would just be with his friends and ultimately with all of mankind.
2. His Journey to Becoming a Man
Like all teenage pilots, there are going to be instances when Banagher will question his motivations due to the exhaustion of battle, mostly due to witnessing people he develops relationships with die before him. He is someone who is driven to do what’s right and he tends to shoulder the entire burden on himself, which consequently makes him emotionally vulnerable. His journey with the people he encounters all give him the development he needs to becoming a more righteous man and his experiences encourage him to avoid taking any lives.
One notable individual who helps Banagher mature is a Zeon captain named Suberoa Zinnerman. Through Zinnerman, Banagher learns more about what it means to take responsibility for the circumstances he may find himself in. In addition, Zinnerman teaches him if he has the power to make a change, then he should also assume that responsibility for the benefit of all mankind and not just exclusively for Zeon and/or the Federation.
3. His Influence on People
Though Banagher is just a teenager, his presence plays a big influence on those he encounters. This is all thanks to his advance Newtype abilities, he can psychically/spiritually connect with both the dead and the living. Though Zinnerman helps Banagher in his journey to become a man, Banagher plays his role in helping Zinnerman’s development. He helps Zinnerman become a better leader not for the sake of Zeon, or for the memory of the family he lost, but that he can still fight for a new future (such as for his surrogate daughter Marida). He also shares unique interactions with Gilboa and Marida, two Zeon soldiers that also look after him while he is under the of Zeon, and are touched by Banagher’s willingness to do what is right.
They engage in discussions not just about who is right or wrong between the Federation and Zeon, but whether or not war as a whole is justifiable. Gilboa sees where Banagher is coming from but thinks he is still too young to understand the true realities of the real world. However, Gilboa is a soldier first and teaches Banagher through his death what the true meaning of loyalty is, and as a means of expressing what it means to follow your own beliefs.
With the Federation through Gundam Banshee pilot Riddhe and the iconic Captain Bright, they see how the combination of his good nature and Newtype abilities with using the Unicorn can be used to finally restore balance to the cosmos and he can unite everyone towards peace.
4. He Never Got the Bright Slap
For many Gundam fans, a very famous moment that has become a meme they all know is the Bright slap. In both Gundam and Zeta Gundam, Bright has iconically slapped Amuro and Camille (and his own son in Char’s Counterattack), the main characters of those respective series for not manning up and for being disobedient. However, his relationship with Banagher shows that he may have gotten soft with old age, or maybe he has no reason to slap Banagher at all. If anything, he helps Banagher escape the authorities of the Federation and encourages him to do what’s right for himself.
Banagher’s relationship with Bright is portrayed more casually since their time together is not the same as Bright’s time with other previous protagonists. Instead, Bright shares some wisdom by shining in (no pun intended) from his previous experiences during his time with Banagher by poking fun at the franchise's archetype of teenage geniuses just happening to become Gundam pilots.
5. He Learns to Face and Overcome His Family’s Dark Legacy
With everything including the kitchen sink thrown at Banagher since the beginning, his journey would lead him to be the salvation of not only all of mankind, but for the Vist family. Upon meeting Syam Vist, his 100+-year-old great-grandfather (who still lives through the use of cryogenic technology), he entrusts Banagher and Audrey the secret of Laplace’s box, the original Earth Federation charter. Though Syam has his reasons for wanting to make the contents of the original charter available to the public, Banagher does it because it’s just simply the right thing to do and for his feelings for Audrey.
Thanks to the use of the Unicorn’s psycommu system, he manages to send Audrey’s broadcast and the truth of the Federation to all residents. Though Banagher does not take this mission exclusively for his family’s legacy, his destiny gives him the opportunity to learn about how Syam created the present circumstances of the Universal Century, and how the actions of the Vist family in withholding the original Charter consequently paved way for incidents such as the One Year War in the first TV series. Banagher comes to understand that he has an obligation to share the truth, but he also knows it’s all up to the people to change for themselves and/or maintain the status quo. It is ultimately his faith in people that gives Syam the confidence that the people are ready for the truth.
After the events of Gundam, Amuro is in protective custody. With Zeta Gundam, Camille is reduced to a vegetative state but recovers by the end of Double Zeta. Judeau has a relatively happy ending by getting a job in Jupiter’s orbit. As for Banagher, after everything he went through and achieves, he goes back to his regular life hanging out with his friends who he wanted to protect.
Very few characters in the Universal Century rarely get that chance to accumulate back into regular society at the end of their story so Banagher’s ability to do that makes him distinct in comparison. It demonstrates that even though he matures and makes a difference, he never lets go of who he truly is, just a regular kid who wants to make it through school and then find want he wants to do with his life.
Though many saw his kind nature as a weakness, there are those that ultimately recognize him as someone who is only motivated to doing the right thing and almost everybody from Zeon to the Federation, all give their contribution to making sure whatever it is he needed to do, had to be done.