Perfect for fans of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch of Mercury, there is a short tie-in novel available online that takes place between the prologue and episode 1, “The Witch and the Bridge”. The short story was written by the series’ screenwriter, Ichiro Okouchi, to give the musical group, Yoasobi, a basis for developing the anime’s opening song, “The Blessing”.
The novel follows Sulleta’s childhood, Aerial’s relationship with Suletta, and features additional information about his mother, Elnora. While the narrative is written from the perspective of XVX-016 Gundam Aerial, which could be confirmation that Aerial is sentient. Here is a brief summary of the short story.
Suletta and the harsh and lonely environment
The novel begins by describing what it is like to live in the harsh environment of the planet Mercury. He reminds readers that on Mercury, direct exposure to the sun’s heat is fatal, while shadows can simultaneously freeze a person to death. Considering that’s where Suletta grew up, she probably survived the harshest environment of any character in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch of Mercury’the universe.
It describes why Suletta is socially awkward – the extreme loneliness and isolation she faced growing up on Mercury. Aerial tells readers that there are no other children on Mercury, making Aerial his only friend. Due to Suletta and her mother fleeing, many people on Mercury dislike Suletta and her mother, as they believe – due to their circumstances – that they could cause trouble for people on Mercury. This is why Suletta stutters and mutters her first time at school as a transfer student.
Readers also get a glimpse of how Suletta began his mobile suit combat training early, as one of the ways Suletta passed the time as a six-year-old child played with the combat simulator on the console from Aerial. What she believed was just a video game. Aerial describes Suletta as having the highest score on the simulator of anyone on Mercury, aside from her mother.
Suletta character development
The story also delves deeply into Suletta’s curiosity and wonder about Earth. Everything she knows about Earth comes from cartoons, books, and movies. Who all describe childhood life as going to school and having friends, living in busy cities and there are lots of other kids outside of herself. Throughout the story, she expresses how badly she wants to go to school.
Suletta’s life on Mercury, since what appears to be at least the age of nine, has helped the inhabitants of Mercury’s mining resources. She ends up living a life of hard work for the people of Mercury, helping the mining industry, as she is the most capable pilot on the planet. Fortunately, the people of Mercury’s hatred for Suletta and her mother eventually wanes due to their appreciation for Suletta’s help.
Elnora and her quest for revenge
The most interesting part of the story seems to be what is said about Elnora. Aerial briefly mentions that Suletta’s mother, Elnora, was not only Aerial’s test pilot, but also Aerial’s developer. This gives reason to believe that Elnora could have built Aerial entirely on her own during her time on Mercury, as she belonged to the Vanadis Institute which produced Gundams.
Elnora is often away from Mercury and never seems to have time for Suletta, as she frequently travels back and forth between Mercury and Earth for work. Her stays on Earth are so long that she celebrates several Suletta birthdays. This makes the Prologue episode stronger during the birthday scenes, because at the beginning and end of the episode Suletta’s birthday was celebrated. From the news, it looks like her “Happy Birthdays” ended afterward.
Aerial states that on Earth, Elnora is called a witch and is shunned all over the planet. The reason for this is that Delling Rembran, the chairman of the Benerit Group, referred to all Mercury people as witches for unknown reasons. Delling Rembran is also the man who ordered the assault on Fólkvangr and the destruction of the Vanadis Institute, in the episode Prologue.
After a long absence, Elnora finally returns to Mercury with news that there will be a duel at the Asticassia School of Technology. This seems to be the only reason for Elnora’s return, as she states that the winner of the duel will marry President Delling Rembran’s daughter, who we now know to be Miorine Rembran. She sends Suletta to college, hoping that she will be the one to win the duel, as a revenge plot against President Delling. Aerial is against using Suletta as a tool for revenge, but it works great for Suletta as she always wanted to go to school. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Elnora cares as much about Suletta’s well-being and her wishes at this point; Elnora seems to be driven solely by revenge.
Is Elnora “the witch” of Mercury?
Typically in each Gundam series, the character plotting revenge is a masked villain known as “Char-clone”. It is quite possible that the title of Gundam: The Witch of Mercury is a bit of a pun that tricks audiences into believing Mercury’s witch is Suletta Mercury, in reality the witch could be her mother Elnora.
In traditional folklore, witches were known as sinister spellcasters, usually depicted as wielding flying broomsticks, capable of using dark spells and curses derived from evil spirits or demons. They often had a familiar with them in the form of a black cat, which was affiliated with dark magic and was a symbol of evil. Although Elnora does not giggle or fly on a broomstick, she often travels back and forth in space from Mercury to Earth. The location of XGF-02 Gundam Lfrith is also unknown, Lfrith could just as easily be the flying broomstick or Elnora’s black cat. There are many signs that Elnora may be the true witch and possible villain of the series due to her desire for revenge.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch of Mercury is now streaming on Crunchyroll. The novella’s introductory spin-off is available to read here.