08th MS Team

Season 1 Episode 11

Shuddering Mountain (2)

Aired Unknown Aug 06, 2001 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
5 votes

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Episode Summary

Shuddering Mountain (2)
Before the Apsalus III launches, Ginias looks at it with the eyes of a madman. Aina asks him what happened to the scientists, and he says they are all drunk somewhere. After the Apsalus III launches, Shiro announces that he is leaving the service.

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  • A bit of a different perspective than most people have on this episode

    This is simultaneously my favorite episode and the most difficult for me to watch. And no, not for the reasons most people would expect.

    To be a bit clearer, this is the episode where my favorite character is both finally explored in some depth and met with a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone. Yes, I'm talking about the villain, Ginias. I'm not going to deny that I have a tendency to be drawn to unconventional characters. What draws me to Ginias isn't the fact that he's nice or moral (he's neither), but that he's one of the most tragically human characters in the entire series to me. And this is the episode that fully brings him from a seemingly amoral schemer to a deeply disturbed man clinging desperately to the last thread of meaning and worth he feels he has. The episode opens with him in a much different state that when we were introduced to him: hollow-faced, wasted. Very sick, and not just mentally. He's clearly been neglecting his most basic and important physical needs in favor of work on the Apsaras. This isn't like the usually Char Aznable or Giren Zabi brand of ruthless masterminds usually put as villains in the Gundam metaverse. I think they've got a bit more worth for their own lives than that. Ginias, on the other hand, thinks nothing of making himself sick enough to practically faint moments into the scene. That puts his lack of concern for other's lives into an entirely different light IMHO, because it says that he's not just cold and heartless, it's that his very concept of how people (including himself) have worth has become so distorted that he doesn't even consider whether or not his actions with them are right or wrong. It doesn't make them right by any means, but I wouldn't hold him to the level of a genuinely amoral, malicious character like Char.

    Aina seems to recoil in disgust as he collapses onto the floor. She's been distancing herself from him ever since her fling with Shiro really hit full steam in episode 7. With what's revealed about Ginias later in the episode, I personally think her detachment from him was one of the biggest things that caused him to snap. They fire up the Apsaras and take it out for a spin, with Aina continuing her less-than-thrilled demeanor and Ginias lost in the moment. Eventually Aina calls for a cease-fire to allow the Keregeren (the ship that provided power to Ginias' base and is now being used to transport sick and wounded soldiers to space) safe passage. The federation colonel Ryers agrees, though we can tell he's still plotting no good. Seconds later, Ginias fires upon a few GMs. It wasn't a smart move by any means, but he shouldn't be blamed for what follows like too many fans like to do. Because he broke the ceasefire, Ryers decides committing a war crime is far more important than taking out the actual threat and orders a sniper to shoot down the Keregeren. Not the Apsaras, the Keregeren. Ryers has no one to blame but himself when that decision comes back to bite him in the butt. After this Aina is understandably outraged and confronts Ginias for his part, which only succeeds in enraging him. Furious herself, she gets back in and just as she's about to fire a blast of her own, Shiro's EZ8 comes galloping up over the horizon. Next time we see them they're continuing to bicker about each other's actions and the war in general, and then the subject of love comes up. This is where Ginias' true character shows itself. Ginias sees Shiro and Aina's obvious infatuation with him and snaps back "Love is just an illusion, a weakness of the glands! Like mother, love is what caused her to leave us!".

    That one line and everything that follows it changes what Ginias is as a character, why he's done what he's done, and why he is the way he is almost completely. He doesn't say it out of malice or evil. He says it out of raw hurt and desperation over events that may have happened years ago, but clearly still affect him today. And when you connect the dots to the events of previous episodes, it becomes clear that Aina's "abandonment" of him is quite likely the real trigger of his breakdown, and his ruthless attempts to finish and possess the Apsaras aren't mere greed and lust for power. It's all the desperate attempts of a man with very deep-seated issues with abandonment trying to cope with the "betrayal" of what's likely the only support network he really had. The Apsaras wasn't just a tool for winning the war, it was the one thing that couldn't abandon him in favor of something else. It might not make sense or be right to a personal who's mentally healthy, and it's not, but to someone with a mental illness like Ginias it's a very real (and downright Hellish) crisis. While we don't get anything else in the way of backstory, I think there could've been plenty of other things that went on in the Sakhalin house that left Ginias the shattered wreck we see. Regardless, after this line Aina's demeanor softens from accusatory to understanding. Like it finally clicked just how deeply broken and in pain her brother was. Unfortunately, she further inquires him about it, which throws him into a rage and panic. I'm in no majority when I say that I think the main emotion he was feeling at this point wasn't anger or hatred, but fear and despair. I think her reminding him of the past likely served as a trigger for even more painful memories that only agitated his state (even if she was trying to be consoling, a trigger is a trigger). In an act of desperation that I doubt he put any thought into, he pulled a gun and shot her. On top of all the rage, fear, desperation, panic, and utter Hell he was already feeling, he gets to have a heaping dose of guilt from killing his sister added to the mix. Lovely day to be Ginias, isn't it?

    Aina topples out and is caught by Shiro, who's not at all amused his love interest has just been shot by her brother. Neither is Ginias, who's first reaction is to blame Shiro for it. This of course makes no logical sense and I think was mostly said as an attempt to reassure himself because he really doesn't want that guilt on top of everything else he's feeling. I don't completely blame him. They exchange some words, and then we see Shiro relent to committing suicide by way of the Apsaras' mega-particle cannon while carrying what he believes to be the slain body of his love. We cut to Ginias right before he fires, and his expression alone just confirms to me the guilt he has. Even though she'd "abandoned" him and he'd tried to replace her with the Apsaras, like their mother I think he still feels a great deal for Aina. He goes about in the most destructive, unhealthy way possible, but he still does care for her. I wonder what would've happened of his shot succeeded and he definitely killed Shiro and Aina. Somehow, I don't think destroying Jaburo would be as much of a priority as he superficially says it is. Regardless, that doesn't happen as the sniper finally tries to do something right and hits the Apsaras just as the cannon is about to fire. Shiro and Aina are knocked aside, and surprise surprise Aina isn't actually dead. They hug and rejoice, the stuff you'd expect them to do. Aina's plot armo... I mean, watch stopped the bullet so all is well with her for now. Shiro's arm is broken so they both hope in the EZ8 to take disable the Apsaras. We see Ginias in the commotion, surprised Aina's still alive, and still a panicked wreck firing his machine with little rhyme or reason. I almost want to smack some sense into him through the screen and then hug him because he's only securing his fate and he's such a sad, lonely little mess that as horrible as his actions have been I don't want him to die, at least not in that state. But as this is a series that wants to end soon, Aina and Shiro decide killing Ginias to be the best course of action. They run up, and just before they ram the EZ8 into the cockpit Ginias gives us this detached, glazed-over, creepy psychotic smirk that epitomizes how much of a wreck his life really was. And he just lets them do their thing. But not without the Apsaras firing one last shot (that manages to hit the exact building Ryers was commanding from. What'd I say about him getting bitten in the butt?) as they tumble into the mountain that was once home to the Zeon base. Shiro's team see it all and freak out, calling for him and running up and it cuts to a one-liner from Michel and credits. The credits roll and we see some stills, including a makeshift cross on a grave (wonder who). In the end with see a one-legged Shiro hobble off into the sunset with Aina. The implication is that they'll live happily ever after, which is an idea I reject because unless Aina's a sociopath or that badly written of a character, she's not going to live "happily ever after" after doing that. Sure, there might be a honeymoon period where everything seems okay, but she's not going to be able to write Ginias off as nothing she could've helped forever. She knew him better than anyone else, and while she saw him at his worst, she also knew him as the man we saw in the beginning of the series. The man who certainly had underlying issues, but genuinely wanted what he thought was the best for his sister and family. Who didn't care that Aina lost his prototype Zaku because she herself was safe, and that was all that really mattered. That Ginias will come back to haunt Aina, along with the very normal doubts of whether or not there really wasn't anything she could've done for him. If it was even her fault he became what he did. Maybe 08th could follow Shakespeare more closely than it appears to, it's just that the tragedy with this Romeo and Juliet isn't death but being forced to live with the consequences of their hasty affair? And as much as most fans don't see it, I think Ginias is a tragedy in himself. He's often accused of being little more than a generic overly-dedicated mad scientist, but I think he's more of a subtle deconstruction of the trope. In the end we see the real reason he's so dedicated to his project isn't greed or power or just because. It's a coping mechanism, one that he probably doesn't fully understand or can control. His madness isn't a product of him just being evil, it's the end result of living a life and circumstances that've finally broken him. I don't approve or justify his action because you can't, but the man himself I think is one of the most truly suffering and pitiable villains in Gundam. I think it's a damn shame the way most people write him off with simple black and white condemnations, without bothering to consider what's really going on with him. Heaven forbid what it's like to be in the kind of state he ends up in. My personal experience is that it's a living Hell, which admittedly contributes to him striking much more sympathetically with me than with most people. I think an excellent character to compare Ginias to is Souji Mikage/Professor Nemuro from Revolutionary Girl Utena. Without spoiling anything, he has somewhat similar basic circumstances to Ginias and a very similar reaction to them. I'd go so far as to say he's how Ginias should've been, because his psychology is given much more explanation and depth than Ginias is. But that's an essay for another day. I hope this giant mess of rant and loosely-concealed fangirlishness serves as something else to consider amongst the usual "omg Shiro and Aina are so sad and Ginias suck and this series rules!11!" reviews. A little alternate analysis never hurt anyone ;)moreless
  • A great episode and a worthy ending to an excellent series withone of the greatest Romeo and Juliet anime spin-offs ever.

    I am a big fan of the whole Gundam franchise, but this is my my favorite series of them all. Why? Because this series essentially isn't about epic duels to the death for Total Pacifism (Gundam Wing), psychic superiority (Mobile Suit Gundam), or cartoon stupidity (Super-"Deformed" Gundam). This is just about an average team of soldiers who look at porn, get into fights, drink alcohol, complain, and just be natural about everything. They have faults, make mistakes, and "do their best" to follow orders, rather than wish to kill themselves if they should mess up. They weren't trained for years to be expert assassins and killing machines and they're not particulary special. They're just a group of soldiers recruited to fight for their country as a team: the 08th Mobile Suit Team.

    All the soldiers want to do is get home. Perhaps the best example of this is the character of Eledore, who purposefully gets himself injured in combat just so he can listen to the song he wrote while lying in a field hospital.

    However, more strength lies in the series with the central plot of the romance between Zeon test pilot Aina Sahalin and Federation ensign Shiro Amada. They are doomed from the start, with the series actually beginning with their fighting: him in an inferior Ball type mobile suit and her testing a new Zaku prototype. Through Shiro's interference, both suits explode, causing them to drift off into space. They are forced to help each other when they find that they are marooned on an old dilapidated battleship.

    By the time help arrives from their respective organizations, Aina forgets the treasured watch that she had allowed Shiro to borrow temporarily and until the middle of the series, he constantly looks back at this watch, it serving as a frequent reminder of the Zeon woman he had met in space.

    As fate would have it, they are both assigned to duties in Southeast Asia and meet up again frequently, though they do not realize it until they are stuck in the wilderness once again and are forced to rely on each other once more.

    Afterwards, both are suspected of treachery for having consorted with the enemy and are closely watched. Their paths eventually cross once more to come to the final conclusion this episode, "The Shuddering Mountain," provides. Not revealing too much, the final scene is the two of them, supporting each other as their silhouettes walk out of a dark room. Aina appears to have a limp, and Shiro is walking with a crutch and without a leg, but they are very much alive, as they should be, together. The next episode is the one where the 08th Team finally mmeets back up with Shiro, their commanding officer, but only at the end, and not before some old, boring loose ends from the other series are tied up. Excellent series, but the next episode is just stupid, for the most part.moreless
Michael Forest

Michael Forest

Lt. Col. Jokima

Dave Mallow

Dave Mallow

Terry Sanders,Jr.

Michelle Ruff

Michelle Ruff

Kiki Rosita

Emilie Brown

Emilie Brown

Aina Sahalin

Steve Staley

Steve Staley

2nd Lt. Shiro Amada

Syd Fontana

Syd Fontana

MSgt. Karen Joshua

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions