Episode 18, "Graduation Ceremony Battle"
Synopsis: Time passes and Asemu is to graduate. On the day of graduation, he reveals his plan to join the military after the break. Military police interrupt the ceremony and arrest Zeheart. Zeheart's contact decoys the soldiers. He attacks the soldiers until Zeheart can get to his mobile suit. In his cockpit he reflects on the times he's had with Asemu and his friends. Back at the school, Asemu gets a call from Vargas, who has sent the trailer with the Gundam. The Gundam comes in and fights Zeheart's MS. Asemu is again pinned down by Zeheart, who reveals that he'd been fighting him. Romary sees this. Zeheart retreats.
Watching this episode, it feels like I missed five or six episodes. Asemu and Zeheart are dear friends with photos of moments of their friendship, Romary seems closer to them, and everyone is graduating.
There are two trains of thought on this, to me. One is, wait a minute, they just skipped ahead of character development? Shouldn't we see some of those moments? They shorcut the way there with those photos, so that's actually somewhat clever, but it doesn't feel like Zeheart's betrayal of Asemu's trust is any big deal, because they've been friends for two episodes.
The other thought is, well, who wants to wait around? Obviously we're trying to move forward to Asemu joining the military and fighting the Veigans more directly. If we're just sitting around watching Asemu and Zeheart hanging out, it's liable to get very boring. So in this way, the time skip is no big offender. There's a lot of story to get to, after all, we can't be sitting on our hands waiting for them to become good friends.
However, what about a compromise, Sunrise? You could have given it at least another episode for the relationship between Asemu and Zeheart to cement. Instead, this sudden skip ahead has decided character development in a very tricky way that removes any gravity a betrayal will have. We don't really feel for Asemu because we already knew Zeheart was going to betray him and it didn't have time to really build up.
It was a decent episode, I guess, but I don't know, I don't really like some of the choices they made.
3.5 out of 5