Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 16 – “The Sorrowful Battle” – A Reason to Live

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“The Sorrowful Battle” is a tale of broken soldiers. It is here we learn more of Zechs’s motivation and what drives him and that he is just as invested in any cause he takes up as the Gundam pilots. It is for this reason his fight with Heero is so illuminating for him. For many facing Heero is how they discover their own reasons for living or fighting.

The episode was directed by Kunihiro Mori and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode begins with Zechs meeting Noin, Trowa and Heero and treating them kindly before it all agreed upon that they need to fight. They can only see that they are on opposing sides and the fight is all they have to live for. What changes things though is the arrival of Relena who is connected to them both and when Noin reveals the truth of Zechs’s relationship to her the story unfolds.

The Pros: Relena – She takes action and prevents Zechs and Heero from destroying each other. Relena sees the big picture and that OZ and the Romafeller Organization are the true enemies of peace and that the pilots are just tools but moral tools. It is the willingness to end Zechs to do so that leads to Noin confessing her love for Zechs to Relena and to Zechs switching sides and fighting OZ for all the colonies. Relena points out to Noin that she is on the wrong side too and makes Noin realize that she is following Zechs truly, not OZ. Best Relena episode so far.

Noin – Respects Zechs’s choice to fight and defend them all and helps him find his reason to fight again. She is great too and helps make peace between Relena and Zechs as well as giving the information of them being siblings and the pain behind Zechs’s backstory and why he felt lost after the horrors that OZ began committing that were counter to his Sanc ideals.

Trowa and Heero – Trowa upgrades Heavyarms for Heero and helps him fight against Zechs making them evenly matched. You can tell how much their friendship has grown at this point and there are a lot of subtle moments of affection between them. They also make the escape with Noin when Zechs promises to fight Heero later and goes to face the army of OZ for the colonies.

Zechs and Heero – Zechs and Heero are two soldiers so filled with guilt from the blood on their hands they just want to die. It takes Relena’s arrival and the letter for Heero to change his mind and to gives Zechs reason to fight for Relena as she fights for the colonies and peace. It’s a powerful scene as he leaves in Tallgeese to take on the OZ invasion force.

To Defend Another – Zechs’s character arc in this episode is his becoming a knight. Before he was nothing more than an OZ mercenary he realizes, especially as the Romafeller ideals run counter to Sanc ideals. This leads to his changing sides at the end and defending the Gundam Pilots, his lover Noin and his sister Relena. Zechs becomes the Knight and finds his purpose again.

This was a great action episode and had some of the best Gundam action in the series. It also had a great character arc for Zechs and Heero and gave them a chance to grow beyond their brokenness as others had forgiven them and wanted to give them a reason to fight for peace. In that way the episode is akin to a beautiful and sad waltz between Zechs and Heero as they learn the greater purpose of the dance they have all been apart of.

Final Score: 10 / 10. The Perfect Gundam Wing episode.

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