Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 19 – “Assault on Barge” – The Torn

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“Assault on Barge” was a fantastic exploration of how torn most of our characters are, which actually picks up the theme from last episode too. So much of the fighting is useless in a way because it just feeds the conflict (something “Mobile Suit Gundam” has always been good at exploring) and in this we see how the driven soldier can commit wrongs for the cause.

The episode was directed by Takeshi Yoshimoto, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya.

The story continues with Lady Une playing the part of the diplomat and winning through soft power while Zechs is taken in by Tallgeese’s designer on Earth who gives him a way to space where ‘Things are changing,” and Lady Une tries to stop the fighting between Wufei and the Dolls after Duo has been taken in. Heero also mounts a rescue mission for Duo.

The Pros: Duo – We see that Duo gives his all but just isn’t fast enough to defeat the Mobile Dolls, leading to his capture as well as the capture of his Gundam. When Heero rescues him he asks if hew wants to die, but since he doesn’t he isn’t killed and they make their escape together. Duo is still whole or at least more whole than Heero since Heero says he will kill the scientists since they know how to defeat the Gundams and the mission must not be forgotten. When Heero tells him this you hear the pity in his voice.

Heero – Heero shows he is torn since he was supposed to kill Duo to protect the mission but saves him instead, and later plans to kill the scientists to complete the mission. The mission is still all he’s living for and he hasn’t realized how much things have changed. This is mirrored in Wufei too.

Wufei – Wufei is fighting the Mobile Dolls and gets injured when the cannon destroys some of them showing that OZ cares nothing for their own troops. We learn Lady Une didn’t do it though as she speaks to Wufei from her shuttle and asks for the fighting to stop. The fanatic has even become changed by playing the role of the diplomat.

Lady Une – Lady Une is the harsh soldier and the understanding diplomat and now it is like they are two separate identities that have been integrated together since she’s been cold to the pilots yet wanted to save Wufei. Where this will go remains to be seen.

Zechs – Zechs was the best part of this episode as he is taken in by one of Tallgeese’s designers who helps him get Tallgeese into space and asks that he be a part of the change since he is an enemy of OZ. This was great to see and Zechs is embracing his new purpose as a shaper of things to come. He also no longer has a mask to wear and no longer considers himself Zechs because of that.

Okay: Tallgeese’s Designer – We don’t get a name and he mostly functions as plot. He wasn’t bad but I wanted his motivations.

OZ Soldiers – One of them acts because he isn’t’ getting orders from Lady Une in the fight against Wufei. We don’t have a name so it’s hard to care about him. This was part of what this episode tonally confusing.

This was a great episode and shows just how torn most of our character are now. There are so many factions and no one knows who to follow as each is finding people they connect too. War is chaos and in the chaos the factions are no longer clear and with that so many don’t have clarity of purpose. Everyone is torn.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 18 – “Tallgeese Destroyed” – Of Treize and Zechs

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Treize continues to show us that he is more complicated than just the man pulling strings behind the scenes. This episode really shows just how deeply he cares for Zechs as well as what he values in an army and people. This episode also reveals how much Zechs has changed, he’s my favorite character on the show right now.

‘Tallgeese Destroyed” was directed by Yasunao Aoki and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Toshifumi Kawase.

The episode begins with Treize’s plans to give Zechs a noble death since Zechs is being court martialed by OZ. The plan is for Zechs to attack a large attack force of Alliance forces and to die leaving him the legacy of a hero of OZ. Around the same time the Romafeller Foundation is trying out more remote controlled weapons which Treize challenges himself against and Quatre is floating to the colonies and the scientists must find a way to rescue him as Lady Une attempts to force them to make the most powerful Gundam.

The Pros: Lady Une – Lady Une is smart. When she realizes that the Gundam Pilot Quatre is heading to Alliance space she sends a huge attack force after his shuttle which forces the scientists to give in and make her a Gundam. She knows they value the life of the pilots above their own.

The Alliance – The Alliance rescues the Gundam pilot Quatre and we see the good of in them as they are all soldiers just fighting for their belief in the Alliance. At this point the Colonies are becoming like the Alliance and are getting militarized like OZ, this is one thing that the scientists realize, which is why they are happy that the Alliance saves Quatre.

The Romafeller Foundation – Doesn’t care about people beyond using them as tools and Zechs was never their tool, which is why they tried to kill him. Treize holds one of their members hostage after he destroys their automated Gundams and tells them he will not follow anyone who doesn’t use soldiers since soldiers can learn and keep war from becoming a game. Whether the Romafeller Foundation understands remains to be seen.

Treize РTreize cares about people though he still using people for an unknown purpose and working with a questionable organization in the Romafeller Foundation. The  great thing is his relationship with Zechs though. Zechs lives and survives each battle because he is the best soldier with the best Gundam which is what Treize seems to value. What he wants in the end remains to be seen though.

Heero – Heero is undercover as Duo in the Colonies and makes a speech to his classmates for the soldiers and how the soldiers change things because they remember the price of war and that the automation of Gundams that the colonies are doing is just what OZ and the Alliance did and that is wrong and continuing the cycle. It was a great speech.

Zechs – Finds value in the fight against the Gundams and believes in the liberation of all colonies. He ends up surviging the last fight and his friendship with Treize ends there as he realizes he can no longer make sacrifices for him anymore. This is when Zechs becomes his own man and though it has Tallgeese collapsed at the end, it never shows that Zechs is dead. He went from the soldier seeking revenge and liberation of his Kingdom to the soldier fighting for the sake of fighting to the believer again who is some measure of whole.

This was the perfect “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” episode and I highly recommend it. Treize and Zechs episodes are great because they are are more complicated than the Gundam pilots and getting to know their motivations more is one thing I always liked about this show. How things unfold from there remains to be seen, but Lady Une is getting the Ultimate Gundam to face the remaining Gundams on the colonies.

Final Score: 10 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 17 – “Betrayed By Home, Far Away” – The Pilots Alone

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One of the things that makes “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” so great is that the factions aren’t entirely clear. It reminds me of “Game of Thrones” in many ways because of that. In this episode we see one of the leaders of the Colonies speak against the Gundam pilots and that the Colonies are against their actions. Unlike “Mobile Suit Gundam” sides aren’t always clear and in the end, even the pilots cannot really be called good.

“Betrayed by Home, Far Away” was directed by Tetsuya Watanabe, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The story picks up with Duo and Quatre trying to get the attention of the other Gundams to show them that they need to get into space and back to the Colonies, since OZ has been doing a subtle conquest of the Colonies as they overthrow Alliance control. Lady Une is leading the conquest and as she captures each Colony is capturing the scientists who invented the Gundams to learn how to defeat them.

The Pros: Lady Une – Lady Une is shown to be a master of propaganda as she quickly wins over the young and eager Colonial leader of Area D. We see that she is still willing to go any length to defeat OZ’s enemies though as when Dr. J resists she is prepared to harm civilians to kill him, which leads to him surrendering.

The Gundam Pilots РWe see a coming together of the Gundam pilots when Quatre and Duo force a call to action, which leads to the arrival of Wufei and Trowa. In the end Quatre sacrifices his Gundam so they can escape to the colonies setting everything in motion for the next arc of the story. He still remains on Earth though.

The Scientists – The scientists are acting alone and are the main threat against OZ as the Colonies are just happy to be no longer controlled by the Alliance. They put up a good fight and in the end cause interference that leads to the Gundams arriving safely back in the colonies.

Okay: The Colonies – The colonies still don’t have complete names or identities. These details would help the story a lot. So far the only separation between the Colonies is the fact that each scientist was creating a Gundam on their own.

This wasn’t the strongest of the episodes, as it was mostly action, but it is still worth checking out. How things are going to unfold on the Colonies remains to be seen but the fact that they aren’t sympathetic towards the Gundams overall could lead to some good drama, especially if OZ doesn’t mess up the goodwill they established in liberating the people from the Alliance.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10.