Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Finale – Season 1, Episode 49 – “The Final Victor” – Weak Humanity

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I thought I’d like this finale more than I did but it had a few things going against it that are largely issues with the series as a whole, which I’ll go into when I do my review of “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” as a whole. Taking the episode on it’s own though, it does do a lot of things right, even if it messes up in some big ways too.

“The Final Victor” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Yasunao Aoki and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

This is the Finale and what is at stake is stopping the Libra from crashing into the Earth (which the Gundam Scientists do by turning on Peacemilllion’s engine to push it out of Earth’s orbit) and Heero facing Zechs. There is also Lady Une who is working with Sally, Relena and Noin on the political side of things to try and find a peaceful resolution between the factions. These are the main areas of action unfolding at the finale.

The Pros: The animation  – I’m going to mention this again, since I haven’t for a long time…but “Gundam Wing” has beautiful animation that is really highlighted in the finale. You can see the details on the Gundams and characters’ facial expressions and hair and feel the emotion.

The Soundtrack – The music is beautiful too and creates tension when it needs to as well as adding to every scene it is in.

The Battle – Epyon vs. Wing Zero, Zechs vs. Heero…it is a great fight and they are evenly matched throughout it until Heero admits he is weak, which Zechs is unable to admit. This leads to Heero defeating him and Zechs choosing to blow up the engine in the Libra to help stop part of the ship from falling and hitting the Earth before he disappears claiming that he and Heero will face each other again.

Gundam Team – I really liked seeing all the Gundams and the scientists working together. In the case of the scientists we see them defeat Quinze who was always more extreme in his approach than they were, and they die in the process and take him down with them. It is there atonement…while all the Gundams working together manage to stop the falling section of Libra.

Okay: The Ending – I have mixed feelings about the ending. There is peace but we don’t see what happens to the Gundam Pilots beyond Heero surprising Relena on her birthday by leaving a gift on her plane that is returning to Earth. There is complete peace because people didn’t like seeing the empty fight between Heero and Zechs…I’m sorry but I don’t buy it. Peace is never that simple and it doesn’t take into account how hurt each side still is, as well as all the political factions that still exist. I liked the moment with Dorothy at Treize’s and Zechs’s grave talking Noin who believed Zechs is still alive and I liked Zechs choosing to help Heero in the end before disappearing but beyond that it felt way too easy. No real loss in the end beyond those like Treize who wanted to die.

In the first “Mobile Suit Gundam” there was so much loss…it was a tragedy and you felt for the people fighting in a war that they had no idea if it would end. In the end there is peace but an entire family is killed in the process and the Alliance corruption is never fully faced, but our character arcs are complete, which is more believable. The narrator just declares victory in this when, “Endless Waltz” is still to come out. Narrator, you were way to premature calling peace. But I’ll get into more of my issues here in the actual analysis of the series as a whole.

I do like that Relena is the go between for the Colonies and Earth and that Treize is in fact dead, but that just isn’t enough for everything that was happening. Peace is never as easy as a phone call when there is this much history of conflict involved.

The Cons: A Call for Peace – I don’t buy it. There are too many factions and why would anyone listen to Lady Une. She doesn’t demand the respect someone like Relena or Treize would do doing the exact same thing. Also, the White Fang is still out there, the Earth saw that the Colonies tried to destroy them. The Gundams are their own faction so them stopping it shouldn’t bring about peace. It isn’t enemies putting down their swords, it’s a third faction forcing the issue. So, major con in regards to the ending.

I liked the Finale, but it was not a favorite. It showed a lot of what I liked about the series but also really highlighted the problems with it too, which I will go into in the assessment of the series whole. I look forward to seeing “Endless Waltz” though. Does it add more depth and show that things aren’t as simple for peace to exist? I like the intent behind the idea of the Finale, it was just very poorly executed and needed much more time and communication between the different factions, as well as revealing that Quinze and Zechs were not as noble as they pretended to be and were just cowards before their own faction.

Final Score: 8 / 10. I can say after this though, “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” is now one of my favorite animes.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 48 – “Takeoff Into Confusion” – Empty Revenge

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This was the episode where many characters realize what they are doing is so empty…with a special emphasis on Wufei and Dorothy as they realize their enemies or ideology aren’t as simple or are hurting themselves and those around them. I really liked this episode as it was bittersweet, and maybe someone actually died? This episode is the penultimate episode for a reason and has some really great action scenes and character moments to show for it.

The episode was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Takeshi Yoshimoto and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story continues on from where we were before and has the Peacemillion crew off the ship as Zechs begins moving Libra with a rammed Peacemillion it to crash into the Earth. Treize and Wufei fight out their final duel, Duo gets the scientists to Peacemillion so they can stop it from crashing into the Earth and Quatre duels with Dorothy.

The Pros: Dorothy vs. Quatre – Dorothy and Quatre duel, with Dorothy ending up victorious but feeling empty as Libra heads down to crash into the Earth and she realizes that she does want peace as much as Quatre does but is afraid of being wrong. Trowa calls her out on her fear at the episode’s end and she is left with a choice as an injured Quatre bleeds out on the ground.

Wufei vs. Treize – Wufei and Treize duel and Treize shows Wufei that he remembers all who have fallen in battle. He names names and we see him almost break from sadness…it is their deaths that motivate his struggle. This is too much for Wufei to take who defeats him but feels empty after as his view of Treize as an ideological villain crumbles.

Lady Une – Lady Une surrenders and has lost Treize. Sadly her surrendering doesn’t stop the White Fang attack on Earth.

Final Scene – Zechs in Epyon standing on Libra faces off against Heero, who is now the only one besides the other Pilots and the scientists who can stop his genocidal attack on the Earth.

The Message – Revenge is empty as is war for the sake of war. The emptyness of Zechs is witnessed in Dorothy’s loss and in Wufei’s sad anger at being cheated at killing someone who was only a villain to him until the end when he saw Treize’s humanity. It’s a beautiful scene that shows one of the major themes of this show really well.

Another perfect episode that makes me excited for the final and after a I do write up on the series “Endless Waltz” as a follow-up. I’m curious what the writers took from the message and how the characters will change from here. They have to after experiencing how empty revenge is, if not what was the point of the scenes in this episode? Next episode, the finale of “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing!”

Final Score: 10 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 47 – “Collision in Space” – Challenging Libra

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The Gundams are on no one’s side, but for the moment at least they are fighting the White Fang, since Libra is a direct threat to Earth, while Treize has not attacked any of the Colonies. This brings an interesting dynamic too as Zechs would prefer not to fight the Gundams but goes out to face them when he sees them charging Libra as he is dealing with Treize and knows what must be done if the White Fang is to be successful. This was an episode with a lot of great character moments and action.

The episode was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The episode begins with the battle going on between Treize’s forces and Zechs’s forces as the Gundams plan to take on Libra, while Heero is still on Libra with Relena as the battle unfolds. Sally makes a hard choice and decides that it will take a lot to stop Libra and turns Peacemillion into a weapon by choosing to ram Libra and prevent the cannon from being used on the Earth.

The Pros: Zechs vs. Duo, Wufei, Quatre, Trowa and Noin – This fight is a lot of fun and it reveals that Miliardo is still there. Using the Dolls and targeting Quatre Zechs has the advantage for most of the fight until he decides to attack Peacemillion, but stop when Noin jumps in front of him. It is here he realizes that he still feels.

Peacemillion vs. Libra – Sally has Peacemillion ram Libra, it is awesome! Quinze is scared the entire time it happens with only Dorothy keeping her cool. Zechs isn’t stopped by this though, I think he plans to ram Libra into the Earth since it still has it’s engines.

Duo, Quatre and Trowa Infiltration – Duo meets the scientists who are still planning revenge, but helped with Libra because they think Earth did need to learn from war’s horrors. Trowa gets bogged down from troops and escapes and Quatre is shot by Dorothy.

Upcoming Fights – Wufei joins Treize in fighting the Dolls and claims him for after the battle is done to finish the duel in Gundams. Heero is back in Wing Zero too, which means he’ll be facing Epyon as we see Zechs with Noin knowing of the fight that is to come and mourning the lost.

I really enjoyed this episode. It was much better than the last episode since it had consequences, tied to past episodes and set up things to come later. I’m excited for the coming fights and am curious how Libra is going to be defeated.

Final Score: 10 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 44 – “Go Forth, Gundam Team” – Dorothy’s Insanity and Quatre Rises

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This was an episode with a lot of great character moments (largely for Zechs, Quatre and Relena) but was a really solid episode too with so much great action. We see what happens when characters are pushed to their limits and that the coming war is still in flux. The Gundams stand strong as their own faction and we haven’t seen what Treize has in plan yet or what Relena will do.

“Go Forth, Gundam Team” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Kunihiro Mori and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The premise of the episode is that Zechs is trying to wear out the Gundam Pilots in order to destroy them by using the Epyon system on the Mobile Dolls. Heero counters by installing the Zero system onto Quatre’s Gundam Sandrock as he knows that he’ll be facing Epyon while the rest of the team faces the Dolls. Relena is taken on board (she was purposely missed by the cannon) and she once more confronts Zechs as Dorothy is put in charge of the Dolls to take on the Pilots in the battle.

The Pros: Heero – Heero is the one behind the scenes aware of everyone’s abilities, he even cares about Zechs as when Zechs retreats from the battle after Dorothy fails in the fight and hurts the Libra he asks Zechs if he sees a future, as Heero has seen no future for him. They are connected and have a great respect for each other at this point.

Dorothy – She’s insane and it is awesome. After Quatre defeats her using the Zero system to guide the Gundams in battle she fires the cannon to try and destroy them and it fries Libra’s systems making her feel broken…this is of course after she gives Relena a gun to kill Zechs and puts the suggestion in her head of doing just that and after locking her in her room.

Quatre and Team Gundam – Quatre is afraid when he is given Zero system in Sandrock until Heero convinces him it is his way to atone for destroying a Colony…after watching the other Gundams failing in the battle against the Dolls he takes control and manages to beat Dorothy in strategy, proving that he is not just the glue emotionally, he is also the leader as he is the least bound by emotion and fighting unlike the other three pilots. They do a great job in the battle too and manage to escape in time.

Zechs – Zechs protects Relena and Quinze mentions that he wouldn’t have been chosen to lead White Fang if he hadn’t had someone he protected and cared about. It’s a good moment that humanizes both Zechs and Quinze. Relena rejects Zechs though as she doesn’t know if the man holding her is the blood stained Zechs or Miliardo her compassionate brother. This hurts him a lot and we see how powerless he feels when Dorothy fails him showing that he is in over his head.

Relena – Dorothy offers Relena a choice, end the war and kill your brother…or let your brother make peace through this war. She rejects the offers and is locked in her room…this is after she calls out Zechs on his hypocrisy in a Shakespearian ways of mentioning that she does not know which person is holding her…Zechs or Miliardo and at the end it looks like she might be decidiing to kill Zechs.

This was a perfect episode, great action, character development and answering the “So what?” of “Gundam Wing.” We get to see the characters rise to challenges and make tough choices. This episode also makes Quatre one of my favorite characters, he is shown to have the clearest head and to have grown a lot since Wing Zero was controlling him. Proud of him in this episode.

Final Score: 10 / 10. Perfect “Gundam Wing.”

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 41 – “Crossfire at Barge” – Zechs, Guardian of the Colonies

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Well, we know Zechs’s motivation now for wanting to destroy the Earth, and he isn’t wrong…especially with a militarized Romafeller Foundation again now that Treize that has taken charge…and between the two of them, I’d choose Zechs over Treize. Zechs is a real, Treize is manipulative. More on my thoughts on the episode though further down.

The episode was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Akemi Omode.

The story begins with OZ’s forces using the Barge to destroy the incoming White Fang forces. A great battle ensues with Zechs leading the charge in Epyon. Around this time Noin, Quatre and Duo arrive to confront Zechs to join them but it doesn’t go well as they witness the destruction of a Colony by the Barge. This leads to an all out assault by the Gundams against it. On Earth Treize overthrows the Relena faction and puts himself once more in charge of the Romafeller Foundation for the coming war with the Colonies.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs is truly motivated in saving the Colonies. This leads to him destroying Fortress Barge single handily and ignoring Noin when she pleads for him to stop the fight now that Relena is in charge of Romafeller. Zechs truly believes Earth is the problem, which given what happened to the Sanc Kingdom, he has every reason to believe it.

Team Gundam – Quatre, Duo, Trowa and Noin – These are the Pacifist Faction now and are a bit lost since Epyon is much stronger than they are and Noin is not able to get through to Zechs. He’s a true believer and has lost his humanity in the process. Trowa also goes to protect the Colonies from the battle.

Major Sally – She’s back! She also delivers Heavyarms to Heero so that Trowa can get his Gundam back. It is great to see her again and that she is there fighting just like Noin.

Okay: Relena – She wants to try and stop Zechs, but she didn’t fight her position at all. That was a disappointment as she has no reason to trust Treize, since he killed her adoptive Father.

Treize – Why did he want to take control of Romafeller again? He seemed to believe in the Gundams, does he anymore? His reasons for coming out of the shadows are still a mystery.

Dorothy – Dorothy if following Relena to space, her ends are still an unknown.

This episode was great but could have been better. It was a good exploration of Zechs but we got almost no exploration of Treize, Relena or Dorothy. I hope we see that change in the coming episodes as they are all still major players in this.

Final Score: 8,7 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 37 – “Zero vs. Epyon” – Endless War

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Just when it looks like the Romafellers are going to be victorious the theme of “Gundam Wing” comes in to shake that up. The theme I’m talking about is oppression breeds more oppression and war breeds more war. In this instance it’s under the banner of the Artemis Revolution who kidnap Tsuberov and plan to use the Carrier to bring about their end goals of free colonies again. This is of course happening while our characters are facing their own dilemmas too.

“Epyon vs. Zero,” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The story involves the Artemis Revolution of the Colonies fighting again to be free. They kidnap Tsuberov who escapes and sets the Mobile Dolls on them before Wufei arrives to destroy them all. On Earth Epyon an Zero fight to the death and Dermail presents Relena with an offer to be the primary representative of the Romafeller Foundation to bring about peace.

The Pros: Romafeller and Dermail – Dermail is a smart guy. He knows that making Relena the face of Romafeller will make them untouchable and unite the people enough to bring about the World Government and order, which is apparently the aim of the Romafeller Foundation. It’s nice that it’s agenda is finally getting explored. Their goal is peace through domination.

The Artemis Revolution – They are also called the White Fangs and in many cases are ex-Treize faction people fighting for a free Colony that has control over their own destiny. Their approach though is domination as they planned to use Tsuberov’s surrender to dominate the Romafeller Foundation and now plan to use the Cruiser to do the same.

Wufei – Is fighting to stop violence and those who want to fight. It’s his integrity now, which is a bit confusing, but explains why everyone is his enemy. He has no way of knowing if there is violence in anyone’s heart. At this point he is just like Quatre when Quatre destroyed one of the colonies.

Epyon vs. Zero / Zechs vs. Heero – Zechs and Heero are similar but Heero is still purposeless wth Zechs losing his purpose because of Relena’s surrender and him being too late to defend her. Now all he and Heero have is revenge against Romafeller, which they realize after fighting though Heero still sees Zechs as his enemy. In the end they switch Gundams though with Zechs now in Epyon and Heero now in Zero.

Relena – Relena is faced with a hard choice and only makes it when she thinks there is no other way. She sees how people keep fighting and realizes that if she is the face of the enemy and can change them from within than there will finally be peace. She doesn’t trust the Romafeller Foundation obviously though.

The cons: Tsuberov – Nothing interesting or compelling about this character. He was just a man mad with power. His death meant nothing.

This was another great episode and the theme of war breeding more war is done really well. Of course the Artemis Revolution would come around, the Romafeller Foundation was sucking away the resources of the Colonies just to dominate them repeating what they’d already gone through with the Alliance. How this is all going to end remains to be seen though but the Sanc Kingdom’s destruction pretty much shows the death of peace.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 36 – “Sanc Kingdom’s Collapse” – Relena’s Lost Dream

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The Romafeller Foundation has complete control as of the end of this episode. Their enemies are fractured, they are building a super weapon, the symbol of resistance has been caught and the Pilots are fractured. Where we go from here makes me excited to watch on.

The episode was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Yasunao Aoki and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The episode begins with production of the Cruiser by Romafeller alienating their allies in space as on the ground the Romafeller Foundation prepares to invade the Sanc Kingdom for taking in refugees from the kingdoms they have conquered. Around the same time Duo discovers Trowa after he leaves the revolutionaries telling them they need to plan for what they’ll do after Romafeller’s defeated. These are the main stories that unfold with the main focus on Relena and how to save her people.

The Pros: Romafeller Strength – The Romafellers actually feel like a threat and have done a good job taking advantage of everyone to the point that no one can do anything to stop them anymore. They have overwhelming numbers and their enemies aren’t’ united so that now they can walk over a peaceful country (The Sanc Kingdom) and face no consequences.

The Broken Pilots – Duo is smart and sees the bigger picture, he is also worried about Trowa as he has discovered a Trowa who is broken and afraid. Quatre meets up with his allies in the Middle East but lets Relena go when she surrenders and joins Noin in space, Heero has lost in Epyon and is the lone soldier still fighting and Zechs is going to arrive to find his kingdom destroyed once again and his sister captured by his enemies. We also see a depressed Treize and Noin who feel like any hope has been crushed in that moment of surrender.

Dorothy – Dorothy respects Relena for her integrity in surrendering and promises to protect her. Could she be the one good Romafeller? That remains to be seen.

Relena – Relena makes the hard choice of surrendering in order to protect her people and the soldiers still fighting as the Romafeller Foundation has such larger numbers. She fears for her people and regrets having to make the decision in the first place, but knows she must to keep integrity.

This was a great episode and at least for the moment, the loss of Relena’s and Zechs’s dream of a nation living through pacifism as a counter to militarism. It does establish the Romafellers to be no better than the Zeons though, so at least when the final battle comes they won’t be missed. Definitly feeling for Relena and all the Pilots after this episode.

Final Score: 10 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 34 – “And Its Name is Epyon” – The Perfect and the Broken Soldier

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This was an episode that had so much potential that it did not fully realize. This potential largely exists because we get to see two of the best characters in the show explored (Treize and Zechs) but falls flat in Treize is handled and how Heero is still extremely static as a character. I’ll get into more of what I mean in the assessment.

“And Its Name is Epyon” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story involves a trap set for Zechs where he rescues Wing Zero and fights against the Romafeller trap in space while on the ground Heero meets Treize who gives him Epyon and asks him to return a failure and kill Treize as Treize no longer has a purpose to fight.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs is fantastic once again! We see him beat the Romafeller forces until he’s overwhelmed and sacrifices Tallgeese and honors it with his good-bye before becoming the perfect soldier in Wing Zero. Wing Zero doesn’t control him, he controls it…he knows himself enough and the reasons why he fights, making him the perfect soldier.

The Battles – The battle are all great. Whether it’s fighting the Romafellers in space via Zechs’s fight, or Heero in Epyon fighting their forces on the ground with the Treize forces. The action in this episode is really good.

Okay: Treize – Treize wants to die? It doesn’t seem to be over guilt more over listlessness and purposelessness. It wasn’t handled bad persay, but I expected more to come out of the conversation between Treize and Heero besides “Come back a loser and kill me.” I did like the fact that he brought up Relena is stronger than Heero, because at this point, she is.

The Cons: Heero – Heero is doing the same old dance and being overwhelmed by Gundams that are too powerful. First it was Wing Zero and now it’s Epyon. He is not able to kill Treize either thankfully and I think he might realize how vulnerable he is. I won’t say for sure until I know. Heero has a habit o returning to stoic soldier who fights for the sake of fighting a bit to easily. Won’t believe a change has happened until I see it.

This episode was lost potential sadly…and in my opinion you don’t need to see it beyond knowing Treize is rooting for the Pilots, which other episodes already establish. The Zechs moments are good at least.

Final Score: 7 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 28 – “Passing Destinies” – Treize’s Motivation

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This episode is also a clip show but the focus is Treize and we get a lot more information and an important reveal at the end. Treize is a fascinating character, he glorifies battle the way Klingon does and isn’t concerned about outcomes. To him it is all about belief in a cause and how fighting for a just cause can shape you to grow. This makes him fascinating, if not all that bright since he seems to have no conception of peace.

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

The episode picks up where we last saw Treize with him being removed to the Romafeller Foundation headquaters to be under house arrest. It is here we learn their original ideals were the protection of nature, which is why Treize joined them and started the Special Soldiers units within OZ. We see that his focus was protection and the love of battle which is where everything unfolds from.

The Pros: Treize – Treize changed because of pilots and because of Zechs. Zechs found truth beyond battle and found himself as Miliardo again, Une found balance between fighting and peace and stood against the automated soldiers of the Romafeller foundation and the Gundam Pilots’ pure hearts inspired Treize to leave the Romafeller Foundation and begin to help them too. It turns out this is all part of his plan with the Gundam Epyon being a major part. What his endgame is (giving his love for battle) still remains to be seen.

The Cons: Lady Une Alive? – She is mourned in one scene as having been shot but after we see her at the end with the reveal of the new Gundam Epyon. I hope this doesn’t become a plot hole. Also, does any of the main cast die? I’m expecting Trowa back now.

This was another clip show that you don’t need to see. You just see Epyon  and Une and learn some more of Treize’s motivations. I liked it and thought it was better than the last one but that is largely because Treize is so much more interesting than Heero and Relena as are those in his faction like Zechs and Une.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10.