Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (1997): Freedom Isn’t Free

Gundam Wing Endless Waltz poster

    “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz” solved some of the issues I had with the series. That is awesome considering they could have just repeated the same story again and not had any of our characters grow, in the beginning of the film it looks like they might be going that way, but they soon change things and tie the past to the present and most of the characters transform in some way. Suffice to say, it became a favorite anime film after watching.

     The film was directed by Yasunao Aoki and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

      The story begins where we left off, with victory declared and all weapons being destroyed. Things soon change though as the narrator brings up that true peace hasn’t come yet and that people are needed to stop incidents before they arise. From here we see flashbacks of what Project Meteor was first about (dropping a Colony of the Earth and bringing the Gundams to occupy the Earth) and how each Pilot stood up to it in different ways, showing their nobility from the beginning. In modern time a new colony founded by the original founder of Project Meteor named Dekim Barton declares war on Earth via Treize’s daughter Mariemaia who is supporting their cause and wishes to rule by any means necessary. From here it is up to the Gundam Pilots and their allies to stop them.

The Pros: The Animation – The animation is really beautiful. The Gundams are upgraded in how they look and look both beautiful and more threatening than before. It is part of what makes this work, especially since Wufei as an antagonist to the Gundam Pilots feels like a threat, partially due to how they designed Shenlong Gundam.

Dorothy – Dorothy has a small role and is there to remind the people that if they want to be free that they should fight for it, she has grown where she is no longer someone who lives for battle, but now believes there is a time and place for it…especially when it involves facing tyranny like Mariemaia’s government.

Relena – Relena grows in this and is the one who changes things again. In this she helps Mariemaia see that tyranny is empty and that only when one experiences fear can one truly learn to appreciate life. After Heeros cares Mariemaia with Gundam Wing it is Relena who brings her out of it towards the light of peace and stopping the war and occupation of Earth. She still remains one of the leaders of the world after which is great, we also see that she doesn’t take the Peacecraft name anymore but the name of her adopted father who she realizes saw the bigger picture and path to peace.

The Preventors – They are run by Sally and I’m glad they exist as we see them being the equivalent of World Police. It is their goal to stop war and terrorism before it happens. They are almost in the OZ role but have awareness towards others too and seem to only be for extreme situations.

Sally – Sally is the leader who is the one every character goes to when changed…Zechs does when he becomes a Preventor and takes one the name Wind in order to stop Mariemaia. Wufei also finally joins and treats her with respect. She is one of the most badass minor characters in this series.

Noin – She is mostly their to remind Zechs she is there and loves him and has his back but we also see her fighting with the Gundam Pilots against Mariemaia’s forces and is one of them in all but name and lack of major Gundam.

Lady Une – Une is another leader of the Preventors and is the one primarily located on Earth versus Sally who is space. She is the one who helps Mariemaia come around too as she told her that Treize cared about those who fought and why they fought, it’s why he always fought losing battles because he saw a bigger point than dominance. This wins Mariemaia over to the Father she hated, never knew and never recognized her.

Mariemaia – She is the evil child at first but we really get her motivation at the end. She never knew her Father and has been brainwashed by the Bartons to be a tyrant. It takes all our heroes but she does eventually come around and realize she isn’t invulnerable and that was she was doing was wrong. She loses the ability to walk in the process to when a standoff at the end, ends up with her shot.

The Gundam Pilots – This is the good-bye to the Gundam Pilots and we see how they’ve grown as people since the war as well as what they are fighting for in peacetime and who they are when they no longer have to fight.

Quatre – Quatre is the one who frees the Gundams for the final fight against Mariemaia’s forces and is the unspoken leader of them when they are all together. He is confident in his abilities too and we see him stepping into the thick of every fray with joy and awareness. The sadness has gone away as he fights to prevent his mistakes.

Duo – Duo is once again the jokester and a bit of the glue but we see that he’s learned not to do overkill or kill. He fights as the God of Death but not to kill men but to kill war. It’s a great evolution of his character. He is the social one and we see that he was fighting to be with Hilde again and to have a life.

Trowa – Trowa is the taken name of the real Trowa who was Dekim Barton’s son who wanted to drop the Colony on Earth and occupy with the Gundams. He was the was no-name soldier and takes the name because he realizes he can make a difference in it as he understands why soldiers fight and wants to fight to end that endless slog of suffering. We also see how much his life at the Carnival means when he helps rescue them by infiltrating Mariemaia’s faction as a loyalist.

Wufei – Wufei’s Colony supported Operation Meteor which leads to Wufei going Paladin and stealing it so that only the guilty will be killed by him. In this one he is still fighting Treize as he sees Earth as passive and stops fighting the moment they fight for their freedom. He realizes that this is what he wants after he fights Heero who is peace and Wufei realizes he is becoming like Treize.

Heero – Heero is the wise nomad in this and we see him help Wufei grow as a character as well as Mariemaia as he attacks the facility with all his energy in Gundam Wing which destroys Gundam Wing in the process. It is that destruction that wakes up Mariemaia to her mortality and actually makes her care about herself and others beyond domination. He is the nameless soldier still too as at the end we see him as a face in the crowd.

Zechs – Zechs like to take different names, though in the end he’s always Zechs. In this he becomes a Preventor and defeats Dekim’s ship. He also fights with the Pilots against Dekim’s forces and we see how he has changed. His past as Miliardo the tyrant willing to kill for peace is dead and he is the man dead to himself. He is the zen soldier in a way and it is great to see how he’s grown. In the end he leaves with Noin to work on terraforming projects for Relena.

The People of Earth – The people of Earth rebel after Dorothy talks to one group where the Presidential headquarters are and after Relena’s call to action. It is great as it is gradual and we see how the symbol of the Gundams became more.

The Cameos – We see Hilde, Quatre’s men and visual callbacks to characters (the scientists also appear in the flashback). It’s a nice way to connect to the past and show this is a direct sequel to the tv series.

The Message – Pure pacifism doesn’t work and sometimes you have to fight to stop tyrants from taking away freedom. Freedom is something that can’t be given by a ruler but has to be recognized and lived by the people.

Okay: Mariemaia’s Colony X-18999 – We never get the motivation of why they are following Mariemaia fully. I get there are soldiers still holding onto battle (which was Zechs’s problem in the series) but there doesn’t seem to be an identity to them beyond Wufei…so maybe they’re Colonists and not Treize faction members from Earth? They were confusing.

The Cons: Dekim Barton – The guy was a meglomaniac and I didn’t understand why anyone would follow him. He was too crazy all the time, even in flashbacks when he fights with the scientists.

This was a great anime film! If you like Gundam and have watched “Gundam Wing,” you should see it. It was originally an OVA in 1997 and film in 1998, so I chose the 1997 for the original time it was made. It is a powerful film that really shows the writers knew what they were doing in the shows. Fighting doesn’t end when wars end and you can’t give people peace…peace is something realized within and is something that you fight for, it is in that fight for anything that something is truly valued through one’s action. This was the action lived by the characters in this film and one reason why it is now a favorite film.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10. Better than the finale of the show.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 45 – “Signs of the Final Battle” – Heroism

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This was a great episode for the minor characters. We get to see Hilde in action and see just how strong she’s always been as well as getting more development for Dorothy and Quinze, and a return of some of the old Gundams we’d seen before when the shape of the World and factions was different.

“Signs of the Final Battle” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Yasunao Aoki and written by Akemi Omode.

The story involves a rest at first with Zechs ignoring the Gundams knowing that the battle with Treize is what’s most important. Quinze though is scared of the Gundams and takes charge of the Dolls to take them on, Dorothy warns him but he ignores it wanting White Fang to only own the symbol of the Gundam. Around this time, Hilde sneaks on board and steals the plans for Libra in order to help Team Gundam defeat it.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs can see the big picture and knows the Gundams are a factor he can’t predict so will put off facing for the time being.

Quinze – The guy is smart in that he realizes the Gundams will be a threat later, but he’s right in that the Dolls haven’t worked before, so why would they work now? He doesn’t realize this till the end and is scared even more of the Gundams.

Dorothy – Dorothy respects the Gundams and knows the only way to defeat them is with people not programming. She’s learned from losing to Quatre and what she has in plan to do against or for the Gundams remains to be seen.

Team Gundam – Duo rescues Hilde from the Dolls and defeats the Doll versions of Mercrius and Vayeate. It was great seeing them again. They also finally rest too which makes them ready for the fight in this episode.

Relena – Relena meets Hilde but says she is staying. Is she holding out on convincing Zechs and finding a third solution or is she plotting to kill him? Not sure yet.

Hilde – This is Hilde’s episode as she infiltrates the Libra and steals the plans for it and nearly dies in the process. She’s strong and Relena points out how courageous she is and like the Gundam Pilots she is.

Treize has sent all his forces into space, but what his plan is still remains to be seen. Libra has a powerful weapon, what is Treize’s counter? Overwhelming force or something else? Does he expect to use the Gundam Pilots? Per usual, Treize is the mystery this episode.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10. The Pilots are the same and Hilde could have got more development. Still great and a favorite though.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 32 – “The God of Death Meets Zero” – The Gundam that Breaks You

GundamWep32f This was a good episode. I’m a fan of Duo so any episode where we spend more time with him usually makes a good episode to me, but we also get to learn why Quatre went insane beyond his already unstable mental state at the time and why the same thing happened to Heero…Gundam Zero is the Broken Gundam that will break you. This episode is at it’s core, an exploration of that.

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

The episode begins with Duo attacking the New OZ (run by the Romafeller Foundation) to get supplies to continue to upgrade his Gundam Deathscythe. Around the same time an OZ soldier named Trent is trying to gain control of Wing Zero, as he loses control in all the simulations. He goes to Hilde’s colony who is helping Duo and captures Duo so that he can use Duo to learn how to control Gundam Zero, from here the story unfolds.

The Pros: Duo – Duo is awesome in this! It is great seeing him use Deathscythe Hell some more and see his vulnerability as well when he hallucinates Deathscyhe and destroying Hilde’s colony in the simulation where he realizes that Zero cannot be controlled, which leads to him facing Trent and defeating him. He worries on who will use Zero as a weapon next as they’d have to greater than human.

Deathscythe Hell and Gundam Zero Battle – This is a pretty amazing fight, as Zero has close range and ranged attacks, where Deathscythe is primarily all close range attacks. In this way the most that Duo is able to do is neutralize Zero which is enough to kill Trent.

Hilde – She has a small role, but is awesome as she’s Duo’s partner in the revolt against the Romafeller Foundation.

Okay: The Romafeller Foundation – They are their via Tsuberov acting all powerless but still as a threat in the background. They function better as a threat in that way and I’m suprised they haven’t destroyed Gundam Zero yet or tried to make it a Mobile Doll.

This was a great episode, we see that Zero overwhelms who ever controls it and that Duo is working on building up Deathscythe himself, and working with Hilde on her colony. The Pilots are getting in place for the coming battle against Romafeller and preparing.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10.

 

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 23 – “Duo, the God of Death Once Again” – Duo’s Influence

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One thing the Gundam Franchise has always been good at is giving minor characters their due. They may only appear in one or two episodes, but whichever Gundam series they appear in will usually give them justice. In this episode Hilde is a great example of that for “Gundam Wing.”

“Duo, the God of Death Once Again” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Takeshi Yoshimoto and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode picks up where we left off with Duo planning to destroy the Lunar Base where the Romafeller Foundation is constructing more Mobile Dolls and upgrading them. He meets Hilde who says he should volunteer which he sees as his opportunity to attack the base. Their story soon as they face off against each other in Gundams. Around this time Zechs/Miliardo is seeking a peaceful solution with Colony leaders and the demilitarization of the Colonies.

The Pros: Zechs/Miliardo – Zechs has an awesome arc! He has become balance because hew as once OZ and is now full Peacecraft, it gives him a great perspective as he is a soldier fighting for peace which gives power to his words if the Colonies would listen. Fear is a powerful tool though as Zechs is realizing. I’m looking for to him meeting his sister again as I think the fact he is going alone is limiting his influence. Which is a theme, the pilots fail because they aren’t standing as one.

Hilde – Hilde is an OZ soldier who cares for the Colonies and joined OZ to protect them. It is her fighting with Duo, especially after he saves her life from soldiers who care nothing about the soldiers fighting and only following orders. This leads to her becoming a free agent and protecting Duo so he can enter the Lunar Base. She is really awesome.

Duo – Duo is one of my favorite pilots. He becomes friends with Hilde through their adversarial relationships and reminds her to die for something worth dying for and not to in vain. He manages to infiltrate the Lunar Base even with a broken gundam and discovers the Colony Scientists are upgrading Deathscythe and Shenlong leading him to let them capture him until the Gundams are fully upgraded. For once he has hope and is once again in the zone and the God of Death again.

The Colony Scientists – These guys are brilliant. They have a secret base on the Lunar Base and are upgrading the Colony Gundams. They haven’t given up the fight.

Okay: Trowa – Trowa is listening to Lady Une and I wonder if he’s a full believer now or just udnercover.

Lady Une – Lady Une is seeking balance between her two identities and wants to create Treize’s world where soldiers have a place.

This episode was a shaping of things to come, got the pilots together and showed their influence on minor characters. What will come out of this remains to be seen but so far OZ and Romafeller Foundation are the primary enemies, though OZ could soon break from their influence via Treize and Lady Une. This was a great episode well worth checking out.

Final Score: 9 / 10.