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.”

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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 30 – “The Reunion with Relena” – The Importance of the Pilots

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With Dorothy in the shadows and the nature of war, I don’t see things going well for Relena’s Sanc Kingdom. This episode is good at showing the new purpose of the pilots though and we see both Quatre’s and Heero’s process of getting there.

The episode was directed by Kunihiro Mori and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The episode picks up where we were before with Dorothy protesting the peaceful way as seeing it as irrational and that humans will always find reasons to fight. Her and Relena debate and we see Relena has become attached to her. We also see that Heero has joined the Treize Faction as a leader to fight against the Romafeller Foundation while Quatre is going among the people to try and find purpose and to get help for the civilians.

The Pros: Relena – Relena is shown to be the leader now and her one disadvantage is that she still is naive in many ways. Would she be willing to kill Dorothy to protect her Kingdom? This is a question that she is not ready to answer.

Dorothy – Dorothy is researching the Pilots and wants to use their actions as an excuse for the Romafeller Foundation to invade and occupy the Sanc Kingdom. She is cruel and loves it but we see she at least has a basis for her philosophy. She is the opposite of Relena and it makes her interesting.

Quatre – Quatre walks among the people and learns of Sanc creating a bulwark against the Romafellers through peaceful resistance. This leads to him to believe that they are needed there, as he sees how the people are suffering and need protection. It is his drive that saves Heero again, much like last time.

Heero – Heero is driven by revenge and he has an enemy worth fighting again. The Romafellers don’t care about people at this point and have lost their original mission of protecting nature. Are there any good Romafellers? Right now, no. They are Heero brought to the extreme of someone always seeking fights and dominance.

Okay: Pacing – Pacing could have been better. The narratives that Relena and Dorothy are going through don’t feel as fleshed out, same with Quatre and Heero, though Quatre does feel like a whole character, like Relena.

This is a good episode and well worth seeing. We get a glimpse into just how compassionate Relena and Quatre are and that their motives are not based in ego but in the people…while Dorothy and Heero are still driven by conflict and to a big degree love of battle, much like Amuro from “Mobile Suit Gundam.” Now Heero at least has  a purpose to fight, the just Sanc Kingdom deserves protection as it gives freedom and is the answer to Romafeller control and can’t be blamed for terrorism because they are non-violent.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 22 – “The Fight for Independence” – Ideals Over Faction

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I really liked this episode and got to say it was a favorite. “The Fight for Independence” was a fascinating deconstruction of Treize, Zechs/Miliardo, Lady Une, Trowa, OZ, The Alliance as well as the Colonies. Things were shown to have grown more complicated and no one liking where things are headed except for the people obsessed with war.

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

The story kicks off with Zechs, now calling himself Miliardo’s arrival in space and him going to the Alliance Colony under General Septum’s son Gwinter to seek a peaceful solution between the Colonies and Earth. The Romafeller Foundation puts Nichol in command and orders Lady Une to serve as a soldier, all this is from orders from Dermail who wants Zechs destroyed. As Nichol fulfills his orders Treize reaches out to Zechs during the battle and asks a request and Trowa faces off against Nichol on the barge.

The Pros: Politics – The Alliance is seeking to learn and grow and not repeat the past, but fears being destroyed because the Colonies are becoming them so they feel they have to fight. The Romafeller Foundation is using OZ men until they don’t need them anymore and can replace them with Mobile Dolls, subordinates like Nichol are rebelling and Zechs is a free anger and trying to create a future. It’s fascinating and wonderful stuff.

Gwinter – Gwinter and his Grandfather listen to Zechs and in the end are prepared to die so people will see the evil of war for themselves as there has never been a colony destroyed. They aren’t destroyed which is good, as Gwinter is a very solid character and better understands the situation going on in their relationship to OZ thanks to Zechs.

Trowa – Trowa has a small but important part. He saves the Alliance Colony because he believes Lady Une would not do the order, which is true. She has a split personality but even her ruthless side knows that if you destroy an entire colony you show the others that you aren’t diplomatic. He’s really perceptive and has a good heart.

Nichol – Hates Trowa for being of the Colonies and joining OZ and is willing to sacrifice Lady Une to destroy the Alliance because he values orders from those above him so much. He is the zealot soldier who can’t see beyond the means to an end of duty. I was pretty happy when Une pulled the gun on him at the end.

Lady Une – We see her lost in the battle going between personalities but becoming the har Lady Une once she is rescued by Zechs. She thinks it was a smart move but not the right move and is pretty much in rebellion against the Romafeller Foundation now since Nichol was just following them.

Zechs/Miliardo – I’m going to keep calling him Zechs as that was how I first met him, but he’s clearly grown beyond what Zechs represented. He has a touching conversation with Treize who feels powerless against the Romafeller Foundation and shows that they are still friends when he rescues Lady Une. We also see his diplomatic side as he seeks to break the cycle of violence by convincing the Alliance to be peaceful. He also admits that he left OZ because it was no longer about choice and helping soldiers and people become stronger and have purpose and to live with honor.

Treize – Treize gives us the theme of the episode when he admits he can’t go into space even though Une is there and he clearly cares about her. He feels guilt over contributing to her split personality and also feels powerless in the face of the Romafeller Foundation which has grown in power. For this reason he seeks to find his power again to fight them and knows the only ones who can relate to him are Zechs and Une.

The Message – The automation is war is bad…we see this in how the Romafeller Foundation plans to use the Mobile Dolls to take out all the factions they deem unworthy in the conflicts on Earth and their constant targeting of the last of the Peacecrafts is part of that. We also see that when difficult decisions exist people can make sacrifices for the right thing, like Zechs saving Une and Trowa stopping the Lazer in destroying the Alliance. This is why I like this show.

This is a great deconstruction of what it means to be a soldier and shows that for a soldier to be just they have to do more than simply follow orders, since some orders like the use of the Lazer should not be followed. Trowa represents the ideal soldier here, as does Zechs who is following ideals now and acting as a diplomat and a soldier. He has found the Peacecraft ideals again and is living them through. This is one reason why Zechs is the best character in the show.

Final Score: 10 / 10. This episode is why I enjoy reviewing this show.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 20 – “The Lunar Base Infiltration” – What is Done for the Mission

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This was a great episode at showing just how costly sticking to a mission can be and not allowing oneself to change. We see this in the actions of Lady Une, in Trowa and in Heero as they are the main characters who we really get glimpses into this episode. I’ll get into more of what I mean later in the review.

The episode was directed by Kunihiro Mori and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

“The Lunar Base Infiltration,” begins with Trowa as one of Lady Une’s test pilots who is chosen to be the pilot for the Gundams the captured Colony Scientists are building. Lady Une speaks to him privately which gives him the chance to critique OZ which begins to break the illusion she’s been embracing as the diplomat and around the time Heero does his attack attempting to destroy the nearly finished Gundam.

The Pros: OZ’s Gundams – OZ has two new Gundams and they are awesome! There is the red Mercurius with an unstoppable shield and Vayaete a blue gundam with the largest beam cannon. Can’t wait to see these two in action against the 6 pilots.

Sally Po and the Magunacs – Both of them are trying to get to the Gundams, Sally to destroy it because she knows it is what Wufei would want and the Magunacs to repair since it is what Quatre would want. After a heated battle they reach an understanding and go their separate ways with respect for each other and the pilot’s whose ideologies they follow.

Trowa – Trowa is a great character in this as we see him subverting Lady Une by revealing OZ for what it is…an organization that values craftyness and guile over morality and because of this he would make a good pilot. He also does what he needs to do to remain undercover, from capturing Heero to destroying Deathscythe.

Deathscythe’s Destruction – Poor Duo screams when he sees it live. He just lost a huge part of his identity this episode.

Lady Une – Lady Une is torn with OZ’s military holding her to that role where she has no empathy, and the role Treize has put her in as the diplomat. She is torn because of this and it nearly breaks her when Trowa speaks truth about OZ.

Okay: The scientists – Again, they don’t have distinct identities, and it’s unknown how they are going to use the new Gundams against OZ.

Heero – He only appears at the end and attempts to destroy Mercurius and fails before Trowa captures him.

This was a good character episode and is beginning to show the tole of the war on a lot of the characters…from Trowa joining OZ, Heero willing to go to any lengths to succeed in the mission and Lady Une’s split personality…and we’re only 20 episodes in. Things are just going to keep unfolding.

Final Score: 8.6 / 10.

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 12 – “Bewildered Warriors” – Wufei’s Purpose

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        “Bewildered Warriors” is a good world building episode and a great chance for us to glimpse into the mind of Wufei, as well as getting some time with Sally too! It’s a fun episode and good as a stand alone. I’ll go into more of the details of this in the assessment.

      The episode was directed by Tetsuya Watanabe,  Kunihiro Abe and Tsukasa Dokite and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

       The episode begins with Heero hanging with Trowa at the traveling circus healing from his wounds. It is here he learns that they haven’t received any missions and OZ has been quiet…We then pick up in a country in Asia that had a peaceful leader ruling until the Alliance replaced them with Colonel Bunte who is dealing with guerrillas being lead by Sally. Wufei is pulled into one of their fights to defend them and begins facing the shame and healing he feels from losing to Treize. From here the stories unfold.

The Pros: Sally – Sally leads the guerrillas and reminds Wufei that you don’t have to be strong to be just and to fight. I really like her character as she doesn’t even let death stand in her way of doing the right thing. It is this nobility that inspired Wufei to fight again and reminds him of who he is…even if he doesn’t feel worthy to fly the Gundam.

Trowa and Heero – These two are very similar as Heero’s near suicide has Trowa considering if that is what he should do as well…which we see him follow through on doing when he hears they are going to a military base of OZ’s and we learn that his Colony voted against sending the Gundams so he can’t attack as it would put his home at risk. It makes me curious how Heero’s self destruction will inspire his next move against OZ. These two are similar in that they seem to seek death.

Wufei – Wufei sees those who are weak as unworthy and sees himself as unworthy because he lost to Treize, thankfully Sally turns this around and he helps liberate the country they are fighting in against OZ and Bunte when they are nearly wiped out and he decides standing is the only thing he can do, even if he feels unworthy. It’s a good moment and shows that his character is beginning to heal and to grow.

Okay: The Guerrillas – They are led by Sally but don’t have any motivation beyond overthrowing the corrupt ruler Colonel Bunte. This isn’t bad but we don’t know anything about them really. What is their name? What country are they in? All these details are lost.

The Cons: Colonel Bunte – He’s a baddie who has no dimension at all. He’s hated for the sake of being hated and is nothing but cruel to the people with his soldiers and to his own men when he betrays them. Makes me wish the baddies of “Mobile Suit Gundam” who usually had a lot of complexity.

    This is a solid episode, even though Colonel Bunte is a pretty one dimensional baddie, and we don’t even know the name of the country he rules. It still doe a good job of establishing OZ’s control and how they aren’t to be trusted by anyone given how quickly they turn on Bunte’s troops after he betrays them for OZ’s help against Wufei’s Gundam. It also is a great Wufei episode and gives him complexity that he badly needed, and anytime Sally pops up is usually a good sign.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 10 – “Heero, Distracted by Defeat” – Victorious OZ

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“Gundam Wing” has a lot more complexity in factions and characters than the original “Mobile Suit Gundam,” and we see some of this of the factions arising within OZ in regards to the different mentalities of combat and what entails victory. This made the episode intriguing, as well as us experiencing a loss very early on…We are only on Episode 10 after all.

“Heero, Distracted by Defeat,” was directed by Nana Harada, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The episode begins with a meeting of the OZ leaders (Lady Une, Noin, Treize and Zechs), from here Treize meets them all individually and puts Lady Une in charge of dealing with the rebels and the transfer of the Taurus Mobile Suits to a secure location and dividing the Colony Gundams by having a decoy band traveling by land while the read transport travels by air. From here the story unfolds as the Gundams fall into the trap.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs shows once again why he is one of my favorite characters in this episode as he rejects his birth name and being named a Count choosing only to remain a soldier, knowing that he will have to do much more things that will make him unworthy to lead if there is ever to be peace. It is fascinating and he lets Heavyarms take Heero to safety after Heero sacrifices his Gundam to protect the colonies. He also matches Heero in the fight as he fights in Tallgeese against Gundam Wing.

Noin – Resists Lady Une throughout the episode in small ways, such as not letting her talk to Treize and shutting her down with Treize’s words as Treize disproves of her brutal and harsh methods. She also is supportive of Zechs and what he is going through during the mission.

Treize – Treize speaks Zechs true name and wants him to lead, but respects Zechs’s choice not to lead. He also puts Lady Une in charge, though why remains to be seen as she is brutal and gets the job done, but everytime it comes at a cost. The reasons he wants people to hate OZ right now has yet to be explained.

The Gundam Pilots – The Gundam pilots lose this one and Wufei doesn’t join the battle, which costs them victory. He feels unworthy after losing to Treize and the only reason they weren’t annihilated was because of Heero’s sacrifice.

Dr J. – Reveals he is behind the fight against OZ and surrenders. Whether he is telling the truth or not remains to be seen, but it shows he puts the Colonies first, and it was great seeing him again.

Okay/Con: Lady Une – Is jealous and small thinking, which is a shame because her methods of blackmailing the Colonies could be critiqued for other reasons rather than her character. She was called out afterall. Right now there isn’t anything to like about this character now, she isn’t even good to her allies. She’s a bit crazy at this point as she was ready to destroy Colonies to get them to surrender.

This episode was really good, but not a favorite. Treize and Lady Une are still vague in their motivations and the Gundam Pilots didn’t get enough exploration in this one. They have brotherhood but they didn’t get an individual chance to shine this episode. These issues brought the episode down.

Final Score: 8.5 Was really good.