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

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    “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 31 – “The Glass Kingdom” – The Vulnerable Sanc Kingdom

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Politics are in play and the Romafeller Foundation is trying to stop the Sanc Kingdom so that there will be no resistance to their exploitation of conflict and profit from it as they gain total dominance. This episode was also Relena’s seeking of balance, and learning that it is right to defend yourself when you are attacked.

The episode was directed by Nana Harada, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode picks up where we left off with the Pilots going undercover in the Sanc Kingdom, with Quatre wanting to protect, while Heero wants revenge. It is here he meets Dorothy who has figured out his identity and spies on them when Romafeller attacks the Treize Faction group that retreats into Sanc Kingdom territory which provides a dilemma for the Treize Faction squad leader, Relena and Noin.

The Pros: Treize Faction Squad – These guys were great, the commander was willing to sacrifice himself and his troops so that Relena and Sanc would not be targeted. He was a good man and it was great seeing him fight, even as he was injured.

Noin – Noin is the practical side of Relena’s idealism, as she knows they need to defend themselves from the Romafeller Foundation as they are a threat to them. This is her reason for keeping Gundam Wing, which she uses in the battle with Heero as the pilot to stop the Romafeller attackers.

Dorothy – She is the mysterious spy at this point, what she wants remains to be seen as she makes Heero angry enough to stab through her helmet when they are dueling at school. She also watches how the battle goes so she can give the go ahead for the Romafeller Foundation to invade as the Gundam Pilots are wanted dead.

Relena – Relena is idealism but listens to Heero and Noin and puts them in charge of protecting the Sanc Kingdom. She realizes in this episode she needs to understand why people want to fight if she is ever going to help people find peace.

Quatre – Quatre is the compassionate side of the conflict and brings Heero back from hate to seeing duty and ideals beyond just fighting. He is a great character and others recognize his compassion too.

Heero – Heero is bent on revenge but is willing to find some form of balance when Quatre and Relena give him a cause beyond revenge against Romafeller. In this way he is striving to become like the original Heero who was an advocate for peace who died for it.

Okay: The Romafeller Foundation – I still don’t quite understand what these guys want beyond control of everything. What is their end goal? What happens if they win? This has not been answered yet.

This was a great character episode and well worth checking out. It is an episode of contrasts, from the Sanc Kingdom to Romafeller, the Gundam Pilots Quatre and Heero and Relena, Noin and Dorothy. This episode is well worth your time.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 27 – “The Locus of Victory and Defeat” – Relena and Heero’s Clip Show

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This episode was a clip show, and there is only so much you can do with a clip show, but we at least get what is going on in Heero’s mind and we get an update on how Relena has changed and grown and how the events have changed them all. That I did appreciate.

The directors were Kunihiro Mori, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

As stated above, this episode is recounting the last 26 episodes from the point of view of Relena and Heero and their views of those around them and the events that unfolded.

The Pros: Relena – I finally liked her character after this episode. We see that she was once selfish and now she is selfless as she is fighting for the greater good. She has compassion that Heero finally values.

Heero – For Heero it is learning that he has allies and that the mission is not everything. We see this when he first protects Relena and when he is able to get beyond the programming of Wing and surrenders himself to Quatre as they escape to Earth.

Okay: The Clips – They did a good job of summing everything up but we didn’t get much new information so that is my biggest issue.

This is an unnessasry episode, but I appreciated it since the show is good quality and we get to see some of the great events that have unfolded and made this show unforgettable. Check it out if you like the show.

Final Score: 7 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 26 – “The Eternal Flame of the Shooting Stars” – Romafeller’s Revealed

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This is the episode that shows that OZ is truly one of the better factions and that the true villains are the Romafeller Foundation and their plan for domination of the Colonies and Earth via the Mobile Dolls. We also see how broken the pilots are and are given questions in regards to the deaths of some characters (Trowa and Une maybe alive?) We shall see though as we finish up the last half of the series.

The episode was directed by Yasunao Aoki and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode begins with Heero and Quatre ordered to be killed by Tsuberov. The troops disagree and we are introduced to the Treize faction who are also fighting the Romafeller Foundation and their invasion of Earth, though the Romafeller Foundation is winning the war by sheer numbers. From here the episode unfolds with Quatre and Heero in roles traded as Heero becomes the new insane soldier.

The Pros: The Treize Faction – The Treize faction is fantastic and the only ones fighting the Romafeller Foundation besides the Gundam Pilots. These guys are great and their gundams have shields too. They also rescue Quatre and Heero for the Colony Scientists who are working with them against the Romafeller Foundation.

Heero – Heero loses it this episode when he is hooked up to Gundam Wing and targets those who he sees as his enemies (mirroring what happened to Quatre when he was in Wing). From here it unfolds with him planning to kill the scientists until he has a vision of Quatre and one of Relena before he leaves the Gundams behind and escapes with Quatre to get to Earth.

Quatre – Heero brought Quatre back and this episode Quatre brings Heero back. He has finally learned from his father and found himself again. He only fights to defend and realizes the Gundams are a major problem as they are the greatest weapon of war and keep the cycle of violence going. He is a wise character in this episode and feels what he did to the Colony he destroyed.

The Message – The Message is that the cycle of war will always continue as long people build weapons and become weapons. It’s a great message and it shows how the use of weapons and war can break people as it broke the Gundam Pilots.

Okay: The Scientists – These guys are neutral again. They discover that the Pilots are faster than the Mobile Dolls and the computer system in the Gundams. They are special and that when the system makes their abilities sharpened. They make a great comment too on how they will not let Gundam Wing defeat them…as it survived the explosion and may serve a purpose later.

This was a great episode and a must see! We get to see Heero and Quatre grow as characters, see how Gundam Wing is out of everyone’s control…and the Romafeller Foundation’s conquest. This is the episode that establishes the factions for later and shows that some of our heroes may still be alive. It is a lot of fun and full of shades of grey.

Final Score: 9.6 / 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.

 

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.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 13 – “Catherine’s Tears” – A Soldier’s Purpose

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      “Catherine’s Tears” gives us a great glimpse into Heero, Zechs and Trowa and what makes a good soldier. This idea is analyzed and we see it through these characters in contrast to the new characters we meet in this episode. For this reason and how it is executed it is definitely a favorite episode.

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

         The episode picks up with Trowa ready to execute his plan against OZ, who he has discovered is preparing for another invasion of the Colonies via the plans of Lady Une. Elsewhere two OZ Gundam pilots (Alex and Mueller) who studied under Noin are being ruthless in their destruction of OZ and arrive to stock up at the base where OZ submits himself to them to prove Tallgeese to them and to himself. From here the stories unfold.

The Pros: Alex and Mueller – It seems like every anime has at least one of the type of characters that these guys are. They are sociopaths, whenever Alliance surrendered to them they just executed the survivors. This later comes back to bite them when Zechs destroys them after the Alliance surrenders to Tallgeese who quickly gets them to surrender when it is on the front lines. They are sociopaths but still care about their fellow soldiers and hate Zechs because they believe the soldier who gave his life for OZ and used Tallgeese to liberate Sanc was doing it under orders. Little did they know Zechs’s true values.

Trowa – Trowa risks his life to destroy the Alliance supplies that OZ us using to begin their invasion on the colonies. He is ready to die until Catherine reminds him that he will be missed and he’s forgetting who he is leaving behind. Giving into his emotions, he stays, which he later learns is what Heero believes in too. To follow ones emotions and keep integrity is the most a person can expect to be in Heero’s eyes.

Catherine – Catherine’s sympathy and love saves Trowa’s life and because of the perspectve she gives, even though OZ property was destroyed and the show ended the leader of the circus now respects Trowa and wishes him the best after he and Heero leave.

Zechs – Zechs is awesome and we see that above all he values the morality of soldiers and they shouldn’t just be effective at ending battles quickly, which is the philosophy of Noin since she values the lives of her soldiers over anyone else. Zechs is proven to be correct in that supporting soldiers above morality leads to sociopaths like Alex and Mueller. He has become a master of the Tallgeese now.

The Role of the Soldier – Noin believes that they should win and who they are doesn’t matter. Zechs it doesn’t matter if they die, it matters how they live. Zechs captures this better as in the end matters how a person lives not simply living, especially when you are a soldier and lives are on the line. If you are harming those who have surrendered you are worse than the enemy or on par if that is how they practice on the battlefield.

The Music – The music was great in this episode and really captured the tension of different scene and made dramatic moments greater…it did exactly what it needed to do.

     I recommend this episode for sure! I had no issues with it dealt with how a person should live as well as how complex war is and what reasons people have to die…as well as to live. This is my kind of episode as it was philosophical as well as bringing a depth that I’ve always appreciated in all the great animes, shows, films and stories.

Final Score: 10 / 10. Perfect episode.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 8 – “The Treize Assassination” – Defining the Factions

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The UESA is still around and Colonel Sally now leads the faction! This was a great episode for showing that things are not as they appear to be and that factions we thought were gone are still around, as well as getting more motivation behind characters like Une, Treize, Wufei, Sally and Heero. I would have made the episode longer though.

“The Treize Assasination” was directed by Takeshi Yoshimoto, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode picks up where we left off with the Pilots learning from Wufei that they were used by Treize and OZ. This leads to Wufei and Trowa leave to get revenge, while Sally takes over the base and asks Heero’s help to disarm the missles that Lady Une set to blow to destroy the Gundams. Around this time Quatre and Duo are making their escape. We also see how the war against the UESA is going on the Noin and Zechs front as well.

The Pros: Heero – Heero’s mission from Sally to stop the missiles is one of the earliest things in the episode, and he succeeds even though he only had a ten percent chance of doing so. We see what motivates him as he realizes how he was used and failed in his mission of ending the war. It’s sad because you see how broken he’s become and how it takes Sally giving him a mission for him to act and even defend himself. This is no doubt going to play a part later.

Sally – Sally is one of the leaders of UESA forces and takes care of the OZ forces at Edward’s base. She convinces Heero to save them all and shows that the UESA and Colonies can work together. I’m rooting for her to lead the UESA as she sees the bigger picture and is an effective leader.

Lady Une – Decides to destroy the base by detonating the missiles, which fails after Heero succeeds in turning them off. She learns that Treize didn’t want her to do that and that he feared what the destruction would do to the Earth…forcing her to rethink her philosophy of destruction of enemies being the first and foremost agenda for OZ after Treize asks her to learn about OZ. She also defends Treize from Wufei in his Shenlong Gundam and does a really good job of it before Treize challenges Wufei to a duel.

Noin – Noin is worried about the cost of OZ’s revolution, though she believes in Zechs so is willing to take the risks that come.

Zechs – Zechs destroys the UESA General Daigo at UESA headquarters who ordered the invasion of Zechs home of the Sanc Kingdom because they chose to speak against the UESA agression. This lead to his family of the Peacecrafts being killed. Zechs fulfills his revenge in this scene and we learn his backstory.

Wufei – Wufei fights with honor and when Treize challenges him to a duel he leaves his Gundam to fight. He later loses the duel though and is broken in the process, as he sees Treize and OZ as being responsible for the loss he faced.

Treize – Treize is a curious figure. He wanted the Gundams destroyed, but not by any means…and he respected Wufei for fighting him in a duel outside his Gundam (reason he didn’t kill him). I get why he did the revolution to some degree, the UESA was corrupt, but he killed the leaders who had the best chance of reforming it. What his end game is still remains a mystery.

Okay: The Other Three Gundam Pilots – Trowa, Duo and Quatre talk about the ones who take the risk. Trowa sees how broken Wufei is and leaves him alone and Quatre believes in Heero while Duo is ambivalent but celebrates Heero when the missiles don’t go off. Comradery is slowly building between them all.

This was a great episode that gave us some really good glimpses into a lot of the characters. What we see is that there are heroes on all sides and that even our antagonists (Zechs and Treize) have motivations behind what they do, even if the motivations are unknown at this point. Every character living currently has some form of code of honor that they strive to uphold, which makes the story compelling as we now know the UESA is around making this a 3 faction war.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 5 – “Relena’s Secret” – The Rebel’s Story

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       “Relena’s Secret” is a great episode! It is the episode where we get to finally see where the Rebels are coming from and see just how unjust OZ and the UESA truly are. The motivation of what drives Heero and the pilots is also explored in how we see the perspective of the rebellion.

       The episode was directed by Yasunao Aoki, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

       The episode begins with Dorian visiting the Colonial leaders at the same time Lady Une attacks with a bomb that kills them and nearly kills Dorian. This leads to the UESA blaming the attack on the rebels and using it as an excuse to further subjegate the colonies. It is then Relena learns of her true origin and what drives Heero when she meets the scientist who chose him…Dr. J. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Lady Une – As Treize’s agent she is pretty awesome as she manages to kill the Colonial leaders and make certain that OZ tech will be used in the future as the UESA ups the conflict in order to further subjugate the colonies. It’s sad that she kills Dorian, but it at least advances the story and establishes her as a good antagonist.

Dorian – Dorian is one of the characters who already sees the bigger picture and that peace is needed between the Colonies and UESA and that the UESA should respect the independence of the Colonies. For this he dies but not before we learn that he took in Relena who is in fact a Peacecraft and the last of her house as far as Dorian knows. RIP…continuing the tradition of killing off interesting characters in any Gundamverse.

Heero and Duo – The two attack the same place and there is a standoff until Heero saves Duo’s life and says they are even. They have an interesting relationship and it does a good job of establishing Heero as not a completely bad guy.

Dr. J. – Is a scientist with an artificial hand who chose Heero to be their champion, naming him after the leader of the Colonies who fought for peace and was killed for it. He wants peace but sees war as the only way and believes Heero is the only way to go about that. He explains that the Colonies have lost hope and have been so oppressed the child soldiers have become the only ways to fight back and that Relena reminds him of Heero as both are genuine but now both are broken. He warns here to stay away from Heero for that reason.

OZ’s Gambit and the Military Industrial Complex – OZ making the conflict worse between the UESA and Colonies is sad and brilliant. Sad because innocents are only tools to advance their agenda and brilliant in that OZ tech. will be needed even more so now.

Okay: The Rebels – We meet a few of the rebels but the only one who feels fully fleshed out is Dr. J, the others don’t get any development, which is a shame. They are only in survival mode and function more an idea than characters. They aren’t bad at least.

   This was a great episode, it critiqued the Military Industrial Complex and had cost, as well as exploring some of the characters and showing more dimension to them and their drives. Heero needed this episode, but now I can better understand what drives the characters and rebels, thanks to Dr. J. Now we may see Relena finally grow as a character too.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10. Definitely a favorite episode.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 4 – “The Victoria Nightmare” – The Spark the Gundams Made

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    “The Victoria Nightmare” is a good episode for exploring Zechs’s character, how the UESA is making things worse, Wufei’s ideology and the connection between the other Gundam Pilots. This episode really gives us a glimpse of what is to come from the feel of it as well as giving us the chance to know two other fascinating characters.

    The episode was directed by Tetsuya Watanabe and Atsushi Shigeta and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

    The premise picks up where we left off with Zechs going to Victoria base since he heard a Gundam was going to attack there and meeting his colleague, friend and possible love Noin who has been training the new recruits. Shenlong Gundam attacks and the story unfolds from there. Around the same time Duo and Heero are repairing their Gundams and the UESA is holding a meeting on what to do about the rebel colonies since they know that is where the Gundams came from.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Noin and Zechs – These two have a great relationship. They both went to the academy together and their approaches balance out one another. Noin is about saving soldiers while Zechs is about defeating the enemy no matter the cost since those who survive learn. You can tell why each of them are specials because of this. We also learn that Noin is better but took the mentor role for Zechs so that he would be seen as the best of the group. Sadly we don’t see why this is the case but we haven’t truly seen them in action yet in my opinion.

Tallgeese – Tallgeese is the Gundam that Zechs gets at the base as it is as large as the Gundams being fought and is their best bet at fighting it. We see ones later being based off it so that OZ and UESA have a chance to fight back against the Colonies’ Gundams.

Heero and Duo – I like how these two interact. Duo is nice and carefree, while Heero is morose and bitter and doesn’t care about anyone. We see this when he steals equipment from Deathscythe so he can fulfill his mission of destroying a Gundaniam shipment. Heero is about the mission where Duo is trying to make a life as well as do the mission.

Trowa and Quatre – Quatre is a musician and he and Trowa play together. The music in this scene is beautiful and it’s a nice contrast to the war going on, especially as Quatre is such a tender personality.

Vice Foreign Minister Dorian and the UESA – Dorian wants them to not up the war with the colonies as Operation Meteor came about because of the UESA oppression. No one listened to him though, except Treize who maybe killing him as for now the war is profiting OZ.

Treize – We really see how cold and calculating he is and that he has no room for people who don’t serve his purpose as he tells Lady Une to take care of Dorian after he hears about what was said during the meeting.

Wufei’s Assault on Victoria – Wufei does a lot of damage but is nearly injured by Noin before he destroys one of the ships and takes the lazer that the base was holding. I don’t like Wufei at this point as he sees “Bleeding hearts and women” as unworthy of death because they are so weak. I did like the battle though and Shenlong Gundam is a pretty amazing Gundam.

The Con: Wufei – Wufei is sexist and obsessed with being the best. Right now I have no reason to like the character as he is the definition of arrogance.

Relena – She still has a death wish as the one scene we see her in is her screaming for Heero to come and kill her. Why are we supposed to like this character again?

     This was a really good episode where we got the chance to know Dorian and Noin, both are fascinating characters. Also it’s great seeing that the UESA is slowly becoming a threat again…mostly due to Zechs and Treize but it’s a good direction that the show is heading. I’m looking forward to see how the war unfolds and more about where the Gundam Pilots came from.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10. Solidly great.