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 46 – “Miliardo’s Decision” – Cross Purposes

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This is the episode where we see just how fanatical and lost Zechs has become, as well as how noble and old fashioned Treize is. The two of them are similar and yet different and willing to do anything for those they care about. This episode also involves us learning about Zechs’s motivations when Heero confronts him.

The episode was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story involves Heero infiltrating the Libra in order to confront Zechs and to save Relena. Around this time Treize has brought all his forces into space and challenges Zechs to a duel. Lady Une also awakens.

The Pros: Quinze – He just want to win as he doesn’t want the loss of Colonial life. This is his big reason for using Dolls and why he pressures Zechs to use the cannon.

Dorothy – Dorothy tries to stop Zechs from using the super cannon on Treize and the resource satellite, but fails. We learn here that she also wants peace between the three of them and cares deeply about Zechs and Treize, having grown up with them both. Her love of battle doesn’t extend to friends killing each other.

Heero – Heero faces Zechs and respects Zechs’s wishes as Zechs wants to create a great war to show how pointless war is. Heero agrees with this and leaves him.

Zechs and Treize (and Lady Une) – Zechs and Treize face off and Treize challenges Zechs to a duel. When Quinze mocks the very idea of a dule as being old fashioned Zechs uses the cannon, which is what Treize wanted all along. Both of them want to die because of the guilt they feel. In the case of Treize though, Lady Une saves him in Gundam Wing and reminds him of the glory of combat and that this should be fought as a person finds their worth on the battlefield. This kicks off the Romafeller Forces attacking Libra to end the episode. They are fighting at cross purposes and both want peace for their worlds, which makes this a tragic situation.

The Cons: Relena – She is just silence by Heero and Zechs and is a means to an end. They are fighting so she can pick up the pieces. I hated how this took away her choice. Both Heero and Zechs treated her like dicks.

Lady Une – Does anybody die in this show? It looks like the power of love interest can even bring people out of a coma.

This episode was good, and it was great to see Treize in Tallgeese, but at the same time I hate how Relena’s choice was taken away, and how no one dies. This is an ensemble show but the only ones who die are nameless. “Mobile Suit Gundam” was never afraid to kill named characters. It was willing to create a real sense of loss. I’m not seeing the same in “Gundam Wing.”

Final Score: 8 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 42 – “Battleship Libra” – Know Your Enemy

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This is the episode that Wufei finally finds purpose and gets outside of himself, as well as us also learning what finally happened to Lady Une and what Treize’s motivation is, to a degree. I’m curious how things are going to unfold from here as Zechs is an enemy, an interesting enemy, but an enemy nonetheless, and this is something that all the Gundam Pilots learn.

“Battleship Libra” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Nana Harada and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story begins with Wufei being picked up by Noin, Quatre and Heero and when a White Fang force arrives Heero lets him use Wing Zero so he can learn who his enemy is. Lady Une arrives on Earth as well, having been saved from the destruction of Barge and Dorothy arrives at Battleship Libra as Relena makes her way there too.

The Pros: Wufei – Wufei is finally likable! The guy realizes that the Gundams are his allies and that all of them are needed to defeat Treize and Zechs who are his true enemies. It’s a powerful scene as he realizes that he’ll die fighting alone (having lost the last two battles he fought alone). He’s likable when he actually works with people.

Heero – Heero shows why he’s the leader when he gives Wufei Wing Zero to use for the battle and it then we see that Heero cares about the other pilots and has the moment he got to know them and realized they weren’t enemies. He’s growing and Relena is rubbing off on him.

Team Gundam – Sally, Wufei and Heero are on their way to the Peacemillion to finish upgrading Heavyarms and Shenlong Gundam. Their faction is getting ready for the final fight.

Dorothy – Dorothy grew up with Treize and Zechs and convinces him to let her on the Battleship Libra as she wants to be a part of the battle to come. It’s a good conversation as she is able to reach Zechs who has become lost in his role as leader of the White Fang.

Relena – Is wondering why Zechs has become so lost and thinks about her Father who reminded her of the importance of pacifism. She still holds onto it, even as the world crumbles around her.

Treize – Is motivated to bring about Peace in the same way Zechs is, by ending it in the final war now that the Earth is united (as are the Colonies). Both see things as a means to an end and in their own ways are trying to look after Relena, though completely missing the point in their means to an end approach.

Nichol – Takes Lady Une to Earth, finally stops fighting like an OZ soldier and sacrifices himself in the fight to help Wufei. Good moment of awesome for a minor character.

Zechs – Is a villain now, but an interesting one.  I get why he believes what he does, though it has consumed him to the point where he nearly destroys Dorothy until she sells him on the fact that she wants to be a part of the Great War and be by his side when it ends.

Battleship Libra – Has an awesome design, and is super deadly. Can’t wait to see it in action. Libra and Epyon are going to be the main threat since I don’t know what Treize has to fight with at this point.

This was another perfect episode. I didn’t mind Zechs being the villain again even, it was so wonderful. I am looking forward to the final fight and how it will play out among all the factions. It has been great so far as usually character development is part of the action, it isn’t simply action for action’s sake, which I appreciate.

Final Score: 10 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 35 – “The Return of Wufei” – Factions of Resistance

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This was another episode with a lot of potential, that was better than the last episode but still fell short. There was a lot of setup in this episode without as much payoff, especially in regards to Zechs’s attempts to get more Pilots as allies to take on the Romafellers. We do get to know Wufei a bit more at least, though he’s still the least compelling of the Gundam Pilots.

“The Return of Wufei” was directed by Kunihiro Mori, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The episode begins with Wufei on Colony L5 where he is from doing martial arts with his Clan. It is than Master Long tells him that his true strength comes from within and that is how he will know he is ready. Romafeller also knows he’s on the Colony attacks. After the attack and actions taken by the Colony Zechs makes his way over to try and recruit Wufei to team up with him against the Romafeller Foundation. On Earth Noin trains the former Treize Faction and Alliance soldiers for the coming attack by the Romafeller Foundation on the Sanc Kingdom as Heero is back to not caring.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs can see the bigger picture as seen by his attempt to recruit Wufei. He isn’t successful as Wufei doesn’t trust him since he used to be OZ. They fight and Zechs experiences the loss of control Quatre and Heero felt in Wing and even attacks Peacemillion. After he calms down he is able to relate to what drives the Gundam Pilots more as the scientist tells him what the Wing does to it’s pilots in trying to make them the perfect killing machines.

Wufei – We see Wufei’s clan and he’s actually given a bit of personality. From honoring his Master Long and continuing to train at his old home. He sadly loses it though when his Clan destroys their Colony to resist Romafeller control, this loss of control makes it so he cannot talk with Zechs and sees him as one of his enemies in space. This loss of control and loss is a major theme among the Gundam Pilots.

Noin – Noin sees the big picture and cares about Relena’s vision. She’s also calm and collected throughout it all, it’s a shame Heero can’t see past himself and see that she sees the bigger picture towards a path to peace. Heero is as blind as Wufei.

Quatre – Quatre is seeking Sandrock and his allies in the Middle East. We see him escape a Romafeller ship and escape into the desert after he talks to Noin. He is the only pilot who sees the big picture so far.

Romafeller Foundation – They are constructing a giant cruiser to enforce their will in space. I got a feeling it’s going to be in the final battle and that all the Gundams will be needed to defeat it. At this point the Romafeller Foundation is triumphant.

Okay: Trowa – He is back with the circus and has amnesia. Not much more to say there. We still don’t know who saved him in space.

This episode was good overall, though I felt Wufei could have been explored more and that Zechs should be collecting more allies besides Gundam Pilots the way Relena is in the Sanc Kingdom. It was great seeing the Romafellers raising the stakes with a super weapon (par for the course in Space Operas) and I want Zechs’s plan to work. The Pilots should work together as it is the only way to stop the Romafeller Foundation.

Final Score: 8.8 / 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

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It looks like I’ll be returning to the “Gundam” series sooner than expected. After talking about “Gundam Wing” with one of my close friends, and the amount of times it has been recommended to me has lead me to start reviewing episodes and the series. “Mobile Suit Gundam” is one of my favorite series and dealt so intelligently with arcs, consequences of war and politics, from the sound of it “Gundam Wing” does it better.

“Gundam Wing” is in a different universe but still follows the basic design with Gundams and some of the characters are have parallels to the prime universe. The series ran for 49 episodes and ended with the OVA “Endless Waltz” like “Zeta Gundam” and “Char’s Counterattack” those reviews will come later. The series was directed by Masashi Ikeda and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

I am looking forward to getting to these reviews after seeing the pilot episode, which I’ll talk more about in a review that will be coming soon. Suffice to say it isn’t as clear gut as “Mobile Suit Gundam” was as “Gundam Wing” has many more factions and our protagonists are not good people…they are broken characters and weapons of the rebel colonies against the United Earth Sphere Alliance (UESA). The factions and politics make it almost “Game of Thrones”esque and the fact that there are very few noble characters makes the faction conflicts interesting. I’ll get into more of what I mean when I post my review of the pilot. Until then, it’s great being back reviewing anime.