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 – Great Character Moments, Good Intent…Not Enough Loss or Focus

msgwE6    I’ve been reviewing “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” for a few months now, and overall I was impressed it. I get why one of my closest friends recommended the series to me and there is a lot to like about this series and a lot I did like about this series. In this I’m going to go into what worked and didn’t work about “Gundam Wing.”

The things that were strongest about this series were the animation, music, characters and theme.

The animation is absolutely beautiful in “Gundam Wing.” Character and Gundam designs are detailed and solid and the fight scenes flow as well as presenting a lot going on with very little on the screen. This gave a lot to the action scenes and the character moments as it was really good at making a single character the point of focus in a scene and giving us that perspective. “Mobile Suit Gundam” had a better story, but “Gundam Wing” had much more beautiful animation. The Gundams all have beautiful designs. From Shenlong Gundam’s dragon hands, to the black Gundam Deathscythe, to Sandrock’s simple design or Epyon and Gundam Wing’s deadlyness. So much work was put into making the Gundams look unique and amazing.

The soundtrack was also beautiful as well. It had a sci. fi. 80’s feel at times, but other times got instrumental…in all cases the music beautifully complimented what was going on in the scenes.

The characters were the strongest part of this series, without a doubt. Whether it was the Gundam Pilots who each had very distinct personalities: Trowa – disconnected and trouble feeling, Heero as the empathetic leader, Quatre as the glue of the group who had the most compassion or Duo as the jokester who was always ready be courageous…each had depth beyond their base character traits. This also applied to the antagonists as well. Treize remembered every person who had died in the wars he started, Lady Une had a bipolar personality, Noin cared deeply for her soldiers and the Pilots and Zechs cared but was afraid of his own feelings and vulnerability. All these characters, including the main character Relena were what drove this series and made it interesting.

The theme of the series is that there would always be reasons to fight and that factions and hatred brought about more factions. We saw this with the United Earth Alliance losing to OZ as the Colonies fought for independence and how within OZ arose the Romafeller Foundation who was controlling it, the Treize Faction loyal to Treize who had resigned and that their actions brought about the White Fang in space, a faction of Colonials with an OZ mentality reacting to OZ, Romafeller and Alliance oppression. Throughout the series factions were always changing and characters joined different factions as their own left them. At one point the Colonies abandon the Gundams and join OZ who is ruling through soft power and later on they are working with Treize against White Fang and the Colonies. This theme is fantastic and shows that even within history, even if a faction is destroyed the philosophy behind it will still live on.

The theme of the broken soldier was also prevalent too. For many of the Pilots (who were just children) the conflict breaks them and they have to find themselves again and heal. They start out alone and eventually come together as victims of the war just trying ot make their own path and stop the fighting. It is a beautiful arc in how they realize this theme and come together at the end. They are the child soldiers of the Colonies, forsaken when it was convenient and used by those around them until they were able to make their own path.

The greatest problems with the series were lack of focus, especially at the end…and lack of loss, which was surprising given the sheer amount of war that goes on in this series.

“Gundam Wing’s” biggest problem is lack of focus. We see it early on in how the Alliance is forgotten about, even though an Alliance colony in space is rescued at one point…we don’t see what the world thinks of Treize being under house arrest or how he started building Epyon or the reasons why. The ending just kind ties everything together nicely without showing us how the Colonial and Earth leaders were able to reach a peace accord, or their reasons for doing so. It completely ignores all reasons for hatred that have been building up this entire team, leading to the Great War in space. This lack of focus is also shown in how we don’t see the Gundam Pilots at the end, except Heero…how the Gundam Scientists ended up on Libra and how they knew Quinze or why Zechs was so insecure. His reasons for not admitting his weakness made no sense, but were just a bigger problem of the lack of focus that there was throughout. “Gundam Wing” didn’t have this problem. Zeon was the threat, Zeon put White Base 7 through huge losses and the victory at the end, as well as Char’s change meant something. Not so for “Gundam Wing” in many cases.

The final problem was lack of loss. Relena’s father dies and the Gundam Scientists and the Romafeller leaders do…but the only loss that is really felt is Treize’s death and we kind of saw that coming when Wufei remembered his rematch. This could have been changed by Trowa dying and that death changing Quatre, as it looked like it had, Zechs actually dying at the end or resolving his weakness issues and Lady Une dying to establish the Romafeller’s as a threat. “Mobile Suit Gundam” was not afraid to kill off named characters who we were given the chance to grow attached to, not so for “Gundam Wing.” Most characters who look as if they die, actually don’t…and it just cheapens their sacrifice or the threat of whomever did the act.

For all the problems with the series I have though, it does hold up. I want to see “Endless Waltz” to see what it adds and if it answers any more questions and in regards to the theme, the message was good…it just made peace to simple. The people of Earth and the Colonies were given no reason to care about their fight…Hell Earth probably would have wanted Heero to win since Zechs was trying to commit genocide upon the Earth until he changes his mind and the Gundam Pilots prevent him from succeeding in his plan. This is ignored to bring about an easy solution to peace between Earth and Space and the narrator says it is successful too, unlike “Mobile Suit Gundam” where there is peace but also a question of how long it will last.

Would I recommend this series? Without a doubt. It is a favorite anime and will remain so, even if “Endless Waltz” ends up being terrible. “Endless Waltz” is the film that is a sequel to the series that I plan on checking out later. Good character arcs and the theme of change in politics were both really well executed overall. If you are looking for a good anime that is a classic in it’s own right, check out “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.” It may not have dealt with the consequences of war as well as “Mobile Suit Gundam” but the political intrigue at times make it feel like an anime “Game of Thrones,” and the character relationships and arcs are reason enough to judge this anime as great.

Final Score: 9 / 10.

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

Gw-ep49-the-final-victor

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

Gw-ep48-takeoff-into-confusion

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

Gw-ep46-milliardos-decision

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

msgw42

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 25 – “Quatre VS. Heero” – Sacrifice and the Automation of War

msgw25

Where the last episode felt unfinished, this one feels complete and is actually a great place for a mid-season finale. This episode reveals the Romafeller Foundation’s plot, shows the character of Treize and Une and shows how our pilots have changed and their lack of place in this new world. It is definitely a favorite, and has some pretty amazing fights too.

“Quatre VS. Heero” was directed  by Tetsuya Watanabe, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Masashi Ikeda.

The episode picks up where we left off with Trowa incapacitated while Heero and Quatre fight while Wufei, Duo and the scientists are losing air. What also happens, besides the fight continuing is Treize resigning from control of OZ and Lady Une mounting a rescue attempt to save the Pilots. Around this time is when Quatre realizes Trowa is in danger and stops fighting.

The Pros: The Battles – There are a lot of great battles in the episode. From the reveal of the new Mobile Dolls called Virgos and them fighting Une and her troops, to Heero and Quatre’s battle to Duo and Wufei’s escape in their upgraded Gundams. There is some pretty amazing action this episode.

Treize – Treize resigns as he against the use of soulless weapons that do not value human life. This puts him at odds with the Romafeller Foundation who arrest him as he realizes the value of the zen state and how powerful the Pilots are and that they are the examples in their perfect feeling of their feelings. Great seeing Treize make a stand and to be shown as noble.

Tsuberov – This guy is a boss for sure. He shoots (and most likely kills) Lady Une! He is willing to die and kill for his ideas of power and control. The guy is like a minor Sith Lord as he is the face of the Romafeller’s in space.

Trowa – Trowa convinces Quatre to stop fighting and let go of his hate and in the process dies? He loses his Gundam but his body is still around. I’m hoping him or Lady Une die though as it shows actual cost this episode beyond nameless troops.

Quatre – Quatre finally stops fighting and defeats Heero (which is suprising, given Heero is supposed to be the best of the pilots) and he has finally began to heal as we see him caring for an injured Heero and realizing that his actions and hate led to the loss of his friend Trowa.

Duo and Wufei – They have their upgraded Gundams! Deathsyche Hell and Altron and they rock! The Gundams aren’t fully upgraded but they are more than a match for the automated Virgos. Can’t wait to see Duo and Wufei in action again, especially since they have grown so much.

The Message – The use of robotic and automated soldiers is bad as machines do not value human life and there should be the human idea of fighting for justice and freedom that is lost when there are only tools on the battlefield and not soldiers aware of things changing or making things change by their choices. It’s a powerful message and a good one too.

This is another one of those perfect “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” episodes and one I highly recommend. It doesn’t even need the setup as  you see it in the lead up to the episode by the narrator. Great character growth and loss if Lady Une is actually dead (which given she was shot and this is a Gundam series, is probably the case). RIP Lady Une, you had a great character arc and were an awesome character!

Final Score: 10 / 10.

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 24 – “The Gundam They Called Zero” – Quatre’s War

msgw24

Quatre is back and he is broken. This episode answers the question of what happened to Quatre and shows how the Romafeller Foundation will do whatever it wants regardless of the people it has put in command. This was a good episode that went into different characters’ psychologies.

“The Gundam They Called Zero” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Kunihiro Mori and written by Toshifumi Kawase.

The episode begins with Quatre in his new Gundam Zero destroying a resource sattelite and heading towards the Colonies after sending out a threat to destroy them if they don’t disarm. This calls into conflict the Romafeller Foundation versus Une. Tsuberov of the Romafeller Foundation wants to use Mobile Dolls to defeat Quatre while she decides to send out Trowa and Heero. He protests and decides to take things into his own hands after the Pilots head to face Quatre.

The Pros: Lady Une – Lady Une trusts the pilots and this may be coming back to bite her later as we learn Trowa is not loyal and still plans to destroy OZ. She “controls” the pilots right now, but for how long?

Tsuberov’s Plot – Tsuberov takes control with some OZ soldiers (not all are loyal to Une) and takes away the air in the prisons so that Wufei, Duo and the Scientists will die. He’s afraid since he knows how powerful they will be if they turn against them.

Wufei and Duo – Wufei and Duo are given the specs for the Gundams the scientists are upgrading which Wufei continues to study even after the air is taken away. Duo wishes he could join the fight but in the end gives in to despair as he feels powerless in the situation unless someone can rescue them. They have a great dynamic. Duo is the jokester while Wufie is his usual serious self always questioning versus Duo’s idealism.

Quatre and Gundam Zero – Gundam Zero is a beautiful Gundam and is quite deadly as it has a gun that completely destroys a Colony. Quatre has become a fanatic and the loss of his father has broken him. This is his personal vendetta against the Colonies now unless they disarm. He is so lost that even Trowa’s attempts to reason with him fail.

Trowa – Trowa is calm and collected but gets injured in the process when he attempts to reason with Quatre. He is undercover and waiting for the right chance to strike OZ, which he believes will be the right time when Quatre joins them. Quatre is his own faction now though…as Trowa learns when his OZ Gundam loses it’s arm.

Heero – Heero lives for the mission and says they may have to kill Quatre. He decides he will do just that after Quatre nearly destroy Trowa as Heero nows realizes he truly can’t be reasoned with.

The Cons: Unfinished – This episode feels unfinished as we are left with Heero facing Quatre…this fight could have been over with, which makes me wonder what they’re going to do next episode.

This episode feels unfinished so that is the biggest thing against it. The best parts of this episode where the character moments between pilots. Duo knowing that Trowa was still loyal to the cause, Duo’s idealism versus Wufei’s questioning. These are the moments that show this show’s strength. The Romafeller Foundation isn’t the strongest of enemies and I still think in the Gundam Universes the Zeon’s take the cake still.

Final Score: 8 / 10. It was good.

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

msgw23

 

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 22 – “The Fight for Independence” – Ideals Over Faction

msgw22

 

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.