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.

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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 44 – “Go Forth, Gundam Team” – Dorothy’s Insanity and Quatre Rises

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This was an episode with a lot of great character moments (largely for Zechs, Quatre and Relena) but was a really solid episode too with so much great action. We see what happens when characters are pushed to their limits and that the coming war is still in flux. The Gundams stand strong as their own faction and we haven’t seen what Treize has in plan yet or what Relena will do.

“Go Forth, Gundam Team” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Kunihiro Mori and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The premise of the episode is that Zechs is trying to wear out the Gundam Pilots in order to destroy them by using the Epyon system on the Mobile Dolls. Heero counters by installing the Zero system onto Quatre’s Gundam Sandrock as he knows that he’ll be facing Epyon while the rest of the team faces the Dolls. Relena is taken on board (she was purposely missed by the cannon) and she once more confronts Zechs as Dorothy is put in charge of the Dolls to take on the Pilots in the battle.

The Pros: Heero – Heero is the one behind the scenes aware of everyone’s abilities, he even cares about Zechs as when Zechs retreats from the battle after Dorothy fails in the fight and hurts the Libra he asks Zechs if he sees a future, as Heero has seen no future for him. They are connected and have a great respect for each other at this point.

Dorothy – She’s insane and it is awesome. After Quatre defeats her using the Zero system to guide the Gundams in battle she fires the cannon to try and destroy them and it fries Libra’s systems making her feel broken…this is of course after she gives Relena a gun to kill Zechs and puts the suggestion in her head of doing just that and after locking her in her room.

Quatre and Team Gundam – Quatre is afraid when he is given Zero system in Sandrock until Heero convinces him it is his way to atone for destroying a Colony…after watching the other Gundams failing in the battle against the Dolls he takes control and manages to beat Dorothy in strategy, proving that he is not just the glue emotionally, he is also the leader as he is the least bound by emotion and fighting unlike the other three pilots. They do a great job in the battle too and manage to escape in time.

Zechs – Zechs protects Relena and Quinze mentions that he wouldn’t have been chosen to lead White Fang if he hadn’t had someone he protected and cared about. It’s a good moment that humanizes both Zechs and Quinze. Relena rejects Zechs though as she doesn’t know if the man holding her is the blood stained Zechs or Miliardo her compassionate brother. This hurts him a lot and we see how powerless he feels when Dorothy fails him showing that he is in over his head.

Relena – Dorothy offers Relena a choice, end the war and kill your brother…or let your brother make peace through this war. She rejects the offers and is locked in her room…this is after she calls out Zechs on his hypocrisy in a Shakespearian ways of mentioning that she does not know which person is holding her…Zechs or Miliardo and at the end it looks like she might be decidiing to kill Zechs.

This was a perfect episode, great action, character development and answering the “So what?” of “Gundam Wing.” We get to see the characters rise to challenges and make tough choices. This episode also makes Quatre one of my favorite characters, he is shown to have the clearest head and to have grown a lot since Wing Zero was controlling him. Proud of him in this episode.

Final Score: 10 / 10. Perfect “Gundam Wing.”

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 38 – “The Birth of Queen Relena” – Game Changing Move

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Making Relena Queen of the World was a smart move on the part of the Romafellers, but I think they underestimate her new power and idealism. They are giving reigns to the person who was ready to kill Lady Une for killing her father, this was back when Une served the Romafeller Foundation since she was serving Treize who was completely loyal at the time. Suffice to say, this is a game changing move, though how it will change the game remains to be seen.

“The Birth of Queen Relena” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Takeshi Yoshimoto and written by Akemi Omode.

The story begins with Duo moving on his with his life on the Colony but going to meet Quatre when his family is active again. They talk and Quatre hears that Trowa is still alive so visits the Circus to see him. Events unfold to where the Colony is attacked leading Quatre to defend it and this gets Trowa out of his amnesia as he rediscovers his purpose again. Shortly after the Romafeller Foundation crowns Relena Queen of the World.

The Pros: Duo – Duo has stopped being the God of Death it looks like, at least for now. Seeing a broken Trowa reminded him of building a life outside of fighting, which he is doing with Hilde. I’m wondering if he is still fighting Romafeller now or if he’s just moved on. It was still great to see him, though Quatre was not able to remind him of his purpose.

Noin and Wufei – Noin forgives Wufei and is the much stronger character. Wufei still can’t see past himself and refuses to join them in the fight against Romafeller and uniting all the pilots together.

Quatre and Trowa – Quatre saves Trowa’s soul and Trowa had saved Quatre’s soul. The moment he sees that Trowa is alive so touching. He cries and reminds him that he will defend him and of the cost he lives with everyday (being the reason for the amnesia and destruction of a colony). These two are great characters.

Treize – Treize is still the planner in the shadows. I’m curious what he is going to do now that Relena has changed the game.

Relena – Relena becomes Queen for the greater good, though I could see her subverting the role since she wants peace through freedom and not tyranny. Can’t wait to see what Queen Relena does.

Okay: Wufei – Still sexist, still stubborn and not able to listen to everyone. At least he has character traits, but still. He was the weakest part of the episode.

This was a great episode and I really like how they are setting things up! Will people listen to Relena’s abolishing of borders and will abolishing borders really do any good? How will the Romafellers seek to control her? What is Dorothy’s agenda? What will Heero do now? What role will the pilots play now? Very curious to see how things unfold from here.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 36 – “Sanc Kingdom’s Collapse” – Relena’s Lost Dream

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The Romafeller Foundation has complete control as of the end of this episode. Their enemies are fractured, they are building a super weapon, the symbol of resistance has been caught and the Pilots are fractured. Where we go from here makes me excited to watch on.

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

The episode begins with production of the Cruiser by Romafeller alienating their allies in space as on the ground the Romafeller Foundation prepares to invade the Sanc Kingdom for taking in refugees from the kingdoms they have conquered. Around the same time Duo discovers Trowa after he leaves the revolutionaries telling them they need to plan for what they’ll do after Romafeller’s defeated. These are the main stories that unfold with the main focus on Relena and how to save her people.

The Pros: Romafeller Strength – The Romafellers actually feel like a threat and have done a good job taking advantage of everyone to the point that no one can do anything to stop them anymore. They have overwhelming numbers and their enemies aren’t’ united so that now they can walk over a peaceful country (The Sanc Kingdom) and face no consequences.

The Broken Pilots – Duo is smart and sees the bigger picture, he is also worried about Trowa as he has discovered a Trowa who is broken and afraid. Quatre meets up with his allies in the Middle East but lets Relena go when she surrenders and joins Noin in space, Heero has lost in Epyon and is the lone soldier still fighting and Zechs is going to arrive to find his kingdom destroyed once again and his sister captured by his enemies. We also see a depressed Treize and Noin who feel like any hope has been crushed in that moment of surrender.

Dorothy – Dorothy respects Relena for her integrity in surrendering and promises to protect her. Could she be the one good Romafeller? That remains to be seen.

Relena – Relena makes the hard choice of surrendering in order to protect her people and the soldiers still fighting as the Romafeller Foundation has such larger numbers. She fears for her people and regrets having to make the decision in the first place, but knows she must to keep integrity.

This was a great episode and at least for the moment, the loss of Relena’s and Zechs’s dream of a nation living through pacifism as a counter to militarism. It does establish the Romafellers to be no better than the Zeons though, so at least when the final battle comes they won’t be missed. Definitly feeling for Relena and all the Pilots after this episode.

Final Score: 10 / 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.