Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 32 – “The God of Death Meets Zero” – The Gundam that Breaks You

GundamWep32f This was a good episode. I’m a fan of Duo so any episode where we spend more time with him usually makes a good episode to me, but we also get to learn why Quatre went insane beyond his already unstable mental state at the time and why the same thing happened to Heero…Gundam Zero is the Broken Gundam that will break you. This episode is at it’s core, an exploration of that.

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

The episode begins with Duo attacking the New OZ (run by the Romafeller Foundation) to get supplies to continue to upgrade his Gundam Deathscythe. Around the same time an OZ soldier named Trent is trying to gain control of Wing Zero, as he loses control in all the simulations. He goes to Hilde’s colony who is helping Duo and captures Duo so that he can use Duo to learn how to control Gundam Zero, from here the story unfolds.

The Pros: Duo – Duo is awesome in this! It is great seeing him use Deathscythe Hell some more and see his vulnerability as well when he hallucinates Deathscyhe and destroying Hilde’s colony in the simulation where he realizes that Zero cannot be controlled, which leads to him facing Trent and defeating him. He worries on who will use Zero as a weapon next as they’d have to greater than human.

Deathscythe Hell and Gundam Zero Battle – This is a pretty amazing fight, as Zero has close range and ranged attacks, where Deathscythe is primarily all close range attacks. In this way the most that Duo is able to do is neutralize Zero which is enough to kill Trent.

Hilde – She has a small role, but is awesome as she’s Duo’s partner in the revolt against the Romafeller Foundation.

Okay: The Romafeller Foundation – They are their via Tsuberov acting all powerless but still as a threat in the background. They function better as a threat in that way and I’m suprised they haven’t destroyed Gundam Zero yet or tried to make it a Mobile Doll.

This was a great episode, we see that Zero overwhelms who ever controls it and that Duo is working on building up Deathscythe himself, and working with Hilde on her colony. The Pilots are getting in place for the coming battle against Romafeller and preparing.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10.

 

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 30 – “The Reunion with Relena” – The Importance of the Pilots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score: 8.6 / 10.

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 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 11 – “The Whereabouts of Happiness” – The Face of Resistance

GundamWep11d       “The Whereabouts of Happiness” is a good episode. It shows the different faces of resistance and the shape of things to come as we get to know our heroes better and who they have as allies.

        The episode was directed by Kunihiro Mori and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Akemi Omode.

        The episode begins with Relena on the colonies finding that they care for her and her legacy as a Peacecraft as Treize sends Lady Une to represent him to the colonies. This leads to Relena trying to kill Lady Une and the story unfolding from there. On the Earth side of things the Pilots go there separate ways with Duo joining Quatre and learning about his family, people and legacy.

The Pros: Quatre and the Maganacs – Quatre is Middle Eastern royalty and his people live underneath the ground and great companionship. It’s very similar to the Fremen from “Dune,” from having hidden traps to fight Alliance and OZ forces, to the underground living and loyalty to nobility and Quatre. I like them and am curious to see how they continue to fight. We also learn he grew up on the Colonies, is from a noble family from the Middle Eastern nation and his family was a family of pacifists, making his role as a pilot all the more interesting.

Duo – Duo is supportive of Quatre and likes the community that exists among the Maganacs. His being an isolated colonist being sent for revenge against OZ gets discussed with Quatre and they both realize how important the mission is before the fight against OZ and going their separate ways.

Rashid – Rashid is Quatre’s mentor and a really good guy. He is calm and professional and reminds Quatre of the Maganacs and that they choose to fight for him. He doesn’t pull any punches either and expresses his anger at Quatre for not letting them fight.

Weridge – Is one of the colony leaders we meet who is supportive of Relena and the Peacecrafts and when she attempts to kill Lady Une stops Une and OZ troops from following her, even saying he wishes he had the courage to do the same thing. He really shows just how much the Colonies hate OZ and what it has done under the Alliance and on it’s own.

Relena – Tries to kill Lady Une and we learn that she does have the strength to stand for something. It’s a small scene but speaks volumes in regards to her character, as well as showing how similar she is to Zechs and Heero. The episode ends with Noin joining her to support her as that is what Zechs wants so that the Peacecraft family can be restored.

 The Cons: Lady Une – So far no reason to like her, she is still cold and cruel and has no regard for the colonies and life that doesn’t suit her purposes. I really hope she changes.

     This was a great episode that I would highly recommend. Getting to see the life of hte Maganacs and get Quatre’s backstory of him being a child of the noble from their nation, but only seeing them from the outside, since he grew up on the Colonies is powerful and shows why he is so naive and idealistic. Seeing Relena take action and be supported by the Colonists was powerful, and having Noin join her too.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10. Really great and a favorite.