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 47 – “Collision in Space” – Challenging Libra

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The Gundams are on no one’s side, but for the moment at least they are fighting the White Fang, since Libra is a direct threat to Earth, while Treize has not attacked any of the Colonies. This brings an interesting dynamic too as Zechs would prefer not to fight the Gundams but goes out to face them when he sees them charging Libra as he is dealing with Treize and knows what must be done if the White Fang is to be successful. This was an episode with a lot of great character moments and action.

The episode was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The episode begins with the battle going on between Treize’s forces and Zechs’s forces as the Gundams plan to take on Libra, while Heero is still on Libra with Relena as the battle unfolds. Sally makes a hard choice and decides that it will take a lot to stop Libra and turns Peacemillion into a weapon by choosing to ram Libra and prevent the cannon from being used on the Earth.

The Pros: Zechs vs. Duo, Wufei, Quatre, Trowa and Noin – This fight is a lot of fun and it reveals that Miliardo is still there. Using the Dolls and targeting Quatre Zechs has the advantage for most of the fight until he decides to attack Peacemillion, but stop when Noin jumps in front of him. It is here he realizes that he still feels.

Peacemillion vs. Libra – Sally has Peacemillion ram Libra, it is awesome! Quinze is scared the entire time it happens with only Dorothy keeping her cool. Zechs isn’t stopped by this though, I think he plans to ram Libra into the Earth since it still has it’s engines.

Duo, Quatre and Trowa Infiltration – Duo meets the scientists who are still planning revenge, but helped with Libra because they think Earth did need to learn from war’s horrors. Trowa gets bogged down from troops and escapes and Quatre is shot by Dorothy.

Upcoming Fights – Wufei joins Treize in fighting the Dolls and claims him for after the battle is done to finish the duel in Gundams. Heero is back in Wing Zero too, which means he’ll be facing Epyon as we see Zechs with Noin knowing of the fight that is to come and mourning the lost.

I really enjoyed this episode. It was much better than the last episode since it had consequences, tied to past episodes and set up things to come later. I’m excited for the coming fights and am curious how Libra is going to be defeated.

Final Score: 10 / 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.