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 35 – “The Return of Wufei” – Factions of Resistance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score: 8.8 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 33 – “The Lonely Battlefield…” – Identity of a Man, Identity of a Nation

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“The Lonely Battlefield…” Continues with what’s been going on with Zechs, Heero, Quatre and Relena as well as the agenda of the Romafeller Foundation and their continuing conquest and attempt to stop the Sanc Kingdom’s resistance against them.  It’s a great episode too, but I’m also a little biased as Zechs is my favorite character on the show so his appearance again, is always a plus.

“The Lonely Battlefield…” was directed by Tetsuya Watanabe, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Akemi Omode.

The episode begins with Zechs working with one of the scientists who invented Tallgeese and stopping the Mobile Dolls from being sent down to Earth. He’s rejected his Miliardo identity and lives only to protect the Earth through violence against the Romafeller Foundation. On Earth Romafeller plots and invites Relena to a conference which is a cover for another plot that is revealed at the end of the episode.

The Pros: Zechs’s fight – Zechs has changed his name back to Zechs and abandoned his ties to the Peacecraft family again to protect Relena as he knows the Romafeller Foundation will use his fighting against them to invade her. He is right as they do just that. Most interesting thing is he has faster reflexes than the Tallgeese now, I think Zechs needs to get his hands on Gundam Wing now.

Noin and Quatre – Noin is the support role again and talks to Quatre about the Pilot’s role in protecting the Sanc Kingdom and that they are needed, even as Quatre expresses that the Pilots can never have peace because of the blood on their hands. It’s a telling scene and you can tell how much his destroying a Colony and Trowa has hurt him.

Heero – Heero is looking for death and goes to fight Romafeller at Luxemborg to finish the battle that Zechs started in space when the Romafeller’s began their attack of the location. It ends with him still fighting and Treize telling him to fight on. The pilots still have a role to play for him now, against the Romafeller Foundation and a new future.

Dorothy – Dorothy is similar to old Treize where she lives for battle and dislikes the use of Mobile Dolls. Her goal seems to be to bring honorable fighting again and to turn the Sanc Kingdom into a soldier kingdom as well. She has her own agenda clearly, that doesn’t line up with the Romafeller Foundation that just wants control, largely through the Mobile Dolls.

Relena – Relena gets attacked after expressing that Zechs is not her brother and that no Peacecraft would attack and that she stands by her pacifist ideals. The attack when she is heading back is done by Mobile Dolls sent by Romafeller to assassinate her (like what happened to Heero of old) and she almost abandons her ideals until Quatre and Noin remind her that it is her reason that will create peace. Noin and Quatre only have other’s ideals to follow as they only know how to fight and can’t live any differently…but they want to create a world of peace. Relena once more stands by her ideals.

Okay: The Romafeller Foundation – These guys still make less sense than the Zion fascists. I really want to know why they want to control everything, they must have a purpose or point beyond that? They are just corrupt nobles at this point…

This episode continues the quality of the last episode and is only bad in that Heero’s future at the end is unknown. His Gundam is injured so we’re left wondering how he will survive the battle against the overwhelming force. At least we here from Treize again though, so that’s good and most of the other character moments are fantastic!

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 31 – “The Glass Kingdom” – The Vulnerable Sanc Kingdom

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Politics are in play and the Romafeller Foundation is trying to stop the Sanc Kingdom so that there will be no resistance to their exploitation of conflict and profit from it as they gain total dominance. This episode was also Relena’s seeking of balance, and learning that it is right to defend yourself when you are attacked.

The episode was directed by Nana Harada, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode picks up where we left off with the Pilots going undercover in the Sanc Kingdom, with Quatre wanting to protect, while Heero wants revenge. It is here he meets Dorothy who has figured out his identity and spies on them when Romafeller attacks the Treize Faction group that retreats into Sanc Kingdom territory which provides a dilemma for the Treize Faction squad leader, Relena and Noin.

The Pros: Treize Faction Squad – These guys were great, the commander was willing to sacrifice himself and his troops so that Relena and Sanc would not be targeted. He was a good man and it was great seeing him fight, even as he was injured.

Noin – Noin is the practical side of Relena’s idealism, as she knows they need to defend themselves from the Romafeller Foundation as they are a threat to them. This is her reason for keeping Gundam Wing, which she uses in the battle with Heero as the pilot to stop the Romafeller attackers.

Dorothy – She is the mysterious spy at this point, what she wants remains to be seen as she makes Heero angry enough to stab through her helmet when they are dueling at school. She also watches how the battle goes so she can give the go ahead for the Romafeller Foundation to invade as the Gundam Pilots are wanted dead.

Relena – Relena is idealism but listens to Heero and Noin and puts them in charge of protecting the Sanc Kingdom. She realizes in this episode she needs to understand why people want to fight if she is ever going to help people find peace.

Quatre – Quatre is the compassionate side of the conflict and brings Heero back from hate to seeing duty and ideals beyond just fighting. He is a great character and others recognize his compassion too.

Heero – Heero is bent on revenge but is willing to find some form of balance when Quatre and Relena give him a cause beyond revenge against Romafeller. In this way he is striving to become like the original Heero who was an advocate for peace who died for it.

Okay: The Romafeller Foundation – I still don’t quite understand what these guys want beyond control of everything. What is their end goal? What happens if they win? This has not been answered yet.

This was a great character episode and well worth checking out. It is an episode of contrasts, from the Sanc Kingdom to Romafeller, the Gundam Pilots Quatre and Heero and Relena, Noin and Dorothy. This episode is well worth your time.

Final Score: 9.6 / 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 29 – “The Heroine of the Battlefield” – Relena’s Mission

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Relena’s passiveness is finally at an end, and we also get to see a return from some of the other characters that I really like on this show. This episode shows how different nations are dealing with the threat from the Romafeller Foundation, as well as how the Gundam Pilots are dealing with the loss of their mission. Right now, the one with the mission is Relena who is now leader of the Sanc Kingdom.

The episode was directed by Takeshi Yoshimoto, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Masashi Akeda.

The episode begins with soldiers from one nation looking for Quatre and Heero under orders from the Romafeller Foundation that they are to be killed if found. Relena is holding a peace conference and forming a beadrock of passive resistance to Romafeller Power as Sally and Noin seek Gundam Zero. The character of Dorothy also arrives in the Sanc Kingdom and wants war to arrive behind her.

The Pros: Sally – Sally is watching over Gundam Zero and trying to find a pilot to deliver too but ends up changing her mind after Noin saves her life and says her nation needs it for protection against the Romafeller Foundation. By the end she respects and trusts Noin and gives her the Gundam as they fight off Romafeller from taking it.

Noin – Noin is wonderful in this! She is driven in her guidance and safeguarding of Relena and the Sanc Kingdom and truly gets Zechs’s point of view on why he was doing what she was doing. She’s tough as usual and does the most damage to the Romafellers before Sally gives her Gundam Zero.

Quatre and Heero – Quatre and Heero are grateful that they aren’t killed but realize they are putting the nation that has found them under risk by being there so they attack the Romafellers, take one of their ships and make their escape, believing that the most they can do is wander as they will put any nation at risk.

Relena – Relena is super active and the leader of the peace movement that is also against Romafeller power. She organizes the peace conference, gets the nations on board and all the while seeking the Gundam Pilots as a bulwark against the Romafellers. She sees the bigger picture and knows that some conflict is inevitable but that people should still come from a place of respect and find other ways to resolve differences besides war. I have a lot of respect for her character now.

Okay: Dorothy – Dorthy isn’t bad but I don’t know why she is so obsessed with war beyond being related to one of the leaders of the Romafeller Foundation. She is a good manipulator though, but given she was manipulating Relena, maybe I’m overstating that ability.

The Soldiers Who Find the Gundam Pilots – The folks who find Quatre and Heero are respectful and don’t kill them even though they know that doesn’t make them look good to the Romafellers. They even mourn the pilots after they recieve a letter on why the Pilots left to protect them.

This episode is a favorite, largely because Noin and Sally are always awesome and due to Relena’s actions of resistance against the Romafellers. This would have been a perfect episode if we just had that. The pilots were also great too, it was just a few of the minor characters who are pretty flat at this point who brought it down in quality.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10. A favorite.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 28 – “Passing Destinies” – Treize’s Motivation

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This episode is also a clip show but the focus is Treize and we get a lot more information and an important reveal at the end. Treize is a fascinating character, he glorifies battle the way Klingon does and isn’t concerned about outcomes. To him it is all about belief in a cause and how fighting for a just cause can shape you to grow. This makes him fascinating, if not all that bright since he seems to have no conception of peace.

The episode was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Kunihiro Mori and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode picks up where we last saw Treize with him being removed to the Romafeller Foundation headquaters to be under house arrest. It is here we learn their original ideals were the protection of nature, which is why Treize joined them and started the Special Soldiers units within OZ. We see that his focus was protection and the love of battle which is where everything unfolds from.

The Pros: Treize – Treize changed because of pilots and because of Zechs. Zechs found truth beyond battle and found himself as Miliardo again, Une found balance between fighting and peace and stood against the automated soldiers of the Romafeller foundation and the Gundam Pilots’ pure hearts inspired Treize to leave the Romafeller Foundation and begin to help them too. It turns out this is all part of his plan with the Gundam Epyon being a major part. What his endgame is (giving his love for battle) still remains to be seen.

The Cons: Lady Une Alive? – She is mourned in one scene as having been shot but after we see her at the end with the reveal of the new Gundam Epyon. I hope this doesn’t become a plot hole. Also, does any of the main cast die? I’m expecting Trowa back now.

This was another clip show that you don’t need to see. You just see Epyon  and Une and learn some more of Treize’s motivations. I liked it and thought it was better than the last one but that is largely because Treize is so much more interesting than Heero and Relena as are those in his faction like Zechs and Une.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 27 – “The Locus of Victory and Defeat” – Relena and Heero’s Clip Show

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This episode was a clip show, and there is only so much you can do with a clip show, but we at least get what is going on in Heero’s mind and we get an update on how Relena has changed and grown and how the events have changed them all. That I did appreciate.

The directors were Kunihiro Mori, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

As stated above, this episode is recounting the last 26 episodes from the point of view of Relena and Heero and their views of those around them and the events that unfolded.

The Pros: Relena – I finally liked her character after this episode. We see that she was once selfish and now she is selfless as she is fighting for the greater good. She has compassion that Heero finally values.

Heero – For Heero it is learning that he has allies and that the mission is not everything. We see this when he first protects Relena and when he is able to get beyond the programming of Wing and surrenders himself to Quatre as they escape to Earth.

Okay: The Clips – They did a good job of summing everything up but we didn’t get much new information so that is my biggest issue.

This is an unnessasry episode, but I appreciated it since the show is good quality and we get to see some of the great events that have unfolded and made this show unforgettable. Check it out if you like the show.

Final Score: 7 / 10.

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

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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.