Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 43 – “Target: Earth” – Zechs’s Challenge

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    It’s getting real as we arrive closer to the final battle. In this we see that Treize is still noble and good at his core (at least now anyways) and that Zechs is still aware of the Colonies and doesn’t see them as  means to an end (unlike Dorothy who just wants war). It’s a great episode that has some powerful character moments as well as Quatre showing how much of a rock he is for the rest of the team.

    “Target: Earth” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Takeshi Yoshimoto and written by Akemi Omode.

     The story involves OZ forces taking over a Colony (the one where Katherine and the Circus are) and holding them hostage to get back Battleship Libra. Treize lets them go as he believes they don’t represent OZ as the Gundams, lead by Trowa rescue the Colony from OZ Forces. Around this time Zechs is heading towards the Colony and Earth and a decision is at stake as Relena advocates for him to live by the Peacecraft name.

The Pros: Relena – Advocates for peace even at the expense of her life and is nearly killed in the process. Turns out her willingness to put herself out there to change Heero isn’t just Heero, it’s everyone. A bit of a martyr complex, but she’s interesting.

Trowa and Quatre – Trowa manages to control Wing Zero after Quatre reminds him he is more powerful and that fighting should not consume him. It’s a great scene. Also, I can’t be the only one who is slash fictioning these two. They have more chemistry than Trowa has with Katherine who he is going on the rescue mission for in this episode.

Team Gundam – Noin feels powerless over how Zechs has changed, Sally is the Guardian over the Pilots, Heero is the leader. Duo holds OZ forces hostage when Trowa takes on the forces outside and Quatre saves Trowa from himself. Team Gundam is awesome.

Zechs – Zechs acts like he is going to sacrifice the Colony to destroy the OZ forces in space, but it turns out he knew the Gundams would save the Colony and instead attacks the Earth to challenge Treize and see what he does next. He knows that the OZ attack will rally the people of the Colonies behind him too. He also nearly kills Relena and is a complete devotee to his cause at this point.

Treize – Treize abandons the OZ forces because he sees they are unethical, showing he is a good guy on some level. I’m curious if he is going to try and use the Gundams against Zechs, Libra and Epyon.

  This was a great episode, and I like that the White Fang fought Zechs when they thought was going to sacrifice the Colony to defeat OZ. it showed that the White Fang hasn’t forgot the people and even though it uses OZ methods is still coming from a good place in it’s ideals of Colonial Independence. Once more, looking forward to see where things go from here. My one issue is that no one has really died. Even Lady Une isn’t dead, there hasn’t been sacrifice really at all, just statistics. No one cared about Tsuberov or Dermail.

Final Score: 9 / 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 41 – “Crossfire at Barge” – Zechs, Guardian of the Colonies

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Well, we know Zechs’s motivation now for wanting to destroy the Earth, and he isn’t wrong…especially with a militarized Romafeller Foundation again now that Treize that has taken charge…and between the two of them, I’d choose Zechs over Treize. Zechs is a real, Treize is manipulative. More on my thoughts on the episode though further down.

The episode was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Akemi Omode.

The story begins with OZ’s forces using the Barge to destroy the incoming White Fang forces. A great battle ensues with Zechs leading the charge in Epyon. Around this time Noin, Quatre and Duo arrive to confront Zechs to join them but it doesn’t go well as they witness the destruction of a Colony by the Barge. This leads to an all out assault by the Gundams against it. On Earth Treize overthrows the Relena faction and puts himself once more in charge of the Romafeller Foundation for the coming war with the Colonies.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs is truly motivated in saving the Colonies. This leads to him destroying Fortress Barge single handily and ignoring Noin when she pleads for him to stop the fight now that Relena is in charge of Romafeller. Zechs truly believes Earth is the problem, which given what happened to the Sanc Kingdom, he has every reason to believe it.

Team Gundam – Quatre, Duo, Trowa and Noin – These are the Pacifist Faction now and are a bit lost since Epyon is much stronger than they are and Noin is not able to get through to Zechs. He’s a true believer and has lost his humanity in the process. Trowa also goes to protect the Colonies from the battle.

Major Sally – She’s back! She also delivers Heavyarms to Heero so that Trowa can get his Gundam back. It is great to see her again and that she is there fighting just like Noin.

Okay: Relena – She wants to try and stop Zechs, but she didn’t fight her position at all. That was a disappointment as she has no reason to trust Treize, since he killed her adoptive Father.

Treize – Why did he want to take control of Romafeller again? He seemed to believe in the Gundams, does he anymore? His reasons for coming out of the shadows are still a mystery.

Dorothy – Dorothy if following Relena to space, her ends are still an unknown.

This episode was great but could have been better. It was a good exploration of Zechs but we got almost no exploration of Treize, Relena or Dorothy. I hope we see that change in the coming episodes as they are all still major players in this.

Final Score: 8,7 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 39 – “Trowa’s Return to the Battlefield” – Power Plays

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The stakes are raising and bad is becoming good. When Relena was made Queen of the World and leader of the Romafeller Foundation Dermail didn’t realize what he stepped in and how much it would change things within his own foundation. The thing is, most of the others don’t realize that change either as both Zechs and Heero take action against Relena in different ways in their fight against the Romafeller Foundation. But more on that in the assessment.

The episode was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Kunihiro Mori and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story begins with politics in the Romafeller Foundation as half the Foundation forms together in backing Relena while Dermail has the other half. Zechs is approached by the Leader of the White Fang named Quinze and Noin, Trowa and Quatre face off against a squadron of OZ troops who believe them to be White Fang forces.

The Pros: The Romafeller Foundation – Part of what makes this show so great is how it subverts expectations. You think things are one way, and after they change. We see this in Romafeller aligning with Relena’s dreams of Democracy peace against Dermail and how they plan to stop him.

The White Fang – Their leader Quinze is a pretty cool guy. He looks like one of the scientists and is driven in his desire for a the Colonies to be one free nation and to use any means necessary to protect them. This is why Zechs joins them I think as he points out that Miliardo was once fighting for peace on the Colonies.

Zechs – Conflicted soldier who finds a reason to fight again through the White Fang. He worries about his Gundam though as he realizes how it changes the mind to make all enemies.

Noin, Trowa, Quatre and Duo – Duo saves the day after Noin, Trowa and Quatre expend all their resources in the fight against the OZ forces who attack them. They are united now and their own faction who want to help make Relena’s dream a reality.

Heero – Is off to kill Relena again as he sees her as Romafeller and Romafeller is his enemy.

The Cons: Feels Unfinished – This episode feels like part of a whole and doesn’t stand as strongly on it’s own because of it. This was my only issue with the episode though.

This was a great episode and well worth checking out! Our players are getting aligned on the board and the nature of the factions is changing due to power plays by Zechs, Relena, Heero and the slow uniting of the Gundam Pilots together to protect civilians and the people. This episode truly is a great look at what is to come.

Final Score: 9 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 37 – “Zero vs. Epyon” – Endless War

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Just when it looks like the Romafellers are going to be victorious the theme of “Gundam Wing” comes in to shake that up. The theme I’m talking about is oppression breeds more oppression and war breeds more war. In this instance it’s under the banner of the Artemis Revolution who kidnap Tsuberov and plan to use the Carrier to bring about their end goals of free colonies again. This is of course happening while our characters are facing their own dilemmas too.

“Epyon vs. Zero,” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The story involves the Artemis Revolution of the Colonies fighting again to be free. They kidnap Tsuberov who escapes and sets the Mobile Dolls on them before Wufei arrives to destroy them all. On Earth Epyon an Zero fight to the death and Dermail presents Relena with an offer to be the primary representative of the Romafeller Foundation to bring about peace.

The Pros: Romafeller and Dermail – Dermail is a smart guy. He knows that making Relena the face of Romafeller will make them untouchable and unite the people enough to bring about the World Government and order, which is apparently the aim of the Romafeller Foundation. It’s nice that it’s agenda is finally getting explored. Their goal is peace through domination.

The Artemis Revolution – They are also called the White Fangs and in many cases are ex-Treize faction people fighting for a free Colony that has control over their own destiny. Their approach though is domination as they planned to use Tsuberov’s surrender to dominate the Romafeller Foundation and now plan to use the Cruiser to do the same.

Wufei – Is fighting to stop violence and those who want to fight. It’s his integrity now, which is a bit confusing, but explains why everyone is his enemy. He has no way of knowing if there is violence in anyone’s heart. At this point he is just like Quatre when Quatre destroyed one of the colonies.

Epyon vs. Zero / Zechs vs. Heero – Zechs and Heero are similar but Heero is still purposeless wth Zechs losing his purpose because of Relena’s surrender and him being too late to defend her. Now all he and Heero have is revenge against Romafeller, which they realize after fighting though Heero still sees Zechs as his enemy. In the end they switch Gundams though with Zechs now in Epyon and Heero now in Zero.

Relena – Relena is faced with a hard choice and only makes it when she thinks there is no other way. She sees how people keep fighting and realizes that if she is the face of the enemy and can change them from within than there will finally be peace. She doesn’t trust the Romafeller Foundation obviously though.

The cons: Tsuberov – Nothing interesting or compelling about this character. He was just a man mad with power. His death meant nothing.

This was another great episode and the theme of war breeding more war is done really well. Of course the Artemis Revolution would come around, the Romafeller Foundation was sucking away the resources of the Colonies just to dominate them repeating what they’d already gone through with the Alliance. How this is all going to end remains to be seen though but the Sanc Kingdom’s destruction pretty much shows the death of peace.

Final Score: 9.7 / 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 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.