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 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 9 – “Portrait of a Ruined Country” – The Liberation of Sanc and the Cost of a Gundam

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     Zechs like Char is one of my favorite characters. There is something to be said for the Undercover Exiled Prince trope, especially when they end up abandoning their ideals for the sake of the country and become fallen in the process. Zechs represents this in so many ways and this episodes truly realizes what is at stake for him and the cost it will take.

     “Portrait of a Ruined Country” was directed by Tetsuya Watanabe and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Akemi Omode.

      The main plot of the episode is OZ’s liberation of the Sanc Kingdom. When OZ arrives they find Alliance forces entrenched, forcing Zechs to use Tallgeese, over the course of the battle he soon realizes that the Gundam is destroying him and he’s holding himself back. He retreats and the story unfolds from there. Elsewhere the Colony Pilots recover from how they were used.

The Pros: The Pilots Healing – Trowa and Wufei talk and Trowa helps Wufei realize he isn’t a failure. Duo and Heero slowly build the friendship and Relena finds Heero again…and Quatre apologizes to the soldiers who came with him and promises not to leave them behind again. All of them are given the chance to grow in different ways.

Noin – Noin is almost more Alliance than OZ still at times as she questions Zechs’s liberation of the Sanc Kingdom, even though she cares about him and knows it is his home. She is one person I could see changing sides later in the conflict.

Auto – Auto liberates Sanc as he realizes the Gundams exist to kill the pilots and were made for suicide missions. This leads to him risking his life to liberate the country and to honor Zechs, his mentor and friend. It’s a great minor scene and that really defines the character.

Zechs – Zechs is full of regret for abandoning the Peacecraft ideals and knows he is unfit to rule the Kingdom, so his plan is to find Relena and make the world a safe enough place for her to rule. He also is living with the regret that Auto died for him and that his body can’t take the Tallgeese. He takes off his mask when he is looking at pictures of family, but puts the mask back on when he knows he cannot rule.

The Cons: The Alliance Commander of Sanc – The leader of Sanc is just a loud military guy. There isn’t any character, which makes him a bit of a waste. He is there to be beaten and that’s it.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10. Really great and a favorite.