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 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 38 – “The Birth of Queen Relena” – Game Changing Move

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Making Relena Queen of the World was a smart move on the part of the Romafellers, but I think they underestimate her new power and idealism. They are giving reigns to the person who was ready to kill Lady Une for killing her father, this was back when Une served the Romafeller Foundation since she was serving Treize who was completely loyal at the time. Suffice to say, this is a game changing move, though how it will change the game remains to be seen.

“The Birth of Queen Relena” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Takeshi Yoshimoto and written by Akemi Omode.

The story begins with Duo moving on his with his life on the Colony but going to meet Quatre when his family is active again. They talk and Quatre hears that Trowa is still alive so visits the Circus to see him. Events unfold to where the Colony is attacked leading Quatre to defend it and this gets Trowa out of his amnesia as he rediscovers his purpose again. Shortly after the Romafeller Foundation crowns Relena Queen of the World.

The Pros: Duo – Duo has stopped being the God of Death it looks like, at least for now. Seeing a broken Trowa reminded him of building a life outside of fighting, which he is doing with Hilde. I’m wondering if he is still fighting Romafeller now or if he’s just moved on. It was still great to see him, though Quatre was not able to remind him of his purpose.

Noin and Wufei – Noin forgives Wufei and is the much stronger character. Wufei still can’t see past himself and refuses to join them in the fight against Romafeller and uniting all the pilots together.

Quatre and Trowa – Quatre saves Trowa’s soul and Trowa had saved Quatre’s soul. The moment he sees that Trowa is alive so touching. He cries and reminds him that he will defend him and of the cost he lives with everyday (being the reason for the amnesia and destruction of a colony). These two are great characters.

Treize – Treize is still the planner in the shadows. I’m curious what he is going to do now that Relena has changed the game.

Relena – Relena becomes Queen for the greater good, though I could see her subverting the role since she wants peace through freedom and not tyranny. Can’t wait to see what Queen Relena does.

Okay: Wufei – Still sexist, still stubborn and not able to listen to everyone. At least he has character traits, but still. He was the weakest part of the episode.

This was a great episode and I really like how they are setting things up! Will people listen to Relena’s abolishing of borders and will abolishing borders really do any good? How will the Romafellers seek to control her? What is Dorothy’s agenda? What will Heero do now? What role will the pilots play now? Very curious to see how things unfold from here.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 23 – “Duo, the God of Death Once Again” – Duo’s Influence

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One thing the Gundam Franchise has always been good at is giving minor characters their due. They may only appear in one or two episodes, but whichever Gundam series they appear in will usually give them justice. In this episode Hilde is a great example of that for “Gundam Wing.”

“Duo, the God of Death Once Again” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Takeshi Yoshimoto and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode picks up where we left off with Duo planning to destroy the Lunar Base where the Romafeller Foundation is constructing more Mobile Dolls and upgrading them. He meets Hilde who says he should volunteer which he sees as his opportunity to attack the base. Their story soon as they face off against each other in Gundams. Around this time Zechs/Miliardo is seeking a peaceful solution with Colony leaders and the demilitarization of the Colonies.

The Pros: Zechs/Miliardo – Zechs has an awesome arc! He has become balance because hew as once OZ and is now full Peacecraft, it gives him a great perspective as he is a soldier fighting for peace which gives power to his words if the Colonies would listen. Fear is a powerful tool though as Zechs is realizing. I’m looking for to him meeting his sister again as I think the fact he is going alone is limiting his influence. Which is a theme, the pilots fail because they aren’t standing as one.

Hilde – Hilde is an OZ soldier who cares for the Colonies and joined OZ to protect them. It is her fighting with Duo, especially after he saves her life from soldiers who care nothing about the soldiers fighting and only following orders. This leads to her becoming a free agent and protecting Duo so he can enter the Lunar Base. She is really awesome.

Duo – Duo is one of my favorite pilots. He becomes friends with Hilde through their adversarial relationships and reminds her to die for something worth dying for and not to in vain. He manages to infiltrate the Lunar Base even with a broken gundam and discovers the Colony Scientists are upgrading Deathscythe and Shenlong leading him to let them capture him until the Gundams are fully upgraded. For once he has hope and is once again in the zone and the God of Death again.

The Colony Scientists – These guys are brilliant. They have a secret base on the Lunar Base and are upgrading the Colony Gundams. They haven’t given up the fight.

Okay: Trowa – Trowa is listening to Lady Une and I wonder if he’s a full believer now or just udnercover.

Lady Une – Lady Une is seeking balance between her two identities and wants to create Treize’s world where soldiers have a place.

This episode was a shaping of things to come, got the pilots together and showed their influence on minor characters. What will come out of this remains to be seen but so far OZ and Romafeller Foundation are the primary enemies, though OZ could soon break from their influence via Treize and Lady Une. This was a great episode well worth checking out.

Final Score: 9 / 10.

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 19 – “Assault on Barge” – The Torn

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“Assault on Barge” was a fantastic exploration of how torn most of our characters are, which actually picks up the theme from last episode too. So much of the fighting is useless in a way because it just feeds the conflict (something “Mobile Suit Gundam” has always been good at exploring) and in this we see how the driven soldier can commit wrongs for the cause.

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

The story continues with Lady Une playing the part of the diplomat and winning through soft power while Zechs is taken in by Tallgeese’s designer on Earth who gives him a way to space where ‘Things are changing,” and Lady Une tries to stop the fighting between Wufei and the Dolls after Duo has been taken in. Heero also mounts a rescue mission for Duo.

The Pros: Duo – We see that Duo gives his all but just isn’t fast enough to defeat the Mobile Dolls, leading to his capture as well as the capture of his Gundam. When Heero rescues him he asks if hew wants to die, but since he doesn’t he isn’t killed and they make their escape together. Duo is still whole or at least more whole than Heero since Heero says he will kill the scientists since they know how to defeat the Gundams and the mission must not be forgotten. When Heero tells him this you hear the pity in his voice.

Heero – Heero shows he is torn since he was supposed to kill Duo to protect the mission but saves him instead, and later plans to kill the scientists to complete the mission. The mission is still all he’s living for and he hasn’t realized how much things have changed. This is mirrored in Wufei too.

Wufei – Wufei is fighting the Mobile Dolls and gets injured when the cannon destroys some of them showing that OZ cares nothing for their own troops. We learn Lady Une didn’t do it though as she speaks to Wufei from her shuttle and asks for the fighting to stop. The fanatic has even become changed by playing the role of the diplomat.

Lady Une – Lady Une is the harsh soldier and the understanding diplomat and now it is like they are two separate identities that have been integrated together since she’s been cold to the pilots yet wanted to save Wufei. Where this will go remains to be seen.

Zechs – Zechs was the best part of this episode as he is taken in by one of Tallgeese’s designers who helps him get Tallgeese into space and asks that he be a part of the change since he is an enemy of OZ. This was great to see and Zechs is embracing his new purpose as a shaper of things to come. He also no longer has a mask to wear and no longer considers himself Zechs because of that.

Okay: Tallgeese’s Designer – We don’t get a name and he mostly functions as plot. He wasn’t bad but I wanted his motivations.

OZ Soldiers – One of them acts because he isn’t’ getting orders from Lady Une in the fight against Wufei. We don’t have a name so it’s hard to care about him. This was part of what this episode tonally confusing.

This was a great episode and shows just how torn most of our character are now. There are so many factions and no one knows who to follow as each is finding people they connect too. War is chaos and in the chaos the factions are no longer clear and with that so many don’t have clarity of purpose. Everyone is torn.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 13 – “Catherine’s Tears” – A Soldier’s Purpose

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      “Catherine’s Tears” gives us a great glimpse into Heero, Zechs and Trowa and what makes a good soldier. This idea is analyzed and we see it through these characters in contrast to the new characters we meet in this episode. For this reason and how it is executed it is definitely a favorite episode.

        The episode was directed by Takeshi Yoshimoto, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

         The episode picks up with Trowa ready to execute his plan against OZ, who he has discovered is preparing for another invasion of the Colonies via the plans of Lady Une. Elsewhere two OZ Gundam pilots (Alex and Mueller) who studied under Noin are being ruthless in their destruction of OZ and arrive to stock up at the base where OZ submits himself to them to prove Tallgeese to them and to himself. From here the stories unfold.

The Pros: Alex and Mueller – It seems like every anime has at least one of the type of characters that these guys are. They are sociopaths, whenever Alliance surrendered to them they just executed the survivors. This later comes back to bite them when Zechs destroys them after the Alliance surrenders to Tallgeese who quickly gets them to surrender when it is on the front lines. They are sociopaths but still care about their fellow soldiers and hate Zechs because they believe the soldier who gave his life for OZ and used Tallgeese to liberate Sanc was doing it under orders. Little did they know Zechs’s true values.

Trowa – Trowa risks his life to destroy the Alliance supplies that OZ us using to begin their invasion on the colonies. He is ready to die until Catherine reminds him that he will be missed and he’s forgetting who he is leaving behind. Giving into his emotions, he stays, which he later learns is what Heero believes in too. To follow ones emotions and keep integrity is the most a person can expect to be in Heero’s eyes.

Catherine – Catherine’s sympathy and love saves Trowa’s life and because of the perspectve she gives, even though OZ property was destroyed and the show ended the leader of the circus now respects Trowa and wishes him the best after he and Heero leave.

Zechs – Zechs is awesome and we see that above all he values the morality of soldiers and they shouldn’t just be effective at ending battles quickly, which is the philosophy of Noin since she values the lives of her soldiers over anyone else. Zechs is proven to be correct in that supporting soldiers above morality leads to sociopaths like Alex and Mueller. He has become a master of the Tallgeese now.

The Role of the Soldier – Noin believes that they should win and who they are doesn’t matter. Zechs it doesn’t matter if they die, it matters how they live. Zechs captures this better as in the end matters how a person lives not simply living, especially when you are a soldier and lives are on the line. If you are harming those who have surrendered you are worse than the enemy or on par if that is how they practice on the battlefield.

The Music – The music was great in this episode and really captured the tension of different scene and made dramatic moments greater…it did exactly what it needed to do.

     I recommend this episode for sure! I had no issues with it dealt with how a person should live as well as how complex war is and what reasons people have to die…as well as to live. This is my kind of episode as it was philosophical as well as bringing a depth that I’ve always appreciated in all the great animes, shows, films and stories.

Final Score: 10 / 10. Perfect episode.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 8 – “The Treize Assassination” – Defining the Factions

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The UESA is still around and Colonel Sally now leads the faction! This was a great episode for showing that things are not as they appear to be and that factions we thought were gone are still around, as well as getting more motivation behind characters like Une, Treize, Wufei, Sally and Heero. I would have made the episode longer though.

“The Treize Assasination” was directed by Takeshi Yoshimoto, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode picks up where we left off with the Pilots learning from Wufei that they were used by Treize and OZ. This leads to Wufei and Trowa leave to get revenge, while Sally takes over the base and asks Heero’s help to disarm the missles that Lady Une set to blow to destroy the Gundams. Around this time Quatre and Duo are making their escape. We also see how the war against the UESA is going on the Noin and Zechs front as well.

The Pros: Heero – Heero’s mission from Sally to stop the missiles is one of the earliest things in the episode, and he succeeds even though he only had a ten percent chance of doing so. We see what motivates him as he realizes how he was used and failed in his mission of ending the war. It’s sad because you see how broken he’s become and how it takes Sally giving him a mission for him to act and even defend himself. This is no doubt going to play a part later.

Sally – Sally is one of the leaders of UESA forces and takes care of the OZ forces at Edward’s base. She convinces Heero to save them all and shows that the UESA and Colonies can work together. I’m rooting for her to lead the UESA as she sees the bigger picture and is an effective leader.

Lady Une – Decides to destroy the base by detonating the missiles, which fails after Heero succeeds in turning them off. She learns that Treize didn’t want her to do that and that he feared what the destruction would do to the Earth…forcing her to rethink her philosophy of destruction of enemies being the first and foremost agenda for OZ after Treize asks her to learn about OZ. She also defends Treize from Wufei in his Shenlong Gundam and does a really good job of it before Treize challenges Wufei to a duel.

Noin – Noin is worried about the cost of OZ’s revolution, though she believes in Zechs so is willing to take the risks that come.

Zechs – Zechs destroys the UESA General Daigo at UESA headquarters who ordered the invasion of Zechs home of the Sanc Kingdom because they chose to speak against the UESA agression. This lead to his family of the Peacecrafts being killed. Zechs fulfills his revenge in this scene and we learn his backstory.

Wufei – Wufei fights with honor and when Treize challenges him to a duel he leaves his Gundam to fight. He later loses the duel though and is broken in the process, as he sees Treize and OZ as being responsible for the loss he faced.

Treize – Treize is a curious figure. He wanted the Gundams destroyed, but not by any means…and he respected Wufei for fighting him in a duel outside his Gundam (reason he didn’t kill him). I get why he did the revolution to some degree, the UESA was corrupt, but he killed the leaders who had the best chance of reforming it. What his end game is still remains a mystery.

Okay: The Other Three Gundam Pilots – Trowa, Duo and Quatre talk about the ones who take the risk. Trowa sees how broken Wufei is and leaves him alone and Quatre believes in Heero while Duo is ambivalent but celebrates Heero when the missiles don’t go off. Comradery is slowly building between them all.

This was a great episode that gave us some really good glimpses into a lot of the characters. What we see is that there are heroes on all sides and that even our antagonists (Zechs and Treize) have motivations behind what they do, even if the motivations are unknown at this point. Every character living currently has some form of code of honor that they strive to uphold, which makes the story compelling as we now know the UESA is around making this a 3 faction war.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10.