Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 46 – “Miliardo’s Decision” – Cross Purposes

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This is the episode where we see just how fanatical and lost Zechs has become, as well as how noble and old fashioned Treize is. The two of them are similar and yet different and willing to do anything for those they care about. This episode also involves us learning about Zechs’s motivations when Heero confronts him.

The episode was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story involves Heero infiltrating the Libra in order to confront Zechs and to save Relena. Around this time Treize has brought all his forces into space and challenges Zechs to a duel. Lady Une also awakens.

The Pros: Quinze – He just want to win as he doesn’t want the loss of Colonial life. This is his big reason for using Dolls and why he pressures Zechs to use the cannon.

Dorothy – Dorothy tries to stop Zechs from using the super cannon on Treize and the resource satellite, but fails. We learn here that she also wants peace between the three of them and cares deeply about Zechs and Treize, having grown up with them both. Her love of battle doesn’t extend to friends killing each other.

Heero – Heero faces Zechs and respects Zechs’s wishes as Zechs wants to create a great war to show how pointless war is. Heero agrees with this and leaves him.

Zechs and Treize (and Lady Une) – Zechs and Treize face off and Treize challenges Zechs to a duel. When Quinze mocks the very idea of a dule as being old fashioned Zechs uses the cannon, which is what Treize wanted all along. Both of them want to die because of the guilt they feel. In the case of Treize though, Lady Une saves him in Gundam Wing and reminds him of the glory of combat and that this should be fought as a person finds their worth on the battlefield. This kicks off the Romafeller Forces attacking Libra to end the episode. They are fighting at cross purposes and both want peace for their worlds, which makes this a tragic situation.

The Cons: Relena – She is just silence by Heero and Zechs and is a means to an end. They are fighting so she can pick up the pieces. I hated how this took away her choice. Both Heero and Zechs treated her like dicks.

Lady Une – Does anybody die in this show? It looks like the power of love interest can even bring people out of a coma.

This episode was good, and it was great to see Treize in Tallgeese, but at the same time I hate how Relena’s choice was taken away, and how no one dies. This is an ensemble show but the only ones who die are nameless. “Mobile Suit Gundam” was never afraid to kill named characters. It was willing to create a real sense of loss. I’m not seeing the same in “Gundam Wing.”

Final Score: 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 21 – “Grief Stricken Quatre” – Breaking Quatre

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Quatre has been the Gundam Pilot besides Zechs who we have come to know the most. He is very honest in what he feels and how he feels and we see the consequences of that when a kind is heart is broken revealing just how vulnerable Quatre has been the entire time. This is the story of his fall.

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

The story begins with Quatre being rescued by his sister Iria, who is a doctor and neutral in the conflict. She brings him home as Heero and Trowa are used by OZ to capture Zechs and Tallgeese. Around this time the colonies and people are turning against Quatre’s family the Winner because they won’t let their resources be used for war.

The Pros: Lady Une, Zechs, Trowa and Heero Scene – Lady Une is brilliant in how she realizes the control that she has over Trowa which leads to Trowa and Heero piloting the new Gundams against Zechs and defeating him while discussing how to defeat Mobile Dolls. It is a great moment as we see moments of understanding between all three pilots which leaves a hit of things to come as each is waiting for their opening and purpose once more.

Iria – I like Quatre’s sister. She lives the pacifist ideals in a productive way in that she is a healer for both sides, though that may change after the Colony kills her father.

Quatre – This episode is very tragic for Quatre. He is already broken as a child soldier but he breaks mentally fully after the Colonies kill his father for taking away his resources. This leads to him swearing revenge against the Colonies as he bursts into a dark laughter.

Okay: Mr. Winner – Quatre’s dad cares about him and is a pacifist, but he never felt fully fleshed out. He was blind to why people had issues with him which made him harder to sympathize with and most of my caring about him was because of Quatre.

The Cons: Winner and the Colonies – The factions on the Colonies should have been introduced earlier. Because Mr. Winner is introduced in the episode he is killed in it makes it hard to sympathize with him and the fact that one man has so much power is troubling and one thing the episode never addresses.

This was a good Quatre episode if only to see him change. He is kind but only up to a point, this adds dimension to his character and what he does from here is going to define him in the conflict and in relationship to the other Pilots.

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 18 – “Tallgeese Destroyed” – Of Treize and Zechs

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Treize continues to show us that he is more complicated than just the man pulling strings behind the scenes. This episode really shows just how deeply he cares for Zechs as well as what he values in an army and people. This episode also reveals how much Zechs has changed, he’s my favorite character on the show right now.

‘Tallgeese Destroyed” was directed by Yasunao Aoki and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Toshifumi Kawase.

The episode begins with Treize’s plans to give Zechs a noble death since Zechs is being court martialed by OZ. The plan is for Zechs to attack a large attack force of Alliance forces and to die leaving him the legacy of a hero of OZ. Around the same time the Romafeller Foundation is trying out more remote controlled weapons which Treize challenges himself against and Quatre is floating to the colonies and the scientists must find a way to rescue him as Lady Une attempts to force them to make the most powerful Gundam.

The Pros: Lady Une – Lady Une is smart. When she realizes that the Gundam Pilot Quatre is heading to Alliance space she sends a huge attack force after his shuttle which forces the scientists to give in and make her a Gundam. She knows they value the life of the pilots above their own.

The Alliance – The Alliance rescues the Gundam pilot Quatre and we see the good of in them as they are all soldiers just fighting for their belief in the Alliance. At this point the Colonies are becoming like the Alliance and are getting militarized like OZ, this is one thing that the scientists realize, which is why they are happy that the Alliance saves Quatre.

The Romafeller Foundation – Doesn’t care about people beyond using them as tools and Zechs was never their tool, which is why they tried to kill him. Treize holds one of their members hostage after he destroys their automated Gundams and tells them he will not follow anyone who doesn’t use soldiers since soldiers can learn and keep war from becoming a game. Whether the Romafeller Foundation understands remains to be seen.

Treize – Treize cares about people though he still using people for an unknown purpose and working with a questionable organization in the Romafeller Foundation. The  great thing is his relationship with Zechs though. Zechs lives and survives each battle because he is the best soldier with the best Gundam which is what Treize seems to value. What he wants in the end remains to be seen though.

Heero – Heero is undercover as Duo in the Colonies and makes a speech to his classmates for the soldiers and how the soldiers change things because they remember the price of war and that the automation of Gundams that the colonies are doing is just what OZ and the Alliance did and that is wrong and continuing the cycle. It was a great speech.

Zechs – Finds value in the fight against the Gundams and believes in the liberation of all colonies. He ends up surviging the last fight and his friendship with Treize ends there as he realizes he can no longer make sacrifices for him anymore. This is when Zechs becomes his own man and though it has Tallgeese collapsed at the end, it never shows that Zechs is dead. He went from the soldier seeking revenge and liberation of his Kingdom to the soldier fighting for the sake of fighting to the believer again who is some measure of whole.

This was the perfect “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” episode and I highly recommend it. Treize and Zechs episodes are great because they are are more complicated than the Gundam pilots and getting to know their motivations more is one thing I always liked about this show. How things unfold from there remains to be seen, but Lady Une is getting the Ultimate Gundam to face the remaining Gundams on the colonies.

Final Score: 10 / 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 10 – “Heero, Distracted by Defeat” – Victorious OZ

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“Gundam Wing” has a lot more complexity in factions and characters than the original “Mobile Suit Gundam,” and we see some of this of the factions arising within OZ in regards to the different mentalities of combat and what entails victory. This made the episode intriguing, as well as us experiencing a loss very early on…We are only on Episode 10 after all.

“Heero, Distracted by Defeat,” was directed by Nana Harada, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The episode begins with a meeting of the OZ leaders (Lady Une, Noin, Treize and Zechs), from here Treize meets them all individually and puts Lady Une in charge of dealing with the rebels and the transfer of the Taurus Mobile Suits to a secure location and dividing the Colony Gundams by having a decoy band traveling by land while the read transport travels by air. From here the story unfolds as the Gundams fall into the trap.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs shows once again why he is one of my favorite characters in this episode as he rejects his birth name and being named a Count choosing only to remain a soldier, knowing that he will have to do much more things that will make him unworthy to lead if there is ever to be peace. It is fascinating and he lets Heavyarms take Heero to safety after Heero sacrifices his Gundam to protect the colonies. He also matches Heero in the fight as he fights in Tallgeese against Gundam Wing.

Noin – Resists Lady Une throughout the episode in small ways, such as not letting her talk to Treize and shutting her down with Treize’s words as Treize disproves of her brutal and harsh methods. She also is supportive of Zechs and what he is going through during the mission.

Treize – Treize speaks Zechs true name and wants him to lead, but respects Zechs’s choice not to lead. He also puts Lady Une in charge, though why remains to be seen as she is brutal and gets the job done, but everytime it comes at a cost. The reasons he wants people to hate OZ right now has yet to be explained.

The Gundam Pilots – The Gundam pilots lose this one and Wufei doesn’t join the battle, which costs them victory. He feels unworthy after losing to Treize and the only reason they weren’t annihilated was because of Heero’s sacrifice.

Dr J. – Reveals he is behind the fight against OZ and surrenders. Whether he is telling the truth or not remains to be seen, but it shows he puts the Colonies first, and it was great seeing him again.

Okay/Con: Lady Une – Is jealous and small thinking, which is a shame because her methods of blackmailing the Colonies could be critiqued for other reasons rather than her character. She was called out afterall. Right now there isn’t anything to like about this character now, she isn’t even good to her allies. She’s a bit crazy at this point as she was ready to destroy Colonies to get them to surrender.

This episode was really good, but not a favorite. Treize and Lady Une are still vague in their motivations and the Gundam Pilots didn’t get enough exploration in this one. They have brotherhood but they didn’t get an individual chance to shine this episode. These issues brought the episode down.

Final Score: 8.5 Was really good.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 4 – “The Victoria Nightmare” – The Spark the Gundams Made

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    “The Victoria Nightmare” is a good episode for exploring Zechs’s character, how the UESA is making things worse, Wufei’s ideology and the connection between the other Gundam Pilots. This episode really gives us a glimpse of what is to come from the feel of it as well as giving us the chance to know two other fascinating characters.

    The episode was directed by Tetsuya Watanabe and Atsushi Shigeta and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

    The premise picks up where we left off with Zechs going to Victoria base since he heard a Gundam was going to attack there and meeting his colleague, friend and possible love Noin who has been training the new recruits. Shenlong Gundam attacks and the story unfolds from there. Around the same time Duo and Heero are repairing their Gundams and the UESA is holding a meeting on what to do about the rebel colonies since they know that is where the Gundams came from.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Noin and Zechs – These two have a great relationship. They both went to the academy together and their approaches balance out one another. Noin is about saving soldiers while Zechs is about defeating the enemy no matter the cost since those who survive learn. You can tell why each of them are specials because of this. We also learn that Noin is better but took the mentor role for Zechs so that he would be seen as the best of the group. Sadly we don’t see why this is the case but we haven’t truly seen them in action yet in my opinion.

Tallgeese – Tallgeese is the Gundam that Zechs gets at the base as it is as large as the Gundams being fought and is their best bet at fighting it. We see ones later being based off it so that OZ and UESA have a chance to fight back against the Colonies’ Gundams.

Heero and Duo – I like how these two interact. Duo is nice and carefree, while Heero is morose and bitter and doesn’t care about anyone. We see this when he steals equipment from Deathscythe so he can fulfill his mission of destroying a Gundaniam shipment. Heero is about the mission where Duo is trying to make a life as well as do the mission.

Trowa and Quatre – Quatre is a musician and he and Trowa play together. The music in this scene is beautiful and it’s a nice contrast to the war going on, especially as Quatre is such a tender personality.

Vice Foreign Minister Dorian and the UESA – Dorian wants them to not up the war with the colonies as Operation Meteor came about because of the UESA oppression. No one listened to him though, except Treize who maybe killing him as for now the war is profiting OZ.

Treize – We really see how cold and calculating he is and that he has no room for people who don’t serve his purpose as he tells Lady Une to take care of Dorian after he hears about what was said during the meeting.

Wufei’s Assault on Victoria – Wufei does a lot of damage but is nearly injured by Noin before he destroys one of the ships and takes the lazer that the base was holding. I don’t like Wufei at this point as he sees “Bleeding hearts and women” as unworthy of death because they are so weak. I did like the battle though and Shenlong Gundam is a pretty amazing Gundam.

The Con: Wufei – Wufei is sexist and obsessed with being the best. Right now I have no reason to like the character as he is the definition of arrogance.

Relena – She still has a death wish as the one scene we see her in is her screaming for Heero to come and kill her. Why are we supposed to like this character again?

     This was a really good episode where we got the chance to know Dorian and Noin, both are fascinating characters. Also it’s great seeing that the UESA is slowly becoming a threat again…mostly due to Zechs and Treize but it’s a good direction that the show is heading. I’m looking forward to see how the war unfolds and more about where the Gundam Pilots came from.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10. Solidly great.