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 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 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 34 – “And Its Name is Epyon” – The Perfect and the Broken Soldier

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This was an episode that had so much potential that it did not fully realize. This potential largely exists because we get to see two of the best characters in the show explored (Treize and Zechs) but falls flat in Treize is handled and how Heero is still extremely static as a character. I’ll get into more of what I mean in the assessment.

“And Its Name is Epyon” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story involves a trap set for Zechs where he rescues Wing Zero and fights against the Romafeller trap in space while on the ground Heero meets Treize who gives him Epyon and asks him to return a failure and kill Treize as Treize no longer has a purpose to fight.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs is fantastic once again! We see him beat the Romafeller forces until he’s overwhelmed and sacrifices Tallgeese and honors it with his good-bye before becoming the perfect soldier in Wing Zero. Wing Zero doesn’t control him, he controls it…he knows himself enough and the reasons why he fights, making him the perfect soldier.

The Battles – The battle are all great. Whether it’s fighting the Romafellers in space via Zechs’s fight, or Heero in Epyon fighting their forces on the ground with the Treize forces. The action in this episode is really good.

Okay: Treize – Treize wants to die? It doesn’t seem to be over guilt more over listlessness and purposelessness. It wasn’t handled bad persay, but I expected more to come out of the conversation between Treize and Heero besides “Come back a loser and kill me.” I did like the fact that he brought up Relena is stronger than Heero, because at this point, she is.

The Cons: Heero – Heero is doing the same old dance and being overwhelmed by Gundams that are too powerful. First it was Wing Zero and now it’s Epyon. He is not able to kill Treize either thankfully and I think he might realize how vulnerable he is. I won’t say for sure until I know. Heero has a habit o returning to stoic soldier who fights for the sake of fighting a bit to easily. Won’t believe a change has happened until I see it.

This episode was lost potential sadly…and in my opinion you don’t need to see it beyond knowing Treize is rooting for the Pilots, which other episodes already establish. The Zechs moments are good at least.

Final Score: 7 / 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 17 – “Betrayed By Home, Far Away” – The Pilots Alone

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One of the things that makes “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” so great is that the factions aren’t entirely clear. It reminds me of “Game of Thrones” in many ways because of that. In this episode we see one of the leaders of the Colonies speak against the Gundam pilots and that the Colonies are against their actions. Unlike “Mobile Suit Gundam” sides aren’t always clear and in the end, even the pilots cannot really be called good.

“Betrayed by Home, Far Away” was directed by Tetsuya Watanabe, Shinichi Sakuma and Hitoshi Waraya and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The story picks up with Duo and Quatre trying to get the attention of the other Gundams to show them that they need to get into space and back to the Colonies, since OZ has been doing a subtle conquest of the Colonies as they overthrow Alliance control. Lady Une is leading the conquest and as she captures each Colony is capturing the scientists who invented the Gundams to learn how to defeat them.

The Pros: Lady Une – Lady Une is shown to be a master of propaganda as she quickly wins over the young and eager Colonial leader of Area D. We see that she is still willing to go any length to defeat OZ’s enemies though as when Dr. J resists she is prepared to harm civilians to kill him, which leads to him surrendering.

The Gundam Pilots – We see a coming together of the Gundam pilots when Quatre and Duo force a call to action, which leads to the arrival of Wufei and Trowa. In the end Quatre sacrifices his Gundam so they can escape to the colonies setting everything in motion for the next arc of the story. He still remains on Earth though.

The Scientists – The scientists are acting alone and are the main threat against OZ as the Colonies are just happy to be no longer controlled by the Alliance. They put up a good fight and in the end cause interference that leads to the Gundams arriving safely back in the colonies.

Okay: The Colonies – The colonies still don’t have complete names or identities. These details would help the story a lot. So far the only separation between the Colonies is the fact that each scientist was creating a Gundam on their own.

This wasn’t the strongest of the episodes, as it was mostly action, but it is still worth checking out. How things are going to unfold on the Colonies remains to be seen but the fact that they aren’t sympathetic towards the Gundams overall could lead to some good drama, especially if OZ doesn’t mess up the goodwill they established in liberating the people from the Alliance.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10.

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 12 – “Bewildered Warriors” – Wufei’s Purpose

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        “Bewildered Warriors” is a good world building episode and a great chance for us to glimpse into the mind of Wufei, as well as getting some time with Sally too! It’s a fun episode and good as a stand alone. I’ll go into more of the details of this in the assessment.

      The episode was directed by Tetsuya Watanabe,  Kunihiro Abe and Tsukasa Dokite and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

       The episode begins with Heero hanging with Trowa at the traveling circus healing from his wounds. It is here he learns that they haven’t received any missions and OZ has been quiet…We then pick up in a country in Asia that had a peaceful leader ruling until the Alliance replaced them with Colonel Bunte who is dealing with guerrillas being lead by Sally. Wufei is pulled into one of their fights to defend them and begins facing the shame and healing he feels from losing to Treize. From here the stories unfold.

The Pros: Sally – Sally leads the guerrillas and reminds Wufei that you don’t have to be strong to be just and to fight. I really like her character as she doesn’t even let death stand in her way of doing the right thing. It is this nobility that inspired Wufei to fight again and reminds him of who he is…even if he doesn’t feel worthy to fly the Gundam.

Trowa and Heero – These two are very similar as Heero’s near suicide has Trowa considering if that is what he should do as well…which we see him follow through on doing when he hears they are going to a military base of OZ’s and we learn that his Colony voted against sending the Gundams so he can’t attack as it would put his home at risk. It makes me curious how Heero’s self destruction will inspire his next move against OZ. These two are similar in that they seem to seek death.

Wufei – Wufei sees those who are weak as unworthy and sees himself as unworthy because he lost to Treize, thankfully Sally turns this around and he helps liberate the country they are fighting in against OZ and Bunte when they are nearly wiped out and he decides standing is the only thing he can do, even if he feels unworthy. It’s a good moment and shows that his character is beginning to heal and to grow.

Okay: The Guerrillas – They are led by Sally but don’t have any motivation beyond overthrowing the corrupt ruler Colonel Bunte. This isn’t bad but we don’t know anything about them really. What is their name? What country are they in? All these details are lost.

The Cons: Colonel Bunte – He’s a baddie who has no dimension at all. He’s hated for the sake of being hated and is nothing but cruel to the people with his soldiers and to his own men when he betrays them. Makes me wish the baddies of “Mobile Suit Gundam” who usually had a lot of complexity.

    This is a solid episode, even though Colonel Bunte is a pretty one dimensional baddie, and we don’t even know the name of the country he rules. It still doe a good job of establishing OZ’s control and how they aren’t to be trusted by anyone given how quickly they turn on Bunte’s troops after he betrays them for OZ’s help against Wufei’s Gundam. It also is a great Wufei episode and gives him complexity that he badly needed, and anytime Sally pops up is usually a good sign.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

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.

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.