Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 35 – “The Return of Wufei” – Factions of Resistance

Gw-ep35-return-of-wufei

 

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.

Advertisements

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 22 – “The Fight for Independence” – Ideals Over Faction

msgw22

 

I really liked this episode and got to say it was a favorite. “The Fight for Independence” was a fascinating deconstruction of Treize, Zechs/Miliardo, Lady Une, Trowa, OZ, The Alliance as well as the Colonies. Things were shown to have grown more complicated and no one liking where things are headed except for the people obsessed with war.

The episode was directed by Yasunao Aoki and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The story kicks off with Zechs, now calling himself Miliardo’s arrival in space and him going to the Alliance Colony under General Septum’s son Gwinter to seek a peaceful solution between the Colonies and Earth. The Romafeller Foundation puts Nichol in command and orders Lady Une to serve as a soldier, all this is from orders from Dermail who wants Zechs destroyed. As Nichol fulfills his orders Treize reaches out to Zechs during the battle and asks a request and Trowa faces off against Nichol on the barge.

The Pros: Politics – The Alliance is seeking to learn and grow and not repeat the past, but fears being destroyed because the Colonies are becoming them so they feel they have to fight. The Romafeller Foundation is using OZ men until they don’t need them anymore and can replace them with Mobile Dolls, subordinates like Nichol are rebelling and Zechs is a free anger and trying to create a future. It’s fascinating and wonderful stuff.

Gwinter – Gwinter and his Grandfather listen to Zechs and in the end are prepared to die so people will see the evil of war for themselves as there has never been a colony destroyed. They aren’t destroyed which is good, as Gwinter is a very solid character and better understands the situation going on in their relationship to OZ thanks to Zechs.

Trowa – Trowa has a small but important part. He saves the Alliance Colony because he believes Lady Une would not do the order, which is true. She has a split personality but even her ruthless side knows that if you destroy an entire colony you show the others that you aren’t diplomatic. He’s really perceptive and has a good heart.

Nichol – Hates Trowa for being of the Colonies and joining OZ and is willing to sacrifice Lady Une to destroy the Alliance because he values orders from those above him so much. He is the zealot soldier who can’t see beyond the means to an end of duty. I was pretty happy when Une pulled the gun on him at the end.

Lady Une – We see her lost in the battle going between personalities but becoming the har Lady Une once she is rescued by Zechs. She thinks it was a smart move but not the right move and is pretty much in rebellion against the Romafeller Foundation now since Nichol was just following them.

Zechs/Miliardo – I’m going to keep calling him Zechs as that was how I first met him, but he’s clearly grown beyond what Zechs represented. He has a touching conversation with Treize who feels powerless against the Romafeller Foundation and shows that they are still friends when he rescues Lady Une. We also see his diplomatic side as he seeks to break the cycle of violence by convincing the Alliance to be peaceful. He also admits that he left OZ because it was no longer about choice and helping soldiers and people become stronger and have purpose and to live with honor.

Treize – Treize gives us the theme of the episode when he admits he can’t go into space even though Une is there and he clearly cares about her. He feels guilt over contributing to her split personality and also feels powerless in the face of the Romafeller Foundation which has grown in power. For this reason he seeks to find his power again to fight them and knows the only ones who can relate to him are Zechs and Une.

The Message – The automation is war is bad…we see this in how the Romafeller Foundation plans to use the Mobile Dolls to take out all the factions they deem unworthy in the conflicts on Earth and their constant targeting of the last of the Peacecrafts is part of that. We also see that when difficult decisions exist people can make sacrifices for the right thing, like Zechs saving Une and Trowa stopping the Lazer in destroying the Alliance. This is why I like this show.

This is a great deconstruction of what it means to be a soldier and shows that for a soldier to be just they have to do more than simply follow orders, since some orders like the use of the Lazer should not be followed. Trowa represents the ideal soldier here, as does Zechs who is following ideals now and acting as a diplomat and a soldier. He has found the Peacecraft ideals again and is living them through. This is one reason why Zechs is the best character in the show.

Final Score: 10 / 10. This episode is why I enjoy reviewing this show.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 16 – “The Sorrowful Battle” – A Reason to Live

msgw16

“The Sorrowful Battle” is a tale of broken soldiers. It is here we learn more of Zechs’s motivation and what drives him and that he is just as invested in any cause he takes up as the Gundam pilots. It is for this reason his fight with Heero is so illuminating for him. For many facing Heero is how they discover their own reasons for living or fighting.

The episode was directed by Kunihiro Mori and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode begins with Zechs meeting Noin, Trowa and Heero and treating them kindly before it all agreed upon that they need to fight. They can only see that they are on opposing sides and the fight is all they have to live for. What changes things though is the arrival of Relena who is connected to them both and when Noin reveals the truth of Zechs’s relationship to her the story unfolds.

The Pros: Relena – She takes action and prevents Zechs and Heero from destroying each other. Relena sees the big picture and that OZ and the Romafeller Organization are the true enemies of peace and that the pilots are just tools but moral tools. It is the willingness to end Zechs to do so that leads to Noin confessing her love for Zechs to Relena and to Zechs switching sides and fighting OZ for all the colonies. Relena points out to Noin that she is on the wrong side too and makes Noin realize that she is following Zechs truly, not OZ. Best Relena episode so far.

Noin – Respects Zechs’s choice to fight and defend them all and helps him find his reason to fight again. She is great too and helps make peace between Relena and Zechs as well as giving the information of them being siblings and the pain behind Zechs’s backstory and why he felt lost after the horrors that OZ began committing that were counter to his Sanc ideals.

Trowa and Heero – Trowa upgrades Heavyarms for Heero and helps him fight against Zechs making them evenly matched. You can tell how much their friendship has grown at this point and there are a lot of subtle moments of affection between them. They also make the escape with Noin when Zechs promises to fight Heero later and goes to face the army of OZ for the colonies.

Zechs and Heero – Zechs and Heero are two soldiers so filled with guilt from the blood on their hands they just want to die. It takes Relena’s arrival and the letter for Heero to change his mind and to gives Zechs reason to fight for Relena as she fights for the colonies and peace. It’s a powerful scene as he leaves in Tallgeese to take on the OZ invasion force.

To Defend Another – Zechs’s character arc in this episode is his becoming a knight. Before he was nothing more than an OZ mercenary he realizes, especially as the Romafeller ideals run counter to Sanc ideals. This leads to his changing sides at the end and defending the Gundam Pilots, his lover Noin and his sister Relena. Zechs becomes the Knight and finds his purpose again.

This was a great action episode and had some of the best Gundam action in the series. It also had a great character arc for Zechs and Heero and gave them a chance to grow beyond their brokenness as others had forgiven them and wanted to give them a reason to fight for peace. In that way the episode is akin to a beautiful and sad waltz between Zechs and Heero as they learn the greater purpose of the dance they have all been apart of.

Final Score: 10 / 10. The Perfect Gundam Wing episode.

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

msgw13

 

      “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 12 – “Bewildered Warriors” – Wufei’s Purpose

Bewildered Warriors

        “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.