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

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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.

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 30 – “The Reunion with Relena” – The Importance of the Pilots

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With Dorothy in the shadows and the nature of war, I don’t see things going well for Relena’s Sanc Kingdom. This episode is good at showing the new purpose of the pilots though and we see both Quatre’s and Heero’s process of getting there.

The episode was directed by Kunihiro Mori and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The episode picks up where we were before with Dorothy protesting the peaceful way as seeing it as irrational and that humans will always find reasons to fight. Her and Relena debate and we see Relena has become attached to her. We also see that Heero has joined the Treize Faction as a leader to fight against the Romafeller Foundation while Quatre is going among the people to try and find purpose and to get help for the civilians.

The Pros: Relena – Relena is shown to be the leader now and her one disadvantage is that she still is naive in many ways. Would she be willing to kill Dorothy to protect her Kingdom? This is a question that she is not ready to answer.

Dorothy – Dorothy is researching the Pilots and wants to use their actions as an excuse for the Romafeller Foundation to invade and occupy the Sanc Kingdom. She is cruel and loves it but we see she at least has a basis for her philosophy. She is the opposite of Relena and it makes her interesting.

Quatre – Quatre walks among the people and learns of Sanc creating a bulwark against the Romafellers through peaceful resistance. This leads to him to believe that they are needed there, as he sees how the people are suffering and need protection. It is his drive that saves Heero again, much like last time.

Heero – Heero is driven by revenge and he has an enemy worth fighting again. The Romafellers don’t care about people at this point and have lost their original mission of protecting nature. Are there any good Romafellers? Right now, no. They are Heero brought to the extreme of someone always seeking fights and dominance.

Okay: Pacing – Pacing could have been better. The narratives that Relena and Dorothy are going through don’t feel as fleshed out, same with Quatre and Heero, though Quatre does feel like a whole character, like Relena.

This is a good episode and well worth seeing. We get a glimpse into just how compassionate Relena and Quatre are and that their motives are not based in ego but in the people…while Dorothy and Heero are still driven by conflict and to a big degree love of battle, much like Amuro from “Mobile Suit Gundam.” Now Heero at least has  a purpose to fight, the just Sanc Kingdom deserves protection as it gives freedom and is the answer to Romafeller control and can’t be blamed for terrorism because they are non-violent.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 26 – “The Eternal Flame of the Shooting Stars” – Romafeller’s Revealed

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This is the episode that shows that OZ is truly one of the better factions and that the true villains are the Romafeller Foundation and their plan for domination of the Colonies and Earth via the Mobile Dolls. We also see how broken the pilots are and are given questions in regards to the deaths of some characters (Trowa and Une maybe alive?) We shall see though as we finish up the last half of the series.

The episode was directed by Yasunao Aoki and Nobuyoshi Nishimura and written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa.

The episode begins with Heero and Quatre ordered to be killed by Tsuberov. The troops disagree and we are introduced to the Treize faction who are also fighting the Romafeller Foundation and their invasion of Earth, though the Romafeller Foundation is winning the war by sheer numbers. From here the episode unfolds with Quatre and Heero in roles traded as Heero becomes the new insane soldier.

The Pros: The Treize Faction – The Treize faction is fantastic and the only ones fighting the Romafeller Foundation besides the Gundam Pilots. These guys are great and their gundams have shields too. They also rescue Quatre and Heero for the Colony Scientists who are working with them against the Romafeller Foundation.

Heero – Heero loses it this episode when he is hooked up to Gundam Wing and targets those who he sees as his enemies (mirroring what happened to Quatre when he was in Wing). From here it unfolds with him planning to kill the scientists until he has a vision of Quatre and one of Relena before he leaves the Gundams behind and escapes with Quatre to get to Earth.

Quatre – Heero brought Quatre back and this episode Quatre brings Heero back. He has finally learned from his father and found himself again. He only fights to defend and realizes the Gundams are a major problem as they are the greatest weapon of war and keep the cycle of violence going. He is a wise character in this episode and feels what he did to the Colony he destroyed.

The Message – The Message is that the cycle of war will always continue as long people build weapons and become weapons. It’s a great message and it shows how the use of weapons and war can break people as it broke the Gundam Pilots.

Okay: The Scientists – These guys are neutral again. They discover that the Pilots are faster than the Mobile Dolls and the computer system in the Gundams. They are special and that when the system makes their abilities sharpened. They make a great comment too on how they will not let Gundam Wing defeat them…as it survived the explosion and may serve a purpose later.

This was a great episode and a must see! We get to see Heero and Quatre grow as characters, see how Gundam Wing is out of everyone’s control…and the Romafeller Foundation’s conquest. This is the episode that establishes the factions for later and shows that some of our heroes may still be alive. It is a lot of fun and full of shades of grey.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10.