Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Finale – Season 1, Episode 49 – “The Final Victor” – Weak Humanity

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I thought I’d like this finale more than I did but it had a few things going against it that are largely issues with the series as a whole, which I’ll go into when I do my review of “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” as a whole. Taking the episode on it’s own though, it does do a lot of things right, even if it messes up in some big ways too.

“The Final Victor” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Yasunao Aoki and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

This is the Finale and what is at stake is stopping the Libra from crashing into the Earth (which the Gundam Scientists do by turning on Peacemilllion’s engine to push it out of Earth’s orbit) and Heero facing Zechs. There is also Lady Une who is working with Sally, Relena and Noin on the political side of things to try and find a peaceful resolution between the factions. These are the main areas of action unfolding at the finale.

The Pros: The animation  – I’m going to mention this again, since I haven’t for a long time…but “Gundam Wing” has beautiful animation that is really highlighted in the finale. You can see the details on the Gundams and characters’ facial expressions and hair and feel the emotion.

The Soundtrack – The music is beautiful too and creates tension when it needs to as well as adding to every scene it is in.

The Battle – Epyon vs. Wing Zero, Zechs vs. Heero…it is a great fight and they are evenly matched throughout it until Heero admits he is weak, which Zechs is unable to admit. This leads to Heero defeating him and Zechs choosing to blow up the engine in the Libra to help stop part of the ship from falling and hitting the Earth before he disappears claiming that he and Heero will face each other again.

Gundam Team – I really liked seeing all the Gundams and the scientists working together. In the case of the scientists we see them defeat Quinze who was always more extreme in his approach than they were, and they die in the process and take him down with them. It is there atonement…while all the Gundams working together manage to stop the falling section of Libra.

Okay: The Ending – I have mixed feelings about the ending. There is peace but we don’t see what happens to the Gundam Pilots beyond Heero surprising Relena on her birthday by leaving a gift on her plane that is returning to Earth. There is complete peace because people didn’t like seeing the empty fight between Heero and Zechs…I’m sorry but I don’t buy it. Peace is never that simple and it doesn’t take into account how hurt each side still is, as well as all the political factions that still exist. I liked the moment with Dorothy at Treize’s and Zechs’s grave talking Noin who believed Zechs is still alive and I liked Zechs choosing to help Heero in the end before disappearing but beyond that it felt way too easy. No real loss in the end beyond those like Treize who wanted to die.

In the first “Mobile Suit Gundam” there was so much loss…it was a tragedy and you felt for the people fighting in a war that they had no idea if it would end. In the end there is peace but an entire family is killed in the process and the Alliance corruption is never fully faced, but our character arcs are complete, which is more believable. The narrator just declares victory in this when, “Endless Waltz” is still to come out. Narrator, you were way to premature calling peace. But I’ll get into more of my issues here in the actual analysis of the series as a whole.

I do like that Relena is the go between for the Colonies and Earth and that Treize is in fact dead, but that just isn’t enough for everything that was happening. Peace is never as easy as a phone call when there is this much history of conflict involved.

The Cons: A Call for Peace – I don’t buy it. There are too many factions and why would anyone listen to Lady Une. She doesn’t demand the respect someone like Relena or Treize would do doing the exact same thing. Also, the White Fang is still out there, the Earth saw that the Colonies tried to destroy them. The Gundams are their own faction so them stopping it shouldn’t bring about peace. It isn’t enemies putting down their swords, it’s a third faction forcing the issue. So, major con in regards to the ending.

I liked the Finale, but it was not a favorite. It showed a lot of what I liked about the series but also really highlighted the problems with it too, which I will go into in the assessment of the series whole. I look forward to seeing “Endless Waltz” though. Does it add more depth and show that things aren’t as simple for peace to exist? I like the intent behind the idea of the Finale, it was just very poorly executed and needed much more time and communication between the different factions, as well as revealing that Quinze and Zechs were not as noble as they pretended to be and were just cowards before their own faction.

Final Score: 8 / 10. I can say after this though, “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” is now one of my favorite animes.

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 47 – “Collision in Space” – Challenging Libra

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The Gundams are on no one’s side, but for the moment at least they are fighting the White Fang, since Libra is a direct threat to Earth, while Treize has not attacked any of the Colonies. This brings an interesting dynamic too as Zechs would prefer not to fight the Gundams but goes out to face them when he sees them charging Libra as he is dealing with Treize and knows what must be done if the White Fang is to be successful. This was an episode with a lot of great character moments and action.

The episode was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The episode begins with the battle going on between Treize’s forces and Zechs’s forces as the Gundams plan to take on Libra, while Heero is still on Libra with Relena as the battle unfolds. Sally makes a hard choice and decides that it will take a lot to stop Libra and turns Peacemillion into a weapon by choosing to ram Libra and prevent the cannon from being used on the Earth.

The Pros: Zechs vs. Duo, Wufei, Quatre, Trowa and Noin – This fight is a lot of fun and it reveals that Miliardo is still there. Using the Dolls and targeting Quatre Zechs has the advantage for most of the fight until he decides to attack Peacemillion, but stop when Noin jumps in front of him. It is here he realizes that he still feels.

Peacemillion vs. Libra – Sally has Peacemillion ram Libra, it is awesome! Quinze is scared the entire time it happens with only Dorothy keeping her cool. Zechs isn’t stopped by this though, I think he plans to ram Libra into the Earth since it still has it’s engines.

Duo, Quatre and Trowa Infiltration – Duo meets the scientists who are still planning revenge, but helped with Libra because they think Earth did need to learn from war’s horrors. Trowa gets bogged down from troops and escapes and Quatre is shot by Dorothy.

Upcoming Fights – Wufei joins Treize in fighting the Dolls and claims him for after the battle is done to finish the duel in Gundams. Heero is back in Wing Zero too, which means he’ll be facing Epyon as we see Zechs with Noin knowing of the fight that is to come and mourning the lost.

I really enjoyed this episode. It was much better than the last episode since it had consequences, tied to past episodes and set up things to come later. I’m excited for the coming fights and am curious how Libra is going to be defeated.

Final Score: 10 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 44 – “Go Forth, Gundam Team” – Dorothy’s Insanity and Quatre Rises

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This was an episode with a lot of great character moments (largely for Zechs, Quatre and Relena) but was a really solid episode too with so much great action. We see what happens when characters are pushed to their limits and that the coming war is still in flux. The Gundams stand strong as their own faction and we haven’t seen what Treize has in plan yet or what Relena will do.

“Go Forth, Gundam Team” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Kunihiro Mori and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The premise of the episode is that Zechs is trying to wear out the Gundam Pilots in order to destroy them by using the Epyon system on the Mobile Dolls. Heero counters by installing the Zero system onto Quatre’s Gundam Sandrock as he knows that he’ll be facing Epyon while the rest of the team faces the Dolls. Relena is taken on board (she was purposely missed by the cannon) and she once more confronts Zechs as Dorothy is put in charge of the Dolls to take on the Pilots in the battle.

The Pros: Heero – Heero is the one behind the scenes aware of everyone’s abilities, he even cares about Zechs as when Zechs retreats from the battle after Dorothy fails in the fight and hurts the Libra he asks Zechs if he sees a future, as Heero has seen no future for him. They are connected and have a great respect for each other at this point.

Dorothy – She’s insane and it is awesome. After Quatre defeats her using the Zero system to guide the Gundams in battle she fires the cannon to try and destroy them and it fries Libra’s systems making her feel broken…this is of course after she gives Relena a gun to kill Zechs and puts the suggestion in her head of doing just that and after locking her in her room.

Quatre and Team Gundam – Quatre is afraid when he is given Zero system in Sandrock until Heero convinces him it is his way to atone for destroying a Colony…after watching the other Gundams failing in the battle against the Dolls he takes control and manages to beat Dorothy in strategy, proving that he is not just the glue emotionally, he is also the leader as he is the least bound by emotion and fighting unlike the other three pilots. They do a great job in the battle too and manage to escape in time.

Zechs – Zechs protects Relena and Quinze mentions that he wouldn’t have been chosen to lead White Fang if he hadn’t had someone he protected and cared about. It’s a good moment that humanizes both Zechs and Quinze. Relena rejects Zechs though as she doesn’t know if the man holding her is the blood stained Zechs or Miliardo her compassionate brother. This hurts him a lot and we see how powerless he feels when Dorothy fails him showing that he is in over his head.

Relena – Dorothy offers Relena a choice, end the war and kill your brother…or let your brother make peace through this war. She rejects the offers and is locked in her room…this is after she calls out Zechs on his hypocrisy in a Shakespearian ways of mentioning that she does not know which person is holding her…Zechs or Miliardo and at the end it looks like she might be decidiing to kill Zechs.

This was a perfect episode, great action, character development and answering the “So what?” of “Gundam Wing.” We get to see the characters rise to challenges and make tough choices. This episode also makes Quatre one of my favorite characters, he is shown to have the clearest head and to have grown a lot since Wing Zero was controlling him. Proud of him in this episode.

Final Score: 10 / 10. Perfect “Gundam Wing.”

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.