Gundam Wing continues on its path of constantly changing the narrative and factions at the drop of a hat in its third chunk, whether that’s a good thing or not I’m not sure, but at least the pace was never slow! So which side is which character on? What are the sides? Is Relena really back? Is there really a new character that’s even more annoying?! Let’s take a good look at these episodes and find out!
While Heero and Quatre arrive on Earth and soon seek out the Sanc Kingdom, now being ruled by Relena Peacecraft, while Wufei and Duo remain in Space, searching for the right path to follow. At the same time Trowa remains missing in action, and Zechs has returned to the battlefield once again…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Noin apologises for creating a small force to defend Relena’s citizens… Also, man that’s some half-arsed “characters in the distance” artwork…
We spend these eleven episodes with the main quintet of protagonists separated between Earth and Space, and although more focus is put on Earth (as, after all, Heero is the main protagonist) we do get some good stories out of the whole cast. As I intimated in the last review, Milliardo Peacecraft has already put the mask back on, claimed to be Zechs and returned to fighting against the Romefeller Foundation (mostly so as not to disgrace the Peacecraft name that Relena is now relying on to run the Sanc Kingdom). He eventually takes control of the Wing Zero after a soldier with delusions of grandeur is driven crazy by the Zero System’s future prediction ability and returns to his large ship ran by the weird hippie-type character he met last time. Meanwhile Heero and Quatre side with the Sanc Kingdom (even if Heero doesn’t want to admit it) and fight on their behalf, despite being a country that promotes total pacifism (more on that later…)
Eventually Heero buggers off and fights on behalf of the splinter Oz group known as the Treize Faction and meets Mr. Khushrenada personally, the two having a great exchange of ideals and gun pointing before Treize gives Heero his new Gundam, the Epyon, which has a similar cockpit system to Wing Zero. Our protagonist struggles with the new system, even going as far to call it “evil”, but continues on with it to help Relena resist a large Romefeller force that amasses alongside the Sanc Kingdom’s borders. They attack and lay waste to the Kingdom, despite help from Quatre (who has picked up his remodelled Gundam) and Noin, mostly thanks to Heero being driven slightly mad by the Epyon. Zechs heads down to Earth in the Wing Zero when he hears about the attack to his only-recently-recovered Kingdom and is devastated to see it once again destroyed. He and Heero do battle, despite the former Peacecraft claiming that their battle has no meaning, and it ends in a draw. After a talk Heero takes the Wing Zero and Zechs takes the Epyon, the latter wondering if Treize wanted him to have it all along…
It was a great, pivotal moment in the series. Heero gets his new Gundam, Zechs gets his new machine, and Relena… well, again, I’ll get to that later. It was very fun to watch though!
Always loved the Epyon design, even though it was almost always crap to play as in Gundam games…
Other things during these episodes include Duo doing battle with Wing Zero before Zechs took control of it, a combination of Space Colonists fed up of having their resources drained (by a new Romefeller project of a giant space station) and some Treize Faction rebels forming a new group called “White Fang” to take the large group on, and an amnesiac Trowa turns up in a Space Colony where his old circus friends happen to be doing a show and joins them. This where we get to the “set up” for the final run of episodes, as Quatre heads back into space and, along with Noin, begins to use his father’s old connections to try and free a now captured Relena, while also trying not to get caught up in the Roemefeller / White Fang war. Here he meets Duo and Trowa, the latter still without his memories but he instinctively knows he can trust the two other Gundam pilots. Meanwhile a despondent Milliardo Peacecraft is recruited by White Fang to take out Romefeller, and Heero, still on Earth, contemplates killing Relena to stop the corrupted former (or technically still) OZ from using her as a figurehead, but changes his mind when Romefeller seems to be behind her ideals (especially after the war-hungry Duke Dermail is killed)
Speaking of Dermail, he’s killed by White Fang in Episode 40, followed by the shock revelation that Zechs, now as Milliardo again, is now the rebel groups leader and they officially declare war on Earth, setting up the traditional Gundam storyline of Colonies v Earth after 39 episodes. Heero remarks that Milliardo is following a vision from Epyon, and says that Wing Zero showed him that the former Zechs is his next target. To be concluded!
“As Queen of the whole planet, I would like to formally say this: wouldn’t it be nice if there was peace everywhere? It would, wouldn’t it? That is all.”
So let’s finally tackle Relena. Since we last saw her she has accepted her previously-unknown-to-her heritage and become the monarch of the Sanc Kingdom, preaching her birth-family’s ideal of “total pacifism” and decreeing that the rest of the world, and space, should follow their example. Those close to her, including Noin (who is there on behalf of her good friend Milliardo) convince her to create a small defence force as Romefeller will come for them as their message begins to spread, immediately going against her naïve ideals. Sure enough her Kingdom is laid to ruin and she offers herself up to Romefeller to stop the war, a deal they agree to and force her to become the “Queen” of their now-unified Earth. Relena sees this as an opportunity to create peace, declaring that all national borders are now null-and-void and there is just one “Earth Nation”… giving Romefeller exactly what they want. But wait! A group of Romefeller higher-ups favour Relena over the afforementioned head of the organisation, Duke Dermail, which as mentioned comes into play after the Duke’s death, meaning Romefeller is now actually led by nice people! … for now. UESA, OZ, Romefeller, Sanc Kingdom, Treize Faction, White Fang… Gundam Wing loves political shifts, that’s for sure!
So yeah, Relena seems to have been instantly converted to the Peacecraft way, and is so naïve in her want for total pacifism that she just keeps agreeing with whatever people tell her and then wondering if this “was really a way to achieve peace”. It’s such a childish idea of what peace is that it’s frankly as embarrassing as it is annoying. It’s just “why can’t we all just stop fighting and get along” but said by someone who is supposed to lead countries / the world. I mean, it would be nice if we all laid down arms and worked together, but just saying it isn’t going to make it happen, and forcing everyone to follow your ideals and regime isn’t that different from what Romefeller has been doing, really…
On the opposite side of the coin in an extremely annoying new character called Dorothy Catalonia, the granddaughter of Duke Germain. She loves war and the thrill of people putting their lives on the line and that’s LITERALLY the extent of her character. This is calling back to Lady Une from the start of the series, completely one-dimensional villain in a series full of far more interesting and complex antagonists. All she did was spur Relena on in creating conflict through her peaceful ideals, getting a thrill off of the irony, and then applaude her grandfather’s death because it was “in the heart of battle”, even though his space shuttle was just blasted with no resistance. Dull as hell, and extremely annoying.
Oh and you’ll notice I didn’t mention Wufei, that’s because all he does is go back to his cliché dojo, regain his resolve and then decide to kill anyone fighting in a mobile suit in space, be they Romefeller or White Fang. He refuses to join up with Quatre, Duo and Trowa as well, doing the whole “lone bad-ass” thing, but failing because he just acts like a bit of a knob. As I’ve said before, I remember feeling this way about Wufei in past viewings of the series, so at least that’s something consistent anyway…
It’s Duo in his cockpit, because… I got lazy looking for pictures.
The core of Gundam Wing, focusing on Heero trying to find a place in the ever-changing landscape of wars and revolts, seeing how Zechs/Milliardo reacts to some of the events, and the duels the two characters have are all highlights that really come into play in these episodes, and I loved the meeting between Heero and Treize. Sadly Relena is annoying, her new classmate Dorothy is somehow many times MORE annoying, and Wufei lets the Gundam Pilots side down by being a bit of a “cool loner” who isn’t cool. A mixed bag, but I still feel it was more fun to watch than it wasn’t, and its sets things up for the finale well.