It’s time to end the After Colony era with “Endless Waltz” the OVA/film that puts a neat little bow on the Gundam Wing series. Or does it?! That’s actually a hard question to answer as it does add some missing backstory to some key characters, but it also feels very rushed. I guess the only thing to do is have a closer look!
One year after the war between Earth and Space peace has rang out across the whole Earth Sphere, giving rise to the “Earth Sphere Unified Nation”. Will peace last forever, or is that truly a fool’s dream?
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
“The series is reaching its end… Time to add an actual backstory to our lead protagonist!”
I think the main thing about Endless Waltz isn’t so much the continuation of the After Colony timeline but rather finally filling in some unanswered questions. We find out that the original Operation Meteor mentioned at the start of the Wing series was supposed to be dropping a colony on Earth and then sending the Gundams down to the planet to do clean up, but each of the pilots and their respective scientists went against the plan. Heero was actually a smiley happy teen who admittedly still did sabotage missions, but then he accidentally caused a building full of innocent people get caught in the crossfire, including a little girl and her dog he’d met earlier, and became traumatised. He then fought to end the wars via attacking OZ rather than take out the majority of the planet’s population, all with the blessing of his scientist. Duo tried to destroy his Gundam rather than take part in the slaughter (and become a “God of Death”), but his scientist told him to steal it and used it for good instead… while still calling himself a “God of Death”… which he of course did!
Trowa is also an interesting one. He was a wandering soldier with no name who was working on the Gundam Heavyarms when the actual Trowa Barton (son of key Operation Meteor plotter Dekim Barton) is killed by an associate of Trowa’s Scientist who couldn’t go through with the Operation. No Name arrives and says he saw what happened and he can become Trowa Barton instead and take the Gundam, but he won’t follow the Operation’s near-genocidal goal, which was fine by the scientists. Wufei’s colony was actually the one that was going to be dropped, so he stole the Gundam to end the war before the plan could happen, and Quatre… was so nice and naïve that his scientist just told him to take the Gundam and follow his heart. I really… REALLY had to question why these interesting and important reveals weren’t shown during the actual series, a series where the five protagonists were pretty much trapped in the same personalities for the entire runtime, but it was nice to get them at all…
The Tallgeese III is still one of my favourite designs.
“What about the actual plot of Endless Waltz?” I hear you ask? Well… it’s okay. It has some serious holes (See below!) but there are good moments. The key plot is the previously mentioned Dekim Barton has teaming with the young daughter of Treize Khushrenada named Mariemaia (yes, “Mariemaia Khushrenada”, trying spelling that out when you’re at school!) to form a new army out in a distant space colony, and to top it all off they kidnap key politician Relena to try and force Mariemaia to become the ruler of the whole ESUN. So there you go, peace hasn’t been achieved forever, who would have thought? As the Gundam pilots either fight amongst themselves or scramble to get their suits back (again, see below) the former Zechs / Milliardo, now just going by the codename “Wind”, begins to attack Mariemaia’s forces directly, eventually reuniting with his on-again, off-again love interest Noin. Although he doesn’t do much else beyond that, I did enjoy him and Noin getting together properly, and his suit, the Tallgeese III, is a fun design.
The ending sees the Gundam pilots, Milliardo, Noin and a large group of regular civilians stand up to Mariemaia and take out their mobile suits specifically without hurting the pilots in order to show them how peace can still be achieved… or something. Meanwhile Mariemaia herself has a change of heart after being with Relena for so long and gets shot by Dekim for it, before he himself is shot. Mariemaia survives and lives with Lady Une (remember her? She was dedicated to Treize, so I guess it makes a sort of sense that she’d look after his daughter) That’s that! Peace is back on and this time everyone… *sigh*, detonates their Gundams assuming this time peace really will last forever (Hmmm…) and we cut to a montage to end. It’s… fine.
It’s Mariemaia! She’s hasn’t inherited her father’s multi-layered character, that’s for sure…
The first thing that sticks out to me is the opening scene, where just one year into a peaceful Earth Sphere four of the five Gundam pilots gather their machines and … SEND THEM INTO THE SUN. What on Earth?! Put them in storage, display them in a museum to the “old times”, don’t literally destroy them after only one year of peace… Unsurprisingly after the Mariemaia uprising begins Quatre is sidelined for a lot of the story trying to catch up with the mining satellite that has the Gundams on it in order to retrieve them in time. Idiots. The fact they don’t learn their lesson and detonate the suits at the end drives me nuts as well… I’m also not a big fan of the redesigns all the suits got, especially how they’re retroactively retconned into the flashbacks like they’ve always looked like that.
Wufei, one of the most annoying characters from the original series, sides with Mariemaia (and he is the one who kept his Gundam, showing some actual brains) and the only reason given seems to be that, erm, he doesn’t feel he has a place in a peaceful world? He doesn’t believe a peaceful world could possibly exist? It’s… not made very clear. The only thing close to a climactic battle is between Wufei and Heero in their respective Gundams, but it’s relatively brief and ends with Wufei winning but hearing his opponents last words of “How many more times must I kill that little girl and her dog”, tying into his recently revealed (to us, I have no idea how Wufei got affected by hearing them) backstory. Wufei then helps everyone de-arm the rest of the army and joins in on detonating the Gundams before joining the “Preventers”, I guess the ESUN’s “army that isn’t an army because peace and all that”. Either way it’s not a fulfilling ending because Wufei’s reasons are blurred and it doesn’t go on very long…
Generally things like Wufei’s betrayal and how quickly everything with Mariemaia happens and ends makes the 90-minute runtime really noticeable. Given the world of the After Colony era isn’t THAT much different than how it was at the start of the film, it did seem like Endless Waltz was a rather pointless add-on, rather than a big finale…
Let’s end our look at the Wing side-series with a picture of the Deathscythe. Why not?
Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz flies by, which is both a good and bad thing. It never lets up and reveals some interesting backstory, but a lot of the new story just flies by without much time to resonate, plus there are some really… really daft plot points. I guess I’ll give it a middling score, but overall it’s not bad, it’s just the final few episodes of Wing were a far better send off, I feel…