Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
Following the cessation of hostilities at the end of Gundam Wing, the five Gundam pilots part ways, and a new organization called the Preventers is formed to maintain universal peace. However, on Christmas eve of the first year of peace, one of the colonies revolts, kidnapping Vice Minister Relena Darlian in the process, and the five Gundam pilots must reunite to fulfill their true purpose: prevent the -real- Operation Meteor from raining death upon the Earth, and in doing so, finally reach the peace that so many people had lived and died to attain.
Will the Gundam pilots succeed? Or will they be defeated, leaving the universe in its endless waltz of war?
I knew there was supposed to be a point behind all this Gundam Wing nonsense!
You see, the bizarre antics and teenage posturing and psychoses, combined with the byzantine politics and deus ex machinae of the television series just rubbed me the wrong way. Really, all of it succeeded only in obscuring the one truth behind Gundam Wing: that it is, in fact, a Gundam series, a story about men and machines at war.
Thankfully, Endless Waltz takes only one more plot point (the arrival of Mariemaia and the start of the *real* Operation Meteor) and essentially throws away the rest of the claptrap behind the TV series, concentrating on the final chapter of the After Colony saga in a way that, while not entirely original, holds its own as a genuine Gundam story.
The back story of the teenage pilots is finally totally revealed, especially focusing on the taciturn pilot known as Trowa Barton, and the Gundams get one last taste of combat before ... well, I won't spoil the ending for you. Interestingly, the Gundams in Endless Waltz have been markedly stripped down (armament-wise) from their TV series incarnations, which is odd because the animation quality is actually *better*, and the unfurling of the final form of the titular Wing Gundam is one of the more impressive sequences to date in a Gundam feature.
The characters themselves also seem to have grown up quite a bit -- they don't seem nearly as caricaturish or over the top as before. Even Wu-Fei has become largely sympathetic, which is saying a lot. They're not kids out for blood and explosions, and it's good to finally see some sensible leads here for a change. Relena and Une are also remarkably cool, and even the erstwhile antagonist, the child Mariemaia, has her moments.
Lastly, the shorter time frame of the OAV series seems to work as a moderating effect on the screenwriting, which is far more stable and coherent than that of the TV series. Granted, the finale plays out in an interesting parallel to Char's Counterattack, which seems to have been a primary inspiration for this series. However, the ending is completely different, since the character relationships and political situation are really nothing like that in the aforementioned movie.
Gundam Wing fans will love this, of course, and the characters don't seem nearly as outrageous and psychotic as in the TV series, especially Relena. Endless Waltz, despite the patently goofy title, actually succeeds in letting the storyline, rather than the unbelievable characters of the TV series, do the talking, and it works. Even Wu-Fei redeems himself, and that in itself makes this series worth seeing for anyone who likes Gundam Wing.
Wresting success from the jaws of disaster, Endless Waltz is what Gundam Wing should've been all along. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: There's mecha violence, plenty of gunshots fired, and a bit of blood. Fine for younger teens and above, even for the uncut Japanese version.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source, Broadcast dub, R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (4/4)
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz © 1997 Sotsu Agency / Sunrise
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