What They Say:
The actions of Heero and his fellow Gundam pilots have plunged Earth and its space colonies into political upheaval. The secret society OZ, which took over the world in a stunning military coup, has now split into warring factions and the Gundam pilots are caught in the middle. Only the pacifist Sanc Kingdom, now resurrected under Relena’s leadership, remains an oasis of peace in a world torn by war. But two powerful new Gun-dams, and OZ’s legions of computer-controlled mobile dolls, are about to escalate the conflict to new heights!
Contains episodes 26-49 on Blu-ray with both the English dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles. Presented with collector’s 48-page artbook.
• Episodes 26 to 49 on Blu-ray
• 48 Page Booklet
• Clean Opening
• Clean Closing
A bit disappointed as a classic and well known introduction to anime, the Blu-Ray release with an English and Japanese 2.0 Stereo so sadly no 5.1 option – albeit it doesn’t affect the quality in regards of audio listening as it is very clear in both languages, with some classic voice actors in both languages involved in this. There were no complications of the audio throughout the release and the 5.1 option definitely comes through well with no need to adjust default settings on the audio system I was using and there was no transition problems with the audio and the subtitles/action so in that respect it was fine – just feel especially considering the many MANY battle sequences that this is a series that would have really benefited from a 5.1 track.
Similar with the audio, the video is set in 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio via NTSC transfer to PAL format – unfortunately with this being an older release the transition to Blu-Ray isn’t one of the best – it is still in a ¾ screen format (with black bars on the side) and does feel more of a DVD release, not to the point of the screen being blurry from pausing, just again with the action sequences a full-screen cinematic effect would have been much welcomed. That said, the animation was fine and with a lot of bright colours and the battle sequences with the Gundams during the space segments as well as the civilian moments, still transfers well onto the screen, just some obviously noticeable issues.
There was no packing for this test release however the Blu-Ray Special Edition version of this will get collector’s packaging.
On each of the discs, the menu is very similar, each disc has two of the Gundams on a space background (all different colours) with the Gundam Wing sign below with Play All, Episodes, Set Up and on Disc 4, extras. The menu is quick and easy to access and you can access a pop-up menu to return to the main menu or change your language. In other words, a standard Blu-Ray menu set up.
We have just a set of basic extras, two versions of the textless opening and the textless closing and commercials for the show, but the actual version will have a 48 page description booklet.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second half of Gundam Wing continues its way, setting up a conclusion and the Endless Waltz film. With GW being more popular in the west and really popularizing the Gundam franchise over here, it is a case of how well it’s aged – with remakes and new versions of space opera, Gundam and sci-fi shows in general, does it conclude as memorable as I think it did when I watched it eons ago (well close to 20 years ago) on Cartoon Network?
We start with Quatre and Heero being saved by the Trieze faction, who talk about the Gundam ZERO system but when they are caught again by one of the OZ soldiers, Quatre begins to show his worth as he snaps Heero out of going mad from said system and heading back to Earth, with Quatre being the most pacifist of the guys, he tends to stand out a bit but the fact you want peace, you prepare for war mentality, he was one of my favourites surprisingly when I originally saw it, and aside from Duo probably still is. More fun especially with Trieze back in the game as well with his new Gundam, the Epion about to be unleashed…
Duo also gets caught by the same guy and also nearly goes insane from trying out the system but fortunately is saved by maybe love interest Hilde (and said OZ recruit dies from insanity when he tries to catch them in the Gundam ZERO), and with the Gundam boys definitely more on the side of helping Trieze, Relena helps as well by trying to ally people with herself (though doesn’t initially go well). Heero learns of the Epion, but clearly begins to have problems when he tries it out whilst in the meant time Wufei has to see his home colony destroyed, again brings Zechs back into play hoping to ally with Wufei. Unfortunately the ZERO system again screws them over with Wufei not being able to handle it combining with still distrusting Zechs, but with his new Gundam (along with Quatres), there may still be a chance of peace…
Lastly, we have Trowa who has returned to the circus but has amnesia, and his potential love interest Catherine has no interest in him returning to battle despite Duo’s efforts. Relena on the other foot agrees to be a prisoner of OZ to save the lives of the Sanc Kingdom. Heero on the hand can’t handle the Epyon and forces Zechs to fight him, they do tie but with the dissolving of the Sanc Kingdom, Zechs has moments of weakness of what he can do. Whilst Zechs does seem to be an expy of Char from the original Gundam, his story arc of being an in-betweener between doing what is right but for what team, combined with his hidden care for his recruits, Noin, and of course his sister, means he definitely stands out as the most in-depth character of the series. I said that Duo was my fave of the Gundam boys, but Zechs is definitely my favourite character.
As the path to getting Trowa’s memory back happens, we get a new enemy named the White Fang that he, Quatre and Noin have to deal with, whilst Relena begins to try and make her own nation to support her pacifist beliefs. However the White Fang seems to have a certain somehow joining them as Zechs – and a new intriguing character, Dorothy, a.k.a the granddaughter of Duke Dermail who has been dealing with Relena. She has been in the series as a student at Relena’s school and seems to admire her, but definitely has very different beliefs (believes war is necessary) and she was definitely part of the reason of Relena’s attempts to make a new nation – she also seems to have a connection with Trieze but also seems to prefer being with White Fang on Zech’s side interestingly. She definitely adds a touch more sneaky but sinister side especially with the female characters/counterparts to the guys have been usually quite standard, she is supposed to be the counterpart to Quatre, yet is definitely quite different.
Of course, with this, it puts odds with Heero and he returns to his original thoughts/mission of killing Relena, however things change when Zechs, a.k.a. Milliardo Peacecraft declares war on Earth and Trieze takes over from Relena so that he can deal with this side (saying maybe too much for Relena) – eventually all the Gundam pilots teems together on the new base Peacemillion, which leads to battles of wits (Relena vs. Trieze), battle of the mind (Trowa recovering his memory), and battle against the ZERO system. Dorothy even gets into battle thanks to Zechs however Quatre takes her own and is now able to use the ZERO system. Heero eventually goes to rescue Relena, but Zechs does defeat Trieze in battle and later Wufei gets his revenge after his early season sword fight defeat – leading the Gundam boys with no option but to fight Zechs in a final battle between Heero’s Wing Gundam Zero and Zechs’ Gundam Epyon. It leads to a finale that will decide the fate of the world, both in battle of the Gundams, and battle of the politics….
The story seems quite complex, but ultimately is told quite well. There is no black or white in terms of real villainy as both sides definitely have points in peace vs. war, and with the wealthy of characters it is hard to see who is right. With Zechs as mentioned my favourite character due to his sheer complexity, the more in depth nature of characters like Dorothy vs. Quatre really stand out outside of Heero and Relena. Whilst Duo, Trowa and Wufei all have their moments (Duo rescuing Hilde, Trowa regaining his memory and Wufei fighting Trieze), the key is basically Heero vs. Zechs, with Relena in the behind the scenes again. With Trieze mingling in the background as well, there is a surprising amount going on through the show, that rewatching it after so long I forgot just how surprisingly in depth it was.
Maybe it was whenever I saw Gundam Wing stuff on line though it usually didn’t focus on that; it focused on…ahem…other things usually.
Other things I remembered were that Relena wasn’t that popular a character – I do tend to see that as she is a one-trick pony, but she is in a very difficult environment and she actually stands out well considering all the backstabbing and manipulating of her and how she tries to get out of it. She isn’t a typical damsel in distress either; she is definitely strong in the mind if nothing else so yeah, had no problems with her. I will say Dorothy was a perfect foil to her though, with admiration but also popular opposites in terms of what they believe in, which also helps a bit in developing Quatre’s character as well, which probably helped as he was probably the least most interesting of the guys at that point, but now is just behind Duo for me.
The animation still flows well, and whilst Heero’s characterization is still very weak, he does improve and the fight scenes still really kick butt. With an interesting ending which screams cliff hanger (coughs ENDLESS WALTZ coughs), you aren’t sure what the pilots are going to be up to now but you know something is going to happen. I guess my main weakness is that because there are a lot of characters and a lot of focus is on both the battles and behind the scenes politics, a lot of characters do get shafted a bit. Lady Une, Noin, Hilde, Catherine, Sally and even Trieze himself to an extent don’t get as much focus to develop the relationships with their potential others or even the cast (Noin gets a few moments debating whether to side with Zechs or not whilst also working together with Quatre and Duo) which is a shame as they were interesting characters, and I still was never a fan of Wufei’s attitude, as even Heero I feel improves development wise than Wufei. As for Trowa, he suffers a bit because of the amnesia angle but manages to get over it gradually, whilst Duo is still plenty of fun but again, they seem to be set aside a lot compared to Heero, Zechs and Relena.
That said, this definitely still holds up. The story is smartly told, the action is excellent, it requires you to follow along with this ongoing space drama and there is a good wealth of characters that blur the line between good and evil. Some get more attention than others, but there is enough depth for you to keep along and keep the focus.
Gundam Wing is a classic that brought a new generation of western fans of the franchise and despite its reputation as a pretty boy anime. The show itself is surprisingly in-depth with politics, action and a wealth of characters. Whilst some are more interesting than others, the show does stand out as a space opera type show and whilst I feel Yamato is still the better of the two, Wing definitely has enough merits for anybody new to anime and want to look into Gundam as a good introduction the franchise even 20 years after its debut.
Clean Opening/Ending, Trailers, Commercials, Promo Videos
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Anime Ltd
Release Date: January 27th, 2020
Running Time: 600 minutes
Video Encoding: PAL 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.