Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Vol. #02 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2000
Release Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2000
What They Say
Mankind has moved into space. But now, the space colonies, ruled by an oppressive Earth government, have struck back! Five young pilots in robotic armors called Gundams have begun attacking the Earth.
As war looks inevitable, Minister Darlian and his daughter make a trip to the colonies to try one final time for peace. While in space, Relena learns the truth about her identity, but at a terrible cost. Meanwhile, talks of peace have done little to deter the Gundam pilots from continuing their mission of destruction and now Oz is starting to fight back!
Bandai's gone back to the the well again to produce the second of ten Gundam Wing discs due out over the course of the next year or so. The first one blew us away after seeing the series on Cartoon Network. The second? Read on...
Presented in both Japanese and English language tracks, the audio on the disc is quite good. Though not recorded at a high level, only 192 kbps, the music and dialogue come out great. There's a lot of good music used throughout the series (especially the great opening song) and it comes across well here. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout with no hints of distortion that I noticed.
And much like the first disc, the video is night and day compared to the broadcast version. The clarity of the animation, the vividness of a lot of the colors, the amount of detail that is finally shown. It's like seeing the episodes for the first time. Since many people missed the midnight unedited showings, these are the first time they've seen the show uncut. Adding in the high resolution and beautiful transfer and you've got a winner here. We didn't notice anything that detracted in any way from the visual experience when watching this disc. Thankfully with there being five episodes, Bandai produced this in the dual layered DVD format, so the bit rate is high and it shows.
Unlike the darker cover used for the first volume, the second is lighter in color. The focus is on Duo's Gundam, with Duo occupying a small section of the lower left corner. The back cover follows the same style as the first volume with plenty of information and a really nice stylized design. Region coding and other technical information is all where it should be. The insert provides the front cover again with an episodic breakdown inside along with a schematic of the Deathscythe Gundam.
The only thing I haven't cared much for with the Gundam releases is the menu. Of course it's easier to reuse the same design from disc to disc for a longer series, so what was seen on the first is here on the second. The menu itself is functional and works well, though you can get lost wondering where the cursor is actually at sometimes, but it's the slightly squashed windows that make some of the text hard to read. Other than that I have little issue with the menus.
The extras this time around are a continuation of the character and gundam information. There are four included trailers as well for other shows. What's included in this release (which may not be available in future releases) is the first ticket you need to get a Gundam Wing toy. Tickets are provided in this volume and the next volume will get you a Wing Gundam action figure. These are definitely some great extras that you can get with the first press run.
With five episodes on the disc, there's plenty of content to go through, and with it being my second viewing of the series, more details to pick up along the way.
The opening episode, Party Night, continues to establish Relena as the strong young woman that she is. Not only does she continue to hold her head high and interact with many people after her fathers assassination, she pretty much stands right up to Heero in his Gundam when the OZ forces come to get her.
Scenario for Bloodshed takes what we thought was going to happen in the political side of this story and begins one of the many twists that will echo throughout the series. Treize and Lady Une bring a large majority of the Alliance leaders to a meeting at the New Edwards base where the higher ups of the Alliance start talking about peace plans with the colonies. Of course, this doesn't sit well with Treize's plans, and through some simple yet effective plotting, manages to eliminate a large number of important people and change the perception of the Gundam pilots.
The Treize Assassination provided one really excellent sequence and a bit of anticlimactic action. The action sequences with Heero and the missiles under the New Edwards base was pretty mediocre and only served to show just how ruthless Lady Une can and will be. The more interesting sequence was the sword fight between Wu Fei and Treize on his yacht.
Portrait of a Ruined Country brings into play a couple of very important pieces to the overall series. The introduction of the Sanc Kingdom and Zech's relation to it will provide a great backdrop as the series progresses. The other key piece is the first combat usage of the Tallgeese, the 20 year old prototype Gundam. Zech's does his first run in it and is nearly killed and his combat senses thrown to the wind, causing him to reevaluate how he'll handle the beast of a machine. There's also a good moment of loyalty to the man Zech's is in the embodiment of Otto, a soldier under his command from the earlier episodes who takes the Tallgeese out to help make Zech's dreams come true.
The final episode, Heero, Distracted by Defeat, is pretty decent. There's another moment of pure ruthlessness exhibited by Lady Une, to the point where those around here are even shocked by her actions. The one thing that sticks out in my mind about this episode is the continual growth and exploration of the character of Zechs. The fight he has with Heero, in abandoning lasers and the like and going to the more personal beam saber, shows the style and grace that the character has in addition to a classical combat sense. Zech's is one of my favorite characters this time around.
If you liked the first disc, this second disc is a no brainer to get. Great video quality, five episodes, a low 24.95 retail price and a great storyline in the classic space opera sense. It's not traditional Gundam, but it's good anime. Highly recommended.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Data,Gundam Data
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing