Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Vol. #05 (of 10) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, February 04, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2001



What They Say


The Review!
Volume five brings us to the halfway mark in the number of discs and the number of episodes in the series. Things continue to build upon the earlier episodes with some interesting new bits.

Audio:
The Japanese and English tracks both sound pretty good. Dialogue is clean and undistorted and no audio dropouts were detected on either track. There's some good directionality across the front soundstage during a couple of the more involved action sequences, but the majority of it does seem to come from the center channel with dialogue and ambient music. The opening song of course continues to be the highlight.

Video:
This tends to be one of those shows that I just look forward to watching on the HDTV as it looks so good. Colors look great and have no visible bleeding, backgrounds generally look solid, though there are a few parts where there's a touch of line noise. Rainbows are thankfully minimal throughout the show with the most obvious ones being in the ending sequence with Relena's outfits.

Packaging:
Disc fives cover highlights Trowa and his circus chick with his Gundam in between them.. It's a somewhat lighter cover due to the open sky in the background and with Katherine seemingly looking at the Gundam. The back cover along with the insert provides a schematic of the HeavyArms Gundam and gives a very brief summary of the episode. The insert is done up nicely with one side listing the episode titles and summaries and the other being the aforementioned schematic.

Menus:
The menus are the same as past ones, so apply those here. The menus do continue to look cramped, but playing them in full anamorphic mode on the HDTV they look great. And yes, I take the extra time to put it in anamorphic mode to just use the menus.

Extras:
The extras basically consist of just the two characters and the one Gundam profiles, all text based with a few pictures placed underneath them. Not bad, but not all that much.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though this batch of episodes contains a good number of action sequences, it's the more human side of things that prove to be the more interesting part of it the series.

Trowa's climb in the enemy camp continues with him taking the role of testing one of the new mobile suits that will lead the way to victory. The new suit is quite interesting and has some nice new abilities, but it's the face off with a lot of mobile dolls that shows the real power of the new suit. Trowa and Heero's use of the new suits leads directly to an encounter with Zechs in the Tallgeese, which was quite a bit of fun to watch, especially when Zechs realized who was piloting those suits.

The other half of Lady Une's personality is rather prominent this time around as well, going amongst the colonies spreading the need for peace. She also goes on talking to Treize (without him there mind you) in hoping he'll find new ways to settle things without the need for continued bloodshed, all while one of the colonies is intent on destruction in an effort to show the other colonies that war does not belong in space.

Quatre and his family get a bit of the spotlight during an episode as well, as we meet his father. Of course, like most shows themed towards the young, the parents are always overbearing and Quatre's father is no exception. Quatre gets a nice talking down to from his father on the poor path that he chose in becoming a Gundam pilot and only bringing war to the stars. Quatre's family is quite interesting, especially in how they've achieved a level of power within the colony where their opponents look at them as dictators while they're simply doing "the right thing". Of course, the "right thing" is one of the focuses of this series in how no one side is the only way to do things.

There are some interesting progressions later in the disc with the introduction of Wing Zero and Duo's return to action, but those begin to bring about spoilers for the earlier episodes on the disc. The episodes don't follow an overall theme, but more of a progression of the various factions trying to achieve the upper hand while the Gundam pilots plot out their movements several steps ahead of where they are. Well, except for Duo who just goes a bit crazy. But that's normal.

For those who've enjoyed the show so far, there's no reason to stop here. Things continue to broaden in scope and more secondary characters get some solid screen time. Good stuff for those of us who enjoy shows like this.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character & Gundam Profiles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing