Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Vol. #06 (of 10) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, February 04, 2002
Release Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2001



What They Say
Hearing of Treize’s confinement, Oz soldiers calling themselves the Treize Faction enter the war against the Romefeller foundation. Seeing the Gundam pilots as symbols of opposition, the Foundation begins the operation to eliminate the pilots. Without time to rest, Hero heads to gather information for his next battle when he hears of the Sanc Kingdom, Relena’s home country. Acting as mercenaries for the Treize Faction, Heero and Quatre decide to stay in the Sanc Kingdom, where Relena promotes peace and pacifism. Angered by the pacifist nations, the Romefeller foundation attacks the Sanc Kingdom – the Gundam pilots are thus called into battle once again.

The Review!
The 49 episode series now makes its way past the halfway mark and begins to move towards the second major arc storyline. As such, there's both good and bad about this disc.

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this in its original language of Japanese. 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:
Yet another great looking Gundam Wing disc. Barring a few edge rainbows during the last episode, notably around Quatres hair, and a few jaggies here and there, this is a great looking disc. Colors are wonderfully solid, some looking very fleshed out. Black levels are solid and the couple sequences with night time blues looked great. The ending sequence, which I believe came off of a different video master, is again the only real culprit here with fairly noticeable rainbows throughout it. Other than that, Gundam Wing fans are getting yet another great disc for their collection.

Packaging:
The cover this time around is pretty decent with Relena relegated to the corner and the Wing Zero taking up the center stage (note: the image for this review may be showing the promotional artwork that was sent to some retailers and not reflect the actual cover). The back cover is identical to previous volumes with the Wing Zero schematic and the Heero listing. The consistency of the covers for this series has been a big plus. The fold out insert included has episode summaries for each episode along with some animation from each episode. Very nicely done.

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)
There's definitely good and bad about this disc and the storyline. The good is that the central focus is on Heero and Quatre. After a shakedown on the colony where they're being held, the continuing conflict between the OZ factions works to their advantage and they manage to win their freedom for awhile. Things go awkwardly though when they come across the "nose" doctors behind the entire Operation: Meteor endeavor though.

With the doctors being forced to build more new mobile suits, they introduce Heero to the Wing Zero. Much like the units built for OZ, the Wing Zero uses the pilots innate abilities and draws them out more than they otherwise would be. An ordinary pilot becomes an above average pilot and a top pilot becomes something almost transcendental. When Heero takes up the fight inside the Wing Zero, its programming begins to take over the young pilot, nudging him towards the realization that everyone is his enemy, anyone who gets in his way or opposes him.

When Quatre tries to settle him down and convince him that it's the Gundam that causing this, it takes some inner turmoil to bring Heero back to the surface and regain control of his own body once more. This definitely shakes Heero and colors his perceptions towards the Gundam's, but one can't help but feel that this isn't the end of the systems notoriety.

Earth is also going through a lot of changes. The two OZ factions are fighting hard and furious since Treize's house-arrest. Romefeller continues to build strength and brings about rule in more countries through both political and military force. Many countries can do nothing but submit against such a behemoth. But one tiny nation continues to oppose Romefeller and begins gathering both support and actual allies - the Sanc Kingdom as led by Relena Peacecraft and her push for Total Pacifism.

During all of this going on, Heero and Quatre make their way back to Earth in search of something worth fighting for as the world continues to crumble around them. While they search, those who have a need for the two continue to search for them. Sally and Noin end up becoming partners with some fun results as well as bringing into light the darker side to the Sanc Kingdom.

So what's bad about this disc? Of the five included episodes, two are the recap episodes bringing new views up to date on the first half of the series. While this may be a boon for first time viewers or those who haven't watched a Gundam Wing disc in awhile, it was basically two episodes I got to fast forward through to get to the good stuff. Your mileage may vary on this though. Thankfully there were five episodes on this disc so there was still a bunch of good content oriented episodes to watch.

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

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: C+
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