Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Vol. #10 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2001
What They Say
The final volume!
When the White Fang ship Libra refuses to change course away from Earth, Quatre and the others are forced to set Peacemillion on a collision course in an attempt to save Earth! Each Gundam pilot fights furiously in the final battle.
Wu Fei takes off to have a duel, Quatre deals with his emotions, and Trowa defies his destiny. Meanwhile, Duo repays some old debts and Heero heads out for one final battle with Zechs. And the Libra is still on a collision course with Earth!
The final volume of Gundam Wing has arrived with the final four episodes. It's been well over a year since I'd originally seen the ending on Cartoon Network, so it was great to finally check it out again and in the original language no less.
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.
Much like past transfers, this is another pretty solid release. With the exception of some minor cross coloration during parts of the episodes, such as sometimes along the white spacesuits of some of the characters or some of the white areas of the Gundam's, there's little I've got a problem with. Colors look good, the blacks are nicely solid and there's a definite film feel to a lot of this.
This cover is fairly bright and sort of forward-looking in how the characters appear, with the five boys looking off at what's to come, while two of the Gundam's are powerfully large images behind them. The back cover is just like the last nine releases with a brief summary and a specifications diagram of one of the Gundam's with a few animation shots along the bottom. The insert provides another shot of the cover while the interior has episode summaries with animation shots and the larger version of the Sandrock specification schematic.
The menu system replicates what was seen in volume 7 through 9, with the look and feel of the interior of the Epyon. Playing them in full anamorphic mode on the HDTV they look great. Access times between the menus are pretty good with only an occasional sluggish moment here and there..
With there being one less episode on this disc, a few more extras were possible. The first is an exceptionally deep and nicely laid out Gundam Encyclopedia, that goes into detail with lots of pictures about all kinds of mobile suits. This is great if you're a die-hard Gundam fan, but it gave me a bit of an overload. Bandai's also provided three clean pieces. The ending finally gets a clean version and both of the openings get clean versions here as well. Very welcome to have these at last.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In essence, these final four episodes represent what's basically one day in the world of Gundam. Treize has completely marshaled all of his forces into space. Zech's has marshaled all of his forces aboard the Libra with its massive cannon and near endless supply of mobile dolls. And aboard the Peacemillion, we have the Gundam boys and their friends who aren't quite sure whose side to take in this battle.
With all these forces assembled, both Treize and Zech's speak quite a bit, loudly and publicly. The two men have their own plans, but their plans certainly seem to compliment each other. If it wasn't for the fact of how chaotic everything's been in this series, you would almost think that this was planned out by the two of them a long time ago. There's certainly enough circumstantial evidence to it, especially when their final war to end all wars and change peoples hearts about wars has arrived, and they've both acquired the ultimate positions of power.
This day of battles between the forces flows across all four episodes, from when Treize marshals out his forces to the "line drawn across space" to the final battles with the Gundam's. There are quite a few personal battles fought here, one of the better ones being between Treize and Wu Fei, with the two squaring off against each other in a civilized yet frantic battle. There's also a rather surprising sequence between Zech's and Noin that leaves you really unsure of how things are going to go. Noin in general seems to be really unsure of where her place should be at times here.
With this being mostly battles, there's little to really go into detail about as each move is like the final part of a chess game, where mentioning one thing, such as a particular death, reveals the next thing. For those who haven't seen the show yet, this is solid bloody ending to the series that brings about some fairly good conclusions (though leaves enough room open for the sequel OVA series, Endless Waltz). These final episodes do get a boost in quality level though from earlier episodes and a lot of the character animation looks fairly better and the smoothness in general looks better.
Gundam Wing was my first exposure to a Gundam TV series. I'd seen the 0080 and 0083 OVA series before and had enjoyed them quite a bit, but I knew Gundam W was something else entirely with its separate continuity and younger mainstream appeal. I've really enjoyed it overall, though felt it went on a bit long with some rather muddled middle ground in the 30's. While I certainly won't judge other Gundam series against this one, Gundam Wing was definitely one of the best ones to be brought over for both broadcast TV and for a lengthy series to test sales. Hopefully things have gone well enough that we'll see more bilingual Gundam series hitting US shores in the future.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Gundam Encyclopedia,Clean Opening 1,Clean Opening 2,Clean Ending
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing