Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Special Edition (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Monday, February 26, 2001
"History is much like an endless waltz. The three beats of war, peace, and revolution continue on forever."-Maremeia Kushrenada, with what is quite possibly the best anime quote ever.
The finale to my all-time favorite anime is here, and its everything I could have hoped for and more. And DVD owners really lucked out. Not only do you get the uncut, 3-episode OVA version of Endless Waltz, but you also get the movie special edition and its added footage. Which version you prefer is really a matter of personal tastes. The movie has some added scenes for clarity and more of the Gundams fighting (always a plus ^ ^), but the OVAs definitely have the better musical score.
Not that you can lose either way. The video and sound on both are excellent. I didn't notice any artifacting, line noise, or rainbows, and I've watched this disc many, many times. The Japanese cast is wonderful, and Bandai really nailed the dub. All of the voices, especially the five Gundam pilots, are perfect. And the foil packaging with the Custom Wing Zero on front is icing on the cake.
For those of you who haven't seen Gundam Wing, this movie probably isn't the best place to start. Although it is by far my favorite story in the series, you are pretty much required to have seen most of the TV series. Otherwise, this movie will assault you with more characters, places, and events than anyone can reasonably make sense of in 90 minutes.
The other reviews do a good job detailing the story, so I won't get into that too much. In a nutshell, one year after the end of the series Maremeia Kushrenada (Trieze's daughter) uses her secret stash of mobile suits to try and take over the world. Okay, the story's a little more complex than that, but you get the idea. What follows in a 90 minute action-fest with a deep story and plenty of plot twists. In fact, the animators felt the need to squeeze story events into the OVA endings, so pay attention.
Although its a great movie anyone can enjoy, Gundam Wing fans will get the most out of Endless Waltz. The TV episodes had high production values for something of its length, but this blows all that away. The animation is astounding. These are some of the best looking OVAs out there. And the action sequences, like the fight between Wing Zero and (whoops, almost gave that one away) or the end battle, are a true joy to behold. All I can say is wow.
And don't even get me started on the Custom Gundams. Mere words cannot describe how truly awe-inspiring it is to the see angelic Wing Zero make its grand entrance. Every single Gundam redesign is an improvement upon the TV versions, and it really makes me wish the Epyon hadn't been destroyed just so I could see what it would look like. Each mech sports a distinctive weapon, be it Wing Zero's buster rifle, the buttload of artillery on Heavyarms, or the extending Dragon Fangs on Altron.
But its the little things that make this a true treasure trove for Gundam Wing fans. Although more prominent in the movie version, it'll take a sharp eye to spot the clown mask on Heavyarms, which also performs Trowa's trademark triple-axle jump. Heero utters "Mission: Complete" with all the coldness we've come to love. Heck, even the teddy bear from the Gundam Wing intro makes it into the movie.
Can you tell I love this movie? I spent forever waiting for it to air on Cartoon Network, where I promptly taped it and watched it many, many times. When I heard the only way to get the special movie edition was on DVD, that made up my mind to get a DVD player. Now I watch it all the time, and it's still every bit as entertaining as it was the first time around. And besides, you just gotta love giant robots kicking the crap out of each other. Very highly recommended.
KLH DVD 221; RCA 21" TV
Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A+
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 180
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing