[Great Gundam Wing Rewatch] Episodes 13 & 14
Technically the GGWR is over but since I annually rewatch the series for canon review anyway, and I’m always up for meta about it, that’s not gonna stop me. Nothing stops me from talking about my main fandom.
There are also screencaps and while they are not gigantic, they will probably take a bit to load so be patient please.
Episode 13 – Catherine’s Tears
And now we’re back to the usual recap that starts off each episode where we get to see Heero fuck up again and kill Field Marshal Noventa, as if that wasn’t traumatising enough to witness the first time, let alone subsequent times. And then of course we get to see what happened in episode 12, which was mostly Wufei centric but also guess who woke up from their month long coma?
Anyway in this episode, Zechs is doing some combat exercises in Tallgeese and just testing it out in general, because that’s what you do with machinery you’re not all too familiar with and want to master, and since Zechs wants to master the Tallgeese, that’s important. If he masters this machine, he’ll be a serious force to reckon with which isn’t saying much since OZ only has like what, three able officers? if you’re not on his side.
So our new cannon fodder characters for this episode are Mueller and Alex, who go by Blue Angel and Red Cancer respectively. Blue Angel is at least kind of poetic sounding, but “Red Cancer” goes for the most obvious route since Alex pilots a Cancer MS that is…bright red. (OZ soldiers are not very creative I guess.) Alex is the blond. I make note of that because despite watching this show regularly for the past…nine or so years, I cannot, for the life of me, remember which one is which by name alone.
These two love death and destruction and playing by their own rules, which totally makes them fit for military service where you have all sorts of rules and regulations and maybe OZ is just really slipshod with its soldiers and Zechs and Noin are just irregularities. I don’t know. They would rather create a massacre than let the enemy surrender. (That makes them big assholes.)
“This is an execution.”
Mueller does the whole “laugh manically in the cockpit after murdering everyone in sight” thing, but imo Heero is the only one who can pull that shit off and sound concerning (and he only did it twice, and they were all before episode 6 where his characterisation was a bit wonk to begin with). Also to note that Alex and Mueller were Noin’s students at some point.
“We’ll always be children in her eyes.” If only she could see what you’re doing now… I don’t think she’d appreciate you murdering soldiers who already surrendered because you don’t like to play by the rules of war. They do love Noin, but they don’t think too highly of Zechs and that seems to be a common mentality in OZ where you either despise Zechs or you worship him. There is no in-between. (Zechs isn’t there to impress you anyway.) Mueller sounds affronted that Noin is currently in Moscow on business because of Zechs instead of being there for Une (who can take care of herself). Noin is actually in Moscow on Treize’s orders, who is doing a favour for Zechs, but I don’t know how they would know that unless Zechs is really predictable. Une is there to see the Marquess Wedridge; Noin is there to retrieve Relena.
So Zechs and some OZ guy helping rebuild Wing analyse the combat data for Heero that they managed to get from its remains, or maybe it’s from Tallgeese fighting it, I forget which, because I’m pretty sure the cockpit detonating destroys that information; it’s probably from Tallgeese fighting it. In any case, they discuss the information.
“Could the pilot have survived?”
“Doubt it.” Too bad you don’t know that 01’s pilot isn’t your average fifteen year old. The mechanic is shocked by the results.
“It says this pilot wasn’t human!”
On paper Heero is the perfect soldier: unusual response speed, above average physical strength and G-force endurance. They are even more unusual because you would expect something like that from someone who is a seasoned MS pilot (like Zechs), but Heero’s only fifteen years old and wasn’t trained for nearly as long as people like Zechs and Noin. What drives this all home is the fact that Zechs (and the rest of OZ) has been underestimating Heero because Zechs is too cocky when it comes to his own abilities. Realising Heero is “just a boy” and that his combat data suggests that Wing was controlled by AI means that Heero is not to be underestimated and hell, that means they shouldn’t underestimate the rest of the pilots either.
“He must’ve had special training in outer space.” Actually Heero was genetically manipulated. The only other pilot who is near Heero’s level is Trowa arguably, and that’s because Trowa was in a mercenary group as a MS pilot as a child soldier. Get on his level, Zechs.
(Just wait until ZERO comes into play and then remember that, without ZERO, Heero pilots like AI.)
But now the advantage Zechs thought he had against Heero is gone with this new information because Heero is statistically a better pilot than Zechs, who graduated top of his class. And that is why it’s so important to not underestimate your enemy just because they are younger than you. Age doesn’t equal skill set.
“I heard a nasty rumor that Zero One self-detonated in Siberia. It also attacked the Sanc Kingdom in Northern Europe. I bet the pilot who died in it would’ve preferred something a little less antiquated.”
At first someone would probably hear that and think, “How is that possible? Heero was comatose at that point.” They’re not talking about Wing, they’re talking about Tallgeese. Zechs wants Sanc free from the Alliance and I guess he sucks at keeping that information secret. (So many people suck at secrets in this series.) And you’re right. Tallgeese is definitely not Heero’s style, but he does later on does go to Sanc Kingdom…in Epyon. (And then lays waste to so many people.)
And Zechs ends up being the decoy for the Noventa Cannon. It’s so they can kill him off and say he died with dignity. A lot of people don’t like Zechs, and it’s because of his relationship with Treize. I can kind of understand it tho, because who wouldn’t want to be buddy-buddy with your leader to the point where you’re treated so well? Joke’s on them though, because the Noventa Cannon doesn’t do much to Tallgeese at all. The suit’s 20 years old, yeah, but back then I guess they made MS better (since this was before they were mass-produced).
So Alex and Mueller continue the assault. The commander says, “I never realised this fortress was so fragile!” That’s because a lot of the architecture was made before mobile suits even existed and were just some kind of science fiction pipe dream. These fortresses were made to protect from ballistas and trebuchets and people firing arrows, not 16 meter tall humanoid tanks. With these advances, these forts don’t stand a chance.
This is just another thing that sets the colonies and Earth apart–Earth represents the “old ways”, whereas the colonies are the “new ways” (tech advances, etc.) and many wanted to leave Earth behind due to WWI…and they did. (I’ll do a separate meta about this at some point.)
They surrender, but Alex and Mueller, as shown previously, don’t give a shit about people who surrender, and they keep attacking despite the proverbial white flag. This is less war and more an execution spree, “official punishment” is what they call it because these soldiers oppose OZ taking over the Alliance and what not.
“No one stands a chance against your [Oz’s] cruel and immoral methods.”
So the commander shoots rockets before dying and kills another Ozzie, but Alex throws the blame on Zechs, who wasn’t even nearby anyway, let alone attacking over there. Alex and Mueller both launch an attack on Zechs; Zechs ends up killing Alex.
Before his death, they have this conversation:
Zechs: Has this era driven him insane?
Alex: You’re so damn perfect!
Zechs: These men have no right to be given any power.
And then he rips Cancer in half.
“Wars are heartless.”
He has his head mechanic send Noin a report re: Alex and Mueller so she can reflect on why it’s a mistake to simply teach techniques. He then muses on how he’s rebuilding Wing and how as a soldier he really has no place to talk, because technically he’s rebuilding an enemy suit with the intention of re-arming the pilot since Zechs doesn’t believe for one second that Heero is dead.
And with all of that out of the way, let’s get onto the part of the episode that has to do with the episode title! As you’ll recall in the last episode, OZ wanted a big performance from the traveling circus, and Trowa promised his ringleader that it would be a major hit.
Basically, Trowa has decided to take a page out of Heero’s book, which is not something you want to take a page from ffs Trowa. This is his “last battle” because he plans on self-detonating and somehow Catherine suspects this. Either it’s just Big Sisterly Intuition, or Trowa sucks at keeping secrets like everyone else in this series, or she heard Heero and Trowa’s conversation where Heero tried to tell Trowa no (“If you’re gonna do it, let me tell you something. Death hurts like hell.”), but Trowa doesn’t listen.
(Heero also told him to follow his heart basically as well, so I guess if your heart tells you to go full kamikaze, you can’t say he didn’t take Heero’s advice. But he didn’t heed Heero’s warning either. Heero survived because he’s Heero, i.e. he’s not your average fifteen year old. Anyone else would have died from that fall.)
Maybe it’s because of that time she threw knives at him and she realised Trowa’s not afraid of death. But normally you would keep an eye on someone who isn’t afraid of staring Death in the face and maybe kneeing Him in the balls.
So Catherine yells at Trowa to get out of the Gundam and talk it all out and of course there is that one mobile suit that’s not really dead, it’s just real good at pretending, so it fires at her and Trowa does what Heero did in episode 6 and takes one for the team. Except in this case Catherine would have been a smudge on the circus floor instead of being crushed to death by falling building facades. I’d rather be vapourised, it probably hurts less. Catherine uses her acrobatic skills to hop into the cockpit after he opens it and decks him in the fucking gob.
Trowa getting punched in the face.
And then she goes on about how selfish he is for trying to kill himself, because what would his parents and friends think and how could he do this to her?
Protip: if someone is actually suicidal, saying shit like this does not help in the least because it is essentially very guilt trippy!
Catherine confronts Heero while he and Trowa are in a carrier truck waiting to leave.
Catherine: You’re the one that brainwashed Trowa with your strange ideas! You won’t get off so easy next time!
“What the hell is her problem and what did I do?”
Except that Heero told him it was a bad idea, but if he was gonna do it, it was gonna hurt.
Trowa then explains that her tears had stopped him.
“If you were in my shoes, you would’ve done it right? That’s why I admire your strength.” Here’s the thing, Heero is at the most passively suicidal and the only reason he’s passively suicidal is because he will do whatever it takes for his mission to succeed even at the expense of his own life. He’s only actively tried to kill himself once, and that was in Episode Zero. Heero did not intend to die in episode 10, because if that were the case he would’ve just sat in the cockpit and blown up with the damn thing instead of being on the hatch where he would be thrown from the force of the explosion.
So no, Trowa, Heero would not have blown himself up just to tell OZ to fuck off. Heero did that because he had to protect the colonies from being destroyed, and surrendering wasn’t an option and Heero doesn’t really run away.
And all Heero says to that is, “I said this before: The way to live a good life is to act on your emotions.”
Trowa feeling regret over making Catherine upset is what stopped him and that’s okay, basically. If Catherine made him feel guilty or second guess himself, then there was nothing wrong with listening to his heart and not going through with it.
Also can I just remark on how pale Heero looks in this? jfc. The poor bastard hasn’t seen sunlight for a month because that’s what being in a coma does to you.
Episode 14 – The Order to Destroy 01
We open this episode in what appears to be a library of some kind, where Heero is on the computer and Trowa is sat there keeping him company.
God look at how old those computers are.
Last episode Heero was in his usual tank top and shorts. This episode he’s wearing dress slacks and a button down, which is probably a leftover uniform or something. Heero is still messed up from his self-detonation–his left arm is still stitched up and bandaged and so doing things like grabbing a floppy disk to put into A:\ is more difficult than it would normally be. And believe me, I’ve had stitches, and you wouldn’t believe the motions that pull on your skin until you risk tearing the thread from it just by holding a game controller. Also it hurts like hell while it heals (it’s almost like a constant burning sensation). Heero obviously forgot this until he had to flex his arm.
Seriously, look at how 90s this is. Does anyone remember floppies?! Also look at how huge that screen is.
Trowa reminds Heero to take care of himself after picking the floppy disk up for him.
Obviously this is a meaningful closeup to show you that Heero really fucked up this time.
So what exactly are they looking up on Google?
Heero, this isn’t the time for dating websites!
Heero is looking for a girl by the name of Sylvia Noventa, who is currently in Marseilles. She is the granddaughter of Field Marshal Noventa, who you’ll remember is the dude Heero accidentally killed. Heero is still haunted by the fact that he killed innocent pacifists who only wanted the colonies and Earth to get along, and so he’s decided to go around to all of the family members and give his condolenses and also offer them a way to make up for his error.
More on that later.
We move on to a very unimpressed Relena Peacecraft wearing the Peacecraft monarchy getup that is hella old fashioned; Noin is with her in similar attire. Relena doesn’t like the display of Leos and it causes her to think about the war.
This is when we are introduced to Romefeller! Some background on Romefeller: They were formed by European royalty, they used their power anad wealth for weapons development, and they provided the Alliance and OZ with mobile suits like Santa Claus at Christmas.
Noin has to pat Relena down after what happened in Moscow between her and Une. It doesn’t look very thorough but unless Relena has concealed a gun somewhere less than pleasant, Noin would have felt anything else.
Duke Dermail says that peace can be maintained via an iron fist. Because that’s totally worked in history. Yep.
“The world was corrupted with imperfect ideas like ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’.”
Because who wants freedom or fair treatment? No wonder America is fifty shades of fucked up!
Noin explains to Relena exactly what OZ is doing. Noin knows what’s up, because she’s been through this before as an insider.
“They’ll sacrifice lives in order to gain rule. But Heero sacrificed his own life to save others. They’d never understand.”
What Romefeller is doing isn’t noble because it’s for their own selfish gain. What Heero did was selfless and noble, because it saved the colonies and therefore millions of lives. They are motivated by power and greed. Heero is motivated by the plight of the colonies which is why he got in this whole mess to begin with.
This whole thing is just more propaganda. Treize being so charismatic helps their cause since he’s so well spoken and knows just what to say to get people to see “his” side of things as the “correct” side. (“His” side being Romefeller’s.) And of course if people are drawn to a leader, they will follow whatever they say. How else would Heero Yuy have been influential? That’s how OZ operates.
“These people see wars through rose colored glasses.”
War has been romanticised. They only see the knights and the show of power. They don’t see the blood or the death or the orphans or the starving people whose homes were destroyed because MS trampled on through without a care in the world.
So then Relena decides to make a speech.
“You’re all very mistaken. And the Gundams will come to rectify your mistakes. On behalf of those who are trampled by this white wash!”
Relena knows first hand how terrible this whole thing is. She’s lost her father because of it and (because she thinks he’s dead at this point) lost Heero, someone she cared deeply about. Not to mention the fact that people are tired of the fighting.
Relena’s look of defiance in the face of Oz’s bullshit.
In fact, Heero’s self-detonation is arguably the reason she makes the speech in the first place, since it’s not all that far from her mind…
So you have that and then some asshole making light of war like it’s a game of chess and let’s just gloss over people dying.
And when Dermail questions what Relena was talking about, Treize twists her message to something else entirely.
“She must’ve sensed our anxiety toward the Gundams. She’s saying ‘be confident’.”
Because Relena talking about how the Gundams will basically kick Oz’s ass is the same as “be confident”. Unless Treize is also implying that she’s saying more “be confident in your imminent demise” or something. But as we know, Relena was standing up for the ones who suffer the most–the innocent civilians and anyone else who ends up hurt because of the war.
Romefeller wants Gundam 01 destroyed since it would send a message to the Colonies. What kind of message?
“Fighting against us is worthless,” pretty much.
Zechs doesn’t answer Noin when she asks if he’ll destroy Wing–he changes the subject to Relena. That means he won’t go through with it, but some things are better left unsaid, just in case.
This is also the episode where Zechs learns 01’s name–Heero Yuy.
Noin: I told her you’re a respectable and trustworthy soldier who was brought up in Sanc Kingdom. I also said you alone were there when Gundam O I self-detonated. And that you’re reconstructing the Gundam. Which makes Relena believe that the Gundam pilot Heero Yuy, must’ve somehow lived.
Zechs: Heero Yuy…so that’s the pilot’s name.
Noin: Relena has some connection with him, much like yourself.
Noin implores him to tell Relena about who he is really is, but he wonders how he could do that when he’s in OZ, the organisation that started this whole thing and are responsible for Darlian’s death? Never mind that Relena knows that Noin is/was part of OZ and yet Relena trusts her completely… Une was the one who killed Darlian, that had nothing to do with him. And Zechs didn’t start this whole blood bath or war or anything, that was due to people above him. There is something else, some other reason he doesn’t want Relena to know who he is. As we know, Relena obviously doesn’t care that a soldier’s hands are stained with blood because she happily associates with Heero…
So now we meet a young woman by the name of Sylvia Noventa, the granddaughter of Field Marshal Noventa, who…was accidentally killed by a certain Gundam pilot.
She’s soft-spoken and actually pretty adorable.
Everyone else is fleeing the city because there is an Alliance base in it, and as we know, OZ is trying to get rid of the Alliance. This causes a great liability and many are fleeing Marseilles as a result due to not wanting to get caught in the crossfire. Sylvia has some reservations about leaving because of memories concerning her grandfather…
“But leaving my memories of life with my grandfather has taken longer than I thought.”
They end up under attack because that’s how OZ works and Sylvia is told to find someplace safe. And then there’s fighting and explosions.
Trowa knocks out a soldier so they can listen to the radio transmission to see where the enemies are located and, more importantly, what the hell is going on. Trowa criticises the strategy to use the underground channels, calling them “obvious”.
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll only get in your way with this arm.” Heero will figure things out on his own without needing to fight. They have Heavyarms in town and obviously that wouldn’t be good to have in enemy hands, so they need to make sure no one finds it.
So an Aries explodes as soon as Sylvia leaves to find somewhere safe…
And then that blast puts her in the path of a truck…
A truck driven by this guy:
Heero, being a badass, rolls the truck to avoid her before stepping out of it unscathed to talk to her. Because nothing impresses the ladies more than rolling a box truck like something out of Grand Theft Auto and coming out of it unscathed.
The Leos discover the Gundam and vow to protect it until the pilot arrives, which Trowa does just when things look bleak. Trowa ex machina? He gets rid of the Aries since no one can know about the Gundam being there. The captain doesn’t know why the Gundam is helping them, but thanks Trowa nonetheless for turning the tide.
Now to the cemetery.
Sylvia: Heero? You said your name was Heero Yuy?
She sounds unsure, or maybe surprised, since after all Heero Yuy is the name of the pacifist leader who wanted the colonies free from the Alliance, and it turns out someone with that name killed Alliance pacifists who wanted the same thing. And all Heero does is nod his head.
“Heero Yuy, huh.” Trowa also learns Heero’s name.
Heero leaves flowers on Noventa’s grave, revealing the gun he’s concealed, which he then offers her.
Heero: I was the one who killed Marshal Noventa.
Heero: I made a mistake. I accidentally shot down Marshal Noventa’s shuttle. Killing him and other people who’d advocated peace.
Sylvia: How could you?! How?!
Heero: This is the only thing I can do for you right now. Sylvia Noventa… I can’t undo my mistake. I hope the anger felt by the Marshal’s loved ones and the regrets of the Marshal’s soul can be somewhat eased if you pull that trigger.
Sylvia: You’re such a coward! You obviously just wanna take the easy way out of this!
Heero: This is the only answer I can offer you now.
Sylvia: You coward!
This scene is more poignant in the Japanese version because Heero switches his manner of speaking entirely, going from informal to polite as a show of humbleness and vulnerability. He’s basically kneeling before her asking for forgiveness just by switching up his speech. Going from “ore” to “watashi”. Hell he’s not even pleading for forgiveness, he is pleading for her to take an eye for an eye in the hopes that it would help her find closure. Instead she accuses him of wanting her to do the dirty work of killing him so he doesn’t have to deal with the guilt anymore.
So because Sylvia won’t kill him, Heero decides to seek out her grandmother, the Field Marshal’s widow, and see if she’ll absolve him of his guilt…or just kill him instead.
This isn’t the first time Heero’s felt such remorse that he’s sought out death… But he tried to do it himself (and Dr J interrupted him) after that mishap with the girl and her dog. Which I’m sure sprung to his mind in all of this, bringing on more guilt.
This scene ends on this dialogue:
Sylvia: Wars are nothing but repulsive killings! How can you be so clear-cut about it all?!
Heero: It’s the only way I know how to live.
Heero you break my heart sometimes.
Back with Zechs, he blows up the “remains” of Wing at Romefeller’s request. Inspector Acht (whose name in Japanese is pronounced “aha” lmao) is not satisfied with just seeing an explosion, he wants to examine the remains to verify that it was, indeed, Wing that was blown up and not just smoke and mirrors. He knows Zechs likely didn’t blow Wing up at all, but he doesn’t have much proof to substantiate that.
Of course Zechs didn’t actually blow Wing up, it was just a bunch of Tallgeese’s scrap parts made to look like a Gundam. This means that Tallgeese will be harder to repair, but Zechs feels honour-bound to rebuild his enemy’s suit so they can continue their fight. Mechanic guy remarks that no pilot or machine can touch Zechs or Tallgeese but Zechs says, “Not true. There is at least one man.”