[Great Gundam Wing Rewatch] Episodes 15-16
You can’t forgive yourself for accidentally killing a pacifist.
Screencaps and spoilers under the cut.
Episode 15 – To the Battleground, Antarctica
So here we are in Sicily! If you’ll recall in the previous episode, Heero remarked to Sylvia that he was going to pay her grandmother (Noventa’s widow) a visit, and when we first meet Heero and Trowa, he’s just concluded his visit with her. Trowa crosses her name off Heero’s Guilt Tour list. Why does Heero even bother with this when it’s wartime anyway? In his mind he’s providing them with some kind of closure and a chance to “make things right” by doing that whole “eye for an eye” thing…which as we know isn’t practical and just leaves everyone with no eyes. It’s a chance for Heero to explain himself, that it was an accident, that OZ tricked him. His apologies can’t undo anything, of course, but at least it’s something he can offer. However I don’t think Heero’s found much closure for himself because Trowa remarks, “You can’t forgive yourself for accidentally killing a pacifist.”
But Trowa doesn’t know exactly how many people like Noventa Heero’s accidentally killed one way or another and maybe he doesn’t understand why Heero carries around his guilt like some extra heavy burden.
A car ends up following them and because Heero is still injured and therefore not much help in a fight, Trowa decides to steal someone’s motorbike and divert their attention because hey, they have a Gundam stashed somewhere, and no one can find that information out. Heero, meanwhile, hitches a ride on a fruit delivery truck.
I like details like this.
Heero and Trowa meet up in a dark alleyway and Noin manages to find them, to which Trowa pulls a gun on her, because Noin is with OZ still at this point, and we all know you can’t really trust OZ as far as you can throw them. She’s not there to capture them, but rather, she’s here to invite them on behalf of Zechs. Zechs wants to give Zero One’s pilot something and he also wants a rematch.
Relena meanwhile isn’t exactly sure where Heero is, she has her butler looking up information about his last known whereabouts and anything that might point to him being alive (because everyone else assumes Heero died in Wing’s self-detonation).
I can only assume he’s using some kind of database since the internet wasn’t really a thing back when Gundam Wing was made (Gundam Wing premiered before Windows 95 even). I want everyone to admire a screen of what looks to be Windows 3.1 and remember the days when computers were much more simpler without all this “wifi” business.
Her butler finds something interesting… Someone else is also looking for Heero. When Relena prompts who, they find out that it’s the widow of Field Marshal Noventa, and she has a letter she wants to give him. Relena wants her butler to contact her, because obviously this means that Heero is alive, and that he was in that area recently.
Treize stops a mother from rescuing her baby boy who almost crawls off a pier but turns around at the last minute. Treize is basically like, “He must learn for himself good and bad decisions.” Except the kid can’t be older than two.
One thing I don’t understand about the early fandom is their obsession with Heero supposedly wanting to die all the time which…that’s not true. Heero in the TV series not once actively tries to commit suicide. He puts a gun to his head in the Operation Meteor chapter of Episode Zero likely with the intention to end his life, but Dr J interrupts him–that’s the closest we see him actively try and nothing would’ve happened because it was confirmed that Heero’s gun is not once loaded. (Is anyone surprised?) Sure in episode two Heero tries to launch torpedoes at Wing and he falls into the water, but he wasn’t trying to die via drowning, he just happened to fall off. You can argue he was trying when he jumped from the hospital in episode three, but Relena yelled at him. Episode ten is the one everyone loves to point to and say, “See? Heero wants to die.” Except it’s either be captured or get rid of the evidence because he can’t run and J said they weren’t surrendering.
One thing various characters remark on in the series is that Heero doesn’t give up too easily when it comes to choosing life over death. Noin in this episode in particular says, “He’s got a strong will to live.” Because honestly, if Heero wanted to die, he would’ve died a long time ago, so obviously something is keeping him going.
Heero needs a suit to fight in, so Trowa offers him the use of Heavyarms. Normally the pilots don’t swap suits because unlike mobile suits (which are mass produced), Gundams are tailored specifically to their pilot and how they fight, so it’s not all that easy to just go, “Oh, just use mine for this fight, it’s okay.” Adjustments, a lot of adjustments, will have to be made. Not to mention that Heero shouldn’t be fighting anyway because his arm hasn’t healed fully, and I always use this scene to illustrate how physically demanding it is to pilot a mobile suit because Heero moves the left arm just a little and manages to tear out his stitches. Then again he also tears his stitches putting on a heavy coat to combat the fact that Antarctica is fucking freezing, so you know.
Relena receives the letter meant for Heero and she decides to read it. Heero must’ve made quite the impression on the widow because she writes about how honoured she was to get a chance to meet him, and tells him that instead of wallowing in guilt, he should strive to build a better future for everyone to live in as Noventa wanted. I will elaborate in a later episode, but I’m not surprised she was impressed with Heero, because he is actually a very good speaker despite not looking it. He’s not stupid.
“These young pilots are too pure,” Noin says, which to me is an example of how much of a “mother” Noin is despite being a badass. Other examples would be anyone in OZ she personally taught. Her students are probably only maybe a little older than the pilots are. But also, they’re still just kids. They’ve barely had time to live and experience things, they shouldn’t be out there fighting. Their motivation for fighting is because they understand and hear the plight of the colonies–Heero sacrificed himself so Une wouldn’t obliterate the colonies. They shouldn’t be fighting.
Trowa gets rid of Inspector Acht, who was following them so he could expose Zechs’ betrayal against Romefeller’s orders to destroy Wing, in Heavyarms because hey, no one can know that the Gundams are still around and still fighting. So the saying goes: “Anyone who lays eyes on a Gundam dies.” After the fight Trowa remarks, “Why do I have to keep fighting like this?” Considering that the pilots are stalled due to the colonies being Oz’s target of the week and anything they do can do more harm than good, Trowa finds fighting pointless–their reason for fighting is gone, so what’s the point? What do they have to protect anymore?
Episode 16 – The Sorrowful Battle
“So OZ has one able officer.” Trowa isn’t exactly wrong because Noin is pretty badass and she does know what she’s doing, which no one can really say of the rest of them.
This episode has one of my favourite exchanges, which I will write down in full because I love it so much. It shows just how sassy Heero can be sometimes. Heero and Zechs are on their way to the hangar where the newly rebuilt Wing Gundam is housed and Zechs decides some small talk is in order.
(Look at how hulking Zechs is in comparison to Heero, jfc)
Zechs: Heero Yuy, huh? The same name as the leader who held the colonies together. Is that your real name?
Heero: Are you using your real name?
Zechs: Forgive me. I suppose there’s no point using names from now on.
Zechs just got #rekt, but Heero is right. If you’re gonna call out someone using an alias, brace yourself for being called out on the fact that that’s exactly what you’re doing too. Maybe Zechs forgot that Zechs Merquise isn’t the name his parents gave him. Who knows?
Anyway, they make it to Wing Gundam.
(Imagine looking up at this thing. Holy hell.)
Noin: Don’t you wanna say something to Colonel Zechs?
(Noin sounds like someone’s mother trying to get them to tell Grandma thank you for the ugly sweater she gifted them for Christmas.)
Heero: I’ll thank him, but in my own way. I’ll kill Zechs. That’s how I’ll show my gratitude.
(Heero you’re not gonna kill anyone who are you kidding.)
Heero, as we know, doesn’t like owing people favours, he is very much one of those people who would rather give something in return right away (so for example, Duo saved his life in episode 3, Heero saved his life an episode or two later when he shot an approaching Leo–that’s “one for one”). Him owing Zechs for rebuilding Wing isn’t exactly something he can repay, so the easy thing to do would to just kill Zechs and then he doesn’t owe him anything. No one said Heero had it right every time when it comes to thinks like this and other things like battle strategies (which will be in a future episode meta)…
Heero’s never shaken someone’s hand before. Poor bastard didn’t really learn social skills since he was pretty much isolated for most of his life. But he shakes Zechs’ hand because Zechs is honourable. Heero doesn’t really come in contact with too many “honourable” people… Most people don’t want a friendly fight either, they’re in a war, they’d rather just outright murder you instead.
Zechs, because he’s an overdramatic fruitcake, waxes on about how the Gundam pilots are “true soldiers”. “True soldiers” because they are willing to die for what they’re fighting for and without any hesitation, they want to protect the colonies however they can even if that means they press the self-detonate button in their Gundam. Zechs calls himself “too weak” in comparison, he’s afraid to die maybe, or perhaps he doesn’t know exactly what he’s fighting for. I don’t think Zechs ever had a clear picture of what he was fighting for because it seems that his purpose for doing this or that changes every so often. (He’s kind of wishy-washy.)
You would think that having Relena would mean he has something of his own to protect, but Zechs doesn’t feel he’s worthy of being in charge of her protection and that that doubt would end up giving him a disadvantage in battle. So he has Noin deal with that instead and she’s their go-between.
All that’s left for Wing’s rebuild is cockpit adjustments, which, of course, are done by the pilot. Heero insists on doing everything himself despite there being a mechanic available. Meiser (that’s the name of the mechanic) says, “He doesn’t trust me.”
“No,” Trowa says, “he just doesn’t want anyone touching his mobile suit.” Which makes sense, because having someone else working on your mobile suit leaves too much room for a potential sabotage. But also Heero is probably really meticulous with his shit and the only way he knows shit is done the way he wants and needs it is by doing it himself.
Heero questions why the self-detonation device isn’t connected. Why are you questioning it? Isn’t it obvious? I will note that from this point forward anything Heero pilots is incapable of being detonated simply because no one trusts him. It’s so you can’t blow yourself up again, why else would they disconnect it? But also Heero could just hook that up himself, but never does.
However despite all of this, Heero decides he’s going to go ahead and use Heavyarms. He is afraid that Zechs rebuilding Wing will cloud Zechs’ judgment and also then Heero can fight without feeling indebted to someone else. Heavyarms is more objective; Wing Gundam is a gift of charity.
Heero will never learn to not fucking flex his arm, will he? Who the hell repairs his stitches?! Someone scold him!
Heero also decides it’s a good idea to work himself to near exhaustion to get Heavyarms geared up for his piloting style. Never mind that, you know, he only has one good arm, so he’s at a disadvantage anyway, and as someone who has had stitches, it’s a constant burning sensation while it heals. Ugh. (Oh and yes, he ripped them again. Someone glue his arm to his side!)
And then of course he collapses on some cot somewhere and never does learn to not use his injured arm. This is why you can’t have nice things, Heero.
Also because Heero’s never really piloted Heavyarms before that works against him plus the fact that he’s injured so he can only really pilot with one arm which…you can’t really do in a mobile suit because the AMBAC assumes you have all of your limbs working and while it’s not a big deal on Earth because you don’t need to use momentum to get around… He’s gonna fuck up his arm. But also his test drive for Heavyarms made him look like an absolute noob. Heero Yuy, perfect soldier, and he’s piloting like this is his first day in a mobile suit. But he barely does anything and he’s popped his stitches again. The amount of resistance in mobile suit controls must be quite a bit, no wonder their upper bodies are all fucking ripped.
So they fight! This is a giant fucking pissing contest because Zechs wants to be the very best like no one ever was I guess…which in that case why would you fight against Heero? He’s seen his combat data. The computer says that the pilot is a machine. Can you beat someone like that? Zechs manages to figure out that Heero can’t really use his left arm and exploits the fuck out of it by attacking that arm. And of course the pilot feels that (I’m sure there’s some kind of kickback/feedback in the controls), which leads to…
Yep. Why even bother having it bandaged? Why even bother having stitches? Just put fucking bandaids on it, it’d be more effective at this point or I don’t know, just rip the bandages off and bleed all over the cockpit. I’m sure some bleach’ll get that out of the upholstery no problem.
“What’s the point of two pilots with a mutual enemy fighting each other?”
Well Trowa it’s a pissing contest. Zechs doesn’t want to lose to a fifteen year old. Simple.
Heero notices when Zechs has problems using his shield that Tallgeese’s arm isn’t fully working and tries to exploit that fact… Zechs becomes aware that Heero knows this, and I mean, it’s not that hard to figure out. A good soldier can see these things. Heero’s absolutely annoyed by the fact that Zechs gave himself a handicap because Tallgeese’s arm was fucked up in their last fight. So Heero would have been piloting in his brand spankin’ new suit and Zechs isn’t even fighting in a machine that is 100 percent. Heero isn’t going to win just because Zechs purposely screwed up Tallgeese’s arm. That’s an empty victory. Also it could be a sign that Zechs isn’t taking Heero seriously. Heero hates being underestimated.
But hey, Zechs’ suit has a fucked up arm, and Heero has a fucked up arm. I’d say they’re pretty even. That said, Zechs wouldn’t have had a fucked up arm if he had just repaired the damn thing. It’s not the mobile suit that determines victory, it’s the pilot’s ability to use it.
So this is all well and good but then Relena flies between them which…admittedly isn’t really smart…with Mrs Noventa’s letter, interrupting the fight. Heero actually yells, “Jama suru na!” which means, “You’re in my way,” but how Heero says it, it could mean, “Get out of my way!” Or “get out of the way,” because let’s face it, you don’t stand in between two mobile suits in a fight, you will probably die. Even Relena thinks that this whole thing is pointless and Zechs tries to get her to leave. Relena will have none of that, though, and says he should be ashamed doing this when he is supposedly a soldier from Sanc, as it goes against the Sanc Kingdom’s total pacifism view. Relena tells Heero to kill him and Noin yells at her, revealing another bombshell.
Zechs Merquise is her brother.
(Because if Zechs is Char, then someone has to be Sayla.)
She also learns that Zechs kind of lost his way because he executed the guy who, you know, killed his parents and invaded his kingdom and now is kind of just like, “What is my life?” Zechs has nothing to govern how to live his life or why. Heero, by contrast, doesn’t let shit like that bother him. “Heero lives by his own rules.” Yes, his own rules which basically amount to just a bunch of advice some dead guy told him before he became said dead guy and it just amounts to “follow your heart”.
Maybe Heero should impart it on Zechs, maybe him hearing, “The only way to live a good life is to live by your emotions,” will help.
(Or maybe it won’t. This is Zechs we’re talking about.)
Relena remarks that Noin must really care for Zechs and she pretty much confirms that she loves him. Relena gives her blessing. Aww.
Noin: Colonel Zechs can be reckless.
Relena: It’s in the Peacecraft blood.
Considering both Zechs and Relena are fascinated by Heero, there must be something else in the blood outside of “being reckless”. But then again, Heero is kind of dangerous, isn’t he? So maybe he’s filed under “reckless things we do”. Who knows?
So Trowa shows up in Wing because they’ve got company (again). Since Wing is created with a mode specifically for long flights and Heavyarms is…not geared for such things, Heavyarms has to hang onto one of Wing’s talons as they fly off into the sunset. Also Trowa gets to get a pretty transformation sequence because he’s in the titular suit. (I hope you enjoy it, Trowa.)
Seriously does this not look kind of ridiculous looking?
Zechs tells Noin to take Relena and get the hell out of Dodge and that he’ll stay behind and take on the assholes who decided to interrupt his fight again out of love and need to protect Relena. Well that’s kind of sweet. Maybe she can be the reason you fight or something.