Gundam Wing, better known as the robot show that came on after DBZ on Toonami, inspired enough yaoi lemon fanfiction to fill the Library of Congress ten times over. It also led to the creation of Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, a movie following a psychopath, a Satanist, a circus clown, a violinist, and a terrorist on their mission to murder a seven-year-old who assumes control of the government.
The film opens with Quatre Raberba Winner, a profoundly intelligent Gundam pilot who decides to send all the Gundams on a death-cruise to the center of the sun because “peace.” A rational line of thinking, since “peace” in any Gundam series tends to last forever, right? No. In fact, Gundam writers hate peace, and any talk of “peaceful times” most often gets monologued by a narrator over a panning shot of outer space right before the mechs start exploding. Regardless, Queen Relena the Super Genius decrees that, since eternal peace has swept the universe, the time has come to melt down all the weapons in the Earth Sphere. Defying everyone’s expectations, the peace gets beam cannoned by a group of people who like peace slightly less than the Queen. As a result, Quatre spends the rest of the movie trying to intercept the Gundams before they dissolve into boiling Gundanium soup.
The first nefarious organization frothing at the mouth to de-peace the Earth Sphere consists of the illegitimate child of the late Treize Khushrenada, Mariemaia, and her gaggle of red-uniformed goons. Despite the perfect set-up for a no-holds-barred, edge-of-your-seat, politically charged robo-brawl, nothing much happens. Director Yasunao Aoki (of Inuyasha fame) blows his animation budget on a heart-pounding introductory battle vignette and reserves the remainder of the film for philosophical musings and flashbacks.
Indeed, the first third of the movie features our protagonists talking about the good ol’ Gundam-piloting days, the depressing nature of their sans-Gundam life, the looming possibility that a pre-pubescent girl might take over the world and yep, sure enough, she took over the world, so let’s go ahead and bust out those Gundams. Meanwhile, Relena, the enemy of all things non-annoying, continues to spout nonsense about peace, but gets drugged and kidnapped for it this time–the set up for an unending series of conversations which amount to–Mariemaia: “You’re a failure.” Relena: “Oh yeah? Well, you’re a little kid!” Yet the scenario also provides a pulsing, red target for mechanical designer Hajime Katoki’s new, model-kit-ready Gundams to locate and debaucherize sometime in the far-off future.
In other news, Wufei and Trowa decide to betray the rest of the G-Boys for ludicrous reasons. Wufei thinks propping up a child dictator’s regime might help him figure out the true meaning of peace. Trowa, despite his earlier capture by Mariemaia’s fez-wearing General, somehow remains in her army and tries to kill his friends because he can’t come up with another way to tell them about his lack of name. Fear not, an elongated flashback explains everything. Not-Trowa’s parents, too lazy to name their own child, dropped their anonymous bundle in the colony’s “child soldier deposit box”–luckily, No-name witnessed the murder of his handsy pal, Real Trowa, and seized upon a perfect identity swap opportunity, which basically played out like this: “Hey, I get that I’m the only witness to the crime you just committed and you probably want to kill me. But, turns out I don’t have a name, so I’ll gladly take this poor sap’s name and head up your top secret operation.” Scientists: “Yes, of course, that is a great idea, Mr. No-name. No further questions on this end! Have fun saving the colonies, Trowa. *wink wink*”
Ironically, any attempt to parody EW’s script pales in comparison to the self-loathing schmaltz and/or outright silliness inherent in the actual dialogue. The phenomenon compels a reviewer to compile a list of–
Top 10 Lines in Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz:
10) “I’ve been lost ever since I was born.” — Heero
9) “I need to determine myself whether or not peace at the expense of people’s lives can be defined as peace! And I will become evil itself to find out!” — Wufei
8) “The temperature in here is above eighty degrees. I’ll just think of it as a big sauna.” –Quatre
7) “Guess I’m back to being the God of Death.” — Duo
6) “I have no name. If you like, call me ‘No-name’… I was feeling insecure without a name. I wouldn’t mind taking on his name.” — Trowa
5) “I’d like the name Wind… appropriate for one who puts out fires.” — Zechs Marquise, Master of Science
4) (After someone who is not Heero shoots Mariemaia) Heero: “I’ve killed Mariemaia. I will never kill again. I don’t have to kill anymore.”
3) “Let me correct myself. You’re not dogs that wag their tail in front of their master. You’re the tail that is wagged!” — Dorothy
2) “If I hadn’t mentioned sending the Gundams into the sun this wouldn’t have happened.” — Quatre
1) “How many more times must I kill that girl and her dog?! Zero won’t tell me anything!” — Heero
As the G-Boys daydream about the good ol’ Operation Meteor days, the Gundams (tapping into Black Magic) don anachronistic color schemes and weapons. To further the conundrum, Quatre, upon recovering the Gundams from their funeral procession, cracks open their coffins only to find yet another miraculous bounty of upgrades. Rather than labeling such an occurrence as a plot hole, one must appreciate the glimpse into the previously unknown religious dimension of Gundam life:
Foreseeing the Gundams’ arrival, the Sun God Ra gathered the mecha into his warm bosom. He showered them with magical items, proclaiming, “For Deathscythe I bestow, another death-scythe. And a cape. And Sandrock, my son, you liketh your heat shotels? Well, I have increased their size by a factor of ten. Nataku, I give thee not one, but two dragon claws! For Heavyarms, heavier arms. And Wing Zero? Um. H-how about some actual wings? Now go, go, descended angels–into the mortal realm to slay the Leo legions!”
Char Aznable, wait, Zechs Marquise, I mean, Milliardo Peacecraft, er, hold on, Preventer Wind, determined to reinforce the idea that protagonists in Gundam Wing cannot die, emerges from the abyss, unscathed by the previous series-ending reactor explosion he took to the face. He returns to Prevent Mariemaia from doing what all Gundam villains do in a pinch: drop a colony on earth–an anti-peace activity requiring vigorous Preventing. Unfortunately, only eight people have the capability to Prevent an armed takeover of the Earth Sphere–three of the eight have access to mobile suits, and two of those three sided with the villains. Preventers or Enablers? You decide. Either way, the ad hoc pacifists must wait for the Gundams’ (now fabulously accessorized) return and their inevitable massacre of the peace-haters, restoration of Mariemaia’s childhood innocence, and ushering in of a New Eden–“weapons known as mobile suits, including the Gundams, were never seen again.”
Endless Waltz strengthens Gundam Wing’s reputation for absurdity and pretentiousness. Nevertheless, the aura of the show, with its saxophone-laced soundtrack, Two-Mix ballad breaks, too-cool-for-school character designs, lustrous cel-drawn animation (only spoiled by an unfortunate smattering of CGI textures, most likely applied with the spray tool in MS Paint), snappy action beats, and explosions galore evoke a certain charm. Style aside, Endless Waltz offers little besides some softcore mecha porn, gauche sermons on war and peace, and a dash of panache. To paraphrase Mariemaia, “Gundam Wing is much like an endless waltz. The three beats of OP beam cannons, angst, and plot holes continue on forever.”
Good For: fans of feathered robots, hair stylists, model kit sales, Tallgeese III fanservice.
Bad For: modeling appropriate behavior for seven-year-olds, UC purists, mental health.
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger