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Episode 3: Return to Eternity

 

Review by Chris Guanche

 

Original Review: February 23, 2001
New Review: September 22, 2010

 

Heero changes his shuttle's speed to align with and intercept Wing Zero. He floats over to Wing Zero and reactivates it from within the cockpit to break away from the booster and head for Earth. On Earth, the Mariemaia Army has seized control of the ESUN presidential mansion in Brussels, Belgium. The ground then opens up as the mansion is lowered to an underground shelter. Mariemaia tells Relena it's strange that such a shelter exists in a peaceful world without weapons. She says history is like an endless waltz, and the three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever. But she's going to change things when she becomes ruler of the Earth Sphere at the start of AC 197. As the Altron Gundam floats in Earth orbit, Wufei recalls arguing with Master Long about dropping Colony 0200 on Earth. He declares that he'll eliminate all evil with his Nataku and runs off. Heero approaches Earth in Wing Zero and comes under attack from Wufei. Heero asks Wufei if this is what he thinks of as justice, and Wufei says he has to determine if peace at the expense of people's lives is real peace. Duo breaks out of his cell at Colony X18999 and finds Trowa waiting for him in a shuttle. Sally boards the shuttle and announces that all the hostages on the colony have been rescued, allowing the shuttle to take off. Heero tells Wufei that the longer he fights, the more their sacrifices for peace are wasted. Heero says their war is over, and Wufei asks if warriors who only know battle get tossed aside for peace. Heero says that soldiers fought to attain peace, so Wufei should believe in that world. As both Gundams begin atmospheric re-entry, Wufei says he's fighting on behalf of the people who were used as weapons, including Heero. Wufei asks if Heero feels fulfilled like he does when he fights. Heero reminds Wufei that he's already defeated Treize, but Wufei counters that he's still fighting Treize even now. On Earth, Zechs' Tallgeese III and Noin's Taurus fight against a large number of Serpents, and Noin says they can't get to the presidential palace. Zechs comments that if people let Mariemaia do as she wants, it'll create another Milliardo Peacecraft. Zechs tells Noin that she doesn't have to stay with him, but she says she's never leaving his side and can't wait any longer. After entering the atmosphere, Wufei tells Heero that he doesn't believe Relena's ideal that peace comes from discarding weapons and confining soldiers. Heero says that Mariemaia will continue a history of endless wars, making more soldiers like themselves necessary. He asks how many more people they have to kill, and how many more times he has to kill that girl and her dog. Heero then deactivates his thrusters and falls into the ocean. Wufei then thinks about the destruction of Colony 0200 and wonders if a tragedy like that would have to be repeated. Quatre, Duo and Trowa launch in their Gundams and head for Earth. Dekim sends more troops to fight off Noin and Zechs. Dekim addresses the world and declares that those who resist him are creating unnecessary casualties. The ESUN President watches the battle on TV with his granddaughter and laments that not enough people are resisting Mariemaia. Une wonders if Mariemaia really thinks this Treize's ideal, and if Mariemaia realizes that she's just a puppet for Dekim. Zechs and Noin are pinned down by several Serpents, and the situation worsens when more arrive as backup. Several Serpents are then disabled by Quatre's Sandrock Kai. Quatre is impressed that Zechs and Noin have disabled so many Serpents without killing the pilots. Duo arrives in the Deathscythe Hell and disables a Serpent, and Trowa's Heavyarms Kai lays down a barrage of fire to disable multiple Serpents. He estimates there are 250 Serpents left, meaning everyone has to take on 50 suits.

 

Mariemaia comments that even if the Gundams can destroy all the Serpents, they can't breach the presidential shelter. Relena comments that she's been running from the truth and grabs the radio, telling everyone that peace isn't something that's handed to them. Dekim cuts her off, and Mariemaia asks if guiding people to battle contradicts total pacifism. Relena answers that she's no longer a Peacecraft, and that what they need is a heart to hope for peace. Zechs tells the Gundam pilots to retreat and leave the rest to him and Noin, but they refuse. Trowa runs out of ammo and comments that the Gundam pilots used to be just like the pilots Dekim has coaxed into fighting. Relena tells Dekim and Mariemaia that nothing can be achieved through revenge, and Mariemaia comments that Relena only says that as a loser. With everyone out of ammo, Duo wonders if they should self-detonate, but Trowa says they should limit the casualties to just themselves. Wing Zero then appears in the sky and targets the presidential shelter. Heero calls the shelter to confirm that its shield is active, and Mariemaia tells him his efforts will be useless. He then fires a shot, but it doesn't penetrate the shelter. Mariemaia shakes as she insults Heero, and Relena asks if she's afraid. Heero fires another shot, and the damage begins to show on Wing Zero. Several Serpents attack from the ground, and Heero fires one last shot, which causes Wing Zero to explode. The blast pierces the shelter's blast door and damages the control room. Une enters the room and says that she can't let Treize's daughter die, no matter how mistaken she is. A large crowd gathers in front of the Altron Gundam and yells for the Serpents to go away. The remains of Wing Zero crash into the ground, and Heero crawls out of the cockpit. Dekim goes mad and declares that he can't be defeated, and Mariemaia stumbles toward him. Relena slaps Mariemaia and tells her to open her eyes now that she's experienced real fear. Dekim tries to shoot Relena, but Mariemaia pushes her aside and takes the bullet. Dekim says Mariemaia can be replaced, and one of his own soldiers kills him. Mariemaia apologizes to Relena, and Heero offers to put Mariemaia out of her misery. He fires his gun, which has no bullets, and says he's killed Mariemaia. He says he'll never kill again and passes out in Relena's arms. Later, Duo presses the detonation switch that blows up the Deathscythe Hell, Sandrock Kai and Heavyarms Kai. In China, Wufei blows up the Gundam Altron and says goodbye to Nataku. Sally asks him to work with her as a Preventer, and he agrees. Elsewhere, Zechs and Noin head to space for a terraforming project. Une takes Mariemaia to the cemetery to visit Treize's grave. Duo works in a junkyard and is joined by Hilde Schbeiker. Trowa returns to the circus and finds Catherine waiting for him. Quatre joins up with the Maganacs, and Wufei officially becomes a Preventer. Heero watches from a balcony as Relena gives a speech. Mobile suits are never seen again.

 

The end of Endless Waltz also marks the animated end of the After Colony universe. The "mobile suits are never seen again" line from the narrator has been controversial, as it essentially killed the possibility of further sequels with mobile suits. And without mobile suits to turn into model kits, there isn't much incentive for Bandai to make new anime. While this OVA did provide some closure for the characters, in terms of the plot it's a mixed bag. The appearance of the Mariemaia Army undercuts the message of the TV series about achieving peace, only to restore the status quo by the end. It only reinforces the idea that pacifism has to be defended by force. I also don't buy Wufei's motivations. His narrow-minded ideas about justice should've never allowed him to take the path he did. I suspect he was put into that role as a plot contrivance to give Heero someone to fight, now that Zechs is a good guy again. Their duel is nicely animated, but in the end it didn't have much meaning. In classic villain fashion, Dekim becomes completely unhinged when things start going south, and he ends up dying at the hands of a Treize loyalist. The Gundams are all destroyed this time, but the method seems rather questionable. I would imagine the idea of sending them into the sun was so that their parts couldn't be recovered and rebuilt. We've seen from the TV series that destroyed Gundams can be rebuilt, so why did they just self-detonate them this time? Despite its flaws, Endless Waltz is an entertaining and well animated coda to Gundam Wing, even if it doesn't bring much that's new to the table.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Wing Endless Waltz Episode 3 Gundam Wing Endless Waltz Episode 3
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