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Episode 31: The Glass Kingdom

 

Review by Chris Guanche

Original Review: February 1, 2001
New Review: June 10, 2010

 

Summary

 

Pagan drops Heero and Quatre off in front of the Sanc Kingdom school. Heero says that he's going to get the Wing Gundam and leave, but Quatre pleads with him to stay. The girls at the school immediately notice Heero and Quatre and speculate on where they're from. Relena asks Heero if he's received his uniform yet, but he tells her he doesn't intend to stay long. Relena then pulls up Trowa's file, which states he was last seen in the 0-X point of Lagrange 2. She says Noin told her that Trowa is an important person, so she's started to search for him. She asks Heero to stay until the search is over, and he in turn asks if it isn't a burden to have Gundam pilots in the country. She tells him there's no battle in the country, and as far as anyone is concerned, they're just students at the school. Later, Relena introduces Heero and Quatre to their new classmates, including Dorothy. Heero recalls getting ready for his first mission in the Wing Gundam, when Doctor J gave him the codename Heero Yuy in honor of the slain leader. After class, Heero and Quatre watch several girls practice fencing. Dorothy approaches them and challenges Heero to a fight. They begin their duel, and Dorothy evades one of Heero's attacks. She comments that a great leader in space was killed, and now someone else has shown up with his name. She wonders if this person would become a legend if he were killed. Dorothy goes on the offensive and lands a hit on Heero, cutting his arm. She tells him he needs to die later so that he can become a bigger legend, and he responds by slamming his saber through her helmet. He tells her he doesn't understand what she's saying and that there must be two other guys named Heero Yuy besides him. Relena meets with Noin and tells her that she just received a request from Romefeller to initiate a battle inside the Sanc Kingdom. Noin explains that a unit from the Treize Faction is hiding out inside the Sanc's southern forests. She adds that some of the soldiers are injured, so Relena decides to take them in temporarily as refugees. Elsewhere, the Treize Faction pilots realize that OZ forced them into the Sanc Kingdom to give Romefeller an excuse to start a battle. The injured commander decides they have to leave immediately, but a call comes in from Noin offering refuge. The commander tells Noin this was all a trap because OZ stopped attacking as soon as the Treize Faction crossed into Sanc. Noin regrets that she can't do anything to help them. Heero enters the hidden mobile suit hangar and finds the Wing Gundam, along with several white Tauruses.

 

Relena calls the OZ transport planes and informs them that she's taking in the Treize Faction as refugees. The OZ commander tells her she's been duped because the Treize Faction intends to seize the kingdom, so he'll help her by attacking the Treize Faction. The OZ commander cuts off contact and orders his forces to chase the Treize Faction into the city and maximize damage as a message to counter pacifism. The transport planes begin to launch Virgos, and Relena decides to stop the battle in person. Pagan advises against that because there's no telling what OZ might do under the cover of battle. Relena runs outside and finds Dorothy waiting with a car. Noin takes Quatre down to the secret hangar, and he asks her if Relena knows about the Tauruses. Noin answers that people fight with weapons to hold on to peace that is as fragile as glass. Quatre says that Heero has already left, so they should use the Tauruses to help him. The Treize Faction soldiers prepare to blow themselves up after luring in the Virgos. Heero enters the camp and tells them there's a better way they can use their lives: protecting the Sanc Kingdom. The Virgos enter the forest and open fire on the Treize Faction Leos, which are unmanned. The OZ commander says they'll move to the city under the presumption that the Treize Faction is there. The Treize Faction pilots then appear in the skies with the white Tauruses and begin attacking the Virgos. Dorothy asks Relena if she's ever seen a live battle, which Relena answers that she tries to avoid. Dorothy says that the desperation of soldiers is what excites her about battle. The OZ planes open fire on an approaching transport plane. The Wing Gundam emerges from the plane as it explodes. The plane wreckage falls toward the bridge that Dorothy and Relena are driving on, so Heero blasts the plane with his buster rifle to knock it safely off course. Dorothy is knocked out when the car swerves to a stop, and two Virgos threaten the car until they're destroyed by Quatre and Noin. Noin tells Relena that she knows having mobile suits is contrary to pacifism, but she feels they'll be destroyed if they don't defend themselves. Heero tells Noin she shouldn't be remorseful, nor should they sit and do nothing like Relena's father did. Relena asks him if her idea is just a dream, and he answers that Romefeller eliminates whatever it finds inconvenient, which now includes Relena. Heero says that the entire world is heading toward pacifism, so Relena needs to be defended. He turns to leave, and Relena agrees to let him and Noin do as they see fit.

 

Commentary

 

It's clear here that the Sanc Kingdom has become the focus of Romefeller's ire as more countries embrace Relena's total pacifism. However, this episode displays just how empty the concept of "total pacifism" is. Total pacifism is completely useless in the face of armed aggression, as was the case 15 years earlier when the Sanc Kingdom fell to the Alliance. The exact same thing would happen now if not for Heero and Noin. Taking up arms to defend an idea is a valid notion, and in fact is one of the central themes of nearly every Gundam series. But taking up arms to defend total pacifism is little more than hypocrisy, or at the least an acknowledgment that the doctrine is ineffective. On the plus side, we see a brief flashback where Doctor J gives Heero his codename just before Operation Meteor. Of course, we won't see more about his background until the OVA series Endless Waltz.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Wing Episode 31 Gundam Wing Episode 31

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