The Dilettante's Guide to Gundam Wing

(Archived from my now-defunct Geocities site.)

The subdivision of Japanese animation that seems to hold most twelve-year-old boys in thrall is mecha anime, in which gigantic mechanical anthropomorphic weapons, usually controlled from within by human pilots, whale the hell out of each other. A prime example of mecha anime is Japan's esteemed Gundam franchise, consisting of a number of different series and movies centering around powerful mobile suits known as Gundams. As I am neither adolescent nor male, the appeal of mecha anime is, for the most part, entirely lost on me. However, mecha anime on occasion happily crosses over into that most delightful of anime subdivisions, which I fondly refer to as the gaggle-of-boys genre, where a group of highly attractive young men are forced to band together to save the world from imminent destruction. This is the kind of stuff I live for. If the aforementioned gigantic weapons happen to be piloted by beautiful boys, mecha anime gets my undivided attention.

I freely admit it: I started watching "Mobile Suit Gundam Wing," a 49-episode series existing within the Gundam universe, solely for the great-looking boys. And, gosh, they're sure compelling by themselves. Pretty boys aside, however, the series has an elegance and a convoluted thoughtfulness to it that enables it to far transcend the gimmicky limitations of mecha anime. The focus of the series is not so much on the Gundams as on the effects of war, and the dangers of dehumanized warfare. While the series presents a (somewhat unconvincing) theory of accessible total pacifism, it also finds a kind of elegance in well-fought, purposeful battles. (A word of warning: At times, Gundam Wing presents a view of warfare that can be, shall we say, somewhat inaccessible to the Western mind, as if writer Katsuyuki Sumizawa had just read Sun Tzu's "Art of War" and maybe a few Mishima novels immediately prior to scripting the episodes. For instance, if anyone can accurately summarize the intentions of the episode "And It's Name is Epyon" in twenty words or less, please let me know. I'm a bright girl, but that one has me flummoxed.)

The young protagonists of Gundam Wing are five teenaged boys who pilot the gigantic mobile suits. While scant biographical information is provided within the body of the series, the boys largely seem to come from the fringe elements of society. They're given an impossible task which they are not expected to survive. Even though the young pilots are highly trained and skilled, fifteen-year-old boys are never the sanest choice to be given powerful weapons to carry out what is fundamentally a suicide mission; their lives, while not destroyed, become tainted by the constant battles. The driving thrust of the series becomes the boys' struggle to find and retain a purpose for being amidst the burgeoning chaos surrounding them.

(Fun fact about the character names: The names of the boys and of some of the subsidiary characters correspond to numbers in various languages. There's no real point to this, and it doesn't accomplish much beyond providing some extraordinarily goofy names. Quatre Rebarba Winner, this means you.)

Heero Yuy
The stoic Japanese pilot of the Wing Gundam, Heero was trained as an assassin from an early age. Hence, he's really messed up. Heero is near-indestructible and relentless to an almost comical extreme. He's also kind of crazy. While certainly competent and efficient, Heero lacks a little something in the department of follow-through: At various points in the series, he vows to kill Relena, Quatre, and Duo. In all three cases, he never quite gets around to doing it...

Duo Maxwell
Duo pilots the Gundam Deathscythe. Duo's cultural background is listed as American; yep, you guessed it -- he's the chatty one. Duo likes to refer to himself as the God of Death. As he's kind of small and pretty, I think this is overstating the case a bit. Duo is notable for being least angst-ridden of the five. He's got a great waist-length braid, but Duo, what's up with the jodhpurs?

Trowa Barton
The most vibrant and lively quality of the pilot of the Gundam Heavyarms is his admittedly fabulous hair. Silent, moody, suicidal Trowa doesn't have much personality, and what he does have is pretty lousy. Look, he has amnesia for something like twelve episodes, and no one really notices the difference. In his free time, Trowa works as a particularly glamorous clown in a traveling circus (he loses big points whenever he puts on his clown duds; Trowa, love, you're gorgeous, but no one looks cool in those baggy pants). He's apathetic towards his fellow pilots, save for a weird idolization of Heero's stoicism and a passive affection towards Quatre. Great hair, though.

Quatre Rebarba Winner
Say it twenty times fast, and it still won't exactly roll off the tongue. It won't sound particularly Arabian, either; you'll have to take it on faith that tiny, pale, blond, blue-eyed Quatre is the fabulously wealthy heir to a vast Middle Eastern dynasty. The pilot of the Sandrock Gundam, Quatre is a kind-hearted, smart, vaguely psychic, practical, and all-around great little guy. He's perpetually supported by the forty devoted Arabian soldiers who comprise the elite Maguanauc Corps. Quatre, who thinks the other Gundam pilots are just swell despite relatively little evidence to support this, is hopelessly smitten with icy Trowa. (Side note: I know from a lot of the other Gundam sites out there that some male viewers tend to regard Quatre with what I will euphemistically call disdain. Guys, here's a hint: Chicks dig Quatre. He's cute, generous, competent, and not of least importance, he probably smells really good. Hey, I love Heero, but you just know the guy hasn't washed that tank top any time recently...)

Wufei Chang
Ah, Wufei. The guy who exists just to make Heero look friendly and outgoing. Wufei pilots the Shenlong Gundam, also known as Nataku. (Later in the series, he pilots the Altron Gundam, also known as Nataku... Never mind.) Scornful of his fellow pilots, contemptuous of his enemies, and, oh yeah, venomously misogynistic, Wufei is relentlessly unlovable from start to finish. Give the guy points for consistency, at least. This is not to say that Wufei is entirely without a certain ratty charm. Once you get the hang of him and his vitriolic tirades, he kind of grows on you.

Colonel Treize Khushrenada
The man with the goofiest name this side of Quatre Rebarba Winner. Treize is the suave, hunky, wine-swilling, opera-loving leader of Oz and member of the Romefeller Foundation. Philosophical and amiable by nature, Treize is kind of a hard fellow to get a handle on. While clearly an enemy to the Gundams -- indeed, he's their primary target -- he remains a classy, honorable guy, albeit one with a bit of a fetish about war. And how can you hate a guy who enjoys rose-scented bubble baths?

Lieutenant Zechs Marquis
Treize's best chum and an elite officer of Oz. When he takes off his mask, he reverts to his secret identity, that of pacifistic Prince Milliardo Peacecraft of the poorly-named Sanc Kingdom. This whole mask business isn't really fooling anyone, but it seems to make him feel better. While conflicted and moody, Zechs is basically an honorable enough guy, right up until the point where he starts blasting big chunks out of the Earth.

Lady Une
Treize's vicious, ruthless, just-plain-evil right-hand woman. Treize digs her, though. Colonel Une's love for Treize leads her to develop a gentler-natured yet no less creepy split personality.

Lieutenant Lucrezia Noin
A soft-hearted Oz officer with a whopping crush on Zechs. Noin is kind of a doormat (what's this business about graduating second in her class at the Academy so Zechs could be number one?), but I like her anyway.

Relena Darlian (nee Peacecraft)
The adopted daughter of the Vice Foreign Minister, Relena turns out to be Zechs' long- lost sister and ruler of the Sanc (rhymes with "stank") Kingdom. Despite a lack of pertinent qualifications, Relena somehow manages to get herself appointed Queen of the World. I wish I were Queen of the World. Relena is relentlessly, weirdly, frighteningly obsessed with Heero, who alternates between trying to kill her and just trying to put as much space as possible between them.

Major Sally Po
An Alliance Military doctor-cum-guerilla fighter and supporter of the Gundam pilots, Sally is notable for being the only female character who voluntarily hangs out with Wufei. Brave woman, that Sally.

Dorothy Catalonia
The loony, battle-obsessed granddaughter of Romefeller head Duke Dermail. Dorothy would be a lovely girl, were it not for those dueling sets of eyebrows.

Nearly 200 years after the successful establishment of colonies in outer space, the thriving yet disorganized colonies are chafing under the rigid control of Earth's reigning militaristic power, the United Earth Sphere Alliance. In the year After Colony 195, five powerful mobile suits are sent to Earth from independent rebellious factions on five separate colonies. The young pilots of these Gundams, wholly unaware of the existence of each other, are under strict orders to free the colonies from the increasingly more oppressive grasp of the Alliance military. To achieve this, they must defeat Oz, a secret yet emerging and powerful organization led by Treize Khushrenada within the Alliance. As the Gundams, disguised as meteors, head towards Earth, their subterfuge does not go unnoticed by the Alliance...

The Shooting Star She Saw
As Relena Darlian returns via space shuttle with her father from a visit to the colonies, she glimpses a meteor hurtling towards Earth. The meteor turns out to be Heero in his disguised Wing Gundam. Lieutenant Zechs of the Alliance Military tracks Heero, and engages him in battle using his own mobile suit. Both suits crash into the ocean, Zechs having parachuted to safety. Later, Relena finds the unconscious Heero washed up on the beach. When he awakens, he's horrified to realize she's seen his face. Overreacting wildly, he enrolls as a student in Relena's school. When a smitten Relena invites him to her birthday party, he rips up her invitation, then wipes away her tear and whispers, "I will kill you."

The Gundam Deathscythe
As Relena tries to figure out why the heck Heero wants to kill her, Heero works on destroying his submerged Gundam before the Alliance can get their hands on it. Meanwhile, Duo, in his Gundam Deathscythe, appears underwater and destroys the Alliance mobile suits searching for the Wing Gundam. Relena abandons her own birthday party to follow Heero, who promptly tries to shoot her. She's saved by the sudden appearance of Duo, who puts a couple bullets into Heero before a frantic Relena flings herself in front of Heero and begs him to stop. Heero manages to send torpedos into the ocean, effectively damaging both Deathscythe and Wing, before collapsing into the water, unconscious.

Five Gundams Confirmed
Heero wakes up strapped to a table in a hospital run by the Alliance military, while Major Sally Po grills Relena about the identity of the patient. Duo impulsively breaks Heero out of the hospital, diving with him out of a high window. Ever macho, Heero attempts to kill himself by not releasing his parachute, but only manages to sustain multiple injuries when he crashes into a rocky cliff. Zechs, intrigued by the prospect of battling the Gundams, takes command of the Tallgeese, a near- antiquated yet powerful mobile suit. Elsewhere, an Alliance base finds itself under attack by Trowa in his Gundam Heavyarms. Just as Trowa runs out of ammunition, Quatre and the Maguanauc Corps arrive and defeat the enemy mobile suits. Trowa then attempts to battle Quatre, who puts a stop to this nonsense by stepping out of his Gundam and surrendering.

The Victoria Nightmare
Zechs visits the Victoria Base, where spunky Lt. Noin trains recruits to handle the Alliance's newest mobile suits. Bad egg Wufei bombs the barracks while the recruits sleep, then tries to destroy the suits. Enraged, Noin pursues him, but hesitates to kill him because of his youth. Wufei shoots her down and derides her as weak. Quatre takes Trowa back to his lavish Middle Eastern base and repairs his Gundam. Heero refuses Duo's offer to help him fix his damaged Gundam, then later steals parts from Deathscythe to repair Wing. Meanwhile, Colonel Treize, lounging in a bubble bath, languidly gives Lady Une the go-ahead to take out Relena's father, Vice Foreign Minister Darlian, who has been raising too many questions about the Alliance's methods for dealing with the colonies...

Relena's Secret
Relena and her father return to space to meet with leaders of the colonies, where Lady Une tosses a bomb into the meeting room. Relena and her badly injured father are rescued by members of a rebel organization. Relena's father tells her the secret of her true identity -- that she is actually Relena Peacecraft, princess of the destroyed Sanc Kingdom -- before dying. Relena meets Dr. J, one of the scientists responsible for creating the Gundams and orchestrating the mission to send them to Earth. Dr. J tells her a little of Heero's origins as an assassin, and warns her to stay away from him.

Party Night
A heartbroken Relena returns to Earth, where her school is holding a festive party. Heero, having completed his latest mission, prepares to leave the school. He's stopped by Relena, who makes him dance with her. Trowa, who has been passing time at a circus as the world's most anemic clown, passively lets knife-throwing babe Catherine accidentally nick him with a misplaced blade. She's nonplussed by his apparent death wish. Relena's school is attacked by mobile suits commanded by Lady Une, who is trying to finish the attempt to kill Relena. Heero, in Wing, finds himself inadvertently protecting Relena. Treize calls off the attack as a favor to Zechs, who, in his secret identity as Prince Milliardo Peacecraft of the Sanc Kingdom, wants to protect his long-lost sister. Heero makes one final attempt to kill Relena, and can't bring himself to do it. He flies off, thoroughly disgusted with himself.

Scenario for Bloodshed
Heads of the Alliance meet at the New Edwards base to discuss the prospect of peaceful relations with the colonies. Treize disperses false information that the meeting is actually a gathering of high mucky-mucks of Oz, his secret organization of elite Alliance soldiers. Heero, Duo, Trowa, and Quatre take the bait and attack the gathering. Heero destroys a shuttle containing Marshall Noventa, the foremost proponent of peace between the Earth and colonies. Whoops. Meanwhile, all across the world Oz soldiers emerge from within the Alliance and violently begin to take over. Wufei belatedly arrives at New Edwards, and sanctimoniously alerts the others to their grievous mistake.

The Treize Assassination
Wufei and Trowa leave New Edwards together with the intention of killing Treize. Heero, Duo, and Quatre remain at New Edwards in a state of confusion and grief. Lady Une, seeing an opportunity to take out the remaining Gundams, orders the detonation of missiles kept at the base. Major Sally arrives and calls on Heero to deactivate the missiles, which he narrowly accomplishes. Zechs reveals his identity as Milliardo Peacecraft, and kills the Alliance officer responsible for the destruction of his family and the Sanc Kingdom. Wufei attacks Treize, who responds by calmly challenging him to a swordfight. Wufei loses the duel, yet Treize refuses to kill him. If you've guessed that Treize will live to regret this, give yourself an ice cream bar. Humiliated, Wufei storms off, vowing to return.

Portrait of a Ruined Country
Zechs, still trying to master his unpredictable Tallgeese mobile suit, returns to his ruined homeland. For the first time, he removes his mask, revealing his lovely face. Heero and Duo enroll in another school, plotting to destroy a nearby Oz base (personally, I would think one of the very few benefits of being a fifteen-year-old assassin would be not having to go to school, but what do I know?); obsessive Relena tracks Heero to the school and follows him around.

Heero, Distracted by Defeat
Lady Une leads a briefing on a plan to lure out and attack the Gundams near the Siberian base, where Oz is transporting their new mobile suits. The Gundams, sans Wufei who is wracked with self- loathing for his defeat by Treize, head out to destroy the new suits. Zechs, looking for the chance to battle Heero again, challenges him with Tallgeese. Lady Une stops the proceedings by threatening to destroy one of the colonies if the Gundam pilots don't surrender. Dr. J, broadcasting a message from the colonies, informs Lady Une that they will surrender, but will not give Oz the Gundams. Heero very calmly activates the self-detonation device in Wing, which explodes mightily. As Heero lies in an ever-deepening pool of his own blood (eww...), Quatre has a ghastly psychic moment where he experiences Heero's pain. Trowa scoops up Heero's apparently lifeless form as the remaining Gundams retreat in distress.

The Whereabouts of Happiness
Sad bunnies Quatre and Duo retreat to Quatre's desert base. Oz troops infiltrate and plant bombs around the town where the base is located. While the Maguanauc soldiers battle Oz, the town is evacuated, and Quatre and Duo make their escape. Zechs whimsically begins to rebuild the demolished Wing Gundam. Relena finds Lady Une in Moscow, and attempts to kill her to avenge her father's death. Oz soldiers pursue Relena, who is rescued by Lt. Noin, sent by Treize to protect her.

Bewildered Soldiers
Heero, who has been in a coma for a month under Trowa's lackadaisical care, finally regains consciousness. Wufei, puttering around China doing nothing in particular, encounters Sally Po, who has left the Alliance and has joined a band of guerilla fighters opposing the remnants of the Alliance and Oz. Reluctantly, he uses his Shenlong Gundam to come to her aid. Trowa's circus gears up for a special gala performance for Oz soldiers, which Trowa interprets as his opportunity to cause a whole lot of chaos...

Catherine's Tears
Lt. Noin's psychotic protegees Alex and Mueller begin a mindless slaughter of remaining Alliance troops. Zechs, in Tallgeese, briefly joins them. Horrified by their dishonorable tactics, Zechs ends up killing them, and effectively begins to go renegade from Oz. Trowa trots out Heavyarms in the middle of the circus performance for Oz, with the intention of self- destructing (Trowa, just because Heero self-destructed doesn't mean you have to). Catherine, who has inexplicably become devoted to Trowa, stops him by slapping him, calling him selfish for trying to kill himself, and bursting into tears.

The Order to Destroy 01
Heero, still badly injured, sets out to make reparations to the family of Marshall Noventa by offering them the chance to kill him. No one takes him up on it. Noin and Relena attend an assembly of members of the Romefeller Foundation, an aristocratic association providing much of the financial backing for Oz. Romefeller member Treize makes a pretty speech about the need to eliminate the Gundams. Relena takes the stage and decries Oz and the Foundation, while a scandalized Noin tries to stop her. Romefeller commands Zechs to destroy the partially- rebuilt Wing Gundam. He blows up some spare parts instead, which doesn't particularly fool anyone...

To the Battleground -- Antarctica
Noin tracks down Heero and Trowa and invites them to accompany her to Antarctica, where Heero can secretly finish his battle with Zechs. They are followed by members of Romefeller, who suspect Zechs' deceit. Noin is attacked by mobile suits who want her to reveal Zechs' location. Trowa comes to the rescue in Heavyarms, relentlessly slaughtering the attackers. Horrified, Noin begins to grow concerned about the effects of the battles on the very young pilots.

The Sorrowful Battle
In Antarctica, Zechs shows Heero the completed Wing Gundam. Unwilling to accept charity from Zechs, Heero decides to battle in Trowa's Heavyarms. Relena, once again stalking Heero, learns that the widow of Marshall Noventa is looking for Heero to give him a letter forgiving him for the assassination of her husband. As the battle between Heero and Zechs gets underway, Relena arrives on the battlefield to stop them. When Zechs continues to pummel the still-wounded Heero, Relena yells at Heero to kill him. Noin stops her, and tells Relena that Zechs is her brother. The battle is interrupted when the Romefeller troops discover their location. Heero and Trowa beat a hasty retreat as Zechs, who tells Noin to get Relena out of there, takes on the troops by himself.

Betrayed by Home, Far Away
Oz begins to test their unmanned mobile suits, known as mobile dolls, in an attempt to wipe out the remaining Alliance military forces in space. Lady Une, who has developed a kinder, gentler split personality (she lets down her hair and takes off her glasses; naturally, she's beautiful), visits the colonies to promote peace. Quatre and Duo, who have spent the past month lolling by the pool in a fabulous mansion (I'm guessing Quatre is footing the bill for this one), decide to return to space. They begin a splashy battle at Oz's Singapore base, in the hope that the other pilots will follow their example. The battle goes poorly, until Wufei comes to the rescue. Realizing that Oz will shoot them down the minute they attempt to blast off into space, Quatre remains behind and self-destructs his Gundam Sandrock to take out the remaining Oz troops (Quatre, just because Heero self-destructed doesn't mean you have to). Sandrock conscientiously sets Quatre down on the ground, then walks away before self-detonating. Heero and Trowa correctly interpret the message to go to space, leaving their Gundams on Earth. Badly injured, Quatre manages to get to a shuttle and blasts off to space as well. Meanwhile, all five of the scientists who built the individual Gundams and masterminded the plan to send them to space are hunted down and captured by Oz.

Tallgeese Destroyed
Zechs, who has surrendered to the tender mercies of Oz, tells Treize that he can no longer support Oz in good faith. Treize provides Zechs with the chance to die heroically by singlehandedly taking on a gajillion attacking Alliance mobile suits. Zechs handily survives the bombardment, though his mask finally splits apart in battle, signaling the end of his friendship with Treize. When Quatre's shuttle drifts into territory still occupied by the Alliance, the military decides to recruit the badly-wounded pilot to their side. Oz detects this, however, and plans to shoot down Quatre's shuttle. Lady Une, in her evil persona once again, tells the five Gundam scientists to build powerful Gundams for Oz. They consent, on the condition that she spare Quatre. She agrees, but, being rotten to the core, secretly gives the order to destroy the shuttle. An Alliance military captain boards the shuttle and finds cute little Quatre unconscious and dying. Vowing to protect Quatre, he places him in his own mobile suit and sends him away to safety, then remains in the shuttle as Oz blasts it to pieces.

Assault on Barge
Wounded Zechs regains consciousness in the care of Howard, one of the original builders of the Tallgeese. Oz attacks Duo in space, and cripples Deathscythe. Duo attempts to self-destruct (Duo, just because Heero self-destructed...), but ends up getting captured. The colonists, who have fully banded with Oz against the Gundams, call for Duo's execution. Heero catches wind of Duo's capture and somehow gets it into his pretty little head to kill him. Once he actually reaches Duo, however, he relents, and helps him escape, amidst much chaos.

The Lunar Base Infiltration
Heero heads out to Oz's lunar base to kill the scientists and destroy the new Gundams: the still-incomplete Mercurius and Vayeate. Back on Earth, Sally Po attempts to destroy Sandrock, which has been partially rebuilt by Oz. She's stopped by members of the Maguanauc Corps, who intend to rebuild Sandrock for Quatre. Oz searches the colonies for pilots capable of handling the new Gundams. They end up recruiting... Trowa. As a test of his loyalty, Trowa is required to demolish Deathscythe, which he does as Duo watches from the colony in absolute horror. Heero takes over the incomplete Vayeate to destroy the scientists, but ends up getting captured by Trowa.

Grief-Stricken Quatre
Evil Lady Une sends Officer Trowa and the captured Heero in the new Gundams to intercept Zechs, who has returned to space in the Tallgeese. Zechs tells them that he is now Ambassador Peacecraft, on a goodwill mission to space. Quatre, who has been floating aimlessly in space, is rescued and treated by a kindly doctor, who, oddly, neglects to tell him that she's actually his older sister. She takes him back to their home colony, where he confronts his disapproving pacifist father, who is understandably a little upset that his young son has been off blowing stuff up on Earth. While Quatre sets about building himself a new mobile suit from plans left by one of the scientists, his father deals with the ire of the colonists, who support Oz's decision to use one of the natural resource satellites owned by the peace-loving Winner family to produce weapons. When Quatre's father attempts to unhook the satellite to prevent Oz from getting their grubby little hands on it, he is attacked by Oz. Quatre heads up to the satellite, but is unable to prevent his father's murder. Alone in space, Quatre cackles ominously as he vows revenge on the colonies.

The Fight For Independence
In a divine meeting of split personalities, Good Lady Une graciously meets Ambassador Milliardo Peacecraft. Weird. As Romefeller prepares to send vile Chief Engineer Tuberov to space to oversee production of the mobile dolls, Treize tells Romefeller head Duke Dermail of his strong objection to the mobile dolls; he believes battles without the risk of losing human lives become dehumanized games. Treize also tells Good Lady Une that her split personality gives him the willies, and begs her to become evil once more. Oz's powerful space outpost Barge prepares to fire its beam cannon at a colony where Alliance officers, not to mention a visiting Zechs, are stationed. Lady Une, in a mobile suit, joins the battle; Treize contacts Zechs and begs him to protect Une. Trowa, still undercover in Oz, redirects the beam cannon to avoid hitting the colony. Wufei, his Gundam weaponless and powerless, allows himself to be captured by Tuberov, in the hopes of getting Shenlong repaired by Oz.

Duo, God of Death Once Again
Duo whimsically joins Oz at the urging of Hilde, a cute Oz recruit from the colonies. He's exposed in no time, and ends up getting captured by Hilde. Hilde, after talking with Duo, ends up having doubts about Oz's supposed kindly intentions in space. When Duo escapes and heads for the lunar base, Hilde stops the mobile dolls pursuing him. Duo crashes the lunar base, and discovers that the five scientists have been secretly restoring Deathscythe and Shenlong. He allows himself to be captured by Oz while the repairs are finished, and ends up imprisoned with Wufei and Heero.

The Gundam They Called Zero
A powerful new Gundam with a marked resemblance to Wing appears in space and destroys a resource satellite. When the Gundam next targets a colony, Lady Une sends out Trowa and Heero in the Vayeate and Mercurius to stop it. On the lunar base, Tuberov cuts off the air supply to the cells containing the scientists and Duo and Wufei. Strongly suspecting that the new Gundam is piloted by Quatre, Trowa is optimistic about the potential for all five Gundam pilots to team up against Oz. His optimism is quickly shattered when Quatre, on an insane rampage, blows up the colony, destroys the mobile suits sent to stop him, and opens fire on Trowa. Quatre explains to a bewildered Trowa that he's decided outer space has gone crazy, and therefore must be destroyed. Heero decides he's had about enough of this crap, and coldly informs Quatre that he's going to kill him.

Quatre vs. Heero
Quatre and Heero promptly begin to beat the hell out of each other. Quatre's new Gundam easily defeats the Mercurius. As Quatre fires the killing blast, Trowa throws himself in front of Heero, taking the full brunt. As the Vayeate begins to sizzle ominously, Trowa calmly talks to a horror-struck Quatre, calming him down. When the Vayeate explodes spectacularly, Heero attacks Quatre, while a newly-sane Quatre begs him to kill him and save Trowa. Heero eventually loses consciousness from his injuries, while Trowa, thrown from his suit and drifting in space, expresses a silent wish that Heero go easy on Quatre. On Earth, Treize confronts the Romefeller Foundation and resigns from Oz, as he can't support the use of mobile dolls. Duke Dermail orders Treize confined to the Foundation headquarters. Aware of Tuberov's treachery, Lady Une arrives on the lunar base and restores air to the prisoners. She's stopped by Tuberov, but manages to free Wufei and Duo before calmly allowing Tuberov to shoot her.

The Eternal Flame of the Shooting Stars
Heero and Quatre are captured by Oz and taken to the lunar base. Quatre is distraught over the presumed-dead Trowa (he's going to be distraught for another twelve episodes, so get used to it). When Oz soldiers prepare to execute the pilots, they are stopped by rebel Oz soldiers calling themselves the Treize Faction in support of the confined Treize. The Treize Faction soldiers take Heero and Quatre to the five scientists, who reveal that the new Gundam, Wing Zero, has a consciousness-altering cockpit system that enhances the fighting ability of the pilot, but can cause the pilot to go berserk. Hence, Quatre's madcap escapades. Oz discovers the Treize Faction's hideout, and makes them turn over Heero and Quatre to them. When Oz rather foolishly forces Heero to test out Wing Zero, Heero promptly goes insane and starts destroying everything in sight. Quatre tries to stop him in the Mercurius, and manages to trigger Heero back into quasi- rational thought. Heero tumbles out of Wing Zero, then starts glowing and hallucinating about Relena. Quatre has another little psychic moment, and interprets Heero's hallucination to mean they should return to Earth. As the Mercurius explodes and destroys the lunar base, Quatre and Heero blast off for Earth...

The Locus of Victory and Defeat
The series stops down to give everyone a chance to catch their breath as Heero and Relena recap the story thus far.

Passing Destinies
Recap, part two. Treize and Lady Une fill in the rest of the details.

The Heroine of the Battlefield
Quatre and Heero arrive on Earth and are promptly picked up by a military force. While orders have been issued for the execution of the Gundam pilots, the kindly commanding officer lets his young prisoners escape. Sally Po, who has discovered Heero's discarded Gundam, is arrested by Oz officers. Noin rescues Sally in exchange for the Wing Gundam. Duke Dermail's granddaughter Dorothy Catalonia arrives in the Sanc Kingdom, where Relena is now head of a school promoting theories of pacifism.

Reunion with Relena
To Quatre's dismay, Heero joins the Treize Faction's fight against Oz. Quatre, wandering aimlessly around a war-torn village, hears of the peaceful intentions of the Sanc Kingdom. Inspired, he promptly hijacks an Oz mobile suit and rescues Heero from a hopeless battle. Noin arrives on the scene, picks them both up, and takes them to the Sanc Kingdom, where they are met by a vastly contented Relena.

The Glass Kingdom
Relena bribes Heero into sticking around by extending the Sanc Kingdom's assistance in searching for Trowa. Heero and Quatre enroll as the only male students in Relena's pacifist school. Heero is challenged to a fencing match by war-loving Dorothy, who is well aware of his identity as a Gundam pilot. Wounded members of the Treize Faction are driven by Oz into the Sanc Kingdom, where Relena offers them sanctuary. Oz interprets this as a reason to invade. The Oz forces are driven off by Heero in Wing, and Noin and Quatre in Noin's purloined mobile suits.

The God of Death Meets Zero
Duo, still in space, has shacked up with Hilde while making the final repairs to the new, improved Deathscythe. Lt. Trent of Oz, who wants to run tests on Wing Zero's cockpit system, tracks Duo down and forces him to pilot Zero. Duo, naturally, goes buggy as a result of the system. Trent, anxious to control Zero himself, tosses Duo out into space where he's rescued by the arrival of Hilde with Deathscythe. Duo battles a hallucinating Trent, directing Zero's blast back on him. Trent's helmet faceplate shatters, and the now-pilotless Zero drifts aimlessly into space.

The Lonely Battlefield
Zechs, mask firmly in place once more, runs renegade with Tallgeese in space. He has teamed with Howard, who is now captaining Peacemillion, a gigantic, slow-moving spacecraft with a nifty cloaking device. Duke Dermail, looking for an excuse to wipe out the Sanc Kingdom, sends for Relena. Relena makes Heero promise not to leave until after she returns, a promise he promptly breaks by skeedaddling off to Luxembourg to join the Treize Faction in the thick of the battle. Dermail challenges Relena on the hypocrisy of the Sanc Kingdom's pacifism, pointing out that her own brother has been causing many battles in space. Relena cleverly (?) points out that the masked fighter calls himself Zechs Marquis, and thus cannot possibly be her brother Milliardo. Oddly enough, this logic stymies the heads of Romefeller. On her return from meeting with Dermail, Relena's car is attacked by mobile dolls. She's saved by the arrival of Quatre and Noin. Meanwhile, in Luxembourg, a faltering Heero receives a message from Treize, urging him not to die...

And It's Name is Epyon
Heero finds himself welcomed into Treize's secret Luxembourg lair, where Treize shows him a magnificent new Gundam: Epyon. Heero and Treize pull guns on each other, debate the existence of God, and engage in all kinds of manly shenanigans. Treize created Epyon to find the true meaning of battle. Epyon has a consciousness-altering Zero cockpit system as well; in fact, it can predict the pilot's future. Treize mentions that Epyon revealed he has no future to choose from... In space, Oz soldiers find the drifting Wing Zero and prepare to destroy it. Never one to pass up a golden opportunity, Zechs self-destructs Tallgeese and hijacks the more powerful Wing Zero, then starts to raise bloody hell. Heero, in Epyon, reenters the battle in Luxembourg. Epyon's system does a number on him, and he ends up killing everyone in sight. Epyon also apparently shows him his death. Heero staggers back to Treize, who hands him a gun and urges him to kill him. Heero gasps that he doesn't have the right to kill Treize, and passes out.

The Return of Wufei
Trowa, suffering from amnesia and apparently a partial lobotomy, makes his staggering way to the circus, where Catherine comforts him. Wufei, back on his home colony, battles attacking mobile dolls in his spanking new Altron Gundam. While Wufei fights, his colony leaders self-destruct the entire colony rather than let it fall to Oz. I think this explains a lot about Wufei, actually. Quatre returns to the Middle East to retrieve Sandrock. His plane is shot down by Oz, so he makes his way across the desert on foot. Wufei runs into Zechs in Wing Zero. Zechs asks him to join him to fight Oz; Wufei is having none of this, and attacks Zechs. The Zero system kicks in, and deranged Zechs ends up firing on Peacemillion, before Howard manages to calm him down. In the confusion, Wufei beats a hasty retreat.

Sanc Kingdom's Collapse
Duo and Hilde go to the circus, where -- surprise, surprise -- they encounter a still-amnesiac Trowa, who gets kind of freaked out by Duo's visit. In space, Tuberov constructs a mighty battleship, Libra. Romefeller attacks the Sanc Kingdom with a vengeance. Quatre, reunited with Sandrock, joins the battle with the help of the Maguanauc soldiers. Relena puts an end to the battle by surrendering herself to the Romefeller Foundation. A sorrowful Noin asks Quatre to accompany her in space.

Zero vs. Epyon
Zechs returns to Earth. Despite Relena's surrender, Heero keeps battling Oz with Epyon. He engages Zechs in battle, although Zechs is not convinced they're still enemies. Duke Dermail tells Relena that she is to be Romefeller's chief representative, as a symbol of their false intentions for world peace. Tuberov is hijacked by rebellious Oz soldiers supporting colonial independence, who call themselves the White Fang. The White Fang group takes over the battleship Libra. Wufei joins the skirmish, indiscriminately killing both members of Oz and the White Fang. Tuberov is killed in the crossfire, to the dismay of no one. The battle between Zero and Epyon becomes weird and brutal, as both pilots become thoroughly corrupted by the Zero system. Both Zechs and Heero eventually quit from exhaustion. As Oz forces close in, Heero departs in Wing Zero, leaving the freaky Epyon for Zechs.

The Birth of Queen Relena
While Wufei creates more chaos in space, Noin attempts to get him to join her. Not surprisingly, he refuses. Duo visits Quatre at his home colony, and tells him that Trowa is still alive. Quatre promptly heads for the circus, and bursts into tears at the sight of Trowa. Trowa fails to recognize him, and over- protective Catherine drives Quatre away. When Oz attacks the colony, Quatre fights them in space. Sensing Quatre is in danger (he tells Catherine, "I can hear him crying." Lucky guess -- Quatre's usually crying), Trowa heads out to rescue him. Relena is crowned Queen of the World. Her first official action is to give a really long speech about dissolving national boundaries.

Trowa's Return to the Battlefield
An embittered Zechs is asked to lead the White Fang. Noin, Quatre, and Trowa (amnesia still fully in place) are attacked by Oz soldiers. Quatre's Sandrock is ill-equipped for space, and the battle goes poorly... until Duo arrives and joins the fracas. Heero, once again, decides he must kill Relena, to prevent her from becoming a symbol of Romefeller's false peace.

A New Leader
Howard, in Peacemillion, contacts Duo, and invites the Gundam pilots aboard for repairs. Duke Dermail, who has fallen into disfavor among Romefeller, heads to space at the urging of Dorothy. Heero, naturally, can't bring himself to kill Relena. Zechs arrives on Libra and takes over the White Fang. His first action is to shoot down Dermail's shuttle. He then announces his intentions to eliminate the Earth.

Crossfire at Barge
Libra attacks Barge, Oz's last outpost in space. Noin, accompanied by Quatre, Duo, and Trowa, decides to confront Zechs about his intentions. On Earth, Sally Po finds Heero and gives him Trowa's Gundam Heavyarms. Meanwhile, Treize decides he'd like to be Queen of the World, and gently removes Relena from power. Relena heads up to space to stop her brother. Zechs heads out in Epyon and starts battling the Gundams. When Barge prepares to fire its powerful beam cannon on them, Zechs destroys Barge.

Battleship Libra
The few remaining survivors of the disaster at Barge make it to Earth. The survivors include a comatose Lady Une. Wufei, still battling on his own, encounters Sally and Heero in space. Heero offers Wufei the use of Wing Zero. The Zero system shows Wufei that his future lies with the other Gundam pilots. Wufei reluctantly bends his principles and joins up with Heero and Sally. Dorothy joins Zechs on Libra.

Target Earth
Sally, Heero, and Wufei join the gang on Peacemillion. This marks the first occasion the Gundam pilots have all been in the same room with each other, an event only Quatre seems particularly happy about. The colony hosting Trowa's circus is held hostage by desperate Oz soldiers, who demand that the White Fang surrender Libra to prevent the destruction of the colony. Trowa takes Wing Zero and heads out to save Catherine. When the Zero system works its magic on Trowa's fragile brain, Quatre talks him out of blowing the colony. Finally, Trowa's memory comes trickling back. While all this is going on, Zechs fires Libra's mighty beam cannon, and blows a big ol' chunk out of the Earth...

Go Forth, Gundam Team
Relena arrives on Libra, and gets a chilly hug from her socially-maladroit brother. The Gundam kids try to figure out whether they should be fighting Treize or Zechs, and eventually decide to go after the guy who just blew a hole in the Earth. Zechs sends strategically-programed mobile dolls after the pilots; the boys, who are not exactly a well-oiled fighting machine, have a heckuva time fending them off. Realizing that the team needs a strong leader, Heero loads the Zero system onto Quatre's Gundam, a fact he neglects to tell the poor kid until the last possible second. Heero tells Quatre to use the system to lead the others into battle against the mobile dolls while Heero is off fighting Epyon. Dorothy, back on Libra, uses the Zero system to control the mobile dolls attacking the Gundams. Quatre whips the team into shape, and manages to outwit Dorothy and her mobile dolls. In a panic, she orders Libra to fire on Peacemillion. Peacemillion barely maneuvers out of the way. Realizing the folly of giving Dorothy too much power, Zechs breaks off his fight with Heero and returns to Libra.

Signs of the Final Battle
Quatre disengages the Zero system from Sandrock, telling a dubious Heero that he can lead the team without it. Treize himself heads up to space to confront Zechs. Hilde sneaks onto Libra and steals plans to take back to the Gundam pilots. Mobile dolls fashioned after the Mercurius and Vayeate and programed with Heero's and Trowa's battle data attack her. Duo comes to her aid, and a badly-wounded Hilde manages to give him the information on Libra. Heero learns from her that Relena is now on Libra.

Milliardo's Decision
Heero infiltrates Libra to rescue Relena. Heero begins to understand Zech's intentions: By making himself into a single dreaded enemy, Zechs hopes the resulting terrible war will unify the Earth against him. Back on Peacemillion, the Gundam pilots try to persuade Wufei to be nice to Relena if Heero brings her on board. Treize, in the Tallgeese II (he slapped a nice coat of blue paint on it), challenges Zechs to a duel. Zechs refuses and opens fire on Treize. Lady Une, roused from her coma, takes the Wing Gundam and comes to Treize's rescue in the nick of time.

Collision in Space
Heero decides to stay with Relena on Libra. Zechs goes off to fight the other Gundam pilots with the aid of only three mobile dolls. In an attempt to pick off the pilots one at a time, he focuses the attack entirely against Quatre, figuring he'll take out the smart one first. Libra positions itself to fire on Earth again. Seeing this, Sally Po commands Peacemillion to collide into Libra's beam cannon. Zechs breaks off fighting the Gundams to try to stop Peacemillion. Noin intercepts Zechs; she can't bring herself to shoot him, and he can't bring himself to kill her. Peacemillion crashes into Libra and becomes inextricably linked with it. Wufei heads off to help Treize in battle, in order to get the chance to duel him later. Quatre, Duo, and Trowa enter Libra on foot, where Duo finds the five scientists imprisoned by Zechs. Quatre runs smack into Dorothy, who opens fire on him. Zechs, in Epyon, stands atop Libra and awaits his final battle with Heero. Noin, in her mobile suit, joins him at his side.

Takeoff into Confusion
Zechs plans to crash the oversized battleship Libra into the Earth, thus creating massive confusion. Duo helps the scientists sneak onto Peacemillion, where they plan to thwart Zechs' schemes by reversing the engines. The Maguanauc Corps arrive in space to help the Gundams. Duo realizes that Zechs has intentionally managed to wholly unite the Earth in battle against him. Heero sends Relena to Peacemillion, then heads out in Wing Zero to battle Zechs. Dorothy, hooked into the Zero system, challenges Quatre to a fencing duel, during which she ruthlessly criticizes his actions before impaling him. While skewered, Quatre earnestly tells Dorothy that he thinks she's really a very kind person... Wufei duels Treize in space, and ends up killing him. Horrified, Wufei bursts into tears and sobs, "I didn't think I'd win!" Upon Treize's death, Lady Une announces the surrender of Earth. Libra still relentlessly plows toward the Earth, as Heero and Zechs prepare for their final battle.

The Final Victor
While Quatre politely hemorrhages in a corner, Trowa idly chats with Dorothy while slowly disconnecting the mobile doll control system with a pen knife. Despite his wounds, Quatre manages to lead the others in an attempt to demolish Libra before it hits the Earth. A sizeable chunk still falls towards Earth; naturally, this happens to be the chunk Heero and Zechs are fighting in. Zechs kind of drops out of the picture while Heero demolishes the chunk as it enters the atmosphere, providing the Earth with a mighty nice meteor shower for their victory celebration. Lady Une calls for the disarmament of Earth, claiming that this was what Treize intended all along. Later, as Noin and Dorothy place flowers on Treize's grave, Noin states her conviction that Zechs is still out there somewhere. I think I'm just going to forget the tag ending, in which Heero gives Vice Foreign Minister Relena a teddy bear as a present for her birthday...

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