Type: OVA / Movie
Episode Count: 3 (OVA version)
Genre: Mecha / War Drama
Vintage: 1997 (OVA) / 1998 (Movie)
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 19 Jan 2011
Endless Waltz can be watched as either a three episode OVA or a single movie. This review is based on the movie version.
A worthy sequel to the television series, with most of the excesses scaled way back.
One year after the events of Gundam Wing, with the war over, the Gundam pilots send their mobile suits towards the sun to destroy them forever. The calm does not last long though, as peace is threatened by a separatist faction which declares autonomy and then war against the united Earth and colonies. Somehow, the allies of the previous war must reunite to face this new threat.
In many ways, Endless Waltz is even better than the series which precedes it. Remove the length, plot intricacies, and often over-the-top delivery of the television series, distill it to around ninety minutes, and the result is a very good story-driven movie (or OVA) which highlights the best aspects of Gundam Wing. Sure, some over-the-top dialogue still sneaks into Endless Waltz, but overall there are very few hyperbolic lines at which to roll your eyes. But don’t let me get caught up on the script…
Endless Waltz is a self-contained story, but it is highly recommended to have watched the series first. Otherwise, character motivations and most of the story will be lost to you. That’s not to say that it can’t be enjoyed without watching the series first, but if you haven’t you’ll be missing most of the context. Endless Waltz also provides backstory for each of the pilots which was never touched upon in the series, as well as additional history on Operation Meteor. There are a few new major characters introduced in this sequel, but they are kept to a minimum.
Visually, Endless Waltz pleases. All of the Gundams have received major facelifts as compared to their appearance at the end of Gundam Wing. If you’re a stickler for continuity, this may drive you nuts, but the fact that the Gundams look about ten times more awesome in Endless Waltz doesn’t have me complaining about anything. Also, though I have yet to watch Endless Waltz in its OVA form, the movie version is edited in such a way that it is nearly impossible to tell how it was originally split up. The flow is virtually seamless and it definitely does not feel like three episodes haphazardly stitched together. The movie version also boasts “extra footage” as compared to the OVA, but not having watched that version, I don’t know what was “added”, suffice it to say that it was edited in well, as there are no particular scenes that feel pasted in.
Endless Waltz ties up Gundam Wing nicely and provides plenty of mecha action. It doesn’t waste time with minute plot details, instead cutting to the chase, and wisely focusing on the story at hand. In all, if you enjoyed Gundam Wing, by all means continue on to Endless Waltz.