Type: OVA / Movie
Episode Count: 3 (combined into a single movie)
Genre: Science Fiction / Mecha
Vintage: 1997 (OVA), 1998 (Movie)
Date of Review: April 8, 2015
The war is over…so it seems. The five Gundam pilots have since retired, sending their Gundams into the sun for destruction. But a new threat looms, rapidly bringing world armies to heel. Our heroes will have to recover their mobile suits for one more battle as we learn the shocking truth behind the real Operation Meteor.
As with New Mobile Report Gundam Wing, this sequel was previously reviewed by Ryo-Ohki himself. Like him, I’ll be reviewing the movie version of New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, rather than the original three-part OVA. It flows much better as a single film; aside from a seamless edit, this version also received a few pieces of extra animation to further improve upon it. As such, the film is the best way to view Endless Waltz, so my review should follow suit. Fear not, this won’t be nearly as long-winded as my Wing review, but I’ll still try to approach it differently than Ryo-Ohki’s work.
Right off the bat, Endless Waltz stands out from its predecessor with more detailed artwork and animation, complimented by bold color and shadow. This would be expected from an OVA or film, but the striking new visuals don’t stop there: the Gundams were redesigned by Hajime Katoki, and they received some rather radical alterations…for better or for worse. I say that because fans seem to either love or hate Katoki’s new designs, the most famous (or infamous) being his angelic Wing Gundam Zero. It might be confusing to some viewers because these are supposed to be the same Gundams as seen in the Wing TV series, yet they appear noticeably different…just roll with it. It doesn’t affect the plot, anyway. The new mobile suits, like the Serpents and the mighty Tallgeese III, all look incredible. Love him or hate him, Katoki’s got talent by the boatload.
Endless Waltz also stands out due to the little touches that really drive the story home. For example, the antagonists’ military uniforms look like those of the Nazis. Even the stylized “M” on the collars is reminiscent of the infamous Schutzstaffel (SS) insignia. Like those historical nightmares, the bad guys here want to instigate their own brand of mass murder while taking over the globe. The parallels are there without beating you over the head.
As you’d expect, Endless Waltz brings back all of our favorite characters, and of course adds a few new ones. The most important newcomer is Mariemaia Khushrenada, the young daughter of the infamous Treize Khushrenada (the primary antagonist from Wing). She takes control of the villainous Barton Foundation, another shady group — seriously, the After Colony timeline is lousy with conspiracies and secret societies — and ends up nearly ruling the damned planet via threats of mass destruction. Mariemaia herself is a clear homage to the Universal Century’s Mineva Zabi, but her personality and actions are quite the opposite. (Read: Mineva’s awesome, Mariemaia’s a little punk.) She’s annoying, but don’t get me started on Dekim Barton; that guy’s a prick of the highest order, and using Mariemaia as a pawn makes him even worse.
Let’s get back to our returning cast from Wing for a moment. The Gundam pilots start out retired, so to speak, and we get a few flashbacks detailing their lives before they descended to Earth at the beginning of Wing. If you’re wondering if there’s any connection between the Barton Foundation and Gundam Heavyarms pilot Trowa Barton, well…watch the movie and find out. Meanwhile, Relena’s still part of the new world government, but Sally Po, Lucrezia Noin, and even Zechs Merquise all have very interesting new roles. The new Preventers faction makes for a nice opposing force to the brutal Mariemaia Army, setting the stage for some serious mobile suit combat besides the usual politicking. Everything wraps up nicely by the end, and Endless Waltz actually proves to be a far better Wing finale than that series’ actual last episode.
Like Wing before it, Endless Waltz gave rise to a bunch of tie-in manga and such, plus a true sequel: the photonovel New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Frozen Teardrop. I’ve heard that it’s absolutely terrible, but that fortunately doesn’t affect my enjoyment of Endless Waltz or Wing. The mobile suit battles are great, the final fate of the Gundams is handled well, and one of the film’s most satisfying moments comes when a really annoying character gets bitch-slapped in proper Gundam fashion. Endless Waltz is a short and sweet flick that’s a must-watch, even if Wing wasn’t really your bag.