Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, known in Japan as New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (新機動戦記ガンダムW: ENDLESS WALTZ Shin Kidō Senki Gandamu Uingu: Endoresu Warutsu?), is the sequel to Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, both of which are set in the After Colony timeline, an alternate universe to that of the original Gundam series. Aside from being the continuation of the TV series, it also revealed details regarding the past of the Gundam pilots and the true objective behind Operation Meteor.
Endless Waltz was first produced as a three part OVA and later in 1998 a compilation movie was released which also contained new scenes. It was broadcast in the US on Cartoon Network on November 10, 2000.
The Endless Waltz redesign
In Endless Waltz, all of the major Gundams underwent a massive redesign by Katoki Hajime. The Gundams are still the same ones that were used at the end of the TV series, although changed from the original TV versions. The Gundams have more stylized (and somewhat ostentatious) appearances, reflected in the "Angel Wings" of the Wing Gundam ZERO, the "bat wing"-styled cloak and much more demonic appearance of the Gundam Deathscythe Hell, and the more dragon-like appearance of the Altron Gundam. Zechs Merquise also appears in the series piloting the new Tallgeese III, which has several similarities with the Tallgeese II. Despite the dramatically different designs of the Gundams, the story in the OVA retcons them. The redesigned version of Wing ZERO is also very popular among fans (considered by many to be the true canonical version, even), and is commonly known as the "Wing ZERO Custom."
It is the year After Colony 196, and the battles between Earth and the colonies (known as the Eve Wars, as they occurred in late December of AC195) have ended. Treize Khushrenada is dead, and OZ has come to an end. This gives birth to the Earth Sphere Unified Nation (ESUN) and the Preventers police force (led by Lady Une). Seeing they won't be needed anymore, the Gundam pilots (except Wufei) send their mobile suits into the sun on a giant disposal satellite.
However, this peace would not last; at around the 1-year anniversary of the Eve Wars, a rebellion occurs on the newly-completed colony, L3 X-18999. Led by seven-year-old Mariemaia Khushrenada (who reveals herself to be Treize's daughter), the rebellion kidnaps Relena Darlian (who is now the Vice Foreign Minister of the ESUN) during a diplomatic mission to X-18999. As the Gundam pilots investigate further, they discover that Mariemaia is merely a puppet controlled by her grandfather: Dekim Barton, a former adviser to martyred colony leader Heero Yuy. Dekim plans to use X-18999 to go through with the original Operation Meteor, as a contingency plan in case the ESUN doesn't comply with his demands. The original Operation Meteor involved crashing a space colony into Earth, and allowing the Gundams to take control in the ensuing chaos. The Gundam pilots must prevent Dekim from seizing power over the ESUN.
The Gundams are retrieved by Quatre and the Maganac Corps and returned to Earth's orbit. While Heero uses Wing ZERO to battle Wufei (who has joined Mariemaia's army) in space, Duo, Trowa and Quatre use their Gundams to battle Dekim's forces on Earth.
In the end, Dekim is killed by one of his own soldiers, Earth and its colonies are at peace once again, and all mobile suits, including the Gundams, are forever destroyed.
Cast and characters
Theatrical Version Changes
When Endless Waltz was released in theaters in 1998 as a lead-in to Gundam's 20th anniversary, several new scenes were added, adding approximately ten minutes of new footage to the story.
- The titlecards and transitions between episodes were removed, making the three episodes into a single movie.
- Many of the instrumental score cues have been shifted around from the OVA. Additionally, the OVA's ending theme, White Reflection, is replaced with a new theme, Last Impression, performed by TWO-MIX.
- Duo's flashback is moved up to the shuttle flight, just before Heero's; in the OVA, it takes place as Trowa's Serpent fires at Duo's Leo.
- There is a new scene which shows Zechs reading his field manual inside the Tallgeese III and his eventual reunion with Lucrezia Noin. This takes place after he destroys the Mariemaia Army headquarters at MO-3.
- A new scene shows Sally Po, donning a stolen Mariemaia Army uniform, rescuing the hostages on X18999 (including Catherine Bloom and the circus manager).
- The battle scene in Brussels, involving the Gundam Pilots, the Preventers, and the Serpents, is lengthened in comparison to the OVA.
- Another new scene, taking place after Relena's impromptu speech, has Dorothy Catalonia appear in Brussels, convincing the citizens to heed Relena's words and do things for themselves if they want true peace.
- Another additional scene features the damaged Wing ZERO lying at the bottom of the sea, with an unconscious Heero inside the cockpit, following the battle against Altron. The Gundam then re-activates on its own, awakening its pilot in the process, and supposedly convinces Heero to complete his mission.
- The individual character endings are changed to be longer and more elaborate, but remain generally the same in tone.
Manga Version Changes
Published in 1997, the manga version of Endless Waltz was handled by Koichi Tokita, the writer responsible for most of the Gundam Wing manga. While the manga cleaves most closely to the OVA, it has several additions and changes not present in either animated version. Please note that this list does not include minor dialogue changes.
- There are minor costume changes throughout the manga. For example, Heero wears a different outfit in his flashback dream, while in the anime, he wore his outfit from the TV series.
- The resource satellite that is launched into the sun is changed into Vulkanus, the mobile doll plant from Battlefield of Pacifists, another Gundam Wing sequel manga illustrated by Tokita. This fact is alluded to early on, but is more important just before the final battle when Lady Une suggests using the Virgos on Vulkanus to fight Dekim. Zechs flatly refuses the idea, going so far as to threaten Une's life if she makes the order, and insists that he'll handle things personally.
- The scene where Trowa confronts Dekim (and is stopped by Wufei) is extended, in which Trowa claims that he took on Dekim's son's name as a show of allegiance to the Mariemaia Army. Dekim then boasts to the soldiers that the presence of two Gundam pilots proves that they are just. Interestingly, Dekim says that he harbors no ill will towards Trowa for his son's death.
- Zechs calls Lady Une from a city street to ask for enrollment into Preventer, instead of coming to her office. Unlike the anime, the manga shows his face. Additionally, he knows about the existence of the Tallgeese III, and specifically requests it.
- A brief scene shows a soldier telling Mariemaia about Heero and Duo's break-in, but she simply tells Relena that it's a minor disturbance; Relena, however, immediately knows that it's Heero.
- In the anime, Duo recognizes Trowa as the Serpent's pilot because it uses Trowa's preferred tactic of heavy suppression fire. In the manga, Duo recognizes it because Trowa uses an acrobatic maneuver to dodge one of Duo's attacks.
- Trowa's description of Operation Meteor is accompanied by a series of illustrations showing how the plan would work. Notably, the scene ends with an image of the original five Gundams, but re-imagined in Tokita's style. Though Wing Gundam appears the same as in the series, the other four combine elements of Katoki's "Customs" with the original versions, such as Gundam Heavyarms' beam gatling and Gundam Sandrock's shoulder missiles. However, just like the animated version, Tokita uses the Custom versions in all flashback sequences.
- Dorothy appears at the beginning of the fourth chapter, watching the Serpents descend from her mansion. Her hairstyle, as well as the mansion, are inspired by Battlefield of Pacifists, in which she played an important role.
- When Dekim, Mariemaia, and Relena arrive at the Presidential mansion, Relena has a brief flashback to a scene from Battlefield of Pacifists, in which Heero promised to be there whenever she needed him.
- Wufei's flashback includes minor elements of the prequel manga Episode Zero, with Master Long disagreeing with Operation Meteor and asking Wufei to fight according to his own sense of integrity.
- A new scene shows Zechs and Lady Une assessing the situation in Brussels before Zechs deploys. In addition to the event described earlier, this scene includes a cameo appearance by Dick Higasaki, the engineer from Tokita's popular spin-off manga G-Unit.
- Wufei gets a brief flashback to Treize's death; as with the rest of Endless Waltz, this scene replaces the original Altron design with Katoki's.
- Wing Zero and Altron's duel is more equal than in the anime as Wing Zero doesn't receive any noticeable damage until the very end, when Heero actually allows Wufei to strike him down.
- Dorothy appears among the crowd of civilians near Altron, as do the President and his granddaughter.
- Some character endings are slightly different. Tokita's version features the strongest hints towards a relationship between Heero and Relena, as Heero stays on as her bodyguard, complete with a Secret Service-like suit. On a more humorous note, Duo's ending features him wearing a baseball cap with "Gundam 20th Anniversary" written on the front.
- OVA Ending Theme: "White Reflection" by Two-Mix
- Movie Ending Theme: "Last Impression" by Two-Mix
- Official website
- Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- J-pop.com review
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