They’re the best Anime that 1998 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Beast Wars Second Chou Seimeitai Transformers: Lio Convoy Kiki Ippatsu! Movie, Ginga Tetsudou 999: Eternal Fantasy, Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness, and more!
5: Beast Wars Second Chou Seimeitai Transformers: Lio Convoy Kiki Ippatsu! Movie
Japanese: 映画 ビーストウォーズII[セカンド]超生命体トランスフォーマー ライオコンボイ危機一髪!
MAL Score: 6.09
The movie begins with a space battle between the space pirate Seacons and the Cybertron Jointron brothers. Both combine, forming God Neptune and Tripledacus respectively, and being fighting it out. They become heavily engaged in combat, until a mysterious spaceship knocks them both deeper into space. Back at the Cybertron base, one of the Cybertron warriors, Apache, informs the Cybertrons that an object is approaching Planet Gaea. The Destrons have also noticed the spaceship. Galvatron and his brother Gigastorm discuss it and Galvatron decides that the ship is a positive sign, and it will bring good luck.
It’s basicly a spin-off based somewhere at the ending of the anime ‘Beast Wars Second Chou Seimeitai Transformers ‘ or Beast Wars II in short, but is not really connected towards the anime series. Incase you haven’t seen Beast Wars II, watch that first so you’re familair with the (newer) characters that get introduced during the series and read the review about Beast Wars II what kind of minor flaws this anime movie also has.
The animation is compaired with the anime much smoother and much better, but it also contains minor errors during the transformation parts. It feels this small movie was done by a different studio, but I’m not sure about that.
The story is OK’ish for a kids show and for the real die-hard Beast Wars fans you get a mere 5(!) minutes fanservice, because Optimus Primal (you know, the character where picky Transformer fans use the prase “Trukk not munky”) is also in the story somehow, where it really does suggest you can also pinpoint this movie before the events of Beast Wars: Transmetals.
Overall, a great watch for Beast Wars fans. It felt much more enjoyable than the Beast Wars II anime in my opinion. But I really advice you should watch Beast Wars II first.
Story: 6/10 (Fine)
Art: 7/10 (Good)
Sound: 7/10 (Good)
Character: 7/10 (Good)
Enjoyment: 8/10 Very Good)
Overall: 8/10 (Very Good)
4: Ginga Tetsudou 999: Eternal Fantasy
English: Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy
Japanese: 銀河鉄道９９９ エターナルファンタジー
MAL Score: 6.60
Based on the story by manga master Leiji Matsumoto (The Cockpit, Queen Emeraldas), the 55 minute featurette picks up one year after the events of Galaxy Express 999 in which a young boy named Tetsuro and his motherly companion Maetel worked to rid the universe on the Mechanized Empire who had taken over Earth.
It is basically a movie that summarizes everything that took place during the TV series, only it whittles it down to about an hours worth. The story is quite well written as you can see from above, it really gives you a feeling that you are riding with Tetsuro on the express ways, as they tend to introduce different planets that have also been under oppression by the machine people, along with love, sadness and surprising plots twists, which are especially nice considering this is only an hour long movie. The action scenes themselves are fair enough, but lack a really visual appeal and flare. I know some may feel that it was appropriate for its time, but there still were much more fluent titles out there around this era. (such as Robotech or Captain Tsubasa) Still, it gets the job done well enough! It contains a bit of blood shed (doesn’t ever spurt or flow though) and some of the scenes show women in a more erotic manner, so it might not be appropriate for all viewers. These scenes are few and far between, but I still feel they are worth mentioning.
Really has a great one! The live "symphony" style of music really sets the mood for the movie, and even holds up well by today’s standards. And the closing theme "journey to the stars" was so darn catchy I immediately downloaded it to my ipod! It does seem a bit dated looking back on it, but it still has a lasting affect! My only complaint with the music, is that there isn’t much to it as far as variety goes. Its pretty sparse through out, but the parts that it does show up in are well timed and moving. Most people may view the background tracks as "sad, " but heck they did kill his mom, so its what the designers were trying to make you feel with it! Sadly, there is no opening theme to this title. The character voices were some hit and misses, I felt that the two main ones were well placed and appropriate, but others (like the conductor) just came out plain funny! Which I guess is ok, especially considering this is a sad movie, and some viewers might find the funnier voices stimulating.
Without a doubt it is very dated, this sort of style was very popular in the 80’s era, so to some younger viewers out there it will most likely be a turn off. As far as the character design goes, I just wasn’t a fan of it myself. With the exception of Tetsuro on most parts, the other characters just look weird and not proportioned right, and kinda come off as more silly than actually threatening or mature. (which is what the movie is shooting for) Still, whether you love it or hate it, its well detailed and does contain a character design all its own.
Which is really what this movie is all about! The great chemistry between them, whether it be loss of a loved one, happy times meeting new friends, to touching moments between them! You feel a deep satisfaction of feeling what the characters feel themselves. And even though it wasn’t able to pull off the most touching story for a movie, it still leaves you with a happy yet sad feeling when it finishes. The characters themselves are also interesting in their design. They range from humans, to alien conductors, to people made out of pure crystal, so there is a good variety to them as well!
Bottom Line: 8/10
If your not into the whole classic anime tag, then "Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy" probably won’t make you change your mind. But if you are interested in what was going on back in older anime titles, its a great find. This movie may be a bit too dark and depressing for some though, so if your the type of viewer who prefers happy movies then I would avoid it, as it does have its tear jerking moments. I recommend it for fans of old school, or people who like more mature drama in their anime diet.
One Final note I feel I should mention: if you do decide to get into this franchise, be prepared for some very confusing detective work. As there are so many spin-offs, sequels and prequels that it can sometimes get quite frustrating!
3: Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness
English: Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness
Japanese: 機動戦艦ナデシコ The prince of darkness
MAL Score: 6.76
Two years have passed since the end of the “Martian Successor Nadesico.” Akito and Yurika have disappeared. The Jovians and the Earthlings have joined forces and Ruri is now captain of Nadesico B. As the popularity of Boson Jumping grows, a vast transportation network has been developed. Dubbed the Hisago Plan, this network of Chulip portals holds the answers to the mysteries behind Bose particles and their power. If those secrets should fall into the wrong hands, it could mean big trouble. And big trouble there is. A Martian splinter group has launched an offensive, leaving the United Forces befuddled and desperate. So much so, in fact, that the former crew of the Nadesico is called back to active duty for a special unsanctioned mission-to save us all. Does this menagerie of misfits have what it takes? Who will win the race for the Boson technology? And what the heck happened to Akito and Yurika?
“What were they thinking when they made this?” – That’s the first thing that comes to mind when looking at Prince of Darkness. This isn’t Nadesico, this isn’t the GEKIGAN FLARE-yelling, hotblooded- yet lighthearted- and satiric view of the real robot genre that made Nadesico unique, interesting and a brilliant watch. No, this is a dark, murderous, hideous shadow of Nadesico. It’s what you get if you lock Nadesico into a dark room for a couple years, continuously poke it with a cattle prod and feed it nothing but raw meat. It’s just not the same. But it tries to be.
====WARNING: THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS===
Ok, well for starters, the story is ABYSMAL. Basically the movie comes in parts. Part 1- introducing the viewer to what happened in the time skip between the movie and the end of Nadesico. Part 2- gather all the crew together. Part 3- none of the crew does anything, other than Ruri, and the whole movie ends in virtually the exact same way as the series. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AKITO. Yes you heard me, Akito does not revert to his lovable anime self, no he leaves this movie as a cold-hearted killer who shoots first and asks questions later. After all the series’ development to get him involved with Yurika, he just up and leaves her at the end of the movie. This alone makes the plot of PoD horrible. It just takes away all the good things from the series and throws them in the bin. There is NO Gekiganer in the movie, aside from one line where it is briefly mentioned in passing. This is despite the Jovian’s entire race was centred on the thing for centuries. I’m sorry but I just don’t *get* that.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a few funny lines, but I could count them on one hand, and they simply do not justify the complete and utter abandonment of everything Nadesico had represented.
The artwork is amazing. The Black Selena is an incredible-looking mech, and as with the series, the quality of animation is very high. I have no complaints at all about the animation. However, this does not justify the plot.
Again, no complaints, the sound is at least good enough for me to not have anything bad to say about it, and thus I give it the thumbs up.
Ok, here’s a big thumbs down. Yurika has all of what, three lines in this show? Akito is NOTHING like his previous self.Minor characters, such as prospector or Megumi are delegated to single-sentence appearances, and serve no real role whatsoever. Ruri has almost all of the screentime, with the only other character of notable significance being Ryoko (oh, and the Jovian- the Joe Umisubame (gekiganger) lookalike, I can’t remember his name, he gets a little development). Sure, this isn’t bad if you’re a Ruri fan, but the colour and depth of the cast is one of the pivotal things that made Nadesico great. This movie chucks that into a paper shredder and lights it on fire. You simply get no charater development whatsoever, and the development you do get is largely negative, as in Akito, who is the complete opposite of his three-years-prior self.
None. As a matter of fact I felt sick after whatching this. The animation was good. There were a couple of funny lines. But what was once a bright and funny show is now a dark and pessimistic gloom-fest. Sorry but I actually REGRET watching this, rather than enjoy it.
This series departs from the Anime in such as colossal way that it is simply a complete and utter punch in the face to someone who came here looking for more Nadesico goodness. Watch the Gekiganger OVA, that thing’s far more deserving as Nadesico’s sequel. Don’t watch this.
With that out of the way, let’s begin. It’s obvious that this can be a very polarizing movie: Just take a look at the reviews on this page. An 8, a 10, a 4 and a 1. So there’s definitely a big element of personal preference here. Personally, I think that it does have some pretty big flaws in parts, particularly in terms of some character development, but it’s entertaining enough to make up for it.
The story is fast-paced and exciting. The getting-the-band-back-together elements of the story, while cliche, are very entertaining, and the final battle at the end is typical Nadesico fun. That said, there are definitely some flaws. There’s one in particular that stands out: The villains, the Martian Successors, have motives that are only vaguely defined – it’s stated briefly in the movie that they want to control all aspects of society and life, and that plus some of their regimented attitude makes you think they might be a bit like Nazis or something, but you’re never told HOW exactly they’re going to change the universe for the worse if they come into power. Without this important information, they seem pointless and silly, and their whole plot just becomes kind of dumb. It’s especially disappointing since for some reason the English version was named after these villains instead of the Jovians, and yet once you see them it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s no good reason to name the series after them. Most of the story, though, remains quite entertaining. I was especially interested in the way they built upon the sci-fi concept of the chulips that they had explored in the original series.
The art is as good as ever, even better than the TV series. Admittedly, it was a 1990s series, so the animation was not always top-quality, and nothing much to write home about compared to some of the series of today, but I’ve always felt the more 90’s style character designs had a lot of charm, and the animation was always perfectly adequate. It’s improved upon, though, in the movie, since, you know, higher budget and all.
The music is just as great as usual, with more of the orchestral type stuff that really energized the original series, and it energizes the movie as well. The voice acting is the same as it ever was in the dub, which is the version of the series I watched and so the version of the movie I watched, for consistency. I know some people don’t like the dub at all, but I personally love it, and I felt it was just as good as it was in the original series. I liked especially how Ruri sounded older but still like herself. None of the characters we’ve already met are recast and the voices of the new characters fit in seamlessly, so all in all I’d just say that whatever you thought of the dub the first time around will be exactly the same as what you think of it here. The Japanese appears to be just as good, but I wouldn’t really know for sure. Oh, and the sound effects are pretty good I guess. I wasn’t really paying attention to that.
Ruri pretty much takes over the helm of main character from Akito in this installment, as she’s the captain of the Nadesico B and basically gets to do all the coolest stuff in the movie. Personally, though, while she definitely got a lot of the spotlight, I didn’t think she took much away from the other characters. It’s interesting to see where they’ve ended up and how much they have grown in three years, but they don’t change so drastically as to be unrecognizable and there are still plenty of great character moments. Nearly every character from the series gets at least a few moments to shine here, and Hikaru and Izumi in particular provide some welcome comedy relief toward the end of the movie.
A couple characters really get the shaft, though. Although she’s plot-important, probably crucial actually, we also don’t see Yurika very much during the movie – although admittedly some viewers might be glad to be rid of her. And Akito himself gets some pretty lackluster development. His character frankly becomes a lot less interesting.
There are also a few new characters, mostly the crew populating Ruri’s Nadesico B. They aren’t quite as interesting as the characters from the anime, but they’re likable enough and fit in with the rest of the cast. The new villains, however, have basically no real character whatsoever. Even the leader just seems like some random guy, and their whole group really isn’t given much of a good reason for doing anything that they do.
The most disappointing thing about the movie is probably the ending. By this I don’t mean the resolution of the Martian Successor plot threads that began in the movie; that’s fantastic. What I do mean is that there are a lot of things left hanging open-ended by the finish, and unfortunately it’s the last Nadesico related thing that was ever produced before there were some disputes between the creator and the anime company. There was going to be a sequel in 2005, but it fell through. While I still hope there might be a continuation of the show someday, I’m not holding my breath. Knowing this is the last bit of Nadesico we’ll probably ever get is a bit of a downer and it does make a lot of the ending unsatisfying.
All in all, although I think it might have helped a bit more to consider character development and plot more, especially the matter of who exactly these villains are and why we should give a damn, but it’s still a pretty good movie. Even though the story can be a bit ridiculous at times, it’s still a lot of fun. And although it’s disappointing that this is pretty much the end, you can always imagine what comes next in your mind.
Or hell, write some fan fiction if you want. Frankly, it could be better than any continuation we might actually get.
Seriously, the plot turns on you like a bad crowd at Yannifest and if you don’t pay absolute attention to it it passes you by, causing you to scratch your head and ask ‘wtf’. It did have its good parts but they were sparse at best. They spent way too long trying to convey what everyone was doing post-series but then decided to just flat-out stop at a certain point and try to get the plot up and running… to no avail.
the final battle follows closely with what the plot was doing and you honestly have no idea how or why everything is happening. The dude who[SPOILER] shot Tsukumo in the series just shows up and tells everyone to stop fighting and they do, without hesitation or explanation as to why. They’re just captivated by his hair, i guess.
And they also succeeded in turning Akito into a mopey little bitch. Hooray for Shinji’s Disease and its ability to grasp the heart of ANY mech protag.
i was really hoping this would turn out as awesome as the show was, but i just felt sorry for it.
2: Pokemon Movie 01: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu
English: Pokemon: The First Movie
Japanese: ポケットモンスター ミュウツーの逆襲
MAL Score: 7.63
It was a successful science experiment gone horribly wrong. When a team of scientists discovers the DNA of the ancient Pokémon Mew, they harnessed the potential within it in an attempt to create the ultimate living weapon. With advanced cloning techniques and resources provided to them by Team Rocket crime syndicate leader Giovanni, the scientists succeed in creating the powerful psychic Pokémon, Mewtwo.
Pokemon: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu reveals the terrifying power of Mewtwo as he learns that not only was he created to be an experiment, but also to be a tool for Giovanni’s sinister dealings. Breaking free of his control, Mewtwo creates his own island fortress and reconstructs the cloning technology that gave life to him.
Under the guise of being a master Pokémon trainer, Mewtwo lures the best trainers in the world to his base. Among these trainers are Ash Ketchum, his loyal Pokémon Pikachu, and their friends Brock and Misty. United together, human and Pokémon alike, they must not only discover the hidden secret of Mewtwo’s plans, but stand against his terrifying might. If they fail, Mewtwo’s vengeance will not only lead to tyranny over all the Pokemon, but also the extinction of the human race.
The reason why Ash is always able to win is because he’s friends with his Pokémon. The whole series is an allegory on how you’re supposed to treat your fellow man, using the relationship between Pokémon and their trainers as a parallel for the relationship between human beings.
Mewtwo’s hatred for mankind stems from their lack of compassion – he was basically used. He was given life, and then treated as less-than-life – a tool to be used for human purposes, rather than a living being with a living will and a purpose. He has no purpose of his own, he didn’t know he was, so he lashed out against all of humanity, and against the Pokémon he felt were being used by their masters.
Mew is his foil, as Mew is everything that Mewtwo is, minus the hatred. Mew loves mankind because he knows that they’re just another form of life on the planet. He eliminates the antipathy between humans and Pokémon by realizing that they’re all the same. Pokémon and their trainers can be friends, but can also walk their own paths, just like all humans in real life.
Mewtwo makes his own purpose in life the destruction of life itself, but realizes that isn’t the way things are supposed to be. The reality of friendship “slaps him in the face” as he sees all the Pokémon weeping over the petrification of a human being who only wanted to protect his friends.
Pikachu is the Pokémon embodiment of friendship. The relationship between Ash and Pikachu is the entire central theme of Pokémon: friendship prevails over selfishness. Pikachu’s will is so similar to that of Ash’s that he refuses to fight the other Pikachu (essentially, refuses to fight another living being to prove to the other Pikachu that the fighting is pointless – even Meowth, who’s supposed to be one of the “bad guys” knows better than to fight like that), even as it continues to slap him over and over again.
The most saddening part of the movie as a child was when Pikachu just kept taking the hits without retaliating. As an adult, I understand why that was so heartbreaking: Because that’s the way many people in the world are, just fighting each other to prove that their purpose means anything, instead of just banding together in friendship.
We’ve been so deadened as a society that we think that that is “cheesy,” and “children’s material.” No. Fuck that – I’ve been through the ringer in life, and I can still come back around and see the value in a story like this. It’s a parallel to life, and I believe the creators would be very sad to know that audiences are taking it with a grain of salt instead of realizing the true message behind their work (instead of just writing it off as “kiddie stuff”).
I know that many adults don’t want to hear it, but “kiddie stuff” is codeword for “things that are important in life, but I don’t want to think about them anymore.” You have to think about them. “This is life,” as Nurse Joy herself puts it.
Also, the dub did dumb down some of the deeper parts of the message for American consumption, but that’s America’s own damned fault for thinking that our children can’t handle being exposed to a little bit of truth for an hour and 15 minutes of their lives.
If you’re an adult, and you find yourself calling this movie “stupid,” you should try looking beyond the medium and look to the message. You could find that you’re a bitter Mewtwo, and two stubborn and hurt to see it. The human condition.
Don’t be a Mewtwo. Mew :3
4kids have cut out 15 minutes of the movie, removed part of Mewtwo’s monologue simply because he mentioned ‘God’ and distorted the message movie was trying to give. Mewtwo also wasn’t portrayed as the spawn of Satan in the original version, but a misguided villain. He was given motives and backstory. Mew was subjected to character change as well; in Japanese version, he doesn’t want to start the fight, but certainly thinks of clones as lesser beings.
So, what does this have to do with reviewing the movie? Everything. The point is that unlike the English version, which feels like a relic from the 90s, Japanese one makes a good movie. It isn’t plagued by false moral messages (fighting is wrong anyone?). Mewtwo is a being estranged from love and misunderstands the nature of life, like some kind of a distorted overman. That’s not my pretentiousness. The overtones and philosophical implications are in the dialogue.
Art and animation are great and CGI blends in perfectly. The movie is very dark in general and heavy for its target audience. For a kids cartoon, it’s great. Even an adult can get a small something from it and there are certain symbols and references in its designs everywhere, which should keep adults from getting bored.
STORY – As a kids’ movie for a kids’ show, the themes in Mewtwo Strikes Back are actually quite impressive. The morality of cloning and genetic modification/enhancement is a very real debate that ripples through the scientific community now and again, and it’s interesting to see that idea translated into a Pokemon movie. Thus, as far as its target audience goes, the core plot of this First Movie is definitely doing something uncommon. The arrangement of the story around this central theme is a little more normal as it retains many typical elements from the anime series.
CHARACTERS – Let’s skip over the normal cast of the series because I’m going to assume you already know there isn’t a lot going on there. Now, Mewtwo is a fun character — his monologue presented at the beginning of the movie and the constant destruction he finds himself in is a great way to start the foundations of his character. His feelings are very logical and easy to understand while offering possibilities beyond what’s obvious. His repeated question of "What is my purpose?" highlights the deepest theme of the movie well, and I find it very exciting that the rest of the movie is based around the fact that he creates a purpose for himself, since no one else is able to provide him with one. If you take a step back and go through Mewtwo’s train of thought, it’s really not that riveting or different from what you would expect, but when you remember again that this is a movie directed towards a younger audience, I think the philosophical and moral implications of those kinds of questions and actions is very potent, thus making for a great movie character.
Mew and Mewtwo’s clones pretty much make up the rest of the movie-exclusive characters. The simplicity of Mew was a great foil to the complexity of Mewtwo, though I still wonder if they could have been more clear about Mew’s intentions because certainly she had some. The rest of the clones were rather generic, bending easily to the whims of the movie’s message with no real personality of their own. That’s perfectly forgivable though; after all, kids’ movies need morals.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – Honestly, there wasn’t much notably different from a normal Pokemon episode. Maybe things were animated a bit more smoothly, but other than that, just average.
MUSIC – I’m actually rather fond of most of the music in this movie. It was great that they used the full version of the normal TV introduction (whether in English or Japanese). There are some pretty epic tracks played during Mewtwo’s reign of terror, and many of the movie’s other background tracks are reminiscent of melodies also found in the series. Mew’s innocent little theme also comes to mind as a pretty fun and memorable tune.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve seen this movie in English, Japanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. I’ll just talk about the first two though, lol. The English dub… well, I’m sure you already have your own opinions about Ash and the gang, but I liked Mewtwo’s voice. It suited him very well. And so did Mew’s! But I guess that really isn’t that impressive. I liked the Japanese better mostly because I like the main cast better. Especially memorable is the opening scene with Ash and his friends, during which he’s challenged to a random Pokemon battle. The Japanese version offers some brilliant Engrish that just can’t be rivaled: "OH MY GODDDDDD!!!"
OVERALL – Pokemon the First Movie is my favorite Pokemon movie (keeping in mind I’ve only seen the first three). Sure, it’s definitely a film aimed for the younger audience, but even for an older audience, as long as you can bring yourself to swallow some of the corny bits, I think it retains a lot of merits. Cloning and genetics is always an interesting subject, anyway.
1: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz Special
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
Japanese: 新機動戦記ガンダムW Endless Waltz 特別篇
MAL Score: 7.80
At the climax of the Eve Wars, on December 24 of the year AC 195, the armies of the World Nation and White Fang met in a ferocious battle. World Nation leader Treize Khushrenada was slain, White Fang leader Zechs Merquise disappeared, and Earth was saved from destruction by the intervention of the five Gundam pilots. Having witnessed the consequences of war and hatred, the people of Earth and the space colonies put aside their differences and together founded a new world government. Under this newly-formed Earth Sphere Unified Nation, a year has passed in peace. The government and the populace have disarmed themselves, and almost every remaining mobile suit has been destroyed. Deciding to follow suit, Gundam pilots Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, and Quatre Raberba Winner place their mighty mobile suits inside an asteroid and send them on a one-way voyage into the sun. But even as they bid their Gundams farewell, a new conflict is drawing near.
Thankfully, Endless Waltz addressed my issue with the art and animation. Much more precise actions, more fluid movements in the Mobile Suits, and much more time was spent on creating battles that looked and felt grittier and more realistic. The explosions didn’t feel as cheap, the choreography was improved, and the beam blasts gave scenes a much better sense of dimension. The suits themselves benefit from flashier designs and with the slightly glossier color palate compared with Wing, they seem to pop out and become more vibrant. Ditto goes with the characters and backgrounds. Wing’s backgrounds to me felt a bit like a faded museum piece of art, but Endless Waltz’s art and animation feels much more contemporary.
A year has passed since the end of Wing, and while you can feel the characters have matured a bit in this timeframe, they’re still their old selves, keeping their old philosophies, battle techniques, strengths, weaknesses, skills, and personalities. This I see most apparent in Heero, Duo, and Relena. Keeping the characters relatively similar is perfect, since characterization was a huge strength of the original series. I’m glad that some time was spent on explaining the pasts of some of the pilots, but the movie only goes back a little while into the more recent events, and it feels like they only scratched the surface into the characters’ pasts. They also went into the true purpose and intent of Operation Meteor, but again, they only scratched the surface. Problem is that after they scratch the surface, the questions start flooding in and you’re left wanting more explanations. The new characters they introduce, Mariemaia and Dekim, are well developed for the time they are in the movie and despite minimal explanation, their intent is clearly shown and radiated towards the viewer very well.
The plot starts out in a rather hopeful note, with the results of Wing’s ending ushering in a new era of peace. But things get going rather quickly, and like Wing, each group of characters has their own agenda as to build up to the climax. Thankfully, unlike Wing, there isn’t a big dead spot in the middle of the movie where some characters get shoved aside and the viewer is left wondering what happened to them. The plot doesn’t slow down in the middle of the movie and the viewers are left wanting everything to come together. Even though each group of characters has an agenda, Endless Waltz doesn’t try to fragment and separate these groups as much as possible, and instead keeps their actions closely tied to the main plotline so there’s a constant feeling of progression.
The shifts amongst these character groups apparent in Wing are also apparent in Endless Waltz, necessary and well done, but since the buildup to Endless Waltz’s climax is neverending, no shift in focus feels clunky and forced, which sometimes occurred in Wing. I would have liked a bit more focus on Wu Fei’s agenda and a little more on what happened to him and Trowa during the 2nd quarter of the movie, however. A slightly grittier battle between Heero and Wu Fei and more focus on Wing Zero would have also been welcome since Heero is the most central of the 5 pilots to the plot, but what Endless Waltz did deliver was still pretty close compared to Wing.
If you liked Gundam Wing, do not skip Endless Waltz. A good, though rather sad, end to the After Colony timeline, Endless Waltz concludes the Wing series very well. It’s like having an excellent dessert after your meal.
Time for a short review! Other than the first Pokemon movie and the first 3 DBZ movies, this was the first anime movie that a whole generation American anime fans watched. So how was it? Well…it was a bit polarizing to say the least. Every generation of anime fans has “the golden punching bag”. That special anime that you just HAVE to hate online in order to call yourself a REAL anime fan. Darling of the Franxx currently holds that title belt. Before that there was Sword Art Online. Before SAO, there was Elfen Lied and before that there was Inuyasha. Gundam Wing was THE anime to hate in the late 90s and Endless Waltz was even more hated. Why? Did it REALLY deserve the amount of vitriol it got? Let’s find out!
Story and characters:
The story is that a militaristic bastard is trying to use the daughter of the main villain from Gundam Wing as a puppet and launch his own coup against Earth’s government. Now only the Gundam pilots and their badass robots can save the day by blowing up some enemy mechs and making people realize that war is wrong. So basically…it’s another Gundam anime. There have been just a couple well written Gundam series over the last 40 years, but mostly they follow the same pattern. A shadowy organization launches an all out war and only some very special teens with awesome robots can stop them. Insert forced anti-war message here. We watch Gundam series for awesome looking robot designs and awesome space battles that get us pumped to go collect models kits. Endless Waltz DOES have a few major issues like Chang Wufei turning bad for the sake of the plot and then turning good again almost immediately. Gundam Wing in general had a huge issue with random character alignment shifts. Still, I’m not personally bothered by this. It’s all a matter of expectations. Gundam Wing is like anime Pro Wrestling. It’s something you watch entirely for the spectacle and you just assume that totally random face turns and heel turns WILL happen.
Art and animation:
Firstly, the new designs for the 5 gundams are all amazing! The original 5 designs were cool, but the “custom models” for Endless Waltz are all massive improvements. I also need to say that this film looked AWESOME for its time and still holds up really well. This was made in 1998 and it looks better than most anime being released 20 years later in 2018. Dragonball fans would come in their pants if a special episode of DB Super looked even half as good as Endless Waltz does. Sunrise was still flush with cash at this point and riding high on that early Western anime boom. No expenses were spared in the making of this movie. It’s mostly hand animated and just looks gorgeous.
Here is another area where Gundam Wing and Endless Waltz shine. The opening song is awesome. The battle songs and background songs are awesome. Every track gets you pumped to see some giant robots throw down. I have nothing bad to say about the Endless Waltz soundtrack. It’s fucking awesome. Go check it out.
So…it’s harmless, dumb fun with amazing production values and music. Why on Earth would people hate it SO much? I’ve been an anime fan since around 1997 and I can tell you the secret formula to being the internet’s most hated anime. Is it having the worst plot and characters? nope. There is an anime called Kimera, that’s about gay vampires from outer space and a douche-bag who is willing to sacrifice all humanity to get some sweet anal. Nobody has ever heard of that atrocity. The anime with the really bad plots typically go under the radar. Is it having the worst art? Nope. Is it having the most filler and worst pacing? Nope. The one thread that connects all the most hated anime on the English speaking internet from the late 90s to the present is demographics. So who are the gatekeepers of online anime taste? Who are the Watchmen? Geek males in their late teens and early 20s that think they’re really smart and sophisticated. It is always been this way. What demographic do they utterly despise above all others? Teenage girls aged 13-19 who are more casual anime viewers and haven’t seen TONS of anime. Whatever anime wins the hearts of “Fake geek girls” is going to be labeled the Anti-Christ online. Gundam Wing was one of these anime. Inuyasha? yep. Elfen Lied? yep. Sword Art? yep. I personally hate SAO, but even I realize it isn’t THAT bad. I don’t hate it more than I hate Bleach or Code Geass and yet nobody hates on those to the same degree. Why? Just look at their fandoms. I was a bit saddened and disappointed when I figured out this little formula, but that’s just the way things are.
Should you go into this movie expecting a cinematic masterpiece? NO. Will you have fun and probably enjoy the cheesy, 90s ride? Yes! I defy you to watch the aerial duel between Wing and Altron Gundam and not be entertained. Or not mark out watching Custom Heavy unleash a hailstorm of bullets and missiles. This movie is quality nostalgic cheese and I will never stop loving it.
This is surely for the better as it allows Gundam Wing to go out with a much greater bang. The initial scenario is nearly identical to that of the final episodes of Wing, but the progression is much different. After peace is obtained a new force shows up to take advantage of the Earth’s powerless state with a big plan that puts the entire planet at risk.
We aren’t here for the plot though (because it’s Gundam Wing), but rather the thrills, and Endless Waltz delivers more of those than ever before through some incredible animation quality that blows the original series animation to smithereens, showcasing both much crisper art and fluid animation. To give an example of just how good the art is, there were many times before where I had seen still pictures of Endless Waltz and thought I was looking at high quality promotional art. It’s really something.
To further justify this sequel’s existence, it gives us some short backstories on all the Gundam pilots that the original series was sorely lacking. It isn’t much, but Heero, Trowa, and Wufei all needed it most. We actually barely get anything about Duo unfortunately, but he was cool enough already, and Quatre’s backstory was actually in the series.
Speaking of Gundams, the most controversial aspect of Endless Waltz has always been Hajime Katoki’s Mobile Suit redesigns. These redesigns clash greatly with Kunio Okawara’s popular originals and have met with much scorn from many Gundam Wing fans due to a perceived lack of respect for Okawara’s designs by Katoki. These new designs are not upgrades, but rather complete retcons that don’t acknowledge the originals other than the base concept. Deathscythe Hell no longer has any weapons besides the Beam Scythe, Sandrock loses its claw and instead fights only with its shotels making it redundant in the face of the fellow melee Gundam Deathscythe, Heavyarms is the same but now blue for some reason, Altron is… pretty much the same, but who cares about Altron? And of course, Wing Zero gets its now legendary angel wings, which you either think are cool as hell or incredibly stupid. Since Deathscythe was hit pretty hard here, you can definitely put me down as someone who dislikes the Endless Waltz redesigns, though I like Heavyarms’s new color scheme more, and Tallgeese III is my second favorite Mobile Suit in the series. While I hated Wing Zero’s angel wings before seeing this, when in motion they have a more mechanical look to them so I’m giving it a pass even though it doesn’t beat the original (it even loses its Mobile Armor bird mode, please help me). These changes were all so, so unnecessary and minimize the original designs. I don’t get it. Worse still, these are almost always the final versions used in the Super Robot Wars games.
Venting over. Endless Waltz contains the best qualities of Gundam Wing’s fast-paced action and these positive qualities overshadow much of the usual lame melodrama. The movie’s biggest misstep is having a set-up and ending that ignores its conflict with the series’s central themes and resets things back to the status quo which Endless Waltz showed didn’t work. Just Gundam Wing being stupid again. If you liked the series, you will like Endless Waltz. If you didn’t like the series, you will at least like Endless Waltz more. It’s that simple.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz Special
2. Pokemon Movie 01: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu
3. Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness
4. Ginga Tetsudou 999: Eternal Fantasy
5. Beast Wars Second Chou Seimeitai Transformers: Lio Convoy Kiki Ippatsu! Movie