When I first read Mobile Suit GUNDAM WING Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers, it was only my second exposure to the franchise. As such, it helped deepen my respect for Gundam. I hadn’t expected all the fun robot action to be backed up by such extensive discussion of politics and morals, but it was. Katsuyuki Sumizawa and Tomofumi Ogasawara have thus far delivered an enjoyable mecha series that impresses on multiple fronts. Vol. 10, which collects chapters 56-61, is now out from Vertical Comics. Relena’s desire for peace is pushed to the limit as war seems to become more and more inevitable. Meanwhile, several other key players form alliances and engage in Gundam battles aplenty. Does this volume live up to the potential built up in previous installments? Is it good?
The first thing that stands out about this volume is its artwork. Ogasawara’s line-work is overflowing with kinetic energy. From explosions to flight paths to ammunition, all parts of the fight scenes really feel like they’re moving around in three-dimensional space. The perspective work is very good, and the mecha themselves are as cool as desired.
The Wing Zero is easily the most badass of the robots, thanks in large part to its giant angelic metal wings. Besides aiding in midair maneuverability, they also double as shielding when leaving and entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The Wing Zero also has a twin buster rifle that’s just plain cool-looking. Details about the Gundams’ parts and their functions are further expanded upon in concept pages at the back of the book. This section helps provide additional information without cramming it all into the exposition. All in all, fans of giant robots are unlikely to be disappointed here.
The political elements of the story are also enjoyable. The limitations of nonviolence get explored as Relena faces difficult decisions with life-or-death consequences for her country. The idea of idealism and pragmatism as opposing concepts is familiar territory for war stories, but Glory of the Losers handles it more deftly than many of its peers. The results of Relena’s dilemna aren’t as predictable as one might expect, and momentum is built up for the next volume. It’s also worth noting that even the more minor characters have great dialogue. Sumizawa infuses their lines with personality, so even when I didn’t yet know who a character was I could still tell what their basic deal was. The scene transitions are also well-done. The creative team jumps around a lot, but the plot shifts are never confusing or hard to follow.
There aren’t many things about this volume that are outright bad, although some readers might find it a bit lacking in substance. The action scenes are fun and the characters’ actions feel significant, but one could argue that there’s not much actual plot progression here. This is due largely to how much page-time the battle scenes take up. This doesn’t feel like a bad thing while reading them since they’re face-paced and enjoyable. Nonetheless, a side effect of this is that the political elements of the story move at a fairly slow pace. Not a lot actually transpires between the volume’s beginning and end, which is frustrating.
Overall, Mobile Suit GUNDAM WING Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers Vol. 10 is yet another enjoyable installment in the series. Fans of giant robot fun will find plenty of it here, and the creative team dives right into the story’s political implications as well. This mixture of human drama with just plain cool robots is a successful one, and my only real qualm with this book is that its plot doesn’t progress very much. Nonetheless, this is a fun and energetic ride.