History is much like an endless waltz. The three beats of war, peace, and revolution continue on forever. However, history will change upon the day of my coronation. — Mariemaia Khushrenada
At first a 3-part OVA before receiving a full theatrical release, Endless Waltz concluded the Mobile Suit Gundam Wing storyline until the release of Frozen Teardrop.In the year After Colony 196, the "Eve Wars" (the conflict between Earth and the Colonies) have ended, and both Treize Khushrenada and OZ have passed from existence. The Earth Sphere Unified Nation (ESUN), and a special peacekeeping police force known as the Preventers, rose from the ashes of OZ. Since they figure they will no longer have a role in the post-war era, four of the five Gundam pilots (with Wufei as the lone holdout) put their Gundams on a giant disposal satellite headed for the sun. Peace reigns supreme on Earth and in space.This peace would not last, though: on the anniversary of the Eve Wars' end, a rebellion occurs on newly-completed colony L3 X-18999. The rebellion, led by seven-year-old Mariemaia Khushrenada (who reveals herself to be Treize's daughter), kidnaps Relena Darlian (now the Vice Foreign Minister of the ESUN) during a diplomatic visit to the colony. As the Gundam pilots investigate further, they discover that Mariemaia's grandfather — Dekim Barton, a former adviser to martyred colony leader Heero Yuy — really controls the rebellion. Dekim plans to use X-18999 to go through with the "original" Operation Meteornote crashing the colony into Earth and letting the Gundam pilots take control in the chaos if the ESUN doesn't comply with his demands.The Gundam pilots must prevent Dekim from seizing power over the ESUN, but two things complicate matters: the pilots don't have their Gundams, and the only one that does — Wufei — has defected to Dekim's side.
Endless Waltz exclusively contains the following tropes:
Anime Theme Song: "Last Impression" (used in the movie) as well as "White Reflection" (used in the OAV), both by Two-Mix.
Animation Bump: The animation quality of the Endless Waltz OVA series/movie is far and away much better than that of the series.
An Asskicking Christmas: The Battle of Brussels - most of the Gundam pilots plus Noin and Zechs fighting off hundreds of Serpent Mobile Suits. Plus, Heero and Wufei duking it out in orbit.
"How many more people must we kill? How many more times must I kill that girl and her dog?"
After Heero fires his buster rifle at Mariemaia's supposedly secure shelter, she declares "What a miserable person! He-he's not gonna be able to achieve anything!" In response, Relena asks her "are you afraid, Mariemaia?" She has no answer for that.
Broad Strokes: infamously, this movie featured completely redesigned Gundams even in flashbacks. There have been some manga and novels that attempted to explain the change, usually just settling for an upgrade that happened after the end of the series even if the flashbacks say otherwise. In any case all of the major story events of the series are events of the past.
Though given the popularity of the new designs, some (but not all!) fans are okay with it being a simple Retcon.
The redesigns are now canonical. To address this, Hajime Katoki also redesigned the 'first stage' Gundams featured in the show. The manga Glory of the Defeated is a basic retelling of the series with Katoki's designs substituting for Okawara's.
Empathy Doll Shot: In Heero's flashback, after he destroyed an Alliance base, a teddy bear is shown being burned inside one of the buildings. It turns out that the teddy bear belong to a little girl (and her dog) he met before his mission.
George Lucas Altered Version: The movie version actually adds about 20 minutes of additional footage compared to the three episodes of the original. This generally fleshes out the story and characters, adds more action (especially in the climax) and makes the pacing more appropriate for a feature length movie rather than a three episode compilation.
The modified Operation Meteor became this once the true nature of the original Operation Meteor was revealed.
More specifically, Duo and Trowa replaced the original pilots for Death Scythe and Heavy Arms. Heero and Quetra were instructed by their scientists to disobey the original Operation on purpose. Only Wufei chose to go against the plan on his own.
Also, in Endless Waltz, after arriving on Colony X-18999, Heero and Duo stole two Leos and engaged in battle with Wufei (piloting Altron) and Trowa (piloting Serpent), respectively.
Heroic Bystander: From Endless Waltz: the soldier who shoots Dekim Barton and the people who stand up to the Barton troops. The novelization does at least give him a name.
I Have Your Wife: A variant. Once Dekim realizes Heero will be able to destroy the Brussles presidential bunker, he tries to get Heero to stop by shouting that Relena is in the bunker with them. Heero pauses and seems like he might not fire, before adjusting his aim to avoid completely obliterating the bunker when he fires again.
Improbable Age: Mariemaia. If Episode Zero is to be taken as canon, she's 8 years old. Her voice actor sounds a little too old, but the complexity of her lines, and the rather haughty delivery in the dub, feels way beyond her years. (Even if she is the child of Magnificent Bastard Treize Khushrenada. Then again, Mariemeia was very much manipulated by her grandfather, Smug Snake Dekim Barton.
She's an expy of Mineva Zabi from Zeta and Double Zeta Gundam. The difference is that Haman Khan was using borderline mind control on Mineva to make her give her complex speeches, while, Newtype powers not existing in Wing, Mariemaia just has to be a "really" fast learner.
Merchandise-Driven: See Broad Strokes. All of the Gundams were redesigned obviously with the intent that they could be sold as new models. This is because most of the revenue for Gundam related content comes from model kit sales.
Milestone Celebration: the theatrical release was in celebration of Gundam's 20th anniversary. Funnily enough, in the manga, Duo sports a baseball cap for the very same reason.
My Fist Forgives You: An inversion. When Heero, Duo and Trowa are in the colony control room with Mariemaia soldiers, Heero asks Duo to hit him...then returns with a punch to the gut that knocks the wind out of him so Trowa can pretend to take him prisoner and preserve his cover. In effect, Heero explains, he let Duo get in his revenge shot first.
Putting on the Reich: The Mariemaia Army uniforms are very reminiscent of Nazi era uniforms. The pilots wear a get-up modeled on the Hitler Youth uniforms. Regular Mariemaia grunts get bright pink Reich uniforms.
Reverse Mole: Trowa joins the Mariemaia Army undercover. It was short-lived, however; as soon as he tries to assassinate Dekim, Wufei shows up holding a sword to his neck. He then joined the Maiemeia army for real, only to defect when Duo appears. He just wants information, after all.
Renegade Splinter Faction: It turns out the Gundam pilots were this to the Barton Foundation. Operation Meteor was originally meant to be the first steps for Barton's conquest of Earth. Uneasy with the potential two billion causalities, the Scientists and pilots decide to ignore their orders, and focus their attacks on OZ.
Rule of Three: It takes 3 shots from the Wing Zero's buster rifle to breach the Brussels presidential bunker.
Technical Pacifist/Martial Pacifist: The Preventers, or at least that's the idea behind their existence. Relena and her ESUN supporters knew that even in a world without conflict, an armed presence would still have to step in to prevent potential trouble from boiling into another war.
What Measure Is a Mook?: Invoked, Defied, and Conversed with Wufei, who joins up with Dekim because he believes the current worldwide peace is a lie built on the deaths of soldiers, whom he feels were discarded like tools. Deconstructed and Reconstructed in his conflict with Heero.
Duo, together with Hilde, is now running a junkshop.
Trowa returns to Catherine Bloom and the circus troupe.
Quatre, reunited with the Maganac Corps, helps in the restoration of the colonies.
Wufei joins the Preventers as Sally's partner.
Zechs and Noin take off to Mars for a terraformation project.
Lady Une takes Mariemaia to visit the grave of Treize Khrushinada.
Heero and Relena's ending is different from the OVA and the film (the others have at least consistency): the OVA shows Relena at a press conference as Heero watches over her from the shadows, while the film shows the two of them in different places at once.