Lady Une (レディ・アン Redii An, derived from French un, lit. "one" in feminine form) is one of the major antagonists in the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, and the love interest of principal villain, Treize Khushrenada, serving as his personal assistant throughout. Suffering from dissociative identity disorder, Une has two personalities; one sadistic and ruthless, the other diplomatic and peacefully inclined. Utterly loyal to “Mr. Treize” she is devoted to making his vision a reality.
Personality & Character
Lady Une suffers from a case of multiple personality disorder. The reasons behind her psychiatric problems are unclear, it's only presumed she suffered a great emotional shock and/or found parts of her mind in strong conflict with each other; she created various personas that reflect those emotions. She has 3 personas: Military-Une, Peaceful-Une, and the 3rd version that is a combination of both, all reflecting a part of herself that she wants to be.
Military-Une is her dominant personality. She's cold, arrogant, shrewd, and callous. She does not seem to share Treize’s belief in honor or chivalry, and will use any methods (no matter how reprehensible) to get the job done. Une willingly sacrifices her subordinates and is single-minded in accomplishing whatever task Treize gives her. She has no room for failure, remorselessly punishing anyone who she feels has botched his/her mission. As both a military commander and an assassin Une is seemingly without feeling, and has no qualms about killing in order to fulfill Treize’s orders. Une does however value efficiency and competence, and will reward those subordinates who she feels display it; she will also stand up for them against the criticism of others. These traits can be seen in her willingness to hire and utilize Trowa Barton despite the doubts of others, including her former right-hand man Nichol. While in her soldier-persona, she dresses conservatively: braided hair buns, round glasses, no make-up (though she ocasionally wore red lipstick), and an offensive no non-sense personality.
Peaceful-Une is the opposite of her military-persona in almost every way. As such, she has more liberal views and presents herself as a beautiful and charming lady that grabs the attention of all the men. She often uses her charms to get the necessary attention to convey her political views. She is a committed believer in pacifism and working together with others to build a brighter future; as a result she often stands opposed to Lady Une and Treize on matters such as war and Mobile Doll construction. Although Peaceful-Une is initially merely a facade used to sway people to Oz's side, Lady Une eventually suffers mental/emotional instability as the two sides grow irreconcilable.
Eventually, both of Une’s personalities merged, following her lapse into a coma; the 3rd and final persona of Une combines the best traits of both her selves: Lady Une’s military skills and drive with peaceful-Une’s belief in humanity and diplomatic skills for pacifistic negotiations. The 3rd version is in many ways the result of Une reconciling her internal conflicts and accepting everything about herself. Because of this, her other personalities never resurface, with the third persona becoming her permanent state of mind. All three personalities are deeply in love with Treize and they're motivated by the self-less desire to please him. Even after his death, she continues to honor his memory by becoming a Preventer and looking after his daughter, Mariemaia Khushrenada.
Skills & Abilities
As a soldier in the OZ Specials, Lady Une has received elite combat training. Unlike Treize, she is not a duelist, preferring guns and high-explosives (with which she is most proficient). She is a competent, if overly vicious, field commander. Her alternate peaceful side has obviously had some diplomatic training, and is an excellent public speaker; perhaps the best analysis of her skill in this area is the fact that the alliance between the colonies and OZ falls apart following her removal as ambassador. Une’s capabilities as a mobile suit pilot are largely unknown as on the rare occasions when she pilots she is either overpowered by superior technology, or sabotaged by peaceful-Une’s interference. That she survived a fight with Wufei, perhaps the most merciless of the Gundam pilots, and her ability to fly the Wing Gundam from Earth to space with no prior training in it suggests a high-level of competency; however the full extent of her abilities remains a mystery.
Lady Une is introduced early in the series as Treize’s adjutant and right-hand woman; it is almost instantaneously obvious that she is smitten with him. On Treize’s orders, Une assassinates Vice-Foreign Minister Darlian—who had been working towards peace with the colonies—using a bomb disguised as a makeup kit.; she then tries to kill his adopted daughter, Relena Peacecraft, the only non-military witness. As a favor to Relena’s brother, Zechs Merquise, Treize reins Une in. She later accompanies Treize to a peace conference headed by the Earth Sphere Alliance’s Commander-In-Chief,Marshal Noventa. Following Heero Yuy’s misguided assault on the conference, Une assists Treize in manipulating the sole survivor, General Septum into making an anti-colony statement on TV. She then pushes Septum out of a plane and shoots him, removing the last high-ranking officer standing between Treize and control of the Alliance.
The Gundam pilots have other plans. Furious at Treize’s manipulation of Heero, Chang Wufei tracks Treize and Une to the former’s ship, intending to pay them back. Desperate to save her boss, Une confronts Wufei in an extensively modified Leo. While she succeeds in surprising him, her machine is ultimately no match for Wufei’s high-tech Shenlong Gundam and she is defeated; she then watches as Treize engages the young pilot in a duel. Magnanimous in victory, Treize releases the beaten Wufei; when Une asks him why, he remarks that he hopes to have a rematch using Wufei’s specialty, mobile suits.
Following Wufei’s attack on Treize, Une is made the head of OZ’s anti-Gundam task force, a job she throws herself into with her customary
dedication. Driven by hatred of the Gundam pilots, and her loyalty to Treize, Une relentlessly pursues the five young men, pulling all the stops to capture them. Finally trapping them in Siberia, Une demonstrates the brutality for which she is famous, using OZ’s missile satellites to threaten the pilots home colonies if they do not give in. This prompts Heero’s surrender and attempted suicide; in the confusion following his self-detonation, the others make good their escape.
While attending a conference on Treize’s behalf, Une survives an attempt on her life by a revenge-seeking Relena; the girl barely escapes before Une’s soldiers can capture her. This incident, combined with her actions in Siberia, cause Treize to criticize his subordinate for her lack of subtlety. Deciding to give her some on the job training, he sends her to the colonies as his ambassador, telling her to demonstrate the more feminine side of her nature.
It is during Une’s sojourn in the colonies that we become aware of the dual nature of her personality. Devastated by Treize’s criticism, Une’s mind fractures, creating two versions of herself that operate in ignorance of one another. The new personality (for lack of a better name, we will call her peaceful-Une), is calm, poised, and willing to negotiate. She meets with colonial leaders, makes impassioned speeches about pacifism, and unlike the rest of OZ is even willing to talk to the Sanc Kingdom’s ambassador, Milliardo Peacecraft (who is secretly Treize’s friend Zechs; Une does not seem to recognize him). As the
public face of OZ in outer space, peaceful-Une makes considerable inroads, eventually winning colonial acceptance of OZ.
There are two sides to everything though, especially when dealing with Une. Behind the scenes, Une’s dominant personality remains the same committed militarist she has always been. Arresting the five Gundam designers, she forces them to build the Mercurius and the Vayeate, a pair of machines that can tackle the Gundams on a more or less even basis. Using a disguised Trowa Barton and the captured Heero as test pilots, Une successfully captures Duo Maxwell and Wufei, keeping them under lock and key.
These professional victories are sadly marred by increasing personal difficulties as Une and her pacifistic alter-ego come into increasing conflict with one another. A true believer in the sanctity of human life, peaceful-Une comes out in support of Chief Engineer Tubarov’s remote-controlled Mobile Dolls, machines that Lady Une, along with her master, Treize—is completely contemptuous of. Observing from Earth, Treize begins losing faith in Une, and wonders if she may become a threat. Peaceful-Une later takes control of their body in the middle of a fight, nearly getting both of them killed; only Zechs’ interference (at Treize’s request) and Lady Une’s re-emergence saves their lives. Returning to base, Une imprisons one of her subordinates whom she blames for taking independent action, showing that her mean streak is far from gone.
Lady Une now realizes she is suffering from a split personality. However, events begin to strain her. On Earth, Treize is deposed for his opposition to the Romefeller Foundation’s Mobile Doll program, while in space, an insane Quatre Winner tries to destroy the colonies using the Gundam Wing Zero] . In the aftermath of Quatre’s lunatic rampage and Trowa’s apparent death at his hands Tubarov launches a coup against Une, then cuts off the air supply to the remaining pilots. While Une is able to save them, she is shot by Tubarov and sent into a coma.
Une spends most of the second half of the series unconscious. She misses Tubarov’s death, Zechs’ seizure of power in the colonies, and Treize’s escape and subsequent military takeover of Earth. Perhaps saddest of all, she misses Treize’s confession that he loved her too. Awakening late in the series, she discovers that Treize is no longer on Earth; he has journeyed to space to fight a war against the now antagonistic Zechs. During her recuperation it appears that her two personalities have fused, creating a new Une, who combines peaceful-Une’s thoughtfulness and distaste for violence, with Lady Une’s military skill and ability to get things done. Stealing Heero’s abandoned Wing Gundam, Une journeys to space, arriving just in time to save Treize from a shot from Zechs’ Libra super-weapon. Treize gently removes her from the wreckage and the two share a moment, before he sets her down in his command center, MO-II.
On MO-II, Une resumes her former position as his right-hand, essentially functioning as his chief-of-staff. She directs the battle against, and is the sole witness—via radio—to Treize’s final duel with Wufei, and resultant death. Une’s reaction suggests she was aware of Treize’s intent to lose, but she still takes it hard. It is unknown if she was ever fully aware of Treize’s romantic interest in her.
Soon enough, MO-II receives Howard, Sally Po and Relena. Une presents Relena with a gun, offering her a chance at revenge for her father's death. However, Relena refused, stating that they must put an end to all wars. Thus, Une contacted former OZ soldier Lucrezia Noin to broadcast footage of both Heero/Wing Zero's and Zechs/Epyon's battle to both Earth and the colonies. The very meaning of this battle gave cause for the colonies to move to total pacifism and accept the World Nation's surrender. The war soon ended when Libra was destroyed.
When the colonies and Earth unify into the Earth Sphere Unified Nation, Lady Une joins the Preventers, a group of people given mandate by the ESUN to prevent conflicts from escalating. However, a revolt on colony L3-18999, spearheaded by Treize's illegitimate daughter, Mariemaia Khushrenada threatens world peace. As this happens, Une is approached by Zechs, who was presumed dead at the end of the war, asking to lending the Tallgeese III to him.
When Mariemaia conquers a defenseless Earth and occupies Brussels, Belgium, Lady Une broke into the shielded presidential bunker where Mariemaia and her grandfather Dekim Barton were hiding. She expresses disbelief that Mariemaia thinks that she is following her father's ideals, when she is really being twisted by Dekim's.
When Heero/Wing Zero manages to destroy the protective bunker shields, Une protects Mariemaia and Relena from falling rubble. She tells a confused Mariemaia that she personally can't allow Treize's daughter to die. When Wufei/Altron and a crowd of civilians stand up against Mariemaia's army, Une told her that while her father fought losing battle, he loved people who could keep their stance and fight; that is why people can accept the Gundams and not let a victor win their hearts. However, Dekim refused to accept defeat and called to Mariemaia to stand as ruler of Earth. However, Relena slapped her to her senses, angering Dekim to the point where he pulls out a gun. Mariemaia takes the shot meant for Relena but Dekim was unconcerned; he could always create a replacement for her. Une moved to defend Relena but a Treize loyalist instead executed Dekim. Une then told the soldiers to take Mariemaia to a doctor. Afterwards Lady Une, perhaps in honor of Trieze, decides to adopt Mariemaia and raise the girl as her own.
Lady Une’s relationship with her superior Treize is key to her character. She is his most trusted assistant, performing every action from preparing his bath, to taking out his political rivals. She is deeply devoted to and unconditionally in love with the man, and Treize seems to play that, using her to perform the nastiest, most important jobs he can, as he knows she will not betray him. Indeed, from the outside it would seem that Treize does not truly care about Une at all; that he is simply taking advantage of her emotions and loyalty for his own political ends. It is an image that Treize himself does a great deal to cultivate.
However, this is later proven to be untrue. When Une’s multiple personalities incapacitate her in battle, Treize sends Zechs to save her, commenting that she is one of the few people who, like Zechs, truly understands him. When Une is shot and left for dead (although unknown to him at the time, merely comatose), Treize is deeply saddened. He apologizes to her, believing it is his fault she was killed. After Une was recovered and returned to Earth by his surviving forces from space, Trieze visits her in the hospital, overjoyed that she is alive, and leaves roses, confessing that he was always a little in love with her although he did not know it himself. He has Une given extreme care while he prepares to lead the world’s armies against the White Fang and Zechs. Indeed, the only time in the entire series that Treize demonstrates any anger is when Une is almost killed by Zechs’ Libra; he immediately orders all of his soldiers to attack the ship. It is suggested that Une was aware of Treize’s feelings before he died; in any case it's clearly shown that she will always love and remember him even after his death.
Notes & Trivia
- Throughout the series, Lady Une is seemingly unaware of her separate personalities. After her peaceful personality is firmly established, she would begin changing from Peaceful-Une to Military-Une only by mental trigger, such as being reminded of Trieze or whenever combat became necessary.
- Lady Une's glasses appear to be only for cosmetic reasons, as she appears fully capable of perfect sight without them, even abandoning them entirely after awakening from her coma.
- Her first name is never identified in any media. It is unknown if her first name is in fact Lady, or if it is merely a title within OZ.
- She shares no relation to Middie Une, a young girl encountered by Trowa Barton in his days before Operation Meteor.
- Her English voice actress, Enuka Okuma later portrayed Cynthia Graves in the G-Saviour live-action movie.