"With high expectations, human beings leave Earth to begin a new life in space colonies. However, the United Earth Sphere Alliance gains great military power, and soon seizes control of one colony after another in the name of 'Justice and Peace'. The year is After Colony 195."
Shin Kidou Senki Gundam Wing (lit. "New Mobile Report Gundam Wing") is one of the more famous (or infamous, if you prefer) of the GundamAlternate Universes. Aired in Japan in 1995, it was brought to the United States (and eventually worldwide) in 2000 on Toonami, pushing Gundam into the Western mainstream.In the year After Colony 195, the United Earth Sphere Alliance rules the Earth Sphere (the Earth, Moon, and associated space colonies) with an iron fist, with the help of Humongous Mecha known as Mobile Suits. Rebellious elements within the Space Colonies decide to fight back, sending five powerful Mobile Suits - Gundams - down to Earth to wreak havoc on the military forces.RelenaDarlian, the daughter of an important colonial diplomat, accidentally discovers the identity of the pilot of one of the Gundams: a boy named Heero Yuy. Because she can positively identify him, Heero tracks Relena down and swears to kill her (something he is never quite able to get around to doing).Gundam Wing is known for its political twists, as the Gundam pilots find themselves having to blast their way through the various groups in power behind the UESA, and eventually their own force, while Relena fights in her own way to bring peace to the world.It was followed up by a three-part OVA, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, where the remnants behind the rebellion try one more time for World Domination. The OVA was then followed up by an extended movie version, adding about 20 minutes in between various scenes and an almost completely overhauled Where Are They Now ending which resulted in a more fully realized story.Aside from a number of prequel and sequel mangas, an official sequel, the novel New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Frozen Teardrop was published in August of 2010. Frozen Teardrop takes place on Mars (and uses the Mars Century calendar to keep track of the orbital differences) about 20-30 years after the events of Endless Waltz. The children of various characters end up getting embroiled in battles and political intrigue right alongside their parents and mentors. The story also fleshes out the backstories for Heero Yuy and Treize Kushrenada.The series was brought to Western shores via Toonami in 2000 and was a smash hit. Two versions of the show were aired during its initial run: a slightly-Bowdlerised version that omitted some violence and dialogue, and the uncut version shown during the "Midnight Run" (which was likely the inspiration for the [adult swim] programming block introduced just a year later). In fact, the combined success of both this series and Dragon Ball Z (the two ran back-to-back for most of their runs) can be tracked as the source of the major Anime boom in the 2000's.With a cast full of attractive male characters and the Gundams themselves mixing practical military designs with aesthetic appeal, Gundam Wing is often credited (read: blamed) for introducing female fans to the genre of Mecha Shows.Character Sheets are found here.
Abusive Parents: If a character's grandparents are shown in Frozen Teardrop's Flashbacks, they're guaranteed to be revealed at leastJerkasses. Treize's dragged their daughter away from her husband and forced her into a political marriage, while Relena's forced one of their daughters to live locked away in a single room with her cat as her only companion (and, to a lesser extent, made the other live with the Darlian family regardless of whether she wanted or not).
Adaptation Expansion: Glory of Losers can best be described as the TV series rewritten with full knowledge of all the After Colony stories. In Chapter 2 alone, we get Duo's Endless Waltz flashback, scenes from Episode Zero, and Heero referring to Zechs' Leo as a Gryph, a pre-series mecha from Frozen Teardrop.
Alternate History: It's mentioned that the After Colony calendar started with the first colony sent to space...in the 1970s.note Both the Americans (Skylab) and Soviets (Salyut) launched their first space stations in the 1970s. This could explain the Anachronism Stew down the line.
Specifically, the diverge from our time came sometime in the 1950's, around the Cold War.
Animation Bump: The Gundams are very complex, detailed machines...except usually they're not drawn that way because it would send the budget for fight sequences through the roof. While you can make out every scratch, joint, and piece of weaponry on the Gundams in the opening sequences, in the show proper their designs are heavily simplified whenever they're moving...and then when they're standing still for extended periods, they're all detailed again. However, a few important plot-altering battles (especially the grand finale) treat us to fully detailed, animated Gundams in all their glory.
On the other hand, the movie gives us consistently detailed Gundams throughout, and actually redesigns them so they're even MORE complex.
Apocalypse How: Zechs and the White Fang attempt to cause either a Class 5 or Class 6.
Subverted with the Peacecraft Royal Family, and a rare few others like Marquis Weridge.
Armies Are Evil: The series' two organized military forces, the United Earth Sphere Alliance and OZ, both have shades of this. Sometimes they're tyrannical (such as the Alliance destroying the Sanc Kingdom for opposing its expansionist goals, and OZ threatening the colonies with missile attacks in order to get the Gundams to cease their assault in Episode 10. Other times they can be noble, however.
Armor-Piercing Question: In the final encounter between Wufei and Treize, Wufei breaks Treize's speech about the loss of civility and pomp in Mobile Doll warfare by asking him if he knows how many people have died for him. Treize deflects this trope beautifully by giving Wufei an exact figure. And then commenting that he knows the names of every single one off the top of his head.
Armor-Piercing Slap (Noin, on a fresh OZ recruit. Lady Une, on Noin herself (She tries it twice, actually, but the second time Noin stopped her). Relena, on Mariemeia.)
Artificial Stupidity: This is taken advantage of in the fullest when Heero and Duo fight Taurus mobile dolls. The Taurus's AI automatically sets hostile objects as targets, so Heero and Duo launch a Space Leo in a scramble maneuver, then fire at a Taurus while wearing an astro suit. Unfortunately for the OZ forces, all of them are using Space Leos and wearing astro suits, so the Tauruses automatically turn on them and wipe out the OZ forces.
A-Team Firing: Whenever Heero or any of the other Gundam pilots gets a-hold of an assault rifle or submachine gun and shoots at enemy soldiers they never manage to kill them. The only exception to this is Endless Waltz, where Heero and Duo actually manage to shoot at least one Maremaia soldier. In the series, people who get shot also never die.
Entirely untrue. Off the top of my head, Lady Une (over)kills General Septim by shooting him in the face after ejecting him from a shuttle.
Quatre, after blowing up an evacuated colony and almost killing two of his best friends, spends the second part of the show trying to make up for it.
After blowing up Field Marshall Noventa and his assistents, Heero Yuy travels around the world looking for Noventa's family to atone for his sins. He gives each of them the opportunity to shoot him. Sylvia in particular, refuses to do it on the grounds that he's trying to take the easy way out by having her kill him.
Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: The upper ranks of OZ and Romefeller dress like military leaders from the 18th Century and give themselves old aristocratic titles—Duke Dermail, Count Zechs, et cetera.
Awesome, but Impractical: Wing Gundam's Buster Rifle is incredibly powerful but it can only fire three shots, or as many cells as the Buster Rifle is capable of carrying. Katoki's version has these 'gliders' that attach to Wing's arms during bird mode, these gliders carry extra cells for the Buster rifle. Wing Zero's Twin Buster rifle does not seem to have this limitation, however.
Awesome Personnel Carrier: Unlike other Gundam series, Wing eschews full-on warships and carriers in favor of vehicles that serve as rapid troop transports. Presumably this is because the main opposition to the Alliance are small resistance groups, so warships would be expensive and inefficient.
Badass: Pick a character. Any character. Trowa deserves a special mention as he doesn't need any high-tech beam weapons to fight, and can jump 9 meters in the air to boot!
Badass Army: The Maganac Corps, whose teamwork and ability make them an awesome force. OZ as well.
Badass Bookworm: Wufei is more of a scholar than a fighter, according to his Episode Zero chapter. His wife Meiran actually chastises him for refusing to fight her, believing he's a weakling; Wufei takes off his reading glasses, fights back and wins.
Ballroom Blitz: The episode entitiled Party Night, of course. One wonders if any of the enemy pilots Heero wasted are named Steve, Mick & Andy...
Well, Wing Gundam (and the other four) were basically created as weapons of terror and indiscriminate destruction, following the so-called Operation Meteor. However, since the engineers who created the Gundams (and the pilots themselves) didn't feel right about it, they decided to screw the plan, and carried out a more specifically targeted campaign (also, the Buster Rifles are shown as being able to fire smaller blasts as well as the Wave Motion Gun).
Actually it seems like every major battle in this universe is filled with 90% casualty rates, even those that do not have Gundams in them. This is probably due to the alarming tendency of mobile suits to immediately explode after any significant damage.
BFS: Epyon's beam sword, powered by a direct connection to its fusion reactor, can grow to battleship-cleaving proportions.
Big "NO!": Done by Duo, which has become the stuff of legend.
Big Ol' Eyebrows: Dorothy Catalonia, whose brows actually have tufts. Also Treize, but not to that extreme. Incidentally, they're related (but according to Frozen Teardrop, so is everyone).
Bishōnen: Kinda opened the floodgates on this one.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: One glaring instance in the dub: when the Wing's buster rifle is airlifted to Heero in one episode, Quatre (and the subtitles) refers to it as the "beam Gatling". Guess the translators confused Wing with Heavyarms that day.
Zechs' famous "No machinegun for him!" line (just before a machinegun is used to try to shoot the guy down) from the first episode: what the Japanese script said was "No point in firing a warning shot. Shoot him down!" which really makes a lot more sense.
Soldiers have a tendancy to erroneously address Lieutenant-Colonel Une as "Lieutenant" instead of as "Colonel" in the dubs due to a translation error.
The Blank: OZ's production mobile suits almost all feature a square, featureless monoeye (the Aries being a slight exception), which matches their rather utilitarian aesthetic even when compared to other Gundam series' production weapons.
Bloodier and Gorier: Not the show itself, which is one of the least gory Gundam shows ever, but the new manga adaptation Endless Waltz: The Glory of Losers.
Bodyguard Crush: Heero and Relena (yes, he said he wanted to kill her at first, but...)
Bright Slap: Executed by Noin in episode 4 on a cadet at Victoria Base.
Broad Strokes: Endless Waltz 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 in the OAV/Movie.
Broken Bird: What Dorothy Catalonia is revealed to truly be, under her Rich Bitch facade. Like Treize, she believes that the world needs a BIG war to see how fighting sucks... especially after her grandfather, Duke Dermail, is killed.
Butt Monkey: Those poor, poor Leos. Funnily, data specs shows that it's actually quite an impressive suit performance-wise, and even in-universe it's shown as being highly adaptable for practically any fighting environment with a simple change in gear. Shame that doesn't mean much when all of your enemies tend to be gundams or mobile dolls that massively outclass it.
Captain Ersatz: Quatre seems to be a younger version of Lawrence of Arabia. A pretty, white haired, sensitive warrior poet; reluctantly leading an Arab army in a guerrilla war. Not to mention their Beware The Nice Ones scenes. Or the Ho Yay.
Quatre also has elements of Char's alter-ego Quattro Bajeena, due to his name, blond hair and blue eyes, and Amuro due to his Newtype-esque "Space Heart" abilities.
Captain Obvious: "Lieutenant Colonel Lady Une! Gundam still attacking on the ship!"
Cast Full of Pretty Boys: How it managed to be called this despite the fact that it literally assigned one female character to each male is weird
Slightly justified in the case of Trowa and Quatre, since Catherine "Cathy" Bloom can be easily seen as Trowa's Cool Big Sis and Dorothy not only is introduced quite later, but shows more "interest" in people like Relena, Treize and/or Zechs, rather than Quatre himself. Though Quatre and Dorothy do seem to have some sort of bizarre telepathic link in the final battle... which almost everyone has, to some degree.
Also, Dorothy does try to kill him.
In the Episode Zero manga, Trowa is implied to be Cathy's long lost brother Triton, so...
When Catherine finds Trowa after he loses his memories, she doesn't say she's his girlfriend or even a close acquaintance - she tells him she's his sister. If she'd wanted a romantic relationship... after that, she'd have some explaining to do.
Caught The Heart On Her Sleeve: In the Blind Target manga side story (whose story is written by series scenario/scriptwriter Akemi Omode) this happens. Relena tells Heero that though she knows he's a strong person, she wishes he'd let her worry for him more and turns to leave. Cue Heero grabbing her sleeve and pulling her in for what is implied to be an offscreen kiss.
Child Soldiers: All of the Gundam pilots, but Trowa (raised by mercenaries after being orphaned and separated from his sister in the war) and Heero (raised by Odin Lowe, who actually killed the real Heero Yuy) take the cake. Read the Episode Zero manga for more details.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Naturally, the main characters tear through dozens of enemy units. Subverted in one of the last episodes where Zechs uses a new control system on the Mobile Dolls to wear the Gundams down.
Cool Starship: Although Wing was quite scarce in iconic vessels compared to other series, it nonetheless introduced the Peacemillion - arguably the largest starship in the entirety of the franchise with an overall wingspan of 3000 meters. Definitely not something to sneeze at.
Then in the later episodes, the series one-upped itself with the 3500-meter colony-sized battleship Libra.
Days of Future Past: The Earth of AC 195/6 is at times reminiscent of the early and mid-20th Century. The fashions, preserved towns and World War I-esque uniforms don't help. The colonies meanwhile tend to look more modern.
Death Seeker: After being tricked into killing a plane full of Alliance leaders leaning towards peace, Heero seeks out every single family member and loved one with pistol... and offers them the chance to shoot him. They all refuse and forgive him.
Deflector Shields: The "Planet Defensers" in the Mercurius mobile suit, and the Virgo and Virgo II mobile dolls, as well as Deathscythe Hell's Active Beam Deflection Cloak wings.
Department of Redundancy Department: Throughout the show, characters refer to OZ as "The OZ Organization". OZ stands for "Organization of Zodiac", so they are almost always calling it "The Organization of Zodiac Organization".
Detect Evil: In early drafts, Wu Fei was a Newtype with the ability to sense evildoers.
Determinator: When it comes to completing missions, Heero definitely is this. He actually snaps his broken leg back into place and keeps working once, prompting wincing from Duo.
Distressed Damsel: Relena Peacecraft gets captured a few times, in the most polite manner possible.
Do Not Adjust Your Set: Happens a few times throughout the series. The ones who did this include Quinze and White Fang (twice, with the second time done with Zechs), Lady Une (on the final episode), and in Endless Waltz, Mariemaia and Relena.
Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: This happens if a pilot loses control of the zero system: maddened by the visions, he tries to clear his head by getting rid of all possible threats, and the system obediently keeps finding him new targets. There was at least one case where the pilot's allies had to abandon the attempts of calming him down and quickly vacate the area.
Dragon-in-Chief: Treize. At first he's the Dragon to Dermail, but after leaving Romefeller he proves how influential he was when the troops loyal to him break away to form the Treize Faction. Romefeller is divided until he returns and becomes their leader.
There's another egg hidden in the Wing's schematics seen when Heero's in the hospital. It names the Gundam's composition as "Gundarium theta".
Sandrock's OS apparently makes use of the ALICE System from Gundam Sentinel.
Elites Are More Glamorous: The Specials/OZ, whose characters play important roles, and feature more in battle than the Alliance military in the first episodes.
Elite Army/Elite Mooks: The Specials (who received better equipment and training) was this to the regular Alliance. This caused a bit of friction between the two groups. Despite this, OZ barely stood a chance against the Gundams. Eventually, OZ does develop more advanced mecha that prove to be more of a match.
Empathic Weapon: Several of the Gundams show signs of intelligence over the course of the series. Sandrock acts on its own when Quatre triggers its self-detonation device, urging him to get out of the cockpit. Heero also often addresses Wing Zero as though it were intelligent and capable of holding a conversation. Overlaps into Evil Weapon whenever the ZERO System gets involved, especially with Epyon.
Empathy Doll Shot: The teddy bear shows up in these instances: In the first opening, where Relena is brushing away snow from a teddy bear at an attack site (which was revealed to be the scene in which the boy who would become Heero Yuy destroyed a military base in Endless Waltz), in episode 36, when the Sanc Kingdom is under attack, and in the final episode, where Heero gives Relena a teddy bear for her birthday.
The first between the United Earth Sphere Alliance and OZ. OZ ultimately ends up winning and either forcing them to surrender, or destroying the last remnants of any holding out.
Later within OZ itself between the Treize Faction and Romefeller, which occurred largely because Treize was against Romefeller's use of unmanned combat drones that minimized the sacrifices that human soldiers made in war.
Mr. Fanservice: Particularly Heero, Duo and Zechs, but the other boys have their own strong following as well. This show singlehandedly brought thousands of female fans not only into the Gundam franchise, but anime in general. Rumor has it they purposefully made the pilots more appealing to broaden their demographic and garner female interest; it worked. The massive amount of yaoi fangirlism this show has spawned is staggering.
In episode 13, Zechs and two OZ troopers are attacking a holdout Alliance base. After a brief skirmish, he orders them to surrender, and they initially agree, but the other two OZ troops continue to open fire on the surrendering soldiers. The Alliance then launches a last ditch attack, which kills one of the OZ soldiers, and the other one turns on Zechs for not being ruthless enough against their enemies by slaughtering them all. Zechs, partly due because he has to defend himself, and also because he's appalled at the two trooper's lack of decency towards surrendering soldiers, destroys the second mobile suit himself.
When the mobile doll technology on the verge of mass production, Treize protests this decision by the Romefeller Foundation, and resigns his position, because he feels taking humans out of the battle diminishes the sacrifices and the roles they play in those conflicts. Consequently, many OZ troops believe in this as well, and split off to form the Treize Faction.
Everyone Is Related: Frozen Teardrop takes it to an extreme; not only is every single character of relevance in the Mars Century era related to one of the original cast, but the flashbacks take great pains to draw new connections; pretty much noboy expected Trant flipping Clark to be revealed as Heero's uncle.
Everyone Went to School Together: Frozen Teardrop shows that the real Heero Yuy, Doctor J, and Quinze's brother were classmates in college, and that Heero introduced J to Relena's future mother and aunt. Not to mention J developing the first ZERO System back then and using data from the Peacecraft sisters in its development.
Evil Laugh: Heero does a particularly memorable one in the first episode (especially in English). And Quatre gets one of the creepiest ones period in episode 21, courtesy of Brad Swaile.
Expy: Aside from Zechs beingACHAR, Relena is Sayla Mass, Mariemaia is Mineva Lao Zabi, and both the original Heero Yuy and King Peacecraft were based on Zeon Zum Deikun.
And Heero Yuy is meant to be evocative of Amuro Ray, to round things off. (Although personality wise Heero, the hardened child assassin, is nothing like the angsty teen Amuro Ray)
Frozen Teardrop gets a bit absurd with this, combining it with Generation Xerox to have a story set 30 years later but with effectively the same cast as the TV series. Except for Heero and Relena, who were cryo-frozen the whole time.
Foreshadowing: The title card in the series' first opening, "Just Communication". Look familiar?◊ It should. It's the colony from the last episode where Une's speech on war is given, where the colony representatives are.
In one scene in the second episode of the series, Quatre is looking out at the landscape and wondering if "They" know how beautiful the Earth really is. It sounds like sentimentality, but fast forward to Endless Waltz where we learn what Operation Meteor orignally involved, and the line becomes a lot more chilling.
Friend to All Living Things: Despite being a terrorist, Trowa seems to get along with the animals of his circus very well. One of his first episodes has him fearlessly reaching for a caged lion, which acts like a kitty towards him after some seconds as he explains that it's all about showing fear.
One often ignored scene has Heero playing fetch with a pair of dogs while smiling, and encouraging Quatre to do the same.
Relena is also implied to have this trope in the ending where she's around various animals. Including rhinos.
Gambit Roulette: Treize and Zechs engineer the war between the Earth Nation and White Fang as part of their Well-Intentioned Extremist plan. The manga version is a lot more explicit on this point, with Zechs confessing the truth to Heero, but the anime strongly implies the same. The thing is, it just gets hard to follow exactly what they are doing.
Gatling Good: Gundam Heavyarms is almost the personification of this trope. Never mind the Heavyarms Custom in Endless Waltz, which uses four gatling guns simultaneously. Plus four more of them hidden in its chest.
Gender-Equal Ensemble: Has a primary cast of seven men (Heero, Duo, Trowa, Quatre, Wu Fei, Zechs, and Treize), and seven women (Relena, Hilde, Catherine, Dorothy, Sally, Noin, and Lady Une).
Gender Is No Object: Played straight for the most part. Gender differences and double standards are brought up a few times, but men and women serve together in the various military groups, fight together in the battles, and there are both male and female high ranking military and political leaders.
Generation Xerox: Frozen Teardrop takes this to the point of absurdity. Sally's daughter Kathy, Duo's son Duo (Jr?), Quatre's sister Katherine, and even Trowa's seemingly unrelated protegee Trowa Phobos all look and act pretty much identically to their counterparts from the anime.
The real Heero Yuy as a young man; not only did he look exactly like Heero the Gundam Pilot (someone completely unrelated to him), but he had a romance with Katrina Peacecraft (who had a twin sister, Sabrina Peacecraft), who looks exactly like her future granddaughter Relena. This is of course not even mentioning Relena's mother, another Katrina Peacecraft, who also looks just like her daughter, but at the very least that was teased at in one episode by Marquise Weridge's comments to Relena. (He's strongly implied to be one of her relatives, or a family friend.)
Duke Dermail and his granddaughter, Dorothy.
Relena also looked very similar to Darlian's wife Maureen, which is partly why Relena refused to believe they weren't her real parents at first.
In episode 34, when Zechs steals the Wing Zero from OZ before they got a chance to destroy it.
When the rebel faction, White Fang, captured OZ's Lunar Base, which, at the time of the raid, was developing the Virgo II mobile dolls. They also captured OZ's battleship, Libra, which became their base of operations.
After stealing critical data on Libra, Hilde did a Taurusjack and escaped the battleship, before she was attacked by the mobile doll versions of Mercurius and Vayete, which were programmed with Heero and Trowa's combat data, respectively. She was saved by Duo.
In episode 47, when Zechs was about to fire Libra's main cannon at Treize, Lady Une wakes up from her coma and steals the Wing Gundam. Une then knocks Treize out of the way and takes the blast for him. Only the lower body was destroyed, and she survived.
Gundam Vs Series: Wing Zero (Assist: Vayeate) and Heavyarms Kai (Assist: Mercurius) show up in Gundam vs Gundam; Deathscythe Hell (Assist: Sandrock Kai), Tallgeese (Assist: Noin's Aries), and Epyon (Assist: Virgo II) join the fun in the sequel, and the movie versions of Wing Zero (Assist: Deathscythe Hell EW) and Altron (Assist: Trowa's Serpent) are PSP-exclusives. Next's opening calls the hypothetical Wing-themed Vs. game White Fang vs. OZ.
Gundam Extreme Vs has Wing Zero EW (Assist: Tallgeese III), Heavyarms Kai EW (Assist: Sandrock Kai EW), and Tallgeese III (Assist: Noin's Taurus), with Deathscythe Hell EW (Assist: Altron EW) and Relena (as a navigator) added later. The sequel Full Boost brings back Epyon and the TV version of Wing Zero.
Handshake Refusal: when future rivals Heero and Zechs meet face-to-face for the first time, Zechs offers his hand. After a pause, Heero accepts the gesture while remarking that he's never shaken hands with anybody before. This could be because Zechs has shown himself to be very honest and honorable, especially for a member of OZ.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Throughout the series Zechs, Treize, and the Gundam pilots can't seem to decide if they're supposed to be allies or enemies.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Once the Gundam pilots return to space, they've found that OZ has made peace with the colonies and turned them against them.
Heroic Sacrifice: Heero attempts one in episode 10 when OZ threatens to shoot down the largely peaceful space colonies. Dr. J then intervenes, calls Lady Une out on her bluff, tells him that he was fighting them on his own, and wouldn't hand over the gundam to them. Cue Heero blowing up his gundam to follow Dr. J's orders. Even Zechs and Treize were appalled by what Une threatened to do.
Further supported by the fact that the manga hints that a young Zechs went to live with Treize's family after the fall of Sanc. So they've probably been living together since they were young teenagers, at least.
Due to the normally socially implacable Heero, his surprisingly close friendship with Duo was all the stranger.
Quatre and Heero understand each other and get along surprisingly well in the second half of the series for such little interaction in the first.
Hidden Depths: When Treize isn't waxing poetical about the state of warfare, he's actually a very competent Mobile Suit designer, having designed Tallgeese II, Tallgeese III, Epyon and the Serpents.
Hitman with a Heart: Heero, so much. According to Episode Zero, he takes it after his father, Odin Lowe.
Hollywood Heart Attack: Played With. In episode 10, Quatre clutches his chest and doubles over in apparent pain when Heero tries to sacrifice himself to destroy Wing Gundam. It turns out to be psychosomatic; Trowa is able to snap him out of it.
Quatre: The pain… my body… my heart
Honor Before Reason: Wufei had a perfectly good opportunity to kill Treize with his Gundam, but chose to accept a challenge to a sword duel instead. Treize wins the duel and had a perfectly good opportunity to capture or kill a Gundam pilot and take his ultra-advanced suit, but chose to let him leave. Wufei then could've gotten back in his Gundam and blown away Treize where he stood, but chose to simply leave.
To be fair, both men have a strong sense of honor. Treize let him go because Wufei accepted his sword duel challenge, and then lost fair and square, when he could have easily smashed Treize's cabin just moments earlier. In Wufei's case, he likely wouldn't be able to live with himself had he of killed Treize in such a cowardly way after having been beaten in a fair fight, further evidenced by his Heroic BSOD in episode 12.
Played almost stupidly with Zech's personality. He won't defeat an opponent if it isn't a fair fight. This translates to, he can disarm them in mid-combat, then spare them because he was no longer armed with a weapon. His need to be honorable certainly seems to cloud any sense of priority, as he will give his rival a Gundam, just so they can have a fair duel, while in the middle of a war.
Human Popsicle: In Frozen Teardrop, we learn that Doctor J designed a cryogenic stasis pod, which has the side effect of damaging the subject's memory. Heero and Relena were both frozen, hence the title.
Icon of Rebellion: The Gundams become a symbol of colonial resistance. White Fang tries to convince Duo to join, but he tells them to Leave Me Alone; they're much more successful with Zechs.
If You Can Read This: In one early episode, the computer screens with Heero's medical data show text from the readme file for Photoshop's TWAIN plugin.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Most Egregious in a scene where a squad of Leos have two Gundams surrounded, while being a fairly short distance away. They all open fire at once...and completely fail to hit anything. The two pilots even have a short exchange of dialogue while their enemies fire enthusiastically in a circle around their feet.
The Gundam Pilots are all 15. Some of them were doing this kind of thing even earlier than that. Possibly even more improbable is that Zechs, Lucrezia, and Une are only 19 and Treize is 24, despite them all acting and looking like they're in their late 20s to early 30s.
Frozen Teardrop acknowledges the very young age of most of the characters, and attempts an explanation: since medical technology had increased the human lifespan, the world's leaders had no reason to give any authority to their children, and indeed fought and "oppressed" that generation so they could keep their power. By the time they were ready to retire, their grandchildren were just starting to come of age, and the 2nd generation was too stagnant and unused to wielding power that they thought it would be better to hand power to the bright young minds of the 3rd generation.
Ineffectual Death Threats: Heero is pretty much the patron saint of this trope; if he threatens someone with death, you can bet top dollar he won't go through with it.
Maybe justified... if you really intended to kill someone, why would you warn them?
This is pretty much the reason no one really believes it's going to happen in Frozen Teardrop, despite him saying it again.
If anything, Heero's death threats seem to be either a warning for people to stay the hell away from him (Relena in episode 1) or an attempt to convince himself that killing people he's come to care about (see: Relena, Duo, Quatre) is the only option; the fact that it always fails shows that he's got a heart.
Invisible Backup Band: Trowa's and Quatre's duet ("Hearth throbbing Melody") from "The Victoria Nightmare."
They're so awesome at their respective instruments that Quatre's violin keeps playing after he stops, and Trowa's flute starts playing long before he does.
Ironic Echo: In the first episode, after Relena gives Heero an invitation to her birthday party, he tears it and threatens to kill her. In the final episode, Heero (disguised as a mechanic) leaves Relena a birthday card, and she tears it, telling him, "Next time, hand it to me in person!"
It Runs in the Family: Noin describes both Relena and Zechs as "reckless" and "very difficult to control".
Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: After killing the Alliance peacemakers, Heero goes around to their families, apologizing and offering them the opportunity to kill him in Revenge. Sylvia Noventa calls him a coward for this...
Forgiveness: ...But her grandmother (Field Marshall Noventa's widow) forgives him, writing a letter that says (paraphrased): "You shouldn't beat yourself up for your mistake; it's unfortunate but that sort of thing happens in war. My husband died trying to create a world where young people like you could live in peace, so please try to make his dream a reality."
Leave The Two Love Birds Alone: Something to this effect happens towards the finale of the series. Heero goes to rescue Relena from the Libra and Duo wonders if he'll be alright on his own. Cue Quatre telling him he'd just "be in the way" while smiling in a way that suggests a Shipper on Deck.
Leitmotif: Each of the Gundam Pilots has one, but Heero and Relena are special cases as the core elements of their songs ("The Wings of a Boy Who Killed Adolescence" and "As Relena Peacecraft" respectively) appear in a few others ("Heero's Time of Decision" and "The Pain That Should Be Thrown Away Long Ago" for him, "Soft Hair, Clear Eyes" and "To Beauty, To Elegance, And To Noble-Mindedness" for her}.
Lighter and Softer: Compared to other Gundam shows, with fewer major deaths and horrific disasters and war crimes in this one, complete with a happy ending.
Light Is Not Good: The angelic, brightly-coloured Wing Zero, a terrifying engine of destruction that is responsible for some of the worst massacres in the series, and has a nasty habit of mind-raping its pilots.
On the other hand, then, the demonic-coloured Deathscythe series is Dark Is Not Evil, being piloted by one of the series's nicer and more idealistic pilots.
Lightning Bruiser: All five Gundams. They are fast and resistant to most beam weapons.
Lost in Translation: The infamous "No machinegun for him!"; more egregious but lesser known is "Prince of the Stars".
The English dub show is actually riddled with all sorts of weird translation mistakes and lines that just don't seem to make sense the way they're said. And in a plot this complicated... God help you if you want to understand it through the first viewing.
The 'machinegun' line is actually more a case of Small Reference Pools. 'Machineguns' is, in military terms, giving a warning shot. Zechs was ordering NOT to give Heero a warning shot and to shoot him down immediately, since he knew of the incoming Operation Meteor. Naturally, anyone that doesn't know that slang would be confused by this. In addition to that, the "Prince of the Stars" line is a reference to Zechs and Relena's Episode Zero chapter, so that's more a case of All There in the Manual than Lost in Translation.
It's still Lost in Translation: "Prince of the Stars" is the Japanese title for The Little Prince, which actually is an apt comparison since from Relena's perspective, Heero is a boy from space who rode a "shooting star" (his Gundam) to come to Earth. "Prince of the Stars" just makes her sound kind of ditzy.
In some newer versions, the "Prince of the Stars" has been changed to "Is he a 'Little Prince'?" which clears at least that particular issue up.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Odin Lowe is Heero's biological father. Sadly, it seems Heero was never made aware of this.
Macross Missile Massacre: Heavyarms. Not used quite as extensively compared to its More Dakka functionality, but it's definitely there when someeverything needs to get blown up right away.
Made of Explodium: If any mobile suit takes any sort of damage (other than those piloted by protagonists and central villains) the suit will explode immediately.
The Man Behind the Man: Duke Dermail to Treize. First played straight when it's revealed that Treize and Oz are serving the Romefeller Foundation. However, after Treize steps down it's inverted with Treize proving just how influential he was when the Oz soldiers still loyal to him break away from Romefeller resulting in Treize becoming Dragon-in-Chief when he returns to Romefeller.
Market-Based Title: The original Japanese title is Shin Kidou Senki Gundam Wing, the first part translated as "New Mobile Report", "New Mobile History", or "New Mobile War Chronicle" in various sourcebooks. The decision to use "Mobile Suit" may have been to avoid the headache of all these conflicting translations, or to tie it closer with the older seriesnote Until 2002's Gundam SEED, only Universal Century shows used "Mobile Suit"; the other Alternate Universe shows had their own pre-titles.
Duo Maxwell, named for the two biggest influences on his young life: Solo, the leader of his group of street urchins and his childhood best friend, and the Maxwell Church (and Father Maxwell), which was his home after the urchins were caught and put up for adoption.
Meanwhile, in Frozen Teardrop, Duo names himself Father Maxwell while an "orphan" from Sister Hilde's orphanage who looks exactly like the original Duo, probably Duo's kid with Hilde is also named Duo Maxwell.
Except that when she WEARS the glasses she's a cold hearted bitch. With them OFF shes got a sweeter and kinder attitude which is what comes with Meganekko.
Micro Monarchy: While Sanc Kingdom is probably the size of Sweden, compared to the other states in the setting, which not only extend over the entire Earth but also into space, it's pretty tiny.
Mid-Season Upgrade: Most notably Wing Gundam to Wing Zero, Deathscythe to Deathscythe Hell and Shenlong to Altron. Zechs eventually ends up with the Epyon but this was long after he no longer piloted the Talgeese.
Well, before Epyon Zechs had been using the Wing Zero, while Heero had been using Epyon (gifted to him by Treize) after the Wing Gundam was disabled. Also, Heavyarms was upgraded with two heavy gatlings instead of one like the first model, and Sandrock was upgraded with longer and more powerful blades as well as space maneuverability, which was something the Sandrock lacked.
Military Academy: The Lake Victoria Military Academy that Zechs and Noin went to and where Noin is an instructor when she's first introduced.
Mind Rape: Happens to pretty much everyone who tries to use Wing Zero or Epyon due to how the system works. Some of them get over it, some of them don't.
Trowa Barton: Unknown, even to himself. If we accept that Cathy is his birth sister, it's still vague because official sources have alternately labeled him or her Latino, Russian, or simply "European".
Quatre Raberba Winner: Arabic of Berber descent..
Chang Wufei: Chinese
The Mutiny: Operation Daybreak. Also, the Treize Faction.
My God, What Have I Done?: Several characters go through this, most famously Heero when he accidentally killed the main Alliance leadership as well as the ones clamoring the most for peace with the space colonies such as Marshall Noventa.
Mythology Gag: Classic Gundam series get a few subtle nods, such as the Newtype "flash" sound being used a few times. Worth noting because in early drafts, Wu Fei was a Newtype. In episode 41, the blonde female cannon operator aboard Barge bears a resemblance to Sayla Mass.
There's the date, April 7th. Within the series, this was when the original Heero Yuy was assassinated in AC 175, when Relena was born on AC 180, and on AC 195, when Operation Meteor was launched. In the real world, April 7th was when Gundam Wing was first broadcast on Japanese television in 1995, and when Mobile Suit Gundam was first broadcast on Japanese television in 1979.
In-universe, Heero Yuy is named after the pacifist leader of the colonies. Out-of-universe, his name was designed to be evocative of Amuro Ray.
The Nameless: "Trowa Barton" was seperated from his family as a baby and raised by a band of mercenaries, who never named him. He remains nameless his entire life until the eve of Operation Meteor, when he lifts the moniker of the man originally trained to pilot the Heavyarms Gundam. After Endless Waltz, considers himself nameless once more, until Duo and Quatre convince him to keep it.
Nazi Nobleman: The Romefeller Foundation in general seems to be made up of them. And given their shadowy background, it wouldn't be surprising if they supported the Nazis themselves at one point.
Necessary Drawback: The ZERO System gives pilots an unprecedented combat advantage by presenting them with the best possible course of action but can drive the pilot insane.
This is justified by implying that the system doesn't only present the best course of action, it lists out all possible approaches and outcomes and points out the most efficient/effective one. Given that the human mind is only equipped to consciously process one major train of thought at a time, the sheer volume of data being forced into the pilot's brain by ZERO is what makes the user's psyche snap like a dry twig.
Also because it focuses on battle data, which is why you have to push all non-essential thoughts out of your head. When Zechs lost focus and thought about Peacemillion, he saw himself blow it up. The same thing happened to Duo when he thought about the colony where Hilde was. Nice tear jerker, but it was all a dream, thankfully. Pheww!
Never Found the Body: Zechs Merquise was presumed to be dead at the final episode, but he returns in the OAV, Endless Waltz.
The novelization ends by remarking on the status of the seven Gundams, mentioning that Epyon is at the bottom of the ocean and nods to the idea that Zechs escaped.
Never Heard That One Before: Attention Internet: It is no longer clever to respond to a Gundam Wing fan by showing them that pic with the Gundam Pilots' heads Photoshopped onto the Sailor Senshis' bodies. Also, insulting the show by calling the show itself, the characters, and/or the fans "gay" was never clever to begin with.
Never Say "Die": In the Toonami edit, "The God of Death" is called "The Great Destroyer", and references to "death", "kill", etc. are removed and replaced with "destroy" (Only in the afternoon run; the midnight showing was aired unedited for content.)
The Romefeller Foundation, a secret league of aristocrats who funded the Alliance and plotted to take over the world. They had enough clout to form The Specials, an elite Mobile Suit corps that served as the front for OZ.
The Barton Foundation, which had ambitions to take over the world, and the resources to attempt to do it twice.
No Hugging, No Kissing: Aside from Blind Target, where Heero (possibly) kisses Relena, relationships in Gundam Wing are noticeably asexual. Even Zechs and Noin, who are an official couple, demonstrate little, if any, physical affection for each other.
Nuclear Weapons Taboo: If the ICBM's missiles at New Edwards were to go off, the blast radius is speculated to be in the dozens of kilometers. That would take a looooooot of conventional missiles...
In one sub, it's said to be 200 to 300 kilometers wide (and they're simply called "large missiles")
The Universe Bible, released as part of the Sunrise Art Book Series, clearly labels the missiles as ICBMs
Oh Crap: More generally, throughout the series various characters (major, minor and nameless) have this reaction when they see that they're fighting a Gundam. Panicked shouts of "IT'S A GUNDAM!" abound.
One-Man Army: The Gundam pilots in general. As demonstrated by several instances (including one in which Heero and Quatre took out an entire carrier battlegroup with just a transport plane and a pair of sub-machine-guns), the Humongous Mecha are entirely optional.
One Steve Limit: Averted. In one episode Dorothy delivers a little speech comparing Heero Yuy the colonial leader to Heero Yuy the Gundam Pilot, to try and rile him up and make him reveal his identity. After she's done, he responds "I don't know what you're talking about. There must be at least two guys here named Heero Yuy besides me." This actually makes sense, seeing as how important and popular the original Heero Yuy was.
The name "Catherine" pops up in several different forms throughout the series and its spin-offs: Cathy Bloom (Trowa's "sister"), Katrina Peacecraft (Relena's birth mother), Katherine/Quatrina Winner (Quatre's mother), and in Frozen TeardropKathy Po (Sally's daughter) and Katrina Oud Winner (Quatre's younger sister, named for their mother).
This may have to do with nepotism, since Treize is a member of a Romefeller family, and he in turn favored Zechs and Une.
Peek-a-Bangs: Trowa, and to a lesser extent, Noin and to an even lesser extent Hilde.
Perfect Pacifist People: One sidestory has a subversion with the so-called Perfect Peace People. Despite all their constant rhetoric about how pacifist they are they are little more than terroists who brainwash people and use violence to enforce their peace.
Prequel: The Episode Zero manga, which was written by the anime's head writer. Because of this, it is more or less canonical.
Considering Episode Zero was meant to be animated as episodes 27 and 28 of the anime (but was cut out due to behind-schedule production and replaced with 2 Recap Episodes), it is canon.
Whether it's canon is debatable, mostly due to the head writer admitting in interviews that he "quit" (in Japan, this could mean was fired) around the time those episodes were made. He also wrote the new illustrated novel Frozen Teardrops, which contradicts some elements of Episode Zero itself.
Sunrise's policy is usually to consider non-animated instalments of a series non-canonical, which is especially fortunate considering Frozen Teardrop's American reception.
Psychic Powers: Quatre has latent Newtype abilities. In the original concept for Wing, Wufei also had the Newtype ability to sense evil-doers. Depending on how similar the Zero system is to Gundam F91's Bio-computers (which function best when used by a Newtype), Heero and Zechs may very well have some Newtype ability.
Rapunzel Hair: Dorothy and Duo's reaches below their calves (Duo's is less obvious because he keeps it braided); Relena and Zechs' reaches the small of their backs.
Real Men Wear Pink: Who'd think that the waifish guy in a pink shirt would be the more dangerous one? And hey, the Big Bad likes to take rose-scented bubble baths, as well as listening to opera music.
Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Inverted in-universe. Dorothy is shocked at then news of Treize being killed but doesn't cry to which Trowa says to her, "That's sad. A woman who can't cry."
Reassignment Backfire: Duke Dermail has Relena made Chief Representative of the Romefeller Foundation, in order to justify Romefeller's invasion of the Sanc Kingdom and hoping to use her as a symbolic puppet to consolidate Romefeller's power. However, Relena proves herself extremely influential and manages to steal most of Dermail's supporters, leaving him powerless.
Rebellious Princess: Relena, who after being made Queen of the World refuses to just play along with Romefeller and, when checkmated, chooses to leave things to the more experienced Treize rather than bowing to them.
Recap Episode: Two of them; Ep27, "The Locus of Victory and Defeat", is told from Relena and Heero's perspective, and Ep28, "Passing Destinies", is told from Treize and Lady Une's perspective.
Retcon: According to Word of God, the fancy Hajime Katoki-designed Gundams from Endless Waltz aren't further Mid Season Upgrades but rather the exact same machines as Kunio Okawara's Mid Season Upgrades from the show. This has been emphasized by shifting their names from "Custom" (primarily used for models and toys) to "EW Version" or just "EW".
Glory of Losers makes this a little clearer, retelling the TV series' plot but using the Endless Waltz-styled Gundams throughout. Later on they brought back Okawara's Wing Zero, renamed Proto-Zero and designated the prototype for Katoki's angel-winged version.
Rule of Symbolism: The entire show is full of meanings and symbolisms related to The Wizard of Oz. Compare Heero's slight Character Development to the Tin Man searching for a heart. Relena's search for working pacifism to Scarecrow's search for a Brain. All the Gundam Pilot's confusion on what they're fighting for and side switching to Dorothy trying to find her way back home (and possibly to the Lion's desire for courage). Also, The ZERO System is comparable to OZ in the sense it gives the pilot the knowledge they have what it takes to win, as OZ gives knowledge to Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Lion they already have what they seeked. The list can go on.
Say My Name: Relena's famous or infamous, depending on your POV, "HEEERRROOOO!" cry, which is done three times throughout the series (four in the dubbed version). Heero would also say Relena's name very often.
The series tends to emphasize their connection with a non-comical variation of the Sneeze Cut, often showing one say the other's name before cutting to the other looking up and reacting as if they just heard something.
Shoulder Cannon: Heavyarms has missile launchers on its shoulders. The manga adaptation gives it honest-to-goodness shoulder cannons.
In the series proper, the Tragos has them, and the Leo has an optional set of beam cannons.
Gundanium's official designation is Gundarium Theta, making it a distant relative of the Luna Titanium used to build the original Gundam. Much like the original Gundam, Wing's Gundams seem all but indestructible when up against normal heavy artillery or blunt force. However, unlike the original, Gundanium seems to have a degree of resistance to heavier artillery and beam weaponry as well.
Shout-Out Theme Naming: There are several references to The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy Catalonia and her gold-plated vehicles, the organization OZ (whose emblem is a lion), the Specials' emblem looking like the Tin Woodsman's head in profile, and, in episode 34, the OZ commander's callsign is "Scarecrow 5".
In episode 38, the screen pan to the caged animals in the circus: a lion, a tiger and a bear. (Oh my!)
Ship Sinking: Frozen Teardrop appears to sink the Wu Fei/Sally ship with the introduction of Sally's daughter Kathy Po, and a 'Father Maxwell, who will run and hide but never tell a lie' with his son, Duo.
It's confirmed as of Chapter 7 that Duo and Hilde married (but got divorced because she thought he was irresponsible). It's unclear whether Duo Jr. is their biological son or not due to Duo/Father Maxwell being an Unreliable Narrator.
Not to mention, since Heero and Relena spent the last 30 years on ice, the odds are extremely slim that they'll get with anybody except each other.
Sinister Scythe: The Gundam Deathscythe (and Deathscythe Hell)'s beam scythe.
Sixth Ranger: Noin teams up with the Gundams at the end of the series but Milliardo is more of a legitimate sixth ranger for being the sixth to pilot a Gundam, his rivalry with Heero and his support in Endless Waltz.
Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: The pilotless mobile dolls fall somewhere at the brick level, a problem when they're all armed to the teeth. Heero easily tricks a group into attacking their own batallion, including suits parked in the hanger, and then into just firing at anyone in a spacesuit. Somewhat averted with their successors, the Virgo IIs, whose AI software was constantly developed, especially with the adoption of the ZERO System into the Mobile Doll program. This proved to be very challenging for even the Gundam pilots.
Smug Snake: Duke Dermail, Dekim Barton, Quinze, Tsubarov.
Soundtrack Dissonance: The show's second opening theme, "Rhythm Emotion", is played at the end of episode 36, after Relena surrendered to Romefeller and during Heero's ZERO System-induced rampage aboard Epyon, and in episode 41, when the Gundam Team and White Fang launched an assault on Barge, ending with Zechs singlehandedly destroying the space station with Epyon.
To be fair, if you don't know what the lyrics mean, it can actually get you kinda pumped up - it IS J-Pop, after all.
Space Is an Ocean: Averted completely, the Earth Alliance and Oz does not attack using warships but rather relying on mobile suits deployed from asteroid bases and space stations and from carriers which carries limited araments.
Sparkling Stream of Tears: As demonstrated by Trowa, Quatre, Relena, and Catherine (especially in the aptly-titled episode "Catherine's Tears"), and in episode 48 by Dorothy and Wufei.
Spell My Name with an S: Heero/Hiiro Yuy/Yui, Relena/Ririna/Lilina Darlian/Dorian/Dorlian/Derlian (the latter which appears in the Operation 4 soundtrack), Wufei/Wu Fei, Zechs Merquise/Marquise/Marquis, Milliardo/Milliard/Milliald, Lady Une/An/Ann/Anne, Hilde/Hirde, Tubarov/Tuberov/Tsubarov, and Quinze/Quines/Kanz/Kans.
Sociopathic Soldier: Several on all sides. A few of the Gundam pilots are misanthropic loners that can kill people without a second thought (Quatre seems to be the only one that regrets having to kill people), while in episode 12 Wufei and Major Sally take on a trio of soldiers that started trashing a restaurant because the shopkeeper dared to ask them to pay for the food they ate. They then try and justify it by saying that they protect the country, so what right does the shopkeeper have? Their commander isn't any better, murdering the country's original, peace-advocate leader and eventually conspiring to hand the country over to OZ. Some of OZ's own soldiers were prepared to wipe out 300 miles of countryside in a nuclear explosion in order to wipe out the Gundams while they were all in one place, and did it gleefully.
State Sec: OZ zig-zags the trope. It starts off as a official elite force of the regular Alliance forces, but was really a covert military branch of the Romefeller Foundation. And once Romefeller takes over the world, OZ becomes the regular military.
Start X to Stop X: Zechs' desire to cause such intense devastation to Earth that war loses all appeal.
Tallgeese was a super prototype, but with the one flaw (that it shares with Wing Zero) of being a little too super for pilots to handle.
Super Robot: Has a certain amount of this mixed in. The Gundams tend to Curb Stomp everything else, and get treated with borderline religious reverence.
Super Robot Wars: One of the go-to series; more often than not, Endless Waltz is used, to the growing frustration of the fans who'd like to see the TV series for the sake of variety, which was only used for F, F Final, 64, Shin, Alpha, and D and finally Z2 and is set to be a part of Super Robot Wars OE (Operation Extend)
Another Century's Episode: The TV series plays a large role in the first game, while Endless Waltz gets the standard SRW treatment in the second, and the third goes a step further by cutting it back to only Heero and Wing Zero EW.
Technicolor Eyes/You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Not a literal example, but the official biographies for the characters seem to list the paint colors used for the animation, resulting in oddly specific examples such as Heero's Prussian Blue eyes and Quatre's Platinum Gold hair.
Tempting Fate: Yes, this shelter is secure. Nothing could possibly break in and stop Mariemaia. Oh, there's Heero with Wing Zero, sure, go ahead and fire and realize how helpless—BOOM!
Theme Naming: Main characters are named after numbers, while most mass-produced Mobile Suits are named after Zodiac constellations. Not all names are direct; the Hover Tank Tragos (Greek for "goat") is a stand-in for Capricorn, while the Gundam Aesculapius/Asklepos from G-Unit represents the "13th constellation" Ophiuchus (Aesculapius is the man holding the serpent in the constellationnote The serpent part of Ophiuchus is represented by the Serpent Mobile Suits from Endless Waltz). The only constellation not represented in any of the original media is Sagittarius (which appears in Frozen Teardrop as a Land Battleship in the pre-Operation Meteor era).
Numerical Theme Naming: For most of the cast. Heero gets the themeiest name of them all; Word of God from the character designer says it's based off of the words "hitotsu" (Japanese for "one" or "first"), "yuitsu" (Japanese for "alone" or "only"), and "hero", and was made to be evocative of the name "Amuro Ray".
The theme naming even extends to the Spin-Off media: Odin Lowe from Episode Zero and Adin/Odin Barnett from G-Unit/Last Outpost both derive their names from the Russian word for "one", while the little-known mini-manga Tiel's Impulse stars Tiel Nombreux, whose surname is French for "numerous".
Theme Tune Cameo: The show's first opening theme, "Just Communication", played at the ends of episodes 3 and 49, and the second opening theme, "Rhythm Emotion", played in episodes 36, 38, 39, and 41. In the cases of episodes 36 and 41, it's a case of Soundtrack Dissonance, and in episode 49, it's a Last Episode Theme Reprise.
These Hands Have Killed: Zechs, while talking to a portrait of his father, gives this as the reason why he can't lead the Sanc Kingdom and why Relena should, saying "My hands. They are too stained with blood."
Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Deathscythe's buster shield is specifically designed to be a weapon, mounting a beam blade and rocket thrusters that make it a flying drill. Wu Fei throws Shenlong and Altron's shields once or twice as well, aided by their discus (or perhaps Captain America)-like shape.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Noin and Hilde (Tomboys) with Relena and Dorothy (Girly Girls). While Lady Une is both with her two personalities.
Too Dumb to Live: Minor OZ soldier Trant Clark. Once he has Heero captured what does he do with him? He forces Heero to test the ZERO System while in a functional Gundam. Admittedly he didn't know about the insanity-inducing side effects of the ZERO System but he was still relying on the presence of hostages to keep Heero under control even though those were the same hostages the Gundam pilots had been trying to kill just episodes earlier.
Trailer: The Toonami promotion trailer was incredibly awesome. Well produced and voiced by Peter Cullen, it was so popular that Bandai used it for their own trailers.
Never Trust a Trailer: Despite this, the trailer does exaggerate a bit, as the narrator states "...Mankind has reached the stars, but the galaxy is troubled." In the show, most of the action really takes place on Earth or the Earth-Moon system, and humanity haven't even left the solar system. That said, it's an acceptable exaggeration, enhancing the overall feel.
Frozen Teardrop shows that as a teenager Katrina looked identical to her future daughter (and on top of that, so did her twin sister Sabrina); of course, this also fits with the novel's extensive use of Generation Xerox.
Unwitting Pawn: The Gundam pilots are tricked by Treize into wiping out the Alliance's leadership just as they were about to disarm and open peace negotiations with the colonies, thus ruining any chance of peace and granting OZ control of the Earth Sphere.
Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: The Tallgeese is an in-universe Super Prototype from which all other Mobile Suit designs originated, but was deemed too dangerous for the pilot and became nothing more than a museum exhibit and collector's curiosity. When the Gundams start raising hell of all kinds, the bad guys decide to Break Out the Museum Piece. The Tallgeese proves itself quite capable on the battlefield repeatedly afterwards with a good pilot inside it.
Uterine Replicator: For several generations, normal pregnancy was impossible for colony dwellers and this was the only means of reproduction. While this has been largely overcome by the time the series starts, some groups are still struggling. Quatre's entire family - including his twenty-nine older sisters - are laboratory born. His mother wanted to concieve a child normally, and paid with her life to deliver him.
Visible Laser Beams: In Episode 8, the pilots break into a facility and are confronted by a dark bunker full of "explosives with infrared red sensors", which pretty much look like the classic red laser-lines booby traps. They are undeterred.
Wave Motion Gun: The Buster Rifle, Barge's and Libra's beam cannons, Vayeate's beam cannon, and the Tallgesse III's mega cannon.
We Are Struggling Together: this happens a lot. The five Gundam pilots have various allies but don't necessarily network, and OZ and the Alliance look exactly the same for a while because they use the same mobile suits. Consequently there is a great deal of friendly hostility going on, though at least the good guys are generally able to talk things out.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zechs and Treize later in the show, where they believe that humanity needs to witness one really horrible war in order to drive the desire to fight out of them. And it works. Also, Relena, for her extreme stance on Absolute Pacifism, to the point where she would rather surrender her kingdom and let it fall so that fighting can be avoided.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Quatre's sister Iria, who appears in one episode and ends it unconscious (or worse), but never reveals which. In the manga adaptation she dies, which just contributes all the more to Quatre's Freak Out. Frozen Teardrop finally answers the question by saying she's alive and helped raise little sister Katherine, who becomes Quatre's Expy in the plot.
Whip It Good: The Epyon's and, in Endless Waltz, the Tallgeese III's heat rod.
You Killed My Father: Zechs kills the man responsible for attacking the Sanc Kingdom years earlier in episode 9. And privately talks alone with a painting of his father, saying his hands were too bloodied to lead their kingdom, and would have to pass that responsibility to his younger sister, Relena.
You Know Too Much: Heero seemed ready to shoot Relena when she returned from the space colony and kept pressing to know him more, until she mentions Doctor J, which startles him. He later saves her from some falling debris when OZ shows up to try and kill her.
Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: In many ways this is the crux of the first half of the series. The Gundam pilots are fighting an oppressive regime, but are under orders to murder any witnesses.