Reviews: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
A classic that still holds up years later
I've only watched Gundam Wing once before, back when it was originally airing on Toonami. So I decided to back and watch it again to see if it was really as good as I remember. I'm happy to say that it is. There's a difference between viewing a show as a child and when you're older. You notice a lot of things that you missed, because as a kid you just might not be too interested in politics. That being said, I have a higher opinion of the series now than I did previously, though i'm also more aware of its flaws. Wing attempts to do something special, giving viewers 5 main Gundam pilots to follow: Heero, Quatre, Trowa, Wufei, and Duo. They have their own unique Gundams and their own unique storylines and part of the fun of this series is watcing those storylines unfold and cross over. The weakness comes from the fact that the series fails to give each pilot an equal amount of screen time. Heero is the main pilot/character, there's no arguing that, and I can accept that. But I still feel that they could have done a better job balancing the time between the five. That being said, with 49 episodes I still think an amazing job was done. The only character who I think is really neglected is Wufei and the Gundam pilots are also different enough from one another to make them memorable. Similar to other Gundam series there isn't really just one Big Bad here or one major villain. The role of the antagonist moves around between different characters and I think it's transferred in a way that the storyline is never interrupted. At the heart of the conflict going on is a desire for peace, which is fueled on by the differen philosophies of all the parties involved. That's what makes it so interesting. Everyone says they're fighting for peace, therefore the same thing, but the different ways in which they go about it cause them to fight one another. And through all the battles and destruction that take place the characters really do get fleshed out. Zechs goes from the typical masked villain to a truly tragic figure, Relena grows from the richest girl in school to the Queen of the World ready to put her life on the line. The Gundam pilots are some of the characters who change the least actually, but they do change and learn from their experiences and it is interesting to watch this change take place, especially within Heero in my opinion. Unlike in other series where one character is solely in the wrong due to his/her actions, Wing gives you many characters that are at odds making decent arguments and never really being proven right or wrong in the end. It's instead up to the viewers to decide who was right for themselves and what the true path to peace is. Wing is a story that is easy to fall into and one that will surprise you with how deep the story is if you let it. It was always one of my favorite Gundam series, but now i'm more certain of that belief than I was before and I truly enjoyed my time watching it again.
A masterwork put together by an idiot.
Gundam Wing is one of the better Gundam series out there, perhaps even one of the best. However, it is a series riddled with flaws that clash with the excellence it displays in other areas. To start with the good; the AC Timeline is great for political intrigue. The series explores many complex philosophical ideas, especially on the subject of war and why humans so frequently resort to armed conflict. The first twelve episodes move at a brisk pace, striking the perfect balance between storytelling, world-building and visceral action. However... after that things get rather muddier. Wing's major problem is its lack of a cohesive narrative. Instead of dividing its screen-time between the main characters effectively, Wing prefers to focus on one or two for an extended period of time, leaving the audience scratching their heads as to the fate of the others. There are too many coincidences, Deus Ex Machinas (Hello, Wing Zero!) and 'eh, figure it out for yourself' moments present in the mid-series to properly capitalize on the potential of those first twelve episodes. The pacing is, to be blunt, absolutely terrible. Another minor point against Wing is that the main character is terribly bland. Gundam really seems to love emotionless, mentally scarred protagonists who never seem to crack a smile or display any kind of emotional levity. Heero isn't really a bad character per-say; he simply isn't very interesting. Of the five pilots, only Duo, Wu Fei and Quatre really held my interest. The Gundam scientists also felt rather underused, only really serving as a convenient source of Mid-Season Upgrades. Moving back to the positive side of things; Wing's antagonists and supporting characters are really good. Une, Zechs, Treize and Relena all have strong character arcs and engaging personalities. Relena in particular stands out as everything a pacifist Gundam character SHOULD be, but frequently aren't (Hey Kyo, Marina. You're still twats!). The series deserves major credit for having such a great cast, all of whom are superbly voice-acted (in the Japanese sub, anyway) and deliver some truly impassioned performances when required. In conclusion, Wing is a great series let down only partially by some very clunky editing and an over-reliance on contrived coincidence. It's a flawed diamond, but a pretty damn shiny one.
An amazing show that should be seen by all
Call me an idiot if you want, but before Gundam Wing, the only Gundam I'd ever seen was SEED, which was fairly good, if not somewhat bland and uninteresting. My eyes were drawn to Wing through an excellent crossover I read about it with Harry Potter. Intrigued, I decided to tune in and watch, and from episode 1, I was drawn into an excellent series with amazing characters, unexpected plot twists, deep meanings and a strong anti-war sentiment to it that only becomes more poignant as it continues on. We have Relena, probably the most hated anime character for no good reason; who is actually a pretty human character reacting to a horrible situation she's been put in, and no she doesn't stalk Heero. Their love actually develops throughout the series. What this series does well are in the way it executes its characters. We have the idealist who loves all of humanity, Quatre (that sounds like Oz Vessalius), the silent one, Trowa, the manic-depressive Duo, the stoic Heero and the aloof Wu-fei. Even the antagonists of OZ like Zechs, Noin, Treize, and Lady Une are all gradually developing and starting to become lovable characters. I am only up to episode 26, but I am already impressed by the great development. Most of it centers on characters rather than the Gundams themselves. It also discusses the effects giant mecha have on the human psyche-is it really humane to make five children solve all the world's problems by having them attack colonies with giant robots? Is it humane to destroy groups that don't agree with your cause? This series has never ceased to impress me with how deeply written it is. Gundam's message is anti-war, but ultimately it gives off a Geass-like feel; in that doing all these heinous deeds will someday lead to a better world. Whether the Gundams are right or wrong depends on the viewer, they are not seen as right or wrong, but rather somewhere in between. Even the minor characters have a role to play and play it well they do, as this dark series has reached the halfway point in its run, will we see a happy ending or will everything become bittersweet? It doesn't deserve the hate it gets because it is amazing. We need more works of fiction that portray war for the cruel tragedy that it is. This series will stand up there with All Quiet on the Western Front, Code Geass, the Red Badge of Courage, and Escaflowne.
Silly, Stupid, Confusing and Dull...yet somewhat Charming
I have to say going into Gundam Wing I did not have high expectations for the series. I'll be the first to admit I'm a UC Gundam fag, having just been introduced to the continuity last Fall and falling in love with how, despite all the camp in silliness involved, how deep and well thought out it was. I never watched Wing as a kid so I had no nostalgia for it going in. Going off of from what little I'd seen of it and what my friends said, Gundam Wing seemed to be a show featuring Boring Invincible Heroes, unappealing (from my tastes at any rate) mecha designs, tons of meaningless politicking,and naive, bordering on hypocritical, pacifist philosophies. And that's... pretty much what I got. The setting is confusing; the characters are for the most part irritating, impenetrable, silly or boring; and the aesthetics of the characters and mechas are personally unappealing. But looking back on it, I can't help but find it all a bit charming, albeit in a pretty ironic way. The bits of Narm Charm mixed with the usually dead pan delivery is the source of a lot of humor, and unlike say SEED, the pacing is actually pretty good, with some big plot development or twist happening every other episode or so, even if I'm not personally invested in it. The music is also pretty rocking as well. As a serious anime, I do not think Wing succeeds, but if you relax, have a lot of free time on your hands and enjoy it ironically, it can actually be pretty entertaining.
A Gray Stain on the Franchise
Gundam Wing's ultimate demise was it's lack of emotion. It had some nice charms, and intresting technology, but ultimatly falls flat. It was once popular back in the early 2000's where it was the first Gundam Series to come to America. This was it's advanatge, as between the lower standards younger viewers had back then, and the fact it had nothing to be compared to, it seemed like a dream come true. Looking back at it now, in 2012, where a viewer needs good story and development, you really see how badly it aged. It fails in storytelling and direction, and possibly worst in developing its characters It's hard to get into a show with such blatant continuity errors. Gundanium Alloy led to boring curbstomp battles with lifeless enemies, as they just takes the hits, unharmed, and use their signature move, usually stock footage, and wipe the floors with them. It's made worst when weapons that prevously did absolutely nothing to a Gundam suddenly starts beating groups of Gundams, just by getting high enough numbers. And before you ask, no, those battles aren't very intresting either. It also sucks when half the episodes are taken up by the 'political' aspect of the show, AKA Relena just talking to a bunch of old men about things that never become relevant later in the show. And if she isn't doing that, she is interuppting the better battles in the show with her talking, slowing it's pace. The character's are pretty bad. With the exception of Treize, Quattre, and Duo, everyone is just so one dimensional. They have one note, and they hit it to the ground. Half of the main cast are emotionless, 'stoic' characters, that lack any dramatic tension. Seriously, look at the rivalry of Heero and Zechs. It's so bland, that you can't really think of any reason why they are rivals. They all think very illogically, and feels undeveloped and incomplete. In the end, the show will leave you feeling very unsatsifying. Unless you are completely bound by it's nostalgia from being on Toonami, you can watch it again today and wonder why you ever thought it was good. It's few charming characters, weapons and intresting points/arcs does NOT make up for it's lack of emotion, dramatic tension, or even just anything intresting to look forward to. On a good day, I'd give the show a C- at best.
One of my all-time favorites
I first watched this show in my early teens back on CN/Toonami, and then about 50 times within the next 10 years. I'm not deep into Anime, but this one certainly stands out. The plot is well written, there's lots of realistic character development, many twists that'll leave you glued to your seat and still wondering afterwards, but it does make sense. The characters themselvse are deep; strong but flawed - we want to be these people. None are perfect, but most come damn close, especially the main characters. This show will leave you reflecting on various phylosophical, political and moral aspects it presents, all the while bombarding you with action. The mecha themselves are for once not indestructible, nor are their pilots completely infallible (neither as people, nor as pilots) and it shows. Wing will evoke powerful emotions if you get into the story or the characters involved, or the amazing, inspired dialogue. A couple of silly lines/idiot translations notwithstanding, the script is very well thought out and it manages to strike a nerve or two when you get caught up in it. The show has a sort of grey and gray morality going on; no character is a saint or devil, and there's no strict side to root for; possibly not even the main cast. Everyone is following their own ideals and noble goals (with a few exceptions in insufferable characters and VERY sparingly few "insufferable annoying jerkass designated villains who you would love to see mudered horribly" that are mostly not in power, some of which manage to redeem themselves plausibly and make you forgive them. In the truly evil factions, most of the villains are minor characters that get killed off fairly quickly, and the important folks end up being moles in these, or outright betraying them to pursue cleaner ideals. If you absolutely need someone to hate or whine about (who does not die horribly soon after appearance), try Relena (plain annoying/clingy) or Une (split personality; tends to be a major jerkass with a terrible sense of morality while in uniform). All in all, the story is captivating and you will want to watch every bit of it as soon as it manages to get you hooked and familiar with what it's all about. I recommend everyone at least a watch.
Actually one of the best Gundam series.
When you've grown up to anime, you get your fair share of repetitive mecha shows. This is not one of them. I started watching this when I was a kid. Didn't really understand everything, but I liked the boom booms and the awesome weapons. When I hit my teens, I rewatched it. When I hit adulthood, I watched it again. And then I watched it again for sheer pleasure. So, what does that tell you? a) I like it b) It must be damn good to watch it 4x. You've probably seen the mecha space war story plenty of times. But Wing takes it to a new level. A political one. One of the reasons Wing was so famous was it's ability to weave an intricate political plot into a done-to-death mecha cliche. The villains are never just villains. There is no good or bad. It is a story that says plenty about humanity, war and peace, and it does it with damn good eloquence. It is a philiosophical commentary on human nature. And it is freakin awesome. The TV anime's art isn't as good as the Endless Waltz OVA/Movie (naturally), but it's very good for its time and still is. Ask for the music, Two-Mix should really say it all. The soundtrack is techno-pop at it's best. The soundtrack has pieces that pump you full of adrenaline, make you cry into a pillow, or simply sit back take in the magnitude of ...well...anything. Alot of people think that the Wing characters are one-dimensional. But I have to disagree. I think the main difference between Wing characters and other so-called multi-dimensional characters is that the people in Gundam Wing are very mentally strong. They have flaws, they have complex emotions, they do occasionally break down into some sort of craze, but ultimately, they stand back up and do their job. It's not often that you meet people like this, but they do exist. I loved that for once, an anime consisted of a cast of heroes that were brave, logical and realistic. Oh, and it helps that Heero doesn't break down and whine every two seconds...unlike a certain characters from UC ... The complex political twist and turns will keep you intrigued. The awesome Gundam fight scenes will knock you dead. The chemistry between the boys is loveable. And I personally quite liked the romance in there too —even when Relena was being a bit of a melodramatic nut. This is an anime classic. Love it or hate it, it's a must-watch.