My Gundam Wing Review..
Yes, i know this is a website soley dedicated to all things video games.. I know the name of the website is MMORPG.com, but as of late I've been sort of experiencing an MMO burnout. This eventually lead me to google where i found several websites streaming hundreds of different anime shows (who knew, right?) Needless to say I've spent the majority of my days off watching anime and playing Star Craft 2 while i patiently wait for the release of Dragon Age 2.
Gundam Wing was the first series i decided to watch, because I always have fond memories of the series. I used to race home from middle school to watch each new episode and it's one of the only anime series that I remember having a more "mature" and "dark" plot, but then again at that time the only other two animes i watched were Dragon Ball Z and Tenchi Muyo. So, did the show end up shadowing the pedestal I put it up on? Does it live up to the nostalgia and hype based around the series? Let's found out, shall we?
Gundam Wing takes place in the AC (after colony) time line when humans are living in space colonies located all around space. The earth is governed by a dictatorship known as The Alliance which is hated by many for the way it overthrew old governments and came into power. Space colonies are worried about the direction the alliance is headed and in a desperate attempt to keep Earths battles from spreading to space a privately funded group from the colonies sends 5 highly advanced mobile suits down to earth disguised as shooting stars.
Character development begins slowly but thankfully the first few episodes are littered with some amazing mecha battle scenes, mainly involving the Gundams randomly appearing and destroying Alliance bases. While all this is happening a third organization is planning a coupdetat to overthrow the Alliance from within and place itself as the head of the world; this organization is known as Oz.
The plot is chalk full of political virtues and personal differences. For the most part the dialogue is pretty heavy and philosophical; sometimes this doesn't work in the series favor though as conversations end up being way too melodramatic. Also, some episodes feel tacked on as they don't bring the story forward at all; but these episodes usually involve epic Gundam battles that'll still make them worth watching.
Various plots and stories are brought forward at the beginning of the anime only to be answered way later in the series, but for the most part everything is wrapped up either in the last 3 (of the 49) episodes or through the "Endless Waltz" movie. I'll defiantly say the first episodes feel a bit chaotic with everything that's going on, but as soon as the unmanned mobile suits show up and the Gundams take the fight to space everything seems to picks up from there. The last episodes of Gundam Wing are some of its best, the melodrama seems to disappear and the characters really start to hit their marks.
Gundam Wing does something differently when it comes to its main casts of characters. Instead of the main characters being all bubbly and happy-go-lucky as it is with most animes they are instead more dark and reserved; with the exception of Duo and Quatre. They never actually seem to get fleshed out enough through out the series, but they do get the job done. To be honest, most will probably enjoy and relate with the supporting cast more, especially Zechs and Treize.
The main character is Heero Yuy, he'll be the first Gundam pilot you'll be introduced to and the one that's covered the most through out the series. His past is never really explained in the series and only briefly touched in the "Endless Waltz" movie, which gives him this mysterious kind of vibe. Duo is another Gundam pilot who is among a fan favorite for most, he brings some much needed laughs to the series but also kicks some ass, known as "The God Of Death" when piloting his Death Scythe Gundam on the battlefield.
Wufei is the pilot of the Gundam Nataku and is the one character that actually acts like a warrior, he is very high on personal honor and spends most of his time in the series "earning" his place to pilot the Gundam that he was given. Trowa is the least fleshed out Gundam pilot in the series and he doesn't say much through out the show; but i absolutely love his Gundam Heavy Arms and the fact that he is a clown! Quatre is the last Gundam Pilot and probably my least favorite, he is the soul culprit for most of the series melodrama and its a wonder how he comes to some of the conclusions he does through the anime (his character is made a little less obnoxious during the "Endless Waltz" movie.)
Along with the 5 Gundam Pilots there are also several supporting characters. Relena Peacecraft starts off as a rich schoolgirl and ends up an ex-princess then queen, she also plays the part of Heero Yuy's love interest (although it doesn't start out that way.) At first Relena's scenes will feel sappy and school girlish to most but towards the end of the series her character starts to play a stronger role, for better or for worse.
The series antagonist end up being the animes two most interesting characters of all. One of the antagonist is Zech's Marquis, whos introduced in the first episode in a battle against Heero Yuy. His character will remain a constant through out the series but his personality is always changing. He starts off as a loyal solider to Oz, then an peace ambassador under a new name, and towards the end of the series he'll be the evil villain that you cant help but love.
The other antagonist is Treize Kushranada, one of my favorite anime characters of all times! He has some of the best lines in the series with some of his speeches even bringing chills down my spine. His intentions are never made clear until the final 3 episodes but one things for certain, wherever he goes battles seem to follow! On the outside he looks like a cold ruthless dictator who's sent countless soldiers to their grave, but on the inside hes touched by each death on the battlefield and is only looking for a means to achieve "peace".
Animation & Sound
Gundam Wing was inked back in the 90's and it's age defiantly shows when it comes to its animation. With that said the art style is still very appealing, especially when it comes to the designs of the Gundams; which are some of my favorite looking mecha i've seen in an anime. It also seems as if the anime artists spent alot of time on the backrounds and a little less on the characters themselves.
Gundam Wing does fall victim to showing some repeat and recyclced scenes here and there, especially during battles involveing the unmanned "mobile doll" suits and the unveiling of the Gundam suits. I mean, how many times is Wing 0 gonna bust out its sabre in the same stance it did in the last battle? Thankfully towards the end of the series the animation picks up and the final battles look especially amazeing!
As for the music played through out the series it is top knotch! Fortunantley for me there isn't very much jap-pop that's found in a lot of the other animes, the tunes usually stay dark and orchestra-like. Like the animations the musics recycled heavily through out the series; even though I didn't seem to mind this much. The voice acting is also done very well, besides some lines being acted out way to dramatically, makeing it hard to sense the type of emotion a character is trying to potray. As i said before though, these faults don't tend to show their faces much towards the end of the series; which remains the best part of Gundam Wing.
My nostalgia and fondness based towards Gundam Wing was justified after watching the series. It still seems to be a more mature anime, even after i've broaden my tastes beyond Cartoon Network and Toonami. The plot seems a bit chaotic at first but the series picks up during the middle and comes to a bang at the end. If you're a fan of mecha and looking for a Gundam series thats different then the others then Gundam Wing should defiantly be on you're radar.
Ok! so thats my review.. Hope you enjoyed it.. My next review will be on "Gundam 00", then possibley Code Geass or Blue Gender.. Anyways, i just finished the first season of Gundam 00 and am working my way into the second season.. I'll have a write up on season 1 and later season 2, eventually.. Maybe quicker if people on this website actually seem interested in these types of reviews.. And if you have any anime to request (that is streamable on websites like anime-freak.tv) for a review just post it in a comment, i'am always looking for something new to watch.