Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Thoughts on Gundam Wing

Many of us in the states were converted into life-long Gundam fans through Gundam Wing, which was basically Mobile Suit Gundam's introduction in the U.S. I was among this group of people, and boy did it convert me. I completely fell in love with Gundam Wing, and proceeded to watch the subsequent airings of Mobile Suit Gundam and 8th MS Team. A trait many of us share is this unending nostalgia for Gundam Wing; we think very fondly of the series.

Now, I've become a bit of a U.C. fanboy as of late, and while I still enjoy Gundam Wing, it's hard for me to look at  it objectively and consider it a perfect series. In fact, it pales in comparison to the outline of what Gundam was intended to be: a tragic war-drama. In truth, Gundam Wing was intended to lure in the female audience by way of these guys -

Confused? Gundam Wing was a bishounen anime. It's entire cast, villains included, was packed with pretty young men. It was their way of expanding Gundam to a wider audience, like how ZZ Gundam was light-hearted and silly so it could appeal to a younger audience. Again, I still enjoy re-watching Wing occasionally, but the general consensus is often very negative amongst long-time fans. 

What do you guys think of Gundam Wing? Is your opinion different from when you first watched it?



  1. I will have to agree on the point that Wing was designed in hindsight to appeal to female audiences. It was one of those shows which enticed the early rise of Yaoi fangirls not just into the franchise, but to future anime series in and out of it.

    But honestly, if it had better plot and background development, it could even be a standout among the other Alternate Universes of the franchise. Too bad that the creators deemed Endless Waltz as the supposed last "canon" expansion of the series; they quite left loads of plot loopholes in the mix.

    If only Sunrise would green-light a continuation series ala-Unicorn, particularly one that would explain how the bits and pieces of the After Colony Era came to be (but less like the eccentric drama presented by Frozen Teardrop, and more of the gritty war drama from other earlier series), then I would be quite satisfied, and even proud that this series introduced me to one of the greatest anime franchises of the 20th Century.

    Just a crapload of cents from a supposedly objective AC fanboy...

    1. I've only sort of taken a look at Frozen Teardrop, and...I dunno. What is going on with the novel continuations? I just couldn't be bothered to even try and get into it. I guess they went even less mainstream for these sort-of sequels.

      I honestly thought Endless Waltz was an entertaining movie, and whatever loose ends should just be left alone. Not sure if I'm alone in that though...

  2. Gundam Wing did target female audience as something new to draw in new fanbase. I think that it also draws in a lot more others like us to get into the Gundam franchise, and it makes quite a milestone to bring Gundam worldwide compared to the ones beforehand.

    I don't fully digest its concept of war and peace, or rather it's quite forgettable to me unfortunately. However, looking back, the use of plot armour (especially when main characters are in grunt machines), as well as the heavy reuse in animations of grunt machines blowing up can be not so appreciating.

    However, there are definitely some nice stuff in Gundam Wing that are worth remembering, such as the mecha designs and the OST. Those are the exterior stuff that are appealing and nice. The stuff that is inside... Well, they're not necessarily bad, but they don't leave an impression well enough for me to remember, despite me having watched it twice... orz

  3. I didn't watch Wing until about a year ago so I approached it with no nostalgia whatsoever. Having seen pretty much all of Gundam except ZZ and Victory, I have to say that Wing is probably the most disappointing Gundam show I've watched thus far. To be honest I'm surprised it's so popular.

    Please hear me out, I thoroughly enjoyed the first 10 or so episodes but it quickly became a convoluted mess of potentially interesting but half-baked ideas. Characters would appear for one scene then disappear for long stretches of time making it difficult to connect with any them and the whole pacifism message lacked any subtlety (relying on a narrator to tell a coherent story is bad writing). As for the animation and fight scenes, I thought they were alright for the most part but the plot armor almost took it to Seed levels of implausible survivals.

    Now for all my complaints I do like music for the show and Treize is one of my favorite characters in Gundam period. The enemy grunt designs were also great especially the Leo, Aries and Tallgeese. Overall, I'd say Wing is a good show that's buried underneath mountains of unnecessary filler. I probably wouldn't recommend it new fans at this point. Gundam X I think is a much better representation of what 90s era Gundam can do.

    1. Good points, I'd say your criticism is pretty fair. The issues you mentioned were basically the ones in my mind, and the ones I would have discussed in a review (which may come in the near future).

      Its so good to see someone mention Gundam X for a change. It's so under-rated as a series.

    2. Hey thanks for the reply! Yeah, Gundam X is definitely an underrated series and unfairly labeled a failure. I would go so far as to say that its one of best AUs of the franchise and that very few Gundam series (UC or otherwise) can match it in quality of story.

  4. I'd still take Wing over 90% of UC Gundam with it's unlikable casts (alot of the so-called tragedy falls flat if you can't care about the characters.) sexism, and inability to really resolve or change anything in the long run. The fact of the matter is all you're doing putting the UC series on pedestal that they really don't deserve because you most likely think depressing = better. And most of the UC casts were filled bishounen too you know as was X, Seed and 00.

    1. Its true that most UC protagonists start out as selfish brats but they grow to become sympathetic. I don't see how the Wing boys are any more sympathetic considering they start out with little more than cardboard cutout personalities.

      As for resolving things, I do have compaints about UC (mostly Bandai refusing to let Zeon just die and come up with new villians) but overall I find their endings preferable to Wing's "the gundams were never seen again!"

    2. Don't know if I would agree with you that UC is filled with bishounen. None of the UC shows have entire casts dedicated to pretty boys. Wing pretty much served as the template for future AU shows, so SEED and 00 basically followed suit with the bishounen casts.

      Claiming that we think UC is superior because "depressing is better" is a little narrow-minded, honestly. It's not that it's depressing, it just so happens that war is brutal and the UC shows did a better job of capturing that concept. You're free to your opinion though, some people may find that the AU shows do a better job.

    3. I agree UC is light on bishounen but I guess it depends on the character designer. Yaz's designs were absent of it for the most part except Garma. I also noticed that Char looked much prettier in CCA than he was in previous shows. Ginias from 08th MS Team as well.

      Still, bishounen have always been a part of Japanese anime so I've come to accept it as long as there's some variety. To 00's credit at least they gave me pilots like Sergei who looked normal instead of suffering from same-face Hirai syndrome ala Seed.

  5. I loved wing BACK WHEN I WAS A 10 YEAR OLD KID.But there's something in the likes of War in the pocket, Zeta, CCA, 08 th Ms team, stardust memory and now unicorn that makes my eyebrows raise every time I re watch gundam wing. I mean, the feeling of "its supposed to be so awesome, but now...". Anyway, it still holds a soft spot on my heart as my gateway gundam and I'm very thankful about that. What turns me off is when wingers liked wing or any alternative universe gundams when don't have any object worth of comparison.

    But still, you had my appreciation for introducing me to the franchise. :)


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