Alternate English Title: New Mobile Chronicle Gundam Wing
Japanese Title: Shin Kidousenki Gundamu W
Also Known As: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Gundam Wing, Gundam W, Wing, GW
Genre: Action/Drama
Format: 49 Episodes
Allegiance: Sunrise/Dentsu Inc./Sotsu Agency
Director: Ikeda Masashi
Vintage: 1995-1996
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
The year is After Colony 195, and man has established large orbiting space colonies around the Solar System. However, the colonies are under the chafing control of the Earth Alliance, a political and military organization that rules with an iron fist. Brought to the breaking point, the colonies have sent five large powerful humanoid robots termed “Gundams” to topple the Earth Alliance. Relena Darlian, returning to Earth with her father, happens to witness one of these robots as she re-enters the atmosphere. By coincidence, she happens to meet the pilot while she is strolling by the beach, and to make matters more complicated, the boy, who calls himself Heero Yuy, has just enrolled at her school. Attempting to get to know the mysterious stranger, Relena attempts to invite Heero to her birthday party – but she is sharply and bluntly rebuffed. Who is this boy, and what is his agenda?

Field Agent Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Plot
Characters
Impact
Visual
Audio
6.75
3.75
6.00
5.50
8.00
Overall 5.75
(not an average)

I always get an odd feeling when I hear politicians speak; it’s sort of a half-disgusted, half-amused feeling as I try to count how many rhetorical buzzwords the speaker can use without actually saying anything of importance. It’s the same feeling I get when I watch Gundam Wing – basically 49 episodes of meaningless philosophical drivel that winds up all resolved in 15 seconds by the firing of a gun. This series is stark evidence for the theory that the number of fans of a series is positively and exponentially related to the number of possibilities for yaoi fanfiction pairings between the series’ main characters, and is independent of the actual quality of the show.

The plot isn’t so bad in that it at least has a few twists and turns, but between the three or four major plot events denoting the beginning and ending of mini-arcs, everything is rather predictable. The plot is also supplemented with enough useless philosophical and political drivel (mostly from Relena Darlian) to make Pericles fall asleep. War is bad, we get it. Get on with the large cannons blowing stuff up already. Nonetheless, the story alone is sufficient for entertainment purposes if one fast-forwards occasionally through some of the speeches.

The main problem is the cast. Each member of the “Gundam Team” is slotted into an archetype from the very outset, and never really evolves beyond that. Intra- and extra-team relationships (particularly between Trowa and Quatre) are hinted at once in a while but, for the most part, the characters never really get out of their ruts. The supporting cast is much more interesting, but doesn’t receive sufficient screen-time to really affect the series apart from facilitating the aforementioned hinting. By the end of the show, I stopped caring about who liked who, who wanted to be with whom, who was trying to convince who, and who was fighting for whom. I simply wanted something to explode.

The problem was that even the explosions were unsatisfying. The animation for the series was greatly below par, with most of the battle scenes suffering from a lack of choreography, showcasing instead the standard “semi-crescent solid-colour moon” explosions that plague the genre to compensate for the shortcoming. The mecha designs, when compared to some of the more revolutionary mecha shows in the 1990s and even to Endless Waltz, are simplistic and unoriginal. The only saving grace of the entire series is the soundtrack, which is appropriately militaristic most of the time, yet features some softer and quainter pieces during the quieter moments of the show.

All in all, with an average plot, a stagnant cast, and below average visuals, Gundam Wing can only be recommended to those who like underage homoerotic pretty boys or have the ability to tune out long meandering speeches. Even individuals wishing to enter the Gundam universe should look to alternatives such as Gundam Zeta or the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Heck, almost anything other than Wing.