Friday, January 1, 1999

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (Shin Kidousenki)

Genre: Action / Mecha
Parental Guidance Recommended
1995 © by Sunrise, TV Asahi, Sotsu. Fuji TV. Screenshots courtesy of DVD Emporium

Gundam DVDs
Gundam Illustration Books
Gundam Computer Games
Gundam Toys
Gundam Music
Gundam Item Shop
Cover Description:
In the year AC (After Colony) 195, humans on Earth have colonized space into five humanly-habitable colonies. Since the main planet is usually terrorized by war, a world government called the Alliance was established to form peace on earth and the colonies. The Alliance is manipulated by institutions like Romefeller Foundation and OZ, who use robotic fighting machines called mobile suits against all those oppose them. Because of this, five scientists developed a new kind of mobile suit created from a powerful metal called gundanium alloy. Thus Gundams were created to protect the five colonies from Alliance domination. What follows is a complex story full of political twists, complex emotional ideologies and intense character studies.

(50 episodes)

NOTE: Some of the reviews were written sometime in 1999 and was recorded in the classic Otaku Fridge as ??.??.1999. Unfortunately the database would not accept non-numerical values, so this review is now dated January 01, 1999 by default.

I love Gundam Wing! >>> by firesenshi (??.??.99)
Always regarded as a phenomenal series in Japan, Gundam Wing has by far been one of the most favored of its franchise outside of Japan. One reason could be something simple -- the 5 G-Wing Boys, each one piloting a different Gundam (the name of the mecha in this series simply because it's made of gundanium alloy, each with different skills and specialties -- where each one is totally bishounen. Add to that a lot of mysterious and intriguing characters such as the rebel prince Zechs Merquise and Treize. There isn't any good vs. evil concept here, only anti-heroes, which are stuff you may be familiar with and all these are under the backdrop of a complex political futuristic and alternative setting. Whoa... yes, that is how complex it is. Fans may also find that as its criticism, where you may find the dialogues too talky and the story too complex that there are times, I had to retrace my steps just to find out what's going on.

But of course, there is a reason why this has been one of my favorite series. As I said above, the character designs are very very well done. In fact, the character designs relate with even the mecha designs! It goes as to as far as to explain how their philosophies are integrated into making the Gundams. For example, Treize explains that he designed Epyon as a knight, with the need for guns but only with a sword because a true soldier doesn't need guns to fight. I just found that awesome. Suppose you don't care much about the technicalities, the fight scenes with the Gundams in space, air, land or water are just too great to watch. This is where mecha makes sense! Some mobile suits just have an advantage in certain terrains, it seems like each battle, given a backdrop of political intrigue, is one big tactical operation! I just love this. And I love Zechs Merquise too. The action, the mecha, the characters ... they're all into place. Gundam Wing delivers! After this, I'm sure you'll have your own favorite character and Gundam.

Individual Rating: Art: 7; Story & Plot: 9; Characters: 7; Sounds: 9

The Gundam purists' loss works to a new audience's gain. >>> by Shunichi Sakurai (04.30.2005)
Gundam Wing is probably credited as how most people new to the franchise got introduced to the Gundam universe, as it is the first one aired in the United States. That explains its relative popularity among anime of the past decade (it's the year 2005 as of my writing). However it begs the question: is it really all that good?

Purists of the franchise will be irked at how generally invincible the Gundams in this series are. Most of the time the mass-produced Leos, Aries and Tauruses of OZ don't amount to much other than cannon fodder for these Gundams - something the plot boasts of, as it makes reference to the "nearly invincible" Gundams "looking for a place to die." Granted, they look pretty damn good: Kunio Okawara and Hajime Katoki pull out some great mecha designs here, despite some of them frankly looking a bit ridiculous in terms of war potential (like Deathscythe). But there's something very un-Gundam-like about mobile suits remaining 80% intact after a supposed self-detonation.

This overly-strong Gundam syndrome affects the plot quality somewhat, in my opinion. Because they're just so freaking strong, only a handful of people can actually oppose them in battle competently, such as Zechs Marquise and his mothballed Tallgeese (itself a rather "invincible" suit). It also negatively colors my perception of the things the 5 bishounen protagonists do outside of their mobile suits. These are essentially just teenaged kids, yet they're involved in espionage, guerilla warfare and destruction of space colonies all by themselves...which undermines the relative credibility of the characters. Okay, it's a war and such acts are commonplace, but when there's no clear chain of command these young pilots follow, it seems like they're just doing as they please to achieve colony independence. From these individual acts comes turmoil and heartbreak, yet it's as if they HAVE to show some personal weaknesses just so the invincible Gundam syndrome isn't so obvious.

In fairness to Wing, its plot seems to be a coherent one. It's still a spin on the familiar colonies-versus-Earth war theme, and while it amounts to nothing more than psychobabble at first, it does get more coherent and interesting later on as the Gundam pilots face betrayal and a "sandwich" situation where both sides of the war refuse to accept them.

Animation is slick and crisp without resorting to CG visuals - a treat for cel-animation purists. The music is one strong point: very catchy score mixed with the J-pop songs in the soundtrack that begin something of a trend in future Gundam series.

So is it really all that good? Overall I think Wing is a competent enough series...just not as great in terms of story and characters. Then again, this is a case of purists losing to a new audience, and Bandai doesn't care what it does to the Gundam franchise as long as it sells...

Individual Rating: Art: 8; Story & Plot: 6; Characters: 5; Sounds: 8

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright 1997 - 2010. The Kraiders Otaku Fridge. All content, except screenshots, belong to the webmaster.