Anime Meta-Review


Gundam Wing


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Title Info

  • seen: 1-49 of 49
  • type: TV
  • grade: watchable
  • genre: mecha
  • made: 1995
  • Review created: Sun Oct 8 13:19:59 EST 2000
  • mod: none

It has gundam in the title, so you can be safely assured there is going to be huge combat mecha in it. But this series takes the gundam `space opera' elements to new heights, while introducing multiple bishounen types to represent either a mecha, or a faction, or in many cases both. The story starts out simply enough, but then grows into a complicated web of conflict between various factions. The most important divide being between the people and factions of earth and the occupants of huge space colonies orbiting the earth. These colonies have never been a military force, indeed weapons in space were considered an undesirable development. However as space is asked to manufacture weapons of war, and earths control grows more onerous, various groups in the colonies long for change. Thus five militant factions join in operation meteor, a plan to launch 5 super-gundams, along with elite warrior youths, to earth in order to fight for the colonies. Of course earth is not without its own factions, and the question of who is friend, who is enemy and how to bring about change is far from clear...and proceeds to become less and less clear as the series progresses.

At its best it tells a story about the complex politics of this imagined world. There is also a strong philosophical component because, fairly unbelievably, a small number of characters end up being the deciding factor in an immense number of events. Thus we get to know these people, and try to understand their actions, desires and role in this immense and messy war. At its worst it is space opera full of dramatics but low on meaning. The characters seem to freely change sides, survive impossible odds, cut through faceless hordes and have philosphical revolutions at the drop of a hat. Thus trying to remember who is fighting for who, and why, can become very complex. This is largely because a lot of the logic for what is happening is fairly strange, and unbelievable, as if it has been invented after the fact to explain why there are endless mecha battles. And why must there be endless mecha battles? The reason is because merchandising of mecha models, and the fan interest in mecha and the young pilots, are built into the core of this show. Thus there are `normal' mecha which are cannon fodder and our `hero' mecha, which have complex designs and are way more powerful. Thus the only `important' battles are either gundam / gundam battles or a single gundam chopping up a horde. Either way there an astounding amount of mecha combat in this long series. The ending is a bit difficult to take, but sort of makes sense and does fit the `feel' of the show.

The mecha combat itself does have its moments, there's some nice design and animation to get across the immense size of a gundam, but there's also an awful lot of repetition. This includes quite a lot of cell re-use and familiar stand-by's like the field full of exploding mecha. In addition the mecha design and combat is not always logical. New mecha like the `robot dolls' are introduced, are amazingly lethal, and then proceed to become `horde' troops once we lose interest. Even the gundams themselves differ from being unbeatable, to being tough, to being quite weak depending on the needs of the stories. And the designs are not entirely logical with lots of hand to hand weapons, projectile weapons (chain guns) which don't make much sense in space combat...and seem to run out of ammo only when required to. It really doesn't make sense that the gundams should be so invulnerable either. But then this is a show about `knights' fighting for their ideals, not ordinary grunts.

Still, at the end of the day, this is fairly interesting stuff although perhaps a bit long and convoluted. The writing is generally solid enough (although the `philosophies' are pretty weird) and the characters and dialogue have some depth and atmosphere. Indeed some of the characters are pretty cool, although a lot of them are fairly twisted types. There are some female characters, although they seem to be either brave supportive types or complete psycho nutters. The technical design (barring the super-mecha requirement) is detailed and believable and the action animation is fairly ambitious for a TV series. Given that this is a long series, and not that new, the production is really quite good. The character voices are strong, although there is quite a lot of shouting, and the music did not call itself to my attention.

I am suprised to find no reviews on the sites I source, and they had Gundam on TV! Actually Lord Carnage loves it, but his review is mainly synopsis.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:19 WST 2009