Like many Westerners my first introduction to the Gundam franchise was Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, thanks to it airing on Cartoon Network’s “Toonami” programming block. I thought it was great. I’ve seen a few Gundam series since, with only 8th MS Team and Gundam 00 holding my attention enough to watch it all the way through. Again, I haven’t seen them all so don’t judge me too harshly. I also enjoyed SD Gundam but I don’t know if I’m allowed to count that based on fan opinions.
So while I’m preparing for a convention with heavy anime influences among other media, I figured looking at Gundam Wing‘s intros might be interesting. I found out there are two, and I don’t mean that random bunch of clips Toonami used.
Yes, I found versions without credits. I will admit that it’s the song (even though I don’t know the words) that makes most of the reason I like this intro. It’s a song that pumps you up and gets you ready for the action to come. Gundam Wing did a good job balancing the discussion of war with robot-on-robot action and some very interesting characters. I think there was a bit more life in the acting (because there was more life in the dialog) than I’ve seen in some other Gundam shows, although at times it could still come off a bit dry. I think (but I have no proof) Ocean Group was still trying out a new editing technique to better match the lip movements of the Canadian voice actors to the animation. Otherwise, there’s too much about the series to into here. The link in the first paragraph will lead you to Wikipedia’s attempt although there may be spoilers.
This is actually a second version of the opening, after all five Gundam pilots were revealed. I wish Heero wasn’t the only one getting attention here (especially Duo, my favorite pilot), although the only character who gets any demonstration of who they are is Relena and that’s only her more gentle nature. Some of my usual disappointments with Japanese intros are here, but it does give you some idea about the show. It doesn’t go for the arty flairs and just shows off who is in the show. Then again, the two villains look funny in the pose they were given. 😀
As Japan does, a second intro was brought in later, as Relina reclaimed her homeland and convinced Heero and fellow Gundam Pilot Quatre (I can never remember his name) to protect it. I never saw this since Cartoon Network didn’t air the second one (I think this was either after the “Midnight Run” version stopped using the original intro altogether or if they just used the same one for the entire run) but it’s also pretty good.
I’m not as into it but it isn’t bad. The song here doesn’t pump me up as much as “Just Communication” although both songs were performed by pop group Two-Mix. Visually it gives you a bit more of the characters’ personae, but still too small a bite. I still think Starcom did it better. But it’s still not a bad intro. I still think the first one got me more excited for the show, however.