Recently “Yesterday’s” Comic reviewed the first two volumes of the manga Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, an adaptation of the anime (usually it’s the other way around). I was bothered by how condensed everything was, like they were trying to compact everything into three volumes. Tonight we look at the first episode of the actual series. Like many, this show was my first taste of the Gundam franchise, airing on Cartoon Network’s Toonami programming block, as well as the uncensored version airing on the “Midnight Run” edition of Toonami, shows edited only for television, not audience. For example, one person gives the line in tonight’s episode “I’ll kill you”, which was in Midnight Run but the regular Toonami had to change it to “I’ll destroy you”. That brings up a whole other discussion I won’t get into tonight.
My only problem with this version of the dub is that the Japanese credits are left, rather than translating them into English. There was an English remake of the credits (with the theme song in Japanese) for Toonami and home video release so I know they existed. I just don’t know why it was dropped. (They did restore the Japanese closing rather than an instrumental of the opening that TV used.) Still, it should introduce you to the world of mobile suits and the “After Colony” timeline. I’ll get more into that later.
Mobile Suit Gundam is a long-running anime franchise dating back to the 1970s. The universal theme is fighting may be necessary but war is a bad thing. At times the show can get rather black and white, people who love war versus people who fight to create peace. It’s almost as cartoonish as Captain Planet, only replace “pollution” with “war”. What makes the shows work are the characters and Gundam Wing has some of the most diverse portrayals in the franchise. There are multiple timeline and continuities, forming a Gundam multiverse. This and the movie sequel, Endless Waltz, are the only ones I know of that take place in the “After Colony” timeline.
You may think you know who the good and bad guys are but this series in particular likes to mess with that. Heroes turn into villains, with our five Gundam pilots caught in-between shifting alliances, finding their mission to end one group only means another seizing the empty space. There are no “newtypes” or any of the other strange powers that pop up in the franchise. It’s a war story about the nature of war. This is one of the few versions I like because it keeps the theme simple and has some of the best life in their characters. It was a good one to introduce Americans to the Gundam franchise.
If you want to watch more as of this writing it’s up in both dub and subtitle on Yahoo View, or if you’re a Hulu subscriber you can see it there. Sadly the home video is long since out of print as far as I know. I do recommend checking it out.