HUGE caveat right off the bat: I’m only two episodes in, so please realize that my opinions will probably change. Honestly, I hope they do. Several friends (who sometime have similar tastes) recommended it, so there’s at least a chance. (That said, I was 100% warned off this series by someone who I nearly always agree with, so there’s that.)
Anyway, as I said, I’m a couple episodes into Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, and I’ve been disappointed almost from the get go. But let’s start with the positives:
I quite like the opening theme song!
Ok, now that that’s out of the way…
Seriously though, beyond the fact that this has spurred me on to watch anime again (yay!), the theme song is far and away my favorite aspect of Gundam Wing.
Ok, so now on to my gripes. The first thing to jump out at me was the we-have-toys! buy-our-toys! aspect of the show. I realize that’s common in anime of the mech variety, but I don’t remember other Gundam series being quite so in-your-face about it. (Additional caveat: it’s been a number of years since I’ve watched any other Gundam, so I could be blocking that out. Selective memory ftw!) Regardless, the cartoon-as-a-commercial is something I’m willing to overlook (if it doesn’t get too much worse).
The toy thing aside, something was really bothering me about this series from the very beginning. I just couldn’t figure out what that was—until it hit me this morning. Gundam Wing has doesn’t start the way I’ve come to expect Gundam stories to start. All the series I’m familiar with follow the same basic path in the getting-going department. The inexperienced-young-boy-finds-mech-and-saves-world trope might seem a little tired, but I love it. That’s a huge part of why I gravitated to Gundam in the first place. Gundam Wing most emphatically does not start out this way. On the contrary, the five Gundam pilots are shown right away to be serious badasses.
I do not like this. I want my sweet, innocent protagonist—the naïve boy I can root for and watch as he develops into a world-saving ass-kicker.
Based on the first two episodes, I’m not going to get it. The closest thing I’ve gotten to an everyman-type-character is Relena, and she hasn’t had enough screen time for me to decide if I like her. Her motivations are certainly cloudy thus far.
But back to the Gundam pilots for a moment. Ok. So we’ve established that Heero, Duo, Trowa, Quatre, and Chang are all tough dudes. Well for me, badassery is simply not enough. They’ve gotta be likeable too, and I’m hoping the next few episodes will show me that they are, because I haven’t gotten that impression yet. Heero is not only an asshole, but a complete idiot. Though it still might work. Perhaps he’s starting off this way so I get to watch his redemption/development into an Ok Guy. I’m open to that. But even if that’s the case, I find him offputting as the ostensible main character in the first couple episodes.
Oh well. If nothing else, I’m grateful to Gundam Wing for reigniting my passion for anime. Today it inspired me to bump Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory to the top of my Netflix queue. I was going to watch that after I finished Wing, but I can see now that I’ll have to watch them concurrently. I want—nay, I NEED—a little taste of classic-style Gundam storytelling. Give me Kou and Nina Purpleton any day.