I have watched the complete Mobile Suit Gundam Wing series four times. In college, when it aired on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, later, when I found it on VHS tape, Streaming on the internet about four years ago, and then again recently. So it’s about time I spoke up!
Me and the SpartanSmurfs just completed the 49th episode, and they eagerly wait for me to set them up to watch Endless Waltz.
Watching it with them was a sublime experience. Each day we would talk about what was happening in the show, and what it meant. Usually right before bed, or at some other transitional time.
You see, this is a deep show. Unlike the garbage that kids watch nowadays. This is a real ANIME, with plot points that will confuse you if you don’t pay attention, with characters that grow and change, with political points that are not just fictional, but also relevant to the real world.
Case in point. Did you know that recently the United Nations discussed UNMANNED WARFARE! This is a major point of Gundam Wing. And the cartoon gave me something relevant to talk to the boys about.
I was surprised at how much the boys noticed the character growth over the course of the show. One said “Heero used to be so mean. Now he has become much nicer, and is talking about his feelings.”
And the younger of the two nearly cried when the main antagonist, Treize Kushrinada, was killed off. As Wufei removed his weapon from the Tallgeese II and we saw a splatter of blood and heard some final words, my son yelled “NOOOO!” right along with the characters, and rubbed tears from his eyes. He was also upset when Dorothy stabbed Quetra with her fencing sword.
And there have been countless discussions about “Who is the best Gundam pilot? If Heavyarms and Deathscythe got into a fight….???? Why doesn’t he\she just shoot him\her!” “Why would he self-detonate his Gundam?” and etc.
My oldest got some deeper insight. I explained to him from the outset that there were many things about the show that doesn’t explain itself…the show assumes a Japanese audience who will already know certain things. Like the Gundams overheat, instead of necessarily becoming so damaged that they can’t function. (Though that happens too, sometimes.) And that the Gundam Pilots are New Types, sort of like the next step in human evolution. This information isn’t explained….it is assumed the audience knows. SpartanSmurf #1 got a taste of looking at it from that other point of view, and understanding.
Then there are other stylistic things about it. The sparse J-Pop tunes, that make the battles seem like a music video sometimes. The use of profanity, and how they are to abstain from using it. The discussions about religion….Treize frequently discusses God. Heero says “I don’t believe in God.” The dichotomy of total pacifism verses dictatorship.
Next we are supposed to watch “Avatar” together. I am OK with Avatar. But it is no Gundam Wing. Maybe a few episodes in I will share some more thoughts! Till then, YOU should check out Gundam Wing. i will probably write a review of Endless Waltz next.