It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Gundam! (Gundam Wing episodes 1 and 2)
The Gundam series is to Japan what Star Trek is to America, a sci-fi adventure in space, with cool technology and battles. However, Gundam has giant robots, or Mecha, instead of aliens and spaceships. Since the 90s, Gundam has been making Alternate Universes for its shows, allowing for many new settings and ideas to be used without worrying about continuity.
Gundam Wing aired on Cartoon Network in the 90’s. It was hugely popular, part of this success is from the fantastic trailer Cartoon Network made for the show:
The reaction to the show in Japan is similar to what happened when Star Trek fans saw the J.J. Abrams reboot. Existing fans were torn between hating it for being different, or liking its new approach to the old formula. New fans proclaimed it as the Greatest Thing Ever, which didn’t help its reputation.
In the future, humanity has united into the Earth Alliance. The Earth Alliance has led an effort to construct massive space stations called space colonies, that people could live in. The space colonies seek to be independent, but the Earth Alliance does not agree with that. They begin using giant robot armors called Mobile Suits to occupy the colonies. In an act of rebellion, the colonies send 5 prototype Mobile Suits to Earth, disguised as shooting stars. This is the opening scene of the series, Operation Meteor.
The prototype Mobile Suits, known as Gundams, began a guerilla battle to defeat the Earth Alliance. Between these two sides is the mysterious OZ, a weapon-making organization that makes Mobile Suits for the Earth Alliance, and seems to have their own agenda. Over the first two episodes, the pilot of the Wing Gundam, Heero Yuy, begins to integrate into Earth society, while attempting to retrieve his Wing Gundam after it was intercepted by the Alliance.
The Good Guys:
Heero Yuy: Heero seems like he is supposed to be a suave, cool James Bond-like character. However, he comes off as more of a jerk and a sociopath. His maniacal laughter certainly doesn’t help things. <insert image>
Relena Darlian: She is the only person to have discovered that Heero is the pilot of the Wing Gundam.Seems to be a fairly generic, ordinary girl. I doubt she will stay that way, especially since her father appears to be involved in Operation Meteor.
Duo Maxwell: So far, he seems like what Heero was supposed to be. He’s cool, upbeat, pilots an awesome Gundam, and has a grim reaper motif. However, he has not had much screentime, outside of fight scenes.
Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner, and Wufei Chang: These three are the remaining Gundam pilots, but they have not had enough screen time to be more than names. Trowa seems to have a connection with animals, Wufei seems to be the rebel of the group, and Quatre seems to be the token nice guy.
The Bad Guys:
Zechs Marquis: The rival character for the Gundam Pilots. He spouts “deep” one liners about being a “true soldier”, but has yet to do anything that could back up these statements.
Treize Khushrenada: Hasn’t done much, but he claims to be the leader of OZ. For the apparent main villain, he seemed remarkably ethical and polite during the Earth Alliance meeting in episode 1. He puts emphasis on the value of the pilots lives over their machines.
Pretty standard for the time. No really bad moments, but some weird faces.
The Opening Theme, Just Communication, is incredibly 90’s. Heero’s theme (below) makes all of his fights much cooler.