For Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s look back at great science fiction of the past, we’re going to a little bit of a trip halfway across the world to Japan with the 1995 anime series, ‘Gundam Wing’.
I know that some of you reading this remember the days of Toonami and the Midnight Run on Cartoon Network, and thus you can remember the small phenomenon that ‘Gundam Wing’ was. For the rest of you, in this new world of weaboos and japanese-styled cartoons, this series may seem humdrum to you.
Still, it was America’s first real introduction to the world of Gundam, though ironically series was created in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Gundam franchise.
The story is set in an alternate universe, where Earth’s space colonies are poised to rebel against the Earthsphere Alliance. The contention between the two being that the Earth sustains life for the colonies, but also oppresses them in order to get the materials the colonies mine. Enter five young men who have the dubious distinction of being freedom fighters who are hellbent on freeing the colonies from the rule of Earth, and one pacifist leader who is determined to rid the colonies and Earth of weapons.
Okay, so if you’re sitting there reading that sentence and going “what?” I don’t really blame you. Just know that there is a war boiling between the Earth and the colonies and then strap yourself in for 45 episodes of consistent political intrigue that keeps turning everything you knew on its head. Also be prepared for robot-on-robot fighting, five teenage boys being terrorists, and knowing that the episode is ending when the frighteningly catchy song “Rhythym Emotion” starts to play.
Unfortunately, while for the time, it had exceptional animation and a new and interesting story to tell, much of the things that ‘Gundam Wing’ introduced have since been vastly improved upon. It can feel like an old pastiche of thoughts that have been addressed better in later animes. Still, it was a first in many respects. It had a cast of a characters from various places all over the world, interesting space station designs, and the gall to deal with mental disorders and the true politics of war and peace.
It remains a favorite of mine, so if you like giant robots and your Political Science 101 class, enjoy!