ANIME & MANGA - Review
10:56 - 5th March 2013, by David West

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Complete Collection Part 1

Gundam pilot Heero Yuy is ready to give his life to protect the Space Colonies, but he meets his match in the form of Relena Darlian, a girl whose dedication to peace is absolute. However, Relena has a secret even she does not know about, that may hold the key to stopping the schemes of OZ.

Originally aired in Japan in 1995, Gundam Wing understandably looks dated now. There is no CG at all and everything is rendered using traditional 2D animation techniques. That is forgivable given the age of the series, but less easy to swallow is the script, which has more holes than Swiss cheese. When Heero first comes to Earth, he enrols at Relena's school and, since she knows he is a Gundam pilot, threatens to kill her. This storyline goes nowhere and Heero's enrolment at the school seems completely pointless. That Relena instantly falls for the boy who just announced his intention to murder her is a bad case of plot dictating character. There are far too many contrivances in the plotting intended to create moments of melodrama, even if they make no sense in the wider story arc. The Gundam pilots squabble amongst themselves constantly, except for Trowa and Quatre who have some boys' love going on. Given that they are all on the same side, why the pilots turn their Gundams on each other is never explained.

In a recurring weakness of episodic anime, too many battles end inconclusively, just to fill the action quota for each episode while keeping the characters alive for the next instalment. After Gundam pilot Wufei blows up a military installation, Alliance member Noin goes in pursuit of him in a Mobile Suit, but inexplicably chooses not to shoot Wufei, even though he has just killed and wounded many of her men.

The design work on the show is generally solid, no less than ought to be expected for a mecha show. There are some unusual combinations of technologies - amongst the massive hi-tech Mobile Suits you will find blimps and fax machines. When you can build huge, humanoid machines capable of space flight, why use blimps for military transport?
The screenplay is never short on tongue-twisters for names. Colonel Trieze Khushrenada takes home the gold medal for sheer unpronounceability, although Quatre Raberba Winner is hot on his heels. The dialogue has a tendency to chase its own tail, with long passages of pseudo-meaningful nonsense that never actually say anything at all. The English voice cast grapple bravely with the verbose screenplay, which would stump the most gifted orator.

Despite these shortcomings, Gundam Wing is not without its strengths. The action comes in regular doses, lots of things explode and while the animation may be on the dated side, it has a certain charm as a result. For a stroll down anime memory lane, Gundam Wing makes for an energetic, if awfully talkative, companion.

The audio options are English, Japanese and French all in Dolby Digital sound, while there are optional subtitles in English and French. C'est trés jolie! Since Gundam Wing originated as a television series, the image ratio is the full-screen 1.33:1 format. The only extras are trailers for other Beez titles and karaoke versions of the opening and closing theme songs.

For best results, forget the plot holes and concentrate on the mecha action.
SCORE: 3/5
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