Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

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Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Vol 1.jpg
North American DVD cover of Gundam Wing Volume 1, featuring the protagonist Heero Yuy and the titular mobile suit Wing Gundam
新機動戦記ガンダムW
(New Mobile Report Gundam Wing)
Genre Military science fiction, Mecha
Anime television series
Directed by Masashi Mukaeda
Studio Sunrise
Licensed by
Network TV Asahi
English network
Original run April 7, 1995March 29, 1996
Episodes 49 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Operation Meteor
Directed by Masashi Ikeda
Studio Sunrise
Licensed by
Released April 25, 1996October 10, 1996
Episodes 4 (List of episodes)
Manga
Illustrated by Kōichi Tokita
Published by Kodansha
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Comic Bom Bom
Original run April 1995April 1996
Volumes 3
Manga
Battlefield of Pacifists
Illustrated by Kōichi Tokita
Published by Kodansha
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Haoh Magazine, Comic Bom Bom
Published 1997
Volumes 1
Manga
Episode Zero
Written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Illustrated by Akira Kanbe
Published by Gakushukenkyusha
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Anime V
Published 1997
Volumes 1
Serial novel
Frozen Teardrop
Written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Gundam Ace
Original run August 2010 – ongoing
Volumes 6
Manga
The Glory of Losers
Written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa
Illustrated by Hajime Katoki
Tomofumi Ogasawara
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Gundam Ace
Original run September 2010 – ongoing
Volumes 7
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (新機動戦記ガンダムW(ウイング) Shin Kidō Senki Gandamu Wingu?, lit. "New Mobile Report Gundam Wing"),[1] is an anime series in the mecha genre directed by Masashi Ikeda and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa. It is one of the alternate universe Gundam series, taking place in the "After Colony" timeline. As with the original series, the plot of Gundam Wing centers on a war between Earth and its colonies in space.

The series aired in Japan on the terrestrial TV Asahi network. It ran for 49 episodes, beginning on April 7, 1995, and ending on March 29, 1996. It received multiple manga adaptations as well as video games. Two original video animation were produced including a retelling of the series, Operation Meteor, and a direct sequel, Endless Waltz. In 2010 Sumizawa started writing the novel Frozen Teardrop, another sequel from the series. While the series fared modestly well in Japan, in the United States it found greater success and popularized the Gundam franchise in the West.

Plot[edit]

In the distant future, Mankind has colonized space, with clusters of space colonies at each of the five Earth-Moon Lagrange points. Down on the Earth, the nations have come together to form the United Earth Sphere Alliance. This Alliance oppresses the colonies with its vast military might. The colonies wishing to be free, join together in a movement headed by the pacifist Heero Yuy. In the year After Colony 175, Yuy is shot dead by an assassin, forcing the colonies to search for other paths to peace. The assassination prompts five disaffected scientists from the Organization of the Zodiac, more commonly referred to as OZ, to turn rogue upon the completion of the mobile suit prototype Tallgeese.

The story of Gundam Wing begins in the year After Colony 195, with the start of "Operation Meteor": the scientists' plan for revenge against OZ. The operation involves five teenage boys, who have each been chosen and trained by each of the five scientists, then sent to Earth independently in extremely advanced mobile suits (one designed by each of the scientists) known as "Gundams" (called such because they are constructed from a rare and astonishingly durable material called Gundanium alloy, which can only be created in outer space). Each Gundam is sent from a different colony, and the pilots are initially unaware of each other's existence.

The series focuses primarily on the five Gundam pilots: Heero Yuy (an alias, not to be confused with the martyred pacifist), Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner, and Chang Wufei. Their mission is to use their Gundams to attack OZ directly, in order to rid the Alliance of its weapons and free the colonies from its oppressive rule. The series also focuses on Relena Peacecraft, heir to the pacifist Sanc Kingdom, who starts off as a seemingly ordinary girl until she gets caught up in the conflict between OZ and the Gundams, becoming an important political ally to the Gundam pilots (particularly Heero) in the process.

Production[edit]

The making of Gundam Wing was influenced by Mobile Fighter G Gundam with the idea of having five main characters. Originally, the series was meant to be titled Gundam Meteor after "Operation Meteor." Bandai suggested having a Gundam with the ability of transforming into a plane-like form. The writers worked together for one week conceptualizing the characters, mobile suits and first 40 episodes. Director Masashi Ikeda reacted to their work comparing it to the first Gundam series, Zeta and G all at once.[2] The series had a bigger focus on drama rather than mechanical which the staff found as one of the reasons for the show's popularity within the female demographic.

Writer Katsuyuki Sumizawa expressed difficulties in the making of the story as opposed to his work in novels due to the fact he relayed duties to other members. However, the handling of the five characters was made easy due to the setting.[2] Early sketches of the protagonists by Ikeda were handled by character designer Shuko Murase. He was cast due to his work with Ikeda in Samurai Troopers. The director wanted the designs to appeal to the female demographic. Originally, Duo Maxwell was set as the protagonist but was replaced by Heero Yuy. The staff members noted Heero was too different from previous Gundam protagonists and were afraid he would be unpopular. The voice casting was more difficult to do than the ones from previous series due to the different atmosphere.[2]

Following the series' ending, the staff members were asked by the studio to make a sequel due to its popularity. Neither Tomioka nor Ikeda intended to make a sequel for Gundam Wing. However, Sumizawa was bothered by the finale as he felt the series ended abruptly. Tomioka asked Sumizawa if he could write a continuation which he agreed.[2]

Media[edit]

Anime[edit]

Gundam Wing was not the first series in the Gundam franchise to be dubbed and distributed in the U.S. (the compilation movie version of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, as well as the OVAs War in the Pocket and Stardust Memory, preceded it by about two years), but it is well known as the first Gundam series to be aired on American television.[3] The series aired on Cartoon Network's weekday afternoon programing block Toonami, premiering on March 6, 2000, and ending on May 11 of the same year.[4] In the first extended promo leading up to the series' premiere, voice actor Peter Cullen narrated the back story, evoking memories of Voltron's opening credits. The promo was said to be so riveting that Bandai decided to use it as the official promo for the series.[5] Due to the closure of Bandai Entertainment, the series was out-of-print for sometime. On October 11, 2014 at their 2014 New York Comic-Con panel, Sunrise announced they will be releasing all of the Gundam franchise, including Gundam Wing in North America though distribution from Right Stuf Inc., beginning in Spring 2015.[6]

It was broadcast in two formats; an edited version shown in the daytime on Toonami and an uncut version shown past midnight as part of Toonami's "Midnight Run." Examples of the edits included the removal of blood, profanity, atheism, and the word "kill" being replaced with the word "destroy" (this was extended to Duo's nickname, "The God of Death," changed to "The Great Destroyer," forcing the alteration of two episode titles), though the word "death" was mostly left intact. All Gundam Wing episodes have been released to VHS and DVD in the U.S. Differences between the two video systems is that the VHS episodes contain the edited version while the DVD episodes contain the uncut version.

OVAs[edit]

After the series ended, two OVAs, compiling various scenes from the series along with a few minutes of new footage, were released in 1996 as Gundam Wing: Operation Meteor I, II and III. These OVAs have never been released outside of Japan.

A three-part OVA titled Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz was produced in 1997 as a sequel to the TV series; plot-wise, it brought the "After Colony" timeline to a close. The OVA was also notable for its massive redesigns of the Gundams, such as the Wing Gundam Zero's new "angel-winged" appearance.[7] A compilation movie version of Endless Waltz (featuring additional footage, alterations of the music score and a different ending theme) was later released in Japan on August 1, 1998. The OVA version of Endless Waltz aired on Cartoon Network in the U.S. on November 10, 2000. Both the OVA and movie versions of Endless Waltz were later released together on DVD.[8]

Manga[edit]

In addition to manga adaptations of the series and Endless Waltz, several manga sidestories have also been produced. Episode Zero is a prequel, detailing the events leading up to series; the stories have been collected in a volume that also contains one brief open-ended interlude, Preventer 5, that details an operation that occurs after Endless Waltz.[9] A coincident storyline to the series is presented in Last Outpost (G-Unit). Several sequel manga, occurring between Gundam Wing and Endless Waltz, have also been written: Blind Target, Ground Zero, and Battlefield of Pacifists.[10][11][12]

The Gundam Wing, Battlefield of Pacifists, and Endless Waltz manga series were published in English by Tokyopop, while Blind Target, Ground Zero, and Episode Zero were published by Viz Communications. Another sequel manga detailing the future of the colonies entitled Tiel's Impulse was printed in 1998 and has not been published in the United States.

In September 2010, Gundam Ace magazine began serializing a manga titled New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz: The Glory of Losers that retells the events of the anime while incorporating facts from Episode Zero and the novel Frozen Teardrop. The manga also uses Hajime Katoki's Gundam redesigns from Endless Waltz and other subsequent media, instead of the original Kunio Okawara designs featured in the anime.

Novelization[edit]

In early 2010, Gundam Ace magazine announced they would serialize a "New Gundam Wing Project".[13] The project was eventually revealed to be a novel, titled New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Frozen Teardrop. Written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa, the novel begins a new timeline, following the "Mars Century" calendar ("MC") which was the successor of the previous "After Colony" calendar.[14] According to an interview with the author, the novel spans backwards into the AC century and the Gundam pilots, Relena, and their children make appearances.

Other media[edit]

A fighting video game titled Shin Kidō Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Duel was developed by Natsume and released for the Super Famicom in Japan on March 29, 1996.[15] A second fighting game titled Shin Kidō Senki Gundam Wing: The Battle was developed by Natsume and released for the PlayStation in Japan on October 11, 2002 as the 13th volume of the Simple Characters 2000 series.[16] Gundam Wing characters and mecha have also appeared in several other video game series including Super Robot Wars, Gundam Battle Assault, Another Century's Episode, Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam.

Upon the series' debut in North America, Gundam Wing received a large roster of licensees for merchandise including wallscrolls, apparel, school supplies, skateboards, trading cards, model kits and action figures.[17]

Soundtracks[edit]

Openings
Ending
  • "It's Just Love!" by Rumi Onishi (ep. 1–49)
  • "Just Communication" (Instrumental Version) by Kow Otani (Toonami Broadcast, ep. 1–49; the credits aired over an amended version of the show's first opening)[20]
Insert songs
  • "Just Communication" by Two-Mix (eps. 3 & 49)
  • "Rhythm Emotion" by Two-Mix (eps. 36, 38, 39, and 41)

Reception[edit]

Gundam Wing was only a modest success in Japan during its initial run; it, along with G Gundam, was the only Gundam series of the 1990s which managed an average television rating over four percent. It was ranked number two in Animage magazine's Anime Grand Prix in 1996 and was also ranked number 76 in the publication's list of the 100 most important anime of all time.[21][22] The series is famous within dōjinshi where authors tend to depict romantic relationship between several of the protagonists.[23][24]

Gundam Wing was a greater success in North America, however, and is credited with single-handedly popularizing the Gundam franchise among Western audiences.[25] Just over a week after its premiere on Cartoon Network on March 6, 2000, the series was the top rated program in all age groups.[26] During the summer of 2000, it remained as the first or second top-rated show among kids and teens during its twelve airings per week on the Toonami block. The initial airing of the OVA Endless Waltz on November 10, 2000, was the channel's second highest-rated program ever at the time, only being topped by the premiere of Funimation's in-house dub of Dragon Ball Z.[27]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The translation New Mobile Report Gundam Wing is used by the R2 DVD releases in Japan, and thus is used extensively by the English-language fanbase in order to differentiate it from the Universal Century Gundam series. While the use of the term "report" in the title is not necessarily incorrect, it does not convey the full meaning of the original-language terminology. The Japanese word senki (戦記) has a specific meaning of "military history." Some official translations in the past have used the translation New Mobile War Chronicle Gundam Wing as well, and some of the official art uses The New Mobile History Gundam Wing, and at least one Japanese book has used Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.
  2. ^ a b c d 5体のガンダムから始まった「ガンダムW」の企画 (in Japanese). Gundam W. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Mobile Suit Gundam Wing". Mecha Anime HQ. Archived from the original on 2006-11-18. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  4. ^ "New Mobile Report Gundam Wing". Mecha Anime HQ. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  5. ^ "Gundam Wing trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  6. ^ "Sunrise Partners with Right Stuf to Release Gundam Franchise Stateside". Anime News Network. 2014-10-11. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  7. ^ "Wing Zero Custom". Mecha Anime HQ. Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  8. ^ "New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz". Mecha Anime HQ. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  9. ^ "Gundam Wing: Episode Zero". About Gundam Wing. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  10. ^ "Gundam Wing: Blind Target". About Gundam Wing. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  11. ^ "Gundam Wing: Ground Zero". About Gundam Wing. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  12. ^ "Gundam Wing: Battlefield of Pacifists". About Gundam Wing. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  13. ^ 05:09 PM (2010-04-23). "New Gundam Wing Project To Be Serialized In Gundam Ace – Jinxworld Forums". 606studios.com. Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  14. ^ Prologue Synopsis http://www.zeonic-republic.net/?page_id=151
  15. ^ Famitsu staff. "SFC 新機動戦記ガンダムW 〜ENDLESS DUEL〜" [SFC New Report Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Duel] (in Japanese). Famitsu. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ Bandai staff. "PS SIMPLEキャラクター2000シリーズ Vol.12 機動武闘伝Gガンダム THE バトル" [PS Simple Characters 2000 Series Vol. 13 New Report Mobile Sui Gundam Wing: The Battle] (in Japanese). Bandai. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Gundam Wing Phenomenon Grows With Addition of New Licensees as Television Ratings and Toy Line Sales Surge.". Business Wire. June 13, 2000. Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  18. ^ "Gundam Wing opening 1". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  19. ^ "Gundam Wing opening 2". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  20. ^ "Gundam Wing Toonami ending". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  21. ^ "月刊アニメージュ【公式サイト】". Animage.jp. May 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-30. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Animage Top-100 Anime Listing". AnimeNewsNetwork.com. January 15, 2001. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  23. ^ Peele, Thomas (2007). Queer Popular Culture: Literature, Media, Film, and Television. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 187–190. ISBN 978-1403974907. 
  24. ^ Pullen, Christopher (2010). LGBT Identity and Online New Media. Routledge. p. 188. ISBN 978-0415998673. 
  25. ^ Oppliger, John (2007-10-12). "Ask John: Which Gundam Series Have Had the Most Impact on Anime?". AnimeNation. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  26. ^ "Gundam Wing Ratings". Anime News Network. March 15, 2000. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  27. ^ "Gundam Wing leaving Toonami?!". Anime News Network. December 12, 2000. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mobile Fighter G Gundam
Gundam metaseries (production order)
1995–96
Succeeded by
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
Preceded by
none
Gundam After Colony timeline
AC 195
Succeeded by
Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz