Notice: This review covers both the series and Endless Waltz, the movie finale. I won’t bother making two different ones for the same story.
Wing is basically the most angry-filled Gundam ever made. Watching it is making you feel like you want to beat someone up for wearing a blouse you don’t like. There is so much hate and insanity in this series, you are even wondering where the hell pacifism fits in all this mess. At the same time, this is what makes Wing to be so memorable. The gap between battle-frenzy bishonens and calm pacifistic bishoujos is so big, you don’t even hear your echo in there. Which is somewhat cool.
First of all, like all Gundam shows, this is basically an alteration of the original. Director Tomino is pretty much messing around with the details every five years and makes these variations, just so he can sell the exact same plastic toys, colored differently. In this particular case he said “I will take out the noble Newtypes theme which could hear the dead and thus feel the tragedy of war and I will replace it with HATREEEED! LOTS OF IT! HATE-HATE-HATE! He was probably still pissed off with the way Gundam Victory turned out to be and the country was going through an economic crisis and everybody was emo. He most likely listened to a song like this one in endless repeat in order to get in the proper mood …
… and the result was Wing.
So the story is as usual a war between the space colonies and the Earth Federation. The twist is that the entire colony army is nothing more than five super-ultra-God level Gundams, driven by five totally crazy-angsty-hatred filled teenagers. So we pretty much have five kids wasting billions of elite soldiers, robots, bases, etc. Why? Because they HATE THEEEEM! They hurt their homes and killed their families THEY MUST ALL DIEEEE! No wonder they have a few screws loose up there. Like, laughing while killing people and claiming they are the gods of death, being amnesiac circus performers, going crazy after having flashbacks of fire and explosions, and many more not so family oriented situations. I must say, they did a great job portraying all that and even excuse the apathy they show towards human life.
At the same time, there are other things going on to further point out this madness by creating a bold antithesis. For example, the Earth forces are also divided into their own respected parties, and while the youths go Freddy Kruger on their allies, they sit in some table and discuss politics and treaties, and comities, and degrees and LOTS OF BORING STUFF; GET OVER WITH IT AND GO BACK TO THE SENSELESS KILLING! Seriously, the scriptwriter made the politicians to feel like something you watch to fall asleep, whenever they are talking, your eyelids just start to get heavier. These completely boring parts are what in fact work as a trick to make you prefer the violence over a peaceful and civilized meeting with the warring factions. Who would want to listen to all those idiots? Just keep blowing stuff up until none of them disagrees with you. HATE-HATE-HATE-ANGST-ANGST-ANGST!!!
The trick does not stop there; no sir, they went further on to even more sinister antithesis. The main girl in the series is dead-set-on-peace-and-love-for-all, to the point she is as crazy as the Gundam pilots. I mean, seriously, she finds one of them injured, he gets up, kills the paramedics who came to help him, steals their ambulance, storms her birthday party, threatens to kill her, blows up her homeland, kills her relatives… and she falls in love with him and wants to smooth his cold heart. As well as to NOT fight for world peace. Does that make the slightest sense? Nope, but she too exists as an excuse to further prove how everybody in this show is an asylum escapee.
… Plus there is HATE!
In case you didn’t figure it out yet, the storyline is pretty weak in this variation. Mostly slow and predictable since the five youths are the crazy off-springs of Chuck Norris and always win or survive no matter how dangerous a fall or an explosion is. Plus their robots don’t even fight. They are playing with the enemy! They are so damn overpowered, they are simply unbeatable, or repairable in case their left shoulder gets a dent after a nuclear bomb explodes in their face. There are a few cases where they try to throw in a few plot twists, such as some military assholes scheming to kill all their rivals by letting them be ambushed by the Gundams and then blaming the evil colonies and bringing about a dictatorship in the name of peace and liberty. Makes no sense but then again neither did Adolf Hitler when he pulled the same trick. Whatever, it worked and offered a small twist for a few episodes before the plot switches to the Gundams now senselessly killing the dictatorship armies. HATE-HATE-HATE!
There is also the trademark masked man of the series. This Char-wannabe is also plotting his own massacre from the sidelines and even gets to pilot his own super ultra robot later on, effectively becoming the sixth Power Ranger. Just like everybody else in the show he is insane and bent on revenge for some massacre. HATE-HATE-HATE! So as you can see there are lots of parties in the story, plotting to gauge each other’s eyes out. The way it plays out is simplistic but at least they don’t leave it linear all the way.
Speaking about the duration, as usual the show didn’t deserve 50 episodes (no Gundam ever did) just to tell a simplistic tale of HATREEED and TEEN AAAANGST!!! At the same time it tries to fill in all the boring parts with character coloring. There are segments where the pilots are separated and are given their own spotlight just to get to know them better. There is very little going on in these parts but at least it helps to understand a bit better their motives. How crazy they are, that is.
The animation is as always amongst the best its era had to offer and outside of some blobby faces and motions here and there, it is very consistent and detailed. The action scenes are cool in overall, although they are one-sided most of the time and tend to become boring for being so damn predictable. YEAH AS IF THE GOD OF DEATH CAN LOSE BY ANTS! Other than that, it is standard cool mecha action. The weaponry they use is damn crazy and the variety the secondary mecha have is huge to keep you wondering how the next robotic Pokemon looks like.
Furthermore the animators tried to attract even some female audience in this show by making the main pilots being bishonens. You wouldn’t believe the naughty things I was hearing from fujoshis and their ridiculous yaoi fanfics while the series was still in its prime. I mean these youths were clearly not attracted to chicks, even when most girls in the series love their bad boy personality. Plus they kept most of the time bonding as buddies only with each other. How hard would it be to assume they were… well…
I really liked the main opening theme; I still listen to it today. The rest of the songs are ok too, nothing bad; the combo of pop and electronic works within the context of the show. The dialogues may be hard to tolerate half the time, as they are angst-filled dribble, shallow pacifism, or boring politics. Nothing terrible here either.
In all, it isn’t a bad Gundam variant but it definitely lacks the maturity and the context of the original universe. Its value is also very low as the story is too linear and simple to deserve a second watch. Furthermore, all its good parts were recycled later on into the Gundam 00 variation with better animation (you know, angel-themed overpowered mechas, psychotic bishonens, pacifist women, scheming military, and so on). At the same time it may have lots of nostalgia value for those who were in their teens during the 90’s, as Wing is the first Gundam to be broadcasted to most western countries in primetime. It basically told the world that the franchise exists and made a lot of fans to further look for the rest of the alternative universes, and specials, and movies, and summaries, and parodies. All five hundred of them…
It is a half-enjoyable universe and mostly remembered for its oozing HAAATE! But nowhere near as well directed or that artistic as some other Gundam series, such as Turn-A or 08th MS.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (good looking)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 7/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 0/2 (it tries a bit in social and personal drama but the superpower battles are killing it)
Conclusion 2/2 (solid)
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Presence 2/2 (macho)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 2/2 (everybody has some)
Development 0/2 (poor and messy)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 7/10
Historical Value 2/3 (very famous)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little actual plot)
Memorability 4/4 (well, it has a bit of everything so it’s easy to forever remembering it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 1/1 (looks great)
Sound 1/2 (good songs but the dialogues are usually meh)
Story 1/3 (great concepts but shallow presentation)
Characters 0/4 (they are shallow)