#1 The dub
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing has one of those dubs that, I feel, is a major reason for why many anime fans have long opposed the idea of watching anime in English. I don’t mean to dredge up the ancient ‘dubs vs. subs’ debate here. Just rest assured that you are best off going with the subbed version of Wing, if you intend to watch it at all.
Performances are all over the place. Some characters sound fine and feel like effort was put into their delivery, others sound so phoned in that it becomes laughable. Of the main characters, Relena definitely gets the worst of this. Her dialogue already tends to sound whiny and obnoxious. Then, whenever she has to shout her lines, it almost sounds like the actress is trying to hold back. As if she had to worry about annoying the neighbors if she put too much passion into the delivery.
For 1995, I am generally willing to put up with some subpar voice acting. It”s just that I have seen much better dubs come out of this era for shows with a much smaller profile.
#2 Hamfisted characters
I hate it when people tell me that I should expect characters to be poorly written when I watch shounen anime. Just because a show is meant for boys doesn’t mean that they are doomed to having bad characters. The original Mobile Suit Gundam stands as a shounen masterpiece; making it a shame that Gundam Wing can’t live up to that legacy.
5 Gundam pilots are individually brought to earth and told to do whatever they can to liberate the colonies from the military regime that rules Earth. All of these pilots are young teenagers, each with a laundry list of mental problems and one-note personalities. Of these, I found the most objectionable to be Chang Wufei. A boy who appears like an honorable, Chinese-warrior archetype, only to be most short-fused twit in the entire show.
Relena, again, deserves special mention for being particularly bad in this regard. While she does grow into a more tolerable character, the early episodes present her as this completely unreasonable rich girl. She ends up finding one of the pilots, Heero Yuy, after he just landed on Earth. She knows he is an enemy of her people, yet becomes obsessed with constantly being near him. There is this one scene where she ditches her own birthday party because somebody said they had seen him somewhere. She rushes out there and he tries to kill her, because again, he is an enemy. She is then saved by a passer-by who shoots Heero, who she then gets upset at for shooting “her friend”. After that, I couldn’t take her serious anymore.
The main cast does not have exclusive rights to poor characterization. Lady Une is a minor antagonist who has this basic “split personality disorder” thing going on. All the scientist characters look like they were rejected designs from a Megaman game and have personalities to match. And the entire Romefeller Foundation, supposedly this Illuminati-like organization of aristocratic rulers of Earth, are spineless slugs with no charisma.
#3 Recycling ideas
Gundam Wing was the second time the MSG series would deviate from the Universal Century setting, establishing the After Colony timeline. It’s a universe where characters are designed with a more 90s flair, but despite the bold move in establishing a new universe, it seems Sunrise was a little too attached to its old ideas.
Like Mobile Suit Gundam, the story concerns a war between the forces of Earth and those of discontent space colonies, during which both sides reveal themselves to have questionable morality. A number of details in how this war proceeds are eerily similar, including the entire finale of the show being a less interesting version of a major plot-twist from Universal Century.
The most blatant example of recycling is in how Gundam Wing flat-out rehashes Char Aznable as the main rival for the Gundam pilots. It wouldn’t be the first or last time that Sunrise uses characters with similar traits to Char, but Wing‘s Zechs Merquise is both visually and lore-wise almost identical. Their backgrounds are as close a match as you can get and, despite lacking the red mobile suit, Zechs wears a similar black-red military getup and mask.
4 thoughts on “3 Reasons To Skip: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”
*looks at #3* Have you not heard of G Gundam?
Otherwise, I very much agree.
You are absolutely correct. I haven’t seen G Gundam yet and missed it while fact-checking this review, so this is definitely a mistake. I’ll make a correction to rectify it.
Thank you for letting me know Scott!
Ooooooh, them’s fightin’ words! 😉
I actually love how nonsensically Relena behaves throughout the whole series. She’s hilarious! I agree with you about Wufei though. He sucks.