gundam wing ep 10

The Gundam Wing Re-Watch Odyssey continues…

This wasn’t exactly how I envisioned my second Gundam Wing post to go… I actually had wanted to do a post about the shipping, except it basically ends up being, “HELLO, I SHIP EVERYTHING, PLEASE LOOK AT THESE CHARTS TO SEE WHY.”, and that sounds like more effort than I feel inclined to devote at the moment. If you doubt me, please see below for ships I am cool with (the first one listed per line is the preferred iteration of the ship):

  • 2×4/4×2
  • 4×3/3×4
  • 3×1/1×3
  • Rx1/1xR
  • 2+1/2×1/1×2
  • 5+13
  • Rx9/R+9
  • 3+U/3xU
  • 1×4
  • 9xS/9+S/Sx9

If none of that made a damn bit of sense to you, you probably weren’t a teenage girl who was into anime between 2000 and 2005. My deepest sympathies. Let me quote from the Gundam Wiki to help you:

Many of the characters are named after numerals, particularly French numbers. Lady “Une” = One; “Duo” Maxwell = Two; “Trowa” Barton = Three (Trois); “Quatre” Raberba Winner = Four; “Wu” Fei = five (Chinese); “Zechs” Merquise = six (German); General “Septem” = Seven (Sept); Lucrezia “Noin” = nine (German) “Treize” Khushrenada = Thirteen; “Quinze” Quarant = Fifteen; “Milliardo” Peacecraft = Billion (Milliard)

Except forget about Lady Une being designated as ‘1’ because Heero is actually ‘1’ in the shipping scheme because of the other pilots. Lady Une is ‘U’. Relena and Sally Po also get designated by letter – ‘R’ and ‘S’ respectively. But, nooooo, this isn’t a shipping post! I don’t want to talk about all the ships tonight!

Ok, ok. So. Gundam Wing ladies. I have massive crushes on a lot of them. One of the things about this re-watch has been massive amounts of incredulity over how much American fandom has historically hated Relena. Sure, back in the day I found myself at odds with prevailing American opinion as regarded Relena, but re-watching it has made me even more disbelieving about the idiotic loathing of the girl. Relena’s fantastic! She comes from a very well-off home and has clearly lead a fairly sheltered life overall, but when push comes to shove and dear old Dad gets blown up, Relena really steps up and refuses to withdraw into her comfort zone. I’ve heard her accused of being a Mary-Sue before, but I disagree fairly heartily here, all the more so because we never hear this accusation lobbed at the likes of Heero or Trowa, and both fit the Gary Stu (or Marty Stu, if you like) bill more than Relena fits the Mary Sue role.

Another strike people tend to cast against her is the whole “Come back and kill me, Heero!” thing. On the other hand, she is fifteen, folks, and fifteen year olds tend to be kind of dopey and weird about romance like this (the whole dynamic between Heero and Relena is actually one of the few things that feels very realistic in the show, honestly). However, what strikes me most of all is that Heero to Relena at least initially stands in for a much larger thing – here’s this guy who suddenly drops into her world, doesn’t seem to care much what she thinks of him while everyone else around her just gushes at her and over her nonstop, and he’s this guy who is involved in something that goes way, way beyond the school grounds and is involved in something BIGGER. Of course Relena gets interested in him!

And then from there Dad gets blown up, her school gets attacked by mobile suits, she’s actually the daughter of a dead royal family, people get shot at, and, BAM!, BADASS. And she gets this lovely early 19th century-style French military uniform get-up:

gundam wing ep 14

And, kyaaa, kyaaaaaaaaaa, oh, Relena, why are you only fifteen?!

And since we have the lovely Noin up there in that picture, too, let’s get to her next. Noiiiiiinnnnnnnnnn. Noin has the hots for Zechs, which is kind of lame since Noin doesn’t have a weird fixation on helmets nor does she have an unwavering faith in their being the best form of disguise. But Noin spends a huge chunk of the show away from Zechs to be fully wonderful and admirable and all that jazz, fighting the bad guys (whoever they may be that week), and acting as a bit of a mentor to Relena. Noin is the one who intervenes on Relena’s behalf when Zechs is all, “Oh, nooo, I can’t let my imouto know about me because I’ve stained my hands and I’m impuuuuuuuure! Sadface, woe is me! Noin, won’t you help me out?”

(Actually, a big part of why I dislike Zechs and Treize so intensely is that they’re such lame-asses in comparison to the cool ladies who are in love with them; I don’t think either one measures up at all to how awesome Noin and Lady Une are. And I have a million reasons to loathe Wufei, but an additional piece is that he often gets paired with Sally Po in fandom and NO JUST NO NO NO NO NO.)

Anyway, Noin is cool.

gundam wing ep 29 b

But you know who is even cooler? Sally Po! Sally Po is my number one crush in the show and it bums me out we don’t get to see more of her. Sally Po starts off as Major Sally Po, a military doctor, before refusing to go along with the splitting of OZ from the United Earth Sphere Alliance. She becomes a guerrilla fighter, and, yeah, maybe it’s not totally realistic that a military doctor would be great with a rifle and with planting bombs, but, fuck, who cares? Watching her coolly take aim at a mobile suit with a rocket launcher is just flat-out, well, cool. That she’s so highly respected by her peers in the guerrilla movement adds a lot to it, too.

Honestly, I would be more than happy to watch a TV series that is entirely about Sally Po and Noin running around blowing things up and shooting stuff.

Ok, and, fine, maybe Sally Po’s hairstyle reminds me of Juri Arisugawa and I kind of had a crush on her when I was seventeen. I can live with admitting that.

lady uneOk, so I actually don’t really have a crush on Lady Une but I do think she’s totally fucking awesome even if her character arc kind of sucks in some ways (although not all ways). That’s Lady Une shooting a guy after she’s dropped him out of a plane, and I feel like that says it all. The fact is, if the guys just left it up to Lady Une the wars would be over because she’s totally of the scorched earth approach. The show itself pretty clearly wants us to think some of what she does is totally ruthless and awful, but she makes a lot of very sharp decisions that folks like Treize won’t even condescend to because, unlike Treize and a few others, she isn’t hung up on this idea that war is some noble thing, or that there’s a “gentlemanly” way to go about it. You want to get the Gundam pilots to fuck off? Threaten the colonies! Other characters sniff about how unsporting this is afterward, but, seriously, if they just went along with what Lady Une thought was best the damn war would be done.

I suppose, then, that what I like about Lady Une is her military mind. If I wanted to pick someone from the show to be a tactician for me, she’d be it, quite frankly. She’s not always on the money, but she’s very decisive, and one of the lessons repeatedly hammered into my head over the course of my military education is that a leader must be decisive – its no good to be late to the battle because you were perfecting the plan, you’re better off getting there on time with the plan not totally ironed down (chances are it’ll all end up having to get changed on the fly, anyway). I don’t quite have the stomach, I think, for some of Lady Une’s actions, but there’s no denying that this is a woman who would win wars if given free reign.

gundam wing ep 13And then there’s Catherine. I think Catherine gets left out of discussions of badass Gundam Wing women because she’s one of the only women in the show who isn’t a direct participant somehow in the war and politics game, but in some ways I think she’s the boldest and most confident out of all the women. That’s her punching Trowa in the face right before telling him off for trying to self-detonate. I’ll note that this is right after he’s attacked some OZ troops and they’ve returned fire – Catherine thinks nothing of going right across the firing zone and running up to give Trowa a piece of her mind for ever considering suicide.

Catherine is easily the lowest on the totem pole in terms of power and social standing out of all the characters in Gundam Wing, but she doesn’t waver from her convictions where virtually every other character does at some point. When Trowa is struck with amnesia later in the show and she finds him wandering in the rain, she immediately takes him in and chases both Duo and Quatre away when they come to try to bring him back to the fight. When he does return, she certainly isn’t thrilled, but she does support him in making his own decision.

(By the way, I most emphatically do not ship Catherine and Trowa – Catherine, after all, tells Trowa she’s his older sister when he makes his re-appearance, and, uh, no, that is NOT how anyone is going about trying to bed the guy… and, yeah, I know, anime, but the whole fucking-your-sibling-would-be-hot! thing wasn’t that much of a thing in anime in 1995 even if characters like Sasami were a harbinger of what was to come. You know how Nina totally didn’t tell Serge in Mai-Otome after he came out of his coma that he’d been raising her as his daughter? Yeah, THAT’S what you do, you don’t claim to them that you ARE related!) (And, yeah, I know, canonically Trowa does actually turn out to be her otouto, although it never comes up in the TV series of Endless Waltz.)

I don’t have a crush on Catherine, either, but she’s definitely one of my favorite characters in the show.

gundam wing ep 17 d

Well, and here’s the only guy for the crush list! And, um, you know, its not like I have a distressingly large amount of screencaps of Duo getting his ass kicked in some fashion…

gundam wing ep 23 c gundam wing ep 24 e gundam wing ep 23 d gundam wing ep 19 c

…this is one of those moments where I actually feel kind of awful and creepy. I blame CLAMP – they gave me a taste for emotionally and physically damaged boys and men at a young age! It isn’t my fault, I swear!

Of course, the other bit is that Duo is, uh, fifteen, and while it was perfectly acceptable for me to have a taste for him when I watched this for the first time at age fifteen, I am not twenty-five, so it isn’t quite socially acceptable anymore! Or, well, personally acceptable, either, to be totally honest, but, well, yeah. At the very least, I suppose I could just take heart in the fact that my crushes in Gundam Wing have pretty much confirmed what I already knew to be true from years of experience – I prefer older women and younger men!

So Duo is one of those self-loathing but outwardly cheerful guys, which sounds a lot like a lot of the characters Akira Ishida has voiced, and, hey, I have the hots for a lot of them, too, so it all makes sense! I do find it hard to not like Duo – he’s got pretty hair, he’s way more down to earth than the other Gundam pilots except Quatre, and he’s got the whole shinigami thing going, complete with the scythe. My favorite character in Sailor Moon? Hotaru/Sailor Saturn, and she carted around a weapon that was derived from a scythe, so that makes sense, too! Perhaps I’m just permanently mired in some of the mindset of adolescence, though, who knows… we’re supposed to get over fixations on death as we get older, aren’t we? But they told me I’d get over loving angsty crap, too, and that hasn’t managed to happen yet… my favorite books are the ones that left me despairing – I can tell you exactly the moment where The Remains of the Day broke my heart, and my favorite book last year totally gutted me.

I like Quatre a lot, too, but recently explained my difference in sentiment toward the two thus:

With Quatre, I’m all, “Come over here, I wanna give you cookies.”, but with Duo its, “Come over here, I wanna pull your hair.

I weep for what this says about me since I know its nothing good…

Anyway, in closing, here’s Treize in a bath-tub:

gundam wing ep 4 bUGH TREIZE, I HATE YOU SO MUCH, UGH.


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  1. Celeste says:

    I can’t believe there was a 5-screencap interlude in this post dedicated to Duo abuse, what kind of human being are you (the good kind)

    I really don’t have anything to add to this because truly all the ladies of Wing are badass. The only thing you didn’t do was talk about how Hilde is rad, but I can forgive you for that.

    I liked the whole reasoning behind WHY Relena fixates/crushes on Heero. It was something that never made much sense to me tbh – then again I suppose crushes never do. But I think you’re right, all of a sudden this guy (literally) shoots into her life like a meteor and she’s bored and rich and curious, of course. It makes perfect sense. As for Heero, I think it’s safe to say what attracts Heero to Relena is her sheer stubbornness. She’s probably the most stubborn person he’s met aside from himself.

    P.s. Noin/Sally Po FOREVER

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I figure that Heero’s initial interest in Relena is actually probably similar to hers in him – she’s representative of a way of life he’s never had, as she’s wholly secure in her own day-to-day continued existence and she’s surrounded by a hell of a lot of people who love her, family and friends. I think the interest continues, though, because she doesn’t start cowering and crying when he rips up her invitation or when he threatens to shoot her in the residence hall, since its not the expected reaction AND because it does demonstrate her own rock-solid force of personality.

      I’ll be honest, Hilde doesn’t really… well, to me she’s the weak link of the women. Yeah, you can give her credit for joining the military and being gung-ho, and you can give hr a lot of credit for being willing to chuck her own security out the window when her gut feeling tells her what’s going on is wrong, but I don’t think she holds a candle to the rest. I’m fine with her, but she doesn’t light my world on fire like the other ladies do.

      Also, um, Kickstarts for a twelve episode OAV of Noin and Sally Po kicking ass around the world?

      And, yeah, multi-screencap chronicle of Duo abuse = confirmed for worst person.

  2. Artemis says:

    Oh man, Treize’s bathtub scene cracked me up so much when I re-watched the anime for the first time! As did Zech’s truly hilarious posturing: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4118/4788483607_d73050af90.jpg. I also distinctly remember hating Relena back then, though I don’t now. In all fairness however, I think the majority of my earlier dislike for Relena could probably be put down to her English dub voice, which drove me up the wall (and possibly still would today).

    • A Day Without Me says:

      You’re actually the third person I’ve heard cite Relena’s dub voice as a reason for dislike. I don’t have much recall for the way the dub sounded, but of the little I’ve watched dubbed this time around, I feel like the boys sound like thirty and forty-somethings! The worst,though, is Sylvia Noventa – she only shows up for perhaps five collective minutes total, but for some reason the dub gives her a brash, almost smoker’s voice that makes no sense given that she’s about fourteen years old. Catherine’s dub voice is pretty bad, too.

      Zechs and Treize are so ridiculous… that bathing scene is honestly probably one of the weirdest scenes in the entire show.

      • Artemis says:

        I honestly can’t say exactly why I disliked Relena’s voice so much – all I know is that it had some quality that rubbed me the wrong way, like nails down a blackboard. It wasn’t even necessarily shrill, it just instinctively made me hate her (but especially whenever she yelled).

        • Celeste says:

          I think everyone who had their initial experience with Wing hated Relena on some level. Either because it was the zeitgeist of GW dub fandom at the time, or for some legitimate reason like her dub voice. Really, the dub did a great injustice to both her and Duo’s characters.

          It’s funny because after my rewatch she ranks pretty highly on my list of fucking rad female characters. Then again, you really have to be on-board for her kind of story – it’s the same character arc Rinoa from FFVIII went through; and it’s a character arc which emphasizes a particularly female brand of strength.

          p.s. that Zechs pose made me lose my shit when i rewatched it.

          • A Day Without Me says:

            Actually, as regards Relena, to be totally honest I was worried that she was going to bother me big time on re-watch because I had more or less forced myself to like her when I first watched the show. I saw very little of Wing dubbed even my first time around since one of my friends had a Hong Kong bootleg copy of the show and I just borrowed that to watch most of it (although I do have two VHS tapes from the series still!!!!!) so I have little contact with the bad dub voices. I pretty much told myself I couldn’t dislike Relena going into it because all the fanfiction was so nasty about her, so I couldn’t just hate her! As a result I was feeling nervous that her whole deal would feel way too anvilicious to me upon re-watch… so I’ve been soooo happy to discover that she’s just really fucking great!

            Anyway, on the matter of dub voices… sorry, but Sylvia Noventa has the WORST voice in the entire dub, THE WORST. Relena’s is pretty bad, as is Catherine’s, but, FUCK, just go listen to Sylvia’s voice!!!!!

        • A Day Without Me says:

          By the way, I have that same screencap of Zechs because it seemed like such a Fabio-in-a-helmet moment.

  3. r042 says:

    Well this post has convinced me to get round to watching Wing, so that’s that I guess. It’s a show that, like Fafner, Galient and more shamefully Rose of Versailles I’ve started 2 or 3 times and never actually finished.

    Time to find some DVDs of it and enjoy Just Communication, that shouty voice man who gets mad about Mobile Suits, and Duo abuse…

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Yes yes yes! Watch watch watch! People get so down on it, but its quite honestly a pretty solid show, and a lot of its pitfalls are ones that are fairly common to the genre overall.

  4. SStefania says:

    Your Gundam Wing posts are so entertaining that I might end up watching this. I only ever read the manga, which was easier to access when Wing was popular in my country, and the manga was awful. It is what you get when you try to compress 49 episodes into, wait, Wikipedia says it was three volumes? I could have swear that there were more. One was adapting Endless Waltz.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      There were a few different Gundam Wing manga; I’m not totally up on it anymore, but there was the Endless Waltz manga, the Zero manga (which was a prequel), and I think a couple of others, one of which may’ve covered the TV series. I remember next to nothing about them, although what I do recall of Zero makes me think it probably was pretty bad since it was a lot of the “give these thirteen year olds SUPER SERIOUS BACKSTORIES” stuff.

      Obviously I think the anime is worth giving a try.

  5. Caraniel says:

    My latest rewatch is going painfully slow since my free time appears to be evaporating, but I have to say that I’m gaining a new appreciation for the series this time. It has been a few years since my last rewatch, and this time I’m mostly watching it in the original japanese rather than the dub like I usually do. The voices definitely fit characters much better in the original language.

    I remember back when I was a teenager absolutely hating Relena……done a 180 on that now though – she is a brilliant character, definitely one of the better female characters to ever appear in a Gundam show. Duo’s also my favourite of the pilots – for basically the exact same reasons……I’m also blaming CLAMP for this.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      CLAMP freaking ruined me forever, its really awful. I definitely look back on some of the guys I’ve been involved with over the years and can go, “Yep, CLAMP’s fault, 100%.” At the same time, I suppose the CLAMP diet should’ve made me sympathetic to Zechs and Treize to an extent but I more or less can’t stand them… but Duo’s hair is much prettier than theirs sooo…?!?!

      I’m sorry to hear you haven’t had much time to re-watch! I’m trying to knock out the final nine episodes before I head overseas at the end of the week…. >_>

  6. Sorry for the English (I’m too lazy to write in another language, so I used a translator.: /) But I had to leave a comment! I recently watched Gundam Wing for the second time (in Brazil was displayed when I was 13 or 14 years) and was looking on the internet about the girls gundam wing and found this and I was so glad you wrote everything I thought about !! It is very interesting because watching the anime realized when the girls were very badass. It’s funny because I thought Relena very annoying when I was younger, and now watching thought: “wow this girl is so powerful !!! How not realize ?!”

    What about Sally? I love Sally! I came to the conclusion that she’s my favorite girl!
    What about Sally and Noin !? I totally agree!

    And Duo is my favorite character, and really love him, but he has some attitudes meaningless and when he picks up (happened many times …) I can not resist and end up finding a lot of fun.

    So that’s it. I loved it! What about CLAMP … I think I understand.

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