Probably-Too-Formative Fandoms: Gundam Wing

12/07/20



So November was… November. I’m honestly not surprised I didn’t get this blog post done in time to post on my monthly schedule as per this year’s goal (or October… or September… oops?), though at least I wrote it in November. That’s almost progress, right?


In any case, when trying to figure out a blog topic, a member of a fandom specific discord I recently joined (more about that in a minute) suggested I write about something related to fandoms or characters I relate to and/or love beyond belief. Something along those lines.


And, as I spent the end of October and beginning of November doing a rewatch marathon as election related self-care, what else could I talk about than Gundam Wing?


I don’t actually remember when I got into Gundam Wing. I know it aired in the 2000s here in the States, so I was at least in high school, but whether I was watching as it aired or after the fact, I’m not totally sure. I do know I fell for it about the same time I did Sailor Moon, but that neither were my first anime loves (that was probably Ronin Warriors amusingly – tho more about that show will likely follow in another blog post at some point after I finish its rewatch that I started this week – ohhhhhhh the 80s-tastic goodness I swear LOL). Gundam Wing has lasted the longest however, I think, but Sailor Moon is definitely a close second.


So just what is it about Gundam Wing that appeals to me so?


First off, I’ve long since realized found families are entirely my jam. Different people coming together for a common cause despite their differences, or even if they can stand to be around the other person but coming to trust them so much just… Oof it hits me right in the feels. And watching the pilots start off as strangers but pull together little by little to care for each other just gets me: Trowa caring for Heero while he’s in his post-selfdestruction coma; Trowa managing to pull Quatre out of Zero’s grasp to his own detriment and Quatre’s tears very much getting to amnesiac Trowa in return; Duo determined to befriend all the other pilots; Wufei struggling with his beliefs and purpose but still keeping Duo from giving up while they were imprisoned. I just love these guys kind of a lot.


Second (though this was the BIG split in the fandom), I love how the different women characters get to be strong in their own ways, and even how trying to live up to the image of “strength” men press upon them ends up toxic. Relena is a child here just like the pilots are and has to feel her way through a hell of a lot of personal tragedy to find out what she stands for with the influences of Romafeller and the revelations of her past and her brother and the pilots all giving her conflicting messages of who she should be. A lot of the fandom really hated her, but I loved that she was allowed to be flawed and grow and change her mind and stand up for her beliefs even as those beliefs changed. On the other side of the coin, Lady Une constantly changes herself for the man she loves up to the point of giving herself a major mental illness trying to deal with the conflicting messages he keeps giving her. We get to see it break her, and better yet in my opinion, we get to see who she becomes on the other side afterward, to see her in her role with the Preventers in Endless Waltz. She’s allowed to love him, but she gets to be herself instead of the image he pressed upon her. Even Dorothy (the other much-reviled-by-the-fandom lady character in this series) gets to grow and change. The depiction of women getting to be strong and flawed in so many different ways. We didn’t get the stereotypes here that I tend to see in a lot of other media, and I just really loved that, I think.


Third, and final, I think if I want to avoid this becoming a novel of a blog post LOL: the politics here were glorious. The juxtaposition of war and pacifism and why people choose to fight or feel they have no choice in the matter and how people should be governed and mercy versus blood lust and finding one’s own purpose and mission in the midst of all of this conflict just… What can I say? It’s a giant mecha robot anime that I have to pay attention and think about while I watch it. And even after years of enjoying the show, there are still things that catch me off guard and surprise me and make me reconsider my stances on the characters and their motivations, and I love that kind of a lot frankly.


It’s become the anime that I measure other new animes against. Which honestly isn’t fair. It has a different feel to me than most I’ve seen, including the other Gundam series interestingly enough. I may never feel quite the same way about something I watch (even live action TV shows actually) that I do when I rewatch this. It’s nostalgia, yes, but also just a reaffirmation of why I love it so, literally every time I watch.


And I love that about it.


So, what do y’all think? Have any of you seen Gundam Wing? Did you love it? Hate it? What are some of your probably too formative fandoms? Should I even continue this as a blog series? LOL


Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

All content © 2015 by C.L. McCollum unless otherwise noted.

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