Gundam Wing – episodes 13 to 21

April 19, 2004 on 1:01 pm | In Gundam Wing | Comments Off on Gundam Wing – episodes 13 to 21

The Gundam pilots, and the story, have started their shift from Earth to space. These episodes become more focussed than any before, and for the most part are highly compelling.

In the earlier episodes, the writers compensated for the fact that the five pilots and their opposing factions weren’t really geographically or contextually placed near each other by writing in short scenes of exposition which did little other than to tell the viewer that that character was still there. Now the only characters featured are those relevant – so Relena can disappear for six episodes at a time, or there can be episodes almost entirely about her. It’s a much better way to approach the series because there’s a greater concentration – two or three character groups per episode, rather than five, six or seven.

As for the content of the episodes, the characters get to say more and are breaking out of their moulds as the dolls of Treize. Even Zechs, who actually works for Treize, is starting to act independently. The way that each of the five work both independently and as a group allows for many interesting dynamics, and the pairs are always shifting. Allies in one episode can be enemies for the greater good in the next, as not just
Zechs’ turns are great, as his own moral code is revealed, which is precisely what one likes to see in a “villainous” character. Zechs and Relena are two of the more interesting characters – they both have histories, which is more than can be said of the pilots, who chief appeal seems to have lied in their blank canvas nature.
Noin’s handling of a delicate issue between the two was rather awkward, and sadly Relena has not been seen since – and of all the characters, she has the most room to grow.
The symbolism in the Zechs scenes was meaningful without being cloying. His flight towards inevitability, perhaps freedom, was almost moving. I’m hoping that Zechs won’t be showing up again.

The best thing that has come out of space so far is Lady Une. When she first appeared, my first thought was ‘ooh, new character’. It was a total shock when she introduced herself as Lady Une. Instead of the vicious, singlemindedly loyal woman of Earth, she is attractive, kind, pacifistic and persuades with more than explosives and firearms.
The fact that she herself can’t reconcile her dual nature is sincere and perhaps the most compelling plot point so far. It’s difficult to see the resemblance between the two – Sayuri even altered her voice (Une is, they say, stronger in her uniform).
Lady Une is also the source of the series’ most confusing Japanese – it seems that Lady is actually part of her name, rather than a title. In the first episode featuring her, she was called “Miss Lady”, and later on she is referred to literally as “Colonel Lady Une”. The subtitles artfully dodge this issue, but it’s still audible.

Now that Heero is starting to voice opinions and act on his own initiative, Trowa is becoming more ambiguous, Duo becoming dangerously angry, Quatre becoming less pacifistic and Wu Fei … more without place, Gundam Wing obscures as it reveals, giving more reason to go boldly forward.

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