Tabby (
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 01:09:56 -0700

>I think that to look at the "bishonen-ness" of gwing and thus label it not
>really gundam is wrong. It's not Gwing's fault that the look used by the
>character designers was one of cute boys -- look at the other series
>Sunrise was producing at the time. Ryu Knight, Dirty Pair Flash, Gundam X,
>Cyber Formula, and of course,most infamously, Reideen the Superior. The
>current trend is to draw in a manner that will appeal to girls as well as
>boys -- the purpose is _always_ to sell merchandizing. It's just that this
>particular Gundam was marketed in such a way as to get the girl crowd
>involved as well -- the aforementioned plushies, pencil boards, character
>artbooks, the Newtype collection, etc.

Again, my knowledge of GW is superficial at best, but I no longer have any
problem with the bishonen aspect of the characters. Originally I felt it
undermined the show, but after seeing the expanded fan appeal, I can hardly
fault GW for enhancing its appeal with one marketing device(bishonen)when
it was based on another(the recognizability of Gundam mecha). Incorporating
bishonen to revive an anime franchise seems very reasonable, especially
compared hiring an upstart american designer for the mecha and
incorporating old mecha with a hackneyed plot device.

>Gundam Wing had a strong storyline on its own. It has within it much of
>what original Gundam had -- the ambiguity of "rightness", the distaste for
>war (I think that this particular series, taking the ending Endless Waltz
>offers, goes the farthest in rejecting war altogether), even the blatant
>Char ripoff (okay, that's not something that really lends to the plus side
>of its ledger). It's just that the main boys are gifted, not in newtype
>powers, but in training and a whole lot of ridiculously good luck. It's not
>fair to say that the main characters are too young to be so powerful, or
>that it's not realistic enough -- original Gundam wasn't really that either.

Nothing new here. The tradition of "Robot makes boy hero" goes back to as
far as Mazinger Z, and further.

>The bishonen aspect itself isn't nearly as bad as some other Sunrise shows,
>most obvious example being Reideen the Superior. _ten_ bishonen (plus
>villian) who had to get naked before they could become sentai super hero
>types. There was actually a pretty decent story in that one too, tho... ^_^
>Gwing has a lot of fun story within it, and even without the UC Gundam
>storyline to back it up, the plot kept you really riveted to the seat,
>especially when you don't know who's what and where, politics and

Here you're beginning to illustrate my point. The bishonen appeal of the
new Reideen completely obscured the super robot aspect(I know there were
some in there, they were shown on the Sunrise Reideen site).

>Personally, I think that he Gundams themselves were just embarrassing. THey
>_looked_ like they're were toys on the tv screen -- i couldn't possibly see
>them as feasible in any way and boy, were the actual mech fights damn
>cheezy. I think that's probably a reason most hard-core gundam model fans
>don't really like GWing -- the material from the show is really
>substandard. The OAV did something to correct that, but still...

The GW mecha seemed to be a revision of the G-Gundam designs(Hajime Katoki
& Kunio Okawara did mecha design for both), but there's an odd twist to the
GW designs. Popular Gundams often vary quite a bit from thier developmental
artwork. That artwork sometimes leads to limited- or "garage"-editions of
the models, as well as more fanciful versions(such as the samurai-styled
Musha Gundams). In Gundam Wing, however, the designs seem more loyal to the
original designs, and the Endless Waltz versions seemed to take each Gundam
to its most fanciful form. It seems to me that the Wing Gundams are closer
to what the fans would make of them than previous animated gundams.

>On another note, the yaoi aspect of GWing is one which is widely recognized
>and to soem degree exploited and focussed upon. However, let it be said
>that beyond the pretty boys, there is very little to give you the
>impression that it is yaoi-focused. (okay, other than trowa and quatre, who
>are pretty questionable). Tack the yaoi elements on to the fact that the
>fans of the show started to associate that sort of thing with the anime. It
>happens at random times to lots of shonen shows -- Slam Dunk, Papuwa, Yu Yu
>Hakusho, Kenshin -- not all shows who ahve pretty boys are necessarily
>going to have a yaoi fandom the way GWing has, but it helps...

I doubt there's really a significant yaoi subtext to GW, I just don't see
much reason for the Gundam Mailing list to embrace it. Back in the days of
the CFO and fanzines, I was a big Saint Seiya fan. Unfortunately, I found
myself in the minority for *not* being a fan of the bishonen aspect of the
Saints or yaoi associated with it. So is life...


>Hmm... i'm not really sure what I was trying to say w/this, beyond the fact
>that not every GWing fan will only be a Gwing fan. I'm personally in love
>with Orig Gundam and 08 ms team is really growing on me. X, i thought was
>pretty cheezy, but i'll probably give it a few more episodes before i just
>stop watching it... etc etc etc. I'm not a mech fan, and I won't claim to
>be one. I don't particularly care too much about that aspect of the show,
>except in how it really applies to the story in general. (I mean, I know
>what the Nu-Gundam and the RX-78 is... =P) Still, that doesn't disqualify
>me from being a Gundam fan, now does it?

Nah, I learned more about the One Year War than I did about the Mobile
Suits when I first started watching Gundam(I started learning about the MSs
with Zeta Gundam). Gundam has thrived on themes like the futility of
war(and evolution through struggle), the abstract nature of politics, the
very material nature of mass destruction, the fresh-but-skewed outlook of
youth, and Haro. Focusing on character design isn't really any less
legitimate than focussing on mecha designs, they're both visual elements of
a visual story. As long as you appreciate either or both as part of the
overall story, you've got something in common with everybody else on this


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