We kick off our reviews of “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” with “The Shooting Star She Saw.” The script was written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa and directed by Yasunao Aoki and Nobuyoshi Nishimura. It is this episode that introduces the first major players and sets up this universe.
“The Shooting Star She Saw” is the pilot to “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.” It introduces the world where the United Earth Sphere Alliance has taken control of the space colonies surrounding. The colonies rebel and are put down but plot a way to get freedom which leads to Operation Meteor, where Five Gundam Pilots and their Gundams are sent down to different areas of the world to take out strategic facilities of the UESA and begin the revolution while being able to claim deniability. From here the story unfolds as we are introduced to the factions in play and the Gundam pilots who drive the story.
Here is the assessment of the episode:
The Pros: The Animation – The animation is a vast improvement over “Mobile Suit Gundam.” The characters aren’t blocky, the colors are clear and not faded and the fight scenes flow together and are able to incorporate a lot of action into scenes without cluttering them.
The Soundtrack – The soundtrack during the episodes has an intense tech. feel to it which does a good job of adding tension to the scenes and reflecting the minds of the characters. Ko Otani did a great job.
The World – It’s great seeing Earth as the clear villain who has grown complacent allowing for other factions to rise and for the Gundams to reek havoc. This is different and allows for more focus on characters rather than having a single character like Amuro dominate the narrative.
The Gundam Pilots and their Gundams – We are introduced to the Gundam Pilots and their awesome. They are pros even though some have only very small introductory scenes. I’ll explain why soon.
Duo Maxwell – Duo Maxwell is the cocky American Gundam pilot who pilots Deathscythe one of the coolest designed Gundams as it fights with a giant scythe and is quick and sneaky making it a deadly foe. He has battle lust and we see him reveling in the conflict showing just how broken most of our pilots are.
Trowa Barton – Owns the ranged gundam Heavyarms and destroys the space port. His has the highest body count and his character is very calm and deadly and repressed. In this way he is the biggest mystery.
Quatre – Quatre is the most peaceful of the pilots and only kills those who don’t surrender. He doesn’t love fighting and is the most apparent commander as he is with a troop of Gundams when he attacks. His gundam is Sandrock, a close range Gundam.
Wufei Chang – Wufei is the calm soldier who is doing what needs to be done to win the war. He doesn’t revel in it as some of the other pilots do and is all about the job. His Gundam has flamethrowers and is known as the Shenlong Gundam.
Heero – Heero is the character we follow as we are introduced to the man who will be his rival Zechs who is tracking his descent. He manages to kill two of the Gundams that are set him before Zechs’s Gundam overpowers him and forces him to fall into the ocean. It is here he is washed up on shore and meets Relana, the Vice Foreign Minister’s daughter of the UESA. He runs from her and later threatens her at school. He is the hardest and most broken of the pilots and there is no reason to like this guy currently. He does make an intriguing protagonist though as he is coming from a place of desperate survival. His Gundam he loses is the most powerful and is Gundam Wing, it’s design is similar to Amuro’s Gundam.
Lt. Zechs Marquise – Zechs works for OZ and is friends with OZ’s leader Treize. Through OZ he works for the UESA but plans to overthrow them. He wears a mask and is definitely a Char analogue but he is colder than Char and crueler as well as smarter as he only acts when he knows he has the upper hand. Can’t wait to see this guy in action.
Treize – Treize is the leader of OZ and is planning to overthrow the UESA as he sees how complacent they have become and ignorant of their vulnerability (given how successful Operation Meteor is just in the first episode). He is calm and collected and you get why he leads OZ.
Okay – Relena – Is the person who isn’t broken or plotting but is connected to power via her dad being the Vice Foriegn Minister’s daughter. She’s kind as she gets help for Heero which she exploits but she holds her own too and doesn’t flinch when Heero threatens her. She’s a bit bland at this point though but I’m curious what role she’ll play in all of this.
The Cons: The UESA Leaders – These guys are boring and refuse to listen to Zechs or his boss Treize who heads OZ which shows them to be falling. This was a shame as they were the original threat of the colonies. I hope we meet some good or smart UESA characters. Loud abrasive generals are boring.
This episode is a good introduction to everyone and the world, while still giving us enough of a mystery for the next 48 episodes to explore the characters, build relationships and resolve the conflict…if it’s done right. I’m excited to see how they handle this as it does a very good job setting up the stage and giving us the players.
Final Score: 8.7 / 10. Really good and nearly great.