[Great Gundam Wing Rewatch] An Addendum of Sorts to Episodes 1-2
Addendum: After looking this post over I really want to do it some actual justice and do a full episode write up in addition to what was already posted there. Forgive me if I go over things multiple times (things that are mentioned in that post) I figured it was easier to add on to the thoughts expressed there than just rewrite everything.
As always, pictures and spoilers are underneath the cut.
I was enchanted to meet you.
Episode 1 – The Shooting Star She Saw
(Even though “ryuusei” is more “meteor” but eh, shooting stars are just space debris burning up in the atmosphere, right?)
We open the episode with a narration about how humanity left Earth for the space colonies in the hopes for a better life away from war torn Earth. The space colonies, in case anyone cares, are based off of the O’Neill cylinder space colony model, which you can tell from all the different interior shots you get. (The wikipedia link explains how such colonies work, in case anyone’s interested, because if I talk about it I’ll go on for days.)
Of course war comes knocking on their collective door when the United Earth Sphere Alliance (UESA or just the Alliance for short) has gained enough military power to try and take over the colonies in the name of “peace and justice”. Which, since this is a Gundam series, we know is complete bull. But seize they do, by force and the flashing of guns and machinery known as mobile suits. The shit especially hits the fan after AC 175 when the colonial leader Heero Yuy is assassinated, which leads to a little plan known as Operation Meteor (or Operation “M” as it’s sometimes shortened to), created by Dekim Barton of the Barton Foundation (whom you’ll meet in another meta) since the colonists were not pleased at all about what the Alliance was doing, but they had no way of fighting back.
So five ex-OZ engineers who had previously worked together on two prototypes–one of which was built and refined, the other which only existed in blueprint form–decided to build more powerful mobile suits as part of this Operation Meteor plan. These five mobile suits, made of Gundanium alloy, were to be sent to Earth during a rather chaotic scene and basically cause mass genocide. Because humanity must suffer for being tyrannical towards the colonists and also for assassinating their leader who only wanted peace between Earth and Space. Naturally once they found out about the “mass genocide” part the engineers wanted nothing to do with this plan, and decided to modify it so that the real baddies were the targets, not millions of innocent civilians who wanted nothing to do with the war.
So Operation Meteor 1.0 was “send in the Gundams to cause mass genocide, drop a colony on Earth (or threaten it at the very least) if people didn’t agree with the incoming new world order, and Trowa Barton would be the leader until his niece was old enough to assume power”. Which is a pretty fucked up plan.
Operation Meteor 2.0 ended up being “send in the Gundams to fight against and destroy OZ and free both Earth and the colonies.” Sounds a lot more humanitarian, right? They ended up being disguised as shooting stars so they wouldn’t be detected since, after all, this was supposed to be a secret mission where failure meant death.
Unfortunately no matter how well you plan something, something always goes wrong. “The best laid plans…” etc. etc. The Alliance spots something unusual and they figure hey, it’s just a meteorite or some old satellite parts or something, because space is actually pretty littered with crap, but they decide they might as well give their lieutanent a head’s up since that’s the right thing to do. A report is sent that “hey we see some meteorites or something approaching the atmosphere” and their lieutenant is basically “are you fucking blind that’s not a meteorite you dumbasses” at that.
This is their lieutannt. His name is Zechs Merquise, and yes, he is our Char Aznable archetype in Gundam Wing, how did you know? In any case, it’s definitely not meteors because their course is too “guided” to be just some space debris, and there’s five of them doing it at that. They can only catch the one, however, which is piloted by this guy:
Who is he? We’ll find out later, I’m sure. All we know about him right now is that he’s definitely not a meteor and he’s gonna be landing on Earth in seven minutes. It looks like a shuttle. Are these new mobile suits actually shuttles? What’s the deal?
Well there’s no time to ponder that because our next to major players are being introduced:
The Vice Foreign Minister Darlian (whose first name must never be important, because it’s never mentioned once in anything), a diplomat from Earth who is trying to keep relations between Earth and the colonies from exploding horrifically. Traveling with him is his daughter:
Her name is Relena, a fourteen-soon-to-be-fifteen-year-old who often travels with her father on diplomatic business, presumably with the assumption that she will end up following in his footsteps and so might as well show her the ropes. Or maybe it’s a social circle thing. In any case, it must suck having to miss school every other week for some diplomatic thing or another. Relena is a bit salty that her father couldn’t find time in his busy work schedule to spend some quality father-daughter time with her whilst away in the colonies, and he’s rather apologetic because probably one of the reasons why he does this is so she can see him. He tries. All Relena asks him is to leave a bit more personal time so they can actually spend time together without work getting in the way.
All of this is interrupted when Relena spots a shuttle out the window…which is, unbeknownst to them, targeting their shuttle.
Because they’re an obstacle, naturally.
OZ’s carrier catches up and it does a bit of analysis:
which prompts Zechs to say something terrible melodramatically poetic: “So that’s their ‘battle seed’ all ready to sprout into new battles.”
(Although the Hong Kong subtitles, which are more literal than the official English subs, state that Zechs calls it an “egg of war”, which will hatch and give birth to new battles in the future. You figure out which one sounds dumber. I rather like the egg one simply because it reminds me of that “the world is an egg” analogy found in Revolutionary Girl Utena.)
(Also yes that says “randing gear”.)
“Do you think he’ll shoot down the civilian shuttle?”
“I doubt he’d shoot it down right in front of us. He’s on a secret mission, you have to remember.”
Wow, way to be incredibly mocking, Zechs. His ~secret mission~.
Of course the pilot knows that OZ is onto them when he can’t shake them off, they even follow him into Earth’s atmosphere as he makes some course adjustments. Naturally because of the heat upon entering Earth’s atmosphere at the speed they’re cruising at, most things would end up completely destroyed.
“Is he trying to commit suicide?”
“The only way to keep a secret is to destroy evidence.” After all you can’t prove this shuttle even existed if it gets burned up in the atmosphere, right?
“Our enemies seem to be pretty technologically advanced.”
The colonies have all sort of technological advancements while Earth seems to be stuck in the past. Although they have mobile suits, they seem to be not necessarily obsolete, but really outdated in comparison to these new mobile suits the colonies are sending. Not to mention that on Earth they still fight using things like tanks, and use things such as blimps.
“Let’s get him with our machine gun.”
“No. No machine gun for him.”
People complained about how dumb this line sounded–the “unofficial” subs say, “Let’s fire a warning shot.” “No, it won’t listen to any warnings.”
“Let’s fire our machine gun” is military slang for firing off a warning shot since the most common weapon would be…a machine gun. You know. Assault rifle. It’s usually used to drive off or deter someone, because you aim at their feet or otherwise around them, not at them. So it’s a legit thing to say. And since they’re in the military… It would make sense for them to say something like that.
“The real target’s obviously the fighter pilot inside.”
I mean the Gundam is nice and all but you can only get so much information from it, assuming there’s any information to get from it–it could be blown up and unrecoverable, or wiped clean. But the pilot… You can interrogate. You can trace them back to somewhere, find out who they’re working for, who else is involved, etc. etc. The pilot is plenty useful, which is why if they’re compromised both the Gundam and pilot must be destroyed. There is too much at risk.
The pilot’s mission ends up being altered because as it turns out, this OZ carrier has mobile suits on board, and as I told you before about Operation Meteor 2.0, the target is OZ and the Alliance, because they’ve made quite a mess of things in their quest for what appears to be some kind of world domination. So because he needs to destroy them not just because they’re OZ, but because they’ve also figured out what he’s doing (he’s trying to get to Earth as part of this Operation M business). You know. No witnesses.
Zechs decides to do battle with a Leo, which is a ground suit. It’s not meant for aerial combat, which I suppose is what space combat would be, but it’s also definitely not suited for space combat either. Leos actually aren’t terrible mobile suits–sure they’re not up to snuff when it comes to fighting a Gundam, but when it comes to comparing them to other mobile suits? The Aries, for example, has the same fighting level, and in terms of weapons and speed it’s only ten points more (100 vs 110 on Aries), but when it comes to power and armour, it’s weaker than a Leo. A Taurus is better than an Aries but isn’t all that more impressive than a Leo except maybe before you have Space Leos. Tragos is the same as the rest. Really the only things that are quite a bit better than Leos that aren’t Gundams are the Tallgeese family of MS, and Tallgeese in general is just an overpowered Leo prototype when you think about it… If it wasn’t that great, I doubt it would’ve continued being used, and although future mobile suits end up being made with Gundanium, even in Endless Waltz you still see Space Leos. It’s a mainstay.
They even question why Zechs would use a ground suit instead of something made for aerial combat, but Zechs dismisses them by saying his Leo is just fine and that he should use something that showcases the best of his piloting skills.
They think that after one shot they’ve finished off the enemy, but instead it does something rather shocking…
“Lieutenant Zechs, what kind of machine is that?!”
“No idea. I thought only the Alliance and OZ could build mobile suits.”
Yes, prior to this they didn’t know exactly what kind of weapon the colonies were sending. Obviously they didn’t expect mobile suits. OZ knows Operation Meteor but not the fine details, such as what exactly is in it, they just know it’s a plan and that the colonies plan on sending some kind of weapons to Earth. Why didn’t they think the colonies were capable? Because your average colonist cannot build a 16 meter tall suit when the resources to build such a thing are used only by the military. And since the military is pretty much OZ and the Alliance…
So two mooks with Zechs come around in Aries and decide that they’ll take over from here and get rid of the threat or whatever. The mobile suit doesn’t respond to the firing and nothing is really happening, which prompts Zechs to mention how intense the pilot is. When the mobile suit finally comes around to moving, the two Aries pilots are too busy trying to shoot (rather blindly, since they’re not really doing much, but mobile suit weapons don’t really affect Gundams much) than use any sort of strategy. They’re fired at and vaporised by the power of this mobile suit’s rifle, which prompts rather creepy laughter on the part of the pilot before he ends it with, “Ato ikki!” or “One left.”
Zechs tangos a bit with the pilot before tangling up both of the suits and ejecting himself. Both of the suits end up plummeting into the ocean below. Analysis confirms that that was, in fact, a Gundam, and Zechs remarks that he doubts the pilot even survived. I’m not entirely sure why he would think this since the cockpits are presumably pressurised, so there’s oxygen and such. He’d be okay in the cockpit. Maybe escaping to dry land would be another thing altogether…
“[The Marina] offered to salvage it? There’s no bright future for soldiers scurrying for a reward.”
Obviously whoever manages to get their hands on a Gundam is sitting pretty. Bragging rights. Zechs detests these kinds of people who only do things for the prestige.
MEANWHILE whilst all that shit’s happening the Vice Foreign Minister and his daughter have made it safely to Earth and are bombarded by papa-paparazzi who want to know all sorts of answers to questions like what was discussed at the colony summit, what the colonies are demanding of the Alliance, what his comments are on Things and Stuff, when he thinks the colonies are gonna attack like the Fire Nation, etc. etc. and he just ignores them because that’s the best thing to do with people who rudely shove microphones and camera flashbulbs in your face. There are some military escort peeps there at the end of the escalator who are gonna bring Darlian to wherever he needs to be next because Shit Needs to Be Done. But it’s his daughter’s birthday tomorrow! He needs to prepare for it since she’ll only be whatever age she’s turning once! But they don’t care. They have another car for her, because in case he gets blown up she won’t go with them or whatever. But Relena’s just like, “No need for that, I can walk.”
So off Darlian and his military pals go, while Relena slinks off presumably to home. I’m surprised they didn’t have someone walk with her, to be honest. What if someone tried to accost her? Like okay you don’t want them to drive you, but at least have someone with you just in case… Especially when your dad probs has a shitload of enemies.
The official subtitles state that Relena says, “Father, don’t you realize my birthday’s coming up soon?! The average girl would probably flip over this.” (Subtitles are, for the most part, the dub dialogue, though not always.)
Unofficial subtitles state: “Father, you don’t care about my birthday, do you? And I’d run away… If this was a movie.”
Basically Relena is lamenting about the fact that her father is too busy to care much about her birthday, and while many people would probably be like, “Wow how whingy,” you have to realise that Relena is turning fifteen, and teenagers are kind of whingy, and that when you were her age, you probably acted similarly. Sure she’s used to this sort of thing, which is why she says that the average girl would flip over this situation, or that if her life were more story-like, she would be like the girls in movies and just run away from home until the father comes to his senses and a happy ending occurs. Her being used to this doesn’t make this any less disappointing. How many birthdays has he probably missed because of business? What about other holidays, like Christmas? I’m sure he’s even missed wedding anniversaries.
I’ll go over some of this stuff in more detail in my Episode Zero meta, but Relena doesn’t really have anyone outside of her parents. As far as she knows, it’s just her father the vice foreign minister to the UESA, and her mother. Relena’s not very social, she’s actually quite reserved. And so far life is treating her well, and she’s surrounded by people who kind of maybe care (as far as classmates go), and she has a rather rose-coloured view of the world because she’s sheltered. To her, a crisis is the fact that her father will probably miss yet another birthday. She doesn’t know anything else is going on, because why would she? Her father hides the nitty gritty details from her.
A military plane flies overhead and she remarks that if it wasn’t for them, that this military base would’ve been just a regular spaceport. Just another reminder that this “peace” isn’t really peaceful at all, that she doesn’t really understand because it’s always been this way. She ponders this for a bit before continuing on her way…when she sees a body washed up on the shore.
“Oh! A body!”
Upon closer inspection she sees that he’s wearing a military uniform similar to what someone from the Alliance might wear while going about in space in their mobile suits. Upon seeing that he’s actually alive, she runs off to get help. Because he could he dying, or maybe the body was dumped, you just don’t know in today’s day and age.
Oh look it’s the opera! Or some kind of performance, but probably an opera, because Treize Khushrenada is a classy fucker. He even has someone there just to hold his cape. It must be nice. But instead of paying attention to the opera, he’s talking to his BFF Zechs over Skype or whatever the AC equivalent of Skype is. Zechs wasted three mobile suits, all for what? Doesn’t he know how much those resources cost? What’s he gonna tell the Alliance during their meetings??? Well it was a fight against a Gundam! What was he supposed to do? Well that changes things! Now imagine if such a thing was made by the colonies, Treize, what then???
“Something like this would never have happened if we’d been in OZ fifteen years ago.”
Fifteen years ago would’ve been AC 180. Zechs was five. I believe Treize was nine. And really, I don’t think anything would’ve been much different had they been older at that point, since Operation Meteor was already being plotted. All anyone could really hope for would be preventing the assassination of Heero Yuy, which according to Frozen Teardrop (I hear the groans already) was ordered by Cinquante Khushrenada, Treize’s grandfather and the head of OZ at that point and was supposedly carried out by an ex-OZ sniper, but naturally records were lost or deleted or changed to cover things up because everything is a cover up conspiracy when it comes to OZ and the Alliance (gotta make sure you always look good after all!), and OZ’s involvement was dismissed as just washwoman rumour gossip talk.
(Except, as they say, there’s always truth of some kind to rumours.)
Perhaps what Treize is trying to say is that things wouldn’t have escalated to this point had they been in OZ at the point when shit was starting to get escalated real quick, since they knew about Operation M, just not the exact specifics. But had they gotten their hands on that shit when it was in its infancy…
It’s a lot of could’ve-would’ve-should’ve and what-ifs and what-might-have-beens and it’s all moot because they weren’t in OZ 15 years ago and shit is getting real now. So they have to deal with this.
“Alliance’s surveillance was far from sufficient.”
Zechs isn’t wrong, considering they dismissed it as space debris from satellite parts that had long been decommissioned but sent the report as a formality. And obviously no one was paying that close attention to the colonies or else maybe they would’ve noticed shit before they hit Earth. There are a lot of things that could’ve happened had the Alliance done their jobs correctly. Incompetency at its finest, because why would you need to worry about a rebellion or anything?
Treize doesn’t want Zechs to do anything to piss the Alliance off because this is a delicate period, foreshadowing the coup that happens in later episodes. Zechs promises to not piss off anyone and Treize presumably leaves the opera because as it turns out, he’s a bit on the late side to an Alliance meeting. They then decide to talk about how Treize’s subordinate decided to lose three mobile suits, because that’s important, considering it was just one threat and not even a minor rebellion–notice that the Alliance is oblivious to just how big this whole thing is, because they can’t do their jobs right–but it took three suits to subdue and that’s just two too many! Treize doesn’t seem to give one fuck and is just like “what is your point when we were able to subdue the rebellion,” and Septem, whose voice is awesomely terrible in literally every dub but especially the German and Italian dubs doesn’t give a shit about the results, it’s the fact that Treize and his peons are wasting military resources! Valuable ones! Mobile suits aren’t cheap! No actual figures are ever given but I’ve estimated they probably cost about as much as your average tank, which is about 7 million dollars not decked out with 98539254 guns. Multiply that by three. That’s a lot of dollars.
So Treize, who can be a snarky asshole at times, asks if Septem is talking about the mobile suits or the two men who died in two of those three mobile suits, and Septem tells him to not be a smart ass. Vente, however, just tells Treize to be more careful with resources in the future, which Treize agrees to.
Honestly I wonder what’s on the Alliance’s meeting papers like, does it say TODAY’S AGENDA: HOW TO MAKE THE COLONIES HATE EACH OTHER AND MAKE US LOOK COOL
(I mean what else is “Now, onto our main agenda, which is obstructing coalition between colonies” supposed to mean?)
Treize meanwhile remarks that the Alliance is way too complacent and that OZ will be creating the new world order or something like that. You don’t want to be too complacent during peace times, because then if shit happens, you’re less likely to notice until it’s too late.
Which is exactly what ends up happening here.
BACK AT THE BEACH, Relena is inspecting the body because hey, you gotta make sure it’s not one of those dead bodies you find sometimes washed up. I live in New Jersey, that is a Thing That Happens, and you don’t want that to be a thing that happens. Relena was clearly expecting someone who was at least legal age, because she sounds surprised to find out that under this helmet and suit is…a pretty ordinary looking boy.
I mean he’s a bit unconscious and his hair’s a mess but outside of that he looks pretty normal to me. Breathing in sand can’t be pleasant, and good luck getting that out of your hair.
He groans like he’s been punched in the stomach and once he realises that there’s someone there, he decides to cover his face:
And people wonder all the time why Heero’s always covering his face, because he does it in the first opening:
Because I guess the reason isn’t obvious to some people. Obviously Heero wants to make sure no one can identify him as he runs around being what basically amounts to a terrorist. He does this in Episode Zero as well. You can’t ID someone whose facial features you can’t make out, and things like clothing can easily be changed. The last thing he needs is someone saying, “Oh, hey, that’s the kid who pilots that 16 meter tall death machine that destroys everything related to OZ!” He’s not supposed to be spotted.
I mean in the case with him and Relena on the beach, you can still see his eyes which like okay, you can’t necessarily ID someone by eye colour but it’s anime so you can. That’s more of his magnificent Resting Bitch Face that you can potentially use to pick him out of a line up.
Also. She’s…already seen your face, buddy… Put your hand down.
So he asks her if she’s seen anything, and Relena’s like what are you talking about? He tries to blow himself up and that goes about as well as you’d expect since it’s Heero. Due to the salt water in the ocean it created a short in the self detonation system on the suit so everything’s all crusted up. So while it knocks him flat on his ass, nothing gets blown up, and he needs to think of a Plan B and quick since more witnesses are coming. What an FML moment. Heero punches out everyone in his path and then kicks out the window on the ambulance before also kicking out the driver in the same fluid motion…and then burning rubber to get the hell away. In an ambulance. With sirens blaring. Because that is clearly the least conspicuous vehicle. At least turn the sirens off.
So Relena takes this time to introduce herself! Her name is Relena Darlian, what’s your name? And while this scene means nothing, if you read Episode Zero, you’ll understand it a bit better, as I will when I get around to doing my Episode Zero meta (in which case I’ll end up linking it here probably). But basically Relena didn’t introduce herself until it was too late and she’s had some regrets ever since then. Because she’s not really all that outgoing.
AND NOW WE GET INTRODUCED TO THE OTHER FOUR PILOTS because yes, there’s more to this than just some spandex shorts wearing asshole.
We have Duo Maxwell, pilot of Gundam Deathscythe…
Trowa Barton, pilot of Gundam Heavyarms…
Quatre Raberba Winner, pilot of Gundam Sandrock…
….and finally, Chang Wufei, pilot of Gundam Shenlong, aka Nataku as he calls it.
And Zechs has pics of all these attacks happening from all these Gundams as one Ozzie’s all OMG CAN THESE MARINA PEOPLE GET HERE ALREADY FOR THIS GUNDAM??? because of course Zechs has polaroids of Gundam attacks, I bet someone personally hand delivered them to him. An OZ observation craft took them because, you know, you need proof that you’ve seen a Gundam since more often than not you don’t live after.
“So there’s two of them?”
“No, there seem to be more. Reports state that OZ’s mobile suit factory, a space port, and troops searching for the capsule like we are have been attacked and completely annihilated.”
“So there are four.”
“Five in total, if you include the one that sank already.”
“Five?! Five Gundams?!”
yes dude can you not count or hear correctly Zechs told you five.
Five Gundams, one from each colony cluster, L1 through L5. Honestly why would you think there were only like two???
So we’re at Relena’s school now, which is called Saint Gabriel’s Institute, although there is a screen later on in-series that says Saint Michael’s at some point, and I don’t know why, I guess fuck you St Gabriel it’s not like you did anything exciting in the Bible except announce to Mary that she was pregnant with the Messiah. St Michael has a flaming fucking sword he’s cooler.
I don’t know if that was the reasoning but probably.
Relena’s classmates are just like wow Relena’s so lucky to go to space, I wish I could do that, it must be nice being that rich, etc. because that’s all that matters in life right, whether your friend is fuckin rich or not and how well you can rub elbows with them to get the perks of being associated with them. So one of them is like OH HEY ISN’T RELENA’S BIRTHDAY TOMORROW? and another goes OH YEAH I WONDER WHO’S GETTING AN INVITE. Because that’s important, you know, being able to say that yes I was invited to Relena fucking Darlian’s sweet 15 or whatever they may or may not call it. Anyone who’s anyone wants to attend after all! Who wouldn’t want to?
So Relena enters centre stage and everyone stands up and greets her like she’s royalty or something and idk she may as well be since everyone wants to be her or be her friend or possibly date her, who the hell knows. All Relena does is softly say “good morning” because Relena is actually really reserved and she actually isn’t pleased with all of this attention because she knows how fake these people are, they only care about themselves and their own social standing and nothing important like the poor people down the block.
In all seriousness, Relena doesn’t consider these people anything more than classmates because though she’s sheltered, she still knows more about what’s going on in the world than her classmates do due to the fact that her dad’s the vice foreign minister and obviously he probably brings some work home with him. And I’m sure Relena’s heard discussions through closed doors if her parents tried to hide it from her as much as they could. Relena’s not fully awoken yet, but she’s more woke than her peers basically.
Class starts and because it’s a Catholic school they have a nun there, even though nuns haven’t taught in schools for like 30 years now, it’s Early 20th Century Fantasy Europe. Even though Heero landed off the shores of Japan, and Relena goes to school in Japan. And look! They have a new classmate!
He looks absolutely thrilled and damn does he look good in that uniform.
“Heero Yuy desu. Yoroshiku.” Short, sweet, and to the point. He’s told to sit in the seat next to Relena, and if he has any questions or needs help with something, surely she’d be glad to help him out. He sits down next to her and when she remarks that she’s happy to meet him, he just ignores her. Because that’ll help things. He has his eyes closed and he refuses to acknowledge her at all. Relena just wants to get to know him and seems to be the only one.
Heero’s up against a railing ignoring the view because that’s the safest way to do things. Threats would most likely come from the school, so that’s why he’s facing the door. It’s highly unlikely someone would be able to attack him or ambush him from behind unless they were in a shuttle or a mobile suit, so he’s relatively safe. You always want your back against a wall because then you don’t have to worry about being jumped from behind. At the same time, if you’re up against the wall, that limits how you can escape. Heero can just hop over the railing if he needs to!
Which he would.
Don’t doubt for a second that he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t even hesitate before doing it. And considering that he’s above the treeline, it’s probably pretty high off the ground, but I’m sure Heero knows how to land properly.
And really all he has to worry about are a gaggle of girls and maybe a guy or two. None of whom are professionally trained in any combat, so he could easily overpower them and win anyway. Notice how Heero isn’t hanging out with anyone, and he’s made sure to keep a rather big distance between himself and everyone else. He’s doing that on purpose to make it seem like he’s unapproachable because remember, he’s on a secret mission. No one should get involved with him. He’d be better off trying to blend in by being one of them instead of trying so hard to keep himself separate. But this is Heero. He makes things harder for himself I think by overthinking things. Also I don’t think he has a clue what it means to be a “normal” high school student. He’s fifteen but never even been in school. So what the hell does he know?
I guess it’s towards the time where Relena will be deciding who gets an invitation and who won’t be, because one of the girls goes to ask her something by calling her name, but Relena ignores her and heads for Heero instead. If anything she probably wanted to ask her if she was gonna approach that weird boy who clearly isn’t One of Them because after all if he was, he’d be fawning over her like everyone else, right? Right? Relena isn’t without caution, she doesn’t get terribly close to him, but nonetheless she hands him an envelope, which he accepts. She goes on to say how it’s an invitation for her birthday party tomorrow and that she hopes he can attend it. Because nothing says friendship like inviting someone you barely know to your birthday party, right? It’s an invitation to come deeper into her circle. She wants to get to know him, not knowing that he’s not someone she wants to be involved with.
Her friends all clap because yay! Isn’t Relena wonderful? She’s inviting the new kid to come join them! Isn’t she sweet? No one else would do that! And Heero ruins it by ripping up the invitation and letting it fall to the ground before the wind carries it away, and all the while her classmates do nothing, they’ve appeared to have dispersed, and Heero’s face betrays nothing though his eyes certainly do. Did he want to rip up her invitation? No. Heero’s not an asshole although it’d be hard to convince someone who’s seeing this for the first time of that. But if he’s a dick to her, maybe she’ll fuck off and not get involved with him and his dangerous lifestyle of blowing shit up in a giant robot. After all nothing else has worked–ignoring her hasn’t worked. Avoiding her hasn’t worked. So what will work? Maybe if she cries she’ll hate him and leave him alone. He’s only going to be here long enough to get another mission objective and then he’ll be gone and in a few days no one will even remember he was there.
If these people were Relena’s friends, they would’ve stood up to him and remarked on how mean such an action is. He could just accept the invitation anyway and not RSVP. He could politely tell her no, or give the invitation to someone who wants to go but didn’t get one. So many possibilities. Yet Relena is left there on her own humiliated and on the verge of tears. No one offers her anything, no comfort or kind words or telling Heero to fuck off. Nothing. She just wanted to be his friend and make him feel welcome, make up for that time where a new student arrived and she said and did nothing as her classmates made hurtful remarks about him.
The only one to comfort her is Heero, who wipes her tear away. Relena thinks maybe he’s not a dick after all! Maybe he feels bad, maybe–
“Omae wo korosu.”
Well maybe not. This line can be interpreted literally, as in Heero will come and find her and kill her because witnesses can talk and dead witnesses can’t and she can ID him and place him on that beach if anyone asks her anything. He’s been acting suspicious so she can easily turn him in or report him to someone.
But you could also interpret it as if she gets too close to him, gets too involved, somehow he’ll end up leading to her demise. It could be something as simple as an accident when he has his back turned. They could try to use her against him. They could take her hostage and she ends up getting killed because he put her in that position in the first place.
Most likely it’s the former, he’s going to literally kill her, but hey, isn’t the whole point of meta to offer discussion on different ideas?
Episode 2 – The Gundam Deathscythe
(or, if you want a translation from the Japanese: The Gundam Called the God of Death)
Fencing class day!
What is it with all these fancy schools in anime and their fencing classes? Stop making me want to do Utena references!
Squinty Eyed Blond (SEB): Hey, Heero, I hear you ripped up Relena’s invitation yesterday. Why did you do that? I’m her classmate so I’m choked you’d treat her that way. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, as a gentleman?!
(Alternative text: I heard all about it, Heero-kun. Tearing up Relena-sama’s invitation in front of her eyes? Why did you do such a cruel thing? As a classmate of hers, I disapprove of what you did to her. Don’t you think that was shameful?)
Heero gives not one fuck. Also I am p sure Heero would never call himself a gentleman by any stretch of the word’s definition. This guy also obviously has a Thing for Relena because thus far he’s really the only one who has given even one fuck about the whole situation. Heero proves himself a competent fencer, which makes sense when you see how he fights in Wing Gundam since people seem to wonder how Heero knows how to fence and shit. He fights with a beam sabre. It’s the same thing, just one is an epee, and the other is a thermonuclear beam coming out of a metal hilt and I could get more technical than that, but I won’t. However Heero shows why he shouldn’t be allowed to fence, in that he does this:
Heero it’s not supposed to go through the visor. Also your epee is not supposed to be broken. Heero.
(A lot of rewatching Gundam Wing is just me yelling HEERO FFS or HEERO PLS at the screen.)
“Tell me sooner next time, I’ll give it to you instead.”
Heero can be snarky when he feels like it.
SO OF COURSE Relena’s gallery of classmates are making comments about Heero and his fencing skills.
“He’s pretty strong. Sure doesn’t look it.”
Look I know the uniform covers him but he’s practically ready to bust out of the uniform with how muscular his torso is so. Trust me on this. He’s strong. We’ll find out how strong in episode three when he does Dumb Shit He May Or May Not Regret!
This captain guy calls Zechs “Treize’s little pawn” and I find it funny that the fansubs translated it as “Treize’s boy”. Might as well just call him Treize’s bitch or something. Zechs meanwhile makes up some shit to get the Alliance marina peeps to help them out, because it’s Zechs, he’s a master manipulator when he feels like it.
Just another example of the lengths OZ will go to to get people to do shit for them. In this instance, Zechs wants to find this Gundam. He’ll do what he needs to do to get it.
BACK AT SAINT GABRIEL’S, Heero’s riding a horse. Somehow. Without falling off. And no one’s figured out why this is, if he’s just some secret horse whisperer since horses can smell fear and also evil, or if Dr J actually taught Heero how to ride a horse. Since Dr J is kind of eccentric, I wouldn’t put it past the old coot to actually teach Heero horsemanship, because “you never know when you’ll need it to fit in” or something. Because since when did Dr J need a reason to do anything.
I mean riding a horse isn’t that difficult but is it something intuitive? Most people are freaked out because you’re up really high but Heero’s not phased at all. I mean. Piloting a 16 meter tall death machine probably makes riding a horse a cakewalk. (How tall is 16 meters, Karu? Like ~53 feet. That’s a five storey building since 1 storey tends to equal roughly 10 feet. Don’t be afraid of heights if you wanna be a mobile suit pilot.) Heero’s riding this horse like a fucking horse jockey. (He’s certainly tall enough to be one at 5’2″…) Once again one of Relena’s classmates is impressed with his horsemanship.
Heero’s supposed to be “blending in”. He’s supposed to be “undercover” and “inconspicuous”. So much for that. I mean honestly.
Heero skips his equestrian lesson because obviously he doesn’t even need it (one of the girls comments this fact even), he just needed the horse to give him a boost so he could scale a building to access a presumably inaccessible part (to the students) of the school.
Or, you know, look at weapons of mass destruction at the school library, you know, typical fifteen year old terrorist things.
(Imagine the hashtag for that: #just15yearoldterroristthings. It wouldn’t trend on Twitter, I don’t think.)
What does he need torpedoes with guiding functions for? Why, to blow up his mobile suit of course. Because torpedoes can destroy something made of Gundanium. (They really can’t.) More on this later, because you can destroy a Gundam with torpedoes under the right circumstances.
“And now for some minor revisions…”
Ah, yes, the minor details. We get to watch Heero hack into the school’s database using what is now considered antiquated technology (would anyone from Gen Z even fucking know what a 3.5″ floppy disk was?), but was considered standard at the time (in a time before Windows 95 was released). See, Heero’s fucking broke, how’s he gonna afford the tuition for a fancy school? By changing it so it looks like he paid, of course. Which is probably some kind of money fraud. He hasn’t paid for his boarding either. No problem, it’s paid now with some invisible money! And sure, he got a bursary fund, because why not? For what, you ask? Probably his horsemanship skills, or maybe because he’s awesome. (The fansubs have it as “admission fees”, which is something that a bursary would presumably cover.) And he clears the financial check, because he might as well, right? Is it for Heero or for his parents? The official and fan subs differ on that but either way, Heero’s just like, “No problem.”
Nothing’s a problem when you can just hack your way through life and commit a lot of fraud as you do.
Meanwhile Relena’s probably still feeling like shit from Heero ripping up her invitation instead of, you know, him just telling her, “No thanks I don’t wanna go.” Her classmates tell her to cheer up and smile, which is the worst thing to tell someone, really, and Relena’s just like “okay sure thanks.” Because Relena’s polite and yeah they’re just trying to help but it’s not like their birthday invites were ripped up by some asshole 15 year old they barely knew.
While this is all going on, Heero’s clinging to the undercarriage of a truck. One wrong move and this could end very, very badly for him. You know, instead of just GTAing a vehicle of some sort, he just hitches a ride under a truck. ‘Cause that’s smart. Once he’s reached his destination, he drops off of it and rolls over to the side of the road, which again could end very, very badly for him, before getting up and heading for the marina with the torpedoes he picked out earlier. He breaks the lock with a crowbar he presumably found just laying around–such tight security at this place by the way. He’s then futzing with the wires and you get a nice close up of the gun he waves around every now and then:
Heero’s gun is always so far to the left despite the fact that he draws with his right hand, and ideally he’d want a holster made for concealing a gun at the small of his back, and really the trigger and trigger guard should also be below the waistband of his shorts… But I guess that wouldn’t look as cool, and knowing Heero he probably just literally shoved it there for lack of enough hands to hold the damn thing.
While this is going on Relena’s going over why Heero might wanna kill her. He’s very secretive. He has many secrets, and she knows kind of sort of what one of them is (that he’s involved in some Heavy Shit with the military judging by the uniform she found him in earlier), and because she knows something she shouldn’t about him, he now has to get rid of her, because the only good witness is a dead one. And Pargan, her butler/driver laughs and asks if she’s reading some kind of thriller suspense novel, and Relena’s just like YUP YUP I AM except she’s not, this is the real life.
Back to Heero, he’s decided that three torpedoes should be enough to blow up his mobile suit, because it’s set so that the torpedoes exploding would trigger the self-detonation device on the suit. So while the torpedoes themselves can’t get rid of a Gundam, they can be used to remotely detonate one, which is useful if you find yourself without the remote detonator for the self-detonation system. In fact, Heero had a remote detonator, but it failed to go off, so now he has to do this bullshit.
“Wait. He actually had a remote detonator?”
Remember his suit in the first episode? The detonator he used (that misfired) was supposed to be linked to the Gundam’s self detonator as well, but because of something Heero did in Episode Zero (that I will go into more detail about in my Episode Zero meta), Dr J changed the frequency so that if Heero blew up the Gundam, he wouldn’t take himself out either, or vice-versa. As it stands, Heero ruined the detonator by landing in the salt water filled ocean, which shorted it out, so Dr J didn’t really have to worry save for the fact that Heero wasn’t supposed to land in the ocean in the first place (he was thrown off course by OZ).
Basically Heero fucked up and now has to unfuck himself. Heero does this a lot.
SO OZ FOUND THE GUNDAM. And then explosions happen and no one can figure out why! Things don’t just spontaneously explode underwater, especially with machinery built for underwater battles, so what’s going on? Obviously they’re under attack, but by what? One person muses it might be that Gundam pilot, but Zechs has his doubts.
I mean that guy isn’t completely wrong. He’s only half wrong. It is a Gundam pilot, but not for that particular Gundam.
“Die… Anyone who sees me must die.”
A bit dramatic there huh, Duo?
BUT ENOUGH OF THAT, we have a birthday party to go to! And fancy hors d’oeuvres to consume! And cake to eat!
Let it be known that Relena wears my favourite outfit of hers in this episode, I don’t care what anyone says about it, I think it’s her best outfit and I love it.
AND HEY HER FATHER DID MAKE IT although he’s gotta jet because work cannot leave him alone even for one fucking day and some pictures slip out of his folder, oh no! They’re not his secret porn pics or anything, they’re of what appears to be some kind of comet, though we know that that’s not a comet and it’s instead a Gundam, but the radio broadcast insists that it is, in fact, a meteor, and that there were five of them, and they’re totally not mobile suits of any kind or any kind of manned anything in fact! How dare you suggest such a thing?!
And Relena calls them on their bullshit, though not aloud, because Heero was in one of them! And unless Heero’s actually some kind of alien, he didn’t come to Earth on a fucking meteor or some kind of spaceship. He came in a Gundam.
“Is he a Star Prince?” (The dub line and the fansubs state “Little Prince” which fits better tbh since that would be a literary reference that is called back in Frozen Teardrop, but the official subs state “Star Prince”.) Yet another Episode Zero reference we’ll come back to in another meta, just keep that in mind okay? But all I’ll tell you right now is that Relena met someone in her youth who saved her from a kidnapping/ransom/assassination attempt and he introduced himself as this. (And no, it wasn’t Heero.)
ENOUGH OF THE PARTY what’s Heero up to? He’s got his ambulance, who knows where he stashed that thing, or where he put the stuff in the ambulance, because it’s not medical equipment he’s packing, it’s basically underwater missiles. SEB from earlier is riding a motorbike and trying to not ruin the bouquet of flowers he wants to give to Relena as he does so when he’s nearly run over by an ambulance presumably breaking speed limits and it doesn’t even have sirens blaring. Heero’s oblivious. Don’t be like Heero, pay attention when you drive. SEB remarks that said driver looks a lot like Heero, but it can’t be, because why the fuck would he be in an ambulance? Is he an EMT?
Heero’s got tunnel vision simply because he knows that OZ has probably either closed in on the Gundam or they’re really close to doing so, so he needs to destroy the evidence and destroy it like yesterday. Hell he’s not even sure he’ll make it in time!
While Heero’s speeding off to blow up some shit, Trowa here’s applying for a job at the circus! Is he qualified? Who knows! His resume doesn’t say anything useful apparently. Trowa decides to say hello to Mufasa, and he says hello back and lets Trowa pet him, and then Trowa says something deep about how beasts only bare their fangs at enemies. Really if there’s no threat why would you have your hackles raised anyway? Meanwhile Catherine’s just like wow this kid’s kinda weird. No one decides to remark about how he could poke out someone’s eye with his fringe.
Quatre’s sipping tea and musing about how beautiful Earth is and do these assholes even realise how beautiful it is? Probably not since they’re all too busy shooting each other to give a damn about Earth’s forests and pristine lakes and whatever else. Also they don’t know that they shouldn’t take these natural resources for granted, because they’re from Earth.
(Not pictured: The poor bastards who got stuck washing all the bird shit off the Gundam. But hey, even Gundams need a day of relaxation by the water.)
I gotta add in a bit of an aside here: I’ve watched Gundam Wing in a few languages outside of the usual Japanese and English. I’ve watched it in German, I’ve watched it in Italian, and French, and even Thai. The weirdest one was probably Thai, because Quatre is voiced by a woman–which isn’t the weird part, because Quatre is voiced by a woman in Japanese too. Unlike Orikasa Ai, however, Quatre’s Thai voice actress doesn’t even try to sound like a teenaged boy. So…I don’t know if they genderbent Quatre, or…they just don’t care.
(The Thai dub was just weird all the way around for voice acting choices full stop. Heero sounds 40 and the actor’s voice is similar in tone to Zechs’ seiyuu, and Heero’s infamous line in episode one sounds like a crow cawing.)
AND THEN THERE’S WUFEI, who shows up to see some shady people with a suitcase full of cash.
(Pictured: shitloads of the most generic looking bank notes I’ve ever seen. Did you just print those this morning, Wufei?)
“Where did Wufei even get that kind of money from?” Well he didn’t just stumble on an abandoned suitcase full of cashola. He actually had a rather Expensive Thing and he decided to sell it for $$$.
“Why’re you handing a huge amount of explosives to a kid?!”
“Mind your own business. He’s paid in full for the truck, too.”
Even the black market questions giving a “kid” explosives. Clearly he should’ve just found a warehouse somewhere and stolen them. But maybe Wufei doesn’t have the hacking skills to pull off such a feat. Who knows!
What is it with all these pilots who just hide their shit underwater???
OH RIGHT PARTY.
Friend 1: Blow them out, Relena.
Friend 2: The candles.
Relena: Oh, that’s right.
What did you think they meant–were you daydreaming there, Relena? About that boy who you shouldn’t get involved with at all?
I mean I can’t blame her.
SEB is all THANK GOD I DIDN’T MISS THE IMPORTANT PART and Relena’s all well okay great.
SEB: So it looks like Heero’s not here after all. Then maybe that was Heero I saw.
Relena: Did you see Heero?
SEB: Yeah, along the coastal road. But the funny thing is, he was driving an ambulance. Must’ve been someone else.
Relena: An ambulance? That’s him all right!
Remember, he’s on a ~secret mission~. He’s supposed to be inconspicuous. I mean sure he didn’t have the sirens blaring, but if anyone took more than two seconds to look at the driver, they’d probably notice that’s not an EMT driving it.
So Relena leaves her own birthday party once she finds out that Heero is heading for the military port where he’s gonna blow up some shit, notably his Gundam, maybe some Ozzies along with it if they’re there. Her friends insist on coming with her, but Relena tells them no, she needs to do this by herself. Her friends are shocked! Why is Relena acting like this, they’re probably thinking, and all over some dumb boy no less when there’s more important things to worry about, like her party and the cake and being fabulous. Even her mother questions this behaviour, saying, “What’s gotten into her? I’ve never seen such a severe expression.” Because remember, Relena’s usually pretty reserved, and here she is all, “I have to go, I have to go now!” because some boy’s driving to a military port.
At this point I’m sure her peers think she’s got a military boyfriend and he’s about to launch off somewhere and it’s gonna be all ~romantic~.
I mean I don’t know if that’s what they’re thinking, but I wouldn’t put it past them anyway, to romanticise her life.
Relena hops in her limo with her trusty butler-chauffeur Pargan at the helm.
“Heero. What are you planning to do? Who are you going to kill?”
He’s gonna blow up his Gundam actually but since this is Heero probably other people are gonna get caught up in it, that’s just how this shit works, but it’s okay because they’re all Alliance or OZ and as we know, they’re all scumbags.
Because Heero wouldn’t kill people with torpedoes and go through all this trouble to acquire them for such a purpose, that’s too roundabout for him, he’d just steal a mobile suit and slice and dice ’em all up. Or plant explosives.
SPEAKING OF GUNDAMS they found it since it wasn’t that far from the Leo Zechs sacrificed to Poseidon. They found the Leo via a metal detector, because it’s made of Neo-Titanium. Gundams don’t show up on metal detectors, which…I guess they didn’t know…that although they call it “Gundanium alloy” it’s not a metal alloy at all. And as we know, if it’s not metal, it won’t get picked up. These people know what Gundanium is even and they…haven’t figured this out…
No one said that OZ had bright soldiers.
“I must say our enemies have built an impressive beast. However, now that we have it in our grasp we’ll be fierce beasts ourselves.”
Zechs. Zechs please.
Now I just mentioned that OZ doesn’t have the brightest of soldiers and I’m not wrong because someone bumps into the damn Gundam and triggers the self-detonation device. One would assume that Heero, before he swam to the surface, locked down the Gundam and set the alarm and a whole bunch of shit with the plan to self detonate it (and himself). Gundams are like cars, see, and have alarms you can set. Except these alarms won’t eventually lead to your car exploding (hopefully). What I’d be interested to know is how loud the alarm would actually be underwater, because there’s no way it’s the same level of noise above water as it is below, but I think it’s safe to say it’d still be pretty fucking loud.
(The answer is very technical but basically sound moves faster in water compared to air and decibals only refers to what you hear in your average air pressure environment so it depends on how much pressure is where they are, etc. etc. I have a link to a website where you can read more about how sound works in water if you care.)
(Now I want to know decibal levels for Gundam self detonation alarms. rip me. They need to obviously be loud enough to let people know within a certain vicinity that something is going to explode and to get the hell away…)
One of OZ’s Finest even goes as far as to say, “Is it self-detonating?”
Generally that’s why that alarm goes off, it’s not like a car alarm in that it’s saying HEY SOMEONE’S BREAKING IN although nowadays it means more SOMEONE NICKED ME HELP than anything useful. Did they seriously not think that the thing was rigged to blow or something?! “Destroy all evidence” is the first rule in espionage/secret agent shit.
SUDDENLY IT’S BRIGHT AS HELL DOWN HERE and no one knows where it came from because this wouldn’t show up on their radar anyway. The exploding Pisces that got cleaved in two like a hot knife through butter is the only thing that lets them know something is wrong. So they shoot it with missiles because that’s the solution to all problems right? These missiles do nothing and then that suit too gets to join its brother.
“How can he use a thermal energy weapon underwater?!”
Because it’s thermonuclear plasma so it doesn’t matter 😀
One of the Ozzies gets cocky and thinks it’s defeated the enemy before getting blown up by said enemy in a case of “spoke too soon”.
So Duo finds Wing Gundam and de-activates the self-destruct system with a poke of his scythe and decides to collect it for scrap parts. Probably for his own Gundam. You don’t just find Gundam parts in a store, you know.
Back to that military port we needed to head off to…
Which ends up being lit up by explosives because why not, right? It’s an Alliance base, it’s a viable target and might as well while we’re here to blow up a Gundam, right? Relena sees the explosion from a distance and pretty much goes, “Yup, found him.”
Cue more explosions so Heero can…load more explosives in the form of missiles, when Relena shows up.
“Heero! So it is you, Heero. What are you doing? Tell me! Who are you anyway? Those are torpedoes, right? I can tell! I want to know who you are. Talk to me, Heero!”
For those who think Heero’s just some cold emotionless bastard I would like to direct you to the above picture because does that look like a “cold emotionless bastard” to you?
“You’re in too deep.”
Unfortunately he blinks and turns around and while his expression certainly hardens, this still doesn’t look like this stoic and cold and emotionless bastard I kept hearing about in the days of my youth.
Relena is shocked by this turn of events despite…the fact that…he told her he was gonna kill her. He starts squeezing the trigger but is interrupted by being shot in the arm and knocked over. And although Heero looks like he’s a little pained, when most people are shot in the arm, there’s usually a lot of screaming from the person who was shot. Instead, the only person who really screamed was Relena. (Mostly because Heero has a very high pain tolerance and has probably endured worse, as we’ll have hinted at in episode three.)
So the guy who shot Heero thinks he’s the hero, saved a girl’s life, and is shocked when said girl is fretting over the guy who pointed a gun in her face. Heero ignores both of them and reaches for his gun, which fell from his hand, and Duo shoots at him again. Now. Most people think that Heero got shot in the leg. Like that was the actual target. That a bullet went in one part of his thigh and out the other. Well you would be wrong!
Duo was actually aiming for Heero’s gun, to move it further out of his reach so he couldn’t retaliate, and Heero’s leg just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is unfortunate in some ways because it’s a lot easier to shoot someone in the leg and disarm them that way than try and shoot someone’s gun away. But knowing Heero, probably unless you shot out his knee or an important tendon, he’d still keep going. (It’s not even a guarantee that shooting out his knee or a tendon would stop him.)
“Don’t overdo it; remember, you’re injured.”
Duo may or may not be mocking him. And he decides that twice isn’t enough, that maybe he should be shot three times, when Relena decides that they’ve had enough foolishness for one evening and stands in the line of fire, blocking Heero from further injury.
“That’s enough. Why did you have to hurt him?”
Duo is understandably confused. Here he was, without any context, and he was the bad guy. If you saw a guy pointing a gun at someone, wouldn’t you act and do something about that? But no, he’s the bad guy, because he shot someone who intended to kill an innocent girl because “all obstacles must be eliminated”.
So Relena tears up my favourite outfit and uses the scraps of cloth from the skirt of the dress to bandage Heero’s gunshot wounds, much to his confusion.
(Heero you cute sometimes with your facial expressions.)
By the way, I’ve tried to tear fabric. It’s not as easy as anime or the movies would have you believe. It pretty much has to already be torn in order to tear it further.
So Deathscythe and Wing surface and Duo blinds Relena so she can’t see the top secret mobile suits the colony sent to Earth as presents for OZ, and Heero uses the distraction to his advantage and jumps onto the rig with the torpedoes all set up. Of course the distraction doesn’t last and Duo takes aim again.
“So it is my mobile suit!”
Heero never calls Wing by name that I can recall, he usually just calls it his mobile suit or Gundam or whatever. Everyone else uses the name of their Gundam, or calls it by some kind of name in Wufei’s case, but Heero doesn’t do that until he gets Epyon and Wing Zero after that, which is when his Gundams become more or less “sentient” thanks to the ZERO System.
So Heero launches the torpedoes at the Gundams and launches himself into the ocean, which I guess he thinks will obliterate the Gundams since…he probably doesn’t know the self detonation system’s been shut off. With the Gundam destroyed, he’d likely end up drowning in the drink, which is probably not the way you’d want to go.
Because he knows the impact tolerance of Gundanium and how to trigger the self detonation system, Duo figures that he’s not full of shit and is, fact, the pilot of the Gundam he’d picked up for spare parts. Welp. What are the odds?
So….is someone gonna help him? Or are y’all gonna watch him drown?
Here’s a preview to episode 3: