Gundam Wing 16-20: The League of Extraordinary Old Guys

It was a long awaited date.

After having waited a long time Zechs finally gets his wish and gets to duke it out with Heero, unfortunately for Heero it’s not just a flesh wound and Zechs beats him pretty hard. Granted that Heero was using Heavy Arms in a sword fight I can’t fault him too badly for losing. While once I found Releena’s antics to be annoying her actually doing something in contrast to her successor makes her kill denial much less aggravating, her demand that Heero kill Zech’s was mildly yandere-ish and her intervention seems to be making Heero tsundere for her. I find this quite amusing even if way back when I gnashed my teeth. If nothing else at least they had to create some new footage for this fight but the instances of recycled shots was noticeable once again.

Lady Une starts developing that split personality and starts showing some irritating newtype powers, while the newtype powers never really get out of hand I didn’t much like them even if they were a mild homage and free of unwanted nudity. Still I wonder if 00 Une counts as a two for one deal for Treize. Well it seems that 00 Une is up to no good and the colonies decide one after another to throw in their lot with OZ. I have to hand it to 00 Une for getting the quislings of the colonies to kowtow before her, it’s like they were all dateless losers who were overawed by the sight of a woman. I always liked that part about Wing Gundam they didn’t play politics is stupid like Gundam 00 did, but here they flipped the Clausewitz’s words and made “politics is the continuation of war through other means.” It works marvelously as it was a more mild form of Gunboat diplomacy and pretty much robbed the Gundams of any support they might get from the home front. It was pretty much the equivalent of turning the Vietnam War upside down by using soft words and media control to sap the abilities of the Gundam pilots to fight back. So despite their tactical victories OZ claims strategic and overall victory in Round 1, not only have they taken over most of the Earth, they are now taking over space more rapidly than they could have with military force and they captured, destroyed, and disabled 3/5s of the Gundam with acceptable losses.

The introduction of the mobile dolls brings up one of the major themes that Wing deals with, the ideal soldier. While on the surface a mobile doll is analogous to a predator drone, we are still a long way from AI controlled weapons. Nevertheless it’s an interesting theme and one that other Gundams don’t go into. These days they make a point to make the protagonist pilot in Gundam to not be a soldier whereas Wing they identify themselves as soldiers even when the five principle pilots have no uniforms. Tubarov squaring off against Treize proves the fundamental flaw of the Mobile Dolls, they have no loyalty. It comes up later but in Wing I like how the Gundams while seemingly all powerful are simply tools in the end, it’s the pilot that matters. A mobile doll is obedient and skilled, but lacks loyalty. OZ troops have divided loyalties to OZ, and to Treize. The Gundam pilots are still loyal to the colonies even in the face of betrayal. Even without their gundams the five pilots are still capable of fighting, but their fatal flaw is that they lack any personal goal, they relied on others to give them direction prior to they never set their own missions even when they had the latitude to complete them as they saw fit. Herein lies the reason why infantry are still the mainstay of any army, a machine can only fight if it has fuel and is good repair, but a person who is loyal can be inspired to fight even as conditions deteriorate. Soldiers can do with less, machines cannot.

It’s almost Shin Mazinger Z-ish with every one getting betrayed and with enemies changing. Zech’s is forced to fight in a battle he was expected to die, but Treize being Treize probably only meant metaphorically. As betrayals go friends backstabbing friends seems rather light fare given how the Gundam Pilots lost plenty more when the home-front turned on them. Zechs had already achieved his first goal and now had nothing to fight for but martial pride, quite why Romefeller Foundation is not wanting for subtlety now is beyond me. Maybe it was because Treize was a magnificent bastard, and the Duke Dermail is just a fat lumbering oaf in comparison. It’s almost a kind of Romance of the Three Kingdoms as allegiances shift at the drop of a hat as there are plenty of toadies from the Alliance who seek to join OZ while there are others that continue to fight against impossible odds. I am surprised to see so many guys emulating Schwartz’s help others to glory philosophy as another Alliance veteran uses his unit as a forlorn hope to get Quatre to safety.

Heero’s speech was fairly eloquent in defining the times of a shift in the political climate of the colonies, it wasn’t as stirring as General Revil’s ZEON IS EXHAUSTED speech but it does encapsulate the themes that Wing wants to deal with. Having been betrayed at home only Heero is playing it smart by ditching his Gundam on Earth since the strategic picture has changed in OZ’s favor with the League of Extraordinary Old Guys being captured and working for OZ it was pretty much a forgone conclusion that they were working on a new Mobile Suit that would be superior to the Gundams. Also his point about having to lug around a big robot would have burdened him instead of helped him made a lot of sense since it’s hard as hell to hide a Gundam in hostile territory with every colony looking for you and OZ still after you. While most Gundam protagonists rely on their Gundams for most of their combat power Heero bucks the trend and fights with what ever he has on hand. I like this aspect of Wing since it makes certain that none of the pilots are relying on a technological crutch but are basically highly skilled operatives. Dr. J even not so subtly points out that Heero was his weapon and not his mecha. Also I quite liked Heero’s scheme of using a massed Leo deployment to fool the mobile dolls, cause general havoc, take out a significant amount of military equipment in one go. Heero might have plot armor but at least he has cunning and intelligence to go with it. He’s pretty much the Sam Fisher/Solid Snake out of all the pilots in Gundam, certainly his tactical imagination has yet to be matched by any other pilot. Though these days it seems that piloting the unkillable Gundam is the only skill a pilot needs, tactical imagination, and being dangerous outside the cockpit seems to be held in a rather low regard these days.

While Heero is playing Sam Fisher/Solid Snake, Trowa infiltrates OZ instead and puts Nicol to shame though I guess Nicol is a cursed name considering what happened to that piano playing dumbass lacked mastery of his cloaking device in CE. I have to hand it to Trowa for being the only one to try and play it smart and humble himself to OZ with the expectation that he can get them back later. Certainly it helped him avoid being stuck in prison where as Heero gets busted despite his skills. One thing Wing had going for their pilots was that only one was a whiner, but at least that whiner was able to kill something every now and then. Otherwise I like how the pilot is elevated to being the principle weapon with the Gundam being a superior cudgel but not the only cudgel they can use to beat OZ to death with. I am still rather surprised at how much more I am liking it than I thought I would. Maybe it’s just that the aspects of Wing that seemed so hateful then have become so common place now that it’s not longer a real point of contention, certainly it was the first to really bring bishies into the franchise as Geroge de Sand from G was the only bishie in G Gundam. Heero may have been the ridiculously skilled one but at least he wasn’t making excuses for his actions and his cunning certainly makes him the more of a commando with piloting skills than just a pilot.

Noin was angry that Zechs read her dairy.

Heero felt that was only a flesh wound.

Kill Blocking.

I am surprised he didn’t paint his Leo red.

Now this is just ridiculous.

Une is desperate for Trieze, Quisling is desperate for a date.


If only a statement were made of his blades were glowing red and how they were telling him something.

Quisling wanted a press conference to boast about how he almost got a date.

Funny how it’s the Arab Gundam blowing using self destruct now.

The Ye Olde Order of Engineers.

Cranky old fucks.

Trieze liked to ruin doll parties.

Sorry dude but only sissies play with dolls.

I wonder if Trieze and Zechs were in the Leo Photo Op club.

I too was most disappointed that they were all bishies.

Another old guy with GUTS.

Tallegeese wanted a sub sandwich.

I bet that mask was Made in Zeon.

Not as good as ZEON IS EXHAUSTED but at least he isn’t mouthing off about justice and righteousness.

I am surprised that Zechs’ vomit also sparkled.

I liked him better with the mask.

It’s magical girl Une.

Losers booing Gundam?! Kill them all I say.

Worst second date EVER.

Ewwww… Newtype bullshit?!

Ah yes another PUNCH OUT!

Poor Leo.

It would have been awesome if Tallgeese just hugged a Rocket to get into space.

Clearly this is why all them dudes were single.

Sally Po is so awesome she’s dual wielding…with BAZOOKAS.

Oh GAWD student driving time….

Let it never be said that a Gundam in Wing couldn’t get a pain scratch.

LOL Nicol and his attempts to be like Patrick…

Zeus has had ENOUGH of your newtype BS.

Two long awaited guests…

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  1. Posted May 31, 2010 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    Ah, Saint Une. Oh Haruhi, I remember the dub. THE DUB.

    • Crusader
      Posted May 31, 2010 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      I have to find clips of you dubbed version when I get back. I felt the change was rather jarring and kind of LOLWUT. It’s a kind of reverse Grace in the case of St. Une, the peaceful fairy bringing nerds to heel with kira-meki.

  2. Posted May 31, 2010 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Une looks sophisticated when she’s cleaned up.

    Treize and Zechs is so regal that it hurts my eyes.


    No HeeroxRelena moment? Aaaw, at least I get to see Zech’s good-looking face!

    • Crusader
      Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Sadly Releena has yet to lock Heero in the basement and have her way with him.

  3. Kherubim
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Who would win in a three way punch up: Heero, Sagara Sousuke or Jihad-kun? My money is on Heero as he doesn’t have as much wangst as his later mecha-piloting/child-soldier/SpecOps-Ninja successors…

    • Posted May 31, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      It’s hard to compare!!!

    • blind_dead_mcjones
      Posted May 31, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      sousuke, by virtue of him using a gun, hand grenades and several packs of C4, as opposed to his fists

    • Crusader
      Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      I would lean more towards Heero since Jihad-kun was a failed student of Prince Ali and would need to wait for Sumeragi to get off Billy’s couch to form a battle plan. Between Sousuke and Heero it’s a bit tougher to call, since the former might over think it too much, and Heero seems to have superhuman healing. I say Jihad-kun loses and Souske and Heero would be in a dead heat. Also are we supposed to count possible interference from Chidori’s Harisen and Releena’s borderline yandere stalking?

    • Onion
      Posted May 31, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Between Heero and Sagara, if you go by the Super Robot Wars games, Hero takes it. And becomes Sagara’s mentor.

  4. MrTerrorist
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Doing it Wrong or….. doing if for the cuteness.

    • Crusader
      Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Doing it for megane moe maybe?

  5. Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    was read her dairy.

    Shouldn’t it be had read her diary or was reading her diary?

    • Crusader
      Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Meh I’ll fix it later seems the site is running slower admin side.

  6. blind_dead_mcjones
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    seeing all those romefeller guys in the 16/17th century era war bling reminded me of the saying “war is old men talking while young men are dying”

    looking back on wing its only now i notice that it wasn’t as self righteous and preachy compared to some of the other gundam titles and i find it odd how some complained about it being that,

    • Crusader
      Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      It was a lot less preachy than the more recent Gundam iterations but at the same time rather romantic in depicting the ideal soldier though back in 1995 there was no war making headlines.

      As for old men talking and young men dying there have been a few old dudes eating the pineapple salad so that the Gundam Pilots could continue the fight, oddly enough when Trieze was in charge it was young man talking young men dying, and when Dermail was in charge it was old man talking mobile dolls dying. Though in the case of Trieze depending on how you define old age he might be old in anime terms being over 17 and all.

      I think at the time having invincible gundams and bishie protagonists was the primary point of contention, everything else was alright though Releena was the pinnacle of terrible Gundam heroine, but that title has passed to another and things have certainly gone south in some respects. Still I think many of us still remeber Wing as the series that brought in bishies, and invincible Gundams. Looking at it now it seems much more tame in comparison, and at least they got the strategic aspect right while making the politics more believable and a little Imagawa-ish with the multiple betrayals.

      • ectholion
        Posted May 31, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        the relization of borderline yandere releena is making the series more enjoyable…

  7. Posted May 31, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    It’s definitely better the second time around, years later. Back when I watched it on TV in middle school I liked it at first but then just couldn’t get over the invincible Gundams and the ‘one beam saber slash = 100 dead Leos’ element. The politics didn’t come across very eloquently either compared to other fiction, but that may have been in large part to the less than elegant dubbing. The word choices and voice tones are much better in the original Japanese, if still a bit pretentious sometimes.

    • Crusader
      Posted June 1, 2010 at 3:49 am | Permalink

      The dubbing wasn’t that great since it was pretty trashy for some characters, I didn’t like Releena dubbed much at all watching it in Japanese makes her a lot less grating for me. As much as Leo’s getting blown to pieces there were some moments of Awesome for the Leo. Leo’s being at the bottom of the power ladder aside the recycled animation is annoying as ever.

  8. Posted May 31, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I think it was one of these episodes when I decided that I liked the design of the “cannon-fodder” leos over the Gundams. Still remains as my favorite design of a non-Gundam mecha.

    • Crusader
      Posted June 1, 2010 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      Did it have something to do with Zechs and Trieze striking poses on them? Or was it Sally Po using twin bazookas?

  9. d3v
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    One thing you could always count on in Wing was at the very least, the pilots were decent fighters despite their age. Too bad the moments of 100 Leos getting LOLGund0wnz3d kinda takes away from this. More often than not, people tend to remember the Gundams from Wing being totally OP and just stop at that.

    • Crusader
      Posted June 1, 2010 at 3:55 am | Permalink

      It ushered in the age of ridiculous OP Gundams but that trend has stuck and seems to be a permanent fixture in AU series. At least the numbers counted for something as the Gundams can win a battle and still lose the war.

  10. Posted June 1, 2010 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Crowning moments of Tallgeese in this arc. Pity we won’t see it for much longer.

    I’m sure with Wing it’s not just nostalgia that makes it enjoyable; it has a certain sort of thematic consistency and classiness that SeeD and to some extent, 00 lacked. It might have been silly at the time, but the animation and Napoleon-era look has aged a whole lot better in a decade than SeeD’s character designs.

    • Crusader
      Posted June 1, 2010 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      Yeah Tallgeese is not long for the series but at least we got Tallgeese II and Tallgeese III. It is much more thematically consistent and at least they did not shift gears midway. CE character designs were rather samey and some were just down right ugly. I was rather confused when Fafner entered the fray. I am still surprised at how samey it was, it was almost as if they guy couldn’t draw different characters with out the uncanny similarities.

      The closest offender in Wing is Wong Yun Fat he does look remarkably similar between G Gundam and Wing, Though it may have been just a nod to G Gundam since Wing Gundam was present along with many others at the final eps of G Gundam.

      • d3v
        Posted June 1, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Always had a special place in my heart for the Tallgeese. There’s just something majestic and dignified about the design.

  11. Square
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    First off, happy late memorial day! Thank you for serving the country and allowing us the freedom to live how we like.

    The meat of the matter, GW does seem a lot better compared to the 00/seed crap of late. At least the GW boys knew that fact that if you can’t get in to a building it’s kinda hard to spy, defuse bombs, free prisoners etc. Where as in 00/seed everything is solved magically on the battlefield. *cough cop out cough*

    I do agree that Trieze really didn’t have a goal other than “glory through battle”. The lack of real resistance in the colonies also seemed odd. But that make sense when in put in the context of the series being about how a “few” could change the whole. In actually, these series of eps totally debunk that. The GW pilots are given up in popular support, they have no support structure and now a lack of direction. Ultimately they would have to semi join Treze to oppose Romafeller, showing that they had to fight as part of the whole to make a difference.

    Seed and 00 ironical show a very cold war mentality, “I have the biggest arsenal/bomb so I MUST be right.” The idea they’re fighting for is irrelevant, it’s the treat of SUPA GUNDAM showing up and humiliating your forces that made people fall in line. Seed being more of the I have the nukes mentality. 00 was more of how the threat of terrorist treats with WMDs forced people into compliance. Treat Ribbons as anomaly since they needed someone to make the terrorist look like good guys :p.

    • Crusader
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      Indeed at least in Wing Gundam is not the solution to every problem, and certainly Trowa and Heero were at least reflecting on the changing situation instead of lugging their Gundams into space. They fought the war as a minority with the homefront undecided on the matter, and later they got sold out and suffered for it. Wing came from a time when Gundams weren’t an embodiment of the ultimate power in the universe, but eventually that became the attitude that took hold.

  12. ectholion
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    indeed, oh how i hated 00…. the terrorists, cosplaying char clone, sagi, the death of soma, the tragic end of prince ali, the plot holes, the romance that made my stomach churn… aka anew and lyle, the clone army, all the powerups, and the worst bridge bunnies ever…. i wished death via botulism upon the entire gundam chew… never before have i hate all the intended heros of a show so much… well at least there was patrick and katie the only good thing at the end of the series at the end of the series….

    • Crusader
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:46 am | Permalink

      Gundam 00 was certainly something else in terms of the cast and certainly the pity plays weren’t nearly as crass or as common in Gundam Wing.

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