Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Vol.1
Softcover (184 pages)
Mixx Entertainment, Inc.
Tokyo Pop Press
An excellent way to experience the epic series without having to sit through the anime.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Vol.1
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
"Stop it, you two! Kids aren't supposed to fight with MS!" - Relena Peacecraft
By now pretty much everyone should know what happened in the year After Colony 195. So what can a manga based on this concept possibly add to the story of five mobile suits and their pilots being sent to the Earth disguised as shooting stars?
A lot, actually. In many ways, this shonen manga is superior in both presentation and pacing when compared to its anime counterpart of the same name. All the names that have been embedded into our psyche, like Heero Yuy, Trowa Baron, Quatre Raberba Winner, Dou Maxwell, Chany Wufei, Relena Peacecraft, and Zechs Merquise are all a part of the epic saga. Though they do not get nearly as much personality building as the anime strives to give them, the manga does get all the pilots to like each other as soon as possible.
In the second chapter of the book, the five Gundams descent on the Los Angeles base all at the same time, and though they disagree with each others presence, they all fight for the same cause. In the end, the base is destroyed, and they come to an understanding that took the TV series many more episodes to portray.
The manga's fast pacing does lead to some very interesting alternate looks at certain events. Relena and Heero's meeting on the beach flows directly into a meeting with Duo where the two pilots battle for superiority before some unwelcome guests appear. Other alternate looks involve the explosion aboard the colonies in chapter 2, and Relena's intervention in Antartica in chapter 3. These alternate looks are well worth the time spent reading the volume.
Even though the actual story portion of the book concludes just as the Vayeate and Mercurius get ready to dual it out in space, the book also includes the nineteen pages of the hilarious four-panel "Mobile Battle Chronicle G Gundam & New Mobile Battle Chronicle Gundam Wing - Go For It, Domon W" shorts. These gag mangas pit the cast of both shows against each other to make fun of both of the shows' flaws and to showcase the popularity of certain characters. Who needs a fan fiction when you can see a video game death match between Allenby and Trowa? Or better yet, find out once and for all who is scarier: Lady Une or Relena.
Mixx Entertainment's translation is as near-perfect as it could possibly be with the fast pacing. Though some earlier scenes in chapter one's dialogue do not flow naturally, this is more likely a problem on the part of the actual manga itself. In fact, the first chapter's artwork fluctuates in quality when human characters like Zechs and Heero are involved, while the Gundams and MS are drawn near perfect. Also, the font used for the manga has been bolded in so that the words appear readable when shrunken to the paperback book size pages of the graphic novel.
Though the manga does have its share of flaws, it is nonetheless a good way to experience the epic series. But for people who have already survived the anime, then the manga is an excellent way to see some of the more action-packed portions of the series in a new light without having to spend all day with a remote in your hand.