Daily Prompt: Thanks, Gundam Wing

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about guilty pleasures. Specifically, thanking them for the inexplicable joy they bring to your life. I’ve got a few guilty pleasures, but the one that stands out the most is Gundam Wing. Originally released in Japan in 1995, it was finally localized and premiered in America on Cartoon Network’s Toonami in March 2000. There’s far better anime out there, of course; even the original Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 had more relatable characters, political intrigue, and a narrative that examined the consequences of revenge and ambition. Nearly 40 years later, Amuro Ray VS Char Aznable is still one of the most bitter rivalries you’ll ever see in anime. But I didn’t know any of that when I was 15 years old and watching Gundam Wing for the first time. All I knew was there were badass giant robots fighting in outer space! Seriously, watch this premiere trailer:

And yes, that is Peter Cullen, AKA Optimus Prime!

Every weekday evening (and Midnight Run on Saturdays), I was treated to this epic intro:

…It’s so good. Gundam Wing, thank you for that wonderfully cheesy 90s rave theme. I still have that on my most-played iPod playlist. Thanks for your loveable – if somewhat underdeveloped – cast; Treize Khushrenada may not have been the best villain, but the man was a brilliant tactician and made taking rose petal-filled bubble baths cool. Thanks for the Epyon, which is such an awesome robot design that I had to get its scale model kit. Thanks for giving the viewers an ensemble cast of heroes, as the show would fall flat if even one of them were gone. That especially goes for Quatre, who first showed me that anime heroes could be flawed, introspective strategists instead of hot-blooded warriors…even if he (Spoilers!) was technically the most dangerous and frightening character. Thank you for those awesome space battles, even if most of the animation was constantly reused to save the budget for the epic finale. The showdown between the Earth and colony forces was built up perfectly; no other anime has ever captured the sheer amount of hamminess and spectacle quite like it. I usually prefer more thought-provoking storytelling, but I’ll gladly make some popcorn and binge watch well into a Saturday night. Thank you for helping shape my love of anime, science fiction, and entertainment. Gundam Wing, you truly are one of a kind.

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