Parents' Guide to

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

By Brian Camp, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Futuristic battles are the center of this cartoon.

Movie NR 2000 625 minutes
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 13+
age 17+

The heroes are terrorists, and requires a little maturity to view properly

Gundam Wing is interesting, it has a beautiful art direction and has some great sound design. On a technical level it's definitely an impressive series on its own. However, watching it critically as an adult to see if it would be appropriate for younger viewers really left me expecting more from it. The main cast of 'heroes' or characters the shows presents as protagonists are a far cry from heroic, and don't even really fit the role of the edgy anti-hero. They're villains fighting villains. Children who were groomed and raised to fight and die committing terrorist acts against a government with a shadow side. The facade of the government does what normal governments do. They do politics, deal in conflict and people in the darkness make power plays to assert themselves to power. Which is an interesting message for a kid's show, and not one I'm inherently opposed to. However, the reason I state that the show is probably better suited for older viewers is because the four Gundam pilots kill a lot of people, and at a few points consider murdering eachother or those trying to help them. At a few points the pilots attempt suicide to prevent themselves from being captured. Presentationally, this iteration of Gundam is more glitz than substance. And really is a pale shadow in terms of character when compared to its forerunner Mobile Suit: Gundam 0079. The series that started it all tackled the same themes, without the 'good guy/bad guy' paradigms that we as parents like with our war stories. It was a challenging narrative, and the protagonists don't really fit the mold of confident eager Avenger types. Wing however is darker, characters are much more melodramatic and one dimensional in comparison. As has become somewhat of a recurring point of contention among fans: The original hero/villain dynamic in 0079 is regurgitated to varying degrees of palatability throughout the franchise and is no different here. Wing's dynamic between Heero and Zechs Merquise doesn't quite mirror 1 to 1 Amuro and Char Aznable's relationship, but definitely makes efforts to. Zechs even sports a similar attire and his backstory is almost a direct carbon copy of Char. Which is fine, but as a parent who's seen both, the subtle differences really mire Wing's overall success. As for the fighting and violence which is the main appeal, it ranges from graphic depictions of terrorism and murder, to implied drastic carnage giant explosions implied to kill populations or multiple mobile suits along with their pilots. During the show, Colonel Une actually pushes a man out of a moving helicopter and shoots him in the head in mid air. The spectacle of mobile suits engaged in tense combat, where one suit loses maybe an arm or a leg or a weapon or something important that directly impacts the fight as it progresses is a staple of the series and as such you don't need to drive your stakes in for Wing in particular if you or your child is just looking for beautifully animated robot on robot violence. So if you're a parent who's never heard of wing, or if like me, you're a millennial who grew up with Toonami airing runs of Wing as a kid- Wing at any rate hits its max appeal as it reaches the height of nostalgia. If it doesn't quite pique interest there, then there's more than likely something far better to watch. Nobody in this show is really a role model if that's important to your decision. Not a single character really stands out as an exemplary moral character. Everyone is tainted and dark by design. For parents looking for something more tame but in line with fighting robots maybe consider the short lived Medabots or Transformers. I would recommend 0079, but that series as well has some standout violence and some nudity. So, maybe hold off on introducing your child to Gundam until their brains have matured a bit and are ready to view something like Wing without internalizing a sympathetic view towards teenage kamikaze fighters in giant death machines.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (1):

Gundam Wing sets itself apart from American cartoons. The futuristic "mecha," or mechanical fighting machines, and expressive character design are quite sophisticated and outclass any similar animated efforts on American television. The frequent and explosive battle action is also on a scale unseen in any American cartoon, although it's a common feature of the long-running Gundam franchise. For American audiences, the biggest problem may be the excessive militarism and the stubborn prevalence of the Japanese notion that the highest military ideal is to die in the service of one's cause.

The story takes sharp turns, and the animation and design maintain high levels of imagination and spectacle. Fans will welcome the exciting mix of action, melodrama, and political intrigue of Shooting Stars, Vol. 1, while preteen and teens will probably be fascinated by the civil war subject matter in Dark Shadows, Vol. 2, and the character development adds even more drama to the third installment.

Movie Details

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