Long before Hobby Hovel, before my Flickr account, and probably before I could speak English properly, the 13-year-old Chag made his first website – a Gundam Wing fansite. Hosted on Geocities, there was nothing on the site other than reposted official art, screencaps and animated .gif files, but of course, my silly younger self didn’t think anything of it and worked eagerly on it through his dial-up internet connection. A part of me wishes that Geocities hadn’t gone down the path of the dinosaurs, but another part of me is thankful that my little clusterfuck of .gif files will never see the light of day again.

Of the few things I still remember of my Gundam Wing fansite was this picture, which I used for my title page image. No prizes for guessing who my favourite character was.

New Mobile Report Gundam Wing is a child of the 90s Gundam boom along with G Gundam, Gundam X, Victory Gundam, and 0083, F91 & 08th MS Team if you’re counting the movies and OVAs. There was a fuckload of V-finned giant robots during this decade, and naturally the staff at Sunrise wanted to experiment with the Gundam formula. Whereas Wing’s predecessor G Gundam did this by injecting a heavy dose of the super robot genre into Gundam’s real robot conventions, the people behind Wing tried to venture into territory that is absolutely foreign to the franchise: the female demographic – and what better way to rein in the fangirls with some BL undertones?

THIS was my childhood? No wonder I turned out the way I am!

As I barely remember anything with regards to the story of Gundam Wing, I was probably too young /illiterate/stupid to wrap my head around the plot, let alone THE GAY. Now that I look back at some of these official illustrations, all I can do is shake my head. I wonder how much they actually reflect content of the show itself. I should really give it a re-watch one of these days.

My favourite of the 5 gundam pilots was Chang Wufei. This is probably only because he and I both share a Chinese background. I have completely forgotten what his character is about, but in all of his crossover video game appearances (SD Gundam G Generation, Super Robot Wars, Another Century’s Episode), he comes off as a guy with a lot of misdirected frustrations – the type of guy who would come home every night to beat his wife. His mobile suit, the Shenlong (which means “divine dragon”) also carries some Chinese favour in its design, which made it a favourite in my book. I remember getting action figure of the Shenlong for my birthday and playing with it until the arm joints were completely lose, then taping up the joints to give them more traction, then wearing them out again.

However, this particular model I’m about to review isn’t the Shenlong that I knew and loved – rather, it’s based on the redesign by Hajime Katoki, the man responsible for the design of the OZ suits and all the mechs in the Endless Waltz OVA. The redesigns of the 5 original gundams have been floating about for a long time, but recently they’ve been dredged up to be used in the manga New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz: Glory of the Defeated (CHRIST that’s a long name). Do I like Katoki’s redesign? Sure I do – the lens on my nostalgia goggles aren’t think enough make me blind to a good design. Do I like the model based on the redesign? Well, hit the jump the find out! Read more »