n After Colony (AC) 195, space colonists live under the oppressive rule of the United Earth Sphere Alliance. Rebel colonists initiate Operation Meteor – a plan to send new Gundam mobile suits to Earth by disguising them as shooting stars. However, the Alliance learns of the operation’s existence. An observation station in Earth orbit picks up five metal objects at various Lagrange points and sends a report to masked Lt. Zechs Merquise, who is about to descend to Earth in an SST. While their report dismisses it as a meteorite, Zechs knows that it must be Operation Meteor. He asks how many of the shooting stars they can intercept, and his crew tell him only the one heading for Eastern Eurasia. As he prepares to descend to Earth, Wing Gundam pilot Heero Yuy spots a civilian space shuttle. Aboard the shuttle, Vice Foreign Minister Darlian sees that his teenage daughter Relena Darlian isn’t happy about coming back to Earth. Zechs believes that Heero will slow down to avoid the civilian shuttle since he’s on a secret mission. As he begins atmospheric entry, Heero speeds up and passes by the shuttle. The outer shuttle casing then breaks away, revealing the Wing Gundam in its flight mode. Zechs’ SST enters the atmosphere and opens fire on Heero, but he evades their attack. He then gets new orders stating that the carrier belongs to OZ, so he turns to attack. As Zechs prepares to sortie a crewmember suggests using an Aries flight type mobile suit, but Zechs says his ground model Leo will be good enough. After Zechs launches, he fires his dober gun and hits Heero. Zechs thinks that was too easy, and two Aries units launch to give him backup and a parachute pack. The Wing Gundam then transforms to mobile suit mode, which surprises Zechs because he thought only the Alliance and OZ had the resources to make mobile suits. As Zechs’ parachute opens, the two Aries suits descend and attack Heero. Heero then turns and destroys both Aries units with a single shot from his buster rifle. Zechs responds by disconnecting his parachute and falling towards Heero with his beam saber drawn. The Leo grapples onto the Wing Gundam, and Zechs jumps out of the cockpit with a parachute. A crewmember tells Zechs that based on their data analysis, the mobile suit’s strength could only come from Gundanium alloy. The Wing Gundam and Leo crash into the ocean in Asia, and Zechs presumes that Heero must be dead. He’s told that the Alliance Marina forces have offered to salvage the suits.
At the spaceport reporters ask Darlian about the colony summit, but he says nothing as he rides down the escalator. An Alliance soldier tells him a car has come to take him to Gen. Septem, and Relena decides to go home on her own. Relena walks by the ocean and stops when she sees a body washed up by the shore. She runs down to the water and finds Heero, still wearing his spacesuit. Zechs reports over video to Specials commander Col. Treize Khushrenada, who comments that it’s not like Zechs to lose three suits so easily. Zechs explains that he fought a Gundanium mobile suit, and Treize concludes that it must be a Gundam. Treize decides to send his own underwater specialists to salvage the Gundam. Treize then attends a military briefing where Septem accuses him of wasting military resources to put down a minor rebellion. Treize thinks to himself that the Alliance has become too complacent during peacetime, so the future will be built by OZ. Relena removes Heero’s helmet and is surprised to see that he’s a boy. Heero wakes up and panics when he hears an ambulance in the distance. Heero tries to detonate a bomb on his spacesuit to commit suicide, but it fails to kill them. He then beats up the EMTs and steals their ambulance. Elsewhere, a Leo factory comes under attack from Duo Maxwell’s Gundam Deathscythe. The Dover spaceport’s Leo and Tragos suits are destroyed by Trowa Barton’s Gundam Heavyarms. In the Middle East, a Leo squad is attacked by Quatre Raberba Winner’s Gundam Sandrock and his Maganac Corps. At night, several ships and jets are destroyed by Wufei Chang’s Shenlong Gundam. Zechs’ carrier reaches the ocean, and he tells his men that the Wing Gundam won’t be going anywhere soon as the Marina conducts its search. He then shows them reconnaissance pictures of the Shenlong Gundam, and given the other recent attacks, concludes that there are five Gundams. The next day, Relena returns to school at the Saint Gabriel Academy and is greeted by students who gossip about who she’ll invite to her birthday party. While in class, she’s surprised to see Heero introduced as a new student. Later, she approaches him on the rooftop and gives him an invitation to her party. Heero takes the invitation and rips it in half in front of Relena and a group of students. As Heero walks away, he whispers into Relena’s ear that he’s going to kill her. She wonders what kind of person he is.
The first episode of Gundam Wing lays out a world that isn’t too far removed from its Universal Century predecessors. In this alternate universe, a powerful Earth military oppresses the space colonies. In response, a group of rebel colonists develop powerful Gundams to begin a guerrilla war against the Alliance and OZ. While I originally found the episode to be cluttered, subsequent viewings over the years have changed that. Most of the episode focuses on Heero, but it also establishes Zechs as the masked Char-like rival and briefly introduces the other four Gundam pilots. The odd relationship between Heero and Relena is also introduced here, along with his first of several threats to kill her (which he obviously never carries through).
Original Review: November 23, 2000