Stranger Things 3 – How not to move on

Stranger Things, Season 3, was okay. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. It made a familiar mistake: trying to do everything and doing nothing well. Growing up is hard. Changing and maturing is fraught and sad. These were the obvious themes the season set up, then ignored in favor of rabbit trails. It wanted to do Red Dawn, but also Upside-Down Horror, but also The Wonder Years, sorta? Somehow, this blunder is old hat to us now. It’s common in the Golden Age of Television, not even that interesting. Plenty of shows burn out, like us.

Really, the season needed to do the opposite of Raising the Stakes™ and Going Bigger™. It needed to dial back, focus on one thing—ch-ch-ch-changes—and the quiet dread and ultimate hope that accompany them. The Mall, Puberty, Moving, Normal is Boring, etc., they all fit nicely into that theme, but the Magical Russians building a magical underground facility under a random mall in Indiana oh so did not. It made it very hard to care, not just because it was impossible to get past those nagging logistical questions, like, uh, “how did these guys get here?” or “why is the Gang so hilariously unprepared for something they’ve been through twice now?”, spoiling much of the screen-time. These were such a blaring hook for Next Season that it robbed them of all gravity. The Magic Box wasn’t inviting, just obnoxious. (Did you get that, JJ?) The best part of Season 3 was those brief, resonating minutes after the climax and before the credits, which had nothing to do with either Slavic Mole People or Squishmeister 3.0.

Like, who cares about those. Those are concrete problems with concrete solutions. Throw a bomb at them, shoot them, punch them, whatever. What’s terrifying is the agony of watching things you care about collapse before your eyes, not at the hands of a Corporeal Evil eating them alive, but normal winds of change. Will’s heart being carved out, watching his tight-knit circle of friends dissolve, innocence lost, moments defaced and spat on, things that will never, ever return, that was awful. I understood. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. Isn’t that why we’re drinking from this stupid nostalgia well? Wasn’t that pain the whole point?

I was struck by how much I felt I was in the Upside Down this time round. The “happy” parts of the 80s were horrible, weird, and alien. It was all shit: the aesthetic, the mentality, the casual brutality of suburbia, none of it seemed appealing in the slightest. Sure, I’m a 90s kid, through and through, but, take note: the 90s were also terrible in most of the same ways. Their only redeeming value was that bygone optimism of our victory in the Cold War, cut down before its time thanks to 9/11. But seeing the 80s paraded in front of me this happy time,—all the seeds of the shitfruit we have to eat day after day in our present—arranged on a silver platter, as if we should miss this: that was a straight kick in the balls. For example, malls were the worst deal ever sold to America: hey, let’s straight-up murder vibrant, walkable city centers, nexuses of community and history that have been around since the dawn of our country. What do we get in return? Oh, lame, tacky shopping parlors that won’t last for even one generation. Wow, that was so worth it. Sign me up!

It made me glad to have not grown up in this time. It made me appreciate the lessons we’ve learned as a culture since then, how it’s become much more acceptable—casual, even—to talk about our feelings, to accept people with slight differences, etc. It made me despise what I was seeing. It was so clueless of its consequence and impact. More insulting was how almost self-aware the depiction seemed, teasing at deconstruction, but still fundamentally cool with the thrill and adventure of it. And that was the thing: there wasn’t any. Did I care what was happening to Billy and Whatsherface? No. I most definitely did not care what the Monster was up to. It’s gonna scream and munch on things, like the last two times. I didn’t care about what Boris and Pals are doing thanks to their obvious Russian Portal that’s gonna be explained in Season 4, maybe, if they bother. Whee. Exciting.

But I did care as the Gang gathered round and looked on that empty house, realizing how much time and effort they’d wasted on petty bullshit, pissing away something irreplaceable, a lost jewel they’ll long for until the end of their days. That tragedy of it, that it all fell apart just because things fall apart, that the factors that bring us together are precisely what cause us to part, that time and chance happens to us all. If there was going to be a Monster, it should’ve been a small, creeping thing, an standard but effective metaphor for this unstoppable tide of change and the dread of it, nibbling at their buried fears and anxieties, helping them fester, gnawing at this side of us that we try to shove behind a bolted door, turning the characters on each other. There should’ve been less physical separation, but vast emotional and psychological gulfs, the tweens, teens, and older adults approaching and dealing with this challenge in their own appropriate ways. “I don’t want to lose this. Please don’t take this away from me. I’ll do anything. Anything.”

This is simple thematics, stuff that garners a much bigger and more lasting payoff than yet another CGI jump-scare. Despite being a 90s kid, Season 1 drew me in through the courage of its convictions. It went all in on a very specific place-feeling, one it examined with skill and passion. It was compelling. Season 3 was not. It was a familiar, shabby ritual. A wasted opportunity. It was doing a Thing, but This Time Bigger and Betterer. It didn’t work.

Nostalgia has a lesson for us, but we refuse to learn it. Can we stop doing that, maybe?

Dark Souls: The Final Verdict

The Dark Souls trilogy is utter nonsense, a polished turd in From Software’s Great Crown of Fraud. I have hated every From Software game I have ever tried. This time I got roped into Dark Souls 3 by a friend, who assured me that the game’s design has improved and been sufficiently streamlined to be tolerable. I am afraid this was a mistaken evaluation. The game is only slightly better than the last FS game I experienced, Dark Souls 1, which I played for ten hours until I realized what manipulative little shits these developers were, wasting my time, intellect, and effort with a soul-draining pallid color schema, an obnoxious, gluttonous fetish for grotesque necromantic aesthetics and monstrous parodies of European castles, and a game paradigm so Frankensteinian in its precise manipulation of human psychology. Abuse, punishment, reward denial, and an indoctrinated community of adorers who slurp every splash of urine that spews from this putrid fountain. I hate it with every fiber of my smoldering soul.

Oh look, it’s a swamp filled with poisonous enemies that have been mutilated by some mystical disfiguring contagion. Oh look, they all went to the same fencing school, all possessed of the same bizarre, awkward, unconvincing, insulting timing, as if they’d tested their swings hundreds of thousands of times against a particular humanoid with the exact same movement parameters. Oh look, that lumbering skeleton whose face twitches with indescribable torment and strains with its atrophied muscles just to lift its comical ax above its head also has the presence of mind to pause mid-swing for 0.3 seconds to catch a dodging enemy off guard. Oh look, I’m fighting a knight with slightly different armor. Oh look, no matter how good my gear is or how experienced I’ve become, they can all still two- or three-shot me. Oh look, there’s a quadruped monster who screams a bunch. Oh look, there’s a biped monster who screams a lot. Oh look, I’ve done all of this shit before. Why am I still doing this?

I have spent 120+ hours playing Dark Souls 3 over the past few weeks. It’s still hard to explain that previous sentence to myself. The best parts have been cooping with my friend, simply because coop puts the game on a more even playing field where every mistake is not punished to absurdity and the mere presence of another target disrupts the entire fragile paradigm, giving a poor player time to, dare I say it, recover from the normal vagaries of reality and the intended vagaries of this nightmarish holodeck. The worst parts have been the dull chore of finding out whatever arbitrary bullshit UNDEAD SKELETON #2187 has been programmed to do, learning how to vary your timing against its awkward timing over the course of an hour, maybe, and then repeating a sufficiently balanced sequence of button presses until the thing’s HP bar reaches zero. Lather, rinse, repeat until you want to break your controller.

The few bright spots in solo mode have been stumbling across bosses that minimize the bullshit and test your ability to fence and dance and time your shit in a way that doesn’t feel condescending. The Abyss Watchers, the Dancer of the Boreal Valley, Pontiff Sulyahn, the Lothric Princes, to name some. They’ve all been quite wonderful to fight, and they’re all connected by a common thread: there’s some lore behind their characters you can feel and experience as you duel them one-on-one on open field with no other mobs, adds, or ridiculous filler features to waste your time. Everything and everyone else sucks. Vordt is a barking frostdog. Treeballs is a test to see how well you can handle the game’s awful camera. High Lord Wolnir, a imposing behemoth of a skeleton trying to crawl his way out of the Abyss and whose single hand could crush you with ease, is just a check to see if you’ve ever played a video game ever. Hit the shiny things on his body a few times. Watch him die.

But no, what broke the straw’s camel back for me wasn’t even the gimmicky boss fights. No, it was the trash, as in the trash mobs between the bosses. Specifically one sequence in the last DLC, the Ringed City, in which I had to face off 20-30 mobs of the following types:

  • Frail undead peons in ragged robes who scream at you a lot and jump down and ambush you.
  • Shielded undead knights with glowing red eyes who do stupid amounts of damage.
  • Hulking giant undead knights who do stupid amounts of damage.
  • Frail undead caster peons in ragged robes who scream at you a lot and jump down and ambush you.

Wow, nice creativity, From Software. Working for you must be easier than EA’s Madden division. What skulking undead aberration should we put here in this next hallway? Eh, take this model of Undead Slave #2187, tint their clothes a little purpler, change their move-set a bit, and spam-populate the place. Done. Next. It’s amazing we’re not on Dark Souls XV by now, that From Software isn’t a giant assembly line with bored artists pumping these games out every four months. Why? What’s the obstacle? What’s the excuse? Everyone loves these games for some inexplicable reason. They make insane amounts of money. What’s the problem, From Software? Is that too shameless?

But what made me finally flip solo mode off for good was one of those caster mobs put on a secluded ledge behind the staircase of a descending spiral chamber, a ledge that served no purpose whatsoever and no one would ever build, a ledge that can only be accessed by jumping down onto a chandelier from a precarious rafter, then jumping onto the purposeless ledge, but since this is From Software’s majestic engine of wonder that won’t let you fall off any ledge until you’re either ten meters or ten millimeters from it, there’s a high probability that you’ll just miss the chandelier ledge and fall to your death. Oh, and you can’t ignore this caster mob because he can somehow see/hear you from fifty feet away and can cast through walls. I tested this. I tried ignoring him and found him casting on me through a dozen meters of pure stone while I’m fighting Mob Type #3 from the above list. HOW CHALLENGING.

Then I look up a guide and find out the next bonfire is still at least five minutes away. Oh, these developers are still manipulative little shits and I’m wasting my time. Bye, Lothric. Link your own damn fire, you hack frauds.


Loving Me

As a coda for my trip to Spain to do part of the Camino de Santiago, I watched and read Love, Simon.  There were feels. Many feels.

Let’s talk about those feels.

The most constant were “wow, what a cloying, rose-colored depiction of a disgustingly affluent white family and the minor problems of its protagonist in the tempestuous social hell that is high school” and “this is fine because that’s the framework of the story.” I raised my eyebrow a few times while letting things proceed.

Others feels included some crying, sadness, heartbreak, sympathy, and a most deep, simmering envy. I kinda wish I’d gone through all of this: a different past, a different life, something “more normal,” a halcyon alternate universe where I had an accepting home that would let me crush on boys and work out my emotions and sexuality in relative peace.

For those of you who don’t know, I was “homeschooled.” HOWEVER, because it is my Doom to be a Weirdo among Weirdos, this was not your stereotypical horror story of precipitous isolation and abuse. It was some strange hybrid of traditional-ish albeit private-ish schooling, Abeka text and video curricula (also Saxon, which was great, fun an instructive and f— you, fight me), and starting college courses at age 11 or 12-ish. Long story short…it was pretty okay! I mean, I missed out on a lot of peer-to-peer social interaction, a gap that troubles me to this day, but it was a decent upbringing that gave me enough socialization to not weird off every single human being I ever talk to, like Martin, who should have been hanged at the neck until dead. There’s enough evidence to suggest that, given how many friends I’ve made after going off on my own, that I’m doing all right. Well, even.

Alas, nostalgia, narrative, and hagiography are how we reckon with time and its pitiless march. Stores are the mental language we crave and depend on, morsels with a bow on top. The complex, chaotic, mundane reality of navigating the weather of our lives is boring. We have to tie things together in hindsight, which demands manipulation and distortion of some kind, malignant or benign. Things that seem obvious in the rear-view mirror escape our notice in the moment–and vice-versa. We forget it was like to be there and live that life because…we’re not there anymore. That life and person, in a very real way, are long dead.

Yet not forgotten. For whatever reason, I remember my formative years closer to that mundane reality: a mixed bag of good and bad, triumph and trauma, moments great, awful, and okay. I remember what a strange little kid I was and still am, both brittle and surprisingly resilient, like all of us. With that in mind, I come back to this question of “what if?” Could I not have had this, this cloying little love story? A part of me wishes with fury to say “yes, of course.”

The rest of me knows better: no, no, I couldn’t have.

My upbringing had flaws. My parents had (and have, thankfully) their flaws. Huge ones of great consequence. But the dirty little secret about parenting is that it’s mostly luck and fundamentals, which is what they got right. When push came to shove, I had a loving, stable home that was not so dysfunctional that I would dash my face against rocks to my irreparable harm. Emphasis on that first part.  This was not so much the result of their conscious choices–good or bad–as just the means and abilities available to them. it’s kinda hard to knock two educated nurses off their feet. This is the crux of privilege: the ground upon which you stand, the constraints that determine your location regardless of how badly you screw up. We were in a good place, although my sister, brother, and I endured a lot of pointless, absurd BS that’s just baffling today. Ripe black comedy material, there.

That applies to me as well. I was and am a quirky, odd, fragile geek who would’ve gotten stuffed into a locker, abused, bullied, and mistreated had I lived this desired other life. The simulations result in ten million disastrous outcomes and a handful of good ones. There’s only so much wishing and tweaking the factors to be done before they’re so unreflective of reality as to be useless. Things were as they were. I was who I was. Reaching this desired scenario requires stretching that truth to tatters.

The truth is, I lucked out. I had just the right foundation, just the right family dynamic, just the right personality, just the right outlets, methods, and opportunities to develop in a safe and healthy way, and just the right support networks to come in and save me when everything started to fall apart. I was able to keep the darker sides of this process contained until I was on my own feet and in control of things. I had other s— to worry about, more important stuff, than having a picturesque high-school romance story arc and coming-out experience. When I did come out, it was very casual and unremarkable to me, like flipping a switch installed a while before. There are worse alternatives. Much worse. In this stage of my life, I can work these feels out on soft, solid ground. I’ve already made some mistakes that, in other circumstances, could have ruined my life. Here, they dissipate harmlessly. That’s something to be grateful for, to appreciate, to not take lightly in light of the wisp of a wish.

I guess I can say that, even if I had the power to change things, to rewrite history, I wouldn’t. At least, not much. Maybe fewer stupid fights about household chores, a little more conversation and understanding between all of us in my family, but the overall sketch, well, I’m happy with it.

Sorry, Simon. I enjoyed the ride, but you’re just a fantasy, some popcorn for my spirit and soul, something to play with and put back on my shelf filled with postcards and memories from all the beautiful places I’ve been and the people I’ve shared this path with. The pleasure of any fantasy is that it’s not real. It’s not supposed to come true, because then you have to live with it, with unintended, unglamorous reality. Simon and Bram probably break up in their freshmen year at college, you know.

Or maybe they don’t. The book was better.

Love, Matt

Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 6

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together, stream-of-consciousness style.

Code Geass’ viewer demographic.

Episode VI – Porn is the Mindkiller

  • Is this Japan? Is this the Land of the Rising Sun? Looks way too Greek to me, not that the writers would know.
  • Damn, that poor attendant had to walk, like, six zillion miles just to tell the Emperor one line of dialog.
    • “I survived another workout that could’ve been an email.”
      • Someone make a t-shirt of it.
  • “I was just talking to Clovis right now.” -The Emperor
    • “Holy shit, my boss might be crazy.” -This random-ass attendant.
      • Also, how can he see in that thing? It’s the least functional uniform ever.
  • “The Stolen Mask.”
    • Shit, this is the filler episode, isn’t it?
      • Must. Find. Morphine.
  • The insignificant students of the Palace of the Ashfords spend their three seconds of screentime asking insignificant yet highly salient questions.
    • What an apt metaphor for human existence.
  • “Even so, he seems kinda suspicious, doesn’t he?” -This random-ass student
    • Why? There are least half a dozen guys with the same basic features as MSGT, plus he’s wearing a carbon copy of your outfit. How does he seem suspicious? Is his laptop a Mooglebook?
  • They think MSGT [Suzaku] might be a terrorist. They’re awfully calm for considering such a brazen thing.
  • “Even the school can confirm that [Suzaku isn’t a terrorist].” -This other random-ass student
    • Gee, man, I dunno. I think only about three people on this planet have brains. None of them are in this room.
      • Remember: this is the Empire that put Jeremiah Gottwald in military command of an entire colony of 120 million people. Your faith may be misplaced.
  • God, this entire scene is a bunch of lazy one-liners that repeat the same goddamn information over and over.
      • Nina Einstein continues her meteoric rise into the ranks of “Worst Human Beings Who Have Ever Lived.”
  • Shirley suggests the radical idea that they treat MSGT like a human being.
    • Bitch is gonna die.
  • Lelouch learned his spy tradecraft from Sesame Street.
    • Gee, I hope no one was watching Lelouch as he left, especially the three other students that were two feet away from him in the frame.
      • I also hope no one was watching MSGT’s reaction to him.
  • And nobody follows the extremely suspicious couple up to the roof.
    • I refuse to believe they had such a specific sign for a specific thing when they were bratty children.
  • Why did he just say “capsule”? Does the Japanese language not have a word for “capsule,” “container,” or anything of the sort?
    • Hmm, I guess not. English’s domination of all things in this world is getting kinda crazy.
  • Oh yeah, the girl. Whom Lelouch completely forgot about. Because the writers completely forgot about her. Lelouch did not move her or tend to her whatsoever. He just took off in Villetta’s retarded war-machine and left ALL the women behind. Where they belong.
    • Including you, MSGT, but please, continue telling us how you’re repaying Lelouche for his wonderful kindness.
      • Lelouch lies through his teeth. Again.
  • This highly suspicious scenario with a billion elements left totally unexplained will now be ignored. Again.
  • Wait, when did Lelouch get the chance to fake his own death? How did that happen? When?
    • Yeah, *nobody* in the entire Holy Britannia(n) Empire would wonder why a student using his mother’s name and who’s around the age of the supposedly deceased Lelouch vi Britannia shows up randomly under the protection of the Ashford family, a long-time ally of Lelouch’s mother. Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuur.
      • See what I mean, random-ass student? Your question was pointless. As were you.
        • By the way, do you know what a bee is? I’m conducting a poll.
  • Lelouch questions why MSGT has made a number of incredibly poor decisions. Lelouch, a “brilliant” tactician and strategist, does not learn from his mistakes.
  • Lol. So for no reason whatsoever, the writers retcon the events of the very last episode and heavily imply that Euphemia intervened on MSGT’s behalf. Except that MSGT’s court-martial had already been cancelled, all charges dismissed, and MSGT released before he even met Euphemia. It was precisely that chain of events that led to his meeting Euphemia.
    • I don’t. Even. What.
      • These writers can’t even keep track of what happened two hours ago. Are they all alcoholics?
  • Oh look, there’s a picture of Lelouch right there in the fucking Royal Palace. But no one has seen him before or recognizes him.
    • I wonder if Euphemia knows what a bee is.
  • Great job, Lelouch. You murdered a prolific and talented artist in cold blood because revenge and reasons and stuff.
    • And not because he was a wanna-be mass murderer. You didn’t give two shits about that.
      • Ra ra, Lelouch.
  • Euphemia touches the extremely priceless painting, the last mementos of her dead brother, because that’s exactly what you want to do to such fragile material: smudge your oily human fingers all over it.
    • Sigh. No one cares about art anymore.
  • For the purposes of propaganda, Euphemia will never be told that her “gentle” brother tried to massacre forty million people shortly before he died.
    • Euphemia is a terrible judge of character. Just like every other female character on this show. Because women, and women have no brains. Science says so.
  • Switch to random military situation room, providing us a blindingly useless layout of a battlefield that conveys no tactically relevant information whatsoever.
    • This show dragged Sloth from the depths of Hades and made love to its sweet face in an orgy that will never be surpassed again.
  • The Britannimerican commander pauses to give a speech about information that everyone in the room already knows.
    • Behold the caliber of the Imperial War Machine, conqueror of nations.
  • These guerrillas suck. Whoever they are.
    • Like, they install their gun turrets on flat, exposed concrete slabs on a hillside instead of just burying them into the hillside where the earth would protect them.
      • Let me guess: the animators didn’t want to bother drawing anything more complicated.
  • Um, how did anybody not know the guerrillas were there? That is the most conspicuous hideout I’ve ever seen.
    • It looks like a goddamn anthill.
      • “I say, Earnest, I wonder why that hill has all those guns on it.”
      • “I couldn’t hazard a guess, Elliot. Would you like some cheese with your wine?”
  • These idiots keep acting like Knightmares were invented today at 1300 hours.
    • I will remind you there have been six previous generations of them.
  • Does Cornelia seriously have nothing better to do than run around mopping up hideouts that a two-year-old could spot? Is the Britannimerican military that helpless without its named characters?
    • Yes.
  • That was a complete waste of time, fuel, resources, and ammunition. The tanks would’ve just blown up the fortifications anyway.
    • What a spectacular advancement of human technology. War will never be the same.
  • Somehow, in this universe, melee beats ranged.
    • Hey, Riot. I think your balance team might be interested in this.
  • Those bullets did not miss Cornelia. The animators just didn’t want to animate explosions. One-sided battles are soooooooooooooooo exciting.
    • Are you excited yet? If not, go kill yourself.
  • Cornelia charges alone into a guerrilla labyrinth and dismisses any offer of backup when she has no idea how many enemies are inside, what equipment they have, or what kind of traps or defenses they might have prepared ahead of time.
    • This massive mountain apparently holds a small room filled with…railroads?
      • Huh?
  • Cornelia then looks around for literally two seconds and concludes “Zero must not be here.” Indubitably, Mrs. Holmes.
    • I honestly cannot be surprised anymore by how lazy these writers can get.
  • Cornelia casually says that killing them one-by-one wouldn’t accomplish anything, then proceeds to kill them all one-by-one.
    • Filler level: Code Geass.
  • Lelouch was just sitting here in this empty dining room waiting for Nunnally to show up with Sayoko. It’s almost like he read a script or something.
  • Nunnally can identify who MSGT is by feeling the texture of his hand, but can’t suspect some random woman who steals into her house in the middle of the knight and eats her food.
  • “You’ll stay the night here, won’t you, Suzaku?” -Nunnally vi Britannia
    • “Yes, in Lelouch’s room.”
    • “Oh. That must be nice.”
    • “Uh, yeah. Very.” *wink*
      • I’m bored. Sue me.
  • Sayoko is one hell of a maid. She prepared that spread in three seconds. Ninjas OP.
  • Nunnally vi Britannia is the 340982790847098573098547087th person to ask MSGT why the fuck he’s still in the Britannimerican military.
  • MSGT lies through his teeth. Again.
    • Lelouch is not fooled, considering he knows the status of MSGT’s addled nervous system.
      • Man, Nunnally, you haven’t even had your first period and your whole life is one pernicious lie. Someone’s future therapist is a rich man.
  • “You’ve really mellowed since then.” -Lelouch vi Britannia
    • Somehow it hard to picture MSGT as some precocious asshole. I think he was probably just a slightly less stupid kid than he is now.
    • “And you’ve gotten a lot rougher.” – MSGT
      • *wink*
  • Gee, I do hope the superhumanly endowed MSGT can’t hear this incredibly sensitive conversation between Lelouch and C.C. going on in the room next to him, the room that isn’t even separated by a door.
  • BA HA HA HA. Lelouch asserts he has friends.
    • Silly anime protagonist. Nobody likes you.
  • Jesus H. Christ, Jeremiah Gottwald has become an extra on a Saw film.
    • Doesn’t the Holy Britannia(n) Empire have less ridiculous restraining devices than white straight jackets bought from Serial Killers Limited?
      • Also, why is Jeremiah Gottwald so cleanly shaven? Do they shave it for him? I don’t think he can shave properly while his abdomen is being crushed by three leather belts.
        • Real answer: the animators went home at one o’clock in the afternoon.
  • Turns out, nobody likes Jeremiah Gottwald. How unexpected.
  • Yes, Jeremiah Gottwald did allow the terrorists to escape in a series of behavior and events that could best be described as a “psychotic episode.” So either Jeremiah Gottwald should be talking to a therapist or they should be investigating why several of their high-level personnel have all had such bizarre episodes in a very short amount of time for no reason.
    • But that would require brains, which go for $20 billion each on the Britannimerican black market.
  • I’m sorry, Jeremiah Gottwald was not demoted three ranks, unless “margrave” is an actual rank in the Holy Britannia(n) Empire. If it is, they’re dumb and should feel very bad about themselves.
  • Wait, so, Jeremiah Gottwald has to either go back to being a pilot or…”cultivate an orange farm?” Is that a veiled threat of forced early retirement? Really? Why are you even allowing such an inimitable moron to remain in your ranks at all?
  • Yes, MSGT, you would be in bad shape if anyone searched Moogle and put two and two together and suspected the very obvious connection between you and Lelouch, but you should also have figured out by now that no one possesses the faculties to do that. So who the fuck cares.
  • I think maybe two people at the school know of Nunnally know of her very existence.
    • Which is the perfect environment for a traumatized adolescent girl to be in.
      • Wait, is Nunnally faking all this? Is she a violent sociopath just like everyone else? I sure fucking hope so, for her sake.
  • LELOUCH RAGES. It’s cute.
  • Gee, C.C, I hope nobody notices your brightly lit figure with your florescent green hair from that window. Certainly not any Britannimerican security personnel from the Capitol Building that’s down the fucking street.
  • Just to be clear, we have another scene in which every Britannimerican student reaffirms their undying racism.
  • Um, how did the Japanese guerrillas infiltrate the Palace of the Ashfords? Why? Did Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere help them out?
  • Oh look, there’s a huge Japanese flag on the wall there. I wonder who these people could be. Really.
  • That asshole guerrilla group named themselves “Blood of the Samurai.” They should’ve named themselves “Lords of the Anthill.” Or something.
    • If they were your largest resistance group in central Japan, then your resistance isn’t long for this world, Ohgi.
  • This episode is SO BOOOOOOOORING.
    • They even keep playing the same goddamn music over and over and over again. Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
  • Gee, Lelouch, I do hope the Holy Britannia(n) Empire isn’t monitoring your personal cellphone or the Internet.
  • Um. So….wait, those weren’t Japanese fighters–even though they looked exactly like some of them. They were just asshole students who defaced MSGT’s shirt. Oh.
    • Yeah, none of the Japanese viewers were able to read that. But good try, animators. Good try.
  • Nina and Nunnally have a scene together. Made extremely awkward by what a nightmarish psychological case study Nina is.
    • But she’s also the single most interesting character in this whole series precisely because the writers allow her to be a bad person, instead of glossing over her flaws like they do with everyone else.
      • MSGT and Lelouch could have have sex in Nunnally’s bedroom after slaughtering a small village, but the writers would still find some way to spin it in their favor.
  • Mama loves Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut. Mama loves Pizza Hut and dat check.
  • Geez, I hope nobody notices the very conspicuous C.C. answer the fucking front door.
  • Lelouch shows off his brilliance by storing all the incriminating evidence about his alternate ego in his bedroom.
    • But he painstakingly points this out to the viewer, who is apparently too dumb to draw this conclusion on their own.
  • Did that scene seriously just happen?
    • So, the cat teleported all the way over to the mask, opened it in 0.5 seconds, fished out the mask, then left the room with it in 0.3 seconds, all without making any sound or C.C., a magical immortal witch who’s been alive for hundreds of years, noticing any of this?
      • Lazy fucks.
        • And that is one badass cat.
  • Either Lelouch never changes his clothes or he has ten copies of that one uniform. Either way, this is retarded.
  • Lelouch has a heart attack because something is finally happening in this shitfest of an episode.
    • Lelouch is also baffled by how leaving such horrifically incriminating evidence lying around unsecured is leading to disaster.
  • C.C., act a little more concerned about your entire plan and identity being exposed.
    • Or you can just keep being an unlikable robot. Because you’re a woman, and women do not have personalities. Science says so.
  • They’re going to keep this music on loop, aren’t they? I’m gonna go blow my brains out. Be right back.
  • Wait, how did Nunnally know it was a cat that took something? The cat did not meow there. She couldn’t see the cat. So…
    • I don’t even. Fuck this shit.
  • “What could be so important to Lelouch?” -Rivalz
    • “A love letter?” -Nina Einstein
      • (Porn.)
    • “An embarrassing photo?” -Milly Ashford
      • (Definitely porn.)
        • Also, don’t be a dumbass, Milly. Photos aren’t physical media. Who does that.
    • “A poetry notebook!” -Rivalz
  • Milly Ashford actually enlists the resources of the entire school, which is busily educating the next generation of world leaders, into hunting down what is likely a porn stash. All for her personal amusement.
    • Is this satire now? Is this a subtle commentary on conspicuous consumption or something?
  • Lelouch actually considers enlisting the resources of a Japanese terrorist group to fix a mess that someone of his supposed intellectual caliber would’ve never allowed to happen in the first place.
  • Wait, how did the cat get up to the roof in five seconds? No cat moves that fast, certainly not one blind and confused as fuck. Not to mention it has an injured paw.
    • Maybe the cat knows what a bee is.
  • The cat lands on the injured paw from two stories up. Now, I know cats can fall from relatively high places without injury, but not when it’s limping.
  • LOL, that one Britannimerican asshole is just staring at the wall.
      • He’s staring at the grey wall for no reason. There’s not even a picture there for him to stare at it. He’s just stoned out of his gourd.
        • The purpose of his entire existence is to stand in that pose so that he doesn’t see the cat. He’s less important than an ant.
          • GOD DOESN’T LOVE YOU.
    • So in the above scene, the cat proceeds to walk down to the left while a conversation is being heard. Then somehow the scene shifts to an ENTIRELY NEW HALLWAY that looks NOTHING LIKE the one you see above as the conversation finishes. The entrance and those students frozen in time all vanish and we see two other assholes. This all happens in the space of four seconds.
      • Photographic evidence of alien teleportation:
      • And it suddenly has golden wall fringes between the windows.
        • These animators suck balls.
  • Lelouch haphazardly uses his magical mind-screwing power on those two girls while shouting. I do hope the three other students standing two feet away didn’t hear or see any of that.
    • Nah, they’re staring into space and tripping on some fancy schmancy weed.
  • “Capture the cat which is running loose on campus!” -Milly Ashford
    • This campus is the size of a small city and filled with greenspace. There could be a dozen or two cats running around it. Be more specific, woman.
  • Yes, this seems like a totally reasonable way of not only suspending scholastic activities, but also DOLING OUT BUDGETARY FAVORS.
      • Britannimericans sure learn early.
  • Oh. So the grand prize is a kiss from a member of the student council. Okay.
    • Who cares?
      • Are you implying the school gives a shit about the nerds on the council?
        • Let’s consider the students’ options here. We have:
          • Milly Ashford, because men are perverts.
          • Shirley, because men are perverts.
          • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere, because men are perverts.
          • Lelouch Lamperouge, because women totally like emasculated closeted gay men.
          • Nina Einstein, because lesbians.
          • Rivalz. ………no.
      • Upon review, we have concluded that this is actually a very devious, inclusive, and effective motivational scheme. We salute you, Milly Ashford.
  • Literally two dozen men apparate into the bushes surrounding Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere, implying literally two dozen men are stalking her at all times on campus.
    • This seems like an absurdly low number.
  • Random Britannimerican football team. Because the very unique sport of American football developed in this universe. Not soccer. Yeah.
    • Fuck you.
  • This is actually the most entertaining the show has been so far. They’re certainly making up for the useless first half.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere reaffirms her undying racism.
  • Now Nunnally suddenly has super-accurate hearing for the convenience of the plot, even though she couldn’t sense her brother dragging a mysterious woman into his room.
    • Fuck you.
  • Cecile has no situational awareness whatsoever.
  • Lloyd gripes about how a school does not want a giant weapon of war parked anywhere near it.
  • Why is Rivalz even allowed to drive his motorcycle on campus?
  • Oh. So the two female leads somehow corner the cat after changing in a frantic hurry and nobody else finds it. Right. Sure.
    • The plot always gets what it wants.
  • Shirley is distracted by lesbian fantasies. Christ, woman, focus for five seconds.
  • Lelouch should be dead after running so much.
  • Awww yeah, Nina knows what’s going on. Bow-chicka-bow-wow.
  • The racists are still stunned after MSGT saved someone’s life in front of their eyes. Wow.
    • But no one else does. Sigh.
  • Lelouch reveals incredibly sensitive information that he has no reason to reveal at all.
  • Nina Einstein reaffirms her undying racism.
  • And now Lelouch is putting MSGT on the council because fuck it he’s his gay lover.
  • “How can I refuse a request from the vice-president?” -Milly Ashford
    • Uh, it’s literally your job, president.
  • Oh, yeah, Nunnally’s on the council too.
    • ….I take back what I said about Milly’s promise to the school. That’s disgusting.
  • Rivalz the Student Council Member once again proposes underage drinking in front of a hundred other students.
    • I also take back what I said about Rivalz. This dude must get laid every day.
  • Prince Clovis’ state funeral is surprisingly austere and lacking Jeremiah Gottwald’s decapitated head.
    • Also, nobody gives two fucks.
  • That is one fucking huge portrait of Prince Clovis. It is three stories tall.
    • Seriously, it is three stories tall.
  • Sweeping shots of the Britannimerican Royal Family, exactly two of which we will see again.
  • The Emperor professes his undying Social Darwinism.
    • He then defends this via weak stereotypes and baseless assertions.
  • Kotomine Kirei is the only Britannimerican in the entire Empire who isn’t giving this bullshit the time of day.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald is still alive and serving the Britannimerican military because pixies.
  • Lloyd says something cute. Awww.
  • I’m pretty sure the other superpowers of the world are also moving forward, Emperor Fatshanks.
    • That is his name now.
  • Clovis’ death served zero evolutionary purpose. His Royal Genocide did not have to die had anyone been paying the slightest bit of attention.
  • Emperor Fatshanks preaches about stealing, competing, acquiring, and dominating things, ignoring how any effective nation relies on people not doing that to a certain degree.
    • Most inspiring slogan evah.
  • Don’t worry, everyone. MSGT will reform this system from within. He can do it.
    • (Ten bucks on Emperor Fatshanks.)

Gundam Wing – The Final Review

The wise man knows his memory cannot be trusted. Every now and again you reflect upon a loving toy, game, place, or experience that had a profound impact on you, especially when you were young. Unto yourself your mind bequeaths glorious images that entice you into revisiting that memory, and like that ridiculous Telepathic Pitcher Plant (TM) from that one Star Trek: Voyager episode, you heed the luring call of your nostalgia until that moment of unadulterated revelation when the walls of the trap snap shut and you flail in vain as you drown slowly in the horror of your own summoning.

My friends: Gundam Wing is that pitcher plant–and that Voyager episode.

This does not resemble *anything*!This resembles nothing.

As many my age can recall, Gundam Wing is a beloved show of one’s childhood: the first solid incarnation of the Gundam anime franchise that American children and teenagers were exposed to. It somehow combined deep philosophical musing with the allure of implausible, anthropomorphic machines of war blowing lots of stuff up. To an adolescent mind, this was amazing, as most other cartoons never discussed the notions of war and peace at large along with the philosophies surrounding human conflict. Many viewers my age were intrigued and captivated by this new approach to looking at the world, and so were pulled into the medium of anime itself. This being the seed of much of my mental development, rewatching this could only be a pleasant experience.

Or so my memories told me. In reality, Gundam Wing is an emotional, logical, and moral trainwreck that somehow ascends into the High Heavens of Inanity unto a far loftier circle than even the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, no doubt swelling the slumbering corpse of Cthulhu with matchless pride. If you thought it was bullshit that Padme died for Literally No Reason (TM), your mind is about to cry rivers of blood, because everything in Gundam Wing happens for Literally No Reason (TM), and to such an extent you would think George Lucas would have sued Sunrise’s ass off by now for copyright infringement.

Gundam Wing takes place in its own uniquely baffling timeline in which humanity, still chafing from the wedgie it received after being shoved between a global mandate for absurd Victorian fashion and the mind-blowing computer technology of the 80s, reckons the years after the establishment of the first space colony, implying this was as significant an event in history as the birth of Jesus Christ. In case you did not know just how few Japanese are Christians, now you do. That’s how they keep getting away with that shit in Evangelion, yet even The End of Evangelion makes twenty-three times as much sense as the first episode of this series. This does not improve as time progresses.

Those are the words in your vocabulary now.

 Those are now the only words in your vocabulary.

The Year: After Colony 195. In one of the most ill-conceived terrorist operations since time began, the beleaguered and oppressed Colonies, unable to communicate with each other, independently craft the most advanced fighting machines ever seen by human eyes and decide to put them in the hands of the most deranged teenagers they could find. The first of these is the unforgettable Heero Yuy: History’s Most Virgin Psychopath. One has to wonder where this monster came from. In the first minute of his screen-time he coldly executes the first of Gundam Wing’s Legion of Unnamed Victims and laughs maniacally for about seven seconds before proceeding to the next one. This is the most relatable show of emotion he ever makes throughout the series, all forty-nine episodes of it. Then he proceeds to abandon his weapon of war in the ocean and crash on the shore where the Second Virgin Psychopath, “Relena Peacecraft,” happens upon him and seems not to care a wit as he commits brazen acts of terrorism before her eyes, including attempting to murder her. Translation: she’s in love with him.

Apparently the brilliant minds behind this operation thought the solution to their plight would be to hand the keys to a nigh-invincible superweapon to the Japanese child of Charles Manson and send him to Earth to do…something. It is never clear what exactly Heero Yuy was instructed to do or what the Colonies were attempting to accomplish except mass terror and undirected mayhem. Nor are the other Gundam pilots any better except the American one, Duo Maxwell, who actually wonders on screen what the hell is going on from time to time. Duo is also the only character in this series who has undoubtedly had sex. Beyond that, we have three other psychiatric wonder children: Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei, completing a grand circle of clinical insanity and pernicious racism. It’s clear the director was going for the diversity achievement here, but failed miserably, as every single character is inexplicably white or Asian. No one with skin darker than whole milk ever appears. No, not even in the background. Somehow the Nazis won in this universe. It would explain a lot, like why these people are not confined to a mental institution in very thick straitjackets, although not their clothing, as the Nazis knew how to dress at least.

See any black people! No! See any straight people? No!

I rest my case.

The show introduces our “favorite” Gundam pilots by squeezing the plot through a sieve, giving us ample time to reflect on all their shortcomings as human beings. Quatre Raberba Winner–yes, that’s his name–is the white, blond, adolescent leader of a random group of white Arabs headed by some comical incarnation of Wolverine. For the next forty-odd episodes or so, Quatre can’t make up his mind on whether he wants to be a pacifist, a murderer, or just batshit insane. It’s also clear he’s gay, as shown by his awkward, series-spanning mancrush on Trowa Barton, the Mad Clown Gundam Pilot, who has locks that defy the laws of physics and singlehandedly fund the AXE brand of hair products. He’s randomly suicidal, as the series goes out of its way to demonstrate to everyone’s annoyance. Apart from this pair of Necronomicon readers is Wufei Chang, winner of the most insultingly generic Chinese name since the first Grand China King Yellow Buffet opened its doors in America, who seems convinced his Gundam–that giant machine of war meant to kill people–carries with it the spirit of his dead, fourteen-year-old wife. End Paragraph.

As any reasonable soul would have expected, this pentagon of horror manages to achieve exactly nothing except the wanton death of thousands of people and the complete geopolitical destabilization and upheaval of the entire planet several times over. Naturally, there are perfectly reasonable people on the other side trying to make sure things retain some modicum of order or something like that. Oh. Wait. No. The first character of the United Earth Sphere Alliance–because Third Reich or British Empire is too passe by this point–is “Lieutenant” Zechs Marquis. Don’t worry, his rank fluctuates appropriately in every episode, so it’s just safe to assume he’s in charge of everyone around him. The quality of dialogue (and sheer Japanese-to-English translation) in this show can be described by his approximate fifth line:

“So that’s their little battle seed all ready to sprout into new battles.”

Like Heero, Zechs manages to get all that annoying near-coherence out at the beginning just so we can be entranced by another twenty-four-and-a-half hours of whispers of the Old Ones from his lips. Zechs wears a mask and long, flowing blond hair down to his ankles. If you know anything about any military in the world, you immediately see a problem. Too bad. Gundam Wing doesn’t care. The “military” in this universe laughs at your notions of discipline, respect, regulations, intelligence, tactics, morality, or regard for human life. It is staffed by awkwardly-voiced morons who can’t make up their minds about who they are, yet insist on throwing out every last bizarre philosophical observation on the situation they can conjure. These people happily believe threatening to kill everyone in space is a viable defensive tactic for winning a minor land skirmish, and they’re right, because unlike you, you sad, small-minded offspring of an Earth inhabited by sane human beings, they know just how stupid the rest of their species truly is.

What disciplined, professional psychopaths!

These people serve in a “military.”

Straddling Zech’s completely unused penis is “Lieutenant” Lucrezia Noin, another vaguely German personality and flight instructor who tries to seduce Zechs out-of-uniform on an open comms channel in her first five minutes on screen, then downgrades her game to tapping her dress sword against Zech’s in the lamest disco bar since disco died. After recovering from the hangover she doesn’t have, Noin bitchslaps a newly graduating pilot who speaks at the position of attention for some reason and berates him for not being able to take care of his machine. Meanwhile, in China, Wufei teleports over to Noin’s base, blows up the entire student barracks in the middle of the night, then survives an encounter with “Lieutenant” Noin because she is a retard who lets him get back to his Gundam and kick her ass. Wufei berates Noin for her existence as a woman and explains his victory in the most misogynistic manner possible. Noin is then not court-martialed for her utter incompetence by Zechs.

“It must get better,” you say to yourself. No, it doesn’t. Nothing in the series makes any more sense than this. The plot progresses through sheer inertia, leaving the viewer constantly baffled as to why. Every second line is an incoherent fragment of philosophical rambling that is beyond the capability of the human nervous system to process. To make matters crazier, the motivations of every character change faster than the weather for less scrutable reasons. Zechs alone shifts from villain to ally to villain to ally to madman, each time donning a new absurd personality to justify it. Which begs the question: is Gundam Wing, in fact, a groundbreaking series that attempted to explore mental health through the medium of highly marketable toys? We wonder, we wonders.

Pacifism will save us! Now blow shit up!

Pacifism will save us! Now blow shit up! 

Once the aneurysm-inducing introductory episodes are out of the way, we get treated to our next gift of torture from Sauron the Great: the endless waltz of madness between the two obvious couples in this series. The first and aforementioned marriage of weird lies between Heero and Relena, two teenagers “in love” who never show it in any discernible way. Apart from the simple fact that these two spend about ten minutes in the same scene over the course of forty-nine episodes, Heero tries to kill Relena several times without showing a hint of remorse, while Relena reciprocates by standing on the shore and shouting “Heero, I’m waiting right here, so come kill me!” over and over again. The only person watching this ridiculous drama unfold is Relena’s stoned-ass butler, who, when he’s not aimlessly shuttling Relena about in her hot-pink Limousine of Despair, spouts exposition that he has no earthly right to know. The old dotard must be too senile and/or high to question why his young charge keeps harassing the Atlantic Ocean for not murdering her hard enough. Maybe he turned to drugs to dull the pain; maybe I should follow his wise example.

Noo, she's just a *normal* teenager!

Pictured: a theoretical human being.

The second match made in Dis is between Lady Une and Treize Khushrenada, two of the most incompatible personalities on God’s Green Earth. Lady Une is a sociopathic schizophrenic and “Colonel” in the Earth Sphere Alliance that, based on some pretty obvious subtext, just seems to want Treize to bone her hard. You would think this would be straightforward, but Treize has to spend far too much time tending his sinisterly forked eyebrows to pleasure women. Lady Une, in response, tries to kill every living thing in sight. By that, I mean the Gundam Pilots. For a while there I thought she was (in delectable irony) the only person who grasped just how dangerous these teenagers are, but alas, she turns out to be just as sexually repressed and incompetent as the next demon-child of the Axis Powers that rule this world. So much in this series would be solved if people just got laid. So much. Oh, Freud, why did you have to die so soon? You missed a grand opportunity. Fate is truly cruel.

You will notice I am avoiding discussing the greater plot, if you can call it that, as digesting it will involve alcohol and meth in the obscene quantities that these characters seem to ingest. Here is a blessedly brief argument of Gundam Wing. Take a deep hit first.

The United Earth Sphere Alliance is headed by pacifists who are violently oppressing everything in heaven and earth because shut up. In response, the Colonies forge the Gundams and send them and their thoroughly insane pilots to Earth to “retaliate,” meaning kill lots of innocent soldiers and blow shit up at regular intervals. Treize wiggles his forked eyebrows and dupes his wise, virgin adversaries into assassinating the inexplicably pacifist leadership of the military that rules the world (read that again), leaving Treize, a lowly “Colonel,” in charge of everything. His new organization, “Oz”–whatever the hell that stands for–seems completely indistinguishable from its predecessor until more inebriated old men with unbelievable power show up from somewhere and start making AIs capable of fighting without pilots, thus eliminating the need to execute a few hundred nameless soldiers and civilians every episode. Unable to stand for this, Treize throws the calmest shitstorm of philosophical babbling ever recorded and splits Oz into two under the apparent premise that humans dying in battle is preferable to humans not dying in battle. So logic vomits out this surreal standoff where the enemies are the people who want to save human lives. Treize’s eyebrows did it.

...the hell did I just read?

Thou villain with thine benevolent wishes!

It was at this point that the quivering, haltering plot fell apart even before my twelve-year-old mind when it first beheld this. It sounded vaguely eloquent back then, but Lady Une’s rant about how soldiers dying in battle is a good thing smacked of utter bullshit. Turns out it was utter bullshit. I get a gold star. In order to keep stomaching this epic space drama at the mountains of madness, I just ignored this point and skipped to the next scene that involved senseless killing…five seconds later. Oh good, I thought! It’s over! I was betrayed. Having written itself into a corner by introducing the invincible “Mobile Dolls,” the plot compensates for this by conjuring more Giant Machines of Death, but this time their use drives their pilots balls-to-the-wall-I-hate-bodonkadonks-mad–even more than they already were! What?! you gasp, baffled. Oh yes, it’s true. The solution to beating the Mobile Dolls is a Hitler Machine! If you think about it, though, this actually follows the whole logic of the series to the letter, in that there is none and you should look out the window and pray that the Rapture is happening.

Thanks to the benevolent influence of one of these new Crazy-Gundams, Quatre goes on a merciless (as opposed to his previous merciful) killing spree after his dad objects to the democratic process on his colony, which votes Oz in fair and square. To prevent this dastardly spark of tyranny from spreading any further, Quatre’s Dad, the whitest Arab known to man, attempts to rob his former subjects’ of their entire livelihood, which they end up killing him for. Quatre blames the colonists for doing the completely reasonable thing and declares that that the colonies have lost their minds and all need to die. Wow. Well, I guess crazy people think normal people are crazy, so that…makes sense? God hasn’t answered me in a very long time. The last I heard from Him was a cackling this place needs more death. Uh oh. After Heero and Trowa kick Quatre’s retarded ass, the pilots all end up on the moon, where the writers gang-rape biology, allowing several of the pilots to survive complete oxygen deprivation for over twenty minutes. Given how brain-damaged these young-ins are already, I guess that’s a fair leap. Sort of. Anyway, Oz splits into two and starts a world war over AI, a war the proponents of Japanese Luddhism lose. Derp.

How *dare* you challenge my dictatorship?

This Semitic man makes good decisions.

Meanwhile, on the abused, battered shores of the Atlantic, Relena Peacecraft has at last annoyed the sea into giving her her own kingdom, a twisted plot of land populated by her Psychotic Fan Club and other nameless, repressed high-school students. With options now at her disposal, Relena spends her spare time yelling at the forest outside her window instead. Her Sanc Kingdom espouses complete and total pacifism while being guarded by Giant Machines of Death as tall as skyscrapers. History proceeds to laugh its ass off and sends, like, ten other countries to go knock that shit down, because seriously, it’s dumb. Relena’s demented experiment into brainwashing a generation is crushed under heel in about two minutes, a conclusion no resident of the After Colony timeline could have foreseen. Everyone is sad and cries and whines and boo hoo hoo. Not for long, though, as Relena is then crowned Queen of the World. End Paragraph.

Well, that actually went rather well.

That went rather well, actually.

Space decides that it has had enough of this nonsense, and Oz is ripped apart from within a third time by a new faction of mass murderers called White Fang, led by another German named Kanz. I think my theory about the Nazis was right. It explains everything, but I digress. White Fang kicks Oz out of space. Zechs, addled by the use of his own Crazy-Gundam (side effects may include breathtaking lunacy and halitosis) and distraught by the completely predictable demolition of Relena’s tiny sanctum of hypocrisy, decides to command this new faction and blames Earth for everything that has gone wrong in history ever. Now we end up with a villain who is ninety-nine percent right about things somehow. He just wants to plunge the planet he was born on into a perpetual nuclear winter. His plan goes like this:

  1. Lose your mind.
  2. Build a space replica of all the Egyptian pyramids and smash them together.
  3. Give your new spaceship a huge-ass beam cannon.
  4. Crash it into Central Asia.
  5. Pop the champagne: you’ve killed ten billion people.

Well, yes. Ignoring that minor detail of how everyone wouldn’t die right away and they’d all scramble into space to escape death by freezing, thus taxing the Colonies’ already limited resources into oblivion and spawning a new series of desperate wars for food and material and thus failing in every way imaginable, his plan is perfect. Needless to say, this scheme is so jaw-droppingly bonkers that even the Gundam Pilots band together to put a stop to it. They do so in the most drawn-out and incompetent manner possible, of course, so the jaded, senseless viewer, who has now forgiven George Lucas for all his sins so mild, is forced to sit through another fifteen or so episodes as he watches Treize die because he randomly decides to lead from the front, Duo kick some ass, Quatre have a random fencing match in zero gravity with one of Relena’s failed bitch-candidates for brainwashing (which he still somehow loses), Wufei keep shouting at his Gundam-Wife because they never boinked or something, Trowa’s hair interfere with Higgs-Boson particles, and Heero and Zechs have a lame duel in which they both throw philosophy books at each other with their lazer swords. Finally Heero bothers to shoot down the last fragment of Zech’s Egyptian Theme Park Ride and saves the Earth. Quatre objects to them even celebrating this moment with alcohol. Holy shit, kid, let loose and make out with Trowa for Pete’s sake.

Are you still there? That was the plot, more or less. I left some greasy turds from Shub-Niggurath’s latrine left for you to find if you ever watch this series for yourself, but really, the single best thing about Gundam Wing is its ripe hypocrisy about its whole nature. The series prattles on time and time again about how fighting solves nothing and Pacifism Is the Answer against a simultaneous backdrop of Gundams killing everyone and exploding everything visible. Heero alone commits so many crimes against humanity it’s hilarious. Trowa tries to off himself about every third episode while shooting countless bullets into the faces of countless innocents. Quatre decapitates multiple soldiers with his scythes of death, then weeps. You should have surrendered, he laments. You shouldn’t have beheaded them, you asshole. Maybe that would have worked. Wufei spends a whole third of the series in China yelling at his Gundam-Wife, then pops in at the most random and convenient moments to save the day–or not. It’s about a 1-3 record for him. Duo just stays away from all these lunatics until Zechs concocts his Operation Pyramid, shacking up in the meantime with a hot German chick he swiped from Oz. No, they don’t have sex on screen, but they do have sex. That’s pretty much a given, as Duo even tries out one of the Crazy-Gundams and concludes that using it is a bad idea. Coitus solves everything and Americans are better than you. We must teach this lesson to the Japanese. Again.

Anyway, when all is said and done, one realizes that Gundam Wing was written by an inebriated replication of the Septuagint authors, i.e., a bunch of undersexed, neo-Nazi fogies locked up on an island somewhere dreaming up a scenario that reflects what they thought young whippersnappers of the modern world do in their spare time: man weapons of mass destruction while angsting over their not-boyfriends. Beyond that, I believe I have found a thing in the universe that exists without a cause and persists without evidence of it. The whole Standard Theory of Physics is just plain wrong, readers. The powers that be lie to us. We must rise up, don our epaulets, fork our eyebrows, castrate our young men, and chant for pacifism and peace to all mankind as we break the necks of our rulers with our bare hands and laugh beside Mephistopheles. Therein lies the salvation we all search for, in a world devoid of all common sense and any desire to solve our problems save through genocide! Glory to all the Colonies!

Or we could, like, not do that. Like we’re doing now. You’re all right, humanity. You’re all right.

Before you ask: no, Heero and Relena never ever ever got back together. The Atlantic swallowed her whole. Because she asked for it.