Over the last weekend, I finally finished my epic rewatch of Gundam Wing, including Endless Waltz, one of my many spoils from Kitacon (the Beez Anime Legends boxsets, which are beautiful by the way). You might have noticed the slight Gundam theme recently with posts, I guess it’s drawn me back into something I thought I’d left behind. Whilst I have been a big fan of the show since I was in high school – a love which began nearly a decade ago now, which is frightening – I had never seen the second half of the series. I had seen Endless Waltz, but from about episode 29 onwards was a mystery. Oh, I had a vague idea what had happened, being active in fandom saw to that, but the order it happened in, as well as some of the little details, escaped me.
So, 10 years (give or take) after first discovering Gundam Wing, I have finally seen the whole series. And dammit, if it didn’t just make me feel a bit teary at the end of Endless Waltz, with the post-war montage. And I know I felt my heart clench a little bit at some of the scenes in it, thinking ‘man, that’s still cool’. And I’ve had Just Communication and Rhythm Emotion on loop in my head for the better part of a week.
Maybe this has been spurred by the recent serialisation of a new novel in the Gundam Wing series by the creator, Katsuyuki Sumizawa, entitled ‘Frozen Teardrop’, which has prompted this introspection. I’m still not sure about the decisions which have been made in the plot direction for it, something which I’ll address in a later post. However, it still doesn’t seem to have filled the gap.
The gap that was left when I realised that the series was, to all intents and purposes, over. That no more would I see these characters who I’d come to love, that there wasn’t any more of the story to go. It’s a very bittersweet feeling – on the one hand, I love that I’ve finally completed it all, but on the other I can’t help but want more. The ending is so perfect, the plot is rolled up neatly, the plot twists resolved… there is nothing left to explore. The ending is all very organic, but it still feels like you need to know about where the charcters went, and what happened to them.
The problem with something like Gundam Wing is that it has been left for so long before the continuation was addressed. Fandom has written the sequels, and the sequels to the sequels. Endless Waltz was made in 1998. That’s 12 years of fandom to create a new world for these characters – and the new novel doesn’t seem to take this into account. It’s wildly different, even from the source material, so it almost doesn’t feel like a sequel at all. And the promotional pictures don’t help! They show scenes of friendship, of celebrations, which you just don’t see in the series.
But, man, I love that feeling I got at the end of Gundam Wing. It’s the same feeling I got at the end of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, or Cardcaptor Sakura. It’s sort of an achey feeling, but damn, at the same time it feels pretty good.
I wish there were more series which gave me that feeling, like I really didn’t wish I had to put it down, like I need to start watching it all over again so that I don’t miss out on this feeling.
I’ve been struggling to find new series at the moment, but I’d not been sure quite what I was looking for. Now I know. That feeling I get when it ends, when I know I will probably never see those characters again. That’s what I’m after.
What’s the series which gives you that feeling? Maybe it’d work for me too.