Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, known in Japan as New Mobile Report Gundam W1 (also known as 新機動戦記ガンダムW shin kidō senki gandamu uingu in Japanese), is a televised Anime series, which ran for forty-nine episodes beginning in 1995. Initially directed by Masashi Ikeda and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa (Ronin Warriors), the series was loosely based on the original 1979 Gundam series, Mobile Suit Gundam, created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yatate.
Gundam Wing is one of the alternate universe Gundam series, taking place in the After Colony timeline. Man has colonized space (with major colonies at each of the five Sun-Earth Lagrange points), and, down on the earth, the nations have united as the Unified Earth Sphere Alliance. Unfortunately, the Alliance rules the colonies with an iron fist. The colonies wanted peaceful resolution to the situation, and this movement was headed by Heero Yuy, but when he is assassinated in the year After Colony 175, the colonies turned to other means.
The year is After Colony 195, and Operation Meteor has been put into affect. Five young boys have been chosen and trained by the scientists, sent to Earth in extremely advanced Mobile Suits known as "Gundams" because they are constructed from astonishingly durable Gundanium alloy. Gundam Wing centers on these five.
The naming scheme for the series is based on a numerical system. Each character's name is typically derived from the word for a number in various languages ("Heero" means "one", "Duo" means "two", etc). It is based largely on the French counting system. (Quatre, Treize, Une, etc.) Also, naming of OZ mobile suits were based on the Zodiac (with the exception of the Tragos mobile suit, who's name is derived from Capricorn rather than simply stated as such) as exemplified by Leo, Aries, Cancer, etc.
Due to the popularity of the series, two OVAs, compiling various scenes from the series along with a few minutes of new footage, were released in 1996 as Gundam Wing: Operation Meteor I and II. A brand new, three-volume OVA series, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz was made in 1997 as a sequel to the TV series and closes out the After Colony saga. A year later, 1998, a movie version of the OVA series was made, with new footage and a different ending (Last Impression).
Manga sidestories have also been produced. A prequel detailing the events leading up to the launch of the Gundams to Earth, is Episode Zero. Several sequel manga, occurring between Gundam Wing and Endless Waltz have been written, titled, Gundam Wing: Blind Target, Gundam Wing: Ground Zero,and Battlefield of Pacifists. A coincident storyline is presented in Last Outpost (G-Unit). The Gundam Wing, Battlefield of Pacifists, and Endless Waltz manga series are published in English by TOKYOPOP, while Blind Target, Ground Zero, and Episode Zero are published by Viz Communications.
Gundam Wing had a run on Cartoon Network's Toonami where it was broadcasted as an edited version in the daytime and an uncut version at night. (ex: blood is edited and the word 'kill' is replaced by the word destroy). Also Duo's nickname the God of Death was edited to the Great Destroyer (which also included altering two episode titles).
In 1996, a fighting game called Gundam Wing: Endless Duel was released for the Super Famicom in Japan. The game was never released in the United States or Europe, but enjoys widespread popularity thanks to the emulation of older video games.
1 The translation New Mobile Report Gundam W is used by the R2 DVD releases in Japan, and thus is used extensively by the English-language fanbase in order to differentiate it from the Universal Century Gundam series. While the use of the term "report" in the title is not necessarily incorrect, it does not convey the full meaning of the original-language terminology. The Japanese word senki (戦記) has a specific meaning of "military history." Some official translations in the past have used the translation New Mobile War Chronicle Gundam Wing as well, and some of the official art uses The New Mobile History Gundam Wing, and at least one Japanese book has used Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.