Author: datenshiblue a.k.a bonnejeanne
Spoilers: for everything (series, Episode Zero, Endless Waltz)
I was first exposed to the anime known as Gundam Wing in the spring of 2000, when it was broadcast for the first time in the US by Cartoon Network, making me one of what I think of as the "Second Generation" of GW fans (the First Gen being those who saw it in fansubs first, prior to 2000. The current fandom I would call Third Gen at the least). I'd had a smattering of exposure to anime before, but GW was the first anime series that "hooked" me. I'd gotten curious from the promotional commercials I'd seen and started watching it from the beginning. Before long, I was watching it twice a day, because Cartoon Network was broadcasting it in the afternoon, and then again in an "unedited" version late at night. In the unedited version, the blood wasn't painted out. ;)
I quickly fell in love with most of the main characters along with the anime itself. Heero Yuy in particular grabbed my attention, but I liked all "the pilots" as well as Zechs and others. I always had a special interest in the "Chinese" pilot, Chang Wufei. Wufei interested me in part because at the time I first saw Gundam Wing, I was already a fan of Hong Kong movies, buying them from distributors of overseas media so I could get the subtitled versions. My partner and I collected movies of Chow Yun Fat and Jet Li among others, before they started making and releasing movies in English.
So, I easily "recognized" Wufei - I understood instantly what type of character he was supposed to be. He had all the qualities of a Chinese hero - blunt, honorable, righteous, strong and ethical, yet sensitive to conflicts of conscience.
When I got on the Net and went looking for information about the series, I stumbled upon GW fan fiction. I jumped in and got truly excited, immersing myself completely, which brought about my next exposure: to GW fandom and that intangible yet powerful thing we call "fanon". I was surprised to discover that among fans, Wufei was arguably the least appreciated of the male main characters. Often characterized as grouchy, misogynistic, unattractive (!), the "fifth wheel" amongst the pilots. He was sometimes written as the villain of fics when another wasn't readily available, often portrayed as bad tempered and disgruntled, and way too often, the butt of jokes.
How could people misunderstand him so completely? I was surprised, and then my next reaction (predictably, if you know me) was to take him on as my favorite, to champion his cause by attempting to write and encourage more realistic and favorable portrayals of him. And I'm happy to say, I saw the tide begin to turn. I won't say it was a result of anything I did, but while Wufei never became the most popular GW character, he now has a following of his own who are every bit as loyal and interested in promoting him as they should be.
The main danger in being the person to take on writing Chang Wufei's character essay, is that there is too much to say. So my challenge is going to be in getting across the essence in a thorough, yet efficient fashion. It's a tall order and I ask your indulgence when I almost certainly fail. Blame me, not Wufei, who is one of the most fascinating characters in the anime Gundam Wing.
"Looks like they're not taking me seriously enough."
Episode 3 - Five Gundams Confirmed
Five Gundams Confirmed
Gundam Wing centers on the actions of five fifteen-year-old terrorists who descend to Earth from the space colonies to oppose the actions of the Earth Alliance military. From theOtaku.com: "The story takes place in the distant future, where space has been colonized and its people yearn for independence from the reigns of Earth. We follow a group of highly-trained teenagers who have come together to pilot massive super-mechs called "Gundam" in order to liberate these colonies (at any cost)."
Each of the five pilots is associated with a particular colony or group of colonies located at the five LaGrange points. The central character, Heero Yuy, is designated Gundam pilot 01, the number indicating which LaGrange point he is from. Each of the five pilots is sent to Earth without knowledge of the other four. Each thinks they are fighting alone.
The last to arrive and only briefly seen in the first several episodes, is Chang Wufei, pilot of the Shenlong Gundam ("shenlong" is Chinese for 'spirit dragon'), from the colony at LaGrange point 5. Like each of the others, he has a powerful mecha that has its own unique design, characteristic weapons and fighting style. A ferocious fighter, he seems to taunt his enemies for being weak, and chides them for fighting when they haven't the strength to stand up to him in battle. But like the others, he is one of five, against the entire sum of the united Earth's military forces. His brashness and arrogance aren't that of a bully, but the bluntness of a warrior fighting for the unarmed people of the colonies, protecting the weak against the strong, because the weak should not have to fight.
You can tell things about Wufei from the moment you see him. His features are recognizably Asian, his hair pulled back severely, and he's dressed in a spotless white tunic and pants in the style of a Chinese martial artist, finished with plain black "kung fu" shoes. Under the white tunic, a simple dark blue tank top.
Wufei's white outfit perfectly symbolizes his character. White is sometimes associated with death and mourning in Eastern cultures, a connection I'll come back to later, but more universally, it represents purity, and Wufei is a character who strives to achieve, regain, and maintain his purity of purpose throughout the series.
Shenlong's design mimics the armor of a Chinese warrior, and his beam lance has the appearance of a traditional weapon. Shenlong's other main armament is the Dragon Fang, an extendable arm that can be used to smite and destroy enemies, and is also equipped with a flamethrower! Shenlong's movements in battle also mimic a martial arts style, which is why I'm always amused at the thought of arming a first-class martial artist with a flamethrower.
In Episode 10: Heero, Distracted by Defeat, Une is giving a briefing to her soldiers with pointers on how to fight and hopefully defeat all the Gundams. Of Shenlong she tells them to "...avoid direct contact. Stop it in its tracks and barrage until its destroyed." In other words, stay away, don't get near it because it's too powerful!
As powerful as the Gundam Shenlong is, Wufei, more than any of the others, has a tendency to leave the protection of its cockpit and take actions outside of it.
From original profiles of the pilots given to the staff (translated by fan Hikaru):
Main Character 5(http://www.no-assumptions.com/gundamwi
Wufei - male - Chinese race - 15 years old
"Justice, will be determined by me."
Pilots [Shenlong Gundam]
Descendent of an ancient Chinese warrior clan, reserves his status as a born warrior. Knows himself (as being a Newtype) and believes it is evil to dominate over the weak, stays cold. Once the enemy is determined, has the ability to defeat them easily.
His own blood and status, noble and respected, will never forgive this tainted war.
Mainly fights alone, on the battlefield, for the sun and nature and warm breeze, chooses to battle bravely, believing in serving justice.
To him, the good and evil of the world is very clear. Evil must be destroyed or else there would be no existence.
Because of this, he will not attack stealthily or assassinate.
Originally should be using the gundam to fight, but likes to use his body instead to fight righteously.
When there is no battle, he is quiet and shy.
Remaining very detailed, pays attention to the actions of those outside carefully.
Another version of this write up can be found in the English text on a shitajiki, or pencil board from the Japanese merchandise marketed for GW:
CHANG WUFEI(Courtesy of Sumire's Anime English Index http://members.tripod.com/~sumirechan/e
The pilot of GUNDAM 5 (SHENLONG GUNDAM), he's the direct descendant of a clan of ancient Chinese warriors and bears the name of a true fighting man. He instinctively senses when people have evil thoughts, identifies them as enemies and then relentlessly attacks them. Extremely proud of his name and lineage, he brooks no insult. He prefers to act on his own. In battle, he appears with the sun and fights with the hot courage of a messenger of justice. Good and evil are perfectly clear to him -and evil must be destroyed at all costs. His conviction enables him to attack without hesitation. He likes to fight with his bare hands rather than with the GUNDAM. Off the battlefield, however, he is quiet and shy. His innocence leads him to do surprising things that often result in exactly the opposite of what he had intended.
"You saw I was a kid and you underestimated me. I don't kill bleeding hearts or women."
Episode 4 - The Victoria Nightmare
Terrorism for Justice
The first long look you get of Wufei is during Episode 4. His assigned mission is to destroy the Victoria Base, where Lt. Noin is training the young Specials cadets on the latest mobile suits for space battles. With Colonel Zechs visiting the base, Noin seems to be confident that she'll never have to watch her cadets die in battle, she plans to have them so well trained. But she has to watch them die before they even get out to space - Wufei infiltrates the base and plants explosives in the pilots' barracks. He's left Shenlong concealed nearby, and takes off from the base on a motorcycle. Noin give chase with other soldiers, in mobile suits. She blows Wufei off the motorcycle and he gets to his feet, holding his hands up in surrender. When Noin sees him, she exclaims that he looks like he's a child, maybe fourteen. Wufei reacts to hearing the voice of the pilot who cornered him, realizing that her hesitation to go ahead and kill him is because, 'she's a woman.' He kicks a bomb in the face of her mobile suit and escapes, making it to Shenlong. Suddenly the tide of battle turns. Even with a powerful rifle weapon intended for use in space, Noin is bested by Shenlong, as are the others with her. Wufei does not finish her off, however, saying he doesn't kill bleeding hearts (in the sub, "weaklings") or women.
Thus giving rise to one of the more pervasive and enduring errors of belief about Wufei in GW fandom - the idea that he has contempt for females.
His mercy is not based on contempt (mercy rarely is), though he does believe Noin to be "a weak soldier", and by his standards, she is. She hesitated to kill an enemy simply because he looked young. Worse, she underestimated him because of that, something Wufei loathes. But by that hesitation and the reason for it, she takes herself out of the category of combatant.
After the battle is over, he's frustrated. "Fighting a weak enemy leaves me feeling so empty afterwards."
He does manage to maintain his distance and detachment, however. When the other four Gundams converge at last on an Alliance base where the military leadership is in conference, he doesn't join in the battle, but appears at the end to reveal to the others that they've fallen into a trap set by Treize, to be used as tools to kill the peace-leaning elements within the Alliance. He and Trowa go after Treize, and Wufei experiences a life-altering defeat. Instead of using Shenlong to squash Treize like a bug, which is certainly an option, he leaves his Gundam and duels the man, bringing his own sword! Treize gets the upper hand and Wufei warns that he'll keep coming back until Treize is dead, but Treize lets him go. Wufei is left with the bitter taste of defeat, and the conviction that he is one of the weak ones, and it goes against his sense of honor to use Shenlong's strength to prop himself up.
In Episode 12 - Bewildered Warriors, Ex-Alliance doctor and soldier Sally Po recognizes his turmoil. Even though he denies his worthiness to fight, he still helps the group of fighters she's with who try to rebel against the takeover of their country by OZ. Alone, he struggles to come to terms with his conflicts, reappearing without explanation when the Gundams leave Earth for space.
"I have no right to fight with Nataku."
Episode 12 - Bewildered Warriors
(Episode Zero excepts taken from Katherine's translations on The Gundam Wing Archive, at http://www.gundamwing.net/gwarchive.htm
To understand Wufei, why his loss to Treize hit him so hard, where his motivation comes from, what drives him throughout the series, you have to know where he comes from. Fortunately, that's easy enough since the creators of GW thoughtfully provided us with the Episode Zero manga.
This manga tells the history of each pilot and how they ended up connected with their Gundams and with Operation Meteor, the name of the secret mission that sends the Gundams to Earth.
Some parts of Episode Zero were used in the OAV sequel to the series, Endless Waltz in the form of flashbacks.
Wufei's story concerns his marriage at age 14 to Meiran, the granddaughter the Dragon Clan's elder. Meiran is as headstrong and feisty a girl as you would ever want to meet. She identifies herself with "Nataku", a figure from Chinese mythology, a hero who died and was reborn as a godlike defender. She's very impatient with her new spouse, a Wufei so different from the one we see in the series as to be genuinely startling. The younger Wufei is a bespectacled youth more interested in reading books than fighting or martial arts - or justice.
He's actually quite cynical, for such a young person. Meiran tries to rouse his pride and they spar. In spite of the fact that he never, according to her, 'practices fighting techniques like the others', despite the fact that she is fighting passionately to prove the validity of her principles, he trounces her soundly. She can't understand it, it shouldn't be possible, she is the 'strongest of her clan'.
Wufei tells her, 'You think you're Nataku? You have a lot of nerve, calling yourself by that name. There is no justice, except in individual circumstances. A fight based on such a thing is meaningless.'
She runs away in tears, saying that, nevertheless, she has to fight, it is the way of their people. This refers to the fact that the Dragon Clan was a powerful warrior clan on Earth who where sent to live on the oldest of the colonies at L5, because they were thought to be a threat to the peace, or the status quo, take your pick.
Wufei discusses the fight with the man who will create Shenlong:
Master O (Bald Gundam-making guy in a lab coat): So you think you won?How different this cool, jaded fourteen year old from the deadly and intense Wufei we see in the series. And the events to follow the above conversation provide the conversion.
Wufei: Think? No, I did win! There is no justice in this world.
Master O: No, you were unable to change Meiran's thinking. All you did was force your own conclusions on her. Also, you don't do anything... With your strength and abilities, you could change the course of history.
Wufei: That has nothing to do with me. No one can change the course of history.
Master O: Yes. You're smart. But are you going to just sit back, being smart, and watch while history plays with human beings, and destroys their happiness, and kills them?
An Alliance military force approaches the L5 colony. It is old, decrepit, and they are there to put it out of commission - cold-bloodedly killing all the inhabitants in the process. Some of the soldiers sent to do the job (including Sally Po, whom Wufei will meet in later on, in the series, on Earth) disagree with the plan. OZ forces are sent to do the job, but they too disagree with the Alliance's plan to use germ warfare to kill the colonists, preferring to use mobile suits (more "honorable"???). Treize Khushrenada commands the attacking force.
Meiran takes one of the mobile suits Master O is working on and attempts to defend her colony, in spite of Master O telling her she can't handle the weapon. She declares that she is Nataku, and attacks. She is, of course, one against many - it's hopeless.
But Wufei is roused from his pose of indifference. He jumps into the only other mobile suit, the prototype Shenlong that is incomplete. In spite of being told it doesn't have weapons, he goes. He says he's not fighting for justice, but when asked why he's going, he says, "Because I'm not such a coward that I can stand by while my wife is killed!"
He fights and somehow destroys an attacker, and they pull back. Disgusted with the whole mission in the first place, Sally orders it aborted and covers up the fact that they didn't carry out the mission.
Wufei attempts to save Meiran and tells her to get away. But it's too late. She dies in his arms, insisting she is Nataku. It's a tender scene in the midst of a field of flowers she tried to protect. Wufei is devastated that she dies before he can show himself to be worthy of being her husband.
With Meiran gone, Wufei is told that no one will stand in the way of his returning to his studies. But he has been changed. He claims the right to pilot Shenlong, in order to bring the justice that Meiran fought for. From then on, he alone refers to the Gundam Shenlong by the name Nataku, and talks to it as if her spirit is part of the machine.
There's more to Episode Zero, including revelations about the true purpose of Operation Meteor, but this is enough to show what forged Wufei into the warrior we see in the series.
"I'll keep on fighting alone until the day I die!"
Episode 42 - Battleship Libra
The Solitary Warrior
Gundam Wing is a 49 episode series with a complex plot. Each of the main characters, the five Gundam pilots and others, fulfill important roles in evolving the story and exploring a number of ideas and concepts. Each of the five pilots are extremely independent, a fact that hampers them for quite a while in being able to work together against the common enemy of the Alliance, and later OZ. Yet the five, once they learn of each other, clearly have a bond. There is something about the Gundam pilots that sets them apart from others, a fact that is commented on over and over by other characters. Some see it as their clarity or purity of purpose, their willingness to do whatever it takes to win in battle in spite of the cost to themselves. Each of them could be seen as a loner to some degree, even Quatre.
But Wufei is the most independent, the most alone, of the five. He travels his own path through the story, and only at the end does he accept the revelation, given to him while he is piloting the Wing Zero, the ultimate (and original) Gundam that has a cockpit system that affects the mind of the pilot, freeing him from distraction to become the ultimate fighter. Every person who pilots Wing Zero has trouble with the cockpit system, though Heero eventually masters it (and Quatre masters the Zero System when Heero puts it in Sandrock for the last battle, so that Quatre can lead the others and beat Dorothy Catalonia and her remotely controlled Mobile Dolls).
Out of every person to use Wing Zero, Wufei has the least trouble with it. He reacts, but he never loses control, and Wing Zero confirms that his enemies are Treize and Zechs, and then finally that his path, his future, lies with the other four Gundam pilots.
I find it significant that Wufei has so little trouble with the Zero System, and accepts what it shows him so easily.
To explain why, it's interesting to note that, as mentioned in the profile quoted above, Wufei was designated by the creators of GW as a "Newtype". The concept of Newtypes comes from the previous Gundam series. Newtypes are individuals, colony-bred, who have some advanced type of ability. It has been speculated that Quatre shows Newtype abilities, and that Heero might also. There were a lot of fan discussions on the subject, but since GW's creators omitted to use the term and get very specific with the concept in GW, it's simply fun fodder for speculation. However Wufei's is the only profile that clearly states his original concept included that idea. I think this is why he was able to deal with the Zero System.
"Enough of the fancy speeches! Too many people have died for nothing because of you and the battles you fought. If you're going to fight anyone, then fight me and no one else."
Episode 48: Take-Off into Confusion
"I didn't think I'd win."
Episode 48: Take-Off into Confusion
The end of the series brings about a final confrontation between Wufei and Treize Khushrenada. In spite of the fact that Treize claims Wufei is one of the few people who understands him, Wufei is surprised to learn that Treize not only knows how many people have died in the war, but he claims to remember them all. Treize pushes Wufei to go all out in their battle, but even Wufei doesn't expect it to end the way it does.
Treize represents everything Wufei is fighting against, and is the personification of the enemy who shapes him from the death of Meiran to the end of the series, and even on into the sequel, The Endless Waltz.
There's a strong connection between Treize and Wufei - Wufei refers to Treize at the oddest moments. In Episode 42: Battleship Libra, when he's fighting alone against both OZ and White Fang forces before he's picked up by Heero and Sally, Wufei tells the soldiers he's fighting (collectively?), "Is that it? Don't expect that to defeat me. And you won't even come close to Treize."
Treize is one of the most complex characters in GW, anything but a simple villain, but villain he is, nonetheless, from the point of view of the pilots. His pretense to nobility is belied by his actions - tricking the five pilots into murdering the Alliance pacifists because they stand in the way of his plan for the world is just one example. He's totally ruthless and while he may believe what he is doing is for the ultimate good, he doesn't flinch at the thought that untold lives will pay for his vision, and in this he is identical to Zechs during the final episodes of GW. Don't get me wrong, I like Treize. But whitewashing him to make him a 'good guy' is ignoring his central nature and his complexity.
So you have one of the most morally ambiguous characters in anime, connected with one of the most ethical ones. It's no wonder Treize is Wufei's nemesis.
They are so strongly connected that when I entered the fandom, Wufei's relationship to Treize was often considered stronger than his connection to the other Gundam pilots. This, however, I disagree with totally. In the end, the bond between the five will always win out. However, the influence of Treize on Wufei's life can never be underestimated.
"Just remember, Treize is dead, you have already defeated him." -Heero Yuy
"You're wrong! I still continue to fight him, even now." -Chang Wufei
The Gundam Wing series had a sequel, which exists in two versions, one cut for theatrical release as a movie, the other in the form of a three-part OAV.
In the story of Endless Waltz, Earth and the colonies are at peace. But a plot exists to use the disarmament of the military to accomplish a coup d'etat.
Of course the Gundam pilots return to stop the plot and... well, four of them do. One, however, is working with the bad guys - Chang Wufei.
For a Wufei fan, Endless Waltz is a squirmy proposition. I didn't like the idea that Wufei was a 'bad guy', but the writers wove it into the story in such a way that it reveals all kinds of insights about him. It appears that Wufei's issues, some of them surrounding the guilt of Treize's death, others seeming to stem from his constant attempt to reconcile his ethics, have brought him into an alliance with those attempting to take over the Earth's government - Dekim Barton and his granddaughter, Treize Khushrenada's daughter, Mariemeia.
In addition to providing opportunities to tell all of the pilot's back-stories as flashbacks, EW attempts to resolve the question of whether peace is meaningless when only soldiers put their lives on the line for it. The Gundam pilots are pushed to extremes to stop the plot, and of course, after a confrontation with Heero that is quite my favorite moment in the movie, Wufei comes around and joins the others, when he sees that not just the soldiers, but the people of Earth are willing to stand up for themselves. Wufei ends up a "good guy" again and all is well.
At the end of EW, all the Gundams are destroyed, and Wufei appears to accept a proposition by Sally to become her partner in the Preventers.
And it is from this point that a million fanfics begin. ;)
"That guy does things his own way." -Heero Yuy
Episode 42: Battleship Libra
Once you look at Chang Wufei and see all the forces that shape him, the history and his reactions to it, the choices, soul searching, and his ultimate refusal to stop trying to resolve the conflicts in his world and life, and find justice, it seems impossible to me to ever again dismiss him as a cranky misogynist without depth, sensitivity, or grace.
Once, he was a scholar, a cynical realist at age fourteen.
Meiran's courage and her death shattered his life, and caused him to remake himself over into someone who was willing to fight an entire universe to find justice.
It is never easy for Wufei. Stringent and apparently judgmental, it is himself he holds to the highest standard of all, and it is with himself he is most unforgiving.
His ancestry is from an impoverished but noble line far older than any of the Romefeller elite. Heir to a warrior tradition with centuries of history behind it, he has to watch his entire colony self-destruct, a choice they make so that they cannot be used by his enemies to control his actions. He is charged by the dying to go out and rid the universe of evil.
Among his partners, the other pilots, he remains a loner. But his place as a Gundam pilot makes him one with all of them: Heero, Duo, Trowa, Quatre. It's my belief that Heero understands him best, which pleases my sense of the poetic - 01 and 05 being the opposite ends that create the circle. I base this belief on two moments, one in the series, and one at the end of Endless Waltz. In Episode 42: Battleship Libra, when he is picked up by Sally Po and Heero, Sally offers him an alliance with the group forming around Peacemillion, which already includes the other Gundam pilots. Since he's out of fuel and ammunition and his Gundam Altron is damaged, she believes it's an "offer he can't refuse", but Chang Wufei refuses to make any deals, driven by his conviction that he has to find his path alone. When she starts to argue, Heero tells her, "Leave it alone. That guy does things his own way." Then he offers Wufei the use of Wing Zero when the White Fang reinforcements to the battle Wufei had been fighting earlier surround the shuttle. And it is Wing Zero that clarifies Wufei's path and brings him into full partnership with the other four Gundam pilots.
The moment in EW is the one I mentioned before, where Heero is heading for Earth in Wing to stop Mariemeia and Dekim, and Wufei is waiting for him in the upper atmosphere, refusing to let him pass, like a knight at the gate. They fight fiercely, arguing the whole time as well, with Wufei stating that he is fighting for the soldiers who will be thrown away in this new era of peace. He says a lot more, and it starts to sound almost as if Treize is talking - it's the philosophy we heard from Treize back in the series. Heero stops Wufei in his tracks finally by saying, without preamble, "Just remember, Treize is dead, you have already defeated him." Wufei responds that his is still fighting him, even now. That moment of understanding isn't the end of the fight, but when Heero lets Wing plunge into the ocean, he leaves Wufei with questions that shake his beliefs and help bring him around.
The series provides little (but not nothing!) in the way of moments that show his interactions with Quatre and Trowa. However there are some nice scenes halfway through the series in Episode 24: The Gundam They Called Zero and Episode 25: Quatre vs. Heero where Wufei and Duo are imprisoned together on the Moonbase. The scenes give a look at some thoughtful exchanges between two characters that on the surface seem almost opposites. When Tsubarov cuts off the oxygen to the prison cells, Duo "throws in the towel", but Wufei keeps studying smuggled plans for their new upgraded Gundams, "in case 'something drastic' does happen" and they make it out. As the lack of oxygen gets worse, Wufei puts himself into a trancelike state where he appears to be not breathing. Duo is astonished. He admires Wufei's ability to keep trying to find a way to survive. "This guy really is unbelievable. Right to the very end he refuses to give up."
I have lots of theories about Wufei. I see him as an incarnation of Jet Li's most famous historical character portrayed in a series of "Once Upon a Time in China" movies, the martial arts master Wong Fei Hung. Come on! Chang Wu Fei... Wong Fei Hung... Coincidence? Wong Fei Hung was a righteous and ethical fighter against injustice, who in the movies wore white, with his hair in a traditional Chinese queue, a style where the front of the head is shaved to give the appearance of a higher forehead, while the back grew long and plaited. Well, they could only have one character with a long braid, and I suppose they didn't want to be too obvious! ;)
And I mentioned the association of the color white with mourning. I'm not the only fan to suppose that his white outfit might be a symbol of mourning for Meiran, much as Duo wears the priest's collar in memory of Father Maxwell.
It has been said (and I've gone crazy trying to find my source, but it's been four years, people! ^^;;) that Yoshiyuki Tomino, the creator of Gundam Wing (and all the other Gundam series as far as I can tell) personally identified with Wufei. In most works, while all the characters reflect facets of the writer's thoughts, there is frequently one person in the story that represents them, and it often isn't the main character. If you consider this idea when reviewing Gundam Wing, it makes for some interesting possibilities.
Wufei is not a character that appeals to you if you are drawn to the friendliest, the happy type, the life of the party. But if you struggle with inner demons and your own sense of what is right, if you grapple with your flaws and are driven by your history, you might just find Wufei the easiest to understand after all.
At some point someone gave out astrological associations for the pilots and I don't remember what Wufei was supposed to be, because I disagreed with whatever they assigned to him. To me, he is a Sagittarius - athletic, fiery, often tactless, but honest to a fault. The Sagittarius's key word is "I perceive". Wufei perceives. His keen intellect gives him no shelter in illusions, and only his courage keeps him from breaking.
He is Chinese as conceived in minds of his Japanese creators, and that usually means traditional, proud, and disciplined.
It's never easy for Wufei. But no matter how difficult it gets, he keeps fighting - his enemies, himself - until he finds his way to the right path.
Notes and resources:
Show quotes generally from the Bandai DVD version.
Episode Zero translations from The GW Archive - http://www.gundamwing.net/gwarchive.htm
I relied heavily during my writing for memory help on theOtaku.com's GW Episode Guide -
Alexe Cinz has written any number of excellent fics, many of them AU but based on the GW Universe, and Alexe likes Wufei, you can tell. "Anatexis" is legendary, an alternate future where Mariemeia is not defeated. "Pilgrimage" is an angst-fic that acknowledges the burdens that Wufei must carry for the rest of his life. Bring Kleenex. ;)
Gundam Wing Mission Acknowledged - http://gwaddiction.com/izumi/gw.htm
My own attempts to work through Wufei's story, issues and destiny can be seen in The Frozen Colony Arc among others. About half the stories in the arc are Wufei-centric. My stuff is laced with a lot of yaoi and smut, so be warned. ^^;; Selections from the arc: The Frozen Colony, The Rematch, The Future, The Power of Goodbye, E.S.O., The Hunt, A Chinese Ghost Story. My fiction, much of it co-authored with my partner jupiterjones and others, can be found at GW Addiction under Bonne&Von - http://www.gwaddiction.com/
If it seems disingenuous to have such a short rec list and to include my own stories, I can only offer the excuse that I wouldn't have written this essay if I had never written those fics. I've been out of the fandom for the last several years so I don't know where the good stuff is that has been written recently. (And my memory for good stuff from 4 years ago is non-existent. ;)) So...
I want to invite readers to add their own Wufei fic recs in the comments. I will go through them and add them to the post. In other words, HELP! ;)
I would like to dedicate this essay to the person who
I also dedicate it to my partner, with whom all my excitement, loves and thoughts have been shared fully and mirrored in total from the beginning. Likewise another fine writer who happens to be my chief collaborator and life partner: jupiterjones
Gentle reader, your patience and kind indulgence is appreciated.
Additional Fic Recs as provided by reader response: (Many thanks!!)
Stir Crazy by Rachel - rec'd by okaasan59
The Arrangement by Maldoror and Freeport by Maldoror, rec'd by hara and seconded by icefalcon
5+Sally fics by Mobiusklien at GW Addiction - http://www.gwaddiction.com - rec'd by alexecinz
Fics by Tzigane (the original Wufei no Miko) - - rec'd by alexecinz -
Fics by, or co-authored by damoyre - (yaoi or yaoi-leaning) specfically 'Anything Goes', 'Counting Clouds' and 'Cold Cuts' - look user her name at GW Addiction: http://www.gwaddiction.com/
Keelywolfe's "From a Goodnight Kiss" Series (yaoi, 2x5, 1x5x2 etc, pretty much all lemons) -
Justitia by Lethanon - http://www.geocities.com/lethanon/