Why Gundam Wing’s Thirteen Khushrenada Is So Important
The villain of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is not a separate character; rather, it is the very idea and glorification of war. As specific characters embody this idea more than others, they stand up as vessels for the concept of war while remaining unique presences with few understandable motivations or admirable characteristics. Treize Khushrenada’s passion for war and his chivalrous manners, combined with his lavish knowledge and talents, therefore made him an important entity in Gundam Wing.
Right off the bat, Zechs Merquise seems poised to become the main antagonist of the series, as he is quickly paired and contrasted with main protagonist Heero. Zechs also looks like the most iconic villain in Mobile Suit Gundam story – Char Aznable – which implies its importance as an opposing force for the heroic characters. Zechs plays an incredible antagonistic role as they take on Gundam and Relena pilots both on and off the battlefield. However, in the end, Zechs’ mentor Treize serves as the strongest adversary through his character impact and embodiment of the main themes.
Acting as an impressive force of manipulation and charisma in Gundam Wing, Thirteen moves almost every character like a chess piece towards his goal of improving the future of humanity. As one of the best examples of the end not justifying the means, Treize believes that society will find itself stronger and better off if it embraces the necessity of war as a mechanism for defining its path to a better future. He enters the stage as a refined and confident individual who has helped turn several individuals into soldiers through his charismatic and convincing nature.
Almost every key young member of OZ is either inspired or saved by Thirteen, earning him a level of loyalty that stems from genuine respect and admiration. He quickly noticed the potential of Lucrezia Noin and Zechs and made them part of his entourage. Guiding Noin and Zechs as soldiers while inspiring influential minds like Lady Une and Dorothy Catalonia allows Treize’s influence to permeate all facets of the conflict between Earth and the colonies of space.
With his charm and charisma, Treize wins the loyalty of the civilians, and with his keen combat sense and Mobile Suit designs, he wins over the soldiers. To be such a charismatic leader at such a young age speaks to Treize’s true strengths. While he may be a masterful tactician, top-notch swordsman, and brilliant mobile suit designer, his natural skills are to rouse people’s emotions and devotion.
Thirteen’s impact and charisma penetrates so deeply into people’s core beliefs that they begin to create fanatics or extreme loyalists. For example, Lady One, an ambitious and intellectual member of OZ, fits entirely into Thirteen’s war rhetoric, so much so that his mental state begins to shatter when he rebukes his actions. As a result, she later develops a split personality that opposes the vehement warmongering that once defined her entire being.
While the influence on OZ and other like-minded people is obvious, Thirteen also has a significant impact on the protagonists, namely Wufei and Heero. Wufei’s commitment to his cause and the trauma of experiences in the world at war makes him Thirteen’s main rival in the series. Thirteen and Wufei believe in specific codes of conduct and hold firm to their beliefs. Their opposing characters and viewpoints make them respectful adversaries whose stories intersect until the end of the series.
Heero and Thirteen find more common ground as Heero finds peace and solace in his nature through Thirteen’s philosophy of war and a soldier’s duty. Treize’s development of the Epyon Mobile Suit and its predictive system helps Heero and Zechs better see their role in Gundam Wingis an endless war. The mutual admiration between Thirteen and some Gundam pilots reveals how truly impressive the tyrannical Thirteen is in charisma and talent.
By deeply affecting both sides of a huge war, Thirteen helps many people find themselves and find their place in the world. His passion and intellect lend weight to beliefs that humanity needs war and bloodshed to evolve, however crude and twisted those beliefs are. Rarely does a supporting character have a profound impact on the entire cast, either directly or indirectly. A hard-hitting, charismatic bully can drive a story into deeper themes and emotions than it might have ever seen without such a magnetic villain.