Total Time: (76:32)
TWO-MIX (6, 38)
The score itself is an ingenious meld of orchestra and electronics with some rocking electric guitar as well. The first five tracks are the great musical representations of the Gundam pilots, with the initial "The Wings of a Boy that Killed Adolescence" as my personal favorite. These character themes are the best example of the rocking orchestral style containing the guitar. Some of the tracks later in the score place much more emphasis on the grating synths, while many of the tracks midway lean more towards pure orchestra. Each of these tracks is entertaining and many contain some marvelous highlights, such as "The Curtain of the Next Chapter Lifts Now" which sounds like a great entr'acte from a first-class theatrical production. Oddly, the grouping of tracks of a similar style seems to be the entire soundtrack's only notable weakness. All five tracks containing the theme for the heroine Relena Peacecraft are stuffed back to back! This makes it difficult to listen to the CD straight through. It would have made more sense to spread things out a bit.
The two songs are great highlights of the album as well. The techno song "Just Communication" written and performed by TWO-MIX is wonderful and is reprised in an arrangement by Otani in track 38. The song "Its Just Love" at the end of the CD is more like typical anime pop, which isn't to say that it's bad, just not quite as interesting. Perhaps the song's most endearing trait is the outstanding vocal performance by Rumi Ohishi.
All in all, Gundam Wing Operation 1 is a great musical experience worthy of any anime fan's attention. It has a great deal of high quality score with a couple of fun songs. The orchestral performance under the baton of Hiroshi Kumagai is excellent and the orchestra sounds quite large. There are three other CDs in the Gundam Wing series, but none of them match the strength of the original. I recommend it with few reservations.