Gundam Wing pairings were all about the numbers. For much of the fandom that I witnessed as a youngun in fandom, Wufei and Treize (signaled by their numerical designations in pairings as 5 and 13 respectively) were a small but still very popular pairing in the heyday of the series.
Treize may not be the best antagonist in the Gundam franchise, but he is probably my favorite. He is a frustrating character because he’s this noble knight and… a dictator grabbing at power. Similar to Thrawn and Deathstroke – two of my other favorite antagonists across a lifetime of lusting loudly over villains, Treize has a moral code he lives by. He’s dead wrong and definitely fash as hell, and he’s still moving in a way that doesn’t bend his moral code. Treize is motivated by complex understandings of war and politics and a sense of right and wrong that leads him to do uh… the most.
What a prickly little dude. Wufei Chang is L5’s revenge, the pilot of the Gundam Nataku and a child who carries his dead wife’s memory with him always. (Meilan Long called herself “Nataku” and after her death, that’s what he renames his Gundams.) On the surface, Wufei is just a pain in the ass. He’s this stern little weirdo who’s fixated on a firm sense of justice and craves both change and retribution, but he’s also just fifteen years old in the main series. He is a baby. A baby whose wife died in his arms before they ever got to truly live together. Wufei is such a prideful dude, but his loyalty to his friends and his chosen family knows no end.
The Ship Itself
Treize and Wufei is a ship built on mutual respect and also a little bit of “pair the spares” energy. Duo and Heero were paired off from the jump as were Trowa and Quatre. Wufei, the fifth pilot, tended to basically move his way through different ships. Folks either shipped him with Sally Po, Zechs Merquise/Milliardo Peacecraft (more on this in future shipping posts), or … Treize.
While I definitely linked to a totally sweet ship manifesto for this pairing, I want to talk about what drew me to Treize/Wufei as a ship. It’s been… a decade or two since I first watched Gundam Wing, but I’ll never get over that freaking duel that Wufei had with Treize on his ship. Who even does that? Like Wufei and Treize feel anachronistic, like they just don’t really belong in this world of mechas battling across the Earth and various colonies. They feel plucked from historical fiction – but not the same periods or even a series by the same creator – but it’s that sense of them being similarly adrift that draws them together for me.
Treize is a Romancelandia anti-hero who’ll eventually get his own book midway through a sprawling series. Wufei is the grouchy second lead in a C-drama. And I want them to smash mouths to this day.
Pros/Cons of the Ship
- Tol and a smol!
- Enemies to lovers in a political landscape
- Wufei’s distraught emotional state following Treize’s death at his hands really does make for some delicious post-series angst
- If you’re writing future fix-it fic or alternate universe fic: please picture surly widower Wufei falling for sweet single dad Treize and his daughter Mariemaia because like… that’s a potential story idea to play with
- I know Treize doesn’t seem to care for the colonies but I also can’t tell how he feels about the colonists.
- You do have to write fix it fic since you know… Treize is definitely dead
- Post-series stories are the only way to ensure everyone is over 18 if you’re not willing to ignore that aspect of canon as well because Treize is definitely… almost a decade older than Wufei now that I look that up.
- Also honestly, Treize is a bit… fash.
(Why) Do I ship it?
I literally wrote this in Series Squee Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
I think the closest that I come to having an OTP in Gundam Wing is that I do still ship Treize Kushrenda and Wufei? When I was a teenager shipping them, not a lot of thought went into ages or the “morality” of shipping them – but I’m a villain fancier anyway so this is fine. Now that I’m older than both characters, I’m definitely more attached to post-series stories that fix Treize’s ending and show a hopeful, better world, but I also look fondly at the series I once read that were set during the series.
For me, this pairing works because they’re both “wounded warriors” separated by a significant ideological divide. It’s a ship that can follow the trajectory of enemies to reluctant allies to friends to lovers real easily. I’m also obsessed with the fact that in canon, Treize basically chose Wufei to kill him after they’d already had several duels before in the series. It’s fucked up, but it’s also poignant that this was a thing that happened?
A lot of people have missed this about me even though I’ve definitely publicly admitted to wanting to raw Thrawn; I love villains. And I do enjoy enemies-to-lovers relationships. To me, Treize/Wufei is just an ideal enemies to allies to lovers pairing because the divide is so fierce and the thing is that they’ve actually both done each other irreparable damage and god… so many war crimes and I think it’s very Gundam franchise to have characters meet over an ideological divide and do good so… some of that good can involve kissing, perhaps?
Please heed the Archive tags and warnings that the authors have provided us with in the cases they exist.
Normally I don’t recommend stories with major character death, sexual violence, or other darker themes – not because they’re not good but because I don’t want to stress interested readers out on their first foray into a ship – but I chose to do that here because the stories are just… too good not to recommend.
And yes, the main recommendations I’m providing are from tzigane and Zaganthi, writers I’ve been reading since I was small. They are LEGENDS.
He held the device in his hands, turning the helmet over and over again as he thought about it. He had been quite adept at ZERO even before they had modified it. It had never been difficult for him. He could choose so many ways to go, if only he wanted. He already knew what he was going to do, though.
He just, wanted to see what Khushrenada was thinking. At the end of the war, under house arrest, any of it. Things had changed so fast, from leader of the world to man under arrest to leader again like snapping fingers, and with those glimpses before he just. He needed to understand. It wouldn’t bring anyone back to life. It might bring him peace.
Letting out a slow unsteady breath, Wufei raised the helmet and slid it onto his head before thumbing it to life.
Wufei’s apartment was very peaceful, had been the best apartment in the building until the cheap landlord had moved someone into the attic. It wasn’t that the soundproofing wasn’t sufficient, it was that he could occasionally hear noise overhead. The ceiling creaked like there was a treadmill up there, or he could hear the bath run sometimes. Pacing on occasion. Never too late, never to the point where he wanted to bang the ceiling with a broom.
At least no one was having enthusiastic, bed banging sex above him.
Out of a war, she had secured the safety of her husband, obtained a third, and had a daughter. They had managed to fix their colony, and they now had viable economic gains that were steady and sufficient to support their people because she had felt greedy, angry, horny, and petty, yes. Because her husband had been fascinated by the man who was now showing Mei-Xing the parts of a rose bloom, and stumbling for a moment as Wufei gave him the right words in Mandarin.
Something that had happened down in the office had been bothering him, wanting to come out. The veil of pretending had been pulled down, perhaps, and there was an unspeakable relief in having it said out loud, in having argued with Treize. Someone that smart shouldn’t be that much of an idiot. As if there would only be one right way to end things? ZERO was fucked up and weirdly layered. It gave battle statistics, yes, but it also had a limited future function if someone fiddled with it long enough, and Wufei had.
Wufei had looked. Treize had apparently been happy to end with everyone goes on but me. And whatever had driven him to stop looking in ZERO was still in his head. Whatever it was that made a man just tap out hadn’t magically resolved itself, which was a shame because Treize was carrying on as if it had. He couldn’t fix that. Didn’t know where to start unpicking that rats’ nest in the man’s skull, and it wasn’t his responsibility.
Sometimes everything is written in the stars, we just don’t realize it until we look.
The Web Archive saved version of Michalyn’s website Sweet Romance
Y’all there’s an entire ass ship manifesto… written by an author who currently writes some really good Omegaverse (just not for Treize/Wufei at this point)
If you can find an archived copy of Khush the Damned, please read it. It’s basically a Gundam Wing version of Anne Rice’s The Mummy with Treize as an Anne Ricean red-haired Egyptian mummy. It is better than anything Anne Rice wrote even in her prime. But it is not online anywhere and I just cannot figure out where it once was to even pull an archived version.