Nonentity - Trowa Barton

Trowa Barton

Trowa Barton is one of the main characters in Shin Kidousenki Gundam Wing, the pilot of Gundam Heavyarms.

Standard Notes: This is my opinion of this character. Very little of this is fact; this is my analysis of Trowa Barton based on what I have seen of him, which is about half of the original Japanese series (I, being the purist I am, refuse to watch the dubs), and the research I've done online since first being introduced to Gundam Wing. Also, I could not know the Gundam Wing characters as I do if it were not for Tavestry, who first introduced me to them, and Becky, who is one of the Top Ten Gundam Wing fangirls of all time, I do believe.

I owe quite a bit of my insight into Trowa to ALONE - The Complete Trowa Guide. (see link on main page). The webmaster did RESEARCH into Trowa's actions/reactions etc. I cannot compare. This is just my own opinion but it's been influenced by that page, so I wanted to give credit where credit is due. Also, I've got some SPOILERS in here. Read at your own risk.

I believe Trowa was abused as a child. I believe that he believes that he is unimportant.

And now let me define abuse here - I'm not saying necessarily sexually or physically. I AM saying definitely mentally, because Trowa was a child who grew up with a band of mercenaries. This means Trowa has seen battles firsthand, has been in them, fighting them, young. His parents were killed when he was, er, four I think. YOUNG YOUNG. And that's going to leave a scar. Seeing battles up close and personal after that is going to leave another. And then having to fight in them is going to leave more. It may be unintentional abuse, and certainly fighting is preferable to dying, but it is still abuse of the mind.

Physical or sexual abuse I'm so-so on. It's a possibility, but I am neither endorsing nor naysaying it.

I LOVE it when Catherine smacks Trowa and yells at him about the people he'd be leaving behind if he committed suicide. I love the fact that Trowa looks somewhat thoughtful after that - he's never really had "people left behind" before.

Trowa has no real name of his own. He's in this war because his only other alternative was to be shot as a spy. That he happens to have military training is a lucky coincidence for him, because could you imagine a civilian thrown into this thing?

He didn't choose this war but he comes to embrace the cause...because of the people fighting for the cause. He has "people left behind" now. People who don't just think of him as a tool, as something to be used and discarded, but think of him as someone they care about.

Mercenaries are expendable. Trowa's too young to have known his family. He doesn't understand the concept fully, not really. And it's hard to grasp "Friend" at first, at least in relation to HIM.

He is a self-reliant, independent young man, not because he wants to be but because he's always had to be. Like Heero, he never really had a childhood. Trowa-as-child was killed on the battlefield, killed when his parents were killed, when he and his sister were separated, when the mercenaries found him and took him in and trained him in the only job skill they knew.

The mercs used him and tossed him aside, and he withdrew. He had no one he could talk to about it, no one to run to, no WHERE to run to, not really. So he withdrew. Pull away enough and maybe they'll leave you alone, maybe you won't get hurt. Shinji from Evangelion has his mantra about how he "mustn't run away" - well, for Trowa, it wasn't a question. He COULDN'T run away. It wasn't possible.

So now he's forced into a war through a set of circumstances he could never have forseen. The original plan was for him to fight alone. He can do that, he's used to doing it. But then he meets Quatre. He meets the other pilots. He meets Catherine at the circus. And suddenly he's found a sort of life. As dead as he is, he can yet be quickened.

He's never had a real friend before. No one to be close to, no place to go where he can be safe. And slowly life returns to those (to quote Tavestry's description) bottle-glass green eyes.

My favorite scene in all that I've seen of Gundam Wing HAS to be where Trowa laughs. Trowa is the sad clown, but he's laughing.

Since I've hit on the sad clown's something I read in The Watchmen oh so long ago (which is a great graphic novel and you should all go pick it up). This isn't a direct quote, but just what I can recall of it:

A man goes into a doctor's office and says he doesn't feel so good. He's tired, rundown, he has no energy. He hates his job and he hates his life. The doctor says, "You need to cheer up." He thinks for a moment and then says, "Hey, I know what! The circus is in town!! Go see that great's his name?...Pagliacci!!" The man immediately bursts into tears. "What's wrong?!" asks the doctor, confused. "But doctor..." the man sputters, "...I AM PAGLIACCI!!!"

That's not even Trowa. Trowa's problem isn't that he hates his life; it's that he isn't really alive. He's sleepwalking almost, zombie-like, through life. He's dealt with living by...well...Not. HATING his life would be too...vehement. He's hardly aware that he's technically alive.

But technically alive isn't really living. And Trowa knows death. More so than even Heero does. Heero isn't alive because he was programmed to be the Perfect Soldier. Trowa isn't alive because all of him that was human died already, or is shut away. Trowa's training was much more...on-the-job, shall we say?...than Heero's was, and all of the key moments of Trowa's life up until Operation Meteor involved Death.

Unlike Duo, who seemed cursed with Death, Trowa is merely...pushed through life by it. Every time someone Trowa knows dies, that means his life is about to take a new turn. And with each death of someone he knew, part of him dies as well until he just becomes...a zombie.

Zombie clowns from outer space. And you thought it was a B-movie.

Okay, I'm going to make myself think normally again now (it's almost 2:30 am as I write this. I'm in a wierd mood, forgive me).

Lions, Trowa's symbolic animal, are independent, solitary beasts: proud, strong, and (mostly) silent, making themselves heard only when what they have to say is of great import. But even lions have families, eventually. And in that, Trowa admires them, perhaps is even jealous of them. A lion can defend his family against virtually any threat, something Trowa has not been able to do in the past.

And as Trowa's remarks about animals show, he knows betrayal and hurt as well as he knows death. Trowa has experienced the ugliest possible side of humanity. He fights for the hope that there could exist a beautiful side as well.

.:Gundam Wing Index:.