Greetings, folks. I want to tell you about Mobile Fighter G Gundam. I also want to cover the toys I managed to get from a snapshot in time when G Gundam toys absolutely covered the toy shelves.
We'll start with some basics. G Gundam came to Japan around a time when they wanted to inject some life into the Gundam franchise. What they did wasn't so much injecting life...it was more like they injected heroin straight into the eyes of the franchise. Gundam jumped up, screamed something primal into the air, and woke up weeks later on top of a shrine in the mountains, wearing a black morphsuit covered in ping pong balls.
G Gundam was the first series to take place in an alternate universe. The Earth is trashed from wars and everyone lives in space colonies (because Gundam). For some reason, when it comes to leading the people of space, they felt the need to have one country RULE THEM ALL. When choosing a ruler, however....you need some sort of election. Elections are boring, though! Who wants to sit around watching elections when your world is post apocalyptic and everyone lives in SPACE?! When life is that badass, you need a badass election system for Ruler of Space.
Enter the Gundam Battles! All the space colony countries build their own Gundams and send them down to Earth to fight - because, you know, the place is already a shithouse - and whoever is the last one standing wins the tournament and is the ONE COUNTRY TO RULE THEM ALL.
This is the premise but, of course, there are other plots going on behind the battles. Betrayal, death, grunting, and a grand plot to revive the Earth and bring it back to it's former glory. But we don't care about those things today. No, today we care about the beautiful minds that came up with the various Gundams that are so lovingly and stereo-typically designed to match certain countries.
We start with one of the few sane countries in this world: Neo Japan, with their Shining Gundam. Real quick, though: All fighting Gundams in this universe are controlled through a system that traces movement and mimics it - so a dude is standing in a suit and walkin' and fightin' and the suit does the same. Magic! Sexy, sexy magic.
So Neo Japan figures that, if someone is controlling this with perfect human movement, then it should have some junk that is useful to that effect! The Shining Gundam is equipped with standard head vulcans (for shootin' little stuff, but not much else), machine cannons in the chest, beam cannons in the arms, and two beam sabers! What more could you need?
Oh yeah, JETS on your arms for ridiculous punches!
Then maybe some sorta technology that powers up the hand for a special attack called the SHINING FINGAAAHH that can take the head off an opponent in one hit, ending a match.
It seems like Neo Japan has everything covered! Swords, guns, fists, super attacks, and even a super mode!
Yes, a bunch of panels open up and he's....super, somehow. Some jets reveal themselves on his legs, so I assume he's faster. One way or another, it's kinda hard to beat the all-around Gundam that is prepared for anything.
You'd expect the other countries to follow suit. You see it every day: Most cars look the same, don't they? Once they find a basic model that is aerodynamic, they keep using it. Sure, people make concept cars that are crazy, but the basic populace isn't buying crazy concept cars, and the concepts aren't making it to the mainstream. Why? Because we already found a basic design that works!
Nobody got that memo, in the G Gundam universe. Neo Japan made a nice, well rounded suit. They didn't make it obviously "Japanese", beyond the samurai-looking super mode. The other countries, for some reason, felt...obligated? Obligated to shove as many stereotypes from their own culture into their Gundams as possible.
You learn a lot from this show. You learn how to accept.
Meet Neo Egypt's Pharaoh Gundam! He has snake palms. They just wrap around enemies, drag them in, and then it shoots them with his beam eyes. You see, somehow, everyone thought the key to winning was through gimmicks!
This is Neo India's Cobra Gundam, because when you think India, you think snake charmer. And nothing else.
Yeah, flamethrower! They love those, because it gives the characters a chance to grunt and struggle with the heat, but not get hurt whatsoever. That's my first thing to check off the list: Flame throwers. As in NO FLAME THROWERS. There is a man out there in a goddamned samurai with guns and beam sabers. Just skip the fire.
OH THANK GOODNESS, his flute is a beam saber! Maybe this guy has some potential.
Don't forget the giant cobra mech, though! And it IS a cobra, by the way. A real cobra is inside that thing, controlling the mech like the guy controls his.
So this guy's gimmick is wrapping the snake body around enemies, detaching the human half, then stabbing them with the flute sword. The main character beats him by dislocating his shoulder to get out of the snake hold, then jumping in the air and disintegrating the Cobra Gundam's head with his super glowing heat hand. THE END. Gimmicks prove to be a failure against a well rounded suit! Who knew?
And this was the guy using a beam saber! A lot of people can't even bother to do that.
Here's Neo Germany's friggin' ninja, the Gundam Spiegel. It uses throwing knives and nets and those blades, which don't appear to be heat blades. Just blades. He's awesome though, because the story dictates it. Otherwise, regular blades VS beam sabers kinda ends with melted regular blades.
Here we have Neo Turkey's Minaret Gundam, with his building-sized scimitar. Giant, slow, and solid metal. It's so inconsequential that it's story involves it avoiding fights. I'm generalizing, of course, but look at that thing and tell me it wasn't created specifically to be a one-off. Giving this guy a story about how he has to avoid fights makes it easier for the writers to avoid showing how useless it is to just have a giant scimitar in a raging battle against crazy people.
Fun toy, though! Seriously man, he's one of my favorites.
But hey, in terms of metal weapons, this guy got the shaft specifically in toy form:
This is Neo France's Gundam Rose. Not a bad suit, all told! He's got a beam saber and little rose bits - flying, independent guns. You KNOW this one is a main character! Kinda hard to lose with that setup. The problem comes with the toy version.
I don't know why, but they gave him a giant rapier! In the show, it's a beam saber. I mean, it only makes sense. The metal blade pops out so you can put the handle in it's sheath, but they don't give you a beam to shove in there. 'Course, I can do that myself, but it's the principal of the matter.
In general, this guy passes the test. He's got a gimmick, but it's a gimmick that involves free-moving guns to hit someone from any angle. Not a bad gimmick to have, when coupled with a beam saber. This one is another favorite, by the way.
Beam weapons do not make a well rounded, suit, however. Take Neo China's Dragon Gundam:
Still, it's a beam weapon, and the long flag part can block the few intelligent countries that gave their Gundams beam guns. On top of that, he has a couple of them, so he can launch them and trap...enemies...I guess? It's a special move, whadoyawant?
This guy at least has some items that can be used in various ways, instead of for one-shot gimmicks. He's got staves with beam flags (or other beam constructs) on the end, extendable arms with crushing dragon heads on the ends (and flame throwers, but MEH), and I guess his bladed pony tail can be used for attacks, but that's certainly not gona win him any tournaments by itself. It may not be perfectly rounded, but beam weapons are a start, and it's freakin' COOL, so there's that.
Just make sure that, if you start with beam weapons, you end with something else - anything. Anything but this:
Meet Neo Nepal's Mandala Gundam!
HA! HAHAAAAAOOOOH BOY. I love you, Mandala Gundam. This is another one that makes a great toy, but a 8.0 on the WTF Are You Doing Scale, in terms of the show. You know why this one is so crazy? Because the pilot apparently spends his time trying to kill his opponents outside of their mechs, before the fights. So he doesn't have to fight in THAT. That beautiful bell-shaped outhouse Gundam. I mean yeah, there's also some story reason for why he's an assassin, but I like to think it's because his answer to "this is your Gundam" was "Uuuhhh....can't I just, you know, kill the guy before we ever get into our giant robots? Just throwin' that out there."
But hey, you wana know who is REALLY excited to pilot their Gundam? You can probably already guess. Who else COULD it be? What country do you think is totally into this, besides (obviously) Japan?
YES, Neo America's Gundam Maxter! I wish I had a better representation of him, but I only ever bought the Battle Scarred version. Still, he can get across the magnificent collection of stereotypes that he is.
Heehee! Lookit 'em! He's a football playing, boxing, gun-toting cowboy named - guess, guess what his name is! Can you guess? You can't, because it's nuts!
It's CHIBODEE CROCKET! He looks like this:
Pic from the Gundam Wiki
He's about as American as you'd expect him to be, considering he looks like that and is named Chibodee Crocket. The cherry on top is his shield; the Battle Scarred version of the toy is missing it. I want you to read this, in case you're just skimming: My figure is missing a shield, and that shield has jet boosters on the bottom of it. Why? BECAUSE IT IS ALSO A SURF BOARD. The Football cowboy boxer can surf into battle while shooting off his revolvers.
PEW PEW YEEEHAA HOWDY PART-IN-ER, I AM SURFING THE GNARLY WAVES! I AM SO THE AMERICAN! I love it.
PEW PEW YEEEHAA HOWDY PART-IN-ER, I AM SURFING THE GNARLY WAVES! I AM SO THE AMERICAN! I love it.
Have you at least looked up some scenes from this show on youtube, yet? I hope I've piqued your interest. If not: This batshit crazy train just keeps on rollin'.
You know what this is? It's Neo England's John Bull Gundam. It's a Gundam called friggin' JOHN. It brought a gun to the party.
What? You can't do that? There's no rules, brah! If England wants to go into this crazy fight with just a goddamned rifle, then England goes into a fight with a rifle and a silly hat! OF COURSE THEY HAVE A SILLY HAT. Of course. And you know what? It worked! England won THREE TOURNAMENTS IN A ROW. Because they walked out on the field and shot the ever loving FUCK out of people. How did Neo America miss that winner's train? Or is Neo England just a better shot? Doesn't matter. England ruled SPACE for three years because they were the only ones who sent out a guy called Gentle Chapman (do you love this series yet?) who stood back and sniped everyone.
I like to imagine that he looked and sounded like the hunter from Jumanji, but oh well. We can't have it all.
Lets keep it moving: How about Neo Malaysia?
That's right bitch, it's the Skull Gundam. Neo Malaysia just built Dr. Wily a Gundam for no good reason. Can anyone tell me why Malaysia has a skull theme? 'Cause I don't know! It's just the Skull Gundam. The front of the thing opens up and fires gallons of acid, because it just DOES. He also shoots lasers out of the tiny skull on his firehead. Also - just so you know he's totally friggin' useless - the eyes on his chest are FLAMETHROWERS! Oh baby! You're toast! And it ain't because you can make toast!
Even then, he totally had his day beating the crap out of Japan's second Gundam. You know, the OTHER one built to win. Japan had a second Gundam in the background, waiting for the main character to swap out. It's called the GOD GUNDAM. Because they didn't have any sort of...complex.
Look at that thing! You're not gona beat that thing. Especially not when you're shooting it with acid and flames. You know why?
Because those are extra knuckles with spikes.
Because those are big machine cannons hidden on his shoulders.
Because those are beam sabers.
Because those are double freakin' heat hands called the Burning Finger that can also shoot a Hadouken or something, because he's well ROUNDED AND WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP RELYING ON GIMMICKS?!
Because this is an awesome series, that's why.
Do you want to see Canada's Gundam? They made a toy of it. Do you want to see it?
It's called the Lumber Gundam. EEEEE HE HEE....it's a lumberjack!
He has a GIANT CHAINSAW.
B-because (HAAAHAAA) Canada is full of *SNIRK* lumberjacks! Why? I dunno! Japan thought so, I guess! If America is guns and surfing and football then Canada is all lumberjacks! Why not? I'm just glad I have a toy of it.
Okay, so, if everything is a tournament, you're probably wondering who the big villains are. Someone has to be out there fighting for a cause other than Ruler of Space.
And it's DRACULA! Hahaaaa no, it's the Master Gundam, and he's not allied with any country. He was, but that was when the pilot, Master Asia (of course) was piloting the Kowloon Gundam. Somehow, this Master Gundam was hidden underneath the armor of the Kowloon Gundam. They fit all that under another Gundam....so yeah. Really, it's less ridiculous than everything else so far.
Anyway, this guy is a beast and is impossible to misrepresent in toy form. If you run into a toy of this, just buy it. It's always awesome.
That cape of his folds up into wing binder things.
I also didn't feel like digging out all his stuff, so he's stuck with his extended forearms and glowing Darkness Finger (*snicker*) hands. His arms extend on wires for a sort of rocket punch. This is where the insanity hits it's peak, really. I mean, the main character pulls off some magic stuff in his Shining and God Gundams, but Master Asia in the Kowloon and then the Master Gundam is just THE BOSS.
First: Master Asia doesn't need a special suit for the Gundam to read his movements. It just DOES.
Second: His suits don't need much more than fists and a cloth. The Master Gundam has a BEAM CLOTH.
That's right, sucka. He just DOES. Master Asia does what he wants. It's not a Chuck Norris kinda joke, these are just facts from the show. You know how the friggin' John Bull Gundam - the English one with a rifle - won three tournaments in a row? Well he lost the fourth to Master Asia. You don't walk into a tournament with a rifle and lose to a guy with a CLOTH unless that guy is the goddamned MASTER. ASIA.
Lets move on. Even though he's The Man, Master Asia still works for a bigger enemy, and that enemy needs some mooks.
Oh yes friends it's the DEATH ARMY suit. Part of the Death Army. And you read that right: These things are piloted by reanimated corpses. They also sometimes look like this:
Now you might think that the only thing that can spawn something this crazy and awesome is the Devil himself, and you are absolutely correct. Here's the Devil Gundam:
That's it! I'm done. There's a God Gundam and there's a Devil Gundam and the Devil Gundam is a giant Gundam on top of a huge Gundam head GUNDAMGUNDAM-GUNDAM GUNDAM!
I hope I grabbed you a shook you around until you gained a little interest in Mobile Fighter G Gundam, because it is seriously radical to the tenth power of supernova-overload. I'll be honest: At the time, I didn't like it. I was obsessed with classic-styled Gundam. But you can't go through each suit and the story surrounding them and NOT fall in love with this madness. They're kung-fu giant robots with crazy gimmicks based on stereotypes of different cultures all battling each other with a little God and Devil thrown in.
And that's only the surface. You want more? Did you know Neo Mexico has a Tequila Gundam? It does. It's also wearing a sombrero. How about Neo Africa? They have a Zebra Gundam. Click it, take a look. Not enough? Neo Denmark has the Mermaid Gundam. It's turns into a fish. Neo Norway has the Viking Gundam, which has a mode where it's lower half is replaced with a oar-powered BOAT. Just a boat!
And the Nether Gundam? From Neo Holland? It....it...IT TURNS INTO A WINDMILL. It IS a windmill! There's literally nothing on it in robot mode but a windmill and some cannons! It avoids the tournament for ELEVEN MONTHS by BEING A WINDMILL GOOD GOD YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS SHOW.
These toys are all pretty great, by the way. What doesn't make sense in show makes for a great toy in-hand. They're wacky, playable, and only some of them pop apart in old MSiA (Mobile Suit in Action) fashion. Ball joints and soft plastic will do that sometimes.
Seriously though, before the toys: Just find the show in some form, grab some friends, and strap yourself in. Maybe wear some goggles. And get some napkins to wipe off the drool while the winds of insanity whip at your face and flap your cheeks.
It's Mobile Fighter G Gundam.