To say that Mobile Fighter G Gundam is the black sheep of the Gundam Series is an understatement. Mobile Suit Gundam was the birth of the Real Robot genre that focused on mecha that don’t have superpowers or are driven by love, justice, anger, or fighting spirit. The earlier series were dripping with drama about the toll warfare takes on the human spirit and the evolution of humanity. You can imagine then, when they see a Gundam Series that is VERY MUCH a super robot series with finishing moves, power increases due to the fighting spirit of the pilots, and in general the most outlandish stuff the series has, they were a little confused. I mean, imagine going from a space opera to this.
Ratings were lower in Japan than expected and the creator faced some controversy from the format (mainly martial arts style tournament matches) and the departure from the Universal Century’s serious tone. The show revolves around the “Gundam Fight” where every country fights with Gundams in a tournament to determine who has the right to control outer space rather than have wars to further devastate the Earth. The show had a different style of Gundam designs that tried to match each country that ranged from the cool to the mildly racist.
Now you may be asking yourself, where would a series that was too outlandish for *JAPAN* and mildly racist find itself a huge hit? Surely you have a guess. THE USA, BABY! Bandai reported that G Gundam had the highest ratings of any anime show in the time period that it aired on Toonami (2002-2003) and the show was much more warmly received in North America by critics. I watched it when I was 12 years old and remember loving it, and I recently completed a rewatch now that I can try and be less blinded by nostalgia.
G Gundam is not *good*, but it is extremely fun. The second half of the series that focuses on the championship tournament in Neo Hong Kong is much better than the first half which is a fight/backstory of the week format that gets very boring after the first bunch of episodes. I found it much more enjoyable when they were focused on the tournament than when they were trying to find and defeat the Devil Gundam (Dark Gundam in English because we can’t have anything nice). The absurdity of the Gundam types were also just hilarious to watch appear every episode, including: Mermaid Gundam from Neo Denmark, a Windmill shaped Gundam from Neo Holland, a Lumberjack Gundam from Neo Canada, a Ninja Gundam from Neo Germany, and a Sailor Moon Gundam for Neo Sweden.
But now that that’s over with, let’s rank the 5 members of the “Shuffle Alliance”, the main characters of the series.
#5 –Gundam Rose – George de Sand of Neo France. – A man obsessed with chivalry and being the perfect knight, George spends much of the series drinking tea and being simped after by the THIRTEEN YEAR OLD princess of Neo France. His big character moment involves him essentially being like “That’s right, you’ve learned my deep, dark secret…I actually like to fight in Gundam battles!” Rating – Wack
#4 –Gundam Maxter – Chibodee Crocket of Neo America. – Man, Chibodee is hilarious for so many reasons. First, when he was a child, he was taken hostage by a group of terrorist clowns who killed his mother, only to eventually become a world champion boxer and Neo America’s Gundam Fighter. Second, when he faces off against Neo Portugal’s Jester Gundam (piloted by a clown), he has a PTSD episode and needs his group of mechanics to sing “America the Beautiful” to break him out of it. Third, his shuffle crest is “Queen of Spades” which is fucking hilarious and I’m explicitly telling you *not* to google what it means. But yeah, once you get past the hilarity, there’s not a ton there. Rating–Dale Yeah
#3 –Dragon Gundam – Sai Saici of Neo China. One of the only characters in the show with actual development, Sai Saici is the youngest Gundam fighter ever, and shows his immaturity early and often. His goal is to revive the Shaolin Temple, something that he doesn’t treat with the same seriousness that his minders do until later in the show when he reads a letter from his father. His dedication manifests in performing the ultimate Shaolin attack, the “Shin Ryuusei Kochouken” (True Comet Butterfly Sword).
But even if he weren’t a developed character, Dragons are cool (Wu Fei in Gundam Wing tries to ruin that) and he had a cute romance with a Danish girl (I’m half Danish so I’m biased). Rating – “At this rate, the revival of the Shaolin Temple will be nothing but a dream *sob*“
#2 – Shining/Burning/God Gundam – Domon Kasshu of Neo Japan– Listen, if we are talking about who has the most character moments and moments of sheer badassery, it’s always hard to beat the main character. Domon Kasshu and his Shining and Burning (called God in Japanese) Gundams are EXTREMELY badass on their own merits, though. Spending much of the series grabbing random fighters around the world and going “HAVE YOU SEEN MY BROTHER, KYOJI???” in an effort to seek revenge on the man who killed his mother and stole the Dark (Devil in Japanese) Gundam, he is the world’s greatest martial artist, the King of Hearts. He does have main character syndrome (always comes up with something to win the fight) but his rivalries are entertaining and has one of the most badass attacks ever. Rating – TAKE THIS, MY LOVE, MY ANGER, AND ALL OF MY SORROW
#1 – Bolt Gundam – Argo Gulskii of Neo Russia– Before I even get started, Argo Gulskii spends the entire series as a prisoner wearing a bomb strapped to his chest and the threat of all of his friends being murdered if he doesn’t win the Gundam Fight. A former Space Pirate, he was captured and forced to pilot Neo Russia’s Bolt Gundam and used as bait by Neo Russia to put multiple pilots into the same prison. When Domon arrives, he breaks out of prison JUST TO BEAT DOMON’S ASS (they actually fight to a draw) and tells Neo Russia that he will no longer be involved in these underhanded shenanigans. He and his crew, mainly Nastasha the prison warden, are the most supportive of the fight against the Dark Gundam and quickly realize that if they don’t put their petty fights aside, everything could be lost. He fights as a prisoner throughout the entire show, manages to win the heart of Nastasha who then frees his friends and joins him as a space pirate! So by the end of the show, he gets everything he wanted AND the girl. King shit. Rating – BLYAT GUNDAM IS BEST GUNDAM