Gundam

MASTER GRADE GUNDAM BUILD FIGHTERS

HobbyLink Japan is GunPla Expo 2013 and is tweeting all sorts of sexy goodness including this drool worthy lineup:


No details on when these beauties are hitting shelves, but I am so stupid excited! If you haven’t been watching Gundam Build Fighters, catch up right the fuck now with this playlist:

It’s one big love letter to Gunpla. Yes, I suppose that makes every episode a half hour commercial for Gunpla, but I don’t give a fuck. It’s awesome. It has a guy named Mr. Ral whom everyone calls “taichou” because he’s fucking awesome. The suits in the show are all custom builds of Mobile Suits throughout Gundam’s history. So to see some of these versions get official Master Grade releases is beyond amazing!

I’m hoping we’ll get a more detailed write up of the expo soon because I totally need these on my shelf!

Gundam Build Fighters Is Kind of My Childhood Dream Come to Life!

I guess this is a week of me catching up on my Gundam!

The spiritual successor to Gunpla Builders Beginning G (which I loved the hell out of), Gundam Build Fighters is a very meta show.  Instead of taking place in a distant future with space colonies and new types, the main setting for Build Fighters is a little Gunpla store in a small town in Japan.  A young Gunpla builder, Sei, manages the shop with his mother and dreams of becoming a great Gunpla Fighter like his father before him.

I once dreamed of having a Gunpla shop.  I would have a little work area in the back where I’d put together kits for display.  It was an awesome dream.  So it’s very satisfying to see Sei living my dream even if it’s in anime form.

Anyway, back to the show.  To become the very best, like no one ever was, you must test your mettle in the Gunpla Fight.  This is a virtual battle where you get to pilot your Gunpla.  The better the model, the better your virtual Mobile Suit, although the Gunpla seem to take real damage when they fight so maybe it’s not so virtual.

Certainly, this show is mostly a toy commercial.  It’s more toy whorey than the most form changing Tokusatsu show.  Every kit that the kids build on the show will be available for purchase so you can build along.  And each kit in the Build Fighters line will have the same frame so you can mix and match parts to create your very own custom.  I think they will also be selling cards which will work with the Gundam Try Age arcade game.  I’m not entirely certain how that will work, but it sounds like the cards you get will allow you to customize your own fighter in the game which sounds fucking awesome!

It’s not the epic space opera that I usually like in my Gundam.  But it’s awesome fun.  And there are all sorts of franchise references like that one dude named Mr. Ral who is totally Ramba Ral.  Not sure if it’s a good jumping on point for new viewers (you should check out AGE), but it’s a lot of fun.

Gundam AGE Restored My Faith in Gundam

Still a better love story than Twilight. Hell, any story is a better love story than Twilight.

Still a better love story than Twilight. Hell, any story is a better love story than Twilight.

 

Long long loooooooong time readers of AZM may have noted the distinct lack of Gundam related posts of late.  The franchise lost me with Gundam SEED and it’s been a struggle to get back to it.  I tried a few episodes of OO and just couldn’t get into it and I kind of lost steam with Unicorn.  So by the time AGE was announced, I completely wrote it off.  The character designs made it look way too kiddie and the AGE design seemed like a Bandai cash grab with its changeable forms.

I. Was. Wrong.

On a lark, I decided to give it shot since the GundamInfo YouTube channel has the entire series subbed. In two days, I marathoned the first sixteen glorious episodes! I’m fucking hooked and if you’re a Gundam fan old or new, I think you’ll absolutely enjoy this series.

Generational Gundam

Be jealous of our hair!

Be jealous of our hair!

The series begins in Advanced Generation (AG) 101 and spans three generations of the Asuno family, Flit (AG 115), Asemu (AG 140-142), and Kia (AGE 164).  Each member of the Asuno family pilots his own version of the eponymous Gundam AGE.  I’ve only gone through the Flit arc so my review will be somewhat incomplete.  But I have every confidence that the next two arcs will be just as amazing.  There will be some slight spoilers, but they probably only make sense if you’re a huuuuuge Gundam nerd.

The Ghost of Gundam Past

To longtime Gundam fans, Flit’s arc will feel very familiar.  It’s almost like a very condensed remix of the original Mobile Suit Gundam with a little Zeta mixed in.  Flit’s personality reminds me a lot of Kamille and it’s not just his hair.  He’s so very conflicted about fighting and killing to save those he loves.  He also shouts the familiar “Gundam IKIMASU” when he launches like Amuro and Kamille.  And of course, in the tradition of “kill ‘em all Tomino,” his mother dies in a fire right before his eyes which is weird because Tomino wasn’t involved in AGE.

Emily looks like a younger version of Sayla Mas.  In a way, this show kind of answers what would have happened if Amuro and Sayla got together.

Flit’s star-crossed relationship with Yurin echos Amuro and Lala so you can guess how that turns out.  I called it when they first met each other, but that didn’t make that final scene between them any less painful.  There’s also a sort of Char clone in the guise of the mischievous child, Desil, which is a pretty interesting choice for a Gundam series.  Normally, the Char clone is an older, stoic pilot with a lot of experience.  Desil doesn’t even come close to stoic, more psychotic.  So he’s not exactly a one-to-one Char clone, but the ease with which he pilots a mobile suit definitely reminds me of the Red Comet.

If you couldn’t tell by now, AGE also continues the tradition of absolutely terrible names and weird hair styles.

Call me Zack!

Call me Zack!

There are some other cosmetic references to previous Gundam series.  The Zalam faction normal suits look like Zaku.  The Diva’s final form looks like White Base. Oh, and Don Boyage sports a wicked mustache that totally looks like the Turn A.

I am the man who will stand at the top of all Gundam mustaches!

I am the man who will stand at the top of all Gundam mustaches!

If you’re not a longtime Gundam fan, you might not catch all the references.  And I don’t think they matter that much to the series as a whole.  The characters are wonderful and the plot is solid so if you’re new to Gundam, you’ll still enjoy AGE.  But for us oldschool fans, the nods are a welcome bonus.

AND HARO!!! I love Haro.

The AGE System

Hut one, hut two, hike!

Hut one, hut two, hike!

Time to talk mobile suits.  Though I know it’s a gimmick to sell more model kits, I really dig the AGE system.  The system is housed in that cement mixer looking thing to the right of Titus there.  It analyses combat data from the Gundam and builds a new component for the mobile suit that will help it adapt to defeat an enemy.  It’s essentially a high speed rapid prototyping 3D printer.  With the current advances in 3D printing, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see DARPA develop some kind of 3D weapon printer in the future.

The Black/Red Comet!

The Black/Red Comet!

Speaking of mobile suits, the Vagan enemy suits in AGE are lethal.  For the first few episodes, they tear through the Federation suits like they’re made of paper.  Conventional weapons don’t seem to do anything.  They have two forms, a mobile armor form which is three times as fast as any Feddie suit and a mobile suit form which is armed to the teeth.  As these shows go, the Gundam can usually run through a bunch of enemy suits without breaking a sweat.  But with AGE, every fight with a Vagan mobile suit is earned.  Flit gets his ass handed to him constantly.  It’s a welcome change to the franchise and one that I hope sticks around.  The stakes are raised when each fight really counts.

Two More Generations to Go

I’m really excited that I have two more Asuno’s to meet, Asemu and Kia, which also means that AGE-2 and AGE-3 are on their way.

So if you’ve been away from Gundam for a while like me, or if you’re interested in getting started with giant robots punching, I think AGE is a great jump on series for new and old fans alike.  I believe it’s still streaming on GundamInfo’s YouTube page in Chinese, English and Korean.  There are 49 episodes so be sure to get some popcorn ready.

Samus Aran Mobile Suit

Samus Mobile Suit

 

The Varia Suit is nice, but I’d prefer a Mobile Suit!  This custom uses the Gundam ACE as a base.  I think I recognize the rounded shoulders from a Zeon suit, but I don’t remember what it’s called.  Customs like these make me want to get back into cutting up some plastic.  You can see more photos over at Gundam Guy.  No idea who the modeler is, but I’d love to credit the creator.

From: Gundam Guy

Iron Man Mk. Hyaku Shiki

Iron Hyaku Shiki

Apparently, Tony Stark is tired of piddly little man-sized suits.

Modeler torwa decided that Tony Stark’s current lineup of suits wasn’t awesome enough so he customized this HGUC 1/144 scale Haku Shiki to make Iron Man three times as awesome!  I absolutely love all the little details like the rivets in the feet and the repulsors in the hands.  The metallic red paint is dead on.

You know, I’ve often wondered why Char chose a golden suit in Zeta.  I think he’d much prefer this color scheme.  There are more photos on torwa’s post.

Gunpla Expo 2012

The crew at HobbyLink Japan went to Gunpla Expo 2012 and brought along their cameras to capture the fun. A few highlights for me are the salt and pepper shaker Acguy, the HGUC Ex8 (weird that it’s taken this long for an HGUC version of the kit), the Sinanju Stein which apparently made an appearance in a video game, the MG Rezel, and of course, the ver. Ka MG Nu Gundam.

The 2013 rollout kits intrigue me. I’m guessing one of them is an MG Gaplant which is not my favorite suit, but it would be good to see some of the more weird Zeta suits in MG form. Maybe they had like a VIP reveal for people who paid a shit ton for a private viewing. But I guess we’ll have to wait until later next year to find out what’s coming.

Man, looks like a really fun show. Someday, Japan, someday I will return to you and lick all your Gundams so they have to come home with me!!!

Put a Little Zeon in Your Pants

I can think of no better way to express your Zeon pride than to wear it on your ass. These jeans from Japanese cosplay comapany Cospa celebrate Zeon’s MS-06 Zaku Arsenal in Granada. Arse? I see what they did there. You can pre-order these jeans from now until the end of December and they’ll be released sometime in February 2013. And if you make the mistake of clicking to see all their other Gundam themed apparel, say goodbye to all your money. I mean, just check out the freaking Char hoodie!!!

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