I’ve been a fan of the Gundam franchise for about ten years now. Starting with, not surprisingly, Gundam Wing. Then during my early years of anime infatuation and mass DVD buying, the Gundam SEED series. From there came the show that really made me fall in love with the metaverse, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. After that, it became a frantic love affair with all that is Gundam, anxiously trying devour as much media and information as possible. This post is a testament to that. A testament to all that I’ve truly appreciated in Gundam and all it can be. The moments that made me cry, the moments that left me in awe and even the moments that made me giddy like a little kid.
It’s a very personal listing as well. To get on here, these moments had to be ones that I could, and have watched over and over again without losing that feeling that made me love them. They had to be important, by that I mean that it had to matter not only to the plot, but to the series, that era and Gundam as a whole. I also wanted to make sure they were all diverse. Being true to myself meant that not every series series or timeline would be represented, but I believe that these moments are good representations of the best of Gundam. They’re not ordered in reference to their quality or importance, either. It’s just a list of the moments I cherish. And finally, this should go without saying, but there are MASSIVE spoilers involved in most of this post. Don’t tread any further unless you’re a Gundam veteran.
Mobile Fighter G Gundam Ep45 – “The Final Showdown between Domon and Master Asia”
G Gundam is not Gundam, or at least it’s not Gundam as you may know or have heard of it. And the grudge between Domon and Master Asia is no mere grudge. And the battle between Domon and Master Asia is no mere battle. Don’t you get it! This is special! A pupil betrayed, and a sensei disappointed in not only his pupil, but in humanity as a whole. This battle is more personal than others. We’re not watching two people who hate each other, or merely misunderstand each other. Strangers with opposing ideals. No. This is a battle between a father and adopted son.
Watch. Watch and see something you’ll never see again. “The School of the Undefeated of the East! The Winds of the King! Zenshin! Keiretsu! Tempa Kyoran! Look! The East is Burning Red!”
Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam: Episodes 35 & 36 “The Sky is Falling”
ZZ Gundam is without a doubt, my least liked Gundam series. It may not be the worst, but it is the most hated. The reason for this is the overall tone of the series. I am a big fan of Zeta Gundam’s mostly serious and dark tone. And the massive switch from that to a light-hearted comedy series with bumbling fools for enemies did not sit well with me. I saw it as an insult to everything Zeta Gundam had built up. By this point in the series ZZ Gundam had become significantly more serious.
This takes us to episodes 35 and 36 of the series, we’re well along into the Neo-Zeon War and Haman is making waves through the Earth sphere with little interference from anyone besides the Argama. To help crush what resistance remains she commands her officers to drop a colony on the city of Dublin. She wishes to make an example out of the citizens, and defeat her opponents through fear and despair. It sounds very Titan like to me.
The colony drop on Dublin was the worst combination of circumstances. A terrorist attack incited by a military force. The man made natural disaster that is a colony drop (basically dropping a city on a city if you can imagine such a thing). And worst of all, a populace abandoned by it’s callous, selfish government.
The significance of this event wasn’t just the colony drop, but how horrible a person who hardly appeared in these two episodes was. Haman Karn. The site of the colony piercing the sky, the slaughter of those that tried to escape, the loss of a significant character from the original Gundam. We get to see Kamille after an extended absence. It all added up to two intense and depressing episodes. And amazingly enough, in one of the poorest examples of a Gundam series, shows us one of the most significant and encompassing examples of what Gundam is all about.
Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team Ep10 “The Shuddering Mountain, Pt. 1”
When I started compiling a list of top Gundam moments, I immediately had the episode in mind. You want to know terror on the battlefield? You don’t look to guys like Char, the kids from Gundam Wing, or even that psychotic warmonger Ali Al-Saachez. Witness this episode and witness not just a moment, but close to 12 minutes of Norris Packard absolutely dominating the entire 08th MS Team.
To me, this was real robot combat done perfectly. No flying! No Newtypes! No limited edition 100 billion dollar phase-shifting, gundanium-coated, bio-sensoring mobile god with infinite power and ammo to subjugate half an armada. You could feel the weight of the machines, see the methodical nature of mobile suit tactics, and witness the talent and strategy of a true ace pilot.
And by no means was Norris a monster or barbarian. He was somewhat a father figure to Aina Sahalin. He was a prime example of the “nose to the grindstone” mentality of a good soldier. Witness Norris and witness a soldier in the truest sense in the Gundam metaverse.
On a side note, Michael McConnohie gave a great dub performance throughout his time in the series. He never felt out of place or awkward in delivering his lines, and Norris’ nature truly seemed to work well with his voice.
“That’s right, cower! Be afraid! Die knowing you lost to someone who really knows how to use a mobile suit!”
“Well Ms. Aina, the Kurguran will have to leave without me. I have found the place where I am to die.”
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED ep49 – “The Final Light”
This scene lasts less than a minute. But is still one of the most powerful scenes in all of Gundam. In the Gundam metaverse, it’s expected that the older senpai pilot is going to meet death. Sleggar Law being the first of these. But Mu La Flaga’s death carried such weight and seemed so perfect. Throughout the entire series Kira Yamato was the Archangel’s guardian angel, and Mu was his. He was just as instrumental to the crew’s survival as Kira. Say goodbye to Mu & say goodbye to that beautiful mobile suit, the Strike Gundam.
“Ha Ha! Didn’t I tell you… I could make the impossible, POSSIBLE!”
Zeta Gundam Ep3 – “Inside the Capsule”
Here we are, at my bread and butter. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. The reason this “incident” makes the list is because episodes 1 and 2 don’t set the tone for this series. This episode does.
Gundam, and the Universal Century timeline especially, are known for their attrocities. But it doesn’t come any more personally despicable than this. It’s straight forward what happens here. The Titans have lost their precious mobile suits, and they want them back bad. They decide to negotiate for the mobile suit… with Kamille’s mother!
This incident didn’t just show everyone how serious and deadly the Titans were, it started one of the bloodiest pilot versus pilot rivalries in Gundam canon. This was the third exchange in their grudge match so far. The first was Kamille being called a girl by Jerid, the second was Kamille gliding across the spaceport to punch him in the face. And now, though inadvertantly, Jerid has killed Kamille’s mother. Their relationship will only be paved with blood after this.
“You will see the tears of time.”
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Season 2 Ep25
“I rule, you suck!”
“Did you know? I’m your god. And after I beat you, everyone will know it.” This is basically what Ribbons Almarks says to Setsuna F. Seiei. I swear, if anything stood out to me this episode, it was the world class arrogance of this man. He stands in front of the world’s first real Innovator & sees this boy as nothing, but a dog. A dog spared from being put down by his benevolence. He looks down at the 00 Raiser with its twin true solar furnaces, and sees nothing but parts to be reclaimed. Eventhough he has two false solar furnaces and no longer holds on to the almighty Veda, he sees his victory as a foregone conclusion. In a game of poker, if you were holding a royal flush & he held off suit non-straight numbered cards, he would tell you that you don’t know how to use those cards. This man is incorrigible! And I loved every moment of it!
The audacity of Ribbons is also reflected in the audacity of the series itself. The writer’s dared to rewrite Gundam. And though it wasn’t as creative or original as Mobile Fighter G Gundam, the most unique of all the series, it still was bold enough to thoroughly pay homage and at the same time blaze it’s own trail.
These points bring me to the battle itself. The “downgrade” battle. The series showed us it’s impressive, overpowering super mobile suits, Ribbon’s Reborn Gundam and Setsuna’s 00 Raiser and trashed them. By the time their battle was over, both mobile suits looked like hole-filled, poorly soldiered and welded chunks of scrap. And it bet that we would be awed at their little homage to the past. Boy were they right!
It’s a tall task to ask of anyone who has yet to see this series, and I’m probably spoiling some of the moment by having you read this post, but watch all of Gundam 00. All 50 episodes. And when you finally get to this moment, tell me it’s not something special. Tell me it’s not audacious. Take in the symbolism. Watch as the Gundam of choice for Gundam 00 KILLS what is in essence the original RX-78/2 Gundam from the original Gundam 0079. The audacity! Think about it.
“Rockin’ the throwbacks”
“You saved my life, then you led me, and now you’re playing god in front of me?”
“No, I am God.”
“Do you want to rule humanity that badly?”
“If I do not, humanity will stop warring and be annihilated. I am their savior.”
“You have no intention of living along side us? Of understanding us?”
“It is the same as humans keeping animals inside cages for their own convenience. And… if I defeat you, a Pure Breed, then my superiority will be set in stone.”
“Setsuna F. Seiei!”
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Ep50 “Riders in the Skies”
This episode and the series as a whole, holds great significance for me as a Gundam fan. And this moment influenced me on an even greater level as an anime fan. It made me a true Gundam fan by making care about the people in it and the direction that world was influenced. It changed me as an anime fan because it set a high standard for what I considered a series and what I considered a good committed conclusion. And it gave me great respect for Tomino as a director, because to do what he did took guts. No matter the circumstances surrounding his decision.
Zeta Gundam holds several unique distinctions among the anime I’ve seen. One is that it had one of the most shocking, depressing cliffhanger endings I’ve ever seen. The other is that besides TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN, it is the only series I’ve read about on MAHQ.net from beginning to end before seeing the actual series. I KNEW what was going to happen & was still shocked. I watched this crushing episode up to the very last moment and STILL did not believe what was going to happen. To watch this episode is to learn why Yoshiyuki Tomino earned the nickname, “Kill ’em All”.
Watching the conclusion of the Gryps conflict, the conclusion of the Kamille and Scirocco battle is a significant moment because it does as well if not better than any other moment in Gundam of conveying its one true underlying theme. War is ugly, it takes a toll and above all else, it is not fair.
After War Gundam X Ep19 – “It’s as if I’m Dreaming”
Gundam X is an underappreciated, undervalued series in the Gundam metaverse. It’s a story focused on Newtypes. It’s a battle to give the Newtypes and humanity a future while trying to save it from the past. No one better exemplifies this than Jamil Neate. The captain of the Frieden and who’s goal is to find and rescue every Newtype he can find.
This moment is so significant to me because it brings Jamil’s past and his personality to the front. Jamil takes the titular Gundam X and leads a mission to save not just any Newtype, but a long lost love who’s a prime example of the horrors that Newtypes have had to endure. He’s fighting for a chance to give her peace and dignity. Jamil is so desperate that he even fights a military fleet for this chance. And in the end with this woman’s help and does something amazing. Even with the loss of his Newtype powers from the traumas of the last war, he manages to hijack the Flash System and use the Bit mobile suits to turn back the entire fleet. And not more than a moment later destroys that technology that had caused him and that woman so much pain. If only for a moment, Jamil was able to visit his past and say goodbye.
Mobile Suit Gundam Ep01 – “Gundam Rising”
What can I say about this moment I’ve picked out? It is what it is. The very first moment ANYTHING happened. The first Gundam jacking (by a kid or anyone in the Gundam metaverse), the first Gundam ever created being seen for the first time, the first (yet to be known) Newtype piloting a mobile suit. It’s all very dated and historic. And depending on where you sit as a fan in the Gundam metaverse, it holds varying levels of signifigance for you. But above all else, it’s something you NEED to see. Whatever feelings you felt from whatever other Gundam series you first saw, apply that feeling to this moment and multiply by how much you grew to love the series.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Ep35 – “The Descending Sword”
*squeals* “The Freedom! It’s so pretty…!”
I’ve struggled with what to put for this last part. But after some thought, this moment is a clear winner for me. It was a moment that was pretty important for the SEED series and me as a Gundam fan. Yes. Again I chose a Gundam SEED moment. Overall, the SEED series (including SEED Destiny) is an abysmal failure. For all the good it has done drawing in new fans, it has alienated, or angered some older ones. And I’m not usually one to openly criticize writing and direction, but it also had some annoying trends. Regardless, the show manages to produce some great moments and show some impressive originality while still paying tribute to its predicessors. The dual entrance of the new Freedom Gundam riding Kira and “METEOR” is one of those impressive moments.
I consider it the official birth of “Jesus” Yamato & it was the moment one of the prettiest and most popular Gundam models debuted, the Freedom Gundam! “Meteor” is one of my favorite insert songs, or songs in anime period. It was a perfect accompanying piece for the moment. Together they were a fine demonstration of how a great song and a great moment combine to make something memorable.
This was possibly Kira’s finest moment. And definitely one of SEED’s highlights. After a very extended lull in action and laborious pacing things come to a head and the long teased Operation Spit Break is well underway. Unfortunately for ZAFT, the Earth Alliance has a nasty surprise waiting for them at their HQ. Obviously inspired by Zeta Gundam, they plan to take out much of the ZAFT forces by sacrificing some of their own, including the less than convenient Archangel. The Archangel’s crew catches wind of the plot and decides to retreat. Too bad they can’t go back to HQ, they have to fight their way through an ignorant ZAFT armada that believes it will end the war with the Archangel’s defeat and the base’s fall.
This is where Kira comes in. Fresh off the another Gundamjacking, this time of a state-of-the-art ZAFT mobile suit, Kira has rushed through space just in enough time to save the Archangel’s crew from certain death. At that moment, “METEOR” kicks in and we see Kira’s mastered and now familiar targeting and piloting skills in action. Kira proceeds to almost single handedly manages to push back the ZAFT forces and He even manages to ignore a perfect chance for revenge against Yzak, at the time the resident “loser villain” of the show, who’s boneheaded butchery killed many innocents earlier in the show. For better or worse, this is the Kira we know now. And he had one hell of an entrance!
Jesus Yamato is born!
I think I’ve successfully covered most of the moments I’ve loved. From the UC timelines all the way to our own Anno Domino, I hope you enjoyed my favorite Gundam moments. If you want to share your own favorite moments, or are just pissed off that I missed something you thought was better then feel free to let me know. Making a list of anything is bound to upset someone, I’m ready for the flames.
Understanding the violence of inherent in Zeta . (Pontifus 2010/01/18)
Discovering the hidden wonder that is Gundam X (schneider 2009/03/03)
One Year Ago…
ghostlightning was discovering the awesomeness of Martian Successor Nadesico [->]