The Test Type has had a dominant run. It beat the robots it’s supposed to, the only danger was when it went up against the Tachikoma, which ‘swing’ voters elevated over units with actual fanbases. Even so, the casual fans who’d vote for the Tachikoma having seen little to no traditional mecha anime are the same people who’d vote for Evangelion anyway. This way the Test Type was assured of dominance.
But fanbase/casualfags aside, the Test Type should win this tournament over the Zaku II. In the end, the reasons to not vote for it amount to sour-graping, pretentious hate for the Evangelion franchise/its studio/creators, and Gundam partisanship. None of it actually addresses the notion that the Evangelion Unit-01 is a better concept, a better robot, and all-around more awesome thing than the Zaku II.
First, I give the Zaku II its rightful respect.
The “lowly” Zaku II was given its due respect in the MS Igloo OVAs. It was presented for what it also was: a game-changing technology; a giant robot soldier that wreaked havoc upon the supposed defenders of the Earth. The Zaku II itself was the successful space invader. The Igloo OVAs portrayed it as a menacing giant, monsters who had to be figured out in order to beat, or at least until one can field monsters of one’s own.
This however, doesn’t change the fact that it’s fodder for the Gundams.
The Evangelion Unit-01 Test Type is what Gundam units secretly want to become. Gundams are a departure from super robots, fine. But you can take the totality of Gundam shows, remove even the obvious super robot expressions like G Gundam, and find a longing for that more powerful past. You see it in the ‘modern’ shows: 00, SEED, and Wing with their overpowered magical Gundams. But you can also see it in the Universal Century: arguably in Z, but definitely in the form of the RX-0 Gundam Unicorn. You can see it clearly in the form of the Turn A Gundam.
But see, Evangelion did all of these things better. The Unit 01 Test Type did everything better. The Turn A Gundam’s Moonlight Butterfly is a weaker, sillier version of what the Test Type ultimately did in the Third Impact/Instrumentality. The Gundam Unicorn’s ‘berserk’ mode (complete with limited energy to sustain it) is a very Evangelion way of going about things. And remember that these are the units that eat Zakus for breakfast. The Evangelion did ‘real robot’ in many ways superior to most real robot shows. Real robot fans can’t wholly get behind it because it’s far more than just a real robot show, far more than just a super robot show. It is its own thing, it and its robot transcends everything that came before it and isn’t surpassed by anything that came after – in terms of concept and execution.
Is it my ‘kind’ of mecha? No. I prefer variable fighters. However, its contribution not only to mecha design, but to anime itself cannot be denied. For every oldfag who plays the ‘contributions to tradition’ card when endorsing the Zaku II, the Evangelion Test Type has done just that, just as well if not better, and just as much if not more.
After all, all this peace that is brought about by perfect understanding due to the awakening of Newtype powers in humans… Evangelion did that kind of thing too, but actually went through with it and accomplished it. If you’re a Gundam fan, I’ll never begrudge you for voting the Zaku II. Do what you need to do. But if you’re a partisan of neither contestant, vote for the Evangelion Test Type. It beats the Zaku on all counts that should count.