Ending a bloodbath, starting a new one and a whole lot of P-Bandai.
2017 marks the 38th year of existence of one of the biggest eastern franchises in History that is Gundam. With more than 40 shows, tons of pages of manga adaptations and of course hundreds, if not, thousands of model kit varieties, the era of Gundam is definitely not seeing its end anytime soon.
This year, a lot of good, and perhaps some debatable surprises have surfaced for Gundam fans as we are introduced to a new Gundam series that continues the Universal Century timeline, a few throwbacks, and of course, some crazy new Gunpla.
The end of the Iron Bloodline
Early this year we saw the end of what is perhaps the most action-packed Gundam series of the present generation that is Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans. Running for nearly 2 years with its first episode airing back in 2015, Iron Blooded Orphans tells us the tale of Mikazuki Augus and Orga Itsuka together with other band of misfits and child soldiers as they journey from Mars to Earth and back to Mars in search of finding their rightful place, and oh, there’s some badass mecha fights thrown in there too with a lot of dead, dead, and really dead characters because Tomino allowed it. IBO was well received by critics and fans although it does have some major flaws with big questions still left unanswered even after it ended. Not to worry though as Mikazuki’s seiyuu Kawanishi Kengo was qouted to have said “see you in the movie” which means that there might be more to IBO.
RISE OF THE UNICORN
As another new year of Gundam dawns, Tokyo welcomes a new mecha guardian right in the heart of Odaiba as the good ol’ 1:1 replica of the titular RX-78-2 Gundam is replaced by its more grandiose grandson, the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam which completes complete with transformation effects and lighting sequences that go from Destroy to Awakened. Officially unveiled for the public during the fall season of this year, the 1:1 RX-0 Gundam Unicorn now stands proud in front of Diver City Tokyo Plaza and puts a watchful eye over Earthnoids and would be Newtypes.
Out with the old, in with the new: Gundam Base Tokyo
Of course you can’t have a life-sized mecha without a damn base and Tokyo also opened its newest one this year, which replaced the old Gundam Front located in Diver City Tokyo Plaza. Looking to be more than just a plain, large Gunpla shop, and more of a Gundam fan haven, Gundam Base Tokyo includes sections like the Gunpla Builders Room, a Gunpla Factory Museum and a Gundam Cafe. Although in contrast to the old Gundam Front, the Gundam Base does lack some of the attractions of the old such as the life-sized replica of the FF-X7 Core Fighter and the life-sized bust replica of the ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam which came complete with a cockpit hatch. Still the new Gundam base does come with some store-only merch and exclusive kits which any Gundam fan might find worth taking a peek at.
Throwback Season – Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
Out with old isn’t entirely the theme for Gundam this year as despite bringing new kits to the market, a new Gundam replica and a major Gundam store, a bit of throwback was also made by Sunrise as they launch the HD versions of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing up for free viewing on the official Gundam YouTube channel. Part of the original “Holy Trinity” of the UC master race, Gundam ZZ is a follow up to the events of Gundam Z, with new characters like Judau Ashta and Haman Karn and as well as new iconic Mobile Suits like the Hyaku Shiki and the Quebeley. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing on the other hand was iconic as being the first Gundam series to introduce the concept of a Gundam team with 5 main characters, each with their different Gundam suits and as well as Gundam’s classiest, non-masked villain, Treize Khushrenada.
FAG – Frame Arms Gundam?
Ooookay, now this is what really torn Gunpla fans apart and almost started a new world war this year, because for some freakign reason, Bandai decided that 1 Gunpla waifu isn’t enough and we’re getting another one and another one complete with its own canonical appearance in the spin-off series, Gundam Build Fighters. Now we have no idea as to what was the exact motivation behind this release, or whoever even approved of this idea and pushed it into production, but one thing’s for sure, no matter how much we hate it, we’re still gonna get ourselves a kit…even if it’s P-Bandai….Especially if it’s P-Bandai.