My Five Favorite Gundams

In the continuing spirit of Mecha March and with so much of Gundams on my brain that I’m looking forward to the end of Witch from Mercury if only to get a little break from the franchise for a bit, I could not help but think about which gundams are the best. I don’t just mean the most powerful, the ones that would win in a fight. By that measure, one could just pick whichever one has the latest, most overpowered cannon. I mean the ones that speak most of power and personality, both the suit itself and the pilot within.

In short, after a binge of much of the franchise, seeing more gundams than I care to count, I asked myself which ones felt the greatest to me. Which gundams are my personal favorites?

I thought to make a Top Ten list, but when I got down to it… well, I didn’t really have ten that stood out so much to me that I could call them a favorite. The gundams in 8th MS Team are all identical, for instance, and those in Gundam 00 were ultimately too similar and too easily replaced with newer models. And I dislike the tragedy of Iron-Blooded Orphans too much to have a favorite gundam from that show. That left me with five shows I’ve seen to choose from, so I simply selected one favorite from each, and ranked them.

Thus, without further ado, from a franchise that has stretched for over four decades, I present my five favorite gundams!

5) The Freedom
Gundam SEED

It may have eventually been destroyed in battle and replaced, in the trend of SEED: Destiny to just slap bigger guns on everything, but the Freedom will always be awesome.

It is given to the lead protagonist, Kira Yamato, as he makes his return from the dead, and his return to the battlefield. He has, up to this point, been little more than a boy struggling to keep a few people safe in a situation far beyond his control. But when he gains the Freedom, he is gaining a new, clearer resolve, and actively working towards something better. This could not be made any clearer than how he did, regrettably, take lives with the first gundam he piloted, but never again. He led the way on the path of forgiveness, tolerance, and the holding of human life as sacred.

Thus does Freedom soar among the stars and descend to the Earth below, just in the nick of time to protect Kira’s comrades. He fights with new power, soon establishing himself as probably the single most formidable figure on any battlefield, and with it he works to save lives. The Freedom is an angel, complete with wings and cosmic fire, working to save humanity from inevitable destruction.

4) Dragon Gundam
G Gundam

G Gundam has an absolute plethora of gundams to choose from, but Dragon Gundam stands out in every good way: sleeker than the brutes, fiercer than the more refined, less stereotypical than the Shining or Burning Gundams, and possessing a wider armament than most.

It’s a perfect representation for its pilot, Sai Saici, as well as his home nation of China. He is youthful and strong, a disciple of the Shaolin Temple, with the mischief of a monkey and the fury of a dragon. Driven by the hopes of those who came before, especially his father, Sai Saici carries on his shoulders the inheritance of his ancestors and the pride of his nation. All this, while he is still growing up.

And he is the only enemy ever to force the lead protagonist into a draw. No one else can make that claim, even if both of them have their share of losses. Truly, the Dragon Gundam and Sai Saici are ferocious indeed!

3) Aerial
The Witch From Mercury

Technically, Aerial is practically the only gundam in this show, thus far, or at least the only one we’ve gotten to know, but I still have a certain appreciation for it, unlike, say, Barbatos from Iron-Blooded Orphans.

Gundams in this universe seem to have a tragic backstory, wherein the technology behind them was originally intended for medical purposes, to enhance humanity that they might endure the rigors of space and venture out into the stars. That tech was taken by the military and used for obvious purposes, with little to no regard for how the system could strain and even kill the pilot. Some influential fool took issue with that and murdered the people who were trying to perfect this system, but at that very hour, hope was found as one gundam bonded with an innocent little girl and they escaped destruction. Thus was Aerial born, to safeguard its pilot, who became known as Suletta Mercury.

Suletta is a girl who seems quite simple and ignorant at times, but always steps up to do what she feels is right, even if she’s obvious very nervous about it. She is stronger than she seems, not to mention more dangerous, though also, perhaps, more fragile as well. She’s far too trusting, for certain, but she cares about what matters most, and she is relentless, as unstoppable as any force of nature, and those around her can’t help but want to be bathed in her light.

Aerial, in similar fashion, doesn’t look like that much. It seems stripped down almost to its most basic framework. But it is surprisingly potent, both powerful and adaptable with its “bits” that configure into various weapons, including a potent shield or a swarm of powerful blasters that barrage its foes, completely annihilating them. And yet it could be so easily broken… but still endures.

Although… I have a certain suspicion, which I will not elaborate on in this post. For the time being, I simply enjoy how adaptable and resilient Aerial is.

2) Bakunetsumaru
SD Gundam Force

These gundams may be robots instead of mecha suits, but, still! A gundam is a gundam! 😉

As such, there isn’t anything to say about a pilot, so, this is brief! Short and simple!

Bakunetsumaru is the flaming samurai from the land of Ark! A Musha Gundam, he is a living machine, right down to being able to feast on rice balls. Brave and noble, he desires peace but fights with all his might to protect his homeland and his allies. He is, in fact, so strong and pure that he can even don the legendary armor of fire for a time. Nothing fazes him! …except ghosts! Which, really, can one blame him for that?

He may be young and occasionally hotheaded, but there is no doubt that Bakunetsumaru is a true and loyal friend.

1) Deathscythe
Gundam Wing

The most awesome of them all, in my opinion, and certainly a fan favorite! I particularly liked the upgraded version, with the flaps that spread like the wings of a bat, though the movie version, with literal bat-like wings, was a little too on the nose, ya know?

The pilot, Duo Maxwell, is a ruthless, gung-ho warrior, striking from the shadows and from the darkness of space, screaming into battle, taking no prisoners and leaving death in his wake. Well-named is he, the Shinigami, the God of Death (or “the Great Destroyer,” depending on how the dub is tweaked for kids). Strong of mind, of will, of body, and of opinion, he is lively and stubborn, incapable of staying quiet in the face of horrendous wrongs. Thus does he reap the deaths of his enemies with a vengeance!

The concept behind Deathscythe’s design couldn’t be any clearer, taking obvious cues from the Grim Reaper. This is no angel or machine of war or even a noble warrior, merely a deliverer of death, with all the terror that inspires. Muted in coloring instead of being needlessly flashy, it moves unseen until its blade is unleashed. And then, it is already too late, the only thing to do is die.

Duo and Deathscythe even once fought a well-matched pair of mobile suits who, lacking pilots, were programmed to move like two of his strongest comrades.  It was a hard fight, but the moment he found his footing, Duo completely annihilated the both of them with his scythe. That was seriously badass! And it was in defense of his lady love! Whoo! How can you not love that, eh?

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