"What is 'Gundam', anyway?" This simple (?) question is answered in a casual weekly column just for new fans!
by Ema Baba
Over the thirty years since it first aired, Gundam has charmed men and women, young and old.
On the other hand, that deep history means that a fresh new Gundam beginner may load up Gundam.info on a whim, see everything laid out before them, and just think "Gundam sure looks fun, but there's so much here I don't even know where to start."
That'd be a shame, though! If you've got that spark of interest, why not nurture it? That's why we're bringing you this new weekly column just for beginning Gundam fans: to fill you in on the ideas everyone just takes for granted, clear up ambiguities, and explain some of the techno-jargon that always gets thrown around.
And what's a better starting point than "What is a Gundam"? What makes something Gundam-y? Gundam-ish?
When the popular kid at school or the guy at work with no imagination says something like "Gundam? What, that cartoon with the flying robots in space?", a new fan can be at a loss to explain just what the appeal is. But thinking about the unique traits that all Gundams share, there's one thing that really stands out. I'm sure you're all thinking of it right now.
What makes a Gundam? The face!
Yeah, the first things that catch anyone's eye are the 'horns'.
Those things—what are they really called, anyway? Antennas? Sensors?—have always been on Gundams, right from the very start. Every robot called "Gundam" has its 'horns'. Honestly, they're the first-ever hallmark of a Gundam.
Now, those 'horns' are part of the iconic Gundam design, but sometimes they move around and turn into a 'mustache' instead. Lookin' sharp, Turn A!
When you ask the average person about Gundam, the face of the one from First Gundam* usually comes to mind. It's got this bulky, massive look like martial arts headgear or a samurai helmet. I wonder if it caught on because of the big fad for football a few years earlier?
It's a simple but great-looking design that really projects strength and importance. When you think of Gundam you think of that face, so I guess it makes sense that all the Gundams from First* until now were based on it.
Now, there are some pretty aggressive-looking Gundams...
But along with being called "Gundams", they all definitely have a "Gundam face".
What makes a Gundam? The coloring!
What's the first thing you see when you look at a Gundam? The face! The horns! Actually, wait, hold it, there's one other thing that really catches the eye.
It's the Gundam's unique color scheme.
This red/blue/yellow tricolor on white is so iconic that some people call it "Gundam colors". It seems like it may be a little bit
visible on the battlefield, but it's one of the things that makes a Gundam a Gundam.
This color scheme has always screamed "Gundam", ever since First Gundam*, so the hero's robot usually ends up white overall.
On the other hand, if the rival or the antagonists have a more menacing (?) Gundam, it's usually black or a dark tone for contrast... Which looks pretty awesome too!
Anyway, that's it for this week. Next week we'll be taking another laid-back look at what makes Gundam Gundam!
* "Mobile Suit Gundam" and its RX-78-2 Gundam
Scriptwriter. Troublemaking scenarist.
Learning more every day to teach you about the fun of Gundam!