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Grizzly Gundam

G Gundam
by yo go re

In the universe of G Gundam, mankind has abandonned the earth in favor of orbiting colonies. Every four years, each colony sends a representative back to earth for the Gundam fights; the country whose Gundam wins the tournament rules space until the next battle.

Not exactly Shakespeare, I realize, but the cartoon's actually pretty good. The designs are some of the best ever seen on a Gundam show, even if they are a bit stereotyped. Each Gundam is designed to represent its country. Or, more accurately, what Japanese animators think of its country.

Neo-America's Gundam Maxter, run by a pilot with pink-streaked hair and a support team of bikini girls, combines football, boxing, surfing and cowboys. God, Japan hates us. Of course, it could be worse; Neo-Sweden's Noble Gundam is a giant metal Japanese Schoolgirl.

There were two main ways to build a Gundam, according to series creator Yasuhiro Imagawa: either the country built their suit, then found the perfect pilot for it; or chose a pilot and built a suit to suit him. Neo-Canada's Grizzly Gundam follows the second path. Pilot Andrew Graham has a mad-on for Neo-Russian Argo Gulsky, so had his suit built to go toe to toe with the bulky Bolt Gundam.

Neo-Canada's just lucky that their Gundam isn't an eskimo or something - going for the only other Canadian stereotype, he's a lumberjack, and he's okay; he sleeps all night and he works all day. He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps, he likes to press wild flowers.

Okay, or not. But he really is a lumberjack. In Japan, he's named "Lumber Gundam." His chief weapons are two large axes attached to his forearms, and he's got a huge chainsaw as well. His head even has a vague resemblance to a knit stocking cap.

Design-wise, that's where the lumberjack look ends. Grizzly Gundam has the stocky build of a burly mountain man, but the suit doesn't really resemble clothes in the way that many of the others do. It's got big spiked shoulderpads, a brown torso and light blue limbs. Grizzly Gundam has the usual skirt worn by so many of the 'bots, though his has a sort of ragged edge. He's also got two yellow chain links at his hips, which make no sense whatsoever.

At nearly 4⅝" tall, Grizzly Gundam is represented at 1/144th scale. I used to prefer the 1/100th model kits to the MSiA figures, but most of the G Gundam fighters were never made into kits. As my G Gundam collection has grown, though, I'm glad that's the case; I'd never have room to set up great battles at the larger scale.

The figure moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles. This is one of the few Gundams whose waist is actually functional; no part of the design impares the movement.

As far as Gundams go, Grizzly Gundam is decent, but nothing special. The design is eclectic without every really being inspired, and the colors (changed from the show) seem muted. He'd obviously be able to beat the snot out of any opponent, but he lacks style.

-- 06/12/03

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