In the beginning, Japanese cartoons were really into giant robots punching each other. The original Mobile Suit Gundam was a reaction to this, a show that took itself seriously and focused on the pilots more than their vehicles. That began a long trend of stuffy, self-important pretention that is pretty much epitomized by Neon Genesis Evangelion. Once again, it was Gundam that bucked the trend, this time with the sublimely outrageous G Gundam.
Set in Future Century 60, it is the year of the 13th Gundam Fight! Each country has sent their Gundam to Earth in hopes of winning power and glory for their homeland. Which Gundam will rule the universe? Gundam fight ready, go!
There's no soul-searching in G Gundam, no worries about property destruction or the righteousness of their actions. There's just beating the holy hell out of everyone who stands against you. And wearing the most ridiculous suit possible while doing it.
Each Gundam in the series is designed to represent its country. Or, more accurately, what Japanese animators think of its country. For instance, 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-Kenya's Zebra Gundam is all stripey and has animal heads coming out of its shoulders.
For sheer idiocy, though, it's tough to beat Neo-Denmark's Mermaid Gundam. It truly looks like a normal Gundam that's been swallowed by a great blue fish. It has fins on its head and flippers on its feet, but at least it's not wearing a big metal skirt. Mermaid Gundam's weapon is a large gold-tipped trident.
Made in 1/144th scale, the tip of Mermaid Gundam's fishmouth just reaches the 5 1/2" mark. The robot moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees and ankles, which would be decent, but there's still more. In a supreme spot of insanity, Mermaid Gundam transforms into a fish.
His arms and legs retract into his body, leaving little fins behind. The fish's mouth closes around the robot head, maintaining visibility with a well-placed porthole. The fish's tail even has four articulated segments. The fish mode is more than 6" long.
Pilot Hans Holgar gets a pretty good story arc, trying to make the finals while his suit is falling apart around him. Meanwhile, his little sister is developing a crush on Sai Saici, pilot of the Dragon Gundam. No matter how stupid the robot suits may get, the characters inside them keep things grounded, keep the audience involved.
In every way, Mermaid Gundam is a foolish construct. However, the toy is very good in both its forms - if you're after a big metal fish, this is just the thing for you.
Which of the G Gundam suits is stupidest? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.