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Shadow Gundam

G Gundam
by yo go re

For such a cheesy show, G Gundam is surprisingly smart.

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!

In short, "Parade of Ethnic Stereotypes." But the show's got quite a bit going for it; good characterization, intricate storylines and some smooth-ass designs.

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-Denmark's Mermaid Gundam wears a big blue fish.

Germany's Shadow Gundam has one of the tamer designs. Gee, who woulda thunk it! Japan has some sympathy for Germany? I wonder why! The suit is simple, with a slight WWII German stormtrooper uniform feel to it (primarily in the distinctive helmet). He of course sports the same skirt that all the Gundams have, though his is slightly redeemed by the fact that it looks like a short overcoat. Shadow Gundam has the standard giant shoulder pads, though his have neat flip-out panels.

Shadow Gundam's weapons are two great swords that are attached to his arms. Sprouting back from his elbows, the blades flip forward for attack. The figure comes with eight interchangeable hands: two closed fists; two fists ready to hold the blades' handles; two stiff, open-palmed "chopping" hands; and two relaxed hands.

In much the same way that "vader" is the Dutch word for "father," Shadow Gundam gives up his secrets readily. In the original Japanese version, his name was Gundam Spiegel. Spiegel means "mirror," and that obviously conveys the sense of a doppelganger or nemesis to the audience (a theme carried over in a slightly different form with the American "Shadow"). Even the pilot's name, Schwarz Bruder, says a lot when translated from the German.

At 4¼" tall, Shadow Gundam is represented at 1/144th scale. Gundam Spiegel is one of the few G Gundam suits made into 1/100th kits, but I knew I wanted him to fit in with the rest of the crew. The figure moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. This is one of the few MSiA figures that can actually utilize its waist, even slightly.

A nice bonus with this figure is the transformable core lander. Sort of a stylized flying car, the core lander is part simple transportation and part control module. The lander folds in on itself and plugs into the back of the Gundam, providing a cockpit and rocket boosters.

As far as Gundams go, Shadow Gundam is very cool, no matter which you get. If you're building a G Gundam collection, then I recommend the Mobile Suit in Action version. If you're just looking for a good standalone Gundam, the larger model kit will serve you well.

-- 04/13/03

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