Ranking My Favorite Mobile Suits from Gundam UC

I’m trying something new on this blog. Rather than focusing on just my own work, I figured that I would start posting things about other nerdy subjects that I like. If it’s popular, I will keep it up.

If you don’t know, Mobile Suit Gundam is a Japanese multimedia franchise (primarily anime) that started back in 1979. It features giant robots referred to as mobile suits. Gundams themselves are a particularly style of mobile suit that differ in origin based on the series.

Gundam UC refers to the Universal Century Timeline. The UC Timeline is a continuity that started back with the first Gundam series in 1979. Starting the 90s, the Gundam franchise started diverging into multiple timelines. Gundam Wing was the first and most popular Gundam series broadcasted in the U.S. and takes place in one of those separate, unrelated continuities.

The UC Timeline primarily looks at the buildup, duration, and aftermath of The One Year War, a devasting confict between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon that wiped out about half of humanity. It consists of Gundam: The Origin, Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam: Thunderbolt, Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, Gundam: IGLOO, Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ, Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, Gundam: Unicorn, Gundam: Narrative, Gundam: Twilight Axis, Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash, Gundam F91, and Victory Gundam.

There are many other adaptations like manga and full-length novels but only anime series are typically considered canon. G-Savior, a live action, Canadian-produced movie, is sometimes considered canon. Turn A Gundam and Gundam Reconguista in G are essentially pseudo-UC since they take place in the far future of the timeline when there is a new calendar apart from the Universal Century. Impressively, there are still series being added to the UC timeline. Two more Gundam: Hathaway movies have been planned. Producers have also talked about the possibility of a third season of Gundam: Thunderbolt.

Without further ado, here is a list and description of my favorite UC mobile suits. The only criteria is how cool I think they are. How much I like their pilot as a character is also a factor.

#1. Full Armor Gundam

Series- Gundam: Thunderbolt

Pilot- Io Fleming

The Thunderbolt Sector was the meatgrinder of the One Year War. As Zeon and Federation forces fought amongst space debris, more and more suped-up versions of mobile suits were produced, and the Gundam was no exception. Unlike most Gundams in the UC, this one was piloted by full-grown soldier who is really good at his job. Whether you see him as a hero, villain, or antihero, Io Fleming is entertaining to watch as he shreds through Zeonic troops while blaring jazz music from his cockpit.

The suit design is very visceral. It full of shields, rocket launches, beam cannons, and beam swords. The colors are some of my favorite on a Gundam. It is like you took the original RX-78-2 Gundam (the O.G.) and took a negative picture of it. It is a darkly colored Gundam for a dark Gundam series (or darker Gundam series since the whole franchise can be pretty bleak in tone).

#2. Nu Gundam

Series- Gundam: Char’s Counterattack

Pilot- Amuro Ray

The very last mobile suit piloted by the original Gundam protagonist, Amuro Ray. This one was personally designed by Amuro who at this point was a great engineer and probably the best pilot in the history of the UC timeline. It was the first (successful) Psycho-Frame which was powered by Amuro’s Newtype psychic energy.

I like how this Gundam skews the traditional blue for black. The way the psychically-controlled funnel cannons form a wing on the Nu Gundam’s back is also a nice touch.

#3. Hyaku Shiki

Series- Zeta Gundam; Gundam ZZ

Pilots- Quattro Bajeena (Char Aznable/Casval Rem Deikun); Beecha Oleg

Char Aznable’s (I mean *ahem* Quattro Bajeena’s) trademarks suits are almost always red. This is the one exception. At the beginning of Zeta Gundam, he is given a new suit by the AEUG that does fit with his desire for speed and maneuverability, if not his color choice. The highlight of this mobile suit is the stunning gold color and Gundam-like, samurai-inspired head. It is cool that we don’t have to say goodbye to the Hyaku Shiki at the end of Zeta Gundam since it (like most of Zeta Gundam’s mobile suits) it returns for the direct sequel, Gundam ZZ, albeit with a new pilot.

#4. Gouf Custom

Series- Gundam: The 08th MS Team

Pilot- Norris Packard

The Gouf was the high-powered successor to Zeon’s famous Zaku mobile suit. In its first appearance in the original anime, Ramba Ral’s Gouf gives Amuro Ray a lot of trouble. This special edition is a different beast, sporting a huge, black sword on one side and a gatling gun on the other hand. Norris’s Gouf is also a lighter blue in color. It is really something to see it nearly decimate the Federation’s South Asian forces almost by itself.

#5. Kshatriya

Series- Gundam Unicorn

Pilot- Marida Cruz

“Kshatriya” refers to the warrior caste in Hinduism, and it is a fitting name for this mobile suit. It contains elements of some of the most iconic Zeon and Neo Zeon mobile suits like the Zaku and the Qubeley. With its mass of strange arms?/wings? with interlocked funnels, cannons, and yet more arms, it almost looks like some Lovecraftian creation. It also helps that its pilot, Marida Cruz, is probably the fan-favorite character from Gundam Unicorn.

#6. Gundam Unicorn 02 Banshee

Series- Gundam: Unicorn

Pilots- Marida Cruz; Riddhe Marcenas

The Unicorn-class of Gundams are probably the most powerful mobile suits in the UC timeline. In terms of color, style, and design, the Unicorn 01, Banshee, and Phenex are at the top of the list of favorite Gundams for most UC-enjoyers. It is kind of a shame that Gundam: Narrative showed that Psycho-Frames are probably a bad idea. The evil look to this Gundam is pretty fitting as it amplifies its pilot’s aggression and negative thoughts. The claws and dark paint scheme with gold accents are pretty cool, too.

#7. Victory 2 Gundam

Series- Victory Gundam

Pilot- Uso Ewin

The V2 was the very last Gundam made in the UC timeline chronologically-speaking (leaving out the sequel timelines). It is also manned by the UC’s youngest pilot, 13-year-old Uso Ewin. Other than being ground-breaking, this suit is also gorgeous with its light blue and gold paint scheme. The giant energy wings it produces are pretty cool, too.

#8. Gundam Mk-II

Series- Zeta Gundam; Gundam ZZ

Pilots- Jerid Messa; Kamille Bidan; Emma Sheen; Elle Vianno

The RX-78-2 Gundam had many prototypes and offshoots during the mad scramble of the One Year War. It was in the aftermath of the war that it got its true successor, the Mk II (or just Gundam Mark 2). First rolled out by the Earth Federation’s super evil and fascist Titans forces, there were several made in the gray and purple configuration which is my favorite. The one stolen by Kamille Bidan was later switched to a more traditional color scheme and had a number of pilots through Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ.

The Mk II is just a more-armored, stronger version of the original Gundam, but the simplicity of that is pretty endearing.

#9. Psycho Zaku

Series- Gundam: Thunderbolt

Pilot- Daryl Lorenz

I don’t want to spoil too much about Gundam: Thunderbolt, but I will say that most people would not be able to pilot it due to having too many limbs. Daryl Lorenz is definitely one of more heroic members of Zeon which is something that is hard to be when your side nearly destroys the earth’s surface in an unprovoked attack. His Living Dead Division is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in anime.

The Psycho Zaku is not the traditional military green seen on most of those suits (aside from Char’s). Even more different is the absolutely massive arsenal of weapons and extra rocket boosters. The Federation and Zeon had the exact same idea for the Thunderbolt sector: make the strongest version of your traditional mobile suit as you can. Add weapons and more weapons.

#10. Vigna Ghina

Series- Gundam F91

Pilot- Cecily Fairchild (Berah Rohah)

By the time of the events for Gundam F91, the conflict between the Earth Federation, Zeon, and the various Neo Zeon offshoots were long over (or at least we think since this part of the lore is not very fleshed out at the moment). The new troubles were between the Earth Federation and the space nation of Cosmo Babylonia. Cosmo Babylonia’s Crossbone Vanguard army had mobile suits that were very unique in style. The Federation’s (really Anaheim Electronics’) Gundam suits are based on samurai armor, while Zeon’s suits like the Zaku and Gouf were based on WWI and WWII military gear. Crossbone mobile suits are based on both medieval knights and early modern pirates.

Cecily Fairchild’s Vigna Ghina has purple accents (a rare color for Gundam UC mobile suits). The knight-like helm and fanlike wings are also nice touches. It is definitely a majestic mobile suit befitting of royalty.

I should really stop here. I could talk about giant robots all day. I will probably do a list of all my favorite mobile suits from all the Gundam series. I just wanted to be fair since I haven’t seen them all. I may have watched all the UC series, but I am only a quarter of the way through Turn A Gundam. I have yet to watch Reconguista in G or Gundam AGE. When those are finished, I can do an ultimate mobile suit list. Of course, the Hathaway and Witch from Mercury series are ongoing, so there is always the chance for more lists.

If you’ve watched the Gundam UC timeline, what are your favorite mobile suits? What should I rank next? Maybe all of the the Gundam UC media in general?

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