One question haunts a comedy/satire/penis simile career: What’s your solution?
“Where’s your PMC? Constellis does the best they can. They changed the name and everything. Should they leave bullets lying there, to rot? That’s waste on a dying planet. Bullying Erik Prince won’t make you feel better about yourself. If mass murder’s so wrong, let’s see your plan. Most nuclear states skipped the UN this year.”
Easy. Replace orphan-seeking missiles with robot Bloodsport. Why do I even have to type it? Isn’t Mecha Kombat what we’ve struggled for since the tar pits? Don’t you want to armbar your way to sane climate policy? Haven’t you seen Mobile Fighter G Gundam?
I shouldn’t assume. Few of us are born saved. We stumble into Police Story reruns when our souls are ready.
G Gundam is a Gundam spinoff, the way pelicans are spinoffs of velociraptors. A few things changed, and mentioning the connection makes your worst neighbors livid. Imagine The Guns of August spinning off into GI Joe, and you’re halfway there. But the Joes keep WW1 aesthetics, scope, and trauma. And everyone’s Snake Eyes. Life’s weird.
I should define terms, since many prefer live knee strikes. Which I respect: stuntmen need food, and streaming’s only upside is underwriting one perfect The Raid knockoff per year.
Gundam isn’t a typo: it’s one of the longest and most merchandised sci-fi franchises anywhere. The secret sauce? The edge that outlived Monster Rancher and two economic boom-bust cycles?
Game of Thrones made its money acknowledging sex, and Gundam struck gold acknowledging what happens after CNN cuts to ads. Here’s how the comic remake sets the tone. Chapter 1, Volume 1.
The classic colony drop. Shooting cities into cities, making trading lives literal. Perhaps the last sci-fi nightmare that hasn’t become real why did I type that. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I don’t know which emirate we’ve spiked Queens into, but I hope the survivors forgive me.
Oh, and lots of robots. People dig the robots. If a robot has fins and a five-digit kill count, it’s a Gundam.
Some would call Gundam self-serious. They’re right, but I’ll argue in bad faith for hours before admitting it. I openly love rants on human cruelty between action figure swordfights. Combining sour cream and synthetic onion probably sounded odd the first time, and now that’s half my body weight.
This makes G Gundam’s existence weird, dumb, and wonderful. Like learning the mold in your trash cures everything.
The premise: after bombing Earth to death, humanity rebuilds in space. Much more importantly, every nation builds a Jiujitsu-powered robot. Earth’s carcass becomes the octagon for culturally insensitive Jaegers, and the winner runs space for four years. They’ve run this tournament 12 times, without one security council veto.
I’m not fucking with you. San Marino is ten good fights away from galactic domination. If you think the Olympics have a steroid problem, imagine what DARPA would inject into Jon Jones. Or what Jon Jones would inject into Jon Jones.
There are 49 episodes of Street Fighter worldbuilding, so we find out. Neo America sends a walking flag piloted by an asshole boxer.
I can’t lie: that screenshot fills my soul. The national virus is in me. His mechanic’s probably pre-Gawker Hulk Hogan. There’s even a full cheer squad.
As for our sparring partner, Neo Russia press-gangs a giant prisoner. This clown show predicted the Wagner Group. His robot swings a ball and chain, so even winning is a reminder of confinement.
He’s tailed by a mobile oppression squad, led by Subjugation Spice.
Likely insulting, so I’ll argue in bad faith that it recalls Crime and Punishment. Be warned: I don’t have to be right to win. Academia’s just describing what you want to be true.
I’ll save France and England for the episode recap. They’re special caricatures. Even moreso than China’s Dragon Gundam, piloted by a spunky Shaolin Monk.
After Shinji, putting a terrified child in your robot sounds like a bad idea. But it’s brilliant long-term thinking. When this kid hits twenty, he’ll be unbeatable. China might rule space longer than Earth.
You know, if he lives.
Meanwhile, Mexico has a gaffe.
The U.S. run calls that Spike Gundam. The original calls it Tequila Gundam. A fact I recall wherever I’ve had a rough day. Did Tequila Gundam defeat Jagermeister Gundam to qualify? No. Germany hired a fucking ninja.
With a ninjabot.
After all the broad strokes in G Gundam, it’s nice to see a tribute to Bavarian Ninjitsu. I assume it’s still mostly arson. German fans lucked out: the creators cared just enough to skip food and the 1940s, and played their ninja card instead. Full marks.
I’m not cherry-picking a one-off. This is a key character. There are spoilers about Berlin’s shadow warrior, because G Gundam’s kitsch isn’t light or shy. I went through this series hoping, praying for Ganja Gundam to turn up. Or, if the writers knew the island a little better, Workaholic Gundam, Crushing Poverty Gundam, or Christian Fundamentalism Gundam. No luck.
But I did learn that love, unhinged rage, and egotism all unlock limit breaks. Sometimes the same move! Don’t question it, just love it.
G Gundam’s high concept taps a simple truth: it’d be nice for management to punch it out and leave the rest of us alone. When Putin sparring mediocre actors went viral, I thought “Challenge accepted, but in space.” When we sprinted to/from Afghanistan, I learned we could replace the entire D.O.D. with Impact! midcarders and lose nothing. When Bibi—
My broad strokes tend to be more confusing than knowing nothing. Let’s tour an episode.
Episode nine is Shakespearean: obvious mistakes followed by violence. It cold opens on Rose Gundam, a fan favorite, in battle.
A classier grade of killing machine, even with the Napoleon hat. Sure, other Gundams win fights, in a world where that decides whether you’re in a theocracy, dance-based caste system, or Caligula sequel. But you can greet dates in Rose Gundam. Neo France put aesthetics first, a plan just crazy enough to not work even a little.
It’s over in the first minute.
There’s no WW2 punchline coming. See: Kabul. Glass houses and all that.
The beating’s from Neo England, so this scene sparked at least one real-life fistfight. Sadly, that’s the spiciest historical rivalry G Gundam touches. We never get a match between Seoul LLC and The People’s Invincible True Korea. Since G Gundam’s insane, I’ll note that I made those two up.
Our winner looks like an RRR propaganda poster, by either side. I like hyperbole, but check out his portrait:
And matching robot:
That’s Gentle Chapman piloting John Bull Gundam. I thought I dreamed those names, but they’re unchanged 22 years later. Check your borders: reading this means they’ve been redrawn as a nice, clean square.
Gentle celebrates the traditional way: turning up. He gambles with the rest of the House of Lords, until he notices someone out of place.
This defrosted Neanderthal is Japan’s fighter, Domon Kasshu. The only role model I needed.
G Gundam doesn’t spare Japan a broad brush, which softens everything but Tequila Gundam. Domon is a screaming, sword-brandishing karate lunatic, and I love him the way most people love dogs. Only Domon’s never chased me across Brooklyn Bridge Park, or barked for six hours while I tried to mock puppets. Domon 2. Dogs: 0.
The Casino Royale schtick is cut short by Domon being a goddamn nutcase.
Domon likes fighting the way comedians like similes. He isn’t always fighting, in the way not all similes use like or as. But it’s always on his mind, akin to me and frosted food. The prompt said “three-dimensional protagonist,” and the studio wrote “fist” twice.
Surprisingly, he grows. Beyond “war sucks, kicks rule,” G Gundam’s secondary point is “calm the fuck down, Domon.” Uppercuts can only solve 98% of problems. For the remaining two, he panics. For martial arts anime, that’s a pacifist tract.
This is a “cool your shit” episode. Gentle Chapman isn’t so chap. Fuck. Isn’t so man. God damn it. Is a fellow nutcase. He’s doping to prolong his career. Imagine an elderly shit I already used Jon Jones. You can’t mock the same athlete twice. The world has too many elevators.
Imagine any cyclist. Gentle’s revived Tour de France level doping.
It’s not just padding asterisk records. Chapman’s a three-time champion, and remains determined to die like a proper gentleman: screaming in an exploding tin can plummeting towards civilization’s ruins. I’d admire him if he hadn’t brought the British Empire to the stars. That’s like bringing the measles to the information age. Or Tammany Hall to the information age. Or the Crusades–
Moving along: Rose Gundam’s pilot brings a warning. Domon ignores it. Chapman bitterly condemns time, hero worship, and a warrior’s inevitable grave. Domon ignores it. Domon’s read the beat board, and he’s hyped for some sanctioned elder abuse.
Later, Chapman’s loving wife Lasswoman defends the fallen hero’s suicide run.
Lasswoman secretly runs the non-drug half of England’s cheating, because she believes in Gentle. Or doesn’t want Neo Mauritania in charge. Or knows the rules are bullshit. Either way, Chapman thinks he’s only doping. A real ride or die helps you ride and die.
Despite our hero’s best efforts, the stakes are set: can Gentle Chapman be battered back onto the path of honor? Is chivalry stronger than anger over his stupid name? Can a 20-year old red belt beat a septuagenarian tweaker?
Cheating rules. A fog machine and some crank turn Chapman into a god.
It’s the Perry Expedition all over again: swords and reason are out, guns and uppers are in. From now on, I’m cheating all the time. Are there drugs for dick jokes? Comedy Cialis? I’d say Jim Beam, but happy hour’s worse for my jokes than my u-turns.
For mechs, inhaling space Addies like Reese’s Cups totally works. Skittles are the stock reference, but I’ve never left peanut butter cups with my dignity. The champion emeritus would sell his life for victory, and that’s how I feel about sugar. Bury me with my chocolate.
Tripping balls on kids’ television, Chapman emits pure Metal Gear Rising nonsense. Some selections:
Right, that last one. He totally overdoses, and goads Domon into a Viking graduation.
Gentle lives, and accepts his descent from champion to Ric Flair non-retirement. PEDs are for livers in their prime, and there’s no other way out of this premise on afterschool television. It’s a nice moment, I just have Yahtzee’s tick where everything sounds like a diss, and greed pillages what I love.
The point isn’t pill addiction, but punch addiction. Ageless ambition cost Chapman his motor skills. Don’t chase the past, unless you want to conquer Earth three times, live in a mansion, travel the universe, and go out in a blaze of violent glory with your supervillain wife.
I’m with Lasswoman. And I’d take an angel dust suppository to keep most leaders off the Golden Throne, including mine. Nothing’s stopping MBS VIII from cloning Brock Lesnar. I wish I could describe the damage one narcissist can do in four years, but Jiminy’s on my fucking ass.
In any case, G Gundam distracted me from some other stuff in 2002. Not sure why I’m on it now. Has anyone seen my medicine?