The Most Controversial Gundam Anime Doesn’t Deserve All The Hate

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

Mobile Fighter G Gundam was released in 1994 to immediate controversy. It abandoned the serious military science fiction of previous Gundam stories, instead telling a comedic martial arts story with giant robots. While the differences turned many longtime Gundam fans off of the series, others saw the show’s unique take on the franchise as refreshing. 

Mecha Martial Arts Tournament

In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, war has been replaced with a fighting tournament featuring Gundams held every four years. The hero of the series is Neo Japan’s champion, Domon Kasshu, who pilots Shinning Gundam while searching for his brother, who he believes killed their mother and betrayed Neo Japan. The show is structured around the Gundam fighting tournament, telling its family drama within the framework of a martial arts tournament story. 

Burning Finger

The previous Gundam series featured pilots using mechanisms similar to real fighter pilots, but Mobile Fighter G Gundam had mechs that mimicked the pilots’ movements, creating the martial arts style of the show. For some fans, this move away from realism was unforgivable. However, it made for a unique aesthetic, giving the mechs more human movement and letting them engage in intricate hand-to-hand combat like never before. 

A Whole New World

Another controversial choice the show made was separating itself from the main Gundam continuity, establishing itself as taking place in the Future Century universe rather than the Universal Century universe the rest of the franchise was set in. Gundam purists bristled at this change, upset that it ignored the canon of older shows. Fans of Mobile Fighter G Gundam defend the choice because it allowed for a radically different setting, in which the Earth is an abandoned wasteland. 

Not As Serious As Mobile Suit Gundam

The most difficult change for Gundam fans to overcome with Mobile Fighter G Gundam was its tonal shift. Mobile Suit Gundam was a serious meditation on the human ramifications of war and colonialism, which set the tone and themes for the franchise. G Gundam reinvented the series by being wonderfully silly, over the top, and treating gundam fighting like a sport. 

Nation-Specific Mech Designs

The nation-specific mech designs are the perfect example of why some fans love Mobile Fighter G Gundam while others hate it. One of the most notorious designs is the Netherlands-based Nether Gundam, which features a windmill built prominently into its torso. It’s an intentionally cheesy gag and completely unlike anything else in the franchise; it feels more aligned with something like early Dragon Ball than Gundam. 

Finally Getting A Sequel

Thirty years after its premiere, Mobile Fighter G Gundam is finally getting some of the fanfare it deserves with an upcoming sequel. Little is known about the sequel except that it takes place eight years after the original series and will feature a new protagonist, Ginga Kamuri, who will once again be Neo Japan’s representative in the tournament. The sequel series, Mobile Fighter G Gundam GO!!, will come out in September 2024. 

A Very Different Type Of Gundam

Mobile Fighter G Gundam is the most unique Gundam series ever made, with constant gags and a martial arts tournament structure that defies every franchise convention. Not every Gundam fan will appreciate its intentionally corny tone or exaggerated martial arts action, but it deserves a second chance in the fandom. Fans who go in expecting a conventional Gundam story will be let down, but fans who approach it as a comedy martial arts anime that happens to have Gundams will find it delightful.

Mobile Fighter G Gundam can be streamed on Crunchyroll.