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By Thomas Wheeler

Finding new G-Gundams of late has not been an easy endeavor. In fact to get the newest ones I had to resort to finding them online. I honestly don't know why these Gundams have yet to appear in the stores for the most part. I find it profoundly disappointing for several reasons: The toys are excellent, probably one the best action figures on the market (in my opinion) at present; the G-Gundam animated series is probably the most "kid-friendly" of the various Gundam series, some of which tend to be intense enough to wind up on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" late night block instead of the late afternoon "Toonami" block where G-Gundam is appearing; and frankly, this is a line that I would like to see have a long and healthy run in the toy stores, but it's not going to get that if the toys never show up! I don't know if Bandai
or the stores are to blame, but I fervently hope that there is a Gundam onslaught at Christmas that blows me away. I also hope I can afford said onslaught.

Even the online stores have trouble keeping this stuff in stock when it shows up. The first allotment that showed up online went so fast that I didn't even have a chance at it. When I heard another shipment had arrived, I was pointing-and-clicking so fast you would've thought I'd turned a woodpecker loose up here. And the newest entries in the G-GUNDAM line are really cool. Here's a basic review of them:

Hyper Mode Master Gundam & Hyper Mode Shining Gund

MASTER GUNDAM HYPER MODE: A few of the Gundams in the G-Gundam concept have a "Hyper Mode" which causes them to turn gold in color and increases their abilities. Given that the Gundam figures are made from a flexible plastic, doing any sort of gold chrome would not be feasible, but they do manage several different shades of a metallic gold. The Master Gundam is one of the prominent "bad guys" in the G-Gundam concept. His normal mode, which comes with a robotic horse, looks extremely menacing and is predominantly black and dark blue in color with red trim and wings. The gold version somehow looks no less dangerous despite being more mono-chromatic. It doesn't come with
the horse, but that's not a big deal as far as I'm concerned. Overall, a very cool figure.

SHINING GUNDAM HYPER MODE: Same deal here. Another gold colored version of a previously-released figure. At least if Bandai is going to do repaints, they have the decency to do ones that exist in these forms within the show, I'll give them that. They put the "battle" head (for lack of a better term) as
the most prominent head on this version of the Shining Gundam (yes, both versions come with two heads), so it makes for a nice differentiation between the two. The Shining Gundam represents Neo-Japan, and is the Gundam belonging to the show's central character.

Scimitar Gundam & Mummy Gundam

MUMMY GUNDAM: Representing Neo-Egypt (duh!) and originally called the Pharaoh Gundam. This Gundam was featured in what was one of the stranger and creepier episodes of the series. It seems that this Gundam was actually piloted by a mummy, who was supposedly the "spirit" of the original pilot, who was defeated in a previous Gundam tournament by the grandfather of the current pilot of the Dragon Gundam, Neo-China's Mobile Fighter. Given that the present pilot for Neo-China is a kid who according to official reports is sixteen but looks and sounds more like twelve and sometimes acts like
he's about six, this youngster didn't take too well to being pursued by what mounted to a haunted Gundam. The episode played out like a weird animé cross between Jonny Quest and Scooby-Doo. As for the toy, it is very cool and certainly has a distinct Egyptian look to it. It's one of my personal favorites of the new assortment. What I'd really like to do is take it to Las Vegas someday and compare it to something I saw in the Luxor, the pyramid hotel there, a number of years ago. There was this big robotic image hanging on the wall outside the video arcade. I wonder...

Shadow Gundam & Zeus Gundam

SCIMITAR GUNDAM: Representing Neo-Turkey. This here is a very cool Gundam with a predominantly light blue color scheme and a whopping big curved sword. I've heard that the sword has a tendency to droop, but I haven't unpacked this accessory yet and as such I can't comment on it. I think somebody's
putting it too close to a warm lamp or something. The episode in which this Gundam appeared played a bit like a soap opera, seeing as how its pilot was the former boyfriend or some such of the team partner of Neo-Japan's Shining Gundam. But the episode was also the first real indication of the underlying
plot to the series, as the pilot had been taken over by a bio-mechanical virus that was causing him to commit horrible acts of destruction. This is lending a rather scary Borg-like subplot to the series, which I am finding quite interesting.

SHADOW GUNDAM: Representing Neo-Germany. A rather slender-looking Gundam that makes one wonder how it could stand up in a fight against bulkier opponents, until you realize from the animated series that this Gundam -- and its pilot -- not only have some sort of remarkable stealth ability, but that the pilot, a masked mystery man named Schwarz Bruder, has martial arts abilities that would likely make Storm Shadow from the G.I.Joe line take one look and decide to get some reinforcements before messing with this guy. As of this writing, he's just introduced himself to the core group of Gundams, and their pilots, that are aware of the plot to take over the world or whatever on the part of the mysterious Dark Gundam and its pilot. He may prove to be an ally, but in this show, you never know. The toy isn't as richly detailed as some, but it's still very cool. It's also worth pointing out that this figure has the double-jointed articulation in its elbows and knees, a comparative rarity among Gundam toys, but appropriate, given the martial arts prowess of this particular Gundam and its pilot.

Asura Gundam

ASURA GUNDAM: Representing Neo-Singapore and definitely falling into the category of "What the heck were they thinking?!". This toy not only needs a fair amount of assembly when you get it open, but the final result has six arms! I'll give Bandai credit. Not only are all of them fully articulated, but you can switch out their hands, and all six arms and both legs have a double-jointed articulation that has not seen extensive use in the Gundam toys. The only one I can think of offhand was an advanced version of the RX-78 Gundam from the Mobile Suit Gundam line. Getting back to the Asura Gundam, the figure has a slightly smaller head then most, but that's probably so he doesn't knock his own block off flailing those fists around. If I'm reading the instructions right, it can also be transformed into a scorpion-like creature, but I think I'm going to leave well enough alone. As of this writing, the Asura Gundam has yet to appear in the series, but I look forward to seeing it, and I pity the animator who had to deal with it.

ZEUS GUNDAM with MOBILE CHARIOT: Representing Neo-Greece. Let's hear it for comedic pompousity! I haven't yet decided if this Gundam is really cool or really silly looking. It certainly looks like a robotic version of what most people think the Greek "god" Zeus might look like. It has a sort of reddish
"beard", gold armor, a fancy tunic, leg straps around its lower legs, and for some oddball reason, wings at its ankles. What'd he do -- mug Mercury? It also has non-articulated wings on its back. The Chariot it comes with is an even stranger piece of work. Picture the front half of a robotic horse that gradually merges into something that looks like a chariot on two wheels. That's about what you've got here. It's cool, but a little strange, no question. Plenty of accessories in this boxed set, too. Even stranger is
this Gundam's pilot. When he turned up in the show, he was a muscular powerhouse who looked to be in the high side of ten feet tall and was almost as wide. If somebody like this existed in real life, he'd have WWE owner Vince McMahon drooling to sign him up, and every other wrestler for the company either heading for the hills or renegotiating their contracts just to be in the same building.

That's about it, for now. There are some reports of a handful of other Gundams turning up. The package back to the carded Gundams I acquired through BBTS show pictures of three others -- the ROYAL GUNDAM, HAOW GUNDAM, and NOBLE GUNDAM. There are also reports of a non-G-Gundam item turning up, the GOUF CUSTOM with DO-DAI II, from GUNDAM MS 08TH TEAM. Hopefully I will be
able to review these and more in the very near future.