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By Thomas Wheeler

While the status of the GUNDAM toy line remains in an apparent limbo in the United States, the action figures are continuing in Japan. Two new additions to the GUNDAM SEED line are based on enemy ZAFT Mobile Suits. I plan to review both of them here in separate reviews.

First up is the standard MOBILE GINN. For longtime followers of Gundam, think of these as the "Zakus" of the Gundam Seed world (although apparently Gundam Seed's sequel, Gundam Seed Destiny, will have mobile suits actually named Zaku, so take that for what it's worth. I'm not even going to try to figure it out.)

A brief explanation of the basic MOBILE GINN is as follows (special thanks to Dave Goellnitz for tracking down this information): The ZGMF-1017 GINN was the first mobile suit developed by the ZAFT military. It became the main mobile suit and workhorse of ZAFT's forces, proving to be a formidable weapon against the Earth Alliance's mobile armor weapons. The GINN was able operate in space as well as on land. The suit was typically armed with a 76mm machine gun, as well as a sword for close range combat, but it could also be equipped with a variety of other heavy weapons. Numerious variants were built off of the GINNs design.

We'll check into one of those variants with the next review. The GINN does have a certain superficial resemblance to the traditional Zakus, in that it has a roundish, helmet-like head, one "eye" in the middle, and a sort of muzzle instead of the more face-like appearance of most Gundam heads. It's a little on the bulky-looking side, and is colored in mostly dark, subdued colors, a sort of blue-greenish grey, with a lighter green-grey on the limbs and wings. A crest of sorts emerges and flows back from the top of the head. It has, somewhat unusually, large missile launchers attached to its lower legs.

The toy, as one would expect from Bandai's Gundam line, is superbly well-made and just as superbly articulated. Very few of the "lines" along the figure are inked in, a practice common to Japanese Gundams which was not used on United States Gundams, although I recently learned that Bandai intends to discontinue the practice entirely. This will doubtless upset some hardcore Gundam fans, but I, for one, am delighted. Should Gundam's "official" days in the United States be done, as I am able to add Gundams to my collection through imports, they'll blend right in.

The MOBILE GINN comes with plenty of weaponry, including a sword, rifle, and what looks like a bazooka. Two pairs of extra hands in different poses, and a mission card, are also included.

If you can find one of these through an online store or on eBay, at a reasonable price (watch out for overcharges on shipping from international locations), then I most definitely recommend adding the MOBILE GINN to your Gundam collection!