As part of a recent re-release, Bandai has decided to make its epic Robot Damashi Kshatriya from Gundam Unicorn available again. This is a fascinating and massive toy, the fact we even had a release of it is surprising but a re-release must mean that it did well the first time around. In any case, this is a fantastic toy of a brilliant design.
For anyone that knows their Gundam then Gundam Unicorn, this is pretty much the Valhalla for ZZ Gundam. With all manner of mobile suits, characters and over arching narrative directly reference in the novels and anime, it should come as no surprise that we ended up with a mobile suit like the NZ-666 Kshatriya.
In ZZ Gundam, one of the most terrifying mobile armors the Neo Zeon forces wielded was the immense NZ-000 Queen Mansa. Piloted by the second clone of Elpeo Ple, or Puru Two, it was armed to the teeth with all sorts of beam weaponry and psycommu controlled funnels. At over 42 meters in height, the Queen Mansa towered over most of the mecha of its era.
Designed by Mika Akitaka, it retained his sleek and rounded aesthetic and fitted the organic looking design style of the Neo Zeon forces. His skills would be called upon again with his worked on Gundam Sentinel and Gundam 0083.
Cue Gundam Unicorn — and one of the main characters of the Zeon remnant faction Sleeves is Marida Cruz, except she’s actually one of the only remaining Puru clones from ZZ Gundam, specifically Puru Twelve. Traumatised from a life of brutality, she pilots the Kshatriya. This is a modernised take on the Queen Mansa, half the size but with four funnel carriers rather than just two.
An efficient and nimble mobile suit, Marida’s Newtype prowess and the Kshatriya’s armament make it a lethal foe, as she is able to singlehandedly devastate most of the Federation forces before the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam eventually intervenes (something partially shown above).
The Gundam Unicorn novels were penned by Harutoshi Fukui, who is clearly a fan of both ZZ Gundam and Gundam Sentinel. The latter is key is because he went to Hajime Katoki to pen the new mecha designs. Along with the complex Unicorn Gundam, he also took a leaf out of Mika Akitaka’s book and undertook the Zeon themed designs.
The Kshatriya is one of the most striking of these, as you can clearly see the Queen Mansa’s lineage but also a newer and more economical approach.
While the Kshatriya is around the same height as other mobile suits of the era, its sheer mass and four binders makes it an imposing design. Having a Robot Damashii toy of something so bulky was a surprise when it was originally released back in 2014.
Well, even for a re-release this toy and design have lost none of their impact.
The full review should be up soon and I’ve also brought a relevant friend along to play, so keep an eye out for that!