One of the biggest deals in mecha toys at the moment is how Bandai has gone back to the roots of the classic Mobile Suit Gundam and created toys that are in-line with the original designs. Called Ver. A.N.I.M.E. it is a sub-line for the successful Robot Damashii series of toys. I already covered the excellent RX-78-2 Gundam but now we have Char’s MS-06S Zaku II and it is magnificent.
Char Aznable was the primary antagonist in Mobile Suit Gundam, fighting on the side of the Principality of Zeon. However, the point of the two main characters Amuro and Char was that the latter was actually meant to be perceived as the hero. This is something the manga and now the anime of Gundam The Origin explore in more detail but ultimately Char was meant to be the righteous hero exacting vengeance on those that killed his parents.
This is important as Char’s father was Zeon Daikun and was responsible for creating the movement that wanted the space colonies orbiting around the Earth to be regarded as independent sovereign states. However, he was assassinated by members of the Zabi family who wanted to re-direct this new power base into a form of military colonialism.
In that sense Char’s crusade against the Zabi family and the twisting of Zeon Daikun’s purpose was an entirely just one but it just so happened that a pesky Newtype called Amuro Ray got involved.
Arguably the attraction of the original Mobile Suit Gundam has always been its nuanced narrative and characters. Char, while just in his cause, is still a flawed and broken human being. Likewise Amuro isn’t exactly the most emotionally stable individual, either. To top it all off, both sides in the One Year War are as bad as one another and both Char and Amuro are merely pawns in a far greater game.
While the series had Gundam in the title, in many ways Char’s red Zaku II was as emblematic of the show and in many ways more so. People sympathised with Char’s plight more keenly and his various red hued mobile suits over the course of the series became best sellers.
As such, this new toy is by no means the first time anyone has tried to bring Char’s Zaku II to life but it is the first time we’ve had it accurately recreated as per the anime’s original design.
The review will be up shortly and I also brought the Ver. A.N.I.M.E. Gundam along for the ride as well.
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