Round 1 of Colonies Side in SaiMecha is out! One of the more relevant matches for me is Zaku II versus Master Gundam. I’m writing this post because some people are counter-campaigning against the Master Gundam because it leans too much on its pilot, Master Asia.
Therefore, if you vote for Master Gundam, you are invoking SaiPilot, which is the cancer that is killing SaiMecha.
This is completely wrong.
The Master Gundam is notable in Gundam mecha design as being the progenitor of the “Villain” breed of Gundams. I’ll exclude the Devil and Psyco Gundams, because they are more of behemoth machines that don’t inspire rivalry, which is needed in a hero-versus-villain dynamic. While the GP02 Physalis precedes Master by a few years, the GP02 does not look evil enough. Its atypical Gundam head and hulking shoulders make it especially formidable and imposing, but it was still essentially a hijacked war machine.
[model provided by Chag of Hobby Hovel]
The Master Gundam isn’t just formidable and imposing, it looks like a bad guy’s mech. Its black paintjob puts it in a stark contrast with the Shining/God Gundam, which is predominantly white. The head is elongated, giving off the image of horns. Its fingers are sharp talons, and its wings fold into an extra-cool cloak. And the haughty folded-arms-and-legs-together pose makes it a very arrogant-looking robot.
Much of these design elements are seen later on in future antagonist Gundams, which also saw it fit to employ darker colors and more beastly appearances. Epyon and Virsago are clear-cut examples of this, Providence and Legend are gray rather than white, and Reborns inherits the horned head shape.
It was also a useful tool that lent credence to Master Asia being the villain. Without it, the Undefeated of the East is merely an old Kung Fu master in the peak of health. But when he gets inside the Master Gundam, you know he means real villainy.
While it may not seem like it (mecha fans usually just write off G Gundam when it comes to mecha design because of ugly stuff like the Nether Gundam), Master Gundam plays a key role in the evolution of Gundam design.
That said, vote Master Gundam! Because it’s cool and villainous without trying too hard, and is the more exciting choice over the Zaku II. Darkness Finger!