From a conversation about Broken Blade with my Gundam mentor, he was amused to point out the disparity between Athenian and Krishnan golem designs. By his words, it seemed like Geara Dogas were fighting Zaku Is.
I thought about it, and reflected on how both countries differed in their design philosophies. The Athenian Artemis looks swift, lithe, with an upright gait to it. The Krishnan Fafnir, however, looks stout, solid, having a lower center of gravity. But while different in build, they don’t look that different from each other, unlike GMs and Zakus from UC Gundam. This too, adds verisimilitude to my eyes–a country isn’t supposed to have weapons of war that look nowhere like its neighbor’s. I’ll have to admit that Krishna gets the shorter end of the technology stick, though.
On a more macro level, I enjoy the contrasting design ideologies between world powers in the first season of Gundam 00. The advanced technology of the Union (comprising the US and its allies) relies on air superiority, hence their extensive usage of the transforming Flag mobile suit. In direct contrast is the Human Reform League (Russia, China and communist allies), with its reliance on massed deployment of mobile suits. Understandably, the HRL’s Tieren is a practical, robust unit that could be outfitted for many combat roles. The Advanced European Union’s mechs are pretty much similar to the Union.
There are more fun examples I can think about. There’s Ryousuke Takahashi’s real robot shows (which I’ve already seen VOTOMS, Gasaraki, FLAG), which have believable, if not very exciting, differences in interfactional mecha design. There’s also Escaflowne (which I’m watching right now), with the Zaibach mecha sporting more practical designs and weapons compared to everyone else’s knightly-looking Guymelefs.
Can you think of other cases?