So, for all of what has come since, in both the United States and Japan -- the rest of Gundam Wing, Mobile Suit Gundam and its various sequels (Gundam 0080, Gundam 0083, Char's Counter-Attack, MS 08th Team), Gundam Seed, Gundam Seed Destiny, Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ, even the somewhat offbeat G-Gundam and the lone specimen from Turn-A Gundam -- purple just hasn't turned up again as a major color for a mobile suit.
And believe me, we're talking about a LOT of Mobile Suit toys. Dozens of them. Quite a few dozens, actually.
Now, if one studies these figures all in a group, certain distinctive colors do emerge. Purple isn't one of them. There's a lot of white, especially on the most prominent Gundam in any given concept. Generally speaking, the most prominent Gundam in any specific Gundam concept can expect to be mostly white, with a fair amount of red and blue, and a bit of yellow trim. If you take a look at the RX-78 Gundam, Wing Gundam, Wing Gundam Zero, Shining Gundam, Burning Gundam, Zeta Gundam, Strike Gundam, or Impulse Gundam, they all share a similar color pattern.
Those colors tend to cone across even when you get away from the main Gundam. But you do start to see other colors work their way in. Red and blue seem to be pretty popular. So does green, although it's generally a military olive green. Greys, blacks, browns tend to fill it out. Not much orange. Not a lot of purple, either.
Gundam hasn't been around in the United States for about a year and a half now. It got pulled about halfway through Gundam Seed in 2004. The reasons are pretty varied. Ultimately, slow sales are the answer, but as to what caused those slow sales, after Gundam Wing got off to such an incredible start in 2000, well -- there's a lot of theories. Some wonder if the oddball names of Mobile Suit Gundam in 2001 threw it off. It's a lot easier to ask for a Wing Gundam or a Tallgeese than it is to try to figure out how to pronounce "Jagd Doga", never mind the alphanumeric mess that tended to precede a lot of these names. Some think the weirdness of G-Gundam in 2003 helped bring about Gundam's demise, but I tend to disagree with that. If any Gundam line should have been kid-friendly, it was this one.
For what it's worth, I tend to blame three factors: The horrible Battle- Scarred figures that all tended to look pretty much alike -- and they all looked miserable; the ridiculous SD Gundam line; and the fact that Bandai has never considered the action figures a priority for Gundam. They prefer to sell the (more expensive) figural KITS. That may work in Japan. It doesn't fly here in America. The kits bombed, and Bandai didn't care enough about the toys to keep them going.
However, Gundam action figures, known as "Mobile Suit in Action", do continue in Japan. Presently the emphasis is on Gundam Seed Destiny, the sequel series to Gundam Seed, and the most recently produced Gundam animated series. And herein we have our new purple Mobile Suit.
Technically, it's not a Gundam. It's proper name is Windam. Its full name is the GAT-04 Windam. According to the storyline, the Windam was developed by the Earth Alliance military as a replacement for the Dagger L, another mobile suit. The Windam shares many of the same weapons and features, but has a more powerful beam rifle. It can also use the same weapons packs, which allows the Windam to be adapted for the same purposes, such as flight or long range fire support.
A "typical" Windam is mostly white, with dark blue sections, and sort of pale turquoise trim. The overall design is superb. I have this basic Windam, and am very pleased with it.
The purple version is a custom paint job for mysterious ace pilot of the Earth Alliance, Neo Lornoke. One of the mysteries about him apparently involves his peculiar color preferences. His Windam is painted, not just purple, but a rather bright if not slightly obnoxious reddish purple. The best description of this color I can give you, apart from the picture included with this review, of course, is if you were to go to an office supply store, and check out the display of Sharpie markers. One of their colors is called "Berry". This mobile suit is that color.
The trim color is bright green. This ultimately results in a Gundam Mobile Suit action figure that has such a weird color scheme that it ends up being cool. It's certainly different, and that's one of the reasons why I wanted it.
Another one of the reasons is how cool these toys are just in general. Bandai does a really amazing job with these action figures. They're extremely intricate, very nicely detailed, and amazingly articulated. The average Gundam action figure can expect to have as many articulation points as the average Marvel Legends action figure -- somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 or so. And since the Gundams are rather robotic in appearance, most of those articulation points are nicely worked into the structure of the figure, so they don't stand out as being especially prominent.
You get an abundance of accessories with a Gundam action figure, too. Plenty of weapons, a shield, extra hands, and whatever else it might need. Within the packaging of the more recent releases, there's also an information card about the mobile suit, as it applies to the animated series which it's from. Of course, this isn't going to do you a whole lot of good if you don't read Japanese, but it's a nice touch.
One recent development that I definitely applaud, even though it probably arose from a cost-saving measure. It used to be that Gundams produced in Japan had their robotic seam lines colored in. They didn't do this for the American Gundams, and I was just as glad. I always thought it looked awful. Granted, the fact that they didn't do it for the American Gundams was probably also a cost-saving move (especially in light of the incomplete paint jobs I've noticed on recent Power Rangers series), but this is one of those rare instances where cost-cutting resulted in an improvement.
This ridiculous practice has now been dropped for the Japanese line as well. There are no colored-in lines on this Windam or any of the other recent Gundam releases in Japan.
But, there is one matter of concern pertaining to the Gundam Seed Destiny figures that I want to take the opportunity of this review to address. Until now, Bandai has done a very good job of keeping the scale of their Gundam figures consistent for ALL Gundam series. In some cases, this has meant producing some really big figures. The mobile suits for the Mobile Suit Gundam spin-off, Char's Counter-Attack, were distinctly larger than their predecessors, especially the immense Sazabi. Bandai made the action figures of these mobile suits distinctly larger than any previous Gundams. Whereas most Gundam action figures are in the 4-1/2-to-5" range, the Sazabi stands a towering 6-1/2".
But the Destiny series is -- shorter. According to "official" statistics, the Impulse Gundam, the main Gundam of Seed Destiny, should be a bit taller than the Strike Gundam, its predecessor from Gundam Seed. The toy is actually about a third of an inch shorter. When you're dealing with items that, if they existed in real life, would be about the height of a five story building, that's a huge difference. The Windam should actually be taller than the Strike. Instead, it's about the same size.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it isn't a cool toy. It most certainly
is. The issue here is compatibility -- a compatibility that has been
established for nearly seven years of Gundam action figures, even taking
extreme measures such as distinctly larger figures in the CCA line,
which has suddenly been forsaken. And the only reason to make smaller
Let's hope it isn't a trend that's going to continue or worse, progress. A Mobile Suit for Gundam X, arguably the least popular Gundam series in the minds of many and a series from which I never thought we'd see a figure, has been announced, and I'd like to be able to add it to my collection without the need of a magnifying glass or having to refer to the poor thing as "shorty".
Okay, that gets my official "Gundam rant" out of the way, but I feel it needed to be said, and publicly. This is not to say I don't recommend the purple Windam, or any of the other fine figures in the Mobile Suit in Action series. I most certainly do. Anyone who has enjoyed Gundam to any degree -- or just likes cool robot toys -- will like Gundam. And at a time when action figure offerings in the United States seem to be increasingly less interesting -- and less well-made -- it's nice to know that somewhere -- really cool, well-made action figures still exist.
The purple WINDAM from Gundam Seed Destiny definitely has my recommendation!