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Cobra Gundam

G Gundam
by yo go re

There's stupid, and then there's stupid.

Set in Future Century 60, it is the year of the 13th Gundam Fight! Each country has sent their Gundam to Earth in hopes of winning power and glory for their homeland. Which Gundam will rule the universe? Gundam fight ready, go!

Each Gundam in this parade of ethnic stereotypes is designed to represent its country. Or, more accurately, what Japanese animators think of its country. Neo-America's Gundam Maxter, run by a pilot with pink-streaked hair and a support team of bikini girls, combines football, boxing, surfing and cowboys. God, Japan hates us. Of course, it could be worse; Neo-Mongolia's Temjin Gundam has armor that looks like the clothing of Genghis Khan's Golden Horde.

Still, Neo-India's Cobra Gundam (which, for the record, we have made fun of before) has to take the cake. Its theme is "snake charming": it enters battle inside a giant robotic basket; it's shaped like a cobra in the same way that Mermaid Gundam is shaped like a fish and Toro Gundam is shaped like a bull; and its pale green "Player 2 Dhalsim"-looking, turban-wearing pilot, Chandra Sijiema, sits on the head of a monstrously huge snake while he's piloting the Mobile Suit. Neo-India knows how to. Commit. To. A. Theme! This Gundam loves snakes the way Donald Trump loves gold. It's kind of ridiculous how much "snake" there is here.

Like most Gundams, Cobra has big shoulder pads - though his have large yellow fangs sticking out from them, because snake. There are four more fangs on the chest and waist, like sharp superfluous nipples. Because snake. There's a cobra-hood backpack (because snake) and a snake's mouth around the robot's head (because also snake), and the way a flap hangs down in front of his legs calls to mind the classic men's kurta with pyjama pants (because snake. Er, sorry, "India." Because India). The figure has feet that look a bit like khussa shoes, but also feature really long heels to provide a stable base capable of holding up that huge backpack.

The head, if you look at it within that big snake mouth (because snake), has the typical Gundam flared crest on the forehead, and even the faceplace with the small red chin-bump. There's a green stripe over the nose, while the rest is the same linen-y off-white as the body. The top is rounded, to look like a turban. A robotic metal turban.

There's a second head included with the mouthplate dropped down slightly. Why? Because ["Snake"? --ed.] No, because Cobra Gundam's weapon is designed to look like a pungi flute (because snake charmer), and dropping the plate to expose the mouth means he can pretend to play it. When he's not using the pipe as a pipe, a lightsaber-ish beam blade can be plugged into the end. Two of them, in fact; one about 1" long or the other 2½ times bigger, both done in translucent blue. You also get your choice of fists or gripping hands.

In the cartoon, when Cobra Gundam first emerges from his giant robot wicker basket (because snake), the lower half of his body is not legs, but rather a snake's tail. His fight strategy is to wrap his enemy up with the tail (since cobras are totally known for killing their prey via constriction), then split in half, leaving the tail to hold the enemy in place while more human legs pop out of Cobra Gundam's hips and he is free to run around and attack however he wants. The toy reverses this, packaging the robot with legs and simply including the tail as an accessory, but at least it's here; it didn't get overlooked like Oseberg.

Despite looking like a collection of dozens of individual segments, the tail is cleverly molded as just five bits. They're joined by balljoints, and on the front ones, the yellow belly scales are separate hinged pieces that flex however you want (and serve as stand-ins for feet). I'm old enough to remember the sheer pointlessness of GI Joe's Golobulus and his big snake tail, so this is smart design.

Cobra Gundam is not one of those MSiA figures that I've had in my collection for years and just never got around to reviewing (*cough cough*); rather, it was a gift from one of our readers, Professor, who just wanted to see it reviewed. Let that be a lesson to you: give us things. Give us all the things. We will review them and put your name on the page, because what could be better than paying someone in exposure? I'd always kind of regretted not getting Cobra Gundam when I could, and I'm glad the toy turned out to be so awesome. But I do have to say G Gundam missed an opportunity in its story: imagine if, instead of Neros Gundam, Cobra Gundam had been the one that was infected by DG Cells and turned evil; a cool snake-shaped robot painted dark blue (because Cobra).

-- 02/12/19

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