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Mummy Gundam

G Gundam
by yo go re

While I like anime, I'm nowhere near a hard-core otaku. My only exposure to the stuff comes from what's on TV; I'm not renting tapes from the video store or trading fan dubs online. If it's on cable, however, I'll likely give it a chance.

Such is the case with Gundam. Long a staple of Cartoon Network's "Toonami" and [adult swim] programming blocks, Gundam (in its various forms) is one of many giant robot cartoons coming out of Japan. The first import was Gundam Wing, with its distinctive stylized mobile suits. Then was Gundam 0083, with plain 'bots but complex characters. The newest addition is G Gundam, sort of an Ethnic Stereotype Olympics crammed full of wonderfully designed mecha.

At some point in the future, the majority of humanity has abandonned the Earth for orbiting colonies. Every four years, each country sends a representative to Earth for the Gundam fights. Whichever country wins the tournament gains control of the colonies until the next fight.

Yeah, that makes sense.

Anyway, each Gundam 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-Holland's Hurricane Gundam is a windmill with arms and feet.

Neo-Egypt lucked out, however. Their Mummy Gundam isn't very offensive and it has a nice design. Though it first shows up wrapped in giant bandages, it soon sheds those to reveal the 'bot beneath.

With a rather basic Gundam body, Mummy Gundam's design is fairly subdued. The only thing that really pegs him as Egyptian is his headdress, complete with uraeus on the brow.

The uraeus - a cobra-shaped emblem representing the goddess Wadjet, protector of Lower Egypt - would spit fire at the pharaoh's enemies (in Upper Egypt, a vulture was the chosen symbol, as Nekhbet was their protector).

Though Mummy Gundam's uraeus doesn't shoot fire (shame, too: that would have been cool), it does do a nice job of blending the traditional Egyptian look with the typical Gundam stylings, and that's just good design.

There's a lot of black in his colorscheme, and it looks much nicer than the standard red and blue that so many Gundams have had. His body is a dusty off-white.

He wears the same giant skirt that all the mobile suits have (though his do harken back to traditional ancient Egyptian garb), and of course sports giant shoulderpads. The rocket booster backpack is removable, though that doesn't really add much to the figure.

Mummy Gundam's major weapons are his "Mamba Whips," two mechanical snakes that shoot out of his palms. The snakes are molded from blue plastic with yellow highlights, and compliment the design nicely. The figure includes four snakes of different lengths: two short, two long, and all wiggly!

At 4½" tall, Mummy Gundam is represented at 1/144th scale. While I prefer the 1/100th model kits to the Mobile Suits in Action figures, most of the G Gundam fighters were never made into kits. The figure moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. There's a joint at the waist, though the design of the figure pretty much locks it into place. Mummy Gundam comes with two sets of hands: two fists, and two open-palm hands with ports for the Mamba Whips.

As far as Gundams go, Mummy Gundam is very cool. While I wish they'd released him as one of the larger model kits, I'll take what I can get.

-- 03/19/03

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