It’s time for another Gundam review. I always preface these things by saying that I know very little about Gundams. This was a toy line that started showing up in the late 90s when my toy collecting hunger was ramping back up but there wasn’t much for me to collect other than Star Wars figures. Gundams had been popular in Japan for years but were just then catching on in North America. Only I don’t believe that they ever really did “catch on”. The cartoons aired here for a while on YTV and the toys were plentiful but I don’t think they left a lasting impression. They’ve completely disappeared from toy stores now but can still be found at comic shops around town. I bought up quite a few of the figures those first couple of years but they started getting repetitive fast. The same figures kept getting re-released with a few new added guns or bigger swords and they’d up the ante on the name to entice me to buy. For example “Deathscythe” (which is a pretty badass name on its own) got a bigger blade and some wings and became “Deathscythe Hell” (badassier). The heavily armed and aptly named Heavy Arms got even more guns and became Heavy Arms Custom. It might seem hypocritical of me to be complaining about repaints in the Gundam line when I own dozens of variations of Snake Eyes but at least with Joes I have a childhood connection to the property. Gundams were just cool looking robots with no backstory as far as I was concerned so buying the same guy over and over again didn’t hold the same appeal.
So I walked away from collecting Gundams for a while, but only a short while. I was roped back in when the line began focusing on the international themed robots from the series Mobile Fighter G Gundam, a spin-off of the original series. These international figures were fun, flashy, and riddled with stereotypes. How could you not love these things. In this particular Gundam series each country had a human pilot enter their Mobile suit (yes, they’re technically just suits, not robots) in a fighting competition to claim control over the nation they were opposing. I have previously reviewed France, Canada, and England’s Gundams. Those ones, at least to me, were fairly obvious and you could have probably guessed which countries they represented by looking at them. I don’t know about you but I would not have been able to guess which country Skull Gundam represents. Maybe it’s because I know next to nothing about Malaysia, but I was unable to connect this giant robot skull to their culture.
Skull Gundam is one of the weirder looking Gundams in the series though I think Mermaid Gundam retains top honors as the weirdest. When I look at Skull Gundam I just have to wonder, why would you design a robot (sorry, Mobile Suit) to look this way. He’s got scrawny bone-like arms and legs, a big round torso that resembles a skull, and weirdest of all, bare feet. The skull isn’t even a scary skull. It’s accented with bright yellow and red, which maybe are the colors of their flag or something, but I think black would have looked better. (I just googled their flag, it looks surprisingly similar to the U.S.A. flag actually) And a skull motif could have been worked into the design of a leaner, meaner looking suit. Why they opted for this bloated looking thing is beyond me. And the bare feet thing is just strange. I’ve said on this site before , probably on past Gundam reviews, that I like toys with big exaggerated feet. Gundams are usually great examples of this but not in this case, Skull Gundam looks like he has monkey feet with a schticky for a heel.
Having said all that, I still like this figure. I bought it for its uniqueness and you have to admit that its unique. It’s bright, durable and posable as any good action figure should be. If you wanted one Gundam to display on your shelf it shouldn’t be this guy, but if you’re building a small army then I think that this guy should be in it. 6 out of 10.