In the 35-year history of the Gundam franchise, it has given mech enthusiasts some of the most intense combat scenes the genre has to offer. Although the battles are portrayed by giant robots, the battles still feature the true brutality of war.
While some may be more martial arts oriented, as was the case with G Gundam, this top 10 list will cover the more "realistic" combat feel. So get dressed and check out our list and why we chose these fights.
In the first installment of this prequel saga, audiences learn about the childhood of Zeon's ace pilot, Char Aznable. At the climax, when Char and his sister attempt to escape through a guntank, he takes the initiative by taking control of the cannon while Hamon, aiding in their escape, drives the guntank to port.
From an early age, Char demonstrates his natural ability as a pilot and that he is willing to do anything to avenge his family. He realizes the realities around him, who his enemies are, and must defeat them without mercy.
In the first-ever side story of the Gundam franchise, fans learn that the Federation developed a special type of Gundam for Amuro at the end of the One Year War. A Zeon recon unit known as the Cyclops Team infiltrates Colony Side 6 (which is supposed to be neutral) where the new Gundam, codenamed Alex, is being hidden and tested.
Finally, the Cyclops team consists of only one member, rookie Bernie Wiseman. If he doesn't destroy the Gundam, his commanding officer, Colonel Killing, will nuke the colony. Armed solely with a Zaku, Bernie must use his other abilities using traps and other guerrilla tactics to fight on an equal footing. Another benefit of Bernie is that Christina MacKenzie, the Alex's pilot, is not a Newtype and is therefore unable to fully utilize the Alex.
Despite this, the Alex's advanced firepower pierces the Zaku and inflicts a head wound on Bernie early on, but continues the fight by decapitating the Gundam with his Heat Hawk, but Christina stabs him through the cockpit with her beam saber, killing him instantly. What makes this fight significant is that it was really a pointless fight at first.
When this battle began, the Federation was able to save Page 6 from the nuke and Bernie dies a vain death, but shows Al that war is not something to glorify as a game. This fight is a great demonstration that war is ultimately meaningless and no young life needs to die for no reason.
Though Celestial Being's plans originally were to end the conflict on Earth, the final battle that would result in two of their very best pilots. Very early on, Ribbons disagrees with the plans of the Celestial Being founder, believing that Innovators, the next step in human evolution, should rule the world and demonstrate a god complex.
Continuing their fight from their previous machines, both Setsuna and Ribbons end the conflict in their original Gundams. It's a fast-paced fight where everyone makes their move with the intention of getting the kill. Through this fight it also shows the true core identities of both characters of Ribbons as a megalomaniac beast and Setsuna as a soldier who fights because it's all he knows and he knows he's fighting for a good cause. Both fighters destroy their mobile suits, but Setsuna manages to survive as the distant protector of the newfound world peace.
While Tekkadan's private forces attempt to take a train to take Kudelia, a representative of Mars, to the World Government Parliament in Canada, they are intercepted and challenged in Alaska by Carta's forces. Frivolous as they are, Carta and her unit challenge Tekkadan to an honor duel and give them 30 minutes to comply. Knowing that they have no time to lose and want to avenge the deaths of their comrades, Mikazuki accepts the challenge by immediately going on the attack without giving 30 minutes.
This fight shows that Tekkadan sees what they do as a job and that they have a life-or-death deadline. It's not that Mikazuki is dishonorable, he sees fighting as a way to put food on the table and keep a roof over one's head. Mikazuki and Tekkadan have their own beliefs, but they go above and beyond anything related to the government, they fight for themselves and for each other.
This intense battle is a great demonstration of who Tekkadan is as a unit and what their principles are. The only rules they follow are kill or be killed, protect each other and finish the job.
In Episode 10, Kou and Gato, our two main rivals, engage in one of their fiercest battles in their respective Gundams. Anavel feels like a superior pilot and genuinely believes in a cause he is fighting for, while Kou is just a young pilot doing his duty. Gato manages to initialize the pace, using his superior experience with simple deception tactics and space junk as effective cover to his advantage.
However, with Kou's developing skills and desperation, he slowly manages to fight Gato on an equal footing. Still, Gato sees Kou as just a boy who doesn't know what he's doing, and his unfortunate underestimation of his opponent helps their fight end in a draw, with both men destroying each other's Gundams.
In this final confrontation between our hero and his rival, Full Frontal takes his name literally, destroying the heavy artillery with his Neo Zeong, a tribute to the original Zeon and some of the original char's other previous mobile suits, such as his Sazabi from Char's counterattack. Not only that, the Neo Zeong is a monster compared to other mobile suits!
This is not a battle of mobile suits, but a battle of beliefs. In the beginning, Full Frontal saw potential in Bahnager and even tried to recruit him, but knowing he's a genocide, he turns him down. But after a Newtype journey through time and the realization that conflict gets you nowhere, Full Frontal decides to let go of the last bit of Char's soul, who just wants to rest, and allows himself to be consumed by the Psycho Frame's energy.
If the audience can take something away from this struggle, it shows that all life comes to an end and we only have one chance and make the best of it.
In the first installment of this OVA series, which serves as a side story to the One Year War, the Moore Brotherhood, a band of Federation soldiers originally from the Page 4 colony, seek to reclaim their homeland despite being wiped out. The colony is now under the control of an experimental Zeon sniper unit, The Living Dead, made up of members wearing prosthetics that give them more flexible control over their mobile suits (and they enjoy listening to generic pop music while fighting).
Knowing they are being patrolled by heavy sniper fire, the Moore Brotherhood devise a plan in hopes they can slip below their line of sight. Due to the heavy debris where a collision is inevitable, this causes an explosion which alerts her that her enemy is about to be wiped out. With the sound of jazzy chic, however, Io Fleming manages to sneak past the Zeeks, cutting their power supplies and taking out most of the Living Dead Unit using simple guerrilla tactics, hijacking one of their mobile suits and cheap shots on the disabilities of its members.
This fight is a great demonstration that even with a good plan, things can go wrong due to certain factors that are difficult to avoid, but there is always a plan B or other means of achieving victory.
During the opening series, Char and Amuro competed against each other on numerous occasions. And this addition will emphasize her final fight with Amuro piloting the Gundam he's had since episode one with Char in his final mobile suit, the Zeong. The Zeong was supposed to be a giant mobile armor, much like Dozle's Big Zam, but unfortunately the Zeong Char pilots were incomplete as they didn't have legs.
Struggling with zero gravity in space, it was all but done because "the legs were just for show." It still featured advanced rocket boosters and heavy firepower centered in its fingers and head. And the hands and head could be controlled remotely from the main body, like the funnels of Lalah's mobile Hermes armor, giving her the ability to attack from any direction.
In this final battle, both Char and Amuro give each other everything they have by destroying parts of each other's mobile suits. It eventually came down to the Zeong's remaining head shooting down and the Gundam (which lost an arm and its head) returning fire up to obliterate each other. However, both pilots would survive to fight again another day.
Throughout their numerous fights in this series, these two heated rivals always have different reasons and circumstances leading to them. First it was about honor. But in their final battle, Heero and Zechs have the fate of Earth and the colonies in their hands. Zechs believes that by destroying Earth he can achieve peace, but Heero knows this is crazy so he must defeat Zechs.
After everything Zechs has endured throughout the series and his life, he feels this is the only solution. Like Zechs, Heero never lived a normal life but knows his worth. So this is not just a battle over who is the better pilot, but also one of the philosophical fronts as they will argue about humanity and where to go. Zechs wants to force humanity to change, but Heero accepts humanity for what it is and they will change when they are ready. Both pilots give everything with their beam sabers as if they were space sabers.
In their final blows to each other, Heero emerges victorious, but spares Zechs out of respect for Relena. Still, Zechs gives audiences the impression that our other character will die if he sacrifices himself if he destroys the core of the Peacemillion and bitterly acknowledges Heero as the better man.
In the third to last installment of this critically acclaimed hit series, the entire MS 08 team, made up mostly of misfits, must face off against the veteran Norris Packard in a deserted urban area that is a front for a Zeon base. Since the battlefield is on enemy terrain, Norris has a huge advantage when it comes to taking on our heroes, who have poor vision due to the numerous tall abandoned buildings and the damage being an obstacle. So the whole team has to work together to beat him.
This fight is a great display of the realism of knowing that's half the battle. For Norris, it was his home advantage. For the 08th MS team, it was working together with what they had and relying on each other. Despite having the initial advantage, Norris accepts no problem with the possibility that he could die, as he loves Aina, whom he protects during this fight, as his own daughter. For most of the fight, Norris brings out the best in the 08th MS team with his advanced skills and experience, making the Guntanks' job easier.
After Shiro, the team leader, goes berserk and reacts out of despair of his will to live, Shiro rips off his Gundam's arm and starts beating Norris senseless. Norris is successful in his mission to take out the guntanks while Shiro returns by giving Norris his noble soldier's death.
It's undeniable to admit that for the many Mobile Suit Gundam installments, it's very difficult to put together a list of this magnitude. We're willing to acknowledge that some of you may have different opinions about what we've selected, and that's cool. Many of his battles have numerous charms, and each one stands out in its own way.
With future sagas (hopefully for another 35 years), this list will be updated in the future. However, what are your favorite fights from this innovative legacy? Feel free to leave your top 5, 10 and/or 20 in the comments.
Author:Justin „ParaParaJMo“ Moriarty
Hello, I am originally from the States and have lived in Japan since 2009. Although I watched Robotech and Voltron as a kid, Dragon Ball Z officially made me an anime fan during a trip to the Philippines in 1994. Besides anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music and martial arts.よろしくお願いします
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|機動戦士ガンダム (Kidō Senshi Gandamu)|
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SVMS-01 Union Flag
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