Japan isn’t always, to put it nicely, the most politically correct culture. When it comes to other cultures, Japan can often be a little… blunt? One of the funniest (and best) examples of this is the anime “G Gundam.” The show features Mobile Gundam Suits that are supposed to represent different countries, but can sometimes come across as pretty racist (lots of lols to be had, though). Do you think these these are racist? Read on and decide for yourself!
Mobile Fighter G-Gundam
Gundam, as any otaku will tell you, is a legendary long-running anime franchise that’s been going basically non-stop in Japan for about 40 years now. Every few years, there’s a whole new series with different characters, plot, and setting.
One of the wackiest iterations of Gundam has been G Gundam. The premise of the series is that the countries of the world fight in a Gundam tournament every four years to determine who will govern the whole world. It’s like having elections, but with giant fighting robots and explosions.
In that tournament, each nation has its own Gundam that’s supposed to represent the country. Sounds good on paper, right? Who wouldn’t want the pride of her nation in giant robot form? But in the show, these Gundams often translate into lazy, ridiculous stereotypes for each country.
Take, for instance, Mexico’s Gundam. It has a sombrero, mustache, and in the show is known as “Tequila Gundam.” I guess it’s one step up from “Mariachi Gundam,” but you gotta wonder if whoever created Tequila Gundam knew anything about Mexico other than what he learned in a Speedy Gonzales cartoon.
And it’s not just Mexico that gets a stupid looking robot. Holland’s Gundam is literally just a giant windmill. You’d think that they would have something more intimidating than something that’s usually associated with picturesque countryside scenes or milling grain.
“Tremble before me!“
France doesn’t escape from any of G Gundam’s hilariously bad designs, either. France’s “Rose Gundam” features a Napoleon-style hat, a cape, and a sword. It’s pretty bad, but it definitely could have been worse. At least France’s Gundam wasn’t a giant, cowardly croissant, or a mecha-Eiffel Tower. Wait, I take that back. I wish it was a mecha-Eiffel Tower. How sweet would that be?
Qu’est-ce que c’est ?
But wait, it gets better. Rose Gundam also has its own butler robot. Yes, a butler robot… because all French people have butlers, right?
Egypt is like a band that had a one-hit wonder and will forever be known for that one song. No matter what else happens in Egypt’s history from now on, people will always think of pyramids, mummies, and the Sphinx when you mention Egypt. In G Gundam, Egypt’s fighting robot is – wait for it – Pharaoh Gundam, who eventually turns into a mummy who curses whoever comes near it. Surprised? Yeah, me neither.
John Bull Gundam
John Bull is a national symbol of Great Britain, kind of like Uncle Sam is to the USA. In G Gundam, the UK’s Gundam is named after that symbol, which by itself isn’t too bad. It does however also feature one of those tall black hats that you’ll see on guards around London. Offensive? Not particularly. Silly looking? Absolutely.
Not pictured: tea and biscuits.
I don’t think I have enough space or time to tell you how this Gundam from Kenya is ridiculously offensive, but I bet you can figure it out on your own why this might be a bit problematic. Plus, do zebras actually do anything? At least a windmill can blow the enemy away…
And those are just the robots that are shown in the series. Who knows what the show’s creators might have had in mind for other countries. I shudder to think of the other ridiculous stereotypes that might be shown. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Ukranian Gundam was a radioactive meltdown, Chernobyl-style; or if Brazil’s Gundam was a giant, robotic Pelé.
International soccer superstar or destructive robot?
Based on all of these stereotypes, you’d think that Japan’s giant fighting robot would have a giant rising sun, wear a rising sun hachimaki bandana, or be called something stupid like “Sushi Gundam.” Surprisingly (or maybe not), Japan’s Gundam is simply called “Shining Gundam” and is pretty much the most generic looking thing in the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I love G Gundam. It’s one of my favorite series, and probably has some of the best camp value in the Gundam franchise. I think on some level, the creators of the show even recognize how ridiculous the whole premise is and just have a lot of fun with it.
But “Tequila Gundam?” Really?
What kind of ridiculous robot should represent your country? Let us know in the comments.
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