Among the timelines of the Gundam franchise, many standards of giant robot beauty exist. From the more conventional and realistic designs of the "Universal Century" timeline to the wackadoo and nationalistic configurations of the hot-blooded "Future Century" timeline, Gundams come in all sizes, shapes, and forms.
Standards of beauty are mostly subjective when it comes to anything, let alone how good giant robots look in a universe where fights between them decide the fate of the universe. Let's celebrate this series' 40th anniversary by throwing all that right out of the cockpit and having some fun ranking the beautiful mechs throughout this long-running series. So, without further ado, here are the 10 best Gundam designs, ranked!
10 Gundam Barbatos 3rd Form
The newest member of this list, the 3rd version of the main mech from Iron-Blooded Orphans ditches the usual angular designs of previous generations for a more rounded shape overall. Designed to look like a demon, it sports claw-like hands, feral hooves, and a spaded tail to give it an overall wild design, while the standard white, blue, and red color palette is accented by a few traces of yellow which are common within this long-standing series.
Just like its namesake, Barbatos looks like a Grand Duke of Hell with its crown-like headpiece and the jagged red part that extends from its face to look like a royal beard, creating a true “White Devil.”
9 RX-78-2 (The Orginal Gundam)
The OG! The Gundam that started them all. The RX-78-2 may not be a catchy name, but its design has stood the test of time to be the inspirational pattern for many Gundams throughout the long-running series.
The design's blue, white, red, and yellow color motif has sold many toys since its inception, helping to make Gundam a household name among children and otaku alike. There is not much that can be said about the RX-78-2 that hasn't been said already, other than the fact that even your father might scold you for not being able to recognize this prolific mech.
8 Unicorn Banshee
Don't let the name fool you, this giant robot from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is actually supposed to resemble a lion. Taking a departure from the usual color pattern seen in most Gundams (thanks to receiving damage while fighting in space), Unicorn Banshee is mostly clad in black with only a few spots of gold along its collar to represent a lion's mane and a set of horns that resemble a mohawk in the same color.
While already an intimidating beast, the Unicorn Banshee also has its "Destroy Mode" where it becomes decorated by golden outlines and becomes one of the scariest Gundams throughout the series' history.
7 FA-78 Full Armor Gundam (Thunderbolt Ver.)
Did someone order defense, because I think someone ordered a whole bunch of it! When designing this mech someone took the phrase “a good offense is a good defense” and wholeheartedly built this mech to refute it. Fitted with enough body armor to make it a walking shield, the FA-78 can wield four separate buffers simultaneously thanks to the two sub arms on its backpack.
Despite its bulk, the mecha is surprisingly mobile thanks to the thrusters built along its legs and backpack. All this and we have still to mention the several sets of rockets, beam sabers, and other armaments that this thing holds. There is probably no better Gundam to feel safe and secure on the battlefield.
Art by kzchan.
6 GAT-X105E+AQM/E-X09S Strike Noir Gundam
It's a mouthful, so let's just call it the Strike Noir from now on. Living up to its name, the Strike Noir is a mostly black Gundam with only a bit of color. While the design sure is sleek, what separates Strike Noir from the rest is its ability to wield dual pistols (M8F-SB1 "Shorty" Beam Rifles in Gundam speak) in combat like a movie action hero.
Each strong enough to destroy a regular mech with each shot, the Strike Noir is not only an effective threat on the battlefield but also a stylish one at that.
5 Strike Freedom Gundam
The upgrade to Freedom Gundam from Gundam Seed, Strike Freedom is the second mech piloted by the unkillable Kira “Jesus” Yamato and it is a beauty of a mech. If its colors and classic design do not get you, then just wait until it decides to spread its wings.
While the Strike Freedom probably could not be counted on for a stealth mission, the way its wings spread out in all of their ethereal glory is a sight to behold. Almost like the mech is powered by the Aurora Borealis as it flies through the sky or space.
4 Heavyarms Custom (Endless Waltz Ver.)
Why focus on melee combat when you can have more guns? That was precisely the question that the Heavyarms Custom designers asked when building the mech. Good for one thing and one thing only, Heavyarms has a massive amount of firepower.
There isn't even so much as a combat knife on this dark blue wonder, and that much dedication to its core concept should be respected. Though despite being a weapon made precisely for artillery warfare and not much else, it's color scheme and design makes it stand out on the field among other great Gundams in Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz.
3 God Gundam
Mobile Fighter G Gundam is known for some of the wackiest designs in the franchise. From Gundams that look like cowboys to others that look like windmills, there was no shortage of mechs that forced you to do a double-take. Though its unusual sense of design did succeed where it counted, mainly, in the design of its main mech.
Piloted by Domon Kasshu, God Gundam (known as Burning Gundam to our Toonami watchers) was the ultimate mech from the series. Modeled after a Samurai in full armor, God Gundam shares a familiar color scheme with many other main mechs throughout Gundam and can move like a martial artist thanks to an advanced full body control scheme. Making it a treat to watch during the Gundam Fight Tournament!
Art by Blase17.
2 Wing Gundam Zero (Endless Waltz Ver.)
The Gundam Wing fanservice isn't quite done yet! To several Toonami watchers, there is no better Gundam series than Gundam Wing and that is for good reason. Along with an incredible storyline, intense action sequences, and the perfect time slot right after school, it also contains several of the best-designed mechs in the franchise.
The epitome of which would be the Wing Gundam Zero from Endless Waltz. Similar in color but not in design, this Gundam sports a glorious pair of wings that spread wide along the robot's back making it quite the head-turner for a kid in the 90s.
1 ν Gundam (Nu Gundam)
Here it is, the best looking Mech in the franchise. The successor to the original Gundam from the first series, the v Gundam is an improvement in almost every way. Designed by the ace pilot, Amuro Ray, to be versatile while also focusing on endurance for long battles, it also contains powerful Fin Funnels that can be used for attack or defense.
Ray also designed it to be damn good looking. Doing away with all of the yellows from the original design, it now uses red sparingly along the mostly blue and white frame to really pop out that color. Overall, giving it a more unified color palette that makes sure the mech looks just as good as it fights.