Back in 1987, Model Graphix ran a serialized novel set between the end of Zeta Gundam and the start of ZZ Gundam. Called Gundam Sentinel, it was also the debut for mecha designer Hajime Katoki. After nearly 30 years, one of his designs is finally getting the treatment it deserves.
You need to understand the effect Gundam Sentinel has had on mecha design since its inception, not only in Japan but also across the globe. Katoki introduced an all-new grittier approach to mecha and that in turn heavily influenced mecha in gaming as well. So much so that Katoki went on to pen the mecha in the very popular Virtual On series.
The main mobile suit in Gundam Sentinel was the MSA-011 S Gundam, a new type of mecha with an onboard AI and prototype weapon systems. It was used by Task Force Alpha, who were responsible for eradicating the psychotically fascist New Desides. This being an even more devout group of Earth-based supremacists that made the genocidal Titans look more than a little fluffy.
Over the course of the story, the protagonist Ryu Roots has the S Gundam upgraded to the much beefier and more potent MSA-0011[Ext] Ex-S Gundam. It’s this variant that is the most popular with fans and which this new toy is based on.
This new toy announcement from Bandai places the Ex-S Gundam in the new Metal Robot Damashii range. Compared to standard Robot Damashii figures, the Metal versions use more diecast in the joints and across the toys themselves. This particular toy is also part of the Ka Signature line, which is also directly helmed by Katoki himself.
However, as this toy is really quite large it is probable that the diecast construction is necessary considering the increased weight of the figure compared to other Robot Damashii releases.
In some ways, it is nice to see Katoki’s earliest work given such an amazing figure but its resurgence is more likely down to its inclusion in as a playable unit in the Gundam Extreme Versus games (shown below).
Released in November later this year for 17,820 yen, this Metal Robot Damashii Ex-S Gundam looks to be superlatively good and should be available from places like HobbyLink Japan. Whether it will include the somewhat bizarre transformation remains to be seen but considering the price tag it’s probable we’ll see it attempt the G-Cruiser mode in some way or another.
However, my personal though likely futile hope is that Bandai will follow up with a release of the Deep Striker variant. That would be all manner of epic.
Read my Forbes blog here.