Gundam Week: Top 5 Rivalries
A staple throughout the Gundam universe is none other than a rivalry between two, or perhaps even more, pilots. This only makes sense as it would be rather boring and senseless for one Gundam to come along and complete destroy all of the enemies quickly. These rivalries offer some great action as well as drama, both needed in order to really be great. While difficult to narrow down the list to only 5 rivalries, as there are so many, we had some clear winners. Prepare to launch!
Top 5 Rivalries
5. Kira Yamato vs Athrun Zala
Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny both receive a lot of heat for a lot of plot points that seemingly didn’t work, but one thing that was done well is the rivalry between Kira and Athrun. Perhaps what makes this rivalry interesting is the fact that both used to be such great childhood friends, torn apart by war. Neither quite understands why they are fighting the other, Athrun is following orders and what he believes to be right, while Kira believes he should be fighting to protect his friends. Either way, they are both put into a situation they don’t want to be in. In Seed the rivalry reaches a rather exciting climax with the two friends legitimately trying to kill each other. Kira and Athrun are clear examples of the horrors that take place during war, especially when pitted against one another.
4. Heero Yuy vs Zechs Merquise
The rivalry between Heero and Zechs is not intense in the way that the Amuro/Char conflict is. In fact, it is Zechs who initiates the rivalry by using his Talgeese to twice challenge Heero and his Wing Gundam. It isn’t until that second duel in Antarctica that Heero becomes aware of Zechs. The fates of the two ace pilots become linked when Relena Peacecraft rises to prominence. Zechs fights to protect Relena in his own way and Heero spends time as a man that sees nothing to fight or live for until circumstance brings him to Relena’s Sanc Kingdom. Ironically, the fate of Sanc Kingdom and the power shifts that begin the series’ final story arc are what lead to Zechs’ disillusionment and his leadership role on one side of a supposed war to end all wars. Only through paying an unprecedented price, he insists, will humanity ever learn to avoid repeating old mistakes. Heero, on the other hand, witnesses Relena’s strong beliefs first hand and makes a deliberate, conscious choice to trust her leadership ability and convictions. The final duel between Zechs and Heero, then, is a war between an idealist embittered by experience and a disheartened cynic that learned to have faith.
3. Setsuna F. Seiei vs Ribbons Almark
What makes this rivalry so incredible is the long build up throughout the show, specifically the second season. Ribbons believes that humans are not meant to rule for themselves. He is superior and it is his right to rule them. Setsuna fights for peace and believes that mankind will find the answers themselves. These ideals are set up for an interesting conflict between the two and really make it quite intense to watch the two make blows indirectly until the very end.As if that weren’t enough, throughout most of season 2 there is the open question of who is really being faithful to the intentions of their organization’s founder, Aeolia Schenberg.
The two go back and forth until the final confrontation sets in. The show does a fantastic of building the anticipation to a fight that leads to a very satisfying end to this long rivalry.
2. Domon Kasshu vs Master Asia
The furious rivalry between Domon and his master, the Undefeated of the East, is easily the most compelling relationship of the fists in Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Initially introduced to the viewer through Domon’s words of praise for his wise master we finally meet the Undefeated of the East in episode 12. From there we travel with Domon and share his shock and confusion over Master Asia’s turn to the Devil Gundam. Domon decides to continue on a path that will lead him to being able to surpass his beloved Master. After much training and meditation Domon finally conquers his anger and manages to overwhelm the Undefeated of the East. Domon learns his former master has survived their confrontation and now has joined in the Gundam Fight finals as Neo Hong Kong’s representative. Their rivalry continually becomes more intense as we learn more about Master Asia’s true intentions and the show continues to provide awesome battles, leading up to Domon and Master Asia’s final confrontation. This is a truly awe-inspiring moment in the series.
1. Amuro Ray vs Char Aznable
Amuro and Char really set the standard for all of Gundam with their fun and interesting rivalry.
Amuro begins the series as someone who admires the skills and abilities of Char and yet at the same time wishes to match them and become even better. Char is a very charismatic character, always having something planned while Amuro tends to work purely on instinct. It’s impossible to say which is actually better, making their rivalry rather fun to follow. It is also interesting in that they both seem to learn from one another, Char perhaps learning a bit more than Amuro. In the end neither truly defeats the other, though a good argument could be made for Amuro. Both are incredibly talented pilots and resemble what a great rivalry is all about, no ifs, ands, or buts.