So I like coming up with eccentric and obscure titles for my review. It's like a nice salad before a meal at a restaurant. So I've been told, anyway. Most of my meals involve screaming into a small black speakerbox from my driver's side window. Anyway, I've been thinking that this might not be a great idea from the perspective of people who are not intimately familiar with both the mecha and kaiju/vinyl genres. You know who you are. Still spelling Cronic with an 'h' and Methuss with one 's'? For shame.
Without further ado, this review is for Bandai's Mobile Suit in Action ("MSiA") figure of the GuAIZ from Gundam Seed.
Who/What Is This?:
The GuAIZ was sort-of the crossover grunt mech for ZAFT's side in between the Gundam SEED and Destiny series. Those who have seen the series might recall that ZAFT (the SEED equivalent of the Zeon empire from the Universal Century timeline- whole 'nother story there...) essentially progressed through the GINN, followed by the GuAIZ (which was modified into the GuAIZ-R), and finally finished with the Zaku Warrior in Destiny. This, of course, ignores the millions and billions of official and fan-based variants of each different grunt suit. The GuAIZ was also piloted by the ZAFT ace and blatant Char/Zechs ripoff, Rau Le Creuset.
This figure of the GuAIZ- the only one existing to my knowledge- then came out at an odd time, which was well into the release of SEED Destiny. Odd only because the GuAIZ had only been featured in SEED; why release it well into the broadcast of its sequel series? Bandai seemingly was struggling to time the release of its figures, due to the dueling demands of the recently-ended SEED series, the ongoing Destiny series, and the remakes of the Gundam Z movies all being released at around the same time. As such, the GuAIZ was a somewhat forgettable release: a grunt suit released in June 2005 (well after the end of the only series in which it was featured) amid a slew of SEED Destiny and Zeta MSiA.
GuAIZ is sold in a standard-size MSiA box. Includes catalog and data file card.
SEED simply came out with so many different designs and color variants that you could spend a pile of money in trying to collect them all. Consequently, this was the only ZAFT grunt suit that I picked up; I think it is honestly the best in show, despite its lackluster and poorly-timed release.
The basic design of the GuAIZ is a modification of the ugly, clunkiness of the GINN (yes, I don't like the GINN, wanna fight?). The torso was slimmed down to more athletic proportions; the "shell" boosters were reduced and made to supplement its backpack boosters; and the head was shrunken down from its formerly monstrous size. Still, the designers managed to retain the Roman-armor appearance of the GINN. Accessories were also improved; the smallish handweapon of the GINN was changed into a long beam rifle, which it can wield one-handed in the way only anime-mecha can. The best upgrade, in my opinion, is the dual beam-blade shield, which is highly reminiscent of the infamous Tauros from Armored Core (the sword used by Stinger/Vixen in his AC Nexus: Revolution appearance). Overall, this figure is both faithful to the anime design and looks great as a figure from all angles.
Gripes are few. Mainly, the little extensional arrestor claws are a PAIN IN THE ASS to keep in place. They essentially attach to the tank- beneath the backpack, which must be removed to equip the arrestors- by little ball-and-socket connections. The PVC is so bendy, and the ball joint is so thin, that I feel like I run the risk of breaking the arrestors every time I swap them out. Making it worse is the fact that they included both the extended and holstered versions of said arrestors, making it almost inevitable that you will move them around at some point. These must have fallen out around 5-10 times as I was repositioning the GuAIZ on the stand.
Materials are the standard PVC of Bandai's MSiA releases. As those familiar with the line might note, the PVC is now slightly stiffer than previous releases.
The color scheme of the GuAIZ is another thing that initially drew me to the figure. The olive, grey, and orange really look good together, and suggest a Zaku-ish coloring, without totally selling out to the nostalgia-soaked designs of Destiny.
Paint on my figure was clean, save for a big orange blob on the right side of the chest (not visible in photos). I wish they had kept up panel-lining in the MSiAs, rather than splitting the Extended and regular lines. Can't have it all, I guess. At any rate, the dark colors used in this figure hide the lack of detailing very well.
Articulation is fairly standard for this sort of figure, and is commensurate with other similar figures of the time. Elbows are double-jointed; the legs are somewhat limited by the skirt-armor, however.
I think I bought this for about $15 USD prior to shipping at the time of release; it shouldn't run you more than $20 at any rate.
Why I Like It:
Great design. I wish they had kept this model going in the series, instead of switching over to the Skittles Zakus in Destiny. The beam-bladed shield is simply the icing on a very cool cake.
As a side comment, you may wonder why I used black and white backgrounds in this shoot. I've been trying out various photo environments; (1) white with extended exposure, or (2) black with reduced exposure time. The main drawback of black is that the spotlights really highlight every single bit of dust on the figure. Which do you think looks better?