Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.
I became a Gundam fan just to watch the action and collect the kits, nothing more and nothing less. Yes, it is cool to live in the Gundam universe and a career as a mobile pilot is a dream come true for most fanboys. I mean, you are tasked to pilot your very own giant robot and streak into the sky to duel with other mobile suits. You could be the next Amuro Ray, or get to wear a mask like Char Aznable.
But believe me, the Gundam universe is not for the faint of heart.
In most Gundam series, the lead mobile suits are destroyed either by battle damages or by the pilots themselves. It’s a symbolic anti-war gesture where weapons like the mobile suits are never welcomed in a peaceful world. It is also sends a message to the viewers about the horrors of war. I mean, in the real world, war is hell. I’m better off in my home than dealing with clashing robots above my head. And I think I will pass the chance to fight in a mobile suit. I will consider a career of piloting Gundams if I’m as good as Amuro Ray. But if you’re an undertrained wannabe, you better stick to staying as a fan. Piloting war machines is no joke. You have to be prepared for the worst.
Want to Become a Heero? Then Prepare to Die Like a Hero
A Gundam pilot, or any mobile suit pilot, is basically a soldier. Like real soldiers, they are faced with the constant threat of injuries, permanent disabilities, or death. And believe me, you don’t want to die inside a cramped environment like a mobile suit. Getting killed in ground combat is one thing, but to be trapped inside an exploding mobile suit is a nightmare come to life. I mean, just look at real world war victims. The closest one can get are fighter jet deaths or battle tank explosions. In normal everyday life, death by fire, car accidents, or a plane crash should be close enough. That might sound too much, but mobile suits sport some of the most horrendous weapons mankind produced. And when you got horrid weapons, you can expect horrid deaths.
You Will Burn to Death
Sad to say this is a real possibility in a mobile suit battle. A typical mobile suit sports weapons like beam rifles and a beam saber. If you are unlucky enough to be hit by one but not die immediately, then you are literally toasted. A slow and painful death comes when someone blew a hole in your fuel tank and ignited the highly volatile fuel. Or how about when your machine crashes, traps you inside, and starts to burn.
Not a fun way to go.
The scenario is made worse by the fact that many mobile suits, including most Gundams, lack quick escapes. Real fighter jets have ejection seats so you could bail out from wrecked planes. Most mobile suits on the other hand have no such contraptions (except some core fighters), leaving their pilots in the mercy of the flames.
Worst still, some mobile suits are equipped with flame throwers. This is another reason why you should not fight the likes of the Altron Gundam.
You Will be Blown to Bits
Obviously in a battle where everyone is blasting each other, getting blown to bits is a common death. It happens all the time in real life dogfights when someone shoots a missile at your plane and blows it apart. Some fighter pilots managed to survive by ejecting from their stricken jet, given that their machine is still intact and the blast spared them. We have a lot of cases where pilots bailed out to receive the Medal of Valor.
But again, most mobile suits don’t have escape systems.
The good news is unlike being burned alive, death by explosion is a quick death. You won’t know that only bits of you are left.
Be Vaporized by Buster Rifles
It depends on how big the buster rifle is, and consider yourself damned if you face Heero Yuy in his Wing Zero. Fortunately, energy weapons that could unleash massive amounts of heat are still nonexistent in real life. So far what we got are industrial lasers that take too long to pierce objects. We won’t know what will happen if such high powered weapon scored a hit on a person or an object. Let’s assume that it had the same effect as the buster rifle. I bet that no one wants to be blasted by energy projectiles. Yes, it is a quick way to die, with nothing left of you but singed atoms.
Shrapnel in the Cockpit
The bane of tank crews during the World Wars in practically every major tank battle. The sudden explosion of a specialized projectile will send bits of steel flying inside the vehicle. You are trapped inside your armored vehicle with shrapnel shooting in all directions. Though it was rarely shown in the Gundam world, we see pilots (especially in Gundam Seed) being extracted from their cockpit all bloody and wounded. Though not specified, we could assume that those are from stray fragments that got blown off. The good news is injuries from shrapnel are survivable in some cases, where the fragments resulted in mere flesh wounds. And wearing specialized protection like body armor and a full face helmet could reduce the chance of death. Nevertheless, I’m wondering why most mobile suit pilots stick to their unprotected space suits.
Death by Beam Saber
In the first Gundam series, people getting skewered by beam sabers are rarely shown. Nevertheless, what Amuro Ray did to Lalah was the stuff of nightmares. And we need to thank the SEED series for bringing the horrid reality of beam saber deaths to the next generation of fans. As flashy as it looks, beam sabers are scary mutilating weapons. They could sever steel like it is made of paper. If that’s the case, imagine what it can do to the human body. I mean, just ask Nicol Amalfi and Heini Westenfluss. If we are to believe the SEED series, people still have time to shriek before they perish.
Death by (Giant) Bladed Weapons
Even more terrifying than beam sabers are giant bladed weapons slicing through your cockpit. In the Gundam world, mobile suits often carry oversized axes or knives. The most prolific users are the suits of Iron Blooded Orphans. What really scares me is that unlike beam weapons, bladed weapons have an unfortunate tendency to kill slowly while leaving horribly disfigured bodies. I mean, every fan knew how the Jojo reject Kudal Cadel met his end. Kipper fish anyone?
Getting Hit by Humongous Blunt Weapons
Lastly, pilots need to deal with the blunt weapons the suits carry. Grampa Gundam carries an oversized flail, with a steel ball dwarfing a man. Years later, the Bolt Gundam would follow its footsteps and sport a similar weapon. The Shenlong, Altron Gundam, and the Gundam Deathscythe/Deathscythe Hell would use the butt end of its polearm as a bashing tool. The Wing Proto Zero would fight with its pointy shield. You also wouldn't want to get hit by Gundam Barbatos’ mace.
And just to show you, getting hit by these things is like being crushed by a speeding truck. You will be reduced to a flattened cadaver, though deaths could be quicker if done properly.
Arensshi from Philippines on August 03, 2020:
No matter. I will still pilot a Gundam. xD
Airwolf on June 12, 2020:
But that iok kujan being killed by giant nippers by gundam gusion is really satisfying though..haha..
Kira Yamato on September 17, 2019:
Unless you are me, I'm truly invincible even tough I never mentioned myself or said, "I am Gundam!"
Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on June 11, 2018:
Thanks Hurley for stopping by! Agree on that. Pilots could be just crispies before the beam blade even touches them.
Hurley on June 10, 2018:
There have been examples where Mobile Suits had escape pods (Unicorn), or even ejection seats (08th MS Team). While I agree that some of these deaths would be gruesome, I would think that if you took a beam weapon to the cockpit, the intense heat from it would fry you before you really had the chance to scream. Yes, you'd see it coming at you through your monitor (literally), but unless the other pilot was sadistic af, they'd just keep the momentum going and kill you before you even realize what happened.
Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on June 08, 2018:
Thanks Rachael. And yes, brutal deaths could make for a dramatic stories. I mean it adds to the emotions and motivations in the show.
And yes, Evangelions are safer to pilot than Gundams. They will feel pain but EVA pilots was never blown to pieces.
Rachael Lefler from Illinois on June 08, 2018:
Well the possibility of such a death is what makes the drama and action in the shows exciting. At least in Evangelion it was possible to eject the entry plug, which was made to basically be a bomb shelter for the pilot, safe even if the Eva itself were destroyed. But the problem with the Eva units is the pilot soul-bonds to them and feels sympathetic pain. I don't know that much about Gundams but I thought in G Gundam there was a similar thing. It doesn't make much sense, but I get why they use it for narrative purposes.
Gennady Korotkevich from Russia on June 08, 2018:
son_goku vs saitama