Saturday, May 11, 2013

HG 1/144 Mr. Bushido's Ahead Part 1

Radical manifestation of Bushido

From Gundam action figure to Gunpla this time. ^^ Starting on another High Grade kit from "MS Gundam 00" after Ali al-Saachez's Customized AEU Enact Custom. ^^

From the second season of the TV anime, this is Mr. Bushido's Customized Ahead. It's the only HG Ahead kit out of three which I got. Due to biased liking of the character who was the MS's pilot, I feel that this Ahead variation is the best design out of the three as well. Then again, looking past that personal preference, Mr. Bushido's Customized Ahead is definitely a menacing MS design. The ox horns-like ornament on the back of its head and the evil-looking face with fangs on its chin are really crazy design elements for an MS in my opinion. ^^ It's proportionately much larger than the Gundams from Celestial Beings as well. Together with its main weapons of two beam swords resembling a katana and a wakizashi, the Japanese Samurai look of this Ahead variation is not just unmistakable, it's a really unique entry in the list of MSs appearing in the universe of Gundam Double O. ^^

Even the vertical positioning of its two thrusters on the back seems to resemble the flags Samurai warriors would carry on their back when they rode into battle. ^^

The Samurai look of this Ahead variation most definitely suits its pilot, Mr. Bushido perfectly. Due to the event in the first season of the TV anime, and also the fact that he was an ace MS pilot, Graham Aker wasn't fooling anyone on the subject of his true identity despite wearing a mask. As his name in Season 2 suggests, he is obsessed with the way of the Samurai, to a twisted and misguided level I would say. ^^; Even though his character provided a lot of obstacles to the protagonist, which can be seen as interesting plot points on personal duels for unfinished business from Season 1, his personal ambition and obsession are quite selfish to say the least. It became quite annoying to watch after a while, especially when the entire story was gearing towards the finale and the stage to the final battle is set. There's a huge war going on between Celestial Beings and A-Laws and then between the world and Ribbons' Innovade forces, but Mr. Bushido's only will in combat is to settle his score against Setsuna who defeated him in Season 1. He wasn't looking at the big picture at all, and let his skills as an ace pilot be used for a shallow personal purpose. He wasn't looking at the big picture and let his skills as an ace pilot be used for a shallow personal purpose. That obsession was understandable because of his character trait at that stage, but it was still hard to accept for me. ^^; However, he did redeemed himself in the movie by not just going back to his old Graham Aker self, but fought for a greater purpose as well. It was satisfying to me that his character received a just resolution in Season 2 of the TV anime, but his redemption in the movie was a really nice conclusion to the character's development. ^^

For that "Mr. Bushido" stage, this Ahead variation is a perfect match for Graham's personality and obsession into the way of the Samurai. Even though dark red is the standard color of Ahead and its variations, the color works very well to symbolize the pilot's aggression I would say. ^^ Since red is my favorite color, and it seems connected with the pilot's character story, I like this MS very much, and of course this High Grade kit as well. ^^ Even though I do have Masurao, the MS assigned to Mr. Bushido after Ahead, its thin body design and black main color link it back to the design of Graham's old MS from Season 1 - Over Flag more than his Bushido manifestation, so the "character connection" is somewhat lessened. It, and the subsequent Susanowo are great MSs to show the character redemption stage of Graham Aker, not just with the Flag-like design as mentioned earlier, but a hidden Flag face inside the Susanowo's head as well. ^^ For his earlier "crazed" and raging state, this Ahead variation is definitely the MS that symbolizes Graham Aker. ^^

A look at the kit of Mr. Bushido's Ahead itself:

Another Ahead variation, Soma Peries's Ahead Smultron can be seen on the box art. ^^

Introduction of the kit on the sides of box.


Following the design "tradition" set in "Gundam Double O" High Grade series, you get a match between the completed kit's action pose shown on the manual with the box art illustration. ^^

The instruction manual.

All High Grade 1/144 scale kits from Season 2 of "Gundam Double O" feature a short introduction of a kit from Season 1. Graham's Union Flag Custom featured for this kit is perhaps a deliberate arrangement to point to Mr. Bushido's identify than mere coincident I believe. ^^

A look at the runners' design:

Runner A - A multi-color runner that contains parts mainly for the head, backpack and weapons.

(Left) Clear parts for the two GN Beam Sabers (only the long type is shown here) will need to be painted
(Right) Even though it's not going to be clearly visible, a clear part for the chest's GN Drive is included.

(Left) A very nicely molded one-piece armor for the front of the body.
(Right) One-piece part for the GN Drive cone.

Simple as it is, I really like the shape of the shield. ^^

Runner B - Contains dark red parts for the entire body.

Very nicely one-piece parts for the front of the legs.

A runner repeated for the three HG Ahead releases with some minor tweaks, the body and GN Drive parts (left) are not included for Ahead Smultron. Mr. Bushido's Ahead is the only unit without the rear skirt vent and thigh parts (the blank corner on the runner).

Runner C - Contain black parts mainly for the legs.

Very thin and long parts for the soles.

Polycap set PC-123 and PC-7, and a string for the head cable.

Foil sticker sheet.
Those large orange pieces are for the backpack fins.

All removed parts are organized and stored in individual paper containers.

Will start working on the detailing and paint work in the next posting. ^^

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