Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.
Every Gundam series won’t be complete without them. They are a nod to a well-loved antihero that went toe to toe to the granpa unit more than thirty years ago. We all know the masked villain of the Gundam world. Fans can’t get enough of him, as even I have to admit that Char Aznable outshines the lead character Amuro Ray in many ways. And in order to cash in to this mecha star, they let him wander the Gundam world both as a hero and as a villain for several series until he and Amuro duel for the last time in Char’s Counterattack.
Nevertheless that’s not the end of Char as we knew it.
His legacy lives own in his many clones in the later series. Somehow the creators managed to fill in the void he left by providing fans with his look-a-likes. They are basically characters based in his image. They are like him, at the same time unlike him. Though they wore masks and sometimes sports red uniforms and mobile suits, they are very different from the original Char. They could be cruel, violent, honourable, and manipulative, anything depending on what the show requires. Some series boast fan favorites; they are Char clones who became great on their own rights. I have my personal favorites, and below are the best in Char clones in the Gundam world, at least in my opinion.
Before we move on, I kept saying this because people tend to disagree violently. Again this is just my opinion and my taste is different than yours. Now to be fair just comment below what you think is the best Char clone.
7. Mr Bushido/Graham Aker:
You may disagree a lot and I do understand. Of all the Char clones here, this one is highly unutilized. To be a great Char figure, you need to be the opposing half of the protagonist. Together you will share the spot and outshine the hero if given a chance. Unfortunately Ribbons Almark stole the show after he proved to be a more menacing villain than Mr. Bushido. Nevertheless Graham proved to be an interesting character in his own rights. He is a formidable pilot and one of the few who would go toe to toe with a Gundam Meister. He is doing great in the first season before Ribbons dethroned him. Yet I think turning him into a samurai rather than regular Char cosplayer is a great idea. This is a deconstruction of a usual clone. We have a depressed character here who wears a samurai mengu (warmask) to hide his scar and hated the Mr. Bushido nickname. Being unique earned him a spot here.
6. Harry Ord
And now that we speak of uniqueness, this clone brings it to a whole new level. Turn A Gundam is an unorthodox series, and expect some outlandish characters as well. The hero looks unusual enough; I mean I always thought that Loran Cehack is a trap! If that’s the case the masked ace here bears little of the usual clone’s signature. Apart from the sunglasses (serving as the mask I think), almost nothing will connect Harry Ord to Char Aznable. Instead of the usual red, he flaunts colorful renaissance style attire. And you could catch him sporting a Swiss Guard inspired suit sometimes. He is less Char---at least on the outside. Harry is a level headed and tactically minded head of the Royal Guard who pilots a gold SUMO, a nod to Char’s Hiyaku Shiki. He also sees Loran not as a rival, but as a threat and won’t think twice of confronting him.
When I first saw him, I thought he did not deserve to fill in the shoes of the Red Comet. But as we learned from Graham Aker, you don’t need to become the Red Comet to continue the Char legacy. Being weird gave Harry his spot in the list.
5. Schwarz Bruder
If Turn A Gundam is unique, Gundam G is odd. It is a complete departure to the usual war themed mecha anime and what we got is the love child of Gundam, DBZ and Street Fighter. Others like it; some hated it. The series is not bad though you will find that some scenes are hard to swallow. I do love the Char figure here. If Graham Aker is a samurai, Schwarz Bruder is a German ninja. He wears a mask that covers the face instead of the eyes like many of the Char successors, complete with German flag colors. He is devastating, whether inside or outside his Gundam. I mean just look how he cuts and slices with a busted sword. And unlike the usual antagonist, he is more as a mentor than a rival. Throughout the series he offered hints to Domon before they finally dueled hand to hand in a Gundam fight. Schwarz Bruder was the shade of both Char Aznable and Quattro Bajeena.
4. Jamil Neate
This one adopts the role of Quattro Bajeena completely. With few space battles and ill luck, Gundam X is an underrated anime. In our case, my friends often talk how it is more as a Wing offshoot with not much to offer. Yet after seeing Gundam Seed Destiny, my views changed on Gundam X. I never noticed it at first but Jamil Neate is an interesting, and enigmatic fellow. He fought wars before as a prodigy and now he suffers from cockpit phobia, a PTSD version of the Gundam world. Yet like Quattro handling a hot-headed pilot before him, Jamil then became a mentor to the overly brave Garrod Ran. He could be seen coaching the lead pilot with cryptic hints and I won’t forget how he fought the Bertigo like a boss.
3. Mcgillis Fareed
Fans had mixed feelings on IBO. For me it is a fun anime to watch, until things got too emotional. It’s a tear jerking Gundam Wing type series with a mass shooter as a protagonist. Nevertheless I agree with the fans that the characters are mishandled and I ended up sympathizing with the villains instead. Mcgillis is lightyears ahead of Mikazuki (at least for me). He is a double faced psycho and a great anti-hero. Mcgillis is cold, serious, exploitative and remorseless; at the same time the man is charismatic to his men.
2. Rau Le Creuset
Seriously this guy is evil. The rest are simply mislead or deceived. In Rau's case, he is a power hungry and manipulative entity with little regards to human life. At least the rest of the clones here showed empathy. This one is pure psycho that messed up the already messed Flay. And did I mentioned he blew her up at the end of the series.
That's why I like him. He could be number one if not for the hard to swallow SEED series.
1. Zechs Merquise/ Milliardo Peacecraft
I’m not being bias here. The Wing series had a place in my heart, but others have better stuffs to offer. Yet no matter how much I look at it, there is no denying that Zechs Merquise is the best Char clone here. As a villain and anti-hero, he is best presented in the whole series. He opened the show fighting Heero Yuy in a high altitude battle. As the show progress, we learn more about him from his dark past, his days as the masked Zechs, to a confused rebel leader, to his glorious battle in the Endless Waltz. Honestly we knew more about him than Heero Yuy, which explains why he stole the show many times. Fans noted how he is the closest to Char among other clones, from his story as a banished noble, his career under the mask and their relationships to the protagonist.
But for me, his shining moments will be in his Tallgeese and Gundam Epyon.