This list is dedicated to the top 5 antagonists in Gundam (both UC and Alternate universe). Antagonists are an intregral part of the Gundam series, as all whiny teenaged protagonists need someone to push them to their limits. I measured the quality of the villain not by how sinister or powerful they were, but by the deeper dimensions of their character. Were the reasons for their actions justified? How effective were they as villains and as characters? These are some of the questions that needed answering. Note that these are my opinions, so if you disagree just share some of your thoughts in the comments below!
*warning: major spoilers*
5. Master Asia
Shuuji Kurosu. Master Asia. Undefeated of the East. He goes by many names, but one thing's for sure: he earns his place here through pure badassery. This is a man who can destroy mobile suits with his bare hands for god's sake. He's also a former champion of the Gundam Fight, and a master of the style that protagonist Domon uses to defeat his enemies throughout the series. Master Asia really sets himself apart from the rest of the villains on this list with his over-the-top fervor and martial arts ass-kicking. He is responsible for a lot of the terror that occurs throughout G Gundam, but he redeems himself near the end when he realizes the error in his thinking. For his explosive style and unwavering sense of honor, I give Master Asia a well-deserved spot among Gundam greats.
4. Haman Karn
Haman Karn was an entry on my Top 5 Gundam Girls list, so I figure I'll just repeat what I wrote. Haman is a major villain in two Gundam storylines, and one of the only female villains at that. She is a cold and ruthless leader who uses manipulation and charisma to get her way. Her natural ability is so great that she was able to rally and lead the entire Axis community at the tender age of sixteen. Clearly, this is a woman who knows how to get what she wants. She's also a powerful Newtype, and a formidable pilot who once bested Char in battle.
She comes across as an incredibly shrewd and merciless woman, but side-stories based on her past reveal that she is actually the product of suffering and abuse at the hands of the Federation. Tragedy is what pushed her beyond redemption, and it's only at the end of her run that we learn of her regret. I really liked the development she underwent as a character, and considering the impact she left on the U.C. timeline, it's impossible not to remember her as one of the most significant villains in Gundam.
3. Treize Khushrenada
Treize Khushrenada is a very multifaceted character. He says he's a lover of war, but he also states on multiple occasions that he abhors causing unnecessary harm. He idealizes chivalry and is a connoisseur in the finer things, but he's simultaneously a manipulative and aggressive military leader. It's this strange contradictory nature that makes him one of the more intriguing villains in Gundam, and it's also the reason I chose him over main antagonist Milliardo Peacecraft, who's basically just a Char clone.
His ideals cause him to clash with Gundam pilot Chang Wufei, who shares a similar admiration for battle. Their rivalry is a highlight of both their characters, and their final battle is a powerful and defining moment for Treize. Ever a man of indomitable conviction, he allows Wufei to land a fatal blow on him because he refuses to cause anyone else harm. It's an almost incomprehensible act, but that's what makes Treize Khushrenada so interesting. He's the horse-riding, tea-sipping gentleman warrior, and one of the best antagonists Gundam has to offer.
2. Anavel Gato
Anavel Gato, nicknamed the "Nightmare of Solomon", is one of the most fearsome soldiers in Zeon history. He fights to uphold Zeon's ideals, and is so unrelenting in his pursuits that his power of will alone makes opponents shake in their normal suits. He's also a peerless mobile suit pilot, and his abilities are no better demonstrated than when he wreaks havoc with the stolen Gundam Physalis. He wipes out an entire Federation fleet with the Gundam's atomic bazooka, and whips protagonist Kou Uraki around with just a beam saber and head vulcans. With or without a mobile weapon, he was a force to be reckoned with.
His final moments were particularly memorable for me. The way he fought to the bitter end with that burning fearlessness in his eyes, and the way he chose to go out on his own terms made me develop a deep sense of respect for his character. There weren't many redeeming qualities to him, but he made such a fantastic pure villain that I couldn't help but place him near the top of this list. He did his job as a bad guy after all.
1. Ribbons Almark
Ribbons was a mastermind and as macho as men come...
...nah I'm just fucking with you. Can you imagine though? I'd rip my tongue out and feed it to a cat before seriously doing this. Anyway, continue down for the REAL greatest antagonist of all time...
1. Char Aznable
Probably saw this one coming didn't you? Let's just be honest here though; there wasn't going to anyone else taking the number one spot. Char Aznable is an iconic Gundam antagonist, and probably one of the greatest characters to come out of the Gundam franchise. He made the mask badass, before assholes like...
...tried to step on the wannabe band-wagon. Char Aznable was famously known as the Red Comet during the One Year War because of his fearsome abilities in battle (destroyed five Federation battleships in blinding speed) and his preference for red mobile suits. He is a brilliant ace pilot and a charismatic leader who has the ability to rally entire colonies of people to his cause in an almost effortless manner. While he is portrayed as a villain throughout most his appearances, he never truly seems to be without his sense of humanity. He cares for his fellow Spacenoid's plight, and its his anger towards their mistreatment that often pits him against the heroes.
He has a profound respect for his soldiers, and he's shown to carry the guilt of not being able to save his comrades when he loses them into battle. Despite all the admiration he receives as a hero of Zeon, he remains humble and deflects praise when he feels he doesn't deserve it. Based on individual characteristics alone there's plenty to be said about Char, but ultimately, it's his intense rivalry with protagonist Amuro Ray that cements his place as a significant part of the U.C. timeline. Their battles constantly force them to strive for higher ceilings, and it's likely that if this legendary rivalry had never occurred, Amuro would not have become half the pilot, newtype, or man that he was at the peak of his abilities.
Sip sip, bitches
Check out my other Gundam Top 5 lists~