Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top 5 Shields in Gundam




I've done the top 5 "big guns", and I've done melee weapons, so naturally it's time we moved on to shields. This one was a little harder to compile a list for because there are just so many shields; pretty much every mobile suit is equipped with one. Thus, I won't be looking as much into aesthetics or "significance" as I normally would. Instead, I'll be focusing on the shield's unique capabilities. "What sets it apart from other shields, and how effective are its unique features?" Also, I won't be counting barriers that are created via other armaments, like the Nu Gundam's fin funnels. This is a list specifically for handheld or wrist-mounted shields.

There were a ton of choices and I had to do a lot of leaving out, so I've even added an honorable mentions section for the shields that just barely missed the cut. If there's still something missing, give it a shout out in the comments section below! Anyhow, onward to the list~


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5. Gatling Shield (Gouf Custom)
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One could argue that the Gatling Shield is just a shield with a gatling gun attached to it, but technically every shield is just a shield with something extra on it. This intimidating piece of armament turns the Gouf Custom, which is specialized for close-range combat, into an absolute monster on the battlefield as it grants the mobile suit an incredible amount of firepower. It allows the Gouf to dominate the enemy no matter where it stands, and it can be detached at any point to increase the Gouf's mobility. Also, it's an enormous gatling gun attached to a shield. If you don't think this thing is immediately badass, well, I don't know what to tell you.


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4. Beam Shields (Victory Gundam and Seed Destiny)
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I've always been fond of beam shields; they're one of the more tangible instances in Gundam where you can clearly see an advance in technology. In Victory Gundam, beam shields are developed thanks to the smaller, more energy-efficient mobile suits of that era. They prove especially effective because, unlike I-Fields, they can defend against beam and conventional weaponry. They rely on energy-output rather than physical integrity to stay functional, and they can be activated in specific sections depending on where they need to be deployed. They're also a lot more powerful than regular shields, as evidenced by the Destiny Gundam's ability to block multiple exceptionally powerful beam shots at once.

Technical specs are enough to place the beam shield on this list, but it's the concept and elegance in design that push it over the top for me. The idea of a shield made entirely of beam energy, and the way it can phase in and out during battle, is just darn cool.


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3. NR-Sh-02-RX/S-00013 Shield (Gundam Physalis)
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So you're firing a nuclear warhead at close range, and you need to protect yourself from an instant fiery death? Well there's a shield for just that occasion. The NR-Sh-02-RX/S-00013 shield comes with a ridiculous amount of armor and a liquid nitrogen cooling system that's specifically designed to protect the Gundam Physalis from its own Atomic Bazooka. It's an absolute defensive juggernaut, and anything less than a superweapon would require careful planning to get through this thing. It loses a few points for being slightly cumbersome and for lacking any offensive capabilities, but it earns its place here with its pure, unmitigated stopping power.


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2. Divider (Gundam X Divider)
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The "Divider" is the Gundam X Divider's namesake, and probably the most versatile shield on this list. Initially, it's just a shield without any special defensive properties, but when it opens up...whooa! It's a "Beam Harmonica!" The Beam Harmonica is a series of 18 beam cannons hidden underneath the exterior shield. It replaces the Gundam X's Satellite Cannon, and while it's not nearly as powerful, it's still plenty capable of taking down an army of mobile suits on its own. It's also equipped with thrusters on either end that give the GX an impressive boost in speed and mobility. They allow the GX to hover when attached to its backpack, and they can even be used to thrust the GX forward when hand-held.

One might consider it a bit unorthodox, but I think it's one of the most unique designs in the entire metaseries. It's deserving of a spot near the top for being an impressive combination of offense, defense, and mobility, and for being the only shield on this list that's absolutely vital to its mobile suit's superiority on the battlefield.


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1. Shield w. I-Field Generator (Unicorn Gundam)
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The Unicorn's sleek, white shield looks rather ordinary at first glance, but this unassuming piece of U.C. technology is actually equipped with an advanced I-Field Generator that has the ability to deflect and nullify beam weaponry. It's also constructed with parts of the Unicorn's psycoframe, so a skilled Newtype pilot can move and manipulate it like an over-sized funnel. This allows for some savvy 360° defense, and it also turns the shield into a potent offensive weapon when equipped with the Full Armor Unicorn's gatling guns.

The shield's versatility is put on full display when Banagher uses a pair of them at once while piloting the FA Unicorn. He deflects particle beam shots at will without even moving an arm, and he sends both shields out to destroy distant targets in an instant. It does have a flaw in that it's somewhat vulnerable to conventional weaponry, but considering its myriad of capabilities (and the fact that the FA Unicorn has three of them), I don't think that would turn out to be too much of a problem.


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Honorable Mentions
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Trikeros (Blitz Gundam) - Unique combination of abilities, like darts and a beam rifle.
Buster Shield (Gundam Deathscythe) - Versatile. A melee weapon, a shield, and a projectile.
Crash Shield (Mercurius) - A shield with a beam saber inside. Very cool.


Check out my other Gundam Top 5 lists~


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11 comments:

  1. Three things:

    1) I think that the 00 units deserve a mention here. Admittedly, I am a bit biased towards that series, but still, when you ranked 00 Qan[T] as the 2nd strongest Gundam ever a couple of years ago, and when said Gundam easily blocked battleship-caliber beam weapons and uses the GN shield to recharge its sword bits...

    2) I mostly agree re: your #1 choice. Although I'd also mention how Unicorn was able to use its shields (albeit with help from Banshee) to block COLONY LASER BLAST; something NO OTHER GUNDAM HAS EVER BEEN SHOWN DOING ONSCREEN. That said, I said "mostly" because of....

    3) ...Turn A and/or Turn X. Even though we don't explicitly see them doing what Unicorn did, as the most powerful Gundams ever, it's not inconceivable that they could block colony laser blasts or something even stronger than that. Moonlight butterfly systems = strongest offensive/defensive weapons in the history of the metaseries. That said, in the absence of this definitive, canonical proof, I'd give the Unicorn the benefit of the doubt.

    Overall, great list. You should also do a top 5 list for best Funnel/Bit weaponry, if you can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mention in the intro that this list is exclusively for traditional handheld or wrist-mounted shields, so barriers like the Qant's GN shield and Turn A's abilities wouldn't count. For your second point, yes I totally forgot about that part. I might go ahead and edit my post in the future.

      Thanks for the feedback though! And Top 5 Bit Weaponry sounds like a great idea; I might actually make that my next top 5 post.

      Delete
  2. How about making a top 5 Grunt Mobile suits? No, make it top 10 given how many are there.
    Grunt mobile suits have always impressed me despite being a bunch of cannon fodders for gundams to destroy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, I actually wrote that one a long time ago, but I got rid of it for quality control. I've been meaning to make a new one, but I never really got around to it. I'll definitely look to start it again soon.

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  3. How about Kyrios' Shield? Not the most powerful, but freaking badass.
    A shield doubling as a freaking claw that tears up shit.
    I think ReZEL's shield also deserves some attention. Beam gun, as well double as an energy clip storage.
    Infinite Justice's shield is pretty awesome as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the Kyrios' shield was a ripoff of Deathscythe's buster shield crossed with Altron gundam's dragon head shields, both being Gundam Wing which directly inspired alot of the concepts in Gundam 00, so i'd argue no to the Kyrios shield.

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  4. What about V2 Assault Buster's mega beam shield?

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  5. No copy-paste shield from G-Reco? (Yes, that's literally what it's called!)

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  6. Infinite Justice's shield and Sinanju's are very awesome. Beam axes on Sinanju;s shield. Boomerang, grapple hook, and beam shield on a physical shield for Infinite Justice... overkill. Thanks for making this list C.Jin!

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  7. It's often overlooked that the beam gatling guns used by the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam actually belongs to The Sleeves, most likely as a variant of the MSN-03 Jagd Doga's own beam gatling gun. They were developed in first place for the NZ-666 Kshatriya, but can be also used by units such as the AMS-129 Geara Zulu (Gilboa's unit for an instance) and or the MSN-06S Sinanju. While the Kshatriya and Geara Zulu hold these weapons with their hands, the Sinanju can equip them on its shield in the same fashion as the Unicorn Gundam according to the MG 1/100 kit of the beam gatling gun which was sold separately as an add-on.

    Back on topic, other notable shields include the YMS-15 Gyan's shield, ironically its a shield fully loaded with explosives in the form of missiles and mines which allow the Gyan to disregard the need for another ranged weapon. The royal guard MS-09R Rick Doms seen in the Plot to Assassinate Gihren manga use the same type of shield.

    The infamous knuckle shields are also very unique. They were first developed for the MS-05B Zaku I units that lacked shoulder shields, but they were more widely adopted as a cheap option to refuse the shields of fallen MS-06F/MS-06J Zaku IIs. The MS-14F Gelgoog Marines from Cima's fleet which are supposedly undersupplied all used them instead of the classic zulu shield and by U.C. 0096 we see that the AMS-101E Schuzrum Gallus uses a specialized version that can be used for blocking beams and punching.

    And since you gave the Unicorn's shield the number one spot, allow me to refer to the shield used by the YAMS-132 Rozen Zulu and its lesser known sibling, the YAMS-130 Krake Zulu. This shield has 3 mega particle cannons and an i-field, which can be used in conjunction to generate a scatter mega particle beam. The Krake Zulu has them attached to its larger arms and uses them as remote weapons, in the same fashions as the Rozen Zulu does after losing its left arm. The main advantage over the Unicorn's: they work with a quasi-psycommu system, which means that even non-newtype pilots can operate them.

    ReplyDelete

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