The Gundam universe is home to many mobile-suit pilots, tactical support staff, and political leaders. With such a vast ensemble cast across multiple series, it’s only possible for some characters to get equal treatment. While the main protagonists understandably take center stage, many essential side characters had great potential but needed to be more utilized.
This article looks at seven characters that deserved more screen time or development based on their backgrounds and roles within pivotal events.
1. Christina Mackenzie – Mobile Suit Gundam 00
As one of the Ptolemaios crew members in Gundam 00, Christina is the calm, rational tactical operator balanced against the more emotional Feldt Grace. Her pacifist views provide a moral counterpoint to the combat violence that defines Celestial Being’s Gundam Pharact interventions. Yet there is limited backstory on her family or motivations for joining, even though her traumatic death during battle shakes the crew.
Exploring Christina’s past and delving deeper into her ideological conflicts around peace versus armed interventions could have offered an invaluable perspective. The opportunity was there to develop Christina as the heart and conscience of the team, challenging them to consider non-violent paths.
2. Tolle Koenig – Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Kira Yamato’s friend Tolle is granted some sympathetic moments as someone struggling to keep up as a regular human in a world of genetically enhanced coordinators. He joins the Alliance forces, hoping to protect his home from ZAFT invaders. However, Tolle lacked depth or primary characterization before his abrupt death shook Kira’s resolve.
Besides, expanding Tolle’s presence earlier to establish his motivations and relationships could have made his demise more emotionally resonant. His friendship with Kira begged further exploration as a window into civilian lives disrupted by war. Tolle’s untapped potential represents lost chances to humanize the stakes.
3. Heine Westenfluss – Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
As one of ZAFT’s Extended pilots in Destiny, Heine brought a sense of honor to contrast the extremism of teammate Stellar Loussier. His ideologies aligned more with protagonist Shinn Asuka, highlighting the divisions within ZAFT itself. But Heine is ultimately relegated to a minor role and meets an underwhelming end.
Further, developing him into a moderate voice of reason opposed to radical factions could have added morally gray nuance. His death at Steller’s hands also severed a chance to expand the rogue pilots’ arcs through conflict with Heine’s principles.
4. Yzak Joule – Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
The hot-headed Yzak’s path from bigoted ZAFT soldier to grudging Archangel crew ally demonstrated great growth potential. His hatred toward Kira stemmed from deep-seated prejudices that could have been explored through their rivalry. But after defecting to the Three Ships Alliance, Yzak fades into the background.
Arguably, more screen time devoted to his changing worldview and overcoming old grudges would have enriched Yzak as a multifaceted character. His proud nature also provided comic relief that could have lightened the series’ tone. In the end, Yzak became more stagnant than developed.
5. Ryu Jose – Mobile Suit Gundam 0083
Ryu served as a mentor to protagonist Kou Uraki in 0083 as an experienced Zeon veteran. His belief in Zeon’s ideals appeared at odds with his growing camaraderie with Federation members. Expanding Ryu’s role could have delved into his complex backstory as a family man and soldier.
The tragedy of being pitted against former students in the Albion crew highlighted the nuanced conflicts within individual characters. But Ryu existed primarily to guide Kou, a missed opportunity to make him a compelling figure wrestling with his loyalties. His limited screen time sold Ryu’s possibilities short.
6. The Sanc Kingdom – Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
The peace-fostering Sanc Kingdom plays a vital role in the political landscape of Gundam Wing. But we need more insight into how its pacifist ideals shape the perspectives of two protagonists raised there, Relena Peacecraft and Quatre Winner.
Also, developing the kingdom beyond a symbolic presence could have illuminated Relena’s motivations and Quatre’s internal struggles in choosing war over pacifism. Exploring more everyday citizens and their lives in the kingdom would have strengthened the anti-war messaging. For an entity central to two main characters, the Sanc Kingdom is more of a plot device than the realized setting.
7. Woolf Enneacle – Mobile Suit Gundam Age
Woolf’s mentoring of young Flit Asuno as part of the Divine Pirates injected spirit into the often grim Age series. His charisma and humor offered levity while shaping Flit’s coming of age as a pilot. But Woolf disappeared for long stretches, only to later die protecting Flit.
Further, more consistent involvement with Flit as a father figure could have escalated the emotional stakes. His absence created a vacuum that no character stepped up to fill. Keeping Woolf around as a source of morale would have benefited Flit’s development and the overall tone.
While prioritizing main characters is understandable, the absence of many compelling secondary figures represents missed opportunities within the Gundam franchise. Christina, Tolle, Heine, Yzak, Ryu, the Sanc Kingdom, and Woolf are just a few examples of side characters that resonated but never fully realized their potential.
Giving more screen time and backstory to such supporting roles could have enriched the tapestry of their respective series. Their underutilization left thought-provoking themes, relationships, and conflicts unexplored within the intricate Gundam universe.
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