Otaku USA Magazine
What’s in a Gundam Name? Deconstructing Tomino’s Odd Monikers

Mobile Suit Gundam

Without a doubt, Mobile Suit Gundam is one of the most influential anime series ever made. While the original series wasn’t a success in its own time, determination and a healthy Gunpla fandom made the Real Robot series Sunrise’s most enduring title. And you know what else endures in Tomino‘s classic series? Weird names.

We’re taking apart a few of our favorites, and seeing what exactly makes a name a Gundam Name. Will we reach a verdict? (Probably not, but we’re going to have a great time along the way.)


Almost-Names are Gundam Names

Char Aznable

Once in a while in the sci-fi world of Gundam, you’ll hear something fairly close to a normal name. (Amuro Ray, for example, borders on believable.) But the ones that really hit that Tomino vibe are just slightly skewed from reality. Take the series’s most famous character — Char Aznable. If you’ve ever thought his name sounded familiar outside the show, you’re not wrong. His name comes from French-Armenian singer and diplomat Charles Aznavour.

Similarly, almost-words get us there too, especially if they’re on a theme. We’re still thinking about Allelujah Haptism from Gundam 00 even now.


Two Words Stuck Together Are Gundam Names

Full Frontal's Ride

“Full Frontal” is literally a name that appears in Gundam. And while it’s a pseudonym (for guess who), it’s also another common tactic for these fantastic names. See Fast Side for more words thrown together as names, or (combining this with the previous tactic) Agrippa Maintainer.

If the writers are feeling really spicy, they might just split a word straight down the middle. Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory featured a pilot named Alpha A. Bate. They just straight up named a guy “alphabet.” Not even two words. Just the one.


Keysmashes Are Apparently a Gundam Name

Laraparly Madorna

At some point you have to face facts: there is no true formula for Gundam Names. Something just either is, or it isn’t. It’s not a category you define, it’s a category you feel. Sometimes that means real names, sometimes it means random words. And sometimes it just means complete nonsense like “Laraparly Madorna.”

Later Gundam series are a regular source of names like this. Take that man of the cloth from Reconguista in G, Gel Trimidestus Nug. But off-the-rails names aren’t solely the purview of modern series. After all, 1985’s Zeta Gundam gave us actual tongue twister names Kacricon Cacooler and Lila Milla Rira. (It also gave us Jamitov Hymen, but the less said about that, the better.)

Have we come to a conclusion? No. And we never will. But have we reminded you there’s an anime character named Full Frontal? Yes… and that’s what matters.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.