Nightmare Fuel: Gundam
aka: Gundam Build Fighters
For a Long Runner of a meta-series, the Gundam franchise has loads of really scary moments.
- Colony drops are bad enough when it's just one at a time; the opening scene of Gundam X shows the sight of DOZENS of colonies crashing to Earth, causing pretty much The End of the World as We Know It.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam is not short of this, either! Just think of the DG cells and the Devil Gundam. The Gundam Fight itself is one that comes even before DG cells; while the Neo colony nations fight each other using Mobile Fighters for the control of Earth, the Earth has to suffer in silence the property damage and the loss of lives. The message implying the upcoming 14th Gundam Fight at the end foreshadows more catastrophes to come right after the destruction of Devil Gundam.
- The "Gundam rapeface◊". Seriously, take a good, hard look at the classic Gundam faceplate. Pitiless, merciless, glowing eyes, that V-fin making it look angry... seeing that staring you down in the middle of a fight would not be pleasant, and has utterly terrified more than one enemy pilot in the series.
Universal Century/Regild Century - Mobile Suit Gundam
- Just think of the colony drops - utterly evil and terrifying. Imagine having one colony flattening you right from above your head.
- Most of the time, colony drops are glossed over to some extent: we only see the aftermath and hear about how terrible it was. However, the Dublin Drop in Gundam ZZ is the one time we see a colony drop up close and personal, from beginning to end. There's sheer panic in the streets as civilians desperately try to evacuate, the Federation is denying anything is wrong and refusing to send rescue, and the Neo-Zeon forces are deliberately shooting down evacuees and cutting off exit routes to ensure that as many people as possible would be killed. Then the colony hits, and the shockwave is so severe it knocks warships out of the sky and the debris cloud is visible from over the horizon. Judau nearly has a nervous breakdown after regaining consciousness, because as a pretty powerful Newtype he can sense all the pain, terror, and grief of the millions of recently dead. The landscape is not just littered with but made out of flattened debris of the city, the sky is blotted out from the dust and smoke, and there is bits of falling metal raining down from the still-mostly-intact colony now sticking out of the ground, which collapses minutes later. The worst part is the Federation leaders' reaction to this: "Oh, well. At least it means fewer mouths to feed."
- The Mobile Suits in general, all of them are powered by nuclear reactors. It's never stated explicitly where the reactors are but they're pretty damn close to the cockpit where the pilot sits. Any pilot who operates a Mobile Suit either in combat or for general construction work far away from the conflict has to deal with the knowledge that they're sitting next to something that has the potential to go critical if damaged and kill not only them but potentially everyone in the surrounding area. Think about that the next time you see a Zaku going up in a cloud of pink smoke.
- By extension, all weapons in the franchise, including warships and even the heroic Gundams themselves, are Nightmare Fuel. One professor even states to Alfred in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket that they are Necessarily Evil, and are never meant to bring people happiness. Mobile Suit Gundam MS Igloo even shows us in one episode what it feels like to die at the hands of the White Devil and by extension how terrified Zeon soldiers are when hearing this infamous name.
- No matter what the intention Tomino might have, the monotone "La" during Lalah Sune's attack on the Federation fleet in Solomon is absolutely terrifying, echoing an unspeakable horror Zeon's Newtype soldiers unleash. If one doesn't feel it, one has quite a numb nerve.
- In addition to the monotone, we're given another two bottles of nightmare fuel in the Battle of Solomon. First, the Earth Federation's solar reflector array, Solar System, fires a giant beam that decimates the main gate of the fortress as well as all the Zeon units that attempt to sortie there, burning them to ashes. Then, Dozle Zabi's Big Zam retaliates, frying the Federation fleet in the same way.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, an image of bleeding Riddhe in an angry expression could count too.◊
- This goes back to Riddhe's ancestor, Ricardo Marcenas' death at the very beginning of the Universal Century, being sucked out into space mid-speech as the Laplace station is destroyed. It definitely does a good job foreshadowing what humanity was to expect from the UC Calendar.
- The Angel Halo from Mobile Suit Victory Gundam is for all intents and purposes weaponized Nightmare Fuel. Instead of nukes, killer death lasers or nuke-loaded asteroids like in most other UC works, this one uses the power of several Newtypes (who think they're all channeling their abilities for peace) to broadcast a wave that can mentally warp people into infantile toddlers. And the Zanscare Empire intends to use this on everyone on Earth. Compared to that, even Char's Axis drop is far more preferable.
- While the backstory of Gundam Reconguista In G is described as being rather dark, especially given that it's set over a millenium after the UC Calendar was abolished, at one point institutionalized cannibalism was considered a thing. Let that sink in for a second.
- This is the setting that gave us Yazan Gable, a Sociopathic Soldier who is little more than a bloodthirsty feral beast that's capable of piloting a mobile suit. He's totally obsessed with killing and slaughter, considering his whole purpose in life to be the death of anyone and everyone who catches his eye. And he is good at it; he's not only one of the series' worst villains, but also the resident Hero Killer. The man's one battlecry is "I'm gonna violate you!"
Correct Century - Turn A Gundam
- The initial invasion of Earth by the Moonrace's Dianna Counter forces counts as this. Which wouldn't be unusual for a Gundam show...except that Earth people are no more advanced than in World War I. From the perspective of someone on Earth, the realization that all your guns and biplanes do close to nothing against an entire army of mobile suits even after the titular Turn-A shows up and they find their own caches of Lost Technology weapons is downright terrifying.
- The Turn-A and Turn-X themselves are essentially walking Nightmare Fuel, much like the Ideon. In addition to outclassing just about every mobile suit ever made in the Dark History (while using only a small fraction of their full power), there's also the "Moonlight Butterfly" a nanomachine system that can destroy any technology, which was also responsible for ending said Dark History by destroying civilization on Earth thousands of years before the series takes place. There's a good reason why they're so feared.
- The implications of the Dark History are this and a tearjerker. No matter what the protagonists achieved in the other Gundam shows, it ultimately leads to the Moonlight Butterfly.
Cosmic Era - Gundam SEED, Gundam SEED Destiny and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED CE.73: Stargazer
- SEED was the first Gundam series to be broadcast in high definition, and to celebrate, the producers apparently decided to up the gore and horror content beyond anything previously attempted. Yikes.
- Several death scenes deserve special mention:
- In the original SEED series Yzak Joule destroys a spacecraft carrying Heliopolis refugees including a little girl that befriended Kira. This scene became more disturbing in the HD rerelease of the series where we see the people inside the spacecraft a second before dying.
- Nicol Amalfi jumps out to save his friend Athrun from Kira's BFS. He succeeds in a sense, but is not only bisected by a massive beam sword in the process, he has enough time to tell Athrun to run away with the sword still in his gut before blood fills his visor, and his Gundam explodes.
- Tolle Koenig tries doing the same thing for Kira, only this time in a plane. It accomplishes little, but he gets the gruesome honor of dying via a Gundam shield getting boomeranged into his cockpit and decapitating him.
- In Gundam SEED Destiny, a pilot of a Dagger L is shown getting the Impulse's combat knife slammed into his cockpit, decapitating him and spilling blood over the massive blade.
- Djibril gets a particularly fitting one. As he prepares to abandon his men on the Lunar base the same way he did at Heaven's Base, Rey Za Burrel bursts out of nowhere in the Legend and sends two sword DRAGOONS through the bridge of the Girty Lue. It cuts to Djibril◊ screaming in agony and terror as his body is ripped apart by the beams.
- There was also Mudie Holcroft's death in the Gundam Seed Stargazer OVA, where a pack of BuCUE's dog-piled her mobile suit and stabbed her continually with their beam fangs. Her screams made it all the more disturbing.
- The ruins of Junius Seven are pretty gruesome. It's implied to be a lot worse than shown, but one scene shows the corpse of a mother still futilely shielding her baby's body even after they've been drifting in space for nearly a year. Given just how many people lived on the PLANT, there were probably entire regions littered with scenes like this.
- Speaking of Junius Seven, the opening scenes of the Stargazer OVA depict the initial fallout of the Colony Drop involving said ruins. Up close. Large areas surrounding the impact sites are in total chaos, with survivors desperately trying to get out while aid efforts are severely hampered, in an unsettling parallel to certain hurricane disasters. Which is followed by a group of mobile suits proceeding to gun down everyone in the vicinity.
- The Cyclops self-destruct system (a high-powered microwave weapon) and gamma ray Kill Sat GENESIS. Microwaves heat water, and given that the human body is about 60% water by weight, you can imagine what it does to people caught in its area of effect. GENESIS is basically Rule of Scary. When it's fired into the Earth Alliance fleet in episode 48, you get to see the crews of the ships screaming and writhing for about a second, as their space suits expand and pop. It's even worse when the weapon hits an Alliance lunar base, as we get to see several Bridge Bunnies at their communications stations, clutching at their chests before blood sprays from their mouths and nostrils, and then they burst like balloons.
- The end of the Battle of Panama, the ZAFT soldiers, still enraged about JOSH-A, begin killing the surrendering OMNI prisoners. The screams of the helpless soldiers getting shot up by GINN rifles and small arms is pretty sickening, along with a few images of their mutilated corpses for added effect.
- The corpses we don't see are going to be even worse. Considering that the GINN's assault rifle fires 76mm rounds, we're well into Chunky Salsa Rule territory here.
- Mendel. Dear Lord Mendel. That place is implicit horror through the roof. The experiments held there, the blind ambition of the scientists that caused them to basically slaughter children For Science!, and the still functioning artificial wombs, still showing the embryo ultrasounds, is just sickening to the core. It doesn't help that it's Rau Le Creuset who is narrating just what went down here, managing to make himself look more like a victim than a villain, once he recounts how he was born.
- And that's without getting into just how terrifying the villains on both sides are. Or Rau Le Creuset who is one of the most chillingly realistic Omnicidal Maniacs ever presented by a TV show.
- Azrael's final Villainous Breakdown is pretty nightmarish.
- When Shinn's family gets killed, all he's able to find is his little sister's arm, ripped clean from her body.
- And then there's what the bodies themselves look like when he does see them.
- Also, when the Minerva crew finds the lab at Lodonia, where they train the Extendeds, in Gundam SEED Destiny.
- This deserves explanation. When Shinn and Rey first enter the place, Rey has a full biological and nervous breakdown. Later, when the teams sweep in and start exploring, they find both scientists and kids who haven't even entered puberty yet, all dead from infighting. Some of them were still in tubes when they were shot or stabbed. The last room is filled with brains, all stuffed into jars and jammed with probes, along with a computer detailing just what they did there.
- Myudi's death in Stargazer. Imagine being trapped in a mobile suit cockpit while three Bu CU Es gouge to pieces with their beam fangs, moving closer and closer in until they finally have the courtesy to finish you of.
- Shinn Auska himself is a frightening concept. The closest thing in-setting to being a match for The Ace Kira Yamato, Shinn is most definitely not a Technical Pacifist. Instead, he's a frothing mad berserker who is driven by pretty much an unrelenting, undying hatred of everything and everyone he sees as opposed to him. So you have a psychotic warrior who favors a BFS designed for cleaving spaceships in half, who won't stop until he has brutally murdered everything in sight, and will gladly disobey orders in his need to kill. And this character not only has access to a Super Mode that basically makes him capable of outfighting anyone who doesn't have the same trait, but is also driving one of the deadliest mobile suits in the series for most of the series.
- The Mobile Suit GFAS-X1 Destroy Gundam. It is the biggest mobile suit in the entire series, capable of crushing another mobile suit underfoot without even noticing. It packs three different kinds of Wave Motion Guns, multiple chainguns, a diverse array of lasers and combat drones to become the most powerful landbased Weapon of Mass Destruction in the series. Just one of these things slaughtered its way singlehandedly across Eurasia, burning entire cities and armies to molten vapor without even slowing down. Making things worse, the Destroy is initially piloted by a totally psychotic Child Soldier who, driven by fear and an incomprehension of the existence of any other person, will kill the entire world without thinking about it.
Anno Domini - Gundam 00
- Ali al-Saachez from Gundam 00 is absolutely terrifying. The thought of anyone being so cruel and doing horrible things just because he can, and wanting war to continue endlessly because he enjoys it.
Ali: "Oh ho! So you're his brother?"Lockon: "Something funny about that?"Ali: "It makes killing you even sweeter!"Lockon: "What in the hell is wrong with you!?"Ali: "It's just WHO I AM!"
- Hallelujah, who is just as terrifying as the Bloody Ali. Ribbons Almark and his Innovator minions—including Nena Trinity—are just as terrifying.
- The Movie gives us the ELS. The silicon-based organisms themselves are a little unnerving, but it's the way they assimilate other lifeforms that's so terrifying. Silvery crystals grow through the victim (not on, through), in a manner surprisingly similar to the Festum.
- Particularly harrowing is the fate of Descartes Sharman, trapped in the cockpit of his mobile armor, as we see the crystals growing out of the skin of his face (even coming out of his mouth), until they shatter his helmet, all while he screams in fear and pain.
Advanced Generation - Gundam AGE
- The Unknown Enemies in Gundam AGE, whose sole purpose is to kill and kill and destroy everything in their path, and blowing up a colony, killing millions and making millions homeless. This also causes a revenge fuel in the main casts of the show.
- Thought the big twist revealing that the UE are Human All Along would make them much less horrifying? Nope, it actually makes them worse. Think about it: since the Vagans were living in a planet that has a weak magnetic field that can't protect them from cosmic radiation, they most likely were killing each other for 150 years over scarce resources (later confirmed to be true by Zeheart). Then a dictator, Ezelcant, uses their desperation to unite them under a promise of capturing Earth Sphere, which has been at peace for 100 years with advanced mobile suit technologies banned by treaty. Hate to pull a Godwin but, much like how Zeon resembles Nazi Germany, Vagan is the second coming of North Korea. Being personality-cult fanatics who blow all their resources on military technology at the expense of social development (as seen in Episodes 29 and 37) clinches it.
- And their ace in the hole? Desil Galette. A Deliberately Cute Child who was always bad news to Flit, he reveals his true colors in Episode 13. From killing his own comrades to pressing Yurin to make her fight for the UE, Desil has cemented himself as a horrifying villain in the series.
- One episode after that, he kills Yurin and mocks her, saying that she was nothing but a toy at his own disposal. The lack of any empathy is truly unnerving... from a seven year old, no less!
- And now we see how far his sanity slipped between generations. He's no longer a Deliberately Cute Child◊, he's now THIS.◊ In short, he gets worse.
- Gundam AGE probably wouldn't have its own folder in this Nightmare Fuel page if it weren't for Desil being such a one-man horror show. Yup, he's JUST THAT SCARY.
- Heck, one can thank Desil for starting a Nightmare Fuel page for the entire franchise.
- Imagine being chained to the cockpit of a UE mobile suit as an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight controls the functions of that mobile suit. Then, when you see your loved one on the battlefield, the system controlled by the Blood Knight orders your mobile suit to open fire on your loved one against your will. And all you could do is watch in horror. That is what happens to Yurin when Desil had her locked up in the cockpit of the Farsia mobile suit in Episode 14.
- Grodek getting jumped and stabbed to death by Arabel Zoi in Episode 24. Arabel then gives his smile demonically in the middle of a dark, wet alleyway will haunt you for days.
- In Episode 26, Flit reveals his trump card, a Kill Sat known as the Photon Ring. Much like the GENESIS, it vaporizes any unprotected Vagan that's in its path. Combined with Flit's eternal hatred of the nation that killed both his parents and Yurin and... well, you do the math.
- In Episode 27, Daz attempted to taking Flit with him, and his face actually looks even scarier than Desil's!
- Flit's coup d'état in Episode 28. While it's one thing to remove traitors in the government, it's another to eliminate those who would oppose outright genocide of the Vagans. Moreover, seeing a cold Flit imposed on the terrified faces of the uprooted officials shows how disturbing his plan is.
- We witness in Episode 30 a Vagan battleship wrecking havoc on an entire city, wiping out innocent lives; we even get to witness a mother bearing a baby vaporized by fire! All of this terror makes the AGE-3 vaporizing the crew of the ship with its new BFG, which would have also qualified as one Nightmare Fuel, all the much more satisfying.
- We finally get to see life in Vagan. Many citizens live in poverty and are unable to get their hands on medicine for the disease caused by Mars Rays. And even if they could it would only be a temporary measure—Ezelcant himself has just six months to live, which will leave his wife with a dead child and husband. The disease hits everyone regardless of their age or social status. Conditions are so hopeless and dehumanizing that most people gradually shut off their emotions as they get older, except for resentment towards the Federation that abandoned them. For Vagan, crossing the Despair Event Horizon is not an event in one's life, it is their life.
- From the new opening sequence, the silhouette of Vagan Gear. It will no doubt be far less frightening when we see it in the light, but at the moment, well, just LOOK at it.◊
- Even seen in the light, the Vagan Gear SID is still rather unsettling to look at.
- If you look closely at the second opening title sequence for Gundam Build Fighters, we see Chairman Mashita and his aide Baker standing in a room filled with Mobile Suits from various Gundam series, and they obviously look quite sinister-looking (One of them is the Master Gundam, no less!). THEN we get a close-up look of the Chairman and the Mobile Suit behind him stops at Gundam Exia with its red optics glowing, and cue the Chairman making a maniacal grin. It's really unsettling.
- In Episode 14, we see Chairman Mashita's aide Baker essentially hires a mobile suit equivalent of a hired gun (Mr C.) to eliminate Sei and Reiji's Star Build Strike Gundam and he would stop at nothing to hinder their way and prevent them from reaching the finals. And Sei and Reiji were nearly eliminated from the competition due to Mr C.'s intervention, he was clearly celebrating in his private chambers.
- That's not mentioning he unleashes a 1/48 Mega Size Zaku II to target Star Build Strike Gundam in Episode 12.
- It has been revealed in Episode 15 that there is a mafia that is more than willing to kill off any player pilot's mobile suit for a price.
- A Nightmare Fuel moment was avoided in Episode 6 but it's still scary to think about. Imagine for a moment if Episode 6's epic fight wasn't in the Gundam Build Fighter universe but in the Cosmic Era or Universal Century. That slash the Zaku Amazing did in the center of Build Strike would have killed the pilot. It's kind of a sobering thought.
- There are several moments like this where cockpit shots are done, and were it not a toy game, would actually kill people. Notable examples include Episodes 15, 18, and 20. It's also intentionally done that way by the animators, for action, drama, AND for the fridge thinkers, horror.
- If that's not enough, the Embody System in Episode 20 is a mixture of the Berserker System and Psycomet Mu-szell. Making the system at full output not only Mind Rape her, but also cause her to keep destroying Fenice even through Fellini had conceded from the battle. When Aila Jyrkiainen's Qubeley Papillon reveals its glowing Tron Lines, you know you are terribly, horribly screwed as an opponent.
- Worse is that just using it in general causes pain and numbness. That's why Aila acts so emotionless when in the suit.
- Now take all that, and imagine being a homeless orphan who has to go through that day after day just to have a roof over your head or food to eat. That was Aila's life until the World Tournament.
- Worse is that just using it in general causes pain and numbness. That's why Aila acts so emotionless when in the suit.
- Take one look at Exia Dark Matter, and ask yourself whether you will be afraid when this Mobile Suit appear in Gunpla battle. Hint: IT'S RED AND BLACK, AND LOOKS DAMN EVIL.
- And it shows how cruel it can be in Episode 24 by immediately attack the Build Strike before it has a chance to even react, and later when the field is changed and hunting down the Build Strike in a narrow corridor.
- How Yuuki got the Embody System on him in the first place. Unlike Aila he was by no means tricked into donning it, but it was forced on him by Nine Barthes and the PPSE staff by simply physically overpowering him. Just seeing a nice person like Yuuki being helpless, and forced to become the complete antithesis of his beliefs is just horrifying. Also there is the disturbing implication that Mashita used this very same system to make the second Meijin so ruthless.
- And the fun with the Embody System doesn't end there. Early in the series we are told that the second Kawaguchi had fallen ill requiring Yuuki to take the title and in the beginning of Episode 23 we get to see what kind of state he is in. It's heavily implied that he had been forced to use the Embody System just like Yuuki and it is also implied that that is the end result when using it for too long.