Gaijin Goombah (real name Michael Sundman, born September 5, 1984) is an ex-English teacher turned video game analyst who focuses on culture, especially (but not exclusively) Japanese culture. His main show is Game Exchange, though he also does Gaijin Gamers Play, GG IRL, and Goombah Rage, Which Ninja, and Yokai Hunters (originally titled Yokai Watchers, but was changed to avoid confusion with the game series of similar name), and his videos appear both on his own YouTube channel — Gaijin Goomba Media — and on the Game Theorists channel. He recently began a more personal channel about his experiences with Japanese culture and his opinions on his time there called Gaijin Perspective. In 2018, Michael quietly left the channel.
Originally, he appeared as a cartoon Goomba (though keeping his glasses and beard) with his voice altered. He then split himself between his real-life self and his mascot version, especially as he started collaborating more with Team Four Star, culminating in their creation of a channel focused primarily on anime coverage, Four Star Bento. He also appears as one of the main characters with other Team Four Star creators on The Unexpectables as Greckles.
Gaijin's videos provide examples of:
- Angst Aversion: He explains during his review of Undertale that this is why he tends to avoid AAA games."One of the big reasons I tend to stay away from triple-A games is their dark, gritty, and hopeless nature. These games are constantly showing you just how worthless, evil, and monstrous humanity can be, and in many circumstances, there's no hope for them, or even you. There's simply the somber and sobering story of 'life is cruel, then you die'."
- Animation Bump:
- Author Appeal: Ninja, to the point where he even created a show called Which Ninja, a show that specifically analyzes certain fictional ninja to see how accurate their ninja traits are. In his Perspective channel, you can see a loving display of different ninja weapons on his back wall.
- Berserk Button: A strange one initially, but he noted just how distracting and infuriating Engrish in anime had become for him after watching Japan Sinks, a show he otherwise very much enjoyed, because it reminded him of just how hard it was to impart on kids at one of the schools he taught at just how important being multilingual is, and how far he feels the education system in Japan has to go in promoting it.
- Boob-Based Gag: Aki the goomba has a huge bust that has been the subject of jokes on occasion, often invoked by Aki herself who happily admits she is incredibly well-endowed in real life.
- Dark Is Evil: Gaijin's former adversaries in his earlier videos, the Fumon. A group of black-clad figures who actively and maliciously spread misinformation and slander to sow ignorance in the masses regarding culture.
- Day in the Limelight: Aki had her own short series called “Aki’s Pixel Pets” where she looked at famous video game animals and compared them to their real life inspirations.
- Decomposite Character: As stated above, he originally presented himself as just his Goombah ninja avatar, but has since started appearing as his human self (re: IRL) while the avatar serves as a co-host to play off of. In essence, though, the two are still the same guy. Best seen in his Which Ninja videos, the two serve as Devil's Advocate to each other with regards to how accurate the character they're analyzing is as a ninja, where one will point out the positives and giving the higher score to accuracy and the other with the negatives, and therefore giving a lower score.
- Foreign Cuss Word: His recent videos have him resorting to this on occasion in order to avoid having his videos demonetized for mature content. Such as in his Which Ninja video on Murasaki, where co-host Little G uses the Japanese words for “sex” and “erotic magazine” respectively instead of just saying them in English.
- Happily Married: Both in real life and through their goombah avatars. Gaijin's sweetheart is Aki, depicted as a blonde, busty goombah.
- Mascot Mook: A Goombah, obviously.
- Ninja: His avatar's design since its first Art Evolution and his Author Appeal in general.
- Nerdgasm: Almost any media that portrays Japan as a whole and ninja accurately with proper historical context makes him Squee. His livestream of Ghost of Tsushima has him bouncing off the walls on the various details that Sucker Punch got right, from architecture, items, cultural lore, to the more realistic historical details, especially the more ninja-like aspects of the gameplay.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Goombah initially thinks Gaijin is making a joke when he announces that the next ninja to be judged is the Spy from Team Fortress 2. It takes some reassurance, but they do show there is more ninja in Spy than someone might expect.
- Once an Episode: In Yokai Hunters/Yokai Watchers, Goombah will don his robes and perform a detailed Summoning Ritual to call the episode's Yokai to them.
- Punny Name: Gaijin's Original ork warboss, Orka Nobudakka.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: His Goombah and Gaijin respectively. Goombah is often more passionate, inclined to rants, and easier to tick off whilst giving more harsh criticisms and judgments. Gaijin is much more calm, logical, understanding, and often plays Devil’s advocate with subjects that are less culturally accurate.
- Running Gag: When the historical ninja's choice of garb is brought up, Gaijin sings a short jingle to remind everyone, "Real ninja wear blue!". Apparently he's contractually obligated to sing the jingle.
- Shown Their Work: His entire schtick, showing what aspects of cultural influences that are present in games. In the process, he himself shows this when it comes to anything Japanese, owing to his many years in Japan as a student and then English teacher.
- Played-Straight with The Lonely Goomba.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: The mascot Goombah loathes Genji from Overwatch for being one of the least realistic ninja in popular culture. The animosity is shown to be mutual as Genji has threatened Gaijin before the real version broke the two up.
- Take That, Critics!: The video "Goomba Got Back" makes fun of the people who hate his girlfriend Aki's design.
- Tranquil Fury: He made a vlog where he calmly and furiously deconstructed Logan Paul's controversial video where he recorded a corpse of a suicide victim and showed his overall inappropriate behavior in Japan. He states that Logan might have just ruined the lives of a lot of foreigners visiting Japan or living in Japan by promoting the boorish stereotype that all Americans are all self-centred jerks who have no respect for other cultures. Gaijin makes a point of how it took 17 years (17 YEARS!) to earn the smallest amount of respect in Japan and how he had to endure severe isolation during this time.
- Values Dissonance: In-Universe He covers this, and is quite familiar with it. Particularly with Japan-American Values Dissonance.
- Yōkai: The focus of his Yokai Hunters/Yokai Watchers series. Like 'Which Ninja, it focuses on a video game or anime portrayal of Yōkai and shows how accurate or inaccurate it is to the original folk lore.
- Signature Mon: At least in Pokémon GO, Exeggutor.
- Sarcasm Mode: Gaijin is often sarcastic, but when he does, it's usually Played for Drama.Gaijin Goombah: So thanks Logan. Thanks for making my job harder...