The results are in for what can only be described as one of the most all-encompassing fan polls coming out of Japan. Last Saturday NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, posted the results of its online poll that sought to determine the best elements in the Gundam Franchise. Categories included things like Best Mobile Suit, Best Gundam Song, and Best Character. Assuming that each participant was only allowed to vote once, a staggering 1.7 million fans took part in the survey.
The poll results also showed the voting demographics behind the Gundam fan base. When broken down by gender the voters were overwhelmingly male, with their votes making up seventy nine percent of the vote, while women only made up twenty two percent. Particularly interesting data gathered through the census pertains to the age range of the participants polled. While people ages twenty to twenty nine made up the single largest age demographic, accounting for thirty percent of the vote, the combined age range of thirty to forty nine (see graphic below) accounted for more than half of the poll’s total participants—fifty three percent of the 1.7 million ballots. With the Gundam franchise entering its fortieth anniversary it’s no wonder many who grew up watching the very first series came out to show their passion in the vote.
Now comes the most important part, the winners. While you can find a comprehensive breakdown on the NHK’s poll on their website, here are a few of the winners from each category. The Best Anime Work went to the progenitor of the series Mobile Suit Gundam, followed by Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, and Mobile Suit Gundam Seed. The Best Mobile Suit went to RX-93 v Gundam, otherwise known as Nu Gundam, which is piloted by Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack. The Best Gundam Song went to Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam’s second opening, “Mizu no Hoshi e Ai wo Komete” (Towards the Aqueous Star with Love) by Hiroko Moriguchi.
Lastly, there were two categories for characters: the first being Best Character (Separate Work), and the second was Best Character (Combined Works) due to characters appearing in multiple shows across the franchise’s history. In a stunning result for Best Character (Separate Work), Orga Itsuka took top billing for his role in the 2015 series Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. While second place went to Char Aznable from the 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam, and third going to Amuro Ray from Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack which was released in 1988. However, in the Best Character (Combined Works) category Char Aznable won the day. Considered to be one of the greatest antagonists in all of anime, Char, who has appeared in many of the Gundam franchise’s shows, was the clear favourite. Second place of course went to Gundam’s top hero Amuro Ray, who battled with Char for years over the fate of the human race. And once again shocking many, Orga Itsuka took third place, solidifying him as one of Gundam’s greatest.