Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt is a gritty anime adaptation of Yasuo Ohtagaki's manga. Comprising two seasons, December Sky and Bandit Flower, the series is set in the Universal Century timeline (U.C. 0079) during the One Year War, concurrent with the events of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series. Thunderbolt stands out with its unique art style, fast-paced mobile suit battles, and a jazz-infused soundtrack.
The series primarily takes place in the Thunderbolt Sector, a dangerous debris-filled space zone resulting from the destruction of a space colony. The story follows two rival pilots: Io Fleming, a jazz-loving pilot of the Earth Federation's Moore Brotherhood, and Daryl Lorenz, a dedicated Zeon sniper who has lost his limbs in battle.
Io Fleming pilots the RX-78AL Atlas Gundam, an advanced mobile suit designed for underwater combat and high mobility, while Daryl Lorenz initially pilots the MS-06 Zaku II, which is later replaced by the powerful and heavily-armed MS-06R Zaku II High Mobility Type Psycho Zaku.
In addition to the Atlas Gundam and Psycho Zaku, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt showcases a range of iconic mobile suits from both the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. These include the RGM-79 GM, RGM-79/GH Gundam Head, and the MS-09R Rick Dom.
Thunderbolt explores the harsh realities of war, focusing on the psychological and physical toll it takes on soldiers. The series delves into the ethics of warfare, addressing the use of living dead soldiers and the lengths each side is willing to go to achieve victory.
Thunderbolt designs are easily spotted due to their heavily armed appearance, given that each suit is featured with a large array of weapons at its disposal while also carrying speed-boosting devices. Fans of mechanical detail are blessed with Thunderbolt's designs so those of you who enjoy a more complex looking mobile suit, do check them out!
Some of the kits we'd recommend, in order of complexity and affordability are:
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