They’re called “mobile suits,” and snowboarding is a form of mobility, after all.
It’s hard to imagine now, but when the original Mobile Suit Gundam premiered on Japanese TV in 1979, it struggled to find an audience, and was temporarily cancelled due to low ratings. Today, though, it’s a very different story, and to date there are more than three dozen branches of the Gundam anime franchise, spanning TV, direct-to-video series and theatrical features.
Some of those are direct sequels to previous Gundam anime, while others take place in completely different settings with all-new characters. In tone, they range from gritty war dramas to unabashedly light-hearted toy commercials.
Really, the only constant in the world of Gundam is this: there will be more Gundam content in the future. And that’s apparently as true for real-world snowboarding mobile suits as it is for their anime counterparts, as shown in this video from Japanese Twitter user @Hiroooooki_n of a snowboarder who hit the slopes while simultaneously doing a bit of Gundam cosplay.
2017年 遂にシャア専用ザクが ゲレンデを攻めてきた。 https://t.co/OM9LKj1dTJ—
中島寛貴 (@Hiroooooki_n) January 05, 2017
Whereas the mecha snowboarder we saw a few years back was dressed as the heroic RX-78-2 Gundam, this time it was the show-stealing Char-custom Zaku that was carving through the powder. While its anime pilot, Car Aznable, is ostensibly the villain of the original series, his charisma and talent made him a fan favorite, elevating him to a position sort of like the Darth Vader of Japan and landing him endorsement deals as a pitchman for both cars and cakes.
The snowboarder’s costume is extremely detailed, faithfully reproducing the asymmetrical shields and spikes of the Zaku’s upper body, and even includes its standard-issue beam rifle. Nevertheless, the boarder deftly makes his way down the slope, and even strikes a few cool poses for the camera along the way.
It seems there was also a snowboarder cosplaying as the more darkly painted Dom mobile suit in the vicinity, although no videos of it in action have yet surfaced.
▼ Perhaps because Doms are known for going out on combat maneuvers in teams of three, and his two buddies didn’t show up.
すすたん (@susutakayama) January 30, 2017
With Japan still having a few more weeks of ski season left, the ball is now in other outdoorsy anime fans’ court to bring other mobile suits out to play in the snow.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s now wishing the ski patrol would dress up like Patlabor’s Ingrams.