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Metal Robot Spirits Rising Freedom and Immortal Justice Gundam

Metal Robot Spirits Rising Freedom and Immortal Justice Gundam

Written by Ross Locksley on 21 Mar 2024

• Manufacturer Bandai • Price £120 each

It's not often I do a "twofer" review, but when it comes to these Metal Robot Spirits figures, there's really no separating them - they just work as a pair!

These are, of course, the latest Gundams to be piloted by Kira Yamato (Rising Freedom) and Athruan Zala (Immortal Justice), the friends who become enemies who become friends again. The mechs make their debut in the long-awaited Gundam SEED Freedom movie that's currently doing the rounds in UK cinemas, with a run in the US scheduled for later this year. 

Both Gundams are non-nuclear suits, and as such represent a tactical downgrade from the previous suits. Even so, there's no denying that both are striking designs with lovely little design touches which evoke memories of earlier suits piloted by the pair. 

Immortal Justice

Let's start with Athrun, whose Immortal Justice has a beautiful colourway. It's certainly a lighter maroon when compared to the Metal Robot Spirits Justice Gundam, with a slightly more rouge/pink hue. This makes it look less moody, but it also allows the details to really pop. Primary colours here are red, a dark grey with a purple tinge, light grey and yellow highlights. It removes the rather obnoxious white line details from the torso section that were found on the original Justice, and the rest of the design riffs off both predecessors. The raised sensor bar sits atop the head like a unicorn, the boomerang sabers have moved from the shoulders to the hips (though the shoulders still have protruding grey spikes) and the shins can deploy "Calcitra" beams so that Athrun can kick people to death. Charming. He also carries two other armaments - a high energy beam rifle that matches the Rising Freedom in all but colours, and a RQM75 Flash Edge 4 Shield Boomerang, a chunky shield that can deploy beam sabers and wings to act as a strike unit that resembles a drone.  

Metal Robot Spirits Immortal Justice GundamThe shield becomes a weapon

The backpack is a winged unit ("lifter" system) has two angular wings with thrusters and a nosecone that envelops the head during transformation into its MA Form, which is the configuration that allows the unit to traverse atmosphere and enter space. On my copy at least, the connecting point for each wing is attached to a rotating peg that's far too weak to hold the weight. This is a curiously poor design choice for this line and sadly cheapens the lustre of the unit overall. It just feels saggy. Removing the Fatum from Athrun's new unit is a real downgrade in every sense, and so the original Justice is still my favourite Gundam from his garage.

Otherwise, this is a very nice design with a pleasing colour design. My favourite touches are the dark grey "C" shapes on the shoulders which are a lovely callback to Athrun's first Gundam, the GAT-X303 Aegis, the light greay armour around the upper calves and the single use of light blue along the hood of the cockpit. Like everyone else I was initially drawn to the Strike and Freedom Gundam designs, but over time I've really come to appreciate the colours and imaginative weapon choices often gifted to Athrun's Gundams. It's my favourite of the two in terms of immediate impact, but as I'll discuss next, the Rising Freedom performs better in almost every aspect of practical design.

Rising Freedom

Kira's new ride shares the same basic frame as Athrun's, so there are similarities to the silhouette but the details are almost entirely unique. Featuring a more traditional blue (albeit powder and not dark) and grey colour palette, the designers have taken a lot of cues from the original Freedom Gundam. In particular the MMI-M2020 "Viper 3" Railguns, a pair of folding compact weapons that hang on the hips and the wing array on the backpack that contains a pair of plasma cannons. Operating both of these at once with its wings unfolded allows the unit to enter "full burst" mode which allows a devastating attack concentrated on one enemy, or multiples at once. It's an iconic look, and the figure portrays it beautifully. While the individual wing blades feel scarily thin, they're nice and tight and should hold any configuration you put them in. Having the weapons incorporated into them also makes them feel far more practical than the floppy wings that just hang off the Immortal Justice backpack, so it feels better quality and is more useful/enjoyable to play with and pose. 

Metal Robot Spirits Rising FreedomRising Justice goes "Full Burst". The wing array is iconic.

Rounding off the look, there are a pair of "sub-wings" either side of the folded canopy, with lovely red-undersides clearly visible in the standard mode. I just really like the look of them. 

The Rising Freedom shares the same rifle as Immortal Justice and has an equally chunky/transformable shield. I'm not sure how I feel about this new weapon system, I'll wait to see it in the movie before I pass final judgement, but it is a fun thing to fiddle with. 

Comments on both units

In terms of execution, both figures deliver the usual level of Metal Robot Spirits quality in terms of build. The metal skeleton on both units provides solid posing abilities, though I did notice that the Immortal Justice struggles at time to keep things aloft, especially the shield unit. The matte paint is exquisite, giving the unit a lovely cel-painted feel and I just love how sharp and unfriendly all the plastic pieces are to children. The feeling in hand is very high quality, and things don't fall off too much when you're handling them - the hip-mounted boomerangs on the Immortal Justice did occasionally ping off, but that was about the worst of it.

One frustration was that the shields are now tall enough to mess with the protruding shoulders. Where previous incarnations wisely left the shields short enough at the top to sit comfortably under these spikey protrusions, the new ones, especially with how thick they are, tend to get in the way. Immortal Justice has enough slide on the peg to push the shield under the grey spike which protrudes the furthest (though still doesn't give much wiggle room for posing) the Rising Freedom is just stupidly impractical and hard to place in a good position. It feels incomplete with this missing from the arm, but I might be able to live with it

Both figures come with stands emblazoned with metallic graphics in the signature colour of each unit. Beam effects, multiple hands, spare crests and connecting pieces are all in place, the Immortal Justice even comes with a couple of hands for the Rising Freedom to help it wield beam sabers at a more natural angle. I do love it when toy companies throw upgrades to existing toys into the box, especially on a pair like this where one is unlikely to be far from the other in a collection. 

As usual, Bandai have done an excellent job with these small scale Chogokin figures, they're fast becoming my favourite scale to collect, not only because you can display more of them, but because the details are so sharp that you don't feel that anything is missing. Yes, a few small niggle might mar the enjoyment somewhat in very specific posing circumstances, but for the Japanese RRP these are made to a very high standard, feature top-quality plastic and paint applications and a ton of accessories that allows you to create the perfect stance for your shelf.

With these no on display in the office, consider me officially hyped for the film release.

A few minor niggles aside, the two lead units for the new Gundam SEED film are excellent value for money and look stunning on display.

Ross Locksley
About Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time. You can read his more personal articles on UKA's sister site, The Anime Independent.


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