One of the most beloved franchises in Japanese pop culture history, Gundam has captured the imaginations of fans all over the world ever since the first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam aired in 1979. The franchise’s reach is nothing short of amazing, spanning anime, manga, novels, model kits, video games, restaurants, fashion collections, and more.
This month, after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gundam universe expands again with the theatrical anime film Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash (機動戦士ガンダム 閃光のハサウェイ). Based on the novel series of the same name by Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, this movie is the first in a trilogy and serves as a sequel to the 1988 film Char’s Counterattack (逆襲のシャア).
Like other Gundam movies, Hathaway’s Flash wouldn’t be complete without a signature theme song. In March 2020 during the Gundam Fan Gathering –Hathaway’s Flash Heirs to Gundam- streaming event, Sunrise announced that Tokyo-based band [Alexandros] would perform the movie’s main theme, “Senkou” (閃光). Hathaway’s Flash producer Naohiro Ogata purposely selected the band, saying, “In recent years, Gundam has become very popular overseas, and it would be nice to have a Japanese artist who can go abroad with this film.”
Known for their upbeat and melodic sound, [Alexandros] is a leading band in Japan’s modern rock music scene. The band’s current members include vocalist Yoohei Kawakami, bassist Hiroyuki Isobe, guitarist Masaki Shirai, and drummer Ib Riad.[Alexandros] is no stranger to media tie-ins, having performed numerous songs for Japanese television shows, commercials, and movies. Many of the band’s songs are sung in English, as Kawakami speaks the language fluently after living in Syria as a child. “Senkou” follows this tradition, with lyrics switching between English and Japanese.
The “Senkou” CD single was released on May 5, 2021. The CD includes the original track, an all-English recording, and an instrumental version. Aside from the regular release, fans could also buy three different limited edition packages. The first two bundled the CD with either a DVD or Blu-ray recording of the band’s “Secret Session live at Shimokitazawa SHELTER” performance. The last package called the Complete Production edition contained the CD and an exclusive Gunpla plastic model kit, the HGUC 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. [Alexandros].
“Senkou” Complete Production Edition
Being a fan of both Gundam and [Alexandros], I was absolutely over the moon after hearing about this partnership. With the help of my trusted proxy shipping address, I ordered the Complete Production package from Tower Records. Now that it’s here, let’s see exactly what’s inside!
From first impressions alone, it’s clear we’re dealing with a premium item. The CD and Gunpla kit are packaged together in a matte black box. A rendering of the movie’s key mecha, the RX-105 Ξ (Xi) Gundam, appears on the front. Cloaked in shadow, its eye glows brightly against the dark background. An English verse from “Senkou” overlays the illustration.
Information about Hathaway’s Flash is printed on one side of the box. It’s interesting to note that the text still lists the movie’s release date as May 7, 2021. Due to the pandemic, the premiere had been pushed back more than three times and finally hit Japanese theaters on June 11, 2021.
Opening the box reveals the “Senkou” CD nestled in a protective cardstock insert. Exclusive to the Complete Production edition, the CD features a variant cover depicting the RX-105 Ξ Gundam. A stylized photograph of the band and the track listing decorates the back.
HGUC 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. [Alexandros] Gunpla Model Kit
Next, we have the Complete Production edition’s main draw: the HGUC 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. [Alexandros] Gunpla plastic model kit! (And wow, what a name! Let’s just call it the RX-78-2 [Alexandros] from now on.) As mentioned before, this Gunpla model is available only in this package. The model itself is a recolor of the HGUC RX-78-2 Gundam (Revive Ver.) kit, which was manufactured in 2015.
I’ve been building Gunpla kits here and there for the past couple years, and in that time I’ve bought a few from the High Grade Universal Century (HGUC) line. Like with other HGUC models, putting together the RX-78-2 [Alexandros] was an easy and fun process.
If you’re not familiar with Gunpla models, each kit contains trays of plastic parts, called runners. To build the model, you cut the plastic parts from the runners using pliers. Then, you simply snap the pieces in place according to the instructions.
Complex kits generally have more pieces, thus more runners. Luckily, the RX-78-2 [Alexandros] had only three, so it was easy to keep track of each part. Because of the scale, some of the pieces were really small, and I was a bit wary of handling them. I didn’t want to break them! Constructing the model took me about three hours from start to finish. I’m sure more experienced Gunpla builders could cut that time in half.
Clean and compact, the completed 1/144 scale RX-78-2 [Alexandros] stands at just over 5 inches tall. Decked out in custom insignia, the mobile suit features bright teal accents, the band’s signature color. Accessories include interchangeable hands, two beam sabers, a beam rifle, a hyper bazooka, and a shield. The model’s many points of articulation allow for a wide range of action poses, including the iconic “Last Shooting” pose.
Overall, the “Senkou” Complete Production edition did not disappoint. From the amazing quality of the packaging to the exclusive Gunpla kit and CD cover, it’s clear that this limited edition set will someday be a coveted collector’s item for [Alexandros] and Gundam enthusiasts alike.
Perhaps in the future, we’ll see more collaborations between this incredible band and the Gundam franchise. For now, I can’t wait to see Hathaway’s Flash when it comes to the US!