However, it’s true that Bandai does target certain models at women more than others. In the Bearguy San III instructions, you’ll find a paragraph about women Gundam pilots. The gist of it is this: some Gundams models are designed exclusively for female pilots, and this is usually shown visibly, through pink or “pure white” colors and dress-like shapes.
“These characteristics help women stand out on the battlefield,” the paragraph explains.*
Of course, this isn’t always the case. Rick Doms, which are designed to evoke hakama, look like skirts to Westerners, and they’re gender neutral. Gundam Exia is pink and purple in Trans-Am Mode, but we know Setsuna F. Seiei, a male pilot, is at its helm. The way a Gundam looks may tell you a lot about the personality of the pilot, but not very much about their gender.
That said, women looking to build their first gunpla model might want one that Bandai especially markets to them, or one historically associated with women:
Gundams With Women Pilots
It’s been nearly half a century since Frau Bow told Amuro she’d pilot the Gundam if she were allowed to. In the decades since, many Gundams have been canonically piloted by women. There are many more than listed here, but these are some of the most recognizable.
The earliest woman pilot with her own assigned Gundam is probably Emma Sheen. Emma piloted a variety of models throughout Gundam Zeta, but eventually was made the exclusive pilot of Super Gundam.
Later came Christina Mackenzie in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket in 1989. Christina’s suit, Gundam Alex, has a 90 mm gatling gun as its signature weapon.
Allenby Beardsley pilots the iconic Nobell Gundam, which you might recognize as “that Gundam that looks like Sailor Moon.” She is the only female Gundam Fighter in the G Gundam universe, and she holds her own with her suit’s Berserker Mode.
Cagalli Yula Athha of Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny is one of the Gundam Universe’s most recent women pilots, known for her fiery personality and equally dauntless fighting technique. As expected by its name, her Strike Gundam Rouge is a rosy pink.
Gunpla With Women Designers
Some gunpla models have also been designed by women for their own use, and may appeal to women builders as a result.
GPB-04B Beargguy is Rina Noyama’s customized build of the aquatic Acguy model. The “Landcell Unit” it wears looks like Rina’s own school backpack. Beargguy appeared in Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G, a short OVA that inspired Gundam Build Fighters.
In Gundam Build Fighters, China Kousaka expands on Rina’s prototype with a model that looks even more like a teddy bear (and in fact, she even fills him with stuffing)! KUMA-03 Beargguy III is yellow with a big pink bow, and built more for looks than weaponry.
As a girl growing up in the 80s and 90s, I remember having a lot of miniature toys, like Littlest Pet Shop and Polly Pocket. Today, super deformed (SD) gunpla remind me most of the toys I liked best when I was a little girl.
Not every girl likes pink, but I do. That’s why SD Gundam Unicorn gets double the cute points in my book, with sheer pink detailing on its chubby little frame.
One SD gundam model is actually gendered female. Shin Sonshoko Gerbera is from SD Gundam Sankokuden Brave Battle Warriors, a show that never came to America and I have never seen. I bought her anyway because I wanted a female model. She came with a bow-and-arrow that was literally a bow, and also an apron (!?) that I haven’t used.
Are you a woman who enjoys gunpla? As one myself, I’d love to hear from you and see some of your finished or in-progress models.
*Japanese translation by Bobbie