Mobile Suit Gundam is a decades-old franchise examining the costs of war and imperialism over eons of interstellar conflict between decaying, corrupt governments. It’s also an anime show about giant robots made to sell toys, so sometimes you get the very peculiar sensation of one of the series’ most iconic characters hawking a car.
Char Aznable—the ace pilot of the secessionist space colony Principality of Zeon in the original 1979 classic Mobile Suit Gundam, eventual Anti-Earth guerrilla fighter under the guise of Quattro Bajeena in its sequel series Zeta Gundam, and eventually the drastic leader of the Neo Zeon remnant in Char’s Counterattack—is one of Gundam’s most enduring and iconic characters. His shadow is cast across the franchise’s entire history as he switched from villain with his own personal agenda, to anti-hero, to a radicalized leader—whether in the primary “Universal Century” timeline of the series or across its totality in a litany of endless “Char Clone” expys. That makes him a fascinating and compelling character, one explored in depth more than even some of the franchise’s most famous heroes.
But that also means that Char often finds himself Darth Vader-ized in a way, a public face of Gundam as a corporate franchise almost as iconic as a brand as the series’ giant robots. In the decades since his debut Char’s masked face has been slapped across all sorts of weird and wonderful ad campaigns in Japan—including this week, where a new collaboration with McDonald’s Japan saw the Red Comet return to promote three new hamburgers inspired by his mobile suits in the original Gundam. Take a look at that, and more of Char’s most questionable ad campaigns, below.