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Data Evolution:
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Part 3
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Translator's Note: The Anime Special Collection: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Part 3, published in April 1986, was the last in a series of Zeta Gundam reference books from Kindai Eiga-sha. This final volume included an extensive Mobile Suit Development History section, which introduced many of the ideas later elaborated on in Bandai's Entertainment Bible series—as well as detailed specifications for the mobile suits of the original series, which were eventually accepted as their official specs.

Although the book does not identify the contributors to each individual section, the authors listed in the main credits include the Shindosha studio, whose members went on to write the MS Encyclopedia and most of the Entertainment Bible volumes. Perhaps, then, this Mobile Suit Development History could be considered a rough draft for Shindosha's later works.

MOBILE SUIT DEVELOPMENT HISTORY:
FROM THE ZAKU TO THE O

The following text is copyright © 1986 Nippon Sunrise and Sotsu Agency.

CHAPTER 1: MOBILE SUITS OF THE ONE YEAR WAR ERA

1. Development of the Zaku

The Minovsky particle discovered in the early U.C. (Universal Century) 0070s had a tremendous impact in both scientific and military fields. One representative result was the Minovsky type compact nuclear fusion reactor, which made it possible for spaceships to use nuclear power. Meanwhile, military applications such as the mega particle cannon and ECM warfare via the dispersal of Minovsky particles were realized. Thus, both the peaceful and military applications of science were reevaluated.

The Principality of Zeon, which was already working towards independence from the Federation, began a military buildup based on the new generation of strategies and tactics made possible by this Minovsky particle. Its foundation was the mobile suit. This weapon could be considered an enlarged version of the powered spacesuits used for working in space, and it combined the versatility of a human being, the armor of a heavy tank, and the mobility and maneuverability of a fighter craft. Literally, it was a giant soldier.

In the void of space, losing the "eyes" of radar could mean certain death, even in peacetime. As a result, the spacenoids of the Principality of Zeon viscerally understood the danger and effectiveness of this Minovsky particle, and they preceded the Federation in developing mobile suit weapons for visual-range combat. The mono-eye enemy detection system serves as an important example of this. The mono-eye, which was more or less the mobile suit's eye, looked from the outside like a simple camera, but it was actually a compound system of sensors unaffected by Minovsky particles. In particular, its electro-optical camera and laser sensors accurately relayed the details and distance of the enemy to the pilot. The effective radius of the earliest mono-eyes was 3000 meters, which now appears relatively short. But since most Federation Forces soldiers in the early stages of the war had to fight using optical cameras or the naked eye, it provided a considerable advantage in battle.

In the Battle of Loum which could be called the prelude to the One Year War, Zeon's first combat mobile suit, the Zaku, demonstrated its effectiveness by sinking Federation Forces battleships and cruisers one after another. The Zaku was used in every battlefield, and large quantities were also requisitioned for the Earth invasion operation that followed the Battle of Loum. In order to meet these extravagant expectations, the developers created many localized variations, and as a result the development of new mobile suits fell behind schedule.

2. Appearance of the Gundam

Thanks to the considerable achievements of the mobile suit, the Earth Federation Forces belatedly began developing their own mobile suits as a countermeasure. Although the Federation definitely lagged behind Zeon in every field, it possessed far greater national resources and more than adequate development facilities.

As part of the Federation mobile suit development project known as Operation V, a new warship equipped with a Minovsky craft system, whose construction was already in progress, was turned into a landing ship for mobile suits. The plan was to develop three mobile suit types, the RX-76 Guntank, RX-77 Guncannon, and RX-78 Gundam, and unlike Zeon's multipurpose Zaku each type would have different functions which could be combined for the sake of tactical breadth. However, this elegant initial plan ultimately collapsed due to the Gundam's outstanding performance.

After just eight months of development, the prototypes were ready for combat testing, and preparations for mass production were proceeding in parallel. One reason why their development was completed in such a short time was that the basic design was derived from studying captured Zakus. Another reason was that the performance of the nuclear fusion reactors that powered them had been increased thanks to Luna Titanium (Gundarium), an alloy developed at Luna II that was used for radiation shielding. The special characteristics of this alloy made it possible for the Gundam and Guncannon to carry beam rifles, compact versions of the mega particle cannons that could previously only be installed in cruiser-class vessels. This alloy was also used as an armor material, and was strong enough to withstand a direct hit from the 120mm machine gun carried by the Zaku.

Although these machines were designed at the Federation Forces' Jaburo base, the prototypes was created in space, partly because Luna Titanium was developed at Luna II and partly because these mobile suits were to be used mainly in space. For the sake of secrecy, the site chosen was Side 7, the furthest point from the Principality of Zeon. But no sooner had the prototypes rolled out, and the abovementioned new warship White Base arrived at Side 7 to take them to Jaburo, than they were attacked by a Zeon guerilla force. Were it not for the help of civilians (including children), Operation V would have been greatly delayed, and there might have been no choice but to cancel Operation Star One, the attack on the Zeon space fortresses of Solomon and A Baoa Qu which was scheduled for December of that year. But thanks in part to the abilities of children who were rumored to be Newtypes, as well as the performance of the RX series mobile suits, the White Base was able to bring one surviving unit of each prototype to Earth and deliver all the existing combat data to Jaburo.

Thus, barely in time, Jaburo was able to produce 80 percent of the planned number of the mass produced GM mobile suits that were needed for Operation Star One. Of course, this didn't leave enough time for pilot training, but the computer installed in the Gundam had used its combat data to construct the kind of control programs that would otherwise require a highly experienced pilot. These programs were transferred unchanged to the GM, compensating for the lack of training. (However, because the GM's performance was somewhat inferior to that of the Gundam, it couldn't take full advantage of this software, and GM losses proved to be greater than estimated.)

3. Appearance of the Mobile Armor

While the mobile suit was based on a human being scaled up ten times, Zeon also had plans for mobile weapons which further enhanced the knowhow obtained from mobile suits, without retaining their size and humanoid form. These weapons were known as mobile armors, and their appearance was nothing like that of a mobile suit. Their advantage was that, due to their larger size, they could carry more powerful nuclear fusion reactors and a large amount of fuel and ammunition. With the omission of features such as legs which were useful only for land warfare, their forms became more functional, and the machines themselves could be made lighter as a result. In a sense, these weapons surpassed the mobile suit. The anti-beam barrier of the Big Zam, for example, which could deflect concentrated fire from the powerful mega particle cannons of warships, was a defensive weapon which could not have been installed in a mobile suit-sized machine.

These mobile armors also introduced a system that transcended traditional weapons concepts such as enhanced thrust and firepower. This was the psycommu system, which received the pilot's brainwaves and used them to operate machines. As well as increasing the pilot's operating speed, this enabled the use of wireless guided weapons, because the mechanically amplified brainwaves (psycho-waves) were unaffected by Minovsky particle interference. Although the system itself could be adapted for mobile suits as well, due to the shortage of pilots who could use psycommu, it was applied to mobile armors which had higher performance as single units.

4. The Defeat of Zeon

Zeon's defeat was not decided by any particular lag in mobile suit technology. Objectively speaking, Zeon's final mass production type mobile suit, the Gelgoog, had higher performance than the Gundam, and Zeon also possessed a greater number of mobile suits. Its defeat came about because its command structure was thrown into chaos as its leaders killed one another. The remnants of Zeon disappeared from the Earth Sphere, taking refuge in the previously constructed asteroid base Axis in the asteroid belt.

The Zeon mobile suit development and production facilities which were left behind in the Earth Sphere were confiscated by the Federation Forces, and their engineers were likewise absorbed. This brought about new trends in mobile suits.

CHAPTER 2: THE SEVEN YEAR GAP

1. Generation 1.5 Mobile Suits

The so-called "generation 1.5" is a category of expedience. It refers to mobile suits that fall in between the first generation that appeared during the One Year War, and those that belong to the new generation, and these machines vary greatly in their performance and design concepts. Let us explain how these mobile suits came into being.

After the defeat of Zeon in U.C. 0080, all mobile suit development and production was performed by the Federation Forces. However, the Federation Forces also suffered great damage in this war, and there was much work to be done in the postwar task of hunting Zeon remnants. This left them with little capability to introduce new concepts in mobile suit development.

Although the existing GM was an accident-prone machine due to its rushed development, there was still some resistance to the idea of using captured Zeon mobile suits "as is." Thus minor changes were made to create patchwork versions of Federation and Zeon mobile suits. The GM II and Hizack are good examples of this. In other cases, prototype Zeon mobile suits which had never been introduced in combat were modified and then mass produced using the facilities which had already been prepared for that purpose.

While some of these machines had higher performance thanks to new technologies, for the most part they could only be considered half-baked designs. However, since they were in service for seven years before the appearance of second generation mobile suits, large numbers of them were produced.

2. The Titans

After they came under the command of the politically influential Jamitov Hymem, the forces that had been organized to hunt Zeon remnants were renamed the Titans, and both their equipment and their personnel were renewed. Their ace-class mobile suit pilots were a collection of Earth supremacists who were treated as elite hotshots. Meanwhile, eschewing mobile suits with a strong Zeon flavor, they began the development of mobile suits exclusively for Titans use. The Gundam Mark II, a minor update of the original Gundam, was developed at the Gryps 2 colony that had been newly constructed at Side 7.

The Gundam Mark II was the first postwar mobile suit developed with an adequate commitment of resources, personnel, and time. But since it was developed only by Earth engineers, and Zeon engineers were excluded, the overall balance of the machine was poor. In some respects it had higher performance than a second generation mobile suit, but it was deemed unsuitable for mass production. After all the prototype machines were captured by a special forces team of the opposing AEUG, however, the AEUG's engineers drew out the Mark II's latent potential.

3. The AEUG

This organization raised the flag of rebellion against the Earth Federation government, whose oppression of the spacenoids was spearheaded by the Titans. Roughly half the Federation Forces were AEUG members, and they were supported by many capitalists and politicians.

The AEUG hurried to develop mobile suits of its own in preparation for the coming war with the Titans. After the Colony 30 Incident (in which the Titans pumped poison gas into Side 1's Colony 30, where anti-Earth Federation movements were holding a demonstration, and massacred its inhabitants) both sides further intensified their mobile suit development efforts. The second generation mobile suit was born amidst this competition.

In this competition, the AEUG was one step ahead, thanks to a new alloy obtained from Axis. This technology was provided via Char Aznable, who came from Axis to observe the state of the Earth Sphere, and gave it to the AEUG. It was an ideal armor material with lighter weight, increased strength, and the elasticity to withstand sudden external forces thanks to an improved version of the old Luna Titanium (Gundarium alloy).

The first mobile suit to use this armor was the Rick Dias, whose exterior closely resembled that of Zeon's Rick Dom, but whose interior was a crystallization of new technology that was worthy to be called a second generation mobile suit. Its drive system incorporated a movable frame, and it used an actuator drive system instead of the previous method in which the joints were driven by fluid pulse motors. Its cockpit was equipped with a linear seat which served as a shock absorber, protecting the pilot from acceleration (gees) in every direction. The walls around the seat became a panoramic monitor, increasing the pilot's visibility. The sensor performance was also improved and, when the data was input into the computer beforehand, computer graphics could be used to display clear images of enemy machines even when they were too far away for their details to be discerned. Machines for which there was no data, however, could only be displayed as traditional images. This is why Char infiltrated Gryps 2 after receiving intelligence that the Gundam Mark II was under development.

The majority of the AEUG's mobile suits, including the Rick Dias, were developed by the lunar company Anaheim Electronics. During the One Year War this company had produced Zeon mobile suits, and after the war it supplied mobile suits to the Federation Forces instead. The Titans were aware that Anaheim was backing the AEUG, but were unable to take action against the company since it was protected by political patronage. As a bargaining point, however, Anaheim was forced to share the Gundarium Gamma refining technology it had obtained from Axis with the Federation.

CHAPTER 3: TRANSFORMABLE MOBILE WEAPONS

1. Third Generation Mobile Armors

Even as the AEUG and Titans were competing to develop second generation mobile suits, the development of transformable mobile armors was in progress on Earth. At the end of the war, the Jaburo base in South America was the only base capable of developing mobile suits. Later, however, large-scale bases were constructed at Kilimanjaro and New Guinea as part of the secret Jaburo relocation project, and development of new weapons no longer took place at Jaburo.

Inside Earth's gravity well, the movement of mobile suits was subject to severe limitations. While the mobility of the Gundam had been increased by equipping it with atmospheric flight parts, in this case the mobile suit itself became essentially cargo, whose role was limited to supplying energy to the beam cannons. The separation and docking process was also difficult, and rendered the machine defenseless in the interim. As a result, unmanned versions of the mobile suit transport craft used by Zeon during the war were developed, such as the Dodai Kai and Base Jabber. However, these had poor flying performance, and the Earth Federation Forces pursued plans for flying mobile suits based on new concepts.

One of the plans considered at this point was for the mobile suit to change into a form with better aerodynamics while in flight. Due to technical problems, the prototype machine became a mobile armor rather than a mobile suit. But its flying performance was superb, and after several rounds of testing it was approved for mass production, given the name Asshimar, and deployed to various locations. For the sake of its transformation, it used the same magnet coating process that had previously increased the reaction speed of the Gundam's joints. At this point, the coating had to be reapplied again for every sortie, but later improvements made it possible to preserve the coating by performing some simple maintenance.

2. Third Generation Mobile Suits

Once a few technical obstacles were overcome, it became possible to incorporate the concepts of the transformable mobile armor in mobile suits as well. Where miniaturization was concerned, the obstacle was that the transformation systems took up most of the machine itself. This could be resolved, however, by replacing the materials of the movable frame with the newly developed Gundarium Gamma. In other words, the machine was designed so that it could be made to transform simply by expanding the range of motion of its normal joints.

Many transformable mobile suits and mobile armors were subsequently developed. The MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam, which gathered all the AEUG's technological strength, could transform into a Wave Rider with atmospheric entry capabilities, and thanks to its high versatility it could be called the ultimate mobile suit.

Transformation capabilities weren't required in order to qualify as a third generation mobile suit. Mobile suits which had high local warfare capabilities, as well as basic performance comparable to a second generation mobile suit, could be called third generation types.

CHAPTER 4: NEWTYPES

1. Enhanced Humans

"Elmeth Lalah," who appeared in the last stage of the One Year War, was in some respects even more controversial than the Gundam. The Gundam conveyed a heroic image to friend and foe alike, but the Elmeth, even though very few people ever saw its actual form, somehow left the impression of a demonic image.

Many of the mobile suit pilots who were called Newtypes produced exceptional combat results despite their lack of experience. Their reaction speed was extremely high where machines were concerned (this was generally high among people of their generation, but Newtypes were exceptional even for their generation), and they could sometimes accurately predict the movement patterns of enemy machines. The psycommu system described in Chapter 1 relied on the strong psycho-waves emitted by these Newtypes.

After the war, the Federation Forces managed to learn about part of Zeon's Newtype research. The Flanagan Agency had relocated to Axis, either taking along or destroying all of its research materials. The only remaining clue was the blueprints of the psycommu-equipped mobile armor Zeong, which were left behind at A Baoa Qu. They also had the Gundam pilot Amuro Ray, the perfect test subject for studying the nature of Newtypes.

The team assigned to this research unanimously concluded that some humans displayed a high degree of intuition and situational awareness in the battlefield. The upper ranks of the Federation Forces thus established Newtype research institutes, and supported their research over a long duration. Their goal, however, was the artificial creation of people with Newtype abilities. These enhanced humans, whose minds were restructured through drugs and hypnosuggestion, indeed demonstrated the same abilities that Lalah Sune once did. Their fabricated psyches, however, were even more fragile.

2. The Psyco Gundam

The Psyco Gundam was a giant mobile armor that added transformation capabilities to the concept of the Zeong. This mobile armor, developed by the Murasame Newtype Research Institute in Japan, had greater firepower than the Zeong and could fly via a Minovsky craft system. To this was added the functionality of the anti-beam barrier installed in the Big Zam.

As for the Mark II version for use in space, its final adjustments were carried out by the Augusta Newtype Institute. This mobile armor was to be equipped with reflector bits based on the unmanned combat pods used by the Elmeth.

3. Fourth Generation Mobile Suits

The fate of the enhanced humans was a result of placing the human mind under the control of a combat system. When a spirit controlled by machines conflicted with the self-awareness produced by a rapport between Newtypes, the mind itself was led to ruin.

Axis's Qubeley and the Jupitris's The O, on the other hand, were mobile suits operated by people with strong wills and powers of awareness. The Qubeley was equipped with a psycommu system based on that of the Elmeth, while The O used a bio-sensor that could be called a simplified psycommu system. When these two met in battle, their psychic waves collided in a higher-dimensional combat that transcended physical means such as beam weapons. The Zeta Gundam also seems to have partially incorporated the bio-sensor, although this is unconfirmed, and past a certain level it seems to have been manifesting the power of its pilot Kamille Bidan.

The conclusion that a fourth generation appeared with the development of Newtype mobile suits may be overly hasty. With only two such machines initially confirmed, we have insufficient material to make predictions about the future. However, if the awakening of Newtypes is truly accelerated by conflict, an era may yet arrive in which Newtype machines become the standard.

MOBILE SUIT DEVELOPMENT HISTORY

Translator's Note: This section of the book also includes a timeline chart, which I've reproduced below.

U.C. 0070s

The Minovsky particle is discovered, and the field of Minovksy physics is established. Applications such as ECM weapons, Minovsky type nuclear fusion reactors, and mega particle cannons are introduced.

 

Earth Federation Forces Technology

  • Minovsky craft introduced (77.4)

Principality of Zeon Forces Technology

  • Mobile suit development begins (75.5)
  • Mono-eye introduced (77.2)
  • Flanagan Agency established (78.4)
  • Mobile armor development begins (78.11)

Mobile Suit Development

  • Zaku completed (78.1)

Mobile Armor Development

U.C. 0079
One Year War begins

  • Mobile suit development begins (79.1)
  • Gundarium alloy developed at Luna II (79.3)
  • Mega particle cannon miniaturized (79.5)
  • Magnet coating developed (79.12)
  • Psycommu system developed (79.10)
  • Beam rifle introduced, anti-beam barrier developed (79.11)
  • Amphibious mobile suits deployed (79.6~11)
  • Gundam completed (79.9)
  • Gouf deployed (79.10)
  • Rick Dom deployed (79.11)
  • GM deployed (79.12)
  • Gelgoog deployed (79.12)
  • Grabro deployed on Earth (79.10~)
  • Big Zam completed (79.11)
  • Prototype Elmeth and Braw Bro completed (79.12)
  • Zeong enters battle in incomplete state (79.12)

U.C. 0080
One Year War ends

Hunting of Zeon remnants

Research materials related to Zeon mobile suit development are confiscated by the Federation Forces. As a result, their mobile suit development is consolidated.

  • Energy cartridges for beam rifles introduced (82~)
  • Cockpit systems upgraded with linear seats (82~)
  • Movable frame concept introduced (83~)
  • Gundarium Gamma refining technology introduced (84~)
  • Introduction of generation 1.5 mobile suits (82~)

 

U.C. 0085
Colony 30 incident

  • Magnet coating technology improved (86~)
  • Introduction of second generation mobile suits (86~)
  • Introduction of transformable (third generation) mobile armors (86~)

U.C. 0087
Civil war breaks out

  • Mega bazooka launcher developed (87~)
  • Introduction of third generation mobile suits (87~)
  • Introduction of fourth generation mobile suits (87~)
  • Introduction of psycommu equipped (fourth generation) mobile armors (87~)

MS SPECS LIST

Translator's Note: The specifications listed below for the first generation mobile suits were created specifically for this book, and an accompanying footnote states that "The published data produced when the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series was broadcast has been revised by the editors to match the data from Zeta Gundam." These specs were later reprinted, with a few minor adjustments, in Entertainment Bible 1.

First Generation Mobile Suits

Model
Number
Name Overall
Height
Base
Weight
Full
Weight
Generator
Output
Thruster
Output
Sensor
Radius
Armor
Materials
Beam
Weapons
Notes
Zaku MS-06 17.5m 56.2t 74.5t 976kW 43,000kg 3,200m titanium
ceramic
composite
no general purpose
mass production type
MS-07 Gouf 18.2m 58.5t 75.4t 1,034kW 40,700kg   titanium
ceramic
composite
no land use
mass production type
MS-09 Dom 18.6m 62.6t 81.8t 1,269kW 58,200kg   titanium
ceramic
composite
no land use
mass production type
MS-R09 Rick Dom 18.6m 43.8t 78.6t 1,199kW 53,000kg 5,400m titanium
ceramic
composite
no space use
mass production type
MS-14 Gelgoog 19.2m 42.1t 73.3t 1,440kW 61,500kg 6,300m titanium
ceramic
composite
yes general purpose
mass production type
RX-78 Gundam 18.0m 43.4t 60.0t 1,380kW 55,500kg 5,700m Luna Titanium
(Gundarium)
yes general purpose
prototype
magnet coating
RGM-79 GM 18.0m 41.2t 58.3t 1,250kW 55,500kg 6,000m titanium
ceramic
composite
yes general purpose
mass production type
RX-77 Guncannon 17.5m 51.0t 70.0t 1,380kW 51,800kg 6,000m Luna Titanium
(Gundarium)
yes general purpose
prototype

Generation 1.5 Mobile Suits

Translator's Note: I've omitted this section of the specs list, which reproduces the standard specs for the Hizack, Galbaldy Beta, GM II, and Gundam Mark II.

Second Generation Mobile Suits

Translator's Note: I've omitted this section of the specs list, which reproduces the standard specs for the Rick Dias, Hyaku Shiki, Nemo, Dijeh, Marasai, and Barzam.

Third Generation Mobile Suits

Translator's Note: I've omitted this section of the specs list, which reproduces the standard specs for the Gaplant, Gabthley, Hambrabi, Methuss, Zeta Gundam, Gaza C, Byalant, Palace Athene, and Bolinoak Sammahn. It also notes that the Gaplant, Gabthley, and Zeta Gundam have magnet coating.

Fourth Generation Mobile Suits

Translator's Note: I've omitted this section of the specs list, which reproduces the standard specs for the Qubeley and The O.

Specs List Explanation

Translator's Note: The specs list is accompanied by a sidebar explaining some of the abbreviations used. It also includes an explanation of the model numbers, which I've reproduced here.

Model Number: After the end of the One Year War, the Earth Federation Forces standardized the model numbers of all their mobile suits. Basically, the letters indicate a prototype (RX) or mass production type (RMS), while the numbers indicate the development base (the first two digits) and development sequence (the last digit). The development base codes are as follows:(1)

10 — Granada 13 — Gate of Zedan 16 — Kilimanjaro
11 — Luna II 14 — Gryps 17 — New Guinea
12 — Solomon 15 — Unknown due to military secrecy 18, 19 — Jaburo

As for the AEUG, both prototypes and mass production types are labeled MS (an abbreviation for Mobile Suit), followed by the initial of the production facility. In the case of a unique prototype, the initial of the designer or pilot may be used instead. (A stands for Anaheim, N for a Nagano design, Z for the Zeta Project.) The development number consists of three digits. The first independently developed machine, the RMS-099 (RSA-099) Rick Dias, borrowed a Federation Forces development number for fear of disclosing secrets.(2) After the MSN-100 Hyaku Shiki, the numbers started over with single digits.

For other organizations, the formula is the organization or designer name, plus mobile suit (or mobile armor), plus prototype, plus a development number.(3)

AMX — Axis-made mobile suit PMX — Designed by Paptimus Scirocco

Translator's Notes

(1) This list of development base codes is pretty clearly incorrect. Updated versions of the list were provided in later books.

(2) RSA-099 appears to be a typo. Most other sources list MSA-099 as the alternate model number for the Rick Dias.

(3) The text here indicates that the AMX prefix is used by the Federation Forces to identify Axis mobile suits. This was the standard explanation when this book was published, and most sources from this time period state that the AMX-003 Gaza C and AMX-004 Qubeley are designated as MMT-1 and MMS-3 by the Axis forces themselves. At this point, however, the consensus is that the AMX model numbers are actually the Axis designations.