Gaia Gear is a Japanese science fiction story written by Yoshiyuki Tomino with mechanical design of Ito Mamoru and based on Tomino's Gundam series. It first ran as a serial in Newtype from April 1987 to December 1991. Afterwards the story was released in five novels which were released from September 1988 until April 1992. It was also turned into a 26-episode radio drama that aired in Japan from 1987 to 1992 and was released on five CDs from November 1992 until July 1993. Finally two soundtrack CDs were released which included the music of the radio drama.
Gaia Gear is a story set in the future of the Universal Century timeline of the Mobile Suit Gundam anime universe, specifically in UC 0203. Once more, the governments of Earth and its space colonies are at odds and resolve their differences with mecha, now named "Man-Machines". This time the resistance group Metatron fights against the Man Hunting Attachment police force of the corrupt Earth Federation. To have better chances Metatron creates a memory clone of the legendary Char Aznable called Affranchi Char ('affranchi' being a French word for a 'freed slave'), who commands the troops of Metatron and pilots the Gaia Gear Alpha.
Two hundred years have passed since people floated the islands called space colonies into outer space. During this time, several wars have occurred. It was a battle in order to protect the Earth. Amongst the twinkling of the stars, man hated one another, got hurt, and collapsed, yet did not forget love. Much blood was shed, and grief brought forth. The souls of the dead wander the silence of the universe become light and melt into the Milky Way. The immeasurable universe swallows the feelings of everyone, continuing with no change. When the Earth loses its radiance, changing the people’s prayer to sighs of grief, one soul crosses time. Perhaps that person was the harbinger who awoke for that.
Affranchi Char is a 19-year-old man who was raised on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The "cell chips" inside his brain contain strange memories and information. Affranchi was raised by a man named Gaba Suu, one of the island's elders. On his deathbed, Gaba Suu tells Affranchi to go into space, but his lover Everly Key is strongly opposed. One day, a giant humanoid machine washes up on the island's shore, and Affranchi makes up his mind to leave.
One stormy night, Affranchi sneaks away in a canoe, intending to catch a ship for Hong Kong and go from there into space. While he is waiting for the ship, he meets and quarrels with a bigoted stranger who tells Affranchi that the white man is humanity's elite, destined to rule over the lesser races.
After Affranchi boards the ship, it is hijacked by pirates. Everly, who has followed Affranchi aboard, is taken hostage. Affranchi displays an uncanny prowess in the martial arts and defeats the hijackers.
Upon their arrival in Hong Kong, Affranchi and Everly are met by a waiting limousine. They are taken to meet the mysterious Berm Segen and his secretary Miranda Howe, who give Affranchi the antique "Man Machine" (Mobile Suit), the Zorin Soul. Suddenly, strangers burst in and kill Berm Segen, and our heroes flee in the Zorin Soul. Affranchi operates the machine with unnatural skill, returning Everly to her home island and then heading to Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, Affranchi battles the forces of Maha, the Federation government's dreaded "Man-Hunting Agency." Formally known as the 13th Special Investigative Section of the Earth Federation Government Police Agency, this group is responsible for discovering illegal Earth residents and deporting them to the space colonies.
Affranchi is able to fight off the Maha forces and, with the help of Miranda Howe, he hijacks a space shuttle and loads the Zorin Soul on board. Miranda tells the shuttle pilot to set course for the Side 4 shoal zone. Here they rendezvous with the waiting transport ship Spacious, whose crew greet Affranchi as "Your Excellency Char Aznable." Among the crew is a beautiful young woman named Krishna Pandent.
The Spacious heads for the Side 2 colony Hellas, hiding Affranchi and Miranda in order to smuggle them into the colony. The ship makes its way through the colony to the factory block at the other end, along the way rescuing a young hang-glider named Ul Urian. The Spacious reaches the factory block and drops Ul Urian off, but the timing of his chance encounter with the Spacious strikes the crew as very suspicious.
Affranchi, Miranda, and Krishna board an electric car and drive through the colony. They enter the Grenze district, which is a colossal slum, and a sudden attack by Maha's Minox craft forces them to flee into the tunnels in search of shelter. Affranchi is separated from his comrades and captured by the police.
After clashing with his cellmates, Affranchi befriends one of them, a giant named Todd Goering. Affranchi is then released, but the Maha agent Ul Urian has planted a transmitter in his stomach in order to track him. Ul Urian submits a report to his commander Bijan Dargol, and then goes to meet Krishna for a "date" with the intention of taking her prisoner.
Affranchi wanders the streets and encounters a gang of delinquents led by a man named Messer Mett, who turns out to be another friend of Todd Goering. Affranchi then runs into Miranda Howe and another Spacious crewmember named Joe Suren, who feed him a big dose of laxatives so he can get rid of the transmitter.
Meanwhile, Ul Urian meets Krishna at a French restaurant and begins quizzing her about the "Z Organization" for which she works and the whereabouts of its secret base "314." Krishna attempts to escape but is abducted by Ul Urian. Affranchi and friends begin pursuit, and Ul Urian summons his Minox, bringing Krishna aboard with him.
The Z Organization dispatches the Gaia Gear, operated by a pilot named Keran Mead, to engage the Minox. But since Krishna is aboard the Minox, the Gaia Gear is helpless to fight it. Fortunately, the Gaia Gear is protected by its barrier, and the Minox ends up losing control and crashing thanks to the shockwaves caused by its own attacks. Two Gussa man machines appear, and Keran's Gaia Gear knocks one to the ground, allowing Affranchi to board it and defeat the second enemy machine.
Affranchi, Keran, and their comrades escape the colony and board the Z Organization's warship "Thirty-One Square." Overruling the ship's captain, Affranchi orders the crew to rescue the captive Krishna. While he's at it, he renames the Z Organization "Metatron" and rechristens the Thirty-One Square as "Mother Metatron."
The Mother Metatron heads for Hellas, demanding that the colony government turn over its political prisoners. The Maha commander Bijan Dargol, meanwhile, readies his own military response.
The Mother Metatron approaches Hellas, with Affranchi leading the charge in his Gaia Gear. Affranchi, impatient with the stalling of the colony government, orders the Mother Metatron to fire on the colony's agricultural blocks. Using this as a pretext, Bijan Dargol launches a preemptive attack on the Metatron forces.
Ul Urian launches from the Maha flagship Maha Gayjisu to lead the attack, piloting the new man machine Bromb Texter and carrying Krishna as a hostage. But just before he enters battle, Ul Urian sets Krishna adrift in space, with the intention of picking her up later. Affranchi easily defeats Ul Urian and then, sensing Krishna's whereabouts, goes to rescue her.
Having recovered Krishna and collected the colony's other political prisoners, the Mother Metatron heads for the secret base "Thirty-One Cubed." Among the released prisoners are the delinquent Messer Mett and his lackeys Rey Seias, Reyzam Stack, and Saez Konsoon, who decide to remain with Metatron and become combat pilots. However, they get along poorly with the rest of the crew and begin considering desertion.
Metatron learns that the Maha fleet is preparing to descend to Earth, an act of "reverse immigration" by which Maha will establish its own nation on Earth. The Mother Metatron likewise sets course for Earth in order to intercept the enemy fleet.
The Metatron forces deploy the shuttles Air Force 1 and Air Force 2, escorted by Affranchi's Gaia Gear. Ul Urian's Bromb Texter attempts to intercept the Gaia Gear, but Messer Mett and his comrades unexpectedly join the battle and attack the Bromb Texter. Reyzam's man machine Dochadi is shot down in the ensuing combat.
The fighting continues as both sides enter the atmosphere. Affranchi rams into Ul Urian's Bromb Texter, forcing the enemy pilot to retreat. The Maha Gayjisu deploys its Gussa forces, the Metatron shuttles launch their own man machines, and the Metatron forces are ultimately forced to withdraw. Messer and his two surviving henchmen desert during the battle.
Air Force 1 and Air Force 2 land in Hamar, Norway, where the Metatron members join forces with the local resistance. Messer and his comrades go to ground in Ireland, where they learn from a news broadcast that the main Maha fleet has arrived in Nouveau Paris. They decide to surrender to Maha, offering their man machines as gifts.
As they approach Nouveau Paris, Messer and his friends encounter a Federation Forces truck convoy. They begin negotiating their surrender, only to discover that their old comrade Todd Goering is among the prisoners being transported in the convoy. Instead of surrendering, they decide to rescue Todd and escape, but a Gussa team from Nouveau Paris is now in hot pursuit. Picking up Messer's distress signal, Air Force 1 and Affranchi's Gaia Gear launch to meet them, and an aerial battle begins over Denmark.
Affranchi leads the Metatron forces to victory, repulsing Ul Urian's man machine team and successfully recovering Messer and friends. However, during the battle Krishna falls out of Air Force 1, and the Metatron forces have no time to search for her before they withdraw.
Back at Hamar, Todd tells Affranchi and the others what he learned about Maha's plans while toiling as a forced laborer. It appears that Maha intends to establish a "Gaia Empire" on Earth, governed by a chosen elite. For sentimental reasons, the Maha commander Bijan Dargol has chosen Bavaria as the heart of his new empire.
Krishna, meanwhile, has once again been picked up by Ul Urian, who has now been demoted to command of the support vehicle Bushing Nugg. Having used hypnotic interrogation to find out everything she knows about Metatron, Ul Urian is now keeping her around for his own amusement. Accepting her situation, Krishna decides to throw in her lot with Maha.
The two sides soon clash again at Liege, Belgium. After a gun battle in the city, the Metatron and Maha pilots run for their machines. Rey Seias, Saez Konsoon, and Keran Mead enter battle in Dochadis, but Saez and Keran are shot down by Ul Urian's Bromb Texter, and Rey's damaged machine crashes in the forest. Air Force 1 attacks the Bushing Nugg, but is shot down by Krishna's anti-air fire, and the crew are forced to escape.
Air Force 2 and Affranchi's Gaia Gear finally arrive, driving the Maha forces away. Rey and the Air Force 1 crew are rescued, but the Metatron forces have taken heavy losses and they are shocked by Krishna's betrayal.
The Mother Metatron begins bombarding Nouveau Paris with missiles, and Miranda Howe arrives with reinforcements in the form of Air Force 3. The Mother Metatron's bombardment inflicts considerable damage on the Maha forces, and the Maha Gayjisu withdraws from the city. The Metatron forces gather in Besançon, France, to establish a frontline base.
Even as Affranchi and his comrades battle Maha's ground forces in Besançon, they learn that a Maha fleet from Hong Kong is now approaching the Adriatic Sea. The Metatron forces engage the Hong Kong Maha fleet, but are overwhelmed by the performance of the new enemy machine Gids Geese.
Affranchi returns to Besançon to find that Todd Goering has devised a new plan for their man machine forces. The Gaia Gear will now be entrusted to Messer, while Affranchi stands by at Besançon.
Messer sorties in the Gaia Gear to intercept an approaching Bromb Texter, and returns with Ul Urian as his prisoner. From the Bromb Texter's flight data, they determine that the Maha forces are gathering at Munich, and Metatron begins preparations for an attack.
As the attack preparations are underway, the Metatron member Joe Suren takes off in the Zorin Soul in order to look for Krishna. He is detected by Maha, and the attack on Munich is aborted.
The Hong Kong Maha launch another attack, but this time they are outnumbered by Affranchi's Gaia Gear, Messer's captured Bromb Texter, and a third wave of reinforcements dropped from the Mother Metatron. Meanwhile, Krishna is wandering in the woods near the battlefield, and is rescued by a mysterious young woman.
Joe Suren finally locates Krishna, and in the process he retrieves a flopy disk from a crashed man machine. According to this floppy disk, Benoit Rojak, the leader of the new Metatron reinforcements, has been given secret orders to assassinate Affranchi after Maha has been eliminated. As for the mysterious young woman who rescued Krishna, she turns out to be Affranchi's former lover, Everly Key.
Affranchi and his comrades relocate to Monfalcone, Italy, to prepare for the final confrontation with Maha. Benoit Rojak and her Gaiyas team are already on the scene. Affranchi proposes that they make it look as if Metatron is attacking Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle, splitting the Maha forces so they can ambush Bijan Dargol himself.
Joe, Krishna, and Everly rush to Monfalcone to warn Affranchi of Benoit's treachery, but they are detected en route by Ul Urian, who has returned to Maha and received a new Gids Geese man machine. Joe drops off Krishna and Everly, then attempts to draw Ul Urian's attention away from them, but his Zorin Soul is swiftly shot down. Ul Urian finds the women and takes Everly captive, leaving Krishna behind.
Just before the Metatron forces begin their attack, Todd discovers Krishna in the nearby woods, and she tells Affranchi of Benoit's treachery and Everly's predicament. Affranchi continues the operation regardless, and joins battle with the enemy flagship Maha Gayjisu. Ul Urian enters the battle in his Gids Geese, carrying Everly as a hostage, and uses his knowledge of the Bromb Texter's characteristics and weaknesses to shoot down Messer's captured machine.
The battle continues. Bijan Dargol attempts to defend Neuschwanstein Castle from Affranchi's forces. Benoit Rojak ambushes and destroys the Maha Gayjisu, and the ensuing explosion consumes many nearby man machines, including Benoit's own. Metatron begins mopping up the remaining Maha forces, and Rey Seias is hit by Ul Urian, forcing her to make an emergency landing at the castle. Affranchi confronts Ul Urian and, sensing that Everly isn't aboard the enemy machine, shoots him down.
Rey and Affranchi enter the castle, where they find Everly. Affranchi and Everly embrace as Rey succumbs to her injuries, then board the Gaia Gear and fly away to an island in the Atlantic Ocean to live happily ever after.
The series was one of Yoshiyuki Tomino's early visions of the future of the Gundam universe. The novels and radio dramas have now both been invalidated by the words and later works released by media giant Bandai (Gundam's owner) such as G-Saviour, and the novels are now considered to take place in an alternate history.
- Voice of Gaia by Ichikawa Yoko
- Stay With You by Ichikawa Yoko