Z Gundam

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This article is about the mobile suit. For the anime series, see Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.
Z Gundam
Zeta 12.jpg
Appears in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
First appearance "A Sign of Zeta"
Designed by Kazumi Fujita
Profile
Class Mobile suit
Designation MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam
Faction Anti Earth Union Group
Main pilot(s) Kamille Bidan (Zeta)
Judau Ashta (ZZ)
Roux Louka (ZZ)
General characteristics
Armaments Vulcan guns
Grenade launchers
Beam sabers
Beam rifle
Hyper Mega Launcher

The MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam, designed by Kazumi Fujita,[1] is a fictional weapon of the anime Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam from the Universal Century timeline of the Gundam metaseries. Its popularity has led to many variations, upgrades, redesigns and influenced later design works such as the Zeta Plus[2] and the Wing Gundam.[3][4] It is the first time the main protagonist in the Gundam metaseries got their mid-season upgrade, as well as being the first time a Gundam had a transformable design, following the trend of transformable mecha started by Macross at the time. It is also the only mobile suit in fiction to have a real, pilotable, down-scaled, 7-metre-tall, hydraulically controlled model built.[5][6]

The "Zeta Gundam" is the eponymous Gundam of the series in which the suit appears, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, which is the sequel of Mobile Suit Gundam. The suit is first deployed mid-series as a reinforcement suit. It was piloted by the series' main character Kamille Bidan until the end of the series. The Zeta Gundam also became the starting mobile suit of the main character Judau Ashta of the sequel Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ before he switched to the more powerful and eponymous mobile suit of that series, MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam.

Name[edit]

Zeta Gundam, written as Z Gundam (Ζガンダム) in most media is named after the Greek alphabet ζ(capitalized). A retcon story was given in Gundam Sentinel Special edition Gundam Wars III in which Zeta Gundam is the fourth Greek alphabet Gundam designed by the fictional company Anaheim Electronics. Where the series started from the alphabet Gamma in the fictional alloy Gundarium gamma use for the series, the improved third version of Lunar titanium named after the first Gundam.

Appearances[edit]

Other than the two main TV series of the Gundam Franchise, the unit has also appeared in most of the Super Robot Wars game series, which is famous for featuring different mecha of many anime franchise together in one mixed story. Inside the Gundam franchise, it has been featured in the PlayStation game Gundam Battle Assault (Gundam: The Battle Master 2 in Japan), the PS2 game Mobile Suit Z Gundam: AEUG vs. Titans and PSP's Gundam Battle series. It is also one of the featured units in the March 2007 release of the PS3 and Xbox 360 game Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, a spin-off series of the Koei game Dynasty Warriors.[7][8][9] Three variant units are also featured in Episode 9 of Gundam Evolve.[10] In the SD Gundam manga Double Zeta Kun kokoniari(ダブルゼ-タくんここにあリ, Little Double Zeta is here), Zeta Chan is the main female character, a girl version of Zeta with only the V antenna and the name recognizable.[11]

Concept[edit]

The Zeta Gundam is a transformable type mobile suit, which can change from its normal humanoid outlook to a "waverider" mode more aerodynamically suited for long-distance flight or atmospheric re-entry. The shield on the left hand serves as both the nose and the heat shield of the flight unit while the legs become the main thrusters. The concept of the unit is a tail binder which serves as the fifth limb of the unit, thus aiding in AMBAC motion.[12]

Its transformation concept at the time was one of the most complex and detailed designs, rivaled only by the earlier The Super Dimension Fortress Macross's revolutionary VF-1 Valkyrie variable fighters.[13]

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam[edit]

In the original story, the Zeta Gundam is a conceptual design raised by Kamille. Anaheim Electronics, the main sponsor of the Anti-Earth Union Group incorporated the idea into production, and later transferred the newly made unit to AEUG's flagship Argama for field testing against the growing power of the enemy the Titans. One unique feature of the unit was that it employed a bio-sensor system which allowed a brief surge of unusual power and made the Zeta Gundam nearly invincible against any attacks on occasions.

The most prolific weapons of the Zeta Gundam would be its Hyper-Mega-Launcher. Both the Zeta Gundam's Hyper-Mega-Launcher and beam rifle feature the "beam sabre mode", which allowed the ranged weapons to double act as extended beam sabres for close quarter combat.

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ[edit]

Although the unit was seen receiving minimal damage in the end of Zeta, it is portrayed as a battle-worn unit in the beginning of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ when the main character Judau Ashta is seen stealing it from the hangar of the Argama. In a scene, the Zeta Gundam's head was destroyed and replaced with a head of an MS-06 Zaku II in a rush. However, when Judau received the ZZ Gundam as a reinforcement, the Zeta Gundam is still used as part of Argama's "Gundam Team", piloted mainly by Roux Louka. The Zeta Gundam eventually suffered heavy damage at the hands of Neo Zeon's NZ-000 Quin Mantha piloted by Ple Two and Glemy Toto near the conclusion of the first Neo Zeon movement, and had to be abandoned.

Gundam Sentinel[edit]

In Gundam Sentinel, most of the background story of the unit was told. The MSZ-006 Ζeta Gundam (Zeta Gundam, codename: "ζ Gundam") is the fourth mobile suit built by Anaheim Electronics as the culmination of the Project Zeta according to the Gundam Sentinel list of Anaheim Gundams. The design served as the first TMS in real life, and the concept served as the basics of various mobile suit designs later in other Gundam series, including a simplified transformation of the XXXG-01W Wing Gundam according to the model instruction manual of the Wing Gundam.

Fictional development history[edit]

Originally, three prototypes, called MSZ-006-X1, MSZ-006-X2 and MSZ-006-X3, were built. While these machines can transform, there is too much metal fatigue on the frame. This problem was corrected by Kamille Bidan, a Newtype teenager, incorporating innovations in that time such as the "movable frame" concept extracted by the Anti Earth Union Group from the Titans RX-178 Gundam Mk-II project, and the Gundarium gamma alloy used in the RMS-099 Rick Dias. This mobile suit is also one of the first variable-form Gundams televised, capable of transforming into a fighter form called the Waverider. The transformation ability and the suit's great speed is the Ζ's signature quality, as its transformation is fluid and integrated into its combat style often giving it grace unrivaled by most mecha.

In the story of Gundam Sentinel, when S Gundam Booster Unit approaches the Base of Pezun, a commander replied there should not be Mobile Suits like the Zeta Gundam everywhere that have such high acceleration of a Mobile Armour but of the size of a Mobile Suit.[13]

Modeling[edit]

The Zeta Gundam has appeared numerous times in model kit form. These include high grade universal century, master grade, and perfect grade releases. It also was only the second design to be released in master grade version 2.0 form. In the Model history of Zeta Gundam, various variations, weapons and equipments are designed and built of the Zeta Gundam Model kits and garage kits. Some official equipment choices from the Perfect Grade model manual includes Gundam Sentinel Z Plus equipments as standard equipments, like the wave shooter shield option as opposed to the wave rider shield and arm mount grenade pod switched to dummy balloon pods (used for creating dummy balloons). As of March 2008, Jumbo Grade Z Gundam is the largest retail model kit with 565mm of height.

Super Robot Wars[edit]

In the first Super Robot Wars game (Game Boy), the Zeta Gundam was portrayed as a 2.5-headed super deformed unit working on its own without a pilot like the other mechas in the same game.[14] In later series, the pilot system was introduced and it is default to be piloted by its original pilot Kamille, yet it is possible to change the pilot.

Green Divers and Gundam Evolve[edit]

Another Ζeta Gundam, designated MSZ-006-3, was piloted by Karaba ace Amuro Ray in the later stages of the Gryps Conflict. Some deny this as merely propaganda similar to the story of the MSZ-006 A1 since the Zeta Plus A1 in question was stated as Amuro Type but the Master Grade model confirmed it was only tuned to fit Amuro's piloting skills, while it was only used for training new pilots for the A1 type Zeta Plus.

Two additional Zeta Gundam units appear in Episode 9 of the CG series Gundam Evolve, alongside Amuro Ray's unit — this brings the total number of Zeta units to four.

  • "White Zeta" (Zeta Gundam 3A Type) — Thought to be Amuro Ray's Zeta unit (codename "White Unicorn"). By all appearances it is a standard unmodified Zeta unit, aside from its purple striping on white colour scheme. However, according to the description of Gundam Ace, its mobility was improved to match up the pilot's control.
  • "Yellow Zeta" (Zeta Gundam 3B Type) — Thought to be piloted by former Zeon ace Shin Matsunaga (codename "Grey Wolf"). For the most part the unit itself has the appearance of a standard Zeta, except for two differences: The tail binder, instead of lying down the back in mobile suit mode, splits into two horizontal airfoils behind the head; and the thrusters on the lower leg have three small exhausts in place of the standard two. Its shield is considerably wider, covering a greater portion of the unit's underside in waverider mode, and includes two built in rapid-fire beam guns. The shield no longer serves as the unit's nose — instead, an oversized heavy beam gun is mounted in its place, which detaches and is hand-carried in mobile suit mode. The unit is equipped with the same beam-deflection coating as the MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki, which gives it its yellow colour.
  • "Red Zeta" (Zeta Gundam 3C Type) — Piloted by Yurii Ajissah (Codename "Red Snake"). The most radically different of the three, Red Zeta's armour sports a heavily "spiked" look. This is especially noticeable in the tail binder, which is spiked and points upwards in mobile suit mode. Its rifle also bears spikes. These spikes may serve as the role of an antenna which contribute to the special psycommu system on the Red Zeta — the Psyco Neutralizer.
    The Red Zeta's most radical feature is its cockpit. Equipped with what at first glance is a standard panoramic cockpit & linear seat, the seat and manual controls can retract leaving the pilot free-standing (or floating, in zero-g environments), their head in a hollow transparent hemispherical device and a number of cables attach from the seat into the back of the pilot's flight suit. In this mode the movements of the unit follow the pilot's own movements (similar to the Mobile Trace System from G Gundam). It is unclear if this requires a Newtype pilot. It is implied that this system allows the pilot to psychically interfere with other Newtype weaponry.

All three units can be equipped with a (colour-matched) single-stage booster system, allowing them to make orbit otherwise unassisted.

Double Zeta Kun kokoniari[edit]

Zeta Chan is portrayed in Double Zeta Kun kokoniari as a Mobile Suit Girl, unlike most of the suits in the story which are still super deformed mobile suits (with the exception of Gouf, the school girl and her elder sister Kampfer, the police). She can pull out a Gundam Hammer (Chained hammer) out of nowhere when Ashimaar kun said something embarrassing her or peep into her dress (saying mobile suits should not have panties).[11]

Characteristics[edit]

Zeta Gundam is one of the few Gundams with a white coloured chin. It is also different in shape, with a sharp shaped chin. The unit also featured wings and heat shield for atmospheric reentry. The detailed transformation design served as the first TMS in real life (although renewed and retconed by the Z Plus design later on), and the concept served as the basics of various mobile suit designs later in other Gundam series, including a simplified transformation of XXXG-01W Wing Gundam according to the model instruction manual of Wing Gundam.

Design competition[edit]

Mechanical designers including Mamoru Nagano (永野護), Kazumi Fujita ( 藤田 一己) and Kunio Okawara (大河原 邦男) all designed their own version of the Zeta Gundam before the show aired. In fact, dozens of designs were offered to the producer at the time. Kazumi Fujita's design won the competition yet still received various clean ups from antenna idea from Kondo Kazuhisa (近藤和久) and frank armour transformation idea from Kunio.[15] A few designs were used instead for other mechanical designs in the show like Nagano's Hyakushiki and 村上克司's Psyco Gundam. Another handful of designs were shown in Mobile Suit Gundam MS Encyclopeida(機動戦士ガンダム MS大辞典).

Variants[edit]

MSZ-008 ZII

The three Prototype Zeta Gundams, Mass Production Type Zeta Gundam and ZII appear as part of Zeta Gundam Mobile Suit Variations, designed by Kazumi Fujita.

MSZ-006-X Prototype Z Gundam[edit]

As mentioned above, there are three faulty prototypes of the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam. Technically, all three units are the same machine, but each unit has a different head design.

MSZ-007 Mass Production Type Ζ Gundam[edit]

Anaheim Electronics's mass production plan of the Ζeta Gundam with the transformation ability removed. It turned out to be inferior to the MSR-100S (MSR-00100S) Hyaku Shiki Kai Mass Production Type and thus mass production was halted.

MSZ-008 Z II[edit]

Originally designed as a successor to the Ζeta Gundam and was even featured in various Super Robot Wars video games as a secret unit. It uses a simplified frame similar to that of the MSA-005 Methuss instead of the Ζeta Gundam's. ZII's mobile armour mode lacks the waverider's ability of atmospheric re-entry and flight on Earth but has higher acceleration and maneuverability. This design was rejected by the Anti Earth Union Group. The concept was used in Mobile Suit Gundam UC's mass production unit RGZ-95 ReZEL(Refine Zeta gundam Escort Leader), a further redevelopment of the RGZ-91 ReGZ(Refine Gundam Zeta) that appeared in Char's Counter Attack.

Z Plus[edit]

The MSZ-006 Ζ Plus (Zeta Plus) mobile suit series is a series of mobile suits developed by the Earth Federation and Anaheim Electronics. All of the Ζ Plus designs are by Katoki Hajime and Masahiki Asano based on the MSZ-006 Ζeta Gundam. However, the Ζeta Gundam was also a painfully complicated and expensive mobile suit and the Earth Federation did not want to mass-produce it as it was.

After the Gryps Conflict ended the Earth Federation wanted the design of the Ζeta Gundam to be reworked, so that it was more streamlined, less complex, and, most importantly, cheaper to manufacture, but so that it would still retain all of the major strengths of the original unit. The Ζ Plus line of mobile suits was the answer to the Federation's requests.

Real life[edit]

The Z Plus, although designed at first only for a semi-official series Gundam Sentinel (which later became official), got its designs to retcon the supposedly earlier model, the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam, due to its transformation system being more realistic and easier to recreate in model kits. The Perfect Grade model of the Zeta Gundam actually contains information about a wave shooter shield which is not included in the original design but is borrowed from the Z Plus series. Despite sharing no parts with the earlier models, the Master Grade V2.0 model of the Zeta Gundam also received several touches and improvements from the earlier Master Grade Z Plus kits.

Z Plus variants[edit]

MSZ-006A1 (MSK-006) Ζ Plus A1[edit]

MSZ-006A1 (MSK-006) Ζ Plus A1

The MSZ-006A1 (MSK-006) Ζ Plus A1 was the first Ζ Plus unit created and was designed to operate mainly in Earth's atmosphere. It was a high-performance unit and was capable of transformation from a mobile suit into a jet-like waverider mode. It started the trend of adding on two swiveling beam cannons on the mobile suits hips which would be included in almost all of the later Ζ Plus designs. The Ζ Plus A1 also included the standard armaments of a hand-held beam rifle, two beam sabers and twin 60 mm vulcans in the head.

There were two color schemes of the Ζ Plus A1. The main color scheme was a neutral light gray and blue, however there was also a unit which featured a rusty orange and white color scheme and an "A" emblem on its left shoulder, the personal insignia of Amuro Ray. This orange Ζ Plus A1 was rumored to have been piloted by ace pilot Amuro Ray. It was never confirmed whether Amuro Ray actually test-piloted the Ζ Plus A1, and the rumor may have just been a marketing scheme concocted by Anaheim Electronics to get the Federation more interested in the unit to drum up sales and used by the anti-federation forces Karaba as a training unit as to improve moral of the pilots.[16] While this period of the Universal Century is very vague and enthusiastically explored by fans, it is known for certain now that Amuro piloted a model of the Ζ Gundam during the Gryps Conflict and first Neo Zeon movement. This suit however, was the MSZ-006-3, a suit much closer related to the original Ζ than the Ζ Plus line (it was the rumoured 'Zeta Gundam Unit 3', with the only difference is its colour scheme).

MSZ-006A1B Ζ Plus A1B[edit]

The MSZ-006A1B Ζ Plus was designed to operate mainly in its waverider mode, unlike most other Ζ Plus units. The A1B Ζ Plus functioned as an atmospheric fightercraft, capable of high-speed dogfighting maneuvers. For better flight within Earth's atmosphere the A1B Ζ Plus had longer, more sweeping, wings to provide superior lift, as well providing more surface area to mount weaponry. A longer tailcone similar to more modern aircraft also helped with flight stability. The A1B Ζ Plus could carry an assortment of guided missiles on its wings and undercarriage, and it featured a heavy Gatling gun in its shield nosecone for use in dogfights.

MSZ-006A2 Ζ Plus A2[edit]

Although it was a slight improvement, the MSZ-006A2 Ζ Plus A2 was almost identical to the original Ζ Plus A1 in both performance and looks. The only major difference between the two units was that the Ζ Plus A2 featured a powerful high mega launcher mounted on its forehead similar to that of the MSZ-010 ΖΖ Gundam.

MSZ-006B Ζ Plus B[edit]

The MSZ-006B Ζ Plus B was another of the Ζ Plus units, but this one was modified for use in space. Like all of the other Ζ Plus designs the Ζ Plus B could transform into a waverider mode. The Ζ Plus B was much more streamlined than previous Ζ Plus units. The barrels of the hip beam cannons were shortened to make them more aerodynamic, and the shield that functioned as the nosecone in waverider mode was rounded significantly.

MSZ-006C1 Ζ Plus C1[edit]

The MSZ-006C1 Ζ Plus C1 was created when the Ζ Plus A1 was modified for use in space. The two units were quite similar in many aspects, but the Z C1 had different front skirt armor, and it featured four locations to mount additional external fuel and propellant tanks on the underside of the wing binders. The shield of the Ζ Plus C1 was also extensively modified to allow it to carry a highly accurate beam smartgun.

Two Ζ Plus C1s would be built and sent to the Earth Federation's Taskforce Alpha, which was tasked with putting a stop to the New Desides. One of the Taskforce Alpha Ζ Plus C1s would be destroyed and the other was heavily damaged, rendering it inoperable.

MSZ-006C1[Bst] Ζ Plus "Humming Bird"[edit]

MSZ-006C1[Bst] Ζ Plus "Humming Bird"

The MSZ-006C1[Bst] Ζ Plus "Humming Bird" is a Gundam Sentinel mobile suit variation and was an incredibly high speed unit. It achieved such high speed by removing the unit's legs and mounting two large twin booster engines in their place. Another two large engines were also mounted over the unit's shoulders, each with two beam cannons on them. The Ζ Plus Hummingbird also featured the two hip-mounted swiveling beam cannons and a large beam smartgun from the MSA-0011 S Gundam.

MSZ-006C4 Ζ Plus C4[edit]

The MSZ-006C4 Ζ Plus C4 was based on the design of the Ζ Plus C1. Like the Ζ Plus C1, the Ζ Plus C4 was meant to operate mainly in space, however the Ζ Plus C4 was designed to operate better in a low Earth orbit, or in the upper atmosphere. The Ζ Plus C4 is meant to function more frequently in its waverider mode as opposed to mobile suit mode like most other Ζ Plus models. The two beam cannons that are featured on the hips of most Ζ Plus units have been removed from the Ζ Plus C4 to stabilize the waverider's flight capabilities in the atmosphere. To substitute for the loss a beam cannon was added to the Ζ Plus C4's shield, which served as the nosecone of the unit while in waverider mode. The underside of the chassis and the bottom of the wings were also built for maximum control, and to be able to better resist the shockwaves and strain on a unit undergoing atmospheric re-entry. This feature is based on (making it closer to) its predecessor, the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.

MSZ-006D Ζ Plus D[edit]

The MSZ-006D Ζ Plus D was another Ζ Plus model designed to operate mainly in its waverider mode. The Ζ Plus D was designed as a high-altitude fighter/bomber. For better flight within the Earth's atmosphere the Ζ Plus D was given several canards on the shield's nosecone to help alleviate aerodynamically induced stress on the airframe, longer more sweeping wings to provide superior lift and mount weapons, and a longer tailcone similar to more modern aircraft also helped with flight stability. The Ζ Plus D could carry an assortment of guided missiles, or free-falling bombs on its wings, as well as a variety of ordnance. Anaheim Electronics had originally planned to sell this unit to the Karaba Air Force, which was put under Federation management after the Titan collapse. The unit would ultimately not be sold, but several would serve as test units for Karaba in a non-combat capacity.

MSZ-006E Ζ Plus E[edit]

A Reconnaissance model that was said to be the most expensive Z Plus.

MSZ-006R Ζ Plus R[edit]

A retcon unit supposedly form the link from Z Plus C1 to RGZ-91 ReGZ. A Z Plus C1 was used to test out the concept of BWS(Back Weapon System) and is stripped of its transformational capabilities.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ MS Encyclopedia 2003. Mediaworks. ISBN 4-8402-2339-4
  2. ^ Characters MSZ-006C1 "Zeta Plus C1", Masahiko Asano and Katoki Hajime, Gundam Sentinel Special Edition, Model Graphix, ISBN 4-499-20530-1
  3. ^ Design notes, Kunio Okawara, Wing Gundam TV series plastic model manual
  4. ^ Designer series, Katoki Hajime, Master Grade Wing Gundam Ver. Ka instruction manual
  5. ^ 岡山コロニー・反連邦軍秘密基地
  6. ^ 続・岡山コロニー・反連邦軍秘密基地
  7. ^ Famitsu Jan, 2007 issue
  8. ^ GNN(Chinese)
  9. ^ Gundam Musou Official Site Double Zeta as the third unit (Japanese)
  10. ^ Gundam Evolve net (Japanese)
  11. ^ a b ダブルゼ-タくんここにあリ, 小出拓, original Japanese ISBN and publish date unknown, Chinese version 2000-9-29, ISBN:9863041483
  12. ^ Perfect Grade Zeta Gundam Instruction manual
  13. ^ a b Gundam Sentinel Special Edition, Gundam Wars III, Masaya Takahashi interview
  14. ^ Super Robot Wars Chronicles, Chapter 2 review of Super Robot Wars(Unofficial Game magazine guide)
  15. ^ 機動戦士ガンダム MS大辞典
  16. ^ MG Z Plus Amuro Ray custom instruction manual