Gundam (fictional robot)

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Mobile Suit Gundam character
RX-78-2 Gundam illustration.gif
Original illustration of the RX-78-2 Gundam
First appearanceMobile Suit Gundam ep. #01, "Gundam Rising"
Created byKunio Okawara
ClassMobile suit
DesignationRX-78-2 Gundam
AffiliationEarth Federation
Armaments60 mm Vulcan guns ×2
Beam sabers ×2
Beam rifle
Beam javelin
Hyper Bazooka
Gundam Hammer
Hyper Hammer[1]

The RX-78-2 Gundam is a fictional manned robot (mecha), introduced in 1979 in Yoshiyuki Tomino's and Sunrise's anime series Mobile Suit Gundam. In the series, it is a prototype weapon for the Earth Federation when it falls into the hands of Amuro Ray, the son of its designer in story (Tem Ray), who goes on to pilot it in the Earth Federation's war against the Principality of Zeon.

As the success of the series began the Gundam franchise, the robot's design was the first of many variations in subsequent works. The design appearing in Mobile Suit Gundam serves as the iconic symbol of the Gundam franchise and sparked the creation of its multiple sequels and spinoffs.

Character design[edit]

The RX-78's initial concept was that of a powered armor, the primary design for Yoshiyuki Tomino's proposed series Freedom Fighter Gunboy. The series later changed its name to Mobile Suit Gundam and Kunio Okawara was given Tomino's concept to shape into a finalized design for the anime. Okawara created multiple designs before settling on the current, samurai-styled design for the anime in 1979.

Enemies in the series keep referring to the RX-78-2 as the white suit or the White Devil (due to the suit's formidable battle performance) while it is a mix of blue, red, and white. Tomino's response in the novel version of Gundam is that the original design was to be a grayscale machine, made up of mostly white and light gray colouring. However, Sunrise disapproved of the colouring and insisted the unit to be painted in brighter colours to attract attention, like other super robot anime at that time.[2]

The "original" Gundam, the RX-78-2 design was to be the second unit in a line of eight prototype high-performance assault-type mobile suits.[3] The preceding Gundam model RX-78-1 and the subsequent model RX-78-3 were designed by Okawara between 1980 and 1983 for Gundam Century[4] and Mobile Suit Variations[5] and the latter appeared in the novel version as the G-3 Gundam after the original Unit 2 was destroyed in battle.[2] The fourth to eighth Gundam is designed by Okawara in 1989 for Kunio Okawara collection, or known as M-MSV(Missing Mobile Suit Variation).[6] Other mechanical designers later added further design variations; including Yutaka Izubuchi's RX-78NT-1, designed in 1989 for the OVA series Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, and Shoji Kawamori's and Hajime Katoki's Gundam Development Project designs in 1992 for Gundam 0083. Katoki redesigned the RX-78-7 for the upcoming PlayStation 3 game Mobile Suit Gundam Battlefield Record UC 0081. The RX-78-2 has also been redesigned several times by other artists. In particular, Hajime Katoki's version of the Gundam (referred to by Gundam fans and Bandai themselves as Ver. Ka) has become popular enough to be made into both injection plastic model kits sold by Bandai and resin-based garage kits sold by their B-Club subsidiary. Okawara himself redesigned the Gundam for original character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko's manga Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, a retelling of the events of the original series. Though mostly identical to the original, it features slightly different designs for its weapons, a small Vulcan pod in its shoulder, and the ability to replace one of the beam sabers stored in its backpack with a cannon similar to that of the RX-77 Guncannon. In addition, the 15th installment of the Gundam Evolve series of shorts features another variation on the RX-78's design, a highly stylized version of the iconic machine based on "modern" design aesthetics. It has been referred as Ver. Evolve 15.[7]

The continuing popularity in Japan of this mobile suit has led Bandai to create a 1.5m tall model version, which went on sale in Japan in 2007.[8]

The Japan Self-Defense Forces built an approximately full scale RX-78-3 Gundam with styrofoam in its show and contains a simulation pod.[9]

Gundam Expo (Hong Kong) uses the RX-78-2's last shooting scene in its logo's X.[10]

In the Super Robot Wars series of tactical role-playing games, the Gundam franchise is the chief representative of the "Real Robot" genre and one of the three mainstays of the series (the other two being Mazinger and Getter Robo), and the original Gundam itself is referred to in the series as the First Gundam (ファーストガンダム, Fāsuto Gandamu) in order to distinguish it from its many successors.[11]


Role in plot[edit]

The deployment of the Principality of Zeon's highly agile mobile suits, the MS-05 Zaku I and the MS-06 Zaku II in the early phase of the One Year War had given the small nation a major tactical edge over the much larger Earth Federation. Capable of propellant-less maneuvering thanks to their AMBAC systems, and able to be retrofitted to suit a variety of missions and environments, they easily outclassed the Federation's arsenal of conventional space fighters and ground vehicles, and laid waste to the Federation armada of dreadnought space warships. Realizing that the gap needed to be closed, the Federation instituted Project V (short for "Project Victory"), a development program that would produce a countering Federation mobile suit design, with the capability for mass-production a mandatory requirement. While the ultimate result of the program was the mass-produced RGM-79 GM series, the engineers in the project tested several design concepts for the mass-production units in the RX-78 series. Some of the developments in the RX-78 models were later incorporated into the GM line, but many were scrapped due to cost and/or complexity.

Only eight RX-78 suits were produced during the One Year War, although continual remodelling and upgrading created the impression that there were more than eight units. Although the RX-78 suits are designated RX-78-1 to RX-78-8, the final digit indicated the design version of the unit, rather than its actual number.

In addition, the Earth Federation Forces started a G-4 project which consist of four RX-78s for each of its branches, and EFSF (Earth Federation Space Force) used information of the RX-78-4 to develop the RX-78NT-1. According to the director's production notes of Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, it could be considered to be the 9th unit of RX-78 in the One Year War. Although what unit the EFAF (EF Air Force) developed is not specifically mentioned, in the semi-canon manga Mobile Suit Gundam: MS Generation the EFAF created the RX-78E (GT FOUR/Gundam Transformer/Flight & Operations Unifications Reactors), which is different from the eight RX-78s produced. Another unit is the EFGF's (EF Ground Force) RX-78XX, which uses scrap parts of the RX-78s, just like the RX-79[G] Gundam Ground Combat Type. The EFN (EF Navy) developed the RAG-79-G1 as the G-4 project's marine type Gundam, yet it is only an upgrade of the RAG-79 Aqua GM for Ace pilots with just the head and generator changed. After the One Year War, the GP series are numbered after the RX-78 convention, despite being newly produced units.

The variation among the Gundams was originally indicated by differences in colouration, indicating upgrades to completely internal equipment and technology, although later variants displayed externally visible upgrades. For example, Unit 4 and Unit 5, which exist mainly in games and as model kits, provide additional mounting points and weaponry.

The RX-78 series introduced Minovsky particle weaponry to mobile suits, developing and deploying the first successful beam rifle and beam saber. These would form the primary component of mobile suit weaponry for at least the next hundred and fifty years. The core block system was also introduced in the RX-78, as well as the RX-75 Guntank and RX-77 Guncannon. This system allowed the pilot to escape the destruction of his mobile suit in a functional aerospace fighter, as well as housing a learning computer that can collect and analyze performance data from the suit's combat sorties and self-adapt for improvement. This however had to be dropped from subsequent mass-production units due to cost issues. However, it was reused on occasion (most notably in the Anaheim Electronics MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam during the First Neo Zeon War), and later resurrected in UC 0153 by the League Militaire on the LM312V04 Victory Gundam.

After the end of the One Year War, the Federation opened up a black op mobile suit development program, the Gundam Development Project, in order to develop mobile suits to fill roles that had appeared in analysis of combat operations from the One Year War. After the events of Gundam 0083, all details of the Gundam Development Project were erased from the official records.

The RX-78 line was finally superseded in UC 0087 by the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II, developed by the Titans counterinsurgency taskforce.

Notable variations[edit]

RX-78NT-1 Gundam NT-1 "Alex"

RX-78NT-1 Gundam NT-1 "Alex"[edit]

Primary Mobile Suit featured in the 1989 OVA Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, designed by Yutaka Izubuchi. The first direct variant of the RX-78 to be animated, it helped pave the way for the appearance of other variants, such as those from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, as pivotal elements of the plot. In War in the Pocket, the Alex was developed to replace the RX-78-2 and optimized for the increased reaction time of Newtypes, though its test pilot Christina MacKenzie was not a Newtype herself. With its panoramic cockpit, the Alex serves as a retconned technological link between the original series and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.

Offensively, the Alex sports large multi-barreled cannons concealed beneath the blue pods on either arm in addition to a pair of small Vulcan guns mounted on the head and the ubiquitous backpack-stored beam sabers. It was also to be equipped with a beam rifle and shield, but they were not completed by the time the Alex was ready.

The Alex could be outfitted with a Chobham armour shell that offered extra protection. Its data would be used for the GM Custom. The Chobham armour design would be used to reinforce the body of the GM Cannon II. Both of these later GM's appear in Gundam 0083, further bridging the gap between the original series and Zeta Gundam.

The Alex only sortied twice, and was severely damaged days before the One Year War ended.


Pop culture[edit]

The Gundam RX-78-2 featured in a fire fighting poster.

The appearance of the unit is not limited to Gundam series. RX-78-2 Gundam is one of the basic units that appear in the Super Robot Wars series, ever since the first game for the Game Boy.[12] The RX-78-2 also makes multiple cameo appearances in the anime Sgt. Frog.

The current Bandai Universal Century models' label copyright classification also uses the head of the Gundam as its icon.[13]

Pepsi released several series of Pepsi bottles with special-edition bottle caps featuring miniature statues of various mobile suits from the many Gundam anime released over the years.[14][15] The RX-78 was one of three of these designs (the other two being both the normal Zaku and Char's red Zaku) to have multiple miniatures released during the first promotional campaign, including both a full-body sculpture and a sculpture of its bust.[citation needed]

On October 23, 2000, Japan included the RX-78 Gundam and Amuro Ray in the 20th Century Stamp Series.[16] This mobile suit and other notable machines from various Gundam series were also recognized in the second set of "Anime Heroes and Heroines" stamps, released in 2005. Other franchises and series included were Pokémon, Galaxy Express 999, and Detective Conan.[17]

The RX-78-2 Gundam & 2 Medea transport planes were featured in a fire fighting poster in Japan. The RX-78-2 was equipped with water spraying equipment instead of weapons.[18]

According to Gundam-san 4 koma comic, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution appearance is influenced by the RX-78-2 Gundam.[19]

Pocky released a series called Pocky Gunpla Bag that contains a small plastic model in it. One of them is the RX-78-2 Gundam. The target customers of this product is 30-year-old male.[20]

In 2008, an ink and wash painting of Gundam drawn by Hisashi (天明屋 尚) in 2005 was sold in the Christie's auction held in Hong Kong with a price of $600,000 (USD).[21][22]

An 18-meter life-size version of the Gundam was built in 2009 to commemorate the franchise's 30 year anniversary.[23] The project is in response to the 30th Anniversary of Gundam as well as a fund raising project for Green Tokyo, a project preparing Tokyo in terms of the bid for 2016 Olympic Games with the theme of a Green Olympic.[24] The statue itself is depicted in the 2010 anime Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G. After an appearance at Bandai's headquarters in Shizuoka from late 2010 to March 2011, it was erected again at the new Gundam Front Tokyo theme attraction on Odaiba, opening on July 2012 until March 2013.

On July 16, 2010, ANA launched a series of flights as part of the 30th anniversary of Gunpla. Called the "ANA x GUNDAM Sky Project," the promotion used specially painted Boeing 777s on domestic and international flights. The initial flight was from Tokyo to Osaka. Passengers were also given the chance to buy HGUC 1/144 and 1/48 MegaScale kits of the RX-78-2 Gundam painted in ANA colors aboard the flight. It was scheduled to end in March 2011, but was extended to June 30, 2011.[25][26] The promotion was expanded to offer special 1/144 versions of the 00 Raiser and the Gundam Unicorn.

The RX-78-2 Gundam appeared in Steven Spielberg's film Ready Player One (2018),[27] where one of the protagonists controls a full size Gundam replica during the climatic battle in a virtual reality environment, where it, and its ally The Iron Giant is used to battle the antagonist's Mechagodzilla.

The Gundam was featured on the online series Death Battle and was pitted up against the Autobot leader Optimus Prime and lost due to the Autobot being more skilled, having far superior feats and better weapons. [28]


As part of the 30th Anniversary of the Gundam series, the company officially announced a project on March 11, 2009 called Real-G planning to build a 1:1 real size scale Gundam in Japan. It was completed on June 9, 2009 and displayed in a Tokyo park.[29][30] The 18-meter tall statue was later moved and reconstructed in Shizuoka City, where it stayed from July 2010 to March 2011.[31][32] In August it was dismantled and reconstructed in Odaiba, Tokyo on April 19, 2012.[33][34] Until March 5, 2017 it stood in Odaiba along with a gift shop called "Gundam Front Tokyo".[35]

On March 5, it was announced that the life size RX 78-2 Gundam will be replaced by another life size statue of the RX 0 Unicorn Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.[36]

Theme park attraction "Gundam Crisis" and "Gundam Front Tokyo"[edit]

The RX-78-2 Gundam had a full 1:1 scale mock-up constructed for the theme park attraction Gundam Crisis. It costs 800 yen to go into the attraction and the attraction is basically a game where the players have to complete about eight different missions within 8 minutes (1 minute per mission) in order to access the cockpit. If successful, players are shown a special, Gundam-related video inside the cockpit.[37]

The statue stood in Odaiba, Tokyo, outside the shopping mall Diver City Tokyo, where it was a centerpiece of the "Gundam Front Tokyo" attraction until March 5, 2017. Visitors could visit the statue and also see the Gundam Front Tokyo attraction on the sixth floor of the mall, which featured a 360 degree panoramic movie theater, a room dedicated to Gundam models throughout the years, lots of concept artwork, and a life-size 1/1 scale bust of the Strike Freedom Gundam from the show Gundam SEED.[38] The nearby hotel, Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba (formerly Grand Pacific le Daiba) had a Gundam themed hotel room during this time.[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mechanics: Gundam". Bandi USA. Archived from the original on January 11, 2004. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Mobile Suit Gundam(novel), October 1987, ISBN 4-04-410101-9
  3. ^ Gundam Officials, Gundam entry and Earth Federation Mobile Suit listing.
  4. ^ Gundam Century renewal version, Kishosha, March 15, 2000, ISBN 4-87777-028-3
  5. ^ Mobile Suit Variation
  6. ^ 大河原邦男コレクション
  7. ^ Evolve Material, Gundam Evolve official guide book.
  8. ^ "Japanese robots go large as life". Independent Online. Independent News & Media. August 4, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  9. ^ "楽天が運営するポータルサイト : 【インフォシーク】Infoseek". Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Gundam Expo 2006". Archived from the original on December 7, 2006. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  11. ^ Super Robot Wars data file, Gamestation June 2000 2nd issue SRW alpha special
  12. ^ a b Magenta Galaxy (October 14, 2003). "Super Robot Taisen A". GameFAQs. Archived from the original on August 21, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  13. ^ Warera! Gundam Hakkutsu Tai!!(我ら!ガンダム発掘隊!!), report file 014-B, Soutsuu Agency, Sunrise (company)
  14. ^ "Gundams and Pepsi". Anime News Network. August 5, 2004. Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  15. ^ "Pepsi-Gundam Promotion Illegal". Anime News Network. November 1, 2005. Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  16. ^ "The 20th Century Stamp Series 15". Retrieved January 10, 2007.
  17. ^ "Anime Hero and Heroine Series II - Gundam". Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  18. ^ Japanese Fire Department, Fire Fighting History Museum, The future of fire fighting(消防の未来), section 1 Gundam Activity (ガンダム大活躍)
  19. ^ Mobile Suit Gundam-san(Kidou Senshi Gundamu san), P.123
  20. ^ "Nationwide sale on three kinds of Pocky" (Press release) (in Japanese). Bandai. November 24, 2006. Archived from the original on June 6, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  21. ^ "史上最貴高達水墨畫拍出60萬美元天價". May 27, 2008. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  22. ^ "史上最貴鋼彈RX-78-2水墨畫 拍出1800萬台幣天價 :: 新聞中心". 遊戲基地 gamebase. Archived from the original on January 13, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  23. ^ "18 Meter Gundam to Rise at Tokyo's Odaiba Island in July". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  24. ^ "GREEN TOKYO ガンダムプロジェクト みんなで育てる未来がある。". Archived from the original on April 19, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  25. ^ "「ANA×GUNDAM SKYプロジェクト」│航空券│ANA国内線". Retrieved 2013-05-24.
  26. ^ "ANA's 'Gundam' plane makes inaugural flight". The Japan Times. July 17, 2010. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  27. ^ "Gundam Appears in New Ready Player One Trailer".
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Day in pictures". BBC News. June 9, 2009. Archived from the original on October 20, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  30. ^ "1/1実物大ガンダム大地に立つ!]". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  31. ^ "Life-Size Gundam Statue Unveiled at New Shizuoka Home". Anime News Network. 2010-07-23. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  32. ^ "Life-Size Gundam Statue Returns to Tokyo ... in Parts". Anime News Network. 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  33. ^ "Life-Size Gundam Rises Again at Tokyo's Odaiba in Video". Anime News Network. 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  34. ^ "Giant 60-Foot 'Mobile Suit Gundam' Statue Presides Over DiverCity Tokyo Plaza (PHOTO)". Huffington Post. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  35. ^ appetiteforjapan (2015-12-02). "Diver City Tokyo: the ultimate Gundam experience". Appetite For Japan. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  36. ^ "「実物大ユニコーンガンダム立像」新プロジェクト始動!2017年秋、お台場にて展示開始!". 公式ガンダム情報ポータルサイト「GUNDAM.INFO」 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  37. ^ Warera! Gundam Hakkutsu Tai!!(我ら!ガンダム発掘隊!!), report file 001-B, Soutsuu Agency, Sunrise (company)
  38. ^ appetiteforjapan (2015-12-02). "Diver City Tokyo: the ultimate Gundam experience". Appetite For Japan. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  39. ^ appetiteforjapan (2015-12-13). "Hotel Gundam Style: inside the exclusive anime hotel suite". Appetite For Japan. Retrieved 2017-03-03.

External links[edit]