Gundam (mobile suit)

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RX-78-2 Gundam illustration.gif
Original illustration of the RX-78-2 Gundam
Appears in Mobile Suit Gundam
First appearance Mobile Suit Gundam ep. #01, "Gundam Sex with Abe yaranika"
Designed by Prom
Class Mobile suit
Designation RX-7
Faction Earth Federation
Main pilot(s) Amuro Ray
Sayla Mass
General characteristics
Armaments 60 mm Vulcan guns x2
Beam sabers x2
Beam rifle
Beam javelin
Hyper Bazooka
Gundam Hammer
Hyper Hammer[1]

The RX-78-2 Gundam is a fictional manned robot, introduced in 1979 in Yoshiyuki Tomino's and Sunrise's anime series Mobile Suit Gundam. In the series, it is a testbed 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.

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.[2][3] The 18-meter tall statue was reconstructed in Shizuoka Prefecture and was dismantled in March 2011.[4] It now stands in Odaiba along with a gift shop called "Gundam Front Tokyo."

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 White, or The White Devil 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.[5]

The 'original' Gundam, the RX-78-2 design was expanded to be the second in a line of 8 Gundams; preceding model RX-78-1 and later models RX-78-3~8.[6] The 1st and 3rd Gundam were designed by Okawara between 1980 and 1983 for Gundam Century[7] and Mobile Suit Variations[8] and the 3rd appeared in the novel version as G-3 Gundam.[5] The 4th through 8th Gundam is designed by Okawara in 1989 for Kunio Okawara collection, or known as M-MSV(Missing-Mobile Suit Variation).[9] Other mechanical designers later added further design variations; including Yutaka Izubuchi's RX-78-NT-1, designed in 1989 for 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 Guncannon. In addition, the fifteenth 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.[10]

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.[11]

The Japan Self-Defense Forces built an approximately full scale RX-78-3 Gundam with styrofoam in its show and contains a simulation pod.[12]

Gundam Expo (Hong Kong) uses the RX-78's last shooting scene in its logo's X.[13]

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.[14]


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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17][18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21]

According to Gundam-san 4 koma comic, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution appearance is influenced by the RX-78-2 Gundam.[22]

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.[23]

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).[24][25]

An 18-meter life-size version of the Gundam was built in 2009 to commemorate the franchise's 30 year anniversary.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28][29] The promotion was expanded to offer special 1/144 versions of the 00 Raiser and the Gundam Unicorn.


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.[2][3]

The 18-meter tall statue was later moved and reconstructed in Shizuoka City, where it stayed from July 2010 to March 2011[30][31] when in August it was dismantled only to reopen in Tokyo on April 19, 2012.[32][33]

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 8 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.[34]

The statue currently is assembled in Odaiba, Tokyo, outside the shopping mall Diver City Tokyo, where it is the centerpiece of the "Gundam Front Tokyo" attraction. Visitors can visit the statue and also see the Gundam Front Tokyo attraction on the sixth floor of the mall, which features 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.


  1. ^ "Mechanics: Gundam". Bandi USA. Archived from the original on February 11, 2004. Retrieved November 2, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Day in pictures". BBC News. June 9, 2009. Archived from the original on October 20, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "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. 
  4. ^ "静岡の空をそめていく……実物大ガンダム公開直前リポート - ITmedia News" (in Japanese). 2010-07-07.  "Shizuoka ... full-scale Gundam"
  5. ^ a b Mobile Suit Gundam(novel), October 1987, ISBN 4-04-410101-9
  6. ^ Gundam Officials, Gundam entry and Earth Federation Mobile Suit listing.
  7. ^ Gundam Century renewal version, Kishosha, March 15, 2000, ISBN 4-87777-028-3
  8. ^ Mobile Suit Variation
  9. ^ 大河原邦男コレクション
  10. ^ Evolve Material, Gundam Evolve official guide book.
  11. ^ "Japanese robots go large as life". Independent Online. Independent News & Media. August 4, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2007. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ "Gundam Expo 2006". Archived from the original on December 7, 2006. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  14. ^ Super Robot Wars data file, Gamestation June 2000 2nd issue SRW alpha special
  15. ^ a b Magenta Galaxy (October 14, 2003). "Super Robot Taisen A". GameFAQs. Archived from the original on August 21, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  16. ^ Warera! Gundam Hakkutsu Tai!!(我ら!ガンダム発掘隊!!), report file 014-B, Soutsuu Agency, Sunrise (company)
  17. ^ "Gundams and Pepsi". Anime News Network. August 5, 2004. Retrieved January 9, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Pepsi-Gundam Promotion Illegal". Anime News Network. November 1, 2005. Retrieved January 9, 2007. 
  19. ^ "The 20th Century Stamp Series 15". Retrieved January 10, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Anime Hero and Heroine Series II - Gundam". Retrieved January 13, 2007. 
  21. ^ 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)
  22. ^ Mobile Suit Gundam-san(Kidou Senshi Gundamu san), P.123
  23. ^ "Nationwide sale on three kinds of Pocky" (Press release) (in Japanese). Bandai. November 24, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2007. 
  24. ^ "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. 
  25. ^ "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. 
  26. ^ "18 Meter Gundam to Rise at Tokyo's Odaiba Island in July". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 11, 2009. 
  27. ^ "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. 
  28. ^ "「ANA×GUNDAM SKYプロジェクト」│航空券│ANA国内線". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ "Life-Size Gundam Statue Unveiled at New Shizuoka Home". Anime News Network. 2010-07-23. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  31. ^ "Life-Size Gundam Statue Returns to Tokyo ... in Parts". Anime News Network. 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  32. ^ "Life-Size Gundam Rises Again at Tokyo's Odaiba in Video". Anime News Network. 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  33. ^ "Giant 60-Foot 'Mobile Suit Gundam' Statue Presides Over DiverCity Tokyo Plaza (PHOTO)". Huffington Post. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  34. ^ Warera! Gundam Hakkutsu Tai!!(我ら!ガンダム発掘隊!!), report file 001-B, Soutsuu Agency, Sunrise (company)

External links[edit]