Gundam Sentinel (ガンダム・センチネル, Gandamu Senchineru) is an original story which takes place in the Universal Century timeline. Set during the same timeline as Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (which is the sequel to Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam), after the fall of the Titans the Earth Federation sends an expeditionary force called Task Force Alpha to deal with a group of elite Federation officers who've formed their own Earth-supremacist faction called the New Desides. Conceptualized in the fall of 1987, the Japanese magazine Model Graphix began serializing a monthly Gundam novel named Gundam Sentinel. It ran from September 1987 to August 1988 and was a groundbreaking combination for a Gundam novel, featuring extremely-detailed mechanical designs by Katoki Hajime (Gundam Sentinel being his debut), paving the way to his becoming the main mechanical designer for the Gundam franchise, and the technically detailed storyline by veteran Gundam fan Masaya Takahashi, writer of the "MS Senki" comic called Gundam Sentinel: Confessions of ALICE.
The story realistically depicts Mobile Suits as military equipment rather than heroic robots. After Gundam Sentinel completed its run, Model Graphix combined all the work, and with the addition of new material, it was published as Gundam Wars III: Gundam Sentinel -The Battle of Real Gundam-. The story was republished in July 1990 as novel subtitled Confessions of ALICE.
It is UC 0088, in the last weeks of the struggle between the AEUG and the Titans, when a small group of elite Federal Forces officers stationed at the asteroid fortress Pezun revolt against the pro-AEUG Federation leadership. The rebels, led by Brave Cod, declare themselves the "New Desides" (a hybrid of "decision" and "dissident"). They swear to fight on for the Titans’ ideology of Earthnoid supremacy. A quick battle erupts between the Federation Barzams and the newer New Desides Xeku Eins, and New Desides are successful in gaining control of the asteroid. Although Axis is the major threat on the horizon, the Federation decides that this rebellion must be put down.
Task Force Alpha, a small force of Federal Forces, AEUG and Karaba veterans, is dispatched to Pezun to suppress the New Desides rebellion before it gets out of hand. In order to intimidate the rebels, Task Force Alpha is equipped with the very latest advanced mobile suit hardware, including a handful of Gundams - the most powerful of which is the MSA-0011 S Gundam, piloted by 22 year-old pilot Ryou Roots. The Task Force Alpha fleet is made up of an Argama-class assault carrier called the Pegasus III, and four Salamis Kai-class cruisers. The Superior Gundam is equipped with an artificial intelligence system called ALICE (Advanced Logistic & Inconsequence Cognizing Equipment), which intervenes several times to save Ryou and, over time, develops true self-awareness.
Task Force Alpha arrives at Pezun and sends out an EWAC Nero, which is quickly destroyed by the New Desides' forces. Shortly thereafter, Task Force Alpha launches two FA-010A FAZZ units ahead of the fleet and immediately enters combat with the New Desides' Xeku Eins. After a few skirmishes, the New Desides launches parts of Pezun that have been torn from the main asteroid and given thrusters. Completely surprising them, two of Task Force Alpha's Salamis ships are destroyed. Skirmishes between both sides continue, as the Superior Gundam is launched for the first time, with two MSZ-006C1 Ζeta Plus C1 units as escorts.
It becomes obvious to the New Desides that they won't be able to defend Pezun for long. When New Desides reinforcements arrive in the lunar metropolis, Aires City, they find they are also being pursued by a Federation-allied fleet, led by Admiral Brian Aeno. Instead of crushing the New Desides, Admiral Aeno, a sympathizer with the New Desides, throws his lot in with them. Task Force Alpha faces not only the New Desides, but its backup fleet, and mounts a full-scale assault on the asteroid. Many of the rebels leave Pezun for Aires City, but leave a small enough contingent on Pezun to hold off Task Force Alpha. As Pezun falls, the remaining rebels retreat hastily, but not before leaving behind a nuclear explosive. Task Force Alpha pilot, Tex West realizes they've been tricked, withdrawing just in time as the asteroid implodes.
With the New Desides holed up in Ayres City, this makes the situation politically unfeasible for the Federal Forces to stage an attack. Skirmishes continue, as Task Force Alpha probes the area around the metropolis with units of Neros, and are quickly defeated by Brave Cod in his ORX-013 Gundam Mk-V . Task Force Alpha then attempts to land mobile suits on the lunar surface and root out the rebels, but the descending pilots are caught in a two-pronged counterattack. The control software in Task Force Alpha's mobile suits, in being based upon data from Pezun, hid a "logistic bomb" which triggered when they attempted to land on the surface of the moon creating an unsafe descent angle and rendering the initial assault a complete failure. Cod's Gundam MK V and other New Desides mobile suits ravage the helpless Task Force Alpha, but the Federal Forces are able to counter the programming, but high casualties forces them to retreat.
The Federation sends reinforcements to join Task Force Alpha in lunar orbit, and the combined "Eagle Force" stages an all-out assault on Ayres City. The reinforcements include the RGM-86R Nouvel GM III and begin the surface attack on the moon. The New Desides had relied on the other lunar cities to oppose the Federation’s aggressive attacks, but the political support they expected never materialized. Fighting between both sides continues for eleven days; at a critical moment of the battle, the Brave Cod and his Gundam MK V single-handedly destroys the three FAZZ units, killing pilots Robert Aldrin and Jon Grissom (Shin Crypt ejects and is picked up by the Pegasus III). While it seems the New Desides are gaining the upper hand, Ryou Roots enters into combat with Cod in the new MSA-0011(Ext) Ex-S Gundam and destroys the Gundam MK V. With the New Desides' leader dead, Ayres City mayor, Kaiser Pinefield, decides to surrender.
Just as all seems lost for the New Desides, an Axis fleet arrives on the scene with their massive Gwa-Ley heavy battleship and over a hundred AMX-003 (MMT-1) Gaza-C's and AMX-007 (MMT-3) Gaza-E's. Honoring their previous pact with the Titans, the Axis reinforcements cover the escape of the remaining 28 New Desides rebels from Ayres City.
The new leader of the New Desides, master strategist, Tosh Cray, devises a desperate plan. The handful of survivors will seize the relay station, Penta, in Earth's satellite orbit, and launch an attack on the Federation senate at Dakar. To accompany their engagement, Axis loans the New Desides a powerful weapon: the re-entry-capable, AMA-100 Z'od-iacok. This machine is so large that it requires a crew and must be towed by a specially modified Musai Kai-class when not in operation.
Meanwhile, the Pegasus III has been assigned to pursue and observe the remaining rebels, while the remainder of Eagle Force secures the moon. Arriving at Penta, the Pegasus III and its remaining mobile suits confront Tosh Cray and the Zodiac. A running battle begins in the upper level of the Earth’s atmosphere, as Federal Forces figure out what New Desides is up to. Cray and his crew pound the Federal Forces with the mighty Zodiac, as a New Desides' shuttle carrying the remaining rebels follows. Ryou, Shin Crypt and Tex West climb into the separated components of the Superior Gundam, while Sigman Shade and Chung Yung pilot the remaining Z Plus units. The three components of the Superior Gundam arrive and Chung sacrifices himself to block a shot from the Zodiac, so Ryou and the others can merge again into the Superior Gundam. Sigman’s Z Plus is also destroyed (although Sigman survives) and the last hope for the Federal Forces rests with Ryou.
To Ryou’s shock, the Zodiac separates into two halves, while Tosh Cray launches from the rear of the Zodiac’s hull in a RMS-142 Xeku Zwei. Ryou is able to destroy one half of the Zodiac and is about to destroy the other, when Tosh engages him in close combat. An intense struggle ensues and the Zodiac begins its descent into Earth's atmosphere, along with the shuttle. Tosh is able to break away from the fight and follows the Zodiac to re-board it, before he falls into the atmosphere.
During this critical battle, A.L.I.C.E. begins to manifest her full potential - the Superior Gundam cannot follow them down without being destroyed. At this point, A.L.I.C.E. takes matters into her own hands. Ejecting the re-entry proof Core Fighter containing Ryou, A.L.I.C.E. follows the New Desides down through the atmosphere, managing to wipe them out before the Superior Gundam itself burns up. Sacrificing itself for the sake of her human pilot, A.L.I.C.E. finally achieves her moment of humanity.
Bandai originally proposed to Model Graphix on the idea of having the first "non-visual" Gundam, that is, a series totally devoid of visual animations and a manga to originate its source. Model Graphix liked the proposal, since there was a model release vacancy between Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ and the next animated Gundam series, and it would be perfect to release their first model kit for the series, the FA-010A FAZZ.
However, after the first few meetings, and with only part of the story and a few of the mechanical designs in place, Bandai began losing interest, due to the anticipation of the release of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, and claiming that the simultaneous release of two Gundam stories will confuse fans. As a result, Bandai abandoned the project with Model Graphix, and placed a "pending" status on Gundam Sentinel. With only an alternate color version of the FAZZ model released, the fan community started to doubt the authenticity of Sentinel (due to the display of a sample model kit at the 1987 Japan Hobby Show). Bandai chose to show no action, in defending the issue.
The editor of Newtype magazine at the time was displeased with these turn of events, and added Gundam Sentinel into the August 1987 issue of Newtype (published on July 10, 1987), with a Gundam Saga II cover special. Six pages of a brief, detailed introduction to the story was inserted, with the words This is REAL!! added to confirm its authenticity. The six pages are as follows:
- The first two pages showed a detailed mechanical design of the titular machine, MSA-0011 S Gundam.
- Pages four and five feature a MSA-007 Nero against a RMS-141 Xeku Eins Type-1, drawn by former-animator, now acclaimed director, Hideaki Anno.
- The last two pages contain more of Hajime Katoki's design of the Superior Gundam.
Once the fan community exploded in excitement and anticipation of Gundam Sentinel, Bandai decided to go ahead with the serialization of Sentinel, beginning with the September issue of Model Graphix. While Model Graphix would hold the rights to the story, characters and mobile units, Bandai would have the sole copyright of releasing its models. Wanting to hold onto their partnership with Model Graphix, Bandai went and displayed all five of the sample model kits for the Gundam Sentinel line, with full descriptions of each model, at the May 19, 1988 Japan Hobby Show. The Model Graphix team regarded that year's event as a "Victory", compared to the previous show in 1987, where only a lone Superior Gundam was displayed without any descriptions.
Copyright issues of Gundam Sentinel
The name Gundam is copyrighted and owned by Bandai, yet Gundam Sentinel was technically created by Model Graphix. Thus, Bandai must receive approval from Model Graphix every time the company wishes to release any mecha or character from the series, since Model Graphix holds the copyright to Sentinel. This is due to the fact that Sotsu Agency, the co-owner of the Gundam franchise, did not manage the copyright well enough, during the period of Sentinel's concept and creation. This gave Bandai a hard time, whenever they try to use Sentinel units in any official release. One example would the Gundam War Collectible Card Game, where the release of the 4th Edition and onwards prevented Sentinel units from appearing.
This has also created difficulty in creating garage kit models for fan modelers to be sold at hobby shows, since the one day copyright release must be obtained from both Bandai and Model Graphix, separately, making costs to acquire them to become expensive. Most of modelers would choose to build cheaper copyright Sentinel models in a Super-Deformed (SD) scale, instead, since Bandai charges less, in this case, for a copyright release.
- 1 REVOLT IN THE PEZUN ペズンの反乱
- 2 SKIRMISH 前哨戦
- 3 SALLY FORTH！ S-GUNDAM Sガンダム、出撃！
- 4 CONQUEST OF PEZUN ペズン制圧
- 5 DREAM ON THE MOON 月面の夢
- 6 LOGISTIC BOMB 論理爆弾
- 7 EAGLE FALL イーグル・フォール
- 8 BATTLE OF AIRES エアーズの攻防
- 9 MASS DRIVER マス・ドライバー
- 10 SHADOW OF NEO-ZEON ネオ・ジオンの影
- 11 TARGET, PENTA 目標、ペンタ
- 12 PURSUIT 追撃
- 13 TRIPLE ATTACK トリプル・アタック
- 14 EARTH LIGHT アース・ライト
Earth Federation Forces
- Chung Yung
- Eton F. Heathrow
- John Grissom
- Robert Aldrin
- Ryou Roots
- Shin Crypt
- Stole Mannings
- Sigman Shade
- Tex West
*Falazi and Gibstina are minor characters that do not appear in more than one line of dialogue, they pilot RMS-142 Xeku Zweis.
List Of Mechanics
Earth Federation Forces/Karaba/AEUG (Anti-Earth Union Group)
- FA-010A FAZZ
- MSA-007 Nero
- MSA-007E EWAC Nero
- MSA-007T Nero Trainer
- MSA-0011 S Gundam
- MSZ-006-X Prototype Ζ Gundam*
- MSZ-006A1 (MSK-006) Zeta Plus A1*
- MSZ-006A1B Zeta Plus A1B*
- MSZ-006A2 Ζeta Plus A2*
- MSZ-006A3 Zeta Plus A3*
- MSZ-006B Ζeta Plus B*
- MSZ-006BN Zeta Plus BN*
- MSZ-006C1 Ζ Plus C1
- MSZ-006C4 Zeta Plus C4*
- MSZ-006D Zeta Plus D*
- MSZ-006E Zeta Plus E*
- MSZ-006R Zeta Plus R*
- ORX-013 Gundam Mk-V
- RGM-86R GM III
- RGM-86R Nouvel GM III
- RMS-154 Refined Barzam*
Vehicles and Support Units
- Argama-class (Pegasus III)
- FF-08GB G-Core (Atmospheric Version)
- FF-08-GB/WR Wyvern
- FXA-08GB G-Core
- FXA-08GB(Bst) Core Booster "0088"
- Magellan Kai-class
- Salamis Kai-class
Vehicles and Support Units
Vehicles and Support Units
- MSA-0012 λ Gundam*
- YRA-90A μ Gundam*
- These units are official Model Graphix designs in their Gundam Sentinel Line, however they do not at any point appear either the text of Gundam Sentinel, the accompanying visuals or the Gundam Wars III explanatory section after the text of the story.
Reference to Bakumatsu period
In essence, Gundam Sentinel is the Bakumatsu / Boshin war set in the UC universe.
The name New Desides is a motif, referencing the Shinsengumi. As the characters "Shin" (新) translates to "New", and "Sen"(撰) is transmogrified into the hybrid word "Desides", it reflects the group's rebellious nature. Also, its officers are also a homage to the Shinsengumi officers as well:
- Brave Cod - Isami Kondō; "Isami" (勇) directly translates to "Brave", and "Kondo" is shortened to "Cod".
- Tosh Cray - Toshizō Hijikata; "Cray" refers to the last name "Hijikata" (土 meaning "earth") and "Tosh" is a shortening of "Toshizō".
- Josh Offshore - Souji Okita; "Josh" is westernized phonetically from "Souji". The word "offshore" is possibly referring to the meaning of the last name (沖 is "to wash", 田 is "to field").
- First Side - Hajime Saitō; "First" refers to "Hajime"(一), and "Side" is westernized phonetically from "Saito".
- Brian Aeno - Enomoto Takeaki; Aeno is a shortening of Enomoto. Just like Enomoto, Aeno is a popular admiral and own some of the strongest warships of the government, and instead of surrendering his warship to the proper authority, he instead joined force with the remnants before surrendering.
The Xeku Eins, in a bright-blue color (contrasting to titan's typical dark blue color), is a reference to the light-blue uniform of Shinsengumi.
Task Force Alpha
The make up of Task Force Alpha, composed of misfits, parallels Kiheitei (tranliterate to irregular army), which composed of all social classes, including farmers, merchants, samurai etc.
- Ryou Roots may be a reference to the activist and prominent enemy of the Shinsengumi, Sakamoto Ryoma, where "Ryu", meaning dragon, is the first Kanji of "Ryoma"(龍馬), and "Sakamoto"(坂本) translates directly into the "origins of a hillside", hence, "roots". Both man, though considered as samurai/fighters, are more well known as pushing innovations, with Ryou Root's main duty is to create scenarios for Alice to "grow".
- Tex West is a reference to Saigo Takamori - Saigo(西鄕) can be read as "west village", while Tex is the westernized phonetic from "Takamori"
- Shinn Crypt reference to Takasugi Shinsaku - Shinn is the western shortening of Shinsaku, while Takasugi(高杉) translate to "Tall Japanese Cedar", or in the scientific name, Cryptomeria. Just like Takasugi, Shinn is a leader of a team, in this case as the leader of FAZZ team.
Not only was the city the Western phoneticalization of Aizu, many events mirrored those of Battle of Aizu (While the Battle of Ayers City also referred to many battles of Boshin War)
- Kasier Pinefield - Matsudaira Katamori - The kanji that composed to "Matsudaira"(松平) consist of "Pine" and "flat", which is a characteristic of a field. "Kasier" is westernized phonetically from "Katamori".
- Relationship further reinforced by the fact that Matsudaira is the 9th Daimyo of Aizu, just as Pinefield is the mayor of Ayers.
- The White Squad of Ayers City is a reference to Byakkotai (The White Tiger Squad), both of which compose of young and new soldiers.
- The suicidal runs of the White Squad paralleled the seppuku of the Byakkotai.
- At the end, Ayers city losses due to political abandonment from both Titans and other Lunar cities. This reflect that Aizu was abandoned by its allies just prior to Battle of Aizu.
- While Mike Saotome have no direct historical relationships in his name, his capacity is identical to the Foriegn advisors that advised the Tokugawa government and subsequently the Republic of Ezo during Boshin War.
- Space station Penta, where Tosh Cray launched his last stand in a Zeon-loaned mobile armor, refer to the Goryokaku fort in Hokkaido, the place where Toshizo launched his own last stand (Battle of Hakodate) with the assistence of Jules Brunet's French forces and died.
- The Gundam Sentinel series was first used in the Super Robot Wars franchise with Super Robot Wars 4., only represented with the S Gundam and the Ex-S Gundam. The S Gundam is discovered as a hidden unit, repaired if you end up sacrificing a Guntank to do so. The Ex-S Gundam becomes available to you if you end up killing Four Murasame later on. It was originally planned to be used in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, completing the Titans' storyline that had been going on since Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden. However, the sudden popularity of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED lead to Sentinel being scrapped in favor of SEED. Files for the same were also discovered on the Alpha 2 disc, indicating it's inclusion was intended even earlier.
- ↑ こいつは本物だ!!, Newtype August, 1987 issue
- ↑ Model Graphix Special edition, Gundam Wars III, Gundam Sentinel, The battle of "Real Gundam"
Gundam Sentinel: Confessions of ALICE
Gundam Sentinel ("Gundam Wars III")
- 1/144 Gundam Sentinel Model Series
- High Grade Universal Century
- EX Model
- Master Grade
- SD Gundam BB Senshi
- MAHQ - Gundam Sentinel
- Wikipedia - Gundam Sentinel
- Gears Online - Gundam Sentinel
- WorldLingo - Gundam Sentinel