The RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee (aka Banshee) is a mobile suit that appears in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. It is built alongside its brother unit, the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, under the Earth Federation's UC Project. Originally piloted by Marida Cruz, it was later assigned to Riddhe Marcenas.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
After its completion alongside the Unicorn Gundam, the Banshee was eventually stationed on Earth with the Augusta Research Lab and tested for atmospheric combat. Rather than that of a Unicorn, the Banshee's motif is that of a lion, illustrated with gold accents on the forehead, a golden collar to signify a lion's mane (the Banshee originally had the same collar as the Unicorn but this was changed after it suffered damages while battling in space), and a much more elaborate horn/V-fin.
The Banshee's armor is almost entirely black, and its psycho-frame emits a golden-orange glow when the NT-D is activated. Although the Banshee lacks the Unicorn's distinctive La+ System, its performance in atmospheric combat is vastly superior, presumably because of a significant reconfiguring of the suit's operating system to account for Earth's gravity and the atmosphere's frictional resistance.
Combat improvements were made according to Unicorn Gundam's battle data, which had been relayed to the Augusta Research Lab. However, the two Gundams have no major operating differences. Aside from lacking the Unicorn's La+ operating system, the Banshee's raw performance is equal to that of the Unicorn. In other words, any modification to the Banshee (i.e. atmospheric combat performance) could also be applied to the Unicorn, making both suits equal in ability.
In the anime version, it weighs more than Unit 1 and has a larger effective sensor radius. Its armament also differs from that of Unit 1, as it is equipped with the added psycho-frame armaments "Armed Armor BS" and "Armed Armor VN", granting it better continuous battle capability than Unit 1, and it is said to have a higher degree of completion.
- 60mm Vulcan Gun
- A basic armament found on many Federation mobile suits. While essentially ineffectual against mobile suit armor, they are useful in intercepting incoming missiles/rockets, destroying mobile suit sensors, and engaging lightly-armored vehicles.
- Beam Magnum
- A handheld firearm equipped with an energy condenser, it is common to the RX-0 series mobile suits. Each shot from the beam magnum is equal in power to 4 normal beam rifle shots and can destroy a mobile armor-class machine. Even stray particles from the fired beam have sufficient power to destroy a mobile suit, meaning a direct hit is not always required. In return for such high power, each shot consumes an entire E-pack, and because of this, five connected E-packs served as a single magazine for this weapon. This magazine is also known as "Magnum Bullets", and up to two spare magazines can be stored on the Banshee's rear skirt armor. As a result, the beam magnum only has a maximum of 15 shots, causing it to have poor continuous battling capability. Additionally, the weapon can be too powerful for certain situations, limiting its use. When not in use, the beam magnum is stored on the backpack via a slot located in the upper section.
- Beam Saber
- The Banshee is equipped with four beam sabers, two on the forearms and two in the backpack. In Unicorn mode, the MS only has access to the two forearms mounted beam sabers. In Destroy Mode, the other two beam sabers flip out from the backpack, allowing access to all four sabers.
- Beam Tonfa
- The forearm mounted beam sabers can flip over and be used directly, in this form, they are known as beam tonfa. The right forearm's beam tonfa cannot be used when the Banshee is equipped with the Armed Armor BS.
- A forearm-mounted physical shield common to the RX-0 series mobile suits. An I-Field generator is built into the shield's center, and the barrier that it generates can block beam attacks from beam sabers to battleship-class beam fire, enhancing the shield's defensive power. The shield also has four psycho-frame panels to enhance its toughness and to increase the amount of psycho-frame carried by the mobile suit. When in Destroy Mode, the upper and lower sections of the shield slide apart, revealing the I-Field generator for use, and the psycho-frame panels are also deployed in an X-shape around this generator. In Unicorn Mode, the I-Field barrier can be deployed by having the shield slide apart momentarily.
- Armed Armor VN
- One of the added psycho-frame armaments, this melee weapon can be equipped on the left forearm (in the anime) or right forearm (Mobile Suit Gundam UC: One of Seventy Two short movie). "VN" is an abbreviation for "Vibro-Nail". Its design utilizes the enhanced toughness of the psycho-frame when it receives sensations from the pilot, and can change into a claw form when in Destroy Mode to capture the target, which is then crushed by super vibrations. Even without changing into a claw, the Armed Armor VN can serve as a striking weapon using its mass and has high attack power. Additionally, it is also treated with a beam-resistant coating, and can function as a shield.
- Armed Armor BS
- One of the added psycho-frame armaments, this ranged weapon is equipped on the right forearm in the anime. "BS" is an abbreviation for "Beam-Smartgun". It transmits spatial data obtained from the built-in sensor unit to the pilot via Psycommu, then feeds those sensations back into the two fin-shaped beam polarizers at the front for highly accurate "anticipatory aiming". The fired beam moves in an undulating motion, making its trajectory extremely difficult to predict and avoid. Furthermore, while each shot is less powerful than a beam magnum's, it is still more powerful than a normal beam rifle's. It was developed on a trial basis by an engineer who noticed the resonance between psycho-frames. Even before deployment, it transmits data obtained from its sensors to enhance the mobile suit's search capabilities.
Special Equipment & Features
- A special operating system installed in the RX-0 series mobile suits. The name "NT-D" is supposed to be an abbreviation for "Newtype Drive," but is actually an abbreviation for "Newtype Destroyer," a system developed to eliminate Newtypes. The system is activated when it detects an enemy psycommu machine as well as its Newtype or Cyber-Newtype pilot. When activated, the mobile suit transforms into Destroy Mode, dramatically improving its performance as its limiters are disabled, and allowing it to hijack the enemy machine's psycommu weaponry. However, it places a heavy burden on the pilot and the machine, and is limited to five minutes. In order to reduce the burden when the system is activated, the seat is designed to transform, and a special pilot suit has been prepared to reduce G-force pharmacologically.
Developed by Anaheim Electronics, the RX-0-2 Unicorn Gundam Banshee is virtually identical to the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam piloted by Banagher Links, except for its color, more ornate V-Fin, and the lack of the La+ system. Prior to the "Banshee"'s assignment to Augusta Lab to undergo gravity testing, it was assigned to the General Revil alongside the "Phenex". While attached to the General Revil, the "Banshee" and the "Phenex" encountered a "Sleeves" unit and engaged it in battle, where the "Banshee" suffered significant damage to its chest which required it to be overhauled. During the overhaul, the Banshee gained its golden collar, making it resemble a lion even more.
At Augusta, Banshee is assigned to the captured but brainwashed Marida Cruz. It first sortied at Dakar to capture the Unicorn Gundam after Riddhe had confronted Banagher about the events of both their family's complicated past. Banagher would then come to battle the Banshee, in an attempt to snap Marida back to her senses and away from Martha's influence. Later after Zinnerman and Banagher managed to bring back Marida, this unit was recovered by the Federation and assigned to Riddhe Marcenas, with Alberto hiding this act from Martha. During the final battle, Banshee confronts Unicorn again and both activated their NT-D. Banshee seemed to have an upper hand since Banagher was unwilling to fight against Riddhe, whom he considered a friend. The Nahel Argama provided covering fire, hoping to give Banagher an opportunity to disengage. In the heat of battle, Riddhe saw this as yet another example in a long list of betrayals. He fired upon the Nahel Argama, but Marida threw her damaged Kshatriya into the path of the Riddhe's attack, sacrificing her life in the process.
The explosion of the Kshatriya's psycho-frame allowed Marida's spirit to reach out one final time. She implored a rage-filled Banagher to forgive Riddhe and reminds Banagher that only the unicorn and lion together would bring new hope. She also tells Zinnerman that she was glad to meet him. Zinnerman begged her not to leave, but she said that she was grateful for his care of her and satisfied. Riddhe eventually realizes what he should do. Banshee and Unicorn later confront Full Frontal in his damaged Sinanju together, and Banagher killed Frontal. Together the Unicorn, and Banshee activated the psycho-field and blocked the laser fired from Gryps II. Then the Banshee joined to stop the attack from the EFSF ultimately before the attack was called off.
The Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee first appeared after the AMA-X7 Shamblo was defeated during an attack on Torrington Base. The Banshee was dropped from a Vist Foundation Base Jabber and descended upon the MSN-001A1 Delta Plus and RX-0 Unicorn Gundam. After disabling the Delta Plus, the Banshee secures both suits and brings them into the Ra Cailum.
Note: More of the Unicorn Gundam Banshee's history can be found on Marida Cruz page
Illustrations & Artwork
Notes & Trivia
- In Irish and Scottish mythology, the Banshee is a "fairy woman" whose mournful wail heralds an imminent death.
- The Banshee is based on The Lion from The Lady and the Unicorn.
- The Banshee is nicknamed the "Black Unicorn", although it is really colored in a dark shade of midnight blue.
- Even though Gundam Memories has the Unicorn storyline, the Banshee is not playable in this game.
- The Banshee appears in HG and MG versions in Gundam Breaker. However, neither kit comes packaged with the Armed Armor weapons. They can only be obtained by creating them from scratch.
- Even though the Hyper Beam Javelin was mostly used by the Unicorn Gundam, there are instances wherein some official illustrations, the Banshee is using it. The Armored Girls Project version of it also uses the said weapon.
- The color scheme of Banshee and its sibling units (Unicorn and Phenex) are likely inspired by the kitsune of Japanese folklore, specifically the zenko. In Banshee's case, it is likely based on the kokuko.
- Banshee is confirmed intact and sealed during the events of Gundam NT.
- On September 2020, the Japanese website Gundam.info announced that the Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee won an online census, where fans voted for the next Master Grade Extreme, to celebrate the release of MGEX Unicorn Ver. Ka. There has been no follow-up information regarding a hypothetical MGEX Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee from Bandai ever since.
- RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee on Gundam-Unicorn.net
- RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee (Novel) on MAHQ.net
- RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee (OVA) on MAHQ.net
- RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 02 "Banshee" on Gundams.de
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