The RX-78-2 Gundam is the titular mobile suit of Mobile Suit Gundam television series. Part of the RX-78 Gundam series, it was built in secret on Side 7. The Gundam would turn the tide of war in favor of the Earth Federation during the One Year War against the Principality of Zeon. It was primarily piloted by Amuro Ray.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
The Gundam was incredibly advanced for its time. Built from lightweight Luna Titanium Alloy, its frame was both lighter than that of Zeon's mass-produced mobile suits and much sturdier, able to shrug off a MS-06 Zaku II's machine gun fire with little to no damage. Its offensive power was above and beyond that of the Zakus. The Gundam would engage in most battles with its beam rifle, making it the first mobile suit to have firepower equivalent to a battleship's beam cannons. In addition, it made use of two beam sabers, blades of extremely hot plasma which could cut through any metal with ease. Those beam sabers could be extended into a spear-like beam javelin, which could be used to stab into an enemy from a longer distance.
The Gundam also used more conventional weaponry; it could launch rockets with a "Hyper Bazooka", the Federation's answer to the bazookas used by Zeon's Zakus; in addition, its head was outfitted with a pair of small vulcan guns, as a way of attacking light-armored aircraft and vehicles without wasting ammo or energy from its more powerful armaments. It also made use of a very unconventional close-range weapon known as the "Gundam Hammer" - a large weapon similar to a flail which could be swung at enemies to deal crushing damage. The Gundam Hammer was eventually upgraded for use in space and outfitted with a number of verniers on the ball, and renamed to be the "Hyper Hammer". Lastly, it wielded a shield which would offer it a defense against enemy attacks that not even its Luna Titanium body could withstand without damage. Gundam pilot, Amuro Ray, would make use of the shield as a decoy in many battles, taking advantage of its size to fool the enemy into thinking he was charging at them, then attacking the enemy through the shield.
In terms of technology, the Gundam was equipped with a sophisticated Learning Computer which would collect pilot and enemy data during skirmishes and allow the Gundam to operate more effectively. The data from the computer was used by the Federation to improve the controls of the Gundam's mass-produced form, the RGM-79 GM. In addition, it was upgraded by Federation technician Mosque Han shortly before the Battle of A Baoa Qu to improve its reaction times, the joints of the Gundam were given a Magnet Coating, based on the experimental procedure performed on the RX-78-3 "G-3" Gundam and later used on Amuro's intended successor unit, the RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex".
The Gundam makes use of the Core Block System implemented in the other V Project units. The torso of the Gundam is mostly hollow so that a FF-X7 Core Fighter can dock with it. This allows the pilot to jettison the legs and torso of the Gundam should the machine be too heavily damaged and gives the pilot a chance to escape from battle. Later, during Operation Odessa, the Gundam is given a support unit known as the G-Fighter. The two G-Fighters were designed to take advantage of the Gundam's modular system and diversify the Gundam's role in active combat. These modes ranged from the assault bomber G-Armor to the close combat support tank G-Bull. Officially, it is called a prototype, but it is also said to be more of a custom-made machine that is finished with high quality materials and the best technology.
- 60mm Vulcan Gun
- A basic armament of many Federation mobile suits, a pair of 60mm three-barrel vulcan guns are mounted in the Gundam's head and are used for mid-range and close combat defense. While ineffective against the armor of other mobile suits, they are useful for intercepting incoming missiles/rockets, destroying mobile suit sensors, and attacking lightly-armored vehicles.
- Beam Saber
- The Gundam is armed with a pair of beam sabers with an output of 0.38 MW for melee combat, and they are stored on the sides of the backpack when not in use. One beam saber can be kept as a reserve weapon, or both can be wielded simultaneously. The beam saber emits high-energy Minovsky particles from an E-cap within the handle and contains them in a blade-shaped I-field. The resulting blade of superheated particles is able to cut through almost any material not treated with an anti-beam coating. The beam saber's E-cap is recharged using the mobile suit's reactor when the weapon is stored.
- Beam Javelin
- The beam javelin is an alternate form of the beam saber, in which the handle extends and the beam emitter produces a three-pronged beam at the end. The long reach of the weapon gives the Gundam an advantage in close quarters combat. The beam javelin can also be thrown like a spear. At first, the beam javelin could not be used because a limiter was placed on the beam sabers.
- BOWA*XBR-M-79-07G Beam Rifle
- A revolutionary weapon for its time, the beam rifle is the primary weapon of the Gundam. It is a miniaturized version of a mega particle cannon with an output of 1.9 megawatts. The beam rifle employs the Federation's energy capacitor, or E-cap, technology and uses charged concentrations of Minovsky particles as ammunition. The resulting weapon has power equivalent to that of a battleship's main gun at the time of the One Year War, allowing it to defeat a mobile suit with a single shot. The rifle can fire 12-15 shots when fully charged. It also features an offset, movable sensor that interfaces with the RX-78’s Fire Control System (FCS) to achieve a high degree of accuracy, as well as a foregrip for firing support. When not in use, the beam rifle can be stored on the back of the Gundam's waist or behind its shield.
- BLASH*XHB-L-03/N-STD Hyper Bazooka
- The Hyper Baooka is a portable, handheld, anti-ship rocket launcher that functions like a recoilless rifle, with gas ejected from the rear of the weapon. It is loaded with five rounds in a magazine towards the rear end. The Hyper Bazooka is effective against large groups of mobile suits due to its ability to cause damage over a wide area, though it is primarily used to destroy less-maneuverable targets such as battleships and buildings. When required, the Gundam can be equipped with two Hyper Bazookas for increased firepower, with one held in each hand.
- RX*M-Sh-008/S-01025 Shield
- The Gundam's shield is a simple defensive equipment that can be carried by its handle or mounted on the mobile suit's forearm. When not in use, the shield can also be stored on the backpack. Weighing 10 tons, it is a simplification of the armor structure on the Gundam's body and is designed for shock diffusion and absorption rather than robustness. It features a triple honeycomb structure, with a high-density ceramic material based on super-hard steel alloy sandwiched between aramid fibers and an outermost layer made of luna titanium alloy. The surface of the shield is filled with a resin made of a polymer material for improved elasticity. Used to block most physical and beam attacks, the shield was effective in close quarters combat and could be thrown as a weapon. The shield could also be used to deflect heat away from the mobile suit during atmospheric re-entry. The Gundam carries a second shield on its right forearm when combined into the G-Armor. This shield was originally discarded when the Gundam was ejected, but after a proposal by Amuro Ray, a special joint was implemented so that it could be mounted over the top of the shield on the left arm.
- Super Napalm
- The Super Napalm is a 4-tube rocket launcher that fires powerful napalm rounds. It is an optional armament that is mounted underneath the Beam Rifle's barrel and is used to incinerate large areas.
- Gundam Hammer
- The Gundam Hammer is a physical melee weapon that takes the form of a flail, with a large spiked ball attached to the handle by a chain. It is useful in situations where beam weapons cannot be used. The chain is long enough that the weapon can be swung around the mobile suit to strike enemies at mid-range or thrown.
- Hyper Hammer
- The Hyper Hammer is an enhanced version of the Gundam Hammer, with the ball featuring sharper spikes and multiple vernier thrusters. The thrusters are activated when the weapon is swung to increase the damage the ball causes or change its direction before impact.
Special Equipment & Features
- The prototype mobile suits produced by the Earth Federation Forces' Operation V, are equipped with a central block which houses the mobile suit's cockpit, control systems and main power source. This core block can eject in case of emergency and unfold into a small Core Fighter.
- An attachment point for weapons, shields, spare ammunition, or optional mission-specific equipment. Hardpoints can also be used to store carried weapons when a mobile suit needs its manipulators free for other purposes. In the show, the Gundam was seen equipped with a hardpoint on its back skirt which can store either the Beam Rifle or the Hyper Bazooka and another on its backpack which can be used to mount the shield. The shield itself also contains a hardpoint on its back side which can be used to mount the Beam Rifle.
- Learning Computer
- The Inferential Navigation Control system (ICN), more commonly known as the "Learning Computer", is based on optical integrated circuits, granting it extremely high performance and immunity to Minovsky particle interference. It is capable of learning from previous experiences and rewriting its own programming to deal with new situations, essentially meaning that each battle increases the Gundam's combat ability and ultimately enable it to operate the Gundam automatically. Due to its high cost and the importance of the data it contains, it is located in the Core Fighter to facilitate recovery in the event of the Gundam's destruction.
- Heatproof Field
- A system installed in the RX-78-2 Gundam, which pumps out air to counter the friction heat of atmospheric entry. The mobile suit's internal cooling systems must also be engaged to deal with the heat that penetrates the air field.
- Magnet Coating
- A special membrane treatment applied to mobile suit joints to improve their response speed. The mobile suits developed by the Earth Federation Forces use special actuators called field motors, which have their efficiency increased by the magnet coating process. The treatment also reduces friction resistance in the mobile suit's joints. First tested on the RX-78-3 Gundam "G-3", this process is then applied to the RX-78-2 used by Amuro Ray, reducing the time required for changes of direction by roughly 27%.
- Once sufficient data is accumulated, it is possible for the Gundam to automatically drive itself.
The RX-78-2 was the second of three Gundam prototype units constructed on Side 7 in UC 0079, as part of the Earth Federation's V Project. Built to complement the long-range unit Guntank and mid-range support unit Guncannon, the Gundam was designed to be a highly mobile, close range machine with advanced weaponry beyond that used by Zeon's machines.
A raid by Zeon forces on Side 7 in September of UC 0079 resulted in heavy damage to the other two RX-78 units built on the colony. However, thanks to the unexpected interference of V Project head Tem Ray's son, Amuro, inside the RX-78-2, the Zeon intruders were repelled. Though they had caused significant damage to the colony, the Gundam and its sister units were spared. The three machines acted as the defense force for the Pegasus-class mobile suit carrier White Base and protected the ship in its push to Earth and travels over North America and Asia, fighting in support of General Revil's Odessa campaign. The RX-78-2 later participated in the defense of the Federation's headquarters in Jaburo and the pivotal raids on Zeon's asteroid bases Solomon and A Baoa Qu. Its reputation was one of dread, with Zeon armed forces nicknaming the unit and its pilot White Devil.
During the battle of Solomon, the Gundam engaged and defeated Dozle Zabi's fearsome MA-08 Big Zam mobile armor. In the battle of A Baoa Qu, the Gundam fought the unfinished Zeon prototype, the MSN-02 Zeong (piloted by Char Aznable). Both took heavy blows from the other, with the Gundam losing its head and left arm. The two machines ultimately met each other within the corridors of the Zeon stronghold, when their pilots had them both fire one last shot after being set to autopilot, destroying what was left of the Zeong and decimating the Gundam's right arm and leg. Amuro later returned to the Gundam's wreckage and used the still-intact Core Fighter to escape the fortress, leaving the Gundam's other parts behind. Despite the loss of Amuro's prototype Gundam unit, the series itself has a long line of successors, such as the Gundam Mk-II, the Zeta Gundam and the ZZ Gundam.
During the Third Neo Zeon War, Banagher Links and Full Frontal were able to travel across space and time using the Neo Zeong's psycho shard. One of the events they witnessed was the Gundam facing off the Big Zam at Solomon.
Notes & Trivia
- The Super Napalm is the Gundam's most obscure weapon. Seen only in the second episode of the original series, it was used to destroy the remaining mobile suit parts in Side 7. The weapon did not appear in any other episode and was not mentioned in most source books. However, it has since appeared as a weapon in the PlayStation game SD Gundam G-Generation F (used by the RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam) , the Game Boy Advance game Super Robot Wars A , the PlayStation 3 games Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. and Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation (where it is attached to the Beam Rifle, a gimmick first introduced in the Master Grade Gundam ver. 2.0).
- While the Super Napalm appears to be a missile launcher, in Super Robot Wars A Portable, the Gundam uses it by throwing it at the opponent and detonating it with a beam rifle shot.
- The ZGMF-X56S Impulse Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny has similarities to the RX-78-2 Gundam consisting of legs as one section, upper body as another, and its YFX-M56S Core Splendor being based on the FF-X7 Core Fighter, and has a very similar red-with-gold-cross design for its shield.
- The GN-000 0 Gundam in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 largely resembles the RX-78-2 Gundam, and is even repainted in a color scheme similar to the RX-78-2 in its final battle. Another in-joke is that the 0 Gundam's pilot and antagonist, Ribbons Almark, shares the same voice actor with Amuro Ray. Ironically, Amuro's English voice actor, Brad Swaile, is the same English voice actor for Gundam 00's main protagonist, and Ribbons' main rival, Setsuna F. Seiei.
- In the novelization of Mobile Suit Gundam, the RX-78-2 isn't destroyed during the Battle of A Baoa Qu, but during an ambush in Texas Colony at the end of the first book. Amuro then uses the RX-78-3 until his death at the end of the novels.
- The RX-78-2 appears in one scene in Mobile Fighter G Gundam clinging on to a rocket. .
- The RX-78-2 has the biggest number of variations in the game SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online. The variations include the normal version, the Twin Bazooka version, the Hyper Hammer version, the Beam Javelin version, the Magnet Coating/Last Shooting version, the special edition Gold version, the Char Custom, and with B-Parts.
- The RX-78-2 Gundam, GN-000 0 Gundam, AGE-1 Gundam AGE-1 Normal and YG-111 Gundam G-Self share the same head height - 18 meters.
- The RX-78-2 appears in the climax battle of the 2018 film Ready Player One. The RX-78-2 Gundam was also mentioned in the novel of the same name. In the film, the character Daito uses an item to turn into the RX-78-2 Gundam to face off against Mecha Godzilla while in the novel, it was piloted by the character Aech.
- In Super Robot Wars A, despite the story taking place after the One Year War, the RX-78-2 Gundam is Amuro's main machine from the start of the game, even though it was destroyed at the battle of A Baoa Qu. It is never explained how Amuro managed to get back the RX-78-2 Gundam.
- The RX-78-2 appears in the Extreme Vs. series piloted by Amuro either by itself or with assistance from the G-Bull, G-Armor and G-Fighter both at a cost of 2000.
- The Gundam by itself has its standard beam rifle, which Amuro can charge for a more powerful shot. The Gundam also retains its Hyper Bazooka and can throw its beam javelin, which Amuro can charge for more damage. Aside from these, Amuro also has a shield counter against melee attacks, can pull out the slower but longer range Gundam Hammer, and has the hop used against the Black Tri-Stars. For its support units, Amuro can choose to summon either the Core Fighter which will fire its machine guns and can crash at an opponent, the Guntank that fires three volleys of napalms and Kai's Guncannon which will grab hold of an opponent for Amuro. For its burst attack, the Gundam launches the opponent in the air with the beam saber before shooting them down with its beam rifle.
- The G-Parts Gundam will still retain its Beam Rifle and Hyper Bazooka, but will rely on its various forms. For its burst attack, Amuro will ride Sayla's G-Fighter to charge at the opponent, stunning them with the Gundam's shield before driving them to the ground with the beam saber.
- Gundam Officials, p. 707
- Gundam Century, p. 41
- Escape from Luna II
- RX-78-2 Gundam's profile on Archived Gundam Official Website
- Gundam Build Fighters Try Episode 6, Ruler of the Battlefield
|Crossbone Gundam: Skull Heart Mechanics|
EMS-06 Batalla | EMS-10 Pez Batalla | XM-10 Flint | XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1 Kai | XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1 Kai Kai "Skull Heart"
|Cruiser / Mother Ship|
Little Grey | Mother Vanguard
Amakusa | EMS-06 Batalla | EMS-06-P Arana Batalla | EMS-10 Pez Batara | EMS-12 Arana
|Earth Federation Forces|
F91 Gundam F91 | RGM-79 GM | RGM-122 Javelin | RX-78-2 Gundam
B Gundam | RB-79 Ball
|Cruiser / Mother Ship|
|Principality of Zeon|
MS-06F Zaku II | MS-06MS Barbus | MS-09R Rick Dom
|Jupiter Energy Fleet|