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The Trans-Am System (or Trans-Am) is a feature of both the GN Drive and GN Drive Tau that temporarily increases the performance of the equipped mobile suits. The system is featured prominently in Mobile Suit Gundam 00. It also appears in the Gundam Build Fighters series and Gundam Build Divers, utilized by Gunpla based on GN Drive powered mobile suits.

System Description & Characteristics

The Trans-Am system was originally drafted by Aeolia Schenberg to grant Celestial Being's Gundam Meisters full utilization of their GN Drives and was a secret feature hidden inside the black boxes of the five original GN Drives. Because of this, the first and second generation Gundams never had the chance to utilize Trans-Am as the pilots didn't even know that such a powerful function existed; however, it was later possible for Fereshte since they were still in possession of a GN Drive when Trans-Am was enabled. The system itself was rigged to unlock by a system trap inside Veda that automatically executed itself once Aeolia was killed.

Under normal operation, a GN Drive generates particles at a preset rate while excess GN Particles are stored inside the GN Condensers. When Trans-Am is activated, GN Drive operates at a higher output and all of the compressed high-density GN Particles accumulated in the mobile suit are fully released, enhancing the machine's thrust and defensive capabilities as well as allowing it to perform at three times its normal output for a limited time.[1] The GN Particles surrounding and within the mobile suit also begin to glow red, making the entire machine appear reddish. Furthermore, afterimages are generated when the mobile suit executing Trans-Am is moving. It is said that a single Drive with Trans-Am activated is superior than three Drives that are not using the system.[2] One example that attests to this is Trans-Am Seravee being able to push the three-Drive Trilobite[2] in battle rather easily.

When it was originally unlocked in 2308, the Trans-Am System was usable by Celestial Being's Original GN Drives due to specific equipment that was only loaded onto them.[3] Because of this, it can be safely presumed that any of their GN-based machines or equipment cannot use the system unless it was linked to the GN Drive. This appears to have changed by 2312 however as equipment not linked to the GN Drive was seen to be able to enter or stay in Trans-Am even after the Drive is disengaged or without the Drive ever being connected.[4][5][6][7][8] One of the best observed examples of this is Cherudim's GN Shield Bits entering Trans-Am during the battle against Gadess despite not docking with Cherudim first[4] as well as later on during the final battle where the Ptolemaios 2 used the system despite not having GN Drives aboard.[7] 00 Gundam later was also capable of using Trans-Am even when it was only equipped with Large GN Condensers.[8][9] All these situations heavily suggest that Celestial Being reversed engineered the system from the Original GN Drives and integrated it into their mobile weapons and their equipment. Because one of the functions of the Trans-Am System is to increase particle generation rate of the GN Drive, a big disadvantage of not having a GN Drive equipped would be the lack of being able to harness this increased particle flow which would lead to decreased power or operation time.

While useful or even decisive when used at the proper time, Trans-Am comes with several drawbacks that makes it a "double-edged sword." Once activated, Trans-Am gradually drains the mobile suit of all its GN particles and once the unit's GN particle supply is depleted, the GN Drive must replenish the aforementioned GN particle supply in conjunction to a temporarily lower particle generation rate from the GN Drive. Until the particle supply is replaced, the unit will perform at a dramatically reduced capacity. This leaves a MS extremely vulnerable to any remaining opposition once Trans-Am ends. The activation time limit of Trans-Am is short and not fully known. However, the 00 Raiser is depicted to have a Trans-Am time limit of 3 minutes when not battling.[10] For reasons that are unclear, the system is usually forcibly deactivated if the mobile suit suffers some damage while using it,[11][12] however activating it while the mobile suit is damaged appears to be fine in most cases.[13][14] This seems to suggest that some amount of physical stress to the mobile suit while Trans-Am is in use would be enough to deactivate it but only if the damage is sustained while the system is in use.

While the system remained exclusive to Celestial Being for a while, it was later reverse-engineered and adapted by the Earth Sphere Federation and the Innovators. Performance-wise, the GN Drive Tau's Trans-Am was shown to be able to hold its own against an Original Drive's Trans-Am. However, a large weakness of the GN Drive Tau's Trans-Am is that the drive destroys itself during/after usage,[15] essentially leaving the mobile suit without a GN Particle generator and reliant on reserve particles in order to escape.[15] While this is known to be the case for the 2312 Tau Drive models, it is unknown whether the problem was rectified or not by the year 2314. Pushing the GN Drive Tau's Trans-Am System too hard also runs the risk of overloading the GN Drive Tau and potentially causing the suit to self-destruct in a massive explosion,[16] though no situation observed so far has this happening without the pilot willingly using Trans-Am for that purpose.

It should be noted that the Earth Sphere Federation and the Innovators developed Trans-Am separately.[17] While the Innovators developed their Trans-Am from stolen Celestial Being data,[18] A-Laws technical engineer Billy Katagiri created an imperfect version through notes left behind by Ralph Eifman.[6] Billy finally managed to obtain the Innovators' more potent Trans-Am System (which was copied from Celestial Being) after he finished developing the GNZ-004 Gaga series for them.[19]

According to Ian Vashti, Innovation is caused by the GN Particles' special state in Trans-Am.[20] He theorized that it may be possible that this special state of GN Particles can even be felt regardless of range, and that more possible genuine Innovators have awakened as a result of the Trans-Am Burst that Setsuna used during the final battle with the Innovators.[21] In addition, he is also worried that the Earth Sphere Federation will notice its relation to Innovation now that it possesses Trans-Am as well.[20]

System Variants

History

Activation

The Trans-Am system was first revealed in 2308. This occurred after Alejandro Corner killed Aeolia Schenberg and activated a system trap inside Veda, which then unlock the system hidden inside the black boxes of the 5 original GN Drives. Trans-Am activated within GN-001 Gundam Exia while it was battling Ali al-Saachez and his GNW-002 Gundam Throne Zwei. The Exia's new abilities allowed it to clearly outclass the Zwei, forcing al-Saachez to flee.

Ralph Eifman's Legacy

In the four-year interim between the first season and the second, and during the events of 2312 AD, Billy Katagiri recovered and researched what Eifman was working on before his death concerning the GN Drives and their ability to utilize topological defects, which gave them a near-limitless energy supply. After much toiling, he was able to successfully replicate one feature: the Trans-Am system, first applied to Graham Aker's GNX-U02X Masurao, allowing him and it to fight on even footing with the GN-0000+GNR-010 00 Raiser. However, it had some serious drawbacks that is not present in the Original Drives in which case each usage destroys/seriously damages the Tau Drive[15][18] and forcing the pilot on remaining Condenser supply for retreat after usage.[15]

Innovators Development

Unlike A-LAWS, the Innovators obtained their Trans-Am System by copying the data from the Ptolemaios 2's databanks via Anew Returner.[18] This system came to light separately from Billy Katagiri's version on the GNX-U02X Masurao, and Billy soon upgraded it after obtaining Celestial Being's copied system from the Innovators.[19][22] This technology was applied Revive Revival's GNZ-003 Gadessa, Hiling Care's GNZ-005 Garazzo, Ribbons Almark's CB-0000G/C Reborns Gundam and their GNZ-004 Gagas.

Federation Widespread Adoption

By 2314, Trans-Am technology has been introduced to regular Federation forces to the point that it is considered standard equipment on the newest generation of GN Drive Tau machines. While it is still used for enhancing mobile suit performance when needed, Trans-Am is also used on Tau Drive equipped ships for extreme long distance journeys and as a last resort self-destruct as well. Whether any of the major flaws in using Tau Drives have been rectified remains unclear.

Pics Gallery

Notes & Trivia

  • The name "Trans-Am" is a reference to the Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, a modification package for the stock Pontiac Firebird, produced from 1969 to 2002. The upgrades included improved handling and increased horsepower, similar to how units that enter Trans-Am receive increased firepower, speed and agility.
  • The red shift in color while in Trans-Am, as well as the tripled power, are a homage to Char Aznable and his Zaku II.
  • In Super Robot Wars Z2 Hakai Hen, the song "Fight" will be played as the BGM during the Trans-Am attack of the GN Drive units, while "Daybreak's Bell" will sound during regular attacks. Though once 'Fight' is unlocked, you can change the normal track for any units to that.
    • In that game, Trans-Am is a high power attack that drains a sizable chunk of EN per use.
    • In the second Z2 game, "Fight" still plays during most Trans-Am attacks, perhaps out of the fact they weren't able to have more S2 music on the UMD. The only exception would be the 00 Raiser's Raiser Sword, in which "Trans-Am Raiser" plays.
  • In SD Gundam G Generation Wars, you could enable Trans-Am before moving to provide a boost in stats (and a possible drop in them after 3 turns) to the 4 main mobile suits as well as the 00 and its variants. This doesn't apply to the GN Arms-docked mobile suits.
    • In World/3D, Trans-Am is a high cost but powerful attack with the older function being reserved for the Ptolemaios 2 (no stat boost, but +3 movement for that turn and -3 for another), and the 00 Raiser (GN Blade II/GN Blade 3).
      • In Overworld, the older function appears to be removed altogether, even for the Ptoelmaios 2/Kai. The reasons for this is unknown.
  • In Gundam Musou 3, most 00 units will enter into Trans-Am state whenever their musou attacks are used. In this game, Trans-Am gives similar, but slightly different effects for each mobile suit.
    • Also, in Dynasty Warriors: Reborn (Shin Gundam Musou), once each 00 Unit enters into the Trans-Am state, its movement speed and attack power will increase incredibly as well.
  • The overall purpose and history of the Trans-Am system bears a heavy resemblance to the V-MAX program used by the titular mecha of SPT Layzner which often appeared in Super Robot Wars, notably appearing with the Exia in SRW OE. (Operation Extend) Both systems were specialized programs that disabled the mecha's power regulators to dramatically increase their performance for a short time.
    • Coincidentally, the Exia itself heavily resembles the Layzner, only differing in design standards, due to the Layzner anime and Gundam 00 releasing 21 years apart, along with their combat roles, as the Layzner was a mid-range high-mobility mecha with a laser rifle, in comparison to the Exia's close-combat functions, which are made possible with its massive gunblade.
  • In Gundam Build Divers, the usability of Trans-Am is determined by the build quality of the Gunpla utilizing it. In episode 2, Riku Mikami uses his GN-0000DVR Gundam 00 Diver's Trans-Am, only for one of the GN Drives to blow out after only running for a few moments. This issue was solved when Riku improved the build of his Gunpla as hinted in episode 9.
  • In Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE, the Valkylander (as well as its successor, the Ex Valkylander) and Dubious Arche Gundam have unique version of Trans-Am.[23][24][25] For example, the Dubious Arche Gundam's Trans-Am cannot be turned off once activated, granting it increased output without the original Trans-Am's time limitation, albeit at the cost of the engine eventually overloading and causing it to self-destruct.[25]

Articles & References

  1. 1/100 GN-001 Gundam Exia [Trans-Am Mode] manual
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gundam 00 2nd Mechanics book
  3. Gundam 00 1st Mechanics - Drive Comparison Page
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 45, Anew Returns
  5. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 38, Assault on Memento Mori
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 39, I Can Hear a Song
  7. 7.0 7.1 Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 48, Flower of Life
  8. 8.0 8.1 Mobile Suit Gundam 00V Senki Chapter 4 "0.03 Seconds"
  9. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie -A wakening of the Trailblazer-
  10. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 36, 00's Voice
  11. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 24, Endless Poem
  12. Mobile Gundam 00 Special Edition 3: Return of The World (Seravee vs Gadessa/Garazzo)
  13. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 50, Rebirth
  14. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 25, Setsuna
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 DX Mechanics March 2009 Issue
  16. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie -A wakening of the Trailblazer
  17. gundam00.net TV Series MS Profile - Susanowo
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 HG 1/144 GNZ-005 Hilling Care's Garazzo
  19. 19.0 19.1 Unidentified Sourcebook
  20. 20.0 20.1 Mobile Suit Gundam 00V Senki Mission 4 "0.03 Seconds"
  21. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 49, Beyond
  22. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Episode 43, Entangled Yearnings
  23. Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE Episode 22, Seltsam's Deadline
  24. Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE Episode 24, Build Divers
  25. 25.0 25.1 Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE Episode 25, To the Tomorrow I Envision

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