"What is 'Gundam', anyway?" This simple (?) question is answered in our fortyfifth casual weekly column just for new fans!
by Ema Baba
What's pinkish-reddish, single-eyed, and sneaks along the seafloor? No, not that, and not
either, but a super-simple intro column for new Gundam fans!
We're back with Part 45 of what makes Gundam Gundam.
You can see our previous coverage of what makes Gundam Gundam
, and this month we're back with another Gundam standard!
One of the most impressive moments in any Gundam show is when a mobile suit unleashes a hail of fire from every direction—an "all-range attack".
So for our 45th column, let's begin our look at these extremely powerful all-range attacks!
There are no safe spots in an all-range attack!
Suits capable of all-range attacks use arrays of remote-controlled attack drones (such as funnels) to fire beams or missiles at an enemy from all directions at once, leaving nowhere to hide.
Think of it this way: you know how difficult it was to cook things like roast beef or tandoori chicken on a traditional range, and how limited microwaves were, but now convection ovens make it so easy to even get a crispy fried crust without oil? (←Okay, maybe this isn't that hot of a metaphor...)
Anyway, an all-range attack comes in from all directions, with nowhere to escape—once you're targeted, your goose is cooked.
But just like it takes a lot of practice to become a master chef (← ESPECIALLY with beams!), an all-range attack calls for dexterity and focus far beyond a normal pilot's. In addition, the pilot usually needs the ability to use special brainwave-controlled systems like the Psycommu or Flash System. In other words, it's not at all something anyone can pull off.
Anyway, for ease of explanation, let's start with two of the least complex suits capable of all-range attacks, each from
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
■Nu Gundam (
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack)
First, the Nu Gundam (RX-93, height 24.2m, empty weight 27.9t). Sometimes its name is written with a ν, but that's no vee, it's the Greek letter nu. Isn't it fun to say? See, you even learned something!
It's piloted by Amuro Ray, MS squadron leader of the Earth Federation's "Londo Bell" independent task force (and of course, protagonist of
Mobile Suit Gundam
; but my, how he's grown up!) It's also designed by him, and manufactured in the span of only three months (!) by Anaheim Electronics, the cradle-to-grave, spoons-to-spaceships conglomerate whose arms manufacturing division dominates the middle U.C.
AE's Gundam production began with the Gamma Gundam, and the Nu, eleventh in the series, incorporates all of the refined engineering you'd expect from their years of experience. Its accelerated production schedule required the use of standardized Federation mobile suit materials and components, resulting in a top-end suit that nonetheless is safe and reliable.
Its all-ranged weaponry is an array of six back-mounted "fin funnels", mobile beam weaponry controlled by a Psycommu system which reads its pilot's thoughts.
Equipped with a Psycoframe (which appears to be a frame alloy incorporating the same functions as Psycommu chips?), it's capable of reacting not only to the Newtype Amuro's own thoughts, but also the focused will of the Earth Sphere's inhabitants as it generates a miraculous "Psyco Field" to repel the drop of the asteroid Axis. Oh, and this Psycoframe technology? It was deliberately leaked by Char, who wanted one last duel with Amuro in evenly-matched mobile suits. (← Char, I can't even tell if you're being a dick anymore...)
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack)
We've seen Amuro Ray's suit, so now let's look at the Sazabi his rival Char Aznable pilots as leader and commander of the reborn Neo Zeon movement (MSN-04, height 25.6m, empty weight 30.5t, and of course bright red and three times faster)./ While it was designed by Neo Zeon's senior engineering staff as a crowning achievement in Zeon mobile suit engineering, their manufacturing facilities were simply insufficient for the task, and eventually construction was outsourced to the same Anaheim Electronics facility at Granada which built the Nu Gundam. (←Awwwwwwk.)
The Sazabi, built for Char in his role as both military and political leader of Neo Zeon, incorporates not only the Psycoframe, but also nearly-indestructible armor and a variety of weaponry, in a suit that still manages impressive speed and agility—it's basically a coat of black paint away from being an 8th-grader's notebook sketch. And right on the front, it's got a tasteful monogram of his true initials: "CD" (for "Casval Deikun"). (←Wait, is this a weapon or a bath towel?)
Two containers on the Sazabi's back each carry three "funnel" all-range weapons, for a total of six. Of course, this being Char, you can guess what color they are.
Unlike the Nu's flat fin funnels, these funnels are spherical. Once deployed, its covers retract to four sides and its beam cannon barrels extend for attack. Both the cannon output and the operation time are significantly higher than older funnels. Amuro definitely isn't going to go all home run derby on them this time! (←Welp, jinxed it.)
Just like the Nu Gundam, the Sazabi's funnels are controlled by Psycommu, weapons Char is (←jealously? Okay, yeah, definitely being a dick) reserving for his own use.
Actually, though. While the Sazabi's funnels look a lot different from the Nu Gundam's fin funnels, it's worth noting that Char always shouts out "funnels!" while commanding them to fire, while Amuro doesn't have to vocally call on his own "fin funnels!" in the movie. Maybe this is a sign of their differences in Newtype potential? (Or maybe I'm stretching a bit too far...)
And that's our first look at Gundam's all-range weapons!
Oh, isn't Gundam just so fascinating?
Well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, that's it for this week. Next week we'll be taking another laid-back look at what makes Gundam Gundam!
Scriptwriter. Troublemaking scenarist.
Learning more every day to teach you about the fun of Gundam!