Plan 303E Deep Striker

Gundam (mobile suit)

RX-78-2 Gundam
Unit Type Prototype Close-Combat Mobile Suit
Manufacturer Earth Federation
Main pilot: Amuro Ray
Height 18 meters
Empty weight 43.2 metric tons
Full weight 60 metric tons
Sensor range 5,700 meters
Generator output 1,380 kW
Armor material: Luna Titanium alloy
2 x 60mm Vulcan gun, 2 x beam saber, beam rifle, hyper bazooka, Gundam hammer, hyper hammer, beam javelin
The RX-78 Gundam is a series of fictional testbed mobile suits in the Gundam Universal Century developed by the Earth Federation. The titular mobile suit of the series, the RX-78-2 Gundam, is a member of this series. The RX-78-2 Gundam serves as the iconic symbol of the Gundam universe and sparked the creation of its multiple sequels and spinoffs.

Concepts and development

The RX-78's initial concept was that of a powered armor, the primary design for Yoshiyuki Tomino's proposed series Freedom Fighter Gunboy. The series later changed its name to Mobile Suit Gundam and Kunio Okawara was given Tomino's concept to shape into a finalized design for the anime. Okawara created multiple designs before settling on the current, samurai-styled design for the anime in 1979.

One of the common questions asked is why did the enemies in the series keep referring to the RX-78-2 as White while it is a mix of blue, red, and white. Tomino's response in the novel version of Gundam is that the original design was to be a grayscale machine, made up of mostly white and light gray colouring. However, Sunrise disapproved of the colouring and insisted the unit to be painted in brighter colours to attract attention, like other Super Robot anime at that time.

Although the 'original' Gundam, the RX-78-2 design was expanded to be the second in a line of 8 Gundams; preceding model RX-78-1 and later models RX-78-3~8. These were designed by Okawara between 1980 and 1983 for Mobile Suit Variations. Other mechnical designers later added further design variations; including Yutaka Izubuchi's RX-78-NT-1, designed in 1989 for Mobile Suit Gundam 0080, and Shoji Kawamori's and Hajime Katoki's Gundam Development Project designs in 1992 for Gundam 0083. The RX-78-2 has also been redesigned several times by other artists. In particular, the Hajime Katoki's version of the Gundam (referred to by Gundam fans and Bandai themselves as Ver. Ka) has become popular enough to be made into both injection plastic model kits sold by Bandai and resin-based garage kits sold by their B-Club subsidiary. Okawara himself redesigned the Gundam for original character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko's manga Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, a retelling of the events of the original series. Though mostly identical to the original, it features slightly different designs for its weapons, a small vulcan pod in its shoulder, and the ability to replace one of the beam sabers stored in its backpack with a cannon similar to that of the Guncannon. In addition, the fifteenth installment of the Gundam Evolve series of shorts features another variation on the RX-78's design, a highly stylized version of the iconic machine based on "modern" design aesthetics. It has been referred as Ver. Evolve 15.

The continuing popularity in Japan of this mobile suit has led Bandai to create a 1.5m tall model version, which will go on sale in Japan in 2007.

The Japan Self-Defense Forces built an approximately full scale RX-78-3 Gundam with styrofoam in its show and contains a simulation pod.

Gundam Expo (Hong Kong) uses the RX-78's last shooting scene in its logo's X.

In the popular Super Robot Wars series of tactical role-playing games, in which the Gundam franchise is the chief representative of the Real Robot genre and one of the three mainstays of the series (the other two being Mazinger and Getter Robo), the RX-78-2 is often referred to as the in dialogue in order to differentiate it from its many successors.

Role in plot

The deployment of the Principality of Zeon's mobile suits, the MS-05B Zaku I and the MS-06F Zaku II, in the One Year War had given the small nation a major tactical edge over the much larger Earth Federation. Capable of propellant-less manoeuvring thanks to their AMBAC systems, and able to be retrofitted to suit a variety of missions and environments, they easily outclassed the Federation's arsenal of fighters and ground vehicles. Realizing that the gap needed to be closed, the Federation instituted Project V (short for "Project Victory"), a development program that would produce a counterpart Federation mobile suit design, with the ability for mass-production a requirement. While the ultimate result of the program was the RGM-79 GM, the engineers in the project tested several design concepts for the mass-production units in the RX-78 series. Some of the developments in the RX-78 models were later incorporated into the GM line, but many were scrapped due to cost and/or complexity.

Only 8 RX-78 suits were produced during the One Year War, although continual remodelling and upgrading created the impression that there were more than eight units. Although the RX-78 suits are designated RX-78-1~8, the final digit indicated the design version of the unit, and not the unit's actual number.

In addition, the EFAF (Earth Federation Air Force) created their own RX-78E (GT FOUR/Gundam Transformer/Flight & Operations Unifications Reactors), which is different from the 8 RX-78s produced. Another extra unit is the RX-78XX, which uses scrap parts of the RX-78s, and again is not considered to be one of the original line. The NT-1 is actually RX-78 unit 4 remodelled (original model unknown). After the One Year War, the GP series are numbered after the RX-78 convention, despite being newly produced units.

The variation among the Gundams was originally indicated by differences in colouration, indicating upgrades to completely internal equipment and technology, although later variants displayed externally-visible upgrades. For example, Unit 4's NT-1 configuration have extra thrusters, additional armor, and a 360 degree panoramic cockpit, while Unit 4 and Unit 5, which exist mainly in games and as model kits, provide additional mounting points and weaponry.

The RX-78 series introduced Minovsky particle weaponry to mobile suits, developing and deploying the first successful beam rifle and beam saber. These would form the primary component of mobile suit weaponry for at least the next hundred and fifty years. The core block system was also introduced in the RX-78, as well as the RX-75 Guntank and RX-77 Guncannon. This system allowed the pilot to escape the destruction of his mobile suit in a functional aerospace fighter, as well as housing a learning computer that can gather performance data from the suit's combat sorties. This however had to be dropped from subsequent units due to cost issues. However, it was reused on occasion (most notably in the Anaheim Electronics MSZ-010 Double Zeta Gundam during the First Neo-Zeon War), and later resurrected by the League Militaire in the UC 0150s on the LM312V04 Victory Gundam.

After the cessation of the One Year War, the Federation opened up a black-ops mobile suit development program, the Gundam Development Project, in order to develop mobile suits to fill roles that had appeared in analysis of combat operations from the One Year War. The major reason that the project was designated black-op was because of the RX-78GP02A Gundam Physalis, which was armed with an atomic bazooka, in violation of the Antarctic Treaty. After the events of Gundam 0083, all details of the Gundam Development Project were stricken from the official records.

The RX-78 line was finally superseded in UC 0087 by the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II, developed by the Titans.


RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam

First appeared as part of the Mobile Suit Variations model kit series and designed by Kunio Okawara. Used to test the basic armaments and functions for the final Gundam design, it is nearly cosmetically identical to the Gundam seen in the original series, other than a different color scheme, a simplified beam rifle, a different forearm design, and corrugation on its ankle armor. Before the events of the animation all units of this type were upgraded to the famous RX-78-2 model. The version of the Prototype Gundam from the manga Gundam: The Origin, production code RX-78-01, looks considerably different from Kunio Okawara's version drawn in 1983. While still recognizably a Gundam, it is chiefly a cream color with dark grey accents. The pair of eyes seen on the RX-78-02's head are replaced by a goggle-like visor, and it is seen with a large cannon on its backpack in volume 1 of the manga, its only appearance in the story. In the manga, it sees a few fleeting moments of combat in Side 7 with a Zaku before both are destroyed.

RX-78-3 G-3 Gundam

First appeared as part of the Mobile Suit Variations model kit series and designed by Kunio Okawara. This variant fulfilled the role of the RX-78-2 in the novel version of Mobile Suit Gundam where partway through the story the RX-78-2 was lost in combat. In terms of the official canon, it is a testbed Mobile Suit, built using the remains of other RX-78 units and used to test Mosk Han's magnet coating technology. The G-3 is cosmetically identical to the RX-78-2 Gundam, save for a new color scheme (grey and blue in the line art, grey and violet in more recent merchandise). Because it is identical to the RX-78-2, the G-3 is a fairly common variant in model and action figure form, either with full commercial releases or as limited edition figures and models.

RX-78-4 Gundam G04

First appeared as part of Kunio Okawara's MS Collection original design series, released in book form shortly after Char's Counterattack. The design was updated by Hajime Katoki for use in the Playstation 2 game Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters In Space. Its main weapon is a mega beam launcher, giving it firepower equivalent to a capital ship. Piloted by Lieutenand Junior Grade Luce Kassel, the G04 was nearly destroyed in an assault on an enemy force launching from the Moon. Its mega beam launcher was able to destroy the fleet, but not without injuring Luce. Encounters in Space explores two variations. One where Luce dies and the spare parts of G04 are used to make the Booster equipped G05, which protected Prime Minister Darcia Bakharov's Chivvay on its way ot the moon, and another where Luce lives and G04 and G05 serve in the Battle of A Baoa Qu.

RX-78-5 Gundam G05

First appeared as part of Kunio Okawara's MS Collection original design series. The design was updated by Hajime Katoki for be use in the Playstation 2 game Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters In Space. The G05 acts as a backup unit for the G04, using a Gatling gun rather than the mega beam launcher. Encounters in Space explres two variations for the G05, based o on whether or not Luce Kassel survives the mega beam launcher mission. If Luce dies, then G05 will defend Prime Minister Darcia Bakharov's ship until it reaches the Moon. If Luce survives, then G05 will serve in the Battle of A Baoa Qu, but will ultimately be destroyed by a stray shot from a Gelgoog.

RX-78-6 Mudrock Gundam

First appeared as part of Kunio Okawara's MS Collection original design series as the 6th Gundam. The design was updated by Hajime Katoki for use as a boss character in the Playstation 2 game Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front. A hybrid of the Gundam and Guncannon, its most notable design feature is a pair of 300 mm cannons on its shoulders. Another notable feature is that the mobile suit "hovers" rather than using it legs when moving, making it similar to Zeon's MS-09 Dom in terms of movement, making it a fearsome opponent. The Mudrock made its debut during the Battle of Jaburo, albeit incomplete. Piloted by the hotheaded Lieutenant Agar, the Mudrock was tasked with defending the Pegasus class battleship Blanc Rival from Zeon's elite Midnight Fenrir team. Despite a valiant effort, both the ship and the Gundam were heavily damaged by the elite squadron. Later during the recapture of California Base, Agar took the Mudrock out again, this time completed, against the Midnight Fenrir who were staying on Earth to defend the last Heavy Lifting Vehicle (HLV, a sort of heavy cargo-carrying space shuttle). Though the Mudrock wreaked havoc on the remaining defense forces, it was ultimately defeated once and for all by the Fenrir team.

RX-78-7 7th Gundam

First appeared as part of Kunio Okawara's MS Collection original design series, which was published after the movie Char's Counter Attack. It was said to be incomplete and only having the basic frame built within the One Year War. This unit is an attempt to have multiple hard points for attaching armour and specific equipment like the Full Armour (FA-78-3) and a second set of equipment that can be equipped on top of the first set and would have given it extremely high mobility and firepower equivalent to a battleship (FHA-78-3). This unit serves as a retcon technology link between the RX-78 and MSA-0011 S Gundam's Plan 303E Deep Striker variant, with RX-78GP03 as another linkage.

RX-78NT-1 Gundam NT-1 "Alex"

Primary Mobile Suit featured in the 1989 OVA Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket OVA, designed by Yutaka Izubuchi. The first direct variant of the RX-78 to be animated (except for the Gundam Mk. II from Zeta Gundam), it helped pave the way for the appearance of other variants, such as those from Gundam 0083, as pivotal elements of the plot. In War in the Pocket, the Alex was developed to replace the RX-78-2, optimized for increased reaction time of Newtypes, though its test pilot was not a Newtype herself. With its panoramic cockpit, the Alex serves as a retconned technological link between the original series and Zeta Gundam.

Offensively, the Alex sports large multi-barreled cannons concealed beneath the blue pods on either arm in addition to a pair of small Vulcan guns mounted on the head and the ubiquitous backpack-stored beam sabers.

The Alex could be outfitted with a Chobham armour shell that offered it extra protection. Its data would be used for the GM Custom. The Chobham armour design would be used to reinforce the body of the GM Cannon II. Both of these later GM's appear in Gundam 0083, further bridging the gap between the original series and Zeta.


One of SD Gundam G Generation Spirits's original units. An improved model of Gundam Alex, equipped with wire-guide bit, remote control weapon.

RX-78XX Gundam Pixie

Secondary Mobile Suit of the Mobile Suit Gundam: Cross Dimension 0079 video game, designed by Kunio Okawara. A light weight close combat variant, armed with beam knives and a sub-machine gun.

PF-78-1 Perfect Gundam

First appeared in manga Plamo Kyo-shiro, the first non-UC Gundam, in other media. It does have special armor plamo-kit build by Shiro Kyoda. Most it does appear in SD Gundam G Generation, as special unit, include the kit builder, Shiro Kyoda, as the pilot. It also appear in A.C.E. 3. The unit itself would later-rolled back to UC with a UC mecha setting due to its popularity. Basically it is similar to Full-Armor Gundam as having similar appearance, only with original colors. Since it is a Gundam Model, built for battle-simulation machines, it armaments departs from the other Gundam, which including a water-spray gun, an air-gun bullet Vulcan, and smoke grenades. Perfect Gundam's Armour can be detached in the battle and become a normal Gundam.

Pop culture

The appearance of the unit is not limited to Gundam series. RX-78-2 Gundam is one of the basic units that appear in the Super Robot Wars series, ever since the first game for the Game Boy. The RX-78-2 also receives multiple cameo appearances in the anime Sgt. Frog. The current Bandai models' label classification also uses the head of the Gundam as its icon.

Later anime series keep referencing the RX-78's proficiency in combat, by having a white mobile suit appearing in the middle of the battlefield, and anything white is often mistaken as a Gundam-type mobile suit along with the famous cry of "It's a Gundam!". This also appears in other anime; for example, in episode 9 of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, the phrase is overheard while Tsuruya is searching for Mikuru.

Pepsi campaign

The RX-78 is a pop culture icon in Japan, to the point where Pepsi released several series of Pepsi bottles with special-edition bottle caps featuring miniature statues of various mobile suits from the many Gundam anime released over the years. The RX-78 was one of three of these designs (the other two being both the normal Zaku and Char's red Zaku) to have multiple miniatures released during the first promotional campaign, including both a full-body sculpture and a sculpture of its bust.

Japanese stamps

The RX-78 Gundam was recognized as a culturally significant subject by the nation of Japan on October 23, 2000, with the inclusion of the suit and of the main pilot on two stamps in the 20th Century Stamp Series.

Additionally, this mobile suit and other notable machines from various Gundam series were recognized in the second set of "Anime Heroes and Heroines" stamps, released in 2005. It was one of only four franchises to be given the honor; the others were Pokémon, Galaxy Express 999, and Detective Conan.

Mitsubishi seminars

As part of MHI Jobcon 2005 (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Job Convention 2005), a recruiting event of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, seminars were held in six Japanese cities. The topic of these seminars was "Mobile Suit Gundam Development Story"; which indicated the requirements and processes that Mitsubishi would have to implement if the company had been required to build an RX-78 mobile suit.

Gundam Evolve

The RX-78-2 Gundam has been the featured mobile suit in two of the Gundam Evolve short films. The first Evolve short "RX-78-2 Gundam" featured it in a limited capacity, instead focusing on its pilot Amuro Ray, who reminisced about the previous battles he had gone through while waiting to sortie. The second short film to feature the Gundam is the 15th installment of the Evolve series, a remake of the episode "Newtype Challia Bull" from the original series. Instead of basing the CGI models on the original line art from the series, the Gundam was completely redesigned to fit a more modernized aesthetic. The other main mobile weapons in the short — the GM, Guncannon, and Challia Bull's Braw Bro — were also redesigned to a considerable degree.

Fire Fighting Poster

The RX-78-2 Gundam & 2 Medea transport planes were featured in a fire fighting poster in Japan. The RX-78-2 was equipped with water spraying equipment instead of weapons.

Model Sales

According to Katoki Hajime commenting the poles from Newtype (magazine), as quoted in Newtype magazine serialized Seed Club 4 koma short comic series, as of 26th August, 2005, the MG RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. 1.5 ranked TOP1 in Gundam Traditional MG because it is the best valued model if one wants to buy the original Gundam; and the MG RX-78-5 Gundam G05 ranked TOP1 in Easiest to build MG since its appearance in various games and Gundam Ace magazine, a lot of people liked the unit and although the design looks like the original Gundam, it does not carry the old stinkiness(古臭) feeling and is modeled specially for new model builders, gaining it fame in an easy building model kit category.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

According to Gundam-san 4 koma comic, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution appearance is influenced by the RX-78-2 Gundam.

Ink and wash painting

In 2008, the Ink and wash painting of Gundam drawn by Hisashi in 2005 was sold in the Christie's auction held in Hong Kong with a price of US$600000.

Gundam Crisis

The RX 78-2 Gundam had a full 1/1 scale mock-up constructed for the theme park attraction Gundam Crisis. It costs 800 yen to go into the attraction and the attraction is basically a game where the players have to complete about 8 different missions within 8 minutes (1 minute per mission) in order to access the cockpit. If successful, players are shown a special, Gundam related video inside the cockpit.

See also

Notes and references


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