Gundam (fictional robot)

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Mobile Suit Gundam character
Original illustration of the RX-78-2 Gundam, designed by Kunio Okawara
First appearanceMobile Suit Gundam ep. #01, "Gundam Rising"
Created byYoshiyuki Tomino
Kunio Okawara
ClassMobile suit
DesignationRX-78-2 Gundam
In-universe information
AffiliationEarth Federation
Armaments60 mm Vulcan guns ×2
Beam sabers ×2
Beam rifle
Beam javelin
Hyper Bazooka
Gundam Hammer
Hyper Hammer[1]

The RX-78-2 Gundam (Japanese: RX-78-2 ガンダム, Hepburn: Āru Ekkusu Nanajū Hachi no Ni Gandamu) is a fictional manned robot (mecha), introduced in 1979 in Yoshiyuki Tomino's and Sunrise's anime series Mobile Suit Gundam. In the series, it is a prototype weapon for the Earth Federation when it falls into the hands of Amuro Ray, the son of its designer in story (Tem Ray), who goes on to pilot it in the Earth Federation's war against the Principality of Zeon.

As the success of the series began the Gundam franchise, the robot's design was the first of many variations in subsequent works. The design appearing in Mobile Suit Gundam serves as the iconic symbol of the Gundam franchise and sparked the creation of its multiple sequels and spinoffs.

Character design[edit]

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.

Enemies in the series regularly refer to the RX-78-2 as the white suit or the White Devil (due to the suit's formidable battle performance) 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.[2]

The "original" Gundam, the RX-78-2 design was to be the second unit in a line of eight prototype high-performance assault-type mobile suits.[3] The preceding Gundam model RX-78-1 and the subsequent model RX-78-3 were designed by Okawara between 1980 and 1983 for Gundam Century[4] and Mobile Suit Variations[5] and the latter appeared in the novel version as the G-3 Gundam after the original Unit 2 was destroyed in battle.[2] The fourth to seventh Gundam is designed by Okawara in 1989 for Kunio Okawara collection, also known as M-MSV(Missing Mobile Suit Variation).[6] Other mechanical designers later added further design variations; including Yutaka Izubuchi's RX-78NT-1, designed in 1989 for the OVA series Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, 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, Hajime Katoki's version of the Gundam (referred to 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 RX-77 Guncannon. In addition, the 15th 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.[7]

The continuing popularity in Japan of this mobile suit has led Bandai to create a 1.5m tall model version, which went on sale in Japan in 2007.[8]

The Japan Self-Defense Forces built an approximately full scale RX-78-3 Gundam with styrofoam in its show and contains a simulation pod.[9]

Gundam Expo (Hong Kong) uses the RX-78-2's last shooting scene in its logo's X.[10]

In the Super Robot Wars series of tactical role-playing games, 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), and the original Gundam itself is referred to in the series as the First Gundam (ファーストガンダム, Fāsuto Gandamu) in order to distinguish it from its many successors.[11]


Gundam Mk-II[edit]

RX-178 Gundam Mk. II
First appearance
Last appearanceDouble Zeta Gundam
Designed byKunio Okawara, Mamoru Nagano, Kazumi Fujita
In-universe information
AffiliationTitans; Anti Earth Union Group (AEUG); Kamille Bidan; Char Aznable (alias Quattro Bajeena); Emma Sheen; Jerid Messa and others
  • 360mm hyper bazooka
  • beam rifle
  • 2 x beam saber, stored in recharge racks in backpack
  • clay bazooka
  • optional 2-barrel 60mm vulcan pod, mounted on head
  • optional long beam rifle (movie, taken from Super Gundam)

The RX-178 Gundam Mark-II is a fictional mobile suit from the Universal Century Gundam anime series. A collaborative design created by Kunio Okawara, Mamoru Nagano, and Kazumi Fujita, it is featured prominently as protagonist Kamille Bidan's mobile suit in the first half of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, and used by various secondary characters throughout the rest of that series and its sequel, Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. It has appeared in a number of other media, including the PlayStation 2 title Mobile Suit Gundam: AEUG Vs Titans,[13] the multi-platform title Dynasty Warriors: Gundam,[14] the Super Robot Wars series,[15] and PSP title Gundam Battle Royale, among many others.

Concept art showing inspiration from Gundam Mk-II


Pop culture[edit]

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.[12] The RX-78-2 also makes multiple cameo appearances in the anime Sgt. Frog.

The current Bandai Universal Century models' label copyright classification also uses the head of the Gundam as its icon.[16]

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.[17][18] 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.[citation needed]

On October 23, 2000, Japan included the RX-78 Gundam and Amuro Ray in the 20th Century Stamp Series.[19] This mobile suit and other notable machines from various Gundam series were also recognized in the second set of "Anime Heroes and Heroines" stamps, released in 2005. Other franchises and series included were Pokémon, Galaxy Express 999, and Detective Conan.[20]

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.[21]

According to Gundam-san 4 koma comic, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution appearance is influenced by the RX-78-2 Gundam.[22]

Pocky released a series called Pocky Gunpla Bag that contains a small plastic model in it. One of them is the RX-78-2 Gundam. The target customers of this product is 30-year-old male.[23]

In 2008, an ink and wash painting of Gundam drawn by Hisashi (天明屋 尚) in 2005 was sold in the Christie's auction held in Hong Kong with a price of $600,000 (USD).[24][25]

An 18-meter life-size version of the Gundam was built in 2009 to commemorate the franchise's 30 year anniversary.[26] The project is in response to the 30th Anniversary of Gundam as well as a fund raising project for Green Tokyo, a project preparing Tokyo in terms of the bid for 2016 Olympic Games with the theme of a Green Olympic.[27] The statue itself is depicted in the 2010 anime Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G. After an appearance at Bandai's headquarters in Shizuoka from late 2010 to March 2011, it was erected again at the new Gundam Front Tokyo theme attraction on Odaiba, opening in July 2012 until March 2013.

On July 16, 2010, ANA launched a series of flights as part of the 30th anniversary of Gunpla. Called the "ANA x GUNDAM Sky Project," the promotion used specially painted Boeing 777s on domestic and international flights. The initial flight was from Tokyo to Osaka. Passengers were also given the chance to buy HGUC 1/144 and 1/48 MegaScale kits of the RX-78-2 Gundam painted in ANA colors aboard the flight. It was scheduled to end in March 2011, but was extended to June 30, 2011.[28][29] The promotion was expanded to offer special 1/144 versions of the 00 Raiser and the Gundam Unicorn.

The RX-78-2 Gundam appeared in Steven Spielberg's film Ready Player One (2018),[30] where one of the protagonists controls a full size Gundam replica during the climactic battle in a virtual reality environment, where it, and its ally The Iron Giant is used to battle the antagonist's Mechagodzilla.

The Gundam was featured on the online series Death Battle and was pitted up against the Autobot leader Optimus Prime and lost due to the Autobot being more skilled, having far superior feats and better weapons.[31]


A life-sized statue of the Freedom Gundam from Gundam SEED in Shanghai

On March 23, 2008, a bronze statue of the Gundam was erected at the south entrance of Kami-Igusa Station in Suginami, Tokyo to honor the hometown animation studio Sunrise.[32]

As part of the 30th Anniversary of the Gundam series, the company officially announced a project on March 11, 2009, called Real-G planning to build a 1:1 real size scale Gundam in Japan. It was completed on June 9, 2009, and displayed in a Tokyo park.[33][34] The 18-meter tall statue was later moved and reconstructed in Shizuoka City, where it stayed from July 2010 to March 2011.[35][36] In August it was dismantled and reconstructed in Odaiba, Tokyo on April 19, 2012.[37][38] Until March 5, 2017, it stood in Odaiba along with a gift shop called "Gundam Front Tokyo".[39]

On March 5, it was announced that the life size RX 78-2 Gundam will be replaced by another life size statue of the RX 0 Unicorn Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.[40]

A second statue based on the original Gundam was announced in late 2018 as part of the "Gundam global challenge" made to receive concepts for an animatronic version.[41] The statue finished construction in 2020 and opened to the public on December 19, 2020[42][43]

Outside of the Lalaport shopping complex in Shanghai, China, there is a life-sized (18 meters tall) statue of the Freedom Gundam robot that moves and has glowing eyes. It was installed in 2021.[44]

Theme park attraction "Gundam Crisis" and "Gundam Front Tokyo"[edit]

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 eight 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.[45]

The statue stood in Odaiba, Tokyo, outside the shopping mall Diver City Tokyo, where it was a centerpiece of the "Gundam Front Tokyo" attraction until March 5, 2017. Visitors could visit the statue and also see the Gundam Front Tokyo attraction on the sixth floor of the mall, which featured a 360 degree panoramic movie theater, a room dedicated to Gundam models throughout the years, much concept artwork, and a life-size 1/1 scale bust of the Strike Freedom Gundam from the show Gundam SEED.[39] The nearby hotel, Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba (formerly Grand Pacific le Daiba) had a Gundam themed hotel room during this time.[46]

Other Mk-II appearances and beyond[edit]

The concept of Isuzu VX 2[47] is inspired by RX-178 Gundam Mk-II as concept design arts released in the Jan/Feb 1998, as seen in issue no. 71 of the magazine Axis published in Japan.

The Mk. II appeared years before the official North American release of Z Gundam on the talk show Late Night with Conan O'Brien in a commercial bumper.[48] Featured on an episode originally aired on September 30, 1998, the "Conan Mk. II" was formed from a Mk. II model kit altered with O'Brien's face, and a cartoon-like head on the shield, as typical of Late Night bumpers of the period. Zeta Gundam was not officially released in the North American market by Bandai until 2004. Late Night graphical designer Pierre Bernard is a self-stated anime enthusiast,[49] though if he specifically created the "Conan Mk. II" bumper has not been confirmed by any official source.

As with most mobile suits from Zeta Gundam, the Gundam Mk. II (and its Super form) received 1:144[50] and 1/100[51] scale model kits in 1987, along with a 1:220 scale "pocket model" (scaled to match large Z Gundam mobile suit kits, such as the MRX-009 Psyco Gundam).[52] In 1994, the Mk. II was featured in the limited-run 1:144 High Grade series (not to be confused with the later HGUC, or High Grade Universal Century, series), along with the original RX-78 Gundam and the Mk-II's successor MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.[53] With the 1:144-scale HGUC lineup, launched in 2000, the Mk. II has seen very heavy coverage. The Mk. II was released as a stand-alone model in May 2002 (in AEUG and Titans colors),[54] with the G-Defenser in "Super Gundam" configuration in November 2002,[55] a limited production (now discontinued) collector's "extra finish" version in May 2005,[56] with the Flying Armor re-entry vehicle later that month,[57] and as part of the "Gryphios War" 3-pack with the Zeta Gundam and MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki in March 2006.[58] The Mk. II joined the 1/100-scale Master Grade lineup in August 1998, in both AEUG[59] and Titans colors.[60] A Master Grade "Super Gundam" kit with the G-Defenser was issued in January 1999,[61] Totally re-designed versions of the Master Grade Mk. IIs were released in October 2005 (AEUG version)[62] and March 2006 (Titans version),[63] concurrent with the releases of the second and third Zeta Gundam movie compilations respectively. Finally, the Gundam Mk. II was inducted into the enormous 1:60-scale Perfect Grade line in November 2001,[64] and again in Titans colors in July 2002.[65] In May 2012, Gundam Mk. II (AEUG)[66][67] & Gundam Mk. II (TITANS)[68] was introduced into the new 1/144-scale Real Grade model kit series.

See also[edit]


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  5. ^ Mobile Suit Variation
  6. ^ 大河原邦男コレクション
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  18. ^ "Pepsi-Gundam Promotion Illegal". Anime News Network. November 1, 2005. Retrieved January 9, 2007.
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  20. ^ "Anime Hero and Heroine Series II - Gundam". Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  21. ^ Japanese Fire Department, Fire Fighting History Museum, The future of fire fighting(消防の未来), section 1 Gundam Activity (ガンダム大活躍)
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  30. ^ "Gundam Appears in New Ready Player One Trailer". 11 December 2017.
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  68. ^ "RG RX-178 Gundam Mk-II Titans".

External links[edit]