Re: what are the Newtype powers?

Mark Simmons (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 14:50:30 -0800

Chien Ting Chin asks,

>I've never gotten a straight-on description of Newtype powers? Can
>someone clarify?

  The documentation is poor, but I found Tomino's Gundam novelization
yielded a lot of valuable insights (even though the actual plot is
completely different from the animation).

  I'd say that newtype powers are essentially a form of empathy -
communicating with other humans on an emotional, rather than an
intellectual, level. Except for some rare cases where very powerful
newtypes lapse into a telepathic communion, newtypes usually sense the
emotions and intentions of others - their aggression, fear, pain,
hostility, et cetera - rather than "reading" their thoughts like a book.
This enables newtypes like Amuro, Camille, et al to locate enemies, sense
their approach, and perceive the suffering of victims of mass slaughter. In
some extreme cases - Dozul Zabi in original Gundam, Giren Zabi in the
52-episode outline, Ajis Buggy in V Gundam - newtypes will even "see" auras
emanating from particulary evil or fanatical people, an involuntary
hallucination induced by the emotional intensity of their emanations.
Newtypes don't appear to have genuine precognition, but rather a sort of
"spider sense" that lets them detect the proximity of a hostile foe.

  Newtypes not only perceive the feelings and intentions of others, they
also broadcast their own. Thus, powerful newtypes emit a sort of psychic
"pressure" that can be sensed by other newtypes, and even by sensitive
normal people. Char first senses Camille as he scouts out the Green Noah
colony, though he can't identify the source. Scirocco emits a "pressure"
sensed by the AEUG characters, and even non-newtype Reccoa can sense his
presence. Lira Myra Lira, an avowed "oldtype," senses the same newtype
pressure from the Ahgama that she felt from the White Base during the One
Year War.

  The powerful brainwave emissions of newtypes are the key to the psycommu
system. This system basically just listens for the pilot's brainwave
emissions and translates them into computer instructions, using a process
much like biofeedback. Really powerful newtypes can transmit their
brainwave signals across huge distances, which is how wireless bits and
funnels work - they each house a tiny psycommu receiver, allowing them to
receive commands from the pilot's powerful brainwave signals.

  So that's the general theory, as I understand it. Let's look at your
specific questions...

>1. Telepathy: 2 Newtypes can communicate across vaccum.

  Via their powerful brainwaves, yes. They both have to be _very_ powerful
to conduct an intelligible conversation, though; otherwise, all that gets
transmitted is vague emotion like fear or hatred. See the Gundam novels for
some examples of the latter scenario.

>2. Telekinesis(?): A Newtype can manipulate psycommu weapon system, so
>s/he can at least manipulate electromagnetic waves, can a Newtype move

 Not at all. As noted above, remote control of weapons systems is a matter
of brainwave transmission; the pilot sends commands to the remote unit,
which then carries them out.

>3. Prescience: A Newtype can foresee events, especially Zakus trying to
>sneak up from behind.

  This isn't precognition, but a sense of the location and hostile
intentions of the enemy. A newtype would be defenseless against a drone or
computer enemy, and as noted in the novels, the wire-controlled remote
units of the Brau Bro "mask" the location of the threat and make it
impossible for Amuro to anticipate their attacks.

>4. Mind-reading: A Newtype can read the mind of an Oldtype?

  No. At the end of the original series, Amuro lapses into a trance and
manages to send messages to his White Base comrades - something he's never
been able to replicate under normal circumstances. But newtypes can almost
never _receive_ intelligible messages from non-newtypes, much less spy on
their private thoughts. As demonstrated by the Dozul and Ajis Buggy
examples, they can sense intense emotions of oldtypes pretty easily, but
not their articulate thoughts.

>Is there any details on the "artificial Newtype" also? How are they
>produced? Genetic manipulation, surgery or something else?

  Hard to say. It's implied that the process involves brainwashing and/or
psychological manipulation, almost certainly drugs, and possibly surgery.

-- Mark

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