Mark Simmons (
Thu, 18 Nov 1999 00:38:51 -0800

The subject of what became of all the Gundams seems to have digressed
into debates over which mobile suits do and don't qualify as true
Gundams. Nothing wrong with that, but let me lay down my basic
determining principle before we go into the nitty-gritty details:

* If it has the word "Gundam" in its name, it's a Gundam.

* If it doesn't have the word "Gundam" in its name, it's not a Gundam.

  The latter non-Gundam category includes a variety of mobile suits that
are derived from Gundams - e.g. the GM, Z Plus, FAZZ, Re-GZ, GunEZ, Doven
Wolf, and Crossbone Gundam's Flint - yet failed to inherit the "Gundam"
moniker from their ancestors.

  Now, the specifics...

Eiji Hayashi writes,

>not all models are mass produced. The aforementioned MSK-006 (a.k.a
>MSZ-006A1) was a very limited quantity unit, only 20 as far as I know.

  That's limited quantity, true, but it seems to be many more units than
the Rick Dias or GunEZ production run. The Z Plus, like the Re-GZ, was
designed as a simplified form of the Z Gundam that could be
mass-produced, and 20 units is pretty good for what's still a very
advanced and complex mobile suit. It's certainly too many units for an
experimental prototype.

  Eiji goes on to make a number of interesting points regarding the Z
Plus, all of which are perfectly valid, but none of them are relevant to
my own numbingly simple definition of what constitutes a Gundam (see
above). Far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter whether 2, 20, or 200
units were produced, or whether it's better or worse than its Gundam
ancestor. For whatever reason, its creators consciously decided not to
endow it with the Gundam name.

>I don't think the Zeta Plus was the mass produced line, and from the
>profiles I've read in the MG source books (its their baby after all) I don't
>get this sense either.

  Let's see. On page 150 of the big Gundam Sentinel book, we're told that
the first Z Plus was redesigned for atmospheric use to increase its
suitability for mass production. Only a small number were produced, but
that _was_ the point of the redesign. And that may be why its creators,
anticipating that large quantities would ultimately be produced,
deliberately decided _not_ to call it the "Z Gundam Plus."

>After all,
>why would you put a Double Fan Engine, Variable Geometry Wings, Flying
>Armor, beam smartgun, and increase the power output of a prototype by 50%,
>scratch the grenade launcher for two powerful beam cannons, put in a Hi Mega
>Cannon (yes the same high mega cannon as the ZZ), increase atmospheric
>maneuverability? This does not sound like they're making a mass produced

  Evidently the Gundam Sentinel staff have higher expectations of their
mass-produced mobile suits. ;-) At any rate, their book claims that the Z
Plus was intended to be produced in large quantities, and a run of 20
units for a single model - not even counting the C type - is far beyond
the 1-4 units of a typical prototype unit in the Gundam world.

>funny.. I always thought GM stands for General Model. No "Gundam" there.

  "General Model" is, as far as I know, a bogus guess cooked up by
English-speaking fans. It's never been officially explained what "GM" is
short for, though "Gundam Mass-produced" is a popular fan guess on both
sides of the Pacific. My own hunch is that, just as the "GZ" in RGZ-91 is
short for "Gundam Z," and the "GC" in RGC-80 is short for "Guncannon,"
the "GM" in RGM-79 is a contraction of "Gundam."

Tet writes,

>Char got the Hyakushiki after his red Rick Dias(#1) was stolen by
Camille's father and
>was destroyed by Camille. Roberto and his black Rick Dias(#2) was
destroyed protecting
>the shuttle on Earth. Emily got a replacement red Rick Dias(#4) which
was badly damaged
>in her first sortie. Appoli and his black Rick Dias(#3) went to Earth
but the MS was
>left behind for Kalaba to use. After Camille got the Z Gundam, Emily
switched to the Mk
>II and Appoli got the red Rick Dias(#4) and was subsequently killed in it.
>That's 4 Rick Dias in total and I am sure there weren't any others in Z
Gundam. : )

  Sorry, but that just ain't so. Apolli and Roberto start flying red Rick
Diases shortly after Char's gets blown up, and since a black Rick Dias
later shows up in the Jaburo attack in episode 12, we can be pretty sure
that Char's wingmen got new units rather than just repainting their red
ones. Emma's red Rick Dias, meanwhile, was destroyed by Jerid and Maua in
episode 21.

  That's two black and four red accounted for as of episode 21, which
means that the several other red units that show up later - including
Apolli's new one, and the two others that get destroyed later in the show
(the pilots' names were, I think, Botti and Bochi) - would add to this
total. So we have at least nine Rick Diases in circulation among the
Ahgama and Radish crew alone, never mind the rest of the AEUG.

Y. Choe writes,

>There was that squad of FullArmor ZZ in Sentinel Gundam which were promptly
>destoryed when it was convenient. Don't for get that!

  The FAZZ isn't a Gundam by my definition. It's a sort of testbed they
slapped together for the full armor incarnation of the ZZ Gundam, though
most of the ZZ Gundam's special features - transformation, separation,
core fighter, removable armor parts, hyper mega particle cannons - aren't
implemented on the FAZZ.

-- Mark

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Goriki has an intelligence and grace lacking in all other megamatons!
Plus, the power to stop steam trains! Goriki is ART!

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