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Space Fortress Bulge (宇宙要塞バルジ Uchuu Yousei Baruji, aka Space Fortress Barge in the English dub) is a space mobile fortress used by the Organization of the Zodiac in the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.
Technology and Combat Characteristics
Bulge was one of OZ's space fortresses, it was by far the largest mobile space vehicle in the After Colony timeline. At 8 kilometers in length it was more than twice the length of the space battleship Libra. Bulge was likely large enough to be considered a space colony not only due to its size but also due to its similar shape and appearance.
Its primary purpose was to serve as a mobile suit carrier for OZ's Space Leos and Taurus mobile suits. The large Noventa cannons were perfect for assaults to destroy other large objects such as space fortresses and colonies.
- Noventa Cannon
- Bulge's primary weapons were the two large Noventa cannons. These large cannons were situated such that there was one at either end of the fortress. Its firepower was so great that at full power it was said to be capable of destroying an entire space colony.
- Medium Laser
- For defensive purposes Bulge was equipped with 28 medium lasers to fight off mobile suit assaults. Though due to its large size, the 28 cannons are unlikely to cover all areas, it is therefore likely that these lasers were placed to defend important strategic positions.
Bulge was designed by OZ engineer Seis Clark and completed in Summer of AC 186. Its name 'Bulge', meant to imply an 'excess', was a moniker it gained from the colonists working to build it, as its construction caused considerable financial and political strain on the people of the colonies. During the fortress's inaugural party, a group of colonist rebels launched an attack in which Seis Clark and his wife, Aoi Clark, perished. Aoi's young son, who would go on to become Heero Yuy, was rescued from the battle by Odin Lowe. In this same battle, Zechs Merquise and Elve Onegell, cadets of Treize Khushrenada, were also believed to have perished, however both resurfaced years later.
In the year AC 195 during a Gundam assault on several OZ's Earthbound bases OZ used Bulge to take a colony hostage, threatening to destroy it with a Noventa cannon. Since the Gundam pilots were fighting for the sake of the colonies they felt they had no choice but to stand down.
Later in the year, after White Fang acquired and fielded the WF-02MD Virgo II they used their new mobile doll on an assault against OZ forces in space including Bulge. The space fortress's defenders were composed of Taurus mobile suits which made use of a new type of laser weapon that could "cut" through their targets. These lasers proved effective against the Virgo II mobile dolls despite their planet defensors; however ultimately the battle ended in White Fang's favor with the destruction of the Bulge.
The Bulge would have a descendant in the form of Libra. Though the new mobile space fortress is not as large it proved to be much more efficient and was designed to accommodate the mobile dolls that the Romefeller Foundation favored.
Events that Surround Bulge
Bulge is first seen in episode 10 of “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” during the battle between the five Gundams and OZ transport ships. Lady Une set up the encounter as the conflict which would finally see the end of the Gundams. Zechs Merquise (in the Tallgeese) does battle with Heero Yuy in (Wing Gundam) for the first time. But when Lady Une’s plan starts to fail, she contacts the pilots and threatens to attack the colonies with Bulge and its missiles, if the pilots don’t surrender and give up their suits. This prompts Doctor J to contact Lady Une to declare his surrender as he does not want his actions against OZ to hurt the colonies. Heero Yuy self-detonates Wing Gundam, nearly killing himself. The four other Gundams retreat with Zechs refusing to fight when the Gundams are in this compromised position. This event is one of the aspects to Lady Une developing a split personality disorder as she struggles to follow her superior and love interest, Treize’s ideals.
Bulge next main appearance in the series is during the conflict within the Romefeller Foundation as Tubarov takes over the Lunar Base (episode 24/25). During the battle between Heero and Quatre, Lady Une (on Bulge) attempts to contact Lunar Base to speak to the Gundam Doctors. But Tubarov disconnects all transmissions from Bulge. Lady Une, who has now realized Treize’s ideals, leads an assault on the Lunar base which is countered by Tubarovs’s mobile dolls. The mobile dolls attack Bulge, which was being used as a distraction so Lady Une could land on Lunar base and rescue the Doctors and Gundam pilots who were being killed by Tubarov by suffocating in their cells, where the Romefeller Chief had cut off the air supply. Lady Une releases the prisoners but is shot and nearly killed by Tubarov. Bulge survives the attack from the mobile dolls.
Bulge’s final appearance in the series is during episode 41. By this time, Milliardo Peacecraft has been appointed leader of White Fang and declares war on Earth on behalf of the colonies. The White Fang and OZ battle above Earth as the Gundams are caught in the middle. This episode sees Bulge firing its Noventa Cannon for the first and only time. The personnel onboard Bulge ordered the main weapon to be fired to thin out White Fang’s forces but this proved to be incompetent as the powerful beam clipped one of the colonies. It was stated that if it had been a direct hit, the entire colony would have been destroyed. Despite almost making a huge mistake, the Bulge cannon was programmed to fire a second time in an attempt to wipe out the Gundams, who were also in the battle, once and for all. When the Gundam pilots noticed that Bulge was powering up again, they made their way over to the Space Fortress to stop it but they knew they wouldn’t make it in time. At this point Milliardo, piloting the Epyon, races past the Gundams and with his beam sword at full power, cuts deep into Bulge which causes a chain reaction of explosions which react with the fully charged Noventa Cannon and blows up in a blinding explosion.
- Although in the English dub of the anime the fortress is called "Barge", a note in New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Frozen Teardrop clarifies in English that the proper name of the fortress is ""Bulge"". The probable reason for the mistranslation is that the kana used for the fortress, バルジ (Baruji), can be translated to English as either Barge or Bulge. Bulge is possibly intended to evoke The Battle of the Bulge.