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The RX-178 Gundam Mk-II is a mobile suit that appears in the anime series Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. It is a successor of the famous RX-78-2 Gundam that served in the One Year War with cheaper armor to reduce costs.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
In both purpose and appearance, aside from its color scheme, the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II is designed to be a direct descendant of the RX-78-2 Gundam.
Weapons-wise, the Gundam Mk-II's armament and optional armament are in essence a reflection of the weapons employed by the original Gundam, though those in themselves are a standard set of weaponry for both Earth Federation and AEUG mobile suits. The only fixed weapons of the suit are two beam sabers, but the Mk-II can carry a vulcan pod, a shield, a beam rifle, a hyper bazooka and a clay bazooka if necessary.
It also features what had become the standard 360-degree panoramic screen and linear seat. The multiple panels of the panoramic screen make up a single 360-degree display, which covers the entire inner surface of the spherical cockpit. The image displayed on this screen is a computer simulation constructed from the cameras distributed around the mobile suit's exterior. The viewpoint is that of the mobile suit's head, and the image is carefully edited to remove the mobile suit itself. The linear floating seat is suspended in the center of the cockpit, supported by a linear arm which electromagnetically counters G-forces and impact shocks in order to protect the pilot. When used in conjunction with the 360-degree panoramic screen, the linear floating seat also gives the pilot a larger field of view and eliminates blind spots.
More importantly the Gundam Mk-II is the first mobile suit to be built utilizing the new movable frame concept. This new concept, rather than placing the armor on top of the mobile suit's internal mechanism, grafts the armor directly to the frame, thus giving the mobile suit the range of joint movement more like that of a human being, at the same time reducing the overall weight. It incorporates all the mobile suit's vital mechanisms, thus increasing responsiveness, reliability, and energy efficiency as well as making it far more agile. For a brief time period this makes the Gundam Mk-II one of the most agile mobile suits available, however the purpose of the mobile suit was to test the concept, so while the theft of all three units was a serious blow to the Titans, it was ultimately not that important as they already had the data needed to develop more advanced mobile suits.
- Beam Saber
- The only fixed armament of the suit are two beam sabers for close combat, which, like the ones of the original RX-78-2 Gundam, were stored in recharge racks on the backpack of the suit when not needed. While the Titans used beam sabers of type XB-G-1048L, the Anti-Earth Union Group used the type A*E-Br*G-Sc-L. Both types however had their power rated at 0.45 MW.
- Beam Rifle
- Since beam rifles were now a common equipment of most mobile suits, the Mk-II was also equipped with one as its main armament. Again different types of the rifle were used by the Titans and the AEUG, with the former using the model BOWA*XBR-M-86-C2, while the latter outfitted the suit with a A*E-Br*XBR-87-C beam rifle. Each rifle had its power rated at 2.6 MW and was powered by a replaceable e-pac, with two spare e-pacs stored in the shield of the suit.
- Clay Bazooka
- A projectile-firing bazooka, as its name indicates, the clay bazooka was originally designed to fire adhesive rounds which immobilize enemy machines rather than destroying them outright. However, this weapon can fire several different types of ammunition, and it's normally used with conventional explosive shells. Like the hyper bazooka it was clip-fed and capable of carrying seven rounds per clip plus 1 round in its chamber. Again additional clips could be stored on the rear skirt armor storage rack.
- Hyper Bazooka
- For heavy firepower, the Mk-II could carry a large hyper bazooka, which was clip-fed and capable of carrying seven rounds per clip plus 1 round in its chamber. Additional clips could be stored on the rear skirt armor storage rack. As with nearly all the other weapons, different types of the bazooka were used by the two groups, with the Titans using an H-Baz-85-Gry/Ver.045 bazooka, while the AEUG used a model of type H-Baz-87-A*E/Ver.004.
- As with most other mobile suits, the Mk-II carries a single physical shield for defense on its left arm. While the Titans use a shield of type RX*M-Sh-*VT/S-00018, the AEUG's Gundam shield is of type RX*M-Sh-VT/S-001.
- Vulcan Pod
- Although the Mk-II didn't mount the standard vulcan guns on the head, it is able to be outfitted with a 60mm 2-barrel vulcan pod on its head, capable of carrying a total of 1400 rounds. The vulcan guns are housed in the left side with two firing ports, while the right side functions as a balancer and magazine. This optional weapon was developed because installation space in the head unit could not be reserved for mounting the vulcan guns.
The RX-178 Gundam Mk-II are three prototype mobile suits developed by the Titans in UC 0087. The Gundam Mk-II's design effectively traded armor and weaponry in favor of increased mobility - a very large factor in melee combat common in mobile suit deployment.
When word of these black-and-blue painted Gundams reached the Anti-Earth Union Group, Quattro Bajeena - (Principality of Zeon's infamous "Red Comet") - led a team which infiltrated the Titans' Green Noa 1 space colony. With the help of a young boy, Kamille Bidan, son of the Gundam Mk-II's principal designer Franklin Bidan, Quattro managed to steal all three mobile suits.
Following the theft of the Gundams, two were sent to Anaheim Electronics to be dismantled and studied, while the AEUG kept the last one in its service, painting over the dark Titans' color and giving it a navy blue-on-white color-scheme.
The Gundam Mk-II was given to many of the AEUG's best pilots, including the young rookie Kamille Bidan and later to former Titans officer Emma Sheen. The Gundam Mk-II, with its antiquated titanium and ceramic composition, limited mobility and weaponry, soon proved ineffective against many of the Titans' new and transformable mobile suits. Yet it would still play part in many of the AEUG's most important missions, such as the attack on Jaburo, or the battle against the MRX-009 Psyco Gundam in Hong Kong.
Eventually to improve performance the AEUG commissioned Anaheim Electronics to build a new support craft for the Gundam Mk-II. Anaheim Electronics was successful and created the FXA-05D G-Defenser, a fighter craft that could dock with the Gundam Mk-II to create the RX-178+FXA-05D Super Gundam which has superior speed, mobility, and firepower.
Despite this upgrade, the Gundam Mk. II would still suffer in performance compared to the Titans latest mobile suits during the final days of the Gryps Conflict, and again when it was called to service during the First Neo Zeon War against Neo Zeon and their superior mobile suits. During this time, the Mk. II was never officially designated a pilot, although it was most often the mobile suit of Elle Vianno. The loss of the G-Defenser during the Gryps Conflict, combined with Elle's weak piloting skills severely downgraded the Mk. II's potential.
After the end of the First Neo Zeon War, the Gundam Mk. II was severely damaged against the NZ-000 Queen Mansa and abandoned by Elle. It is said the unit was recovered and repaired, but ultimately retired from service after the AEUG was re-absorbed into the Earth Federation, being put into storage alongside the Zeta Gundam.
Notes & Trivia
- The Mk-II was used as a commercial bumper for Late Night with the face of Conan O'Brien replacing the traditional Gundam head.
- Despite its name, the Gundam Mk-II is not the second Gundam constructed in the Universal Century. This is shown by the OVA's 08th MS Team, 0080 War in the Pocket, and 0083 Stardust memory, all of which take place before Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. In 08th MS team, which takes place during the One Year War, there were at least 20 RX-79［G］ Gundam Ground Types produced, and then the RX-79［G］Ez-8 Gundam Ez8. In 0080, also taking place during the One Year War, there was the RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex". In 0083 there was the RX-78GP01 Gundam Zephyranthes, the RX-78GP02A Gundam "Physalis", and the RX-78GP03S Gundam "Dendrobium Stamen", which is followed by Titan's Hazel series. In addition to these more well known Gundams, there are other side stories that features mobile suits with the "Gundam" moniker and had took place between 0079 and 0087.
- In order to coincide that Mk-II is not the second Gundam, in-universe they were given various excuses:
- RX-79 are mobile suits assembled from left over parts.
- NT-1 is part of RX-78 line as Project G-4.
- Gundam Development Project is a black ops project to begin with, and later everything related to the project were technically stricken off official record and thus does not exist.
- Even though Titans did create the Hazel series with secret data copied from the GP project, while having the moniker of "Gundam" and possessing a Gundam head, technically speaking they are not new mobile suits, but modified GM Quels. Furthermore, like many Titan's side projects, there are always an element of black ops with the Hazel project.
- Numerous other side stories typically claim they are heavily modified GMs, from the RX-78 or RX-79 Lineage, or pre-prototypes that lead to the GP series
- In order to coincide that Mk-II is not the second Gundam, in-universe they were given various excuses:
- The Mk-II's reputation for being particularly weak for a gundam model might have been the root for Huckebein Mk-II's middling performance. (The Huckebein series is a gundam inspired line of original mechs) The game in which it debuted, it was an initial mech that the pilot stops piloting when s/he gains the Mk-III.
- The Gundam Mk-II was originally painted in the dark color scheme, presumably to make it harder to see in space. The AEUG painted theirs white to make it easier to tell the AEUG's Mk-II's from the Titans' Mk-II's, though it also meant the Titans could see it with little to no problem.
- In Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2, the license to control the Gundam Mk-II allows the pilot to pilot either of the two models, although their only actual differences are their stats, their Charge Attack 2, and which Special Attack the Gundam Mk-II should use alone and which one should be used as a Combination Special Attack. The Combination Special Attack from the AEUG model is the same as the Titans model's regular Special Attack, and vice versa.
- The third game adds one more difference between them: The unit specific parts and their effects AEUG- Def up and Titans-attack up.
- In Shin Gundam Musou, the AEUG model Gundam Mk-II uses the G-Defenser exclusively for its charge shot, musous, and Burst Attack.
- In SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online, both the Titans type and the A.E.U.G. type Mk-IIs are playable but differ greatly including stats, skills (The readily-available A.E.U.G. type has Defense Up, while the rare Titans type has Seasoned Infighter, which grants it defense against Rock-type units) and weapons (both units use beam sabers and beam rifles, but the A.E.U.G. version uses the Clay Bazooka while the Titans version uses the Vulcan pod.)
- In Gundam Extreme Vs. Full Boost, the AEUG model Gundam Mk-II returns to the roster (it was previously in Gundam Vs. Gundam Next Plus but missing from Extreme Vs.) and also utilizes the G-Defenser for its EX Burst Attack. The original Titans model later appeared as a DLC unit, practically unchanged from its Next Plus incarnation.