The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Gundam

Interview with Fukui: The Unicorn Banshee

I imagine several people will be curious about why the OVA Banshee has a different loadout compared to its novel counterpart. An interview with Fukui from Char’s Blog holds some of the answers about the Banshee, in addition to giving more insight into the choice to go with a seven-episode series as opposed to the original six. The first order of business is the Banshee’s armaments, and the justification for its change.

  • The contrasts between the Banshee and the Unicorn are numerous, reflecting on the idea that possibility can create and destroy. However, that’s not the purpose of this article. I’m here to show off the Unicorn and Banshee’s signature weapons, and then explain why there are now seven episodes instead of six.

The writers at Sunrise for Gundam Unicorn initially designed the beam magnum to be a highly powerful weapon with its ammunition capacity as its constraint: while capable of a mobile suit in a single shot, its limited magazine size meant that each shot had to be carefully placed. The weapon’s design reflects on Banagher’s situation; when he is given access to this weapon in his first confrontation with Full Frontal, he initially burns through all of its ammunition. Subsequently, Banagher opts to hold back when engaging the Sleeves forces at the Laplace wreckage, citing its power as a liability, and only uses the beam rifle to impede the Shambloo’s movement. Thus, the beam magnum can be seen as a symbol of responsibility in that while each shot is highly damaging, they must also be used wisely. In order to ensure that this point was driven home, the OVA beam magnum cannot be adjusted to fire shots of varying intensity. The end product is a highly powerful but also impractical weapon for situation demanding heavy firepower: indeed, the beam magnum feels more like a sniper rifle, as it is more suited for engaging a single high value target at a time as opposed to multiple targets. These capabilities and limitations make the beam magnum a realistic weapon, which sharply contrasts the beam smart gun wielded by the Banshee.

  • Two screenshots comparing and contrasting the design differences between the Unicorn and Banshee’s primary weapons. Apparently, looking down the barrel of a gun with the left shoulder pointed back is the “in” pose in UC Gundam.

Whereas the beam magnum feels like an anti-material rifle, the beam smart gun wielded by the Banshee is distinctly a more sci-fi like weapon in terms of design and performance. This was motivated by the wish to depict the Banshee as a dangerous, unpredictable machine: in the fifth OVA, the Banshee is capable of firing this weapon constantly, and is initially seen slicing the Shambloo in half. The weapon overpowered for a reason: as the antithesis to the Unicorn, the smart gun is less precise than the magnum and is designed for continuous, unrestrained use. Fukui has stated that the weapon was specifically designed to overpower the Unicorn in one-on-one combat, hence the choice to use an integrated rifle that is reminiscent of the Seravee’s cannons from Gundam 00. While the choice represents a departure from the decidedly realistic nature in Gundam UC, it also reflects on the thematic elements in UC.

  • These two screenshots of the Unicorn duelling the Banshee are from the latest and greatest episode.

The Banshee is capable of wielding beam sabres, although its most powerful melee weapon is a VN Claw is mounted onto its left arm. This weapon was conceived by mecha supervisor Genma, who had wished to like to test a new concept with the Banshee. He got permission from Furuhashi and Katoki. While Fukui was not aware of this decision, he was nonetheless impressed with the results.

  • The Banshee reinforces the notion that UC Gundam is a reference to the Lady and the Unicorn, a famous taspery that is replicated within the anime. Riddhe Marcenas’s role is that of the “Lion”, with Mineva Lao Zabi being the “Lady” and the “Unicorn” being Banagher Links.

The other order of business is the decision to extend the series by an episode. This is a welcome announcement, seeing as the quality in Gundam UC is astounding. The extension was motivated by the plot: writers would have felt rushed to condense the contents of the last few chapters into a single episode, so Fukui secured permission to use an additional episode to tell the story. This accounts for the slightly slower pacing of episode five (I’m citing the interview: episode five blew me away) and acts as a prologue for the final acts. The script for episode seven is still on-going, and as it stands now, its length is uncertain given that there is a lot of material that still needs to be covered. Gundam Unicorn was originally set to fit within four episodes, but it was apparent that the plot could not be condensed into this length, so Fukui negotiated for a six-episode OVA. As evidenced by the presence of a seventh episode, six episodes was still too limiting, bearing testament to the depth and detail of events found within the Universal Century.

00 Gundam Seven Sword Presentation

As of late, the HG line of model kits are beginning to rival the MG line in terms of articulation and functionality, although the latter still win out in terms of detail. Every so often, I run into other Gunpla models that are exceptionally well-crafted and thus, merit mention. The Gundam today is the 00 Seven Sword, a variant of the 00 Gundam that gives it a different loadout compared to the traditional pair of GN Sword IIs, 00 Raiser and GN Sword III seen in the anime. Befitting its name, the 00 Gundam Seven Sword is armed with seven close combat weapons; the experimental GN Katars, the standarized GN Beam Sabers, the long and short GN Sword IIs, and the large GN Buster Sword.

  • Technically, this isn’t a HG model per say: this is the Robot Spirits version of the Seven Sword. The design of the Seven Sword 00 Gundam is a highly pleasing one, giving rise to a machine that appears fully-equipped and ready for combat operations. Aside from weapons, the 00 Seven Sword bears one more aesthetic difference compared to the standard 00 Gundam: the knees are blue rather than white.

  • While the original high grade has a brighter green clear parts for the katars and clear parts for the weapon scopes, the Robot Spirits version opted to go with a darker green. Unlike its HG and MG counterpart, the Robot Spirits version does not come with the GN Blaster II. The master grade itself uses a blue-green colour that looks fantastic.

The signature weapon of the 00 Seven Sword is the GN Buster Sword, a weapon that possesses nearly the same height as the Gundam itself. The GN Buster Sword is a massive weapon which serves multiple purposes: it was reverse engineered from the GNX-607T/AC GN-XII Sword by engineer Ian Vashti and is normally stored on the left GN Drive mount. Using the GN particles directly from the vernier, the GN Buster Sword can project a massive GN Field that can cover nearby allies. Despite the weapons system being highly optimised for Setunsa’s piloting style, the weapons configuration was unable to stablise the Twin-Drive system and ultumately, would be set aside in favour of the development of the separate support unit, the GNR-010 0 Raiser.

Gundam Unicorn Episode 5 “Black Unicorn” Original Soundtrack

Gundam Unicorn OST III has been announced and will be scheduled for a release on May 9, 2012. This is quite the soundtrack, as there will be two CDs and is expected to cost 3360 yen (about 42 Canadian dollars). The tracklist is as follows (times are denoted in brackets):

Disk One

  1. Symphonic Suite UC2012 First Movement: Banshee (5:44)
  2. Symphonic Suite UC2012 Second Movement: Psycho-Field (4:22)
  3. Symphonic Suite UC2012 Third Movement: Angelo (4:16)
  4. Symphonic Suite UC2012 Fourth Movement: Neo Zeon (5:41)
  5. Symphonic Suite UC2012 Fifth Movement: Gundam (5:47)
  6. Riddhe (3:52)
  7. Minovsky Particle (3:15)
  8. Sympathy (2:08)
  9. Red Comet (3:30)
  10. Audrey (2:51)
  11. Piano UC No.1 (3:41)
  12. Piano UC No.2 (3:13)
  13. Piano UC No.3 (3:20)
  • For curious parties, the Unicorn Banshee is the brother unit to the Unicorn and was developed concurrently with the latter. Unlike the Unicorn, it lacks the La+ program and is tuned for atmospheric combat; its OS is said to be modified to accommodate for optimal performance in an atmosphere, although fundamentally, both units are equivalent to one another in performance.
  • Contrasting the novel version, the OVA version comes with a psychoframe-embedded beam smart gun and a psychoframe-embedded VN claw. These weapons form the loadout for the Banshee and are reminiscent of the weapons wielded by the Gundams from the Anno Domini continuity.

Disk Two

  1. Opening (1:34)
  2. U.C.0096 (2:53)
  3. Mobile Suit (2:47)
  4. Mineva (2:05)
  5. Full Frontal(3:17)
  6. A Letter (4:14)
  7. Laplace (2:36)
  8. The Universe- Licht Meer (4:39)
  9. MAD-NUG (4:32)
  10. RX-0 (2:50)
  11. Life and Death (2:25)
  12. On your Mark (4:11)
  13. Ego (3:20)
  14. Unicorn (6:05)
  15. Remind You (5:44)

HG Sinanju Reflection

This is my completed third HG kit and my second HGUC (technically, fourth: I have the HG RX-78GP02A Gundam Physalis and the HG GX-9900 Gundam X still waiting to be built). The completed product could probably pass for an MG in a still photo if I don’t put a proper MG beside it to give it some scale, and that is saying something about just how well-designed the kit is. I got this kit on a cold December afternoon after picking up the results for my Primatology exam, and began the model on Christmas Day. However, I wouldn’t finish the kit until a few days later, as I was out capitalising on the Boxing Day sales and was installing a new LED TV on the 27th. The kit was finished on the 28th, and since then, has been complementing the Unicorn on my bookcase.

  • The Sinanju looks impressive just standing there. Sticking it on an action base will, of course, diversify the number of poses it is capable of. There are many little details in the main body and weapons that makes the unit most amusing to assemble. Whether it is the fact that the hand-axes can form a double-edged weapon without requiring a separate handle or the additional grenade launcher for the rifle, the Sinanju simply offers details at what might be normal of a master grade kit. That said, from what I hear, the MG Sinanju is practically a perfect grade.

  • The application of the gold-trim stickers is probably the most demanding phase of constructing the Sinanju. However, the gold stands out against the reds and blacks very nicely. The tomahawks are mounted on the interior of the shield: two clear effect parts transform the shield into a weapon reminiscent of Halo’s energy sword.

The Sinanju is perfect for juxtaposing the Unicorn: whereas the Unicorn is sleek and is defined by sharp angles, the Sinanju feels far more organic, boasting smooth curves. The sheer number of weapons that comes with the kit also contrasts the minimalistic loadout of the Unicorn Destroy mode. Whereas the Unicorn Destroy mode only comes with its signature beam magnum (the regular mode Unicorn is required to get the Hyper Bazooka and beam sabres), the Sinanju comes with a beam rifle, grenade launcher, two beam sabres, four tomahawk handles and their associated clear effect parts, giving rise to a unit that is fully loaded and ready for a combat operation. The end result is a model that succeeds totally in conveying the character and mannerisms of Full Frontal and his skill with a mobile suit.

HG Unicorn Gundam Reflection

Having just completed watching “The Bottom of the Gravity Well”, I am compelled to look back on the nature of the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, and how fitting that it is named after the ‘beast of possibility’. Indeed, having seen what the Unicorn represents, I decided that it would be another unit I would be pleased to add to my existing collection. Contrasting the 00 Raiser and 00 Qan[T] (I’ll talk about the former in a later post), the Unicorn is a very clean, pure white Mobile Suit, compared to the blues and red found on more traditional lead Gundams. I made my purchase on the day of Otafest in May 2011; having decided against attending, the funds that I had initially accumulated were suddenly freed, and I found myself in the possesion of the HG Unicorn Destroy Mode with the 1/48 Head-display-base. However, as I was quite busy with my first simulation for my summer research, I did not actually build the kit itself until the last Sunday in July. The end result is one awesome Gundam with a display base that is supposedly sold only in Japan and America.

  • The Unicorn is reasonably articulated for a model of its design, while nowhere near as flexible as something like the 00 Raiser, the unit does allow for a moderate range of poses to be done. I was ultimately very impressed with its engineering, especially with respect to the omnipresence of the physco-frame, which is present on every region of the model. People have likened the unit’s colour scheme to a strawberry sundae.

  • It is actually somewhat of a challenge for me to tell the MG and HG Unicorn models just from an image, attesting to how well done the HG models are. While the Destroy Mode kit lacks the blades to the beam sabres and does not have the Hyper Bazooka, it nonetheless comes equipped with its signature weapon, the beam magnum. For good measure, a spare pack of E-caps were also included and ultimately gives the completed Unicorn a sense of preparedness for combat.

As an HG kit, the Unicorn Destroy Mode was completed over the course of an afternoon, and I assembled the base the next day. The HG Unicorn is essentially a 1/144 kit with the level of detail found in maybe a Master Grade 1/100 kit. This in itself is impressive, considering the smaller size of the Unicorn, and while it goes require some painting to get all of the details, it nonetheless looks highly impressive following a simple assembly. Whether it be the details in the model or the way the parts are engineered, it is apparent that effort went into designing the model.