TOP GUNDAM

APPEARANCE Cyber Comics 01
RELEASE DATE 1988.03.30
PUBLICATION Bandai
STORY Hiroshi Yamaguchi
ARTWORK Makoto Kobayashi
LAYOUT Eri Ishida

[INTRODUCTION]

The One Year War came to an end in Universal Century 0081*. During this great war, the Federation Forces were victorious due to their material warfare, but their kill ratio against mobile suits in battle was one to four. In other words, for every enemy suit shot down, the Federation side lost four in the process. In response to that, the Federation Forces established the marine hover carrier Graf Zeppelin in 0082 as an elite training base to collect the exceptional one percent of cadets. Its objective: technical training on losing mobile suit battles. Likened to the ace unit during the One Year War and named after the US Navy’s training school from the previous century, TOP GUNDAM is the name of this school!

[TEMPORARY SUMMARY]

Lieutenant JG Shade Novotny is on a patrol mission with his partner Werner. We learn that comrades of their, Hartmann and company, had set out earlier in search of a “ghost.” Over the past few weeks, a craft appears on radar over the Indian Ocean and then disappears. Every time a search party like today heads out, they turn up nothing. The plot shifts back to the past surrounding Shade’s father. He was a notorious fighter pilot despite the appearance of mobile suits on the battlefield. He seemed to be a bold pilot with an old-fashioned spirit. But, during a particular operation, he never came back. Even after being awarded a service medal it was strange he didn’t receive a two rank promotion after having died in battle. As time passed, the truth became twisted and distorted into him “fleeing from the enemy.” Shade had become a pilot to uncover the truth of his death.

The story returns to the present. Just as they were about to turn back to base, a missile suddenly appears from the empty sky. The buckshot missile strikes the GEEM and the Dodai II and the Dodai starts to lose altitude. Shade operates the unresponsive Dodai from the GEEM and tries to reorient them. In the midst of this, he catches sight of a strange-looking machine: a suit with the face of a Zaku in the center of gigantic wings…

Barely escaping with his life, Shade returns to the Graf Zeppelin. However, the captain and the others didn’t believe in his report that he engaged with this unit. To complicate matters, Werner, who was brought to the med ward, died. Shade is taken off the next VIP guard mission, so he takes in the twilight on the deck of the ship. There, a newcomer by the name of Richthofen calls out to him. Richthofen shows an extraordinary interest in the “invisible” enemy that Shade encountered.

Afterwards, an emergency transmission comes in from Hartmann and company that set out to guard some VIPs. The Mackensen that the VIPs were on came under attack. Shade heads out with Richthofen… (more details later)

Lieutenant JG Shade Novotny: Pilot of the RMS-114 GEEM.
Lieutenant JG Werner: Pilot of the Dodai II.
Lieutenant JG Hartmann: Pilot of the Regusio Zack.
Commodore Scharnhorst: Captain of the Graf Zeppelin.
Lieutenant JG Richthofen: A transfer pilot assigned to the Graf Zeppelin.
Lieutenant Commander Novotny: Father of Shade. Accused of deserting in the face of the enemy.
D.F. Tirpitz: Commander in Chief of the Federation Naval Forces. One of those on board the Mackensen.

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rms114_geem

RMS-114 GEEM: A mass production unit developed as an RX-78 type. Its name means Gundamtype-Experienced Exertion-Mobilesuit. A new and powerful suit that  started to see deployment in combat in U.C.0089. Lieutenant JG Shade Novotny is the pilot of this unit.

heavy_gelgoog

Heavy Weapons Gelgoog: A remodeled Gelgoog, a classic Zeon suit. Although an older model, a few of them are attached to the Graf Zeppelin as ground assault mobile suits.

regusio_zack

Regusio Zack: A suit designed by F. Regusion, a Zeon engineer who moved to the Federation Forces. These make up the current main forces of the Federation Forces. This is a custom unit piloted by Lieutenant JG Hartmann in the story.

graf_zeppelin

Graf Zeppelin: Originally a hover carrier constructed by the Zeon Naval forces, it was requisitioned by the Federation Forces following the war. It now acts as a maritime base for “Top Gundam.” At the same time, this ship and its cadets act as the Indian Ocean area’s autonomous naval task force. It is equipped with 18 retractile 15cm (150mm) beam cannons, something unusual for an aircraft carrier, which gives it aquatic artillery capabilities.

HOTOL-class (Mackensen): A gigantic shuttle with an overall length of 116 meters. With the ability to accommodate over ten mobile suits, it acts as a military cargo plane.

zeon_name

stealth_zaku

Stealth Zaku: The product of a dark mobile suit project (codenamed the New Orleans Project) advanced by the Principality of Zeon at the end of the One Year War. By utilizing variable camouflage coating in conjunction with BG Vision Color sensors, it is possible to disappear like a chameleon. Its appearance is closer to that of an air combat mobile armor than that of a mobile suit. It possesses superior air combat mobility.

Dopp
Gouf
Dodai

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* The overview of the story says that the One Year War came to an end in U.C.0081. Please note that this is an older publication that used a much more dated timeline than the one that was established later on.