Japanese Culture: Gundam Exia (From: Gundam 00)

The Gundam of Seven Swords

Per my earlier interview with Velocity7, I wanted to demonstrate why Velocity7 considers the first “main character mecha” of Gundam 00 to be special and unique. After all, the Gundam franchise is long and storied; to stand out takes some effort.

Technological Foundation

All Gundams in Gundam 00 are based around a super-particle that the series calls GN Particles, with no actual breakdown of what “GN” stands for. Keep this in mind when reading the rest of this article.

The Gundams of the “protagonist” organization Celestial Being use what are known as “solar furnaces” for engines, miraculous even for the futuristic setting, being nearly perpetual energy machines. These GN Drives have effectively unlimited operating time, but are limited in how much energy they can generate at any one moment. This provides the foundation for the Gundams’ astonishing abilities and weaponry.


Gundam Exia is a specialized close-combat “mobile suit” (manned humanoid combat robot) built for stealth, speed, extreme agility, situational flexibility, redundancy, and raw offensive force.

Exia was conceived as a mobile suit that would rapidly close with an enemy force, being detected only after, or just prior to, the first strike. Such a concept demands an aggressive suite of close combat weaponry.

Key Handling Characteristics

  • High speed, maneuverability, agility
  • Stripped-down armor; lower survivability if actually struck


(In ascending order)

GN Vulcan Guns

Weak GN particle rapid-fire guns fired from the forearms of Exia.

GN Beam Daggers

Exia weapon size comparisonBeam weaponry in hand to hand weapon form functions much like a lightsaber from Star Wars, though of course these use GN particles for the blades instead. The power output is similar to a full saber, but in a concentrated, harder to diffuse (i.e. break up) form. Later, technology to manipulate beam weapon length is achieved, making these daggers obsolete.

GN Beam Sabers

Mounted near the back of the arms, these two hilts can be drawn and turned into beam sabers through the use of GN particle filled force fields. Positrons (positively charged ions) form the fields themselves. That is, when physical contact with a solid object is made, the positron field gives way and the particles burn through the offending object.

GN Blades

Lineart: mahq.net

Gundam Exia possesses two solid “blades” of varying length, a GN Long Blade and a GN Short Blade. In essence, these are used so that the Exia always has the capacity to use a blade similar to the GN Sword (below) without requiring the extra elbow room required to swing the darned thing.

GN Sword

This is a solid GN Blade attached to the “bottom” of the miniature forearm shield. It is normally carried jutting back from the shield, but at a moment’s notice, it swings into a forward position. The GN Sword and the GN Blades are coated with GN particles when active, so they are not simply solid metal in action. Rather, the solid blade serves to add momentum and power to the GN particle “edge” and greatly enhance the speed at which it does catastrophic damage to the target.

At the design stage, it was conceived as a weapon of last resort against a target that is capable of diffusing GN particles, to the point that even condensed close combat beam sabers and beam daggers would be ineffective.

I like to refer to the GN Sword as the mother of all can openers.

In the folded position, the combined GN Sword/ forearm shield exposes a short beam rifle, which constitutes the Exia’s only significant standoff weapon.

Defensive Systems

GN Shield

This simple shield system provides the Gundam Exia, with its limited armor, with something to place between itself and enemy fire and close combat weapons.

In accordance with the design philosophy, the shield has a tapered point that can be used as a physical stabbing weapon.

Conclusion: A Radical Concept

Certainly, the Exia is a concept swung very far to the close quarters combat end of the scale. As such, it was far less of a “general purpose” war machine than most Gundams throughout the franchise, while still having the air of a serious machine intended for armed conflict in a realistic (albeit not real) setting.

In other words, it is radical, but also a complete and serious conceptual design.

Fine work if you ask me.

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for Technorati.com and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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