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A Newtype is theorized to be the next stage of human evolution in the fictional Gundam universe. This minor but groundbreaking metamorphosis is usually expressed as a heightened mental awareness, the result of an evolutionary adaptation to life in space.
Newtypes have an extremely high degree of spatial awareness. Some but not all, are capable of empathically detecting other Newtypes, and are sensitive to the hostile intentions directed at them by others, allowing them to uncannily preemptively react to such dangers. This effect is often depicted in the anime series as a white bolt flashing across their forehead with an accompanying sound effect, a phenomenon referred to as a "Newtype flash".
One of the Universal Century's greatest social conflicts is the exploitation of these advanced humans. Heralded by scientists and philosophers upon their discovery as a beacon of hope for the future of humanity, the various series of the U.C. timeline show that these humans have merely become pawns; cannon fodder for greedy politicians and violent militarists, creating even more destruction.
Various characters state that the exploitation of the Newtype is due to fear of them by the Oldtypes, as they represent humanity's next step of evolution and the Oldtypes are merely relics of the past. A great example of this is the signature Gundam pilot of the metaverse, Amuro Ray. Although he is the hero of the One Year War, the first great mobile suit war, he barely climbs the ranks above lieutenant commander in his entire career, and it is implied to be due to the government's mistrust of his Newtype status. Well into the very late incarnations of the Universal Century timeline, Newtypes remain as rare an occurrence as they were during the One Year War, facilitating a curious cycle of weapons development, in which highly specialized newtype-use weapons are developed, and repeatedly phased out, as fielding people capable of using such weapons in significant numbers remains consistently impossible.
The earliest Newtype to be introduced in Mobile Suit Gundam was Lalah Sune, introduced in the original series. Being one of the earliest and most successful known Newtypes, her powers are accompanied by a profound spiritual awareness. Like Amuro, she was born on Earth, as Char had found her in India.
The most famous Newtype is Amuro Ray, protagonist of the first series. While Amuro develops into a powerful Newtype, he relies just as much, if not more so, on his superb proficiency with machineries, outstanding battle tactics and inherent piloting skill than on his Newtype abilities. Even regardless he is considered the most formidable pilot among the Newtypes because his own mobile suits are unable to keep up with his ability. Later into the U.C. history, even AI systems designed upon Amuro's piloting data (such as Jupiter Empire's Amakusa mobile suit) presents a formidable opponent for many powerful Newtype pilots.
The Gundam metaverse's character Char Aznable is implied to be not a particularly powerful Newtype at all. Char developed his formidable combat ability only after years of combat experience, and becomes recognized as a newtype after Amuro's own progression. Char is first and foremost a planner and strategist, fields he excels at without any relation to Newtype capabilities. Although his Newtype abilities were not as powerful as Amuro's, Char was one of the very few who posed a threat to Amuro.
The most powerful Newtype is Kamille Bidan, the pilot of the Zeta Gundam in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Many have considered Kamille to have the most powerful Newtype abilities in all of Gundam, as he has shown many remarkable abilities such as summoning the ghosts of dead characters and utilizing the Zeta Gundam's bio-sensor to power the MS to phenomenal levels. Unlike other characters, Kamille initially started out as a powerful Newtype, to the point Char thought of Amuro Ray or Lalah Sune when he first sensed Kamille at Green Noa 1. Kamille exhibits the highest amount of raw Newtype ability and energy of almost any U.C. protagonist, but he also experiences the most emotional vulnerabilities.
Another powerful Newtype pilot is Judau Ashta of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, the pilot of the titular MS, who like Kamille is considered to be a powerful Newtype. Despite his inexperience and youth, Judau exhibits a high amount of raw Newtype ability, able to frighten off and demoralize Haman Karn, who was reduced to tears despite herself being a formidable Newtype.
The crew of White Base are later revealed to be newtypes though at a primitive level; enough to be classified as a newtype, but not enough to actually augment their combat prowess.
The word Newtype first came into being when Zeon Zum Deikun, the founder of the space colony-based Republic of Zeon, created his philosophy: mankind was destined to leave the Earth for space, where they would evolve into a new stage of evolution, called the Newtype. Newtypes possess special abilities to understand others, hence promoting harmony and tolerance, and would be able to eliminate all wars and ensure peace.
This philosophy was accepted by many people to the point that it became superstition, and it became a name for those with strange and exceptional abilities. Hence when enhanced psychic potential manifested in certain individuals in the One Year War, the idea that Newtypes were evolved humans with psychic abilities as a result of the movement to space began to stick. Unenhanced human beings, by opposition, became known by the retronym Oldtype.
As time passed, despite the ongoing space migration, the number of new naturally occurring Newtypes remained fairly stable. However, as their destiny had been transformed from the "future of mankind" to living weapons forced to fight in war, artificially created Newtypes began to outnumber them. By the time of the second Neo Zeon movement (Char's Counterattack), it was somewhat doubtful whether these Newtypes were the same as the legendary ones found in Deikun's theory.
Furthermore, many ambitious warmongers, such as Paptimus Scirocco from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Crux Dogatie from Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam, are powerful Newtypes who have no intentions to promote peace. This greatly contradicts Deikun's theory that Newtypes are humanity's hope of eliminating wars. Another possible contradiction to Deikun's theory is that some famous Newtypes, such as Amuro Ray, Paptimus Scirocco, and possibly Tobia Arronax (Crossbone Gundam, Newtype level 5 confirmed in G Generation F), were born on Earth instead of space. It though should be noted that while both Amuro Ray and Paptimus Scirocco were born on Earth they did indeed spent most of their years in space. Paptimus residing with the Jupiter Energy Fleet, and Amuro being a resident of the Side 7 colony (but displaying his first Newtype ability while on Earth). So in retrospect, it could be possible that living in space during the developmental stages of their lives helped assist or had a distinctive effect in growth or the formation of their newtype abilities. However, the nature of Newtypes and the evolutionary cycle associated with the phenomena are still disputed. It is doubted by some as to if Newtypes are exactly the same as Deikun originally envisioned them.
Not long into their discovery, the combat potential of the Newtype is quickly exploited by various military factions. With mechanical sensors equipped on their mobile suit, the newtype pilots' ability allows them to directly control their own mobile suits with their mind, so that the machine 's movement and dodging ability will not be limited by the pilot's two hands. Various technologies allowed these Newtypes to operate remotely controlled weapons known as "bits" and "funnels", which would be far too complicated to be operated by hand (until computer assisted versions come to play in the future). Some systems even allow Newtypes to control entire Mobile Suits or Armors just with the power of their mind, although this would require an exceptionally powerful Newtype, with significant risks. Many types of interfaces have also been designed for Newtype use, such as psycommu, psycoframe, bio-sensor and bio-computer.
A psycommu (psychic communicator) is a device able to directly interpret the user's thoughts by picking up their brainwaves. When coupled with adequate computerization, the user can manipulate various equipments using his/her mind alone.
The research into psycommu started when it was discovered that brainwaves can bypass radio interference created by Minovsky particles. The Principality of Zeon began researching into these phenomena, and developed the first psycommu system to be used exclusively by Newtypes.
In essence, a psycommu system works by passively scanning the brainwaves of newtypes, and then translating these brainwaves into raw machine codes. Since brainwaves are not affected by Minovsky particles, at first it was mainly used to mentally control remote weapons, usually mounted with a single beam gun. This enabled the resurrection of BVR engagements (which was thought to be abolished since the introduction of Minovsky particles), leading to the development of remotely controlled weapons capable of attacking targets without visual contact. Some mobile weapons, such as MSN-02 Zeong and MAN-03 Braw Bro, used psycommu system to operate wire-controlled mega-particle cannons, while other later designs, such as MAN-08 Elmeth and AMX-004 Qubeley, utilized wireless weapons called bits and funnels. Later on, the psycommu system was also used to improve response time of the pilot.
The exact mechanism in how psycommu works has never been documented, spawning several theories surrounding it. One of which advanced by Dengeki Hobby Magazine is that much of the bulk of the system are in fact containment and organic tissue support units for cloned brain tissues cultivated and tuned to specific pilot. This however conflicts with the description of Psycoframe where it is strongly suggested to be of non-organic in nature.
In U.C. 0087, the psycommu system was designed to interface the Newtype pilot with a mobile suit, called a bio-sensor. The bio-sensor amplified the power, speed and strength of the mobile suit for a short period of time, and in some cases used the psychic power as a weapon, when the pilot was mentally and emotionally distraught, usually when angry or upset.
The anti-funnel system was used by the mobile suit REON (Robotic Environment Operating system Nucleus) Ver.5.7 Gundam Zephyr Phantom Mark II "Reon", in the manga of the same name. The AFS worked by blocking control waves from a psycommu system of any sort and thus disrupting any use of remote weapons such as bits or funnels. It also appears in Gundam UC 0099 MOON CRISIS, by the same author as REON.
Appearing in Char's Counterattack, the psycoframe is a technology that builds the psycommu system into nano-receptors within the structural framework of a mobile suit's Linear Seat. This allows an extremely high concentration of psycommu perception, and a Newtype pilot would be able to control the mobile suit as if it were his/her own body (somewhat similar to how the suits in G Gundam are controlled). Traditional psycommu systems require sizeable sub-systems, and are typically mounted on larger platforms such as a mobile armor or an uncommonly large mobile suit. With the development of the psycoframe, it became possible to implement a psycommu system into a smaller mobile suit.
The first mobile suit equipped with the psycoframe was the Neo Zeon mobile suit MSN-04 Sazabi, built by Anaheim Electronics for the Neo Zeon leader Char Aznable. Hoping for a fair battle with his long-time rival, Amuro Ray (who was piloting an inferior mobile suit), Char secretly allowed the psycoframe technology to be leaked to the RX-93 Nu Gundam production team—also belonging to Anaheim Electronics.
In addition to psycommu capabilities, the psycoframe is said to have the ability to take brainwave input and increase the output of the mobile suit beyond its designed capacity. The psycoframe absorbing the intense emotions of Amuro Ray and other mobile suit pilots around him, is often listed as the explanation for the mysterious power that prevented the large asteroid base, Axis, from dropping onto Earth.
NOTE: In the novel version of Char's Counterattack, entitled Beltorchika's Children, a third mobile suit, the Psyco Doga, is also equipped with a psycoframe. The Psyco Doga, which served as a prototype for the powerful mobile armor Alpha Azieru, was never animated.
The RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, constructed three years after the RX-93 Nu Gundam, is equipped with the NT-D System - this expanded the Psychoframe concept by applying the nano-receptors to the structural frame of the entire mobile suit. When activated the mobile suit's armour opens along the seams and the frame is seen to glow. Like the earlier psychoframe system this increases the performance of the mobile suit and provides the pilot with a direct mental interface eliminating the need for hand controls. Due to the stress the system puts on the pilot, it has a 5-minute time limit.
The quasi-psycommu system was developed to extend the capabilities of remote control to non-newtypes. This system can actively scan the pilot's brainwaves, no matter how weak they are, and then let the computer translate the thoughts into commands to be issued to remote weapons. Using the quasi-psycommu even Oldtype humans can control simple wire-guided remote weapons, such as incoms. Incoms, unlike funnels or bits, only capable of two-dimensional movements and still have to be tethered to their control unit by wires because the signals would be otherwise disrupted by Minovsky Particles.
The quasi-psycommu system was first developed in the AMX-002 Neue Ziel by the Axis Zeon in U.C. 0083, only known as "half-control computer system". Later in U.C. 0087, the Titans, developed their own miniaturized version, which appeared in several units such as the ORX-013 Gundam Mk-V, and the MRX-010 Psyco Gundam Mark II. When the wreckage of the Psyco Gundam Mark II was retrieved by the Neo Zeon they reverse engineered it and used it in several of their own units such as the AMX-103 Hamma Hamma and AMX-114 Doven Wolf.
The neo-psycommu system took the psycommu system a step further, allowing a pilot to control the suit with just his thoughts, without any manual controls. The only example of this was the huge Crossbone Vanguard mobile armour Rafflesia, in which the pilot, "Iron Mask" Carozzo, had numerous fiber optic neural receptors connected from his helmet to the mobile armour control.
The bio-computer system was developed by Dr. Monica Arno in early U.C. 0120s, first employed in SNRI's F91 Gundam in U.C. 0123, and then also incorporated in the Crossbone Gundams during U.C. 0133. In essence it was a reverse-psycommu system: instead of reading the brainwaves of the pilot, it analyzed the data observed from the sensors, and then fed it directly to the pilot's brain. This allows Oldtype pilots the capacity to rival Newtypes' performance, but usually only a Newtype would bring out the system's full potential.
The EXAM system (Blue Destiny) was quite similar to the bio-computer, except that it works using the soul of Marion Welch, a Newtype embedded into the system. Because it contained a soul, it sometimes went berserk and could not be controlled by the pilot, with sometimes fatal results. To counter this the operation time was limited to 5 minutes.
Angel Halo was a psycommu fortress deployed by Zanscare Empire during U.C. 0153. Victory protagonist Uso Ewin also theorizes that the device was actually conceived and developed within the Jupiter sphere, due to Zanscare de-facto leader, Fonse Kagatie, having connections to the Jupiter Energy Fleet. It is basically a giant circular ring structure with a control ship in the middle. While the other psycommu systems merely read brainwaves and translated them into machine code to control weapons, the Angel Halo harnessed the power of over 20,000 civilian individuals, referred to as psychickers, and used their brainwaves as basic human batteries (controlled by one single Newtype in the middle) to hypnotize the human mind. The excess power produced by the device was capable of deteriorating both human and non-human brains by degenerating their cells and forcing the life form to revert to an earlier state of mental capacity, putting them into a permanent coma and reverting their brain capacity to that of an infant after prolonged exposure. Each ring could be divided into several segments and each segment was said to have its own independent operating system. Because of this, the segments were even capable of detaching and levitating both within and outside the atmosphere under their own power. Even without a newtype in the central key room, the device was still able to run off of the sheer power generated by its human "psychicker" batteries.
In the Gundam X series, Newtypes are portrayed as having abilities and skills similar to their U.C. counterparts, with the central Newtype in the series being the young Tiffa Adill. At the same time, however, some of them, such as former Gundam pilot and Freeden captain Jamil Neate, became unable to use their abilities without causing physical or psychological damage to themselves. As with the Universal Century "cyber-newtype" projects, such experiments were also performed in the After War timeline, with the most notable example being the young Carris Nautilus. Along with Newtypes were a mysterious, yet similar group of individuals, known as "Category F"'s for their failure to activate the satellite system. The only two "Category F"'s introduced in the series, however, were the Frost brothers, Shagia Frost and Olba Frost.