The Funnels of Love: The Fascination with Gundam’s Newtype Remote Beam Weapons and how Gundam Unicorn Makes them Awesome

gundam lalah living the newtype dream funnel

I like funnels. I always have. To me they represent a great leap in technology to take advantage to the Newtype conceit in the Gundam Franchise.

However, I am aware that some people simply do not share my enthusiasm for these happy things. By virtue of the concerns raise by these people (see Further Reading), I admit that there are certain shortcomings in the depiction of these very happy things.

Well, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn changes everything.

The History of Funnels and Funnel Development

The use of conventional remotely controlled weapons is all but impossible in space due to interference from Minovsky particles. To overcome this, Zeon scientists created the bit, a remote weapon controlled by amplified psycho-waves from Newtype pilots, which could operate even in areas of space with high Minovsky particle levels. After the One Year War, Zeon engineers on Axis continued researching remote weapons technology.

After the war, Federation scientists obtained much of the Zeonic Company’s Newtype research and established Newtype Labs of their own. Federation Newtype research eventually led to the creation of the Psycho Gundam Mk 2. Based off the MSN-02 Zeong, this unit was armed with mega beam cannons, as well as psycommu weapons such as a wired beam sword and reflector bits. The reflector bits weren’t weapons in their own right, but can redirect the Gundam’s shots to hit targets which were hiding in blind spots, or can be used defensively to deflect incoming shots. The wire-controlled beam saber made possible all-range attack capability.

On Axis, Neo-Zeon engineers created the Incom, a remote beam gun capable of being used by non-Newtypes. However, it was Newtypes with their heightened awareness and reflexes that truly advantage of remote weapons potential. The Axis-developed MX-004 Qubeley introduced the new funnel system. Previously bit were enormous, nuclear powered weapons, which were useful, but not easily transported and deployed. Funnel technology improved the efficiency of these remote weapons, making them smaller and more agile.

As funnel technology evolved, a series of Mother Funnel and Child Funnel systems were developed. The Mother Funnel main unit possesses an independent generator that allows for attacks to be made by
separate attack pods. The system can also be used as a battlefield sensor, holding up to fourteen funnels inside the main unit. This system enabled attacks to be made on long range enemies and was
primarily used by the AMX-015 Geymark.

Fin Funnel

The fin funnel system was created as a Newtype funnel system for the RX-93 Nu Gundam. At the time the Nu Gundam was developed, funnels primarily looked like small canisters, but the fin funnel system used by the Nu Gundam contained larger fin-shaped planks that helped to increase the active time in which the units could be deployed.

Each fin funnel consists of three fin sections and a mini-generator that stabilizes the funnel and improves fuel consumption. The biggest tactical advantage of the fin funnel is the added I-field components which allow them to create a defensive barrier.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack Technical Manual, 1998

See these bits and funnels through the ages in this animated musical presentation!

Here be some Funnels. Can you identify which funnel belongs to which Gundam story? (HARD MODE: Can you identify which funnel belongs to which mobile suit?)

Funnels through the Ages


Further Reading

Resistance to the idea of funnels (and Newtypes) characterized much of ghostlightning’s problems with Gundam as a franchise [->]

Bonus: Haman Karn deploys funnels Itano Circus style [->]

This entry was posted in analysis, Gundam, how to remember love, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to The Funnels of Love: The Fascination with Gundam’s Newtype Remote Beam Weapons and how Gundam Unicorn Makes them Awesome

  1. Turambar says:

    I think you’re missing the hyperlinks for “here and here”

  2. 2DT says:

    I’m so sorry to ask… What on earth IS a funnel? Is it the beam weapon itself?

    • A funnel, or bit, is a remotely operated beam-firing gun. It’s self propelled, but is launched from a mobile suit. The videos here show how they work: they’re deployed by the mobile suit and are directed to shoot at targets.

      A little speculation on my part: in Episode IV “A New Hope” of the Star Wars franchise, the n00b Luke Skywalker was being trained by Ben Kenobi inside the Millenium Falcon. Luke was blocking beams with his light saber, and the beams were being fired by this floating orb.

      I think this could be as much inspiration for funnels as much as light sabers are for beam sabers, and Jedi are for Newtypes.

      • 2DT says:

        Ah-ha. Now everything’s clear. Thank you for being patient with me. 🙂

        • Tosh, it’s my pleasure. I think most fans enjoy sharing what they feel strongly about their respective pleasures. I myself was very annoyed with these Newtype and funnel concepts at the onset of my Gundam journey. Assisting mechafetish in making this post did much to generate a new appreciation for them.

          Cheers! May you find your way into Gundam as well (I advise starting from the Movie trilogy of the original series).

          • Robert Weizer says:

            On a side note, if you’re disillusioned with the more serious Gundam shows (I was after I was trying to rewatch Zeta Gundam after a metric ton of comedic and lighthearted stuff not counting VOTOMS), go with the movie trilogy. Worked for me! But I still prefer watching G Gundam because I can watch that stuff half-asleep and still absorb the awesome.

          • Quite the contrary! I’ve never been as big a fan of the franchise as I am now. I keep a bunch of my favorite episodes on hand to get a fix when I need one. Zeta is my hands down favorite, though for the fights I can’t do better than 0083.

            Unicorn though, got off to a great start. Can’t wait for the next one!

          • Robert Weizer says:

            Well, I figured you wouldn’t be in the same frame of mind as I am, this was more of a general suggestion to others.

            I still need to go watch Gundam X one of these days. I hear they have newtype dolphins now!

          • Right, sorry for misreading your intentions. I’ve only seen a few eps of Gundam X, but yeah I’ve heard about the NT Dolphins. I think Turn A Gundam referenced them even.

  3. Myssa Rei says:

    Funny how you mention funnels… The series that immediately succeeds Unicorn in the U.C. Timeline, Hathaway’s Flash, has funnel *missiles*. Let that concept sink in for a bit.

    Interestingly enough I remember Funnels falling by the wayside in terms of being practical weapon platforms by the time F91 rolled, and by Victory Gundam it’s noticeable how none of the main-ish MS/MAs used them (barring V2 Assault Buster as a sort of additional I-Field projector), instead opting for the INCOM system.

    • If I understand correctly, Newtypes have become few and far between even by UC 0096. There are no more military-funded NT ‘programs.’ No NTs, no funnels. Even if arguably Seabrook, and Uso are NTs, it’s a big risk to build pyscommu or psychoframe mobile suits just for these individuals, despite Seabrook’s mom being the F91 designer (there aren’t any other NTs to base the design on). The Victory Gundam is I understand, a mass-produced Gundam.

      As for funnel missiles… @.@

      • Myssa Rei says:

        Yeah it seems silly I know, but I think Psycommu technology had already hit its application ceiling by that point, and Funnel Missiles were it’s final stage: y’see, for their supposed abusable nature, funnels weren’t usable in battles inside Earth’s gravity well. Which is why the Xi Gundam and its counterpart, the Penelope, just HAD to have them. Seriously, just how much can you adapt an all-angle attack system anyway?

        • mechafetish says:

          I loved the Xi and Penelope Gundams. I think their funnel missiles were practical in the sense that they don’t need to float around before or after doing damage. All the newtype had to do was guide them to the target to deliver their payload.

          Unicorn has shown us that funnels are indeed usable under gravity, but are much more unwieldy and difficult to aim because you have to keep them aloft using propulsion. Not to mention the fact that prolonged use of their propulsion systems probably drains their energy caps much more quickly.

          With regard to post-Hathaway’s Flash psycommu weaponry, yes, it seems that this technology has fallen by the wayside. I forget tho,wasn’t the backpack of the Gengaozo from V-Gundam a psycommu weapon? In any case, this was also probably because of the failure of the “newtype revolution” to materialize. We’ll see what Unicorn has to say about this, but GL and I are planning to write a follow up post about the topic as well.

          • Robert Weizer says:

            I don’t think I’ve ever looked it up on MAHQ, so I went to go check. The backpack is a pretty novel idea. It’s a remote Psycommu weapon and a sub-flight system! I really like the Zanspine mechs for some reason. They look strange as heck, but a lot of the concepts are pretty interesting. I really like a lot of Ishigaki’s stranger mechs.

  4. sadakups says:

    Blame the Strike Freedom and the SEED Destiny for the hatred some people have for remote weaponry.

    IMO, these things work well and makes more sense in the UC-verse.

  5. Dorne says:

    I’m not familiar with many of the funnel types. I do remember number 1 is a bit from Lalah Sune’s mobile armor in Mobile Suit Gundam, and number 4 are the iconic funnels of the Nu/Hi-Nu Gundam in Char’s Counter Attack.

    Also, does the Zeong’s detachable arms count as bits? The only difference is that it’s wire guided.

    • Myssa Rei says:

      To show just how much of a Gundam geek I am, I’ll try to name the funnels from memory.

      1. Elmeth’s Bit.
      2. No Clue.
      3. Psycho Gundam mk-II Reflector Bit.
      4. Nu Gundam’s Fin Funnel.
      5. Sazabi’s Funnel.
      6. Nooo idea.
      7. Quin Mantha’s Funnel.
      8. Gundam Rose’s Bit.

    • mechafetish says:

      We deliberately excluded all the wire-guided weapons, incoms and other stuff. Funnels function in a way that is distinct from these weapons and we wanted to focus on them.

  6. donkangoljones says:

    Awesome post! It was like ecchi fanservice for mecha lovers!

    1. Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 (Elmeth) – ugly first gen funnels
    2. Unicorn? – no!
    3. Zeta Gundam/ ZZ Gundam (Psycho Gundam) units
    4. Char’s Counterattack (Nu Gundam) funnels – my favorites, he also made the best use of them
    5. Char’s Counterattack (Geara Dogga/ Sazabi) funnels
    6. —-
    7. ZZ Gundam (Quinn Mantha)
    8 G Gundam (George’s Rose bits – meh

    • Myssa Rei says:

      It’s hilarious how being a SRW player helps in funnel identification…. I still have no idea which units fielded #2 and #6 though.

      • mechafetish says:

        You guys know your stuff!

        #2 is from the Alpha Aziel (CCA)
        #6 was the “hard” in hard mode. They are “tinkle bits” from the Zanspine, a spin-off MS from V-Gundam that never appeared in the story.

        • A spinoff of an already barely scene series?! I dare say #6 was almost unfair. I’m embarrassed I didn’t get Alpha Aziel, maybe it’s because I haven’t played DW Gundam 2 in months. *shame*

    • mechafetish says:

      Glad you liked it!

      I have provided the answers for 2 and 6 below.

  7. SpeedStriker says:

    What I really liked about Unicorn is that for the first time in Gundam, it is clearly shown how the funnel system work. Before this point, all we were shown is the pilot calls and the funnels are deployed. Now we see that it’s actually the MS’s sensors that’s locating the enemies and relaying the information directly to the pilot before the pilot guide the funnels to the targets.

    • SpeedStriker says:

      Let’s try the identification.

      1. Elmeth bits.
      2. Familiar but not sure.
      3. Reflector bits.
      4. Fin Funnel.
      5. Sazabi funnels
      6. Zanscare’s Gundam’s NT weapons.
      7. Qubeley’s funnels
      8. Rose bits.

  8. Robert Weizer says:

    Super Robot Wars Z is a really interesting exercise in UC Funnels in SRW.

    Essentially, the only thing you’ll get with funnels (or even really see) over a normal playthrough is the Nu Gundam. However, if the stars align you’ll fight/recruit Haman.

    It pretty much follows the Zeta Movies with Nu thrown in for good measure for whatever reason.

    No, all the remote weapon shenanigans are done by SEED Destiny. Which more often than not works greatly to your benefit.

  9. ZeraX says:

    i love funnels/ bits more than anyone in the planet,
    i love it more when Rue Le Crueze (Seed) use them against everybody.
    Nu Gundam’s are also awesome

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  11. Qan[T] Warrior says:

    1: Elmeth’s bits from 0079
    2: Alpha Azieru funnels from CCA
    3: Psycho Mk II’s reflector bits from Z and ZZ
    4: Nu Gundam’s fin funnels from CCA
    5: Sazabi and Jagd Doga’s funnels from CCA
    6: I’m not positive, but I’m guessing that those are Xi Gundam’s funnel missiles from HF
    7: Classic Axis/Neo Zeon style funnels for Qubeleys and the Quin Mantha in Z and ZZ
    8: Gundam Rose’s rose funnels from G Gundam

    Sorry that I’m a bit late, but I found your blog while Google searching for ‘something Gundam related’ (that’s what I typed into Google). I must say that you, sir/madam, do what you do quite well.

    Glad to see someone likes to flaunt how much they give a d*mn about Gundam (and mecha in general). In fact, it brings a tear to my metaphysical eye. Q_O

    Keep on keeping on, ghostlightning. You’ve got a new fan cheering you on!

    • 6 is from V Gundam, though it didn’t appear in the show.

      This is really mechafetish’s work, but thank you for finding WRL to your liking. We’re pretty hardcore Gundam fans and although we have strong opinions on the shows in particular we are more interested in sharing our love for the franchise in general.

      We’re both male; mechafetish is in his late 20s and is dating a hot chick. I’m 33 and married to a lovely attorney and we have a darling baby daughter who I’ll raise Macross (sorry Gundamfags). Her first anime however, is Shin Mazinger Z.

      • Qan[T] Warrior says:

        D’oh! >o< I wuz so close!

        Good to hear that you're not some underfunded trog working out of a basement. Good to hear about your kid, too. Mecha fandom needs moar real females.

        PEACE V

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