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Literature / Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash

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His flash is the hope of humanity

"At the end of the old era, overpopulation left the Earth itself critically sick, on the verge of death. Humanity departed for space, but today, a whole century later, the Earth still remains uncured! What does this mean? Precisely, it means that humanity must not yet return to Earth."
Mafty Navue Erin

Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash (機動戦士ガンダム 閃光のハサウェイ) is a February 1989 to May 1990 Gundam novel trilogy written by Yoshiyuki Tomino. It serves as a Sequel to Beltorchika's Children, the novelization of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack.

Universal Century 0105. It has been five years since the Republic of Zeon was officially folded back into the Earth Federation in the decade following the Second Neo Zeon War. However, conflict still endures. To accommodate the rich and powerful's desire to live as they please on an Earth still heavily ecologically damaged from decades of war, the Federation military has started deporting "undesirable" individuals to the space colonies. And in response, an anti-Federation Eco-Terrorist group known as Mafty and their enigmatic leader Mafty Navue Erin have begun launching attacks on major Federation officials to stop their abuse.

The story follows three central characters: Gigi Andalusia, a young woman who has become fascinated with Mafty Navue Erin's ideology and exploits due to her growing disillusionment with the costs of her own privilege. Kenneth Sleg, commander of the Earth Federation Forces' new special operations "Circe Unit" that has been assembled and provided with a Super Prototype mobile suit, the RX-104FF Penelope, to take Mafty down. And Hathaway Noa, son of well-known Earth Federation battleship captain Bright Noa... and the true identity of Mafty Navue Erin, who seeks to atone for his participation in the Second Neo Zeon War on the side of the increasingly corrupt Federation through his current activities. After Hathaway negotiates a deal with Anaheim Electronics for a Super Prototype of his own, the RX-105 Ξ (Xi / "Ksee") Gundam, these three find themselves continuously crossing paths as the Circe Unit tries to hunt down Mafty, and Hathaway prepares to use his new Gundam to strike a decisive blow on the Earth Federation's leadership.

An anime adaptation film trilogy serving as a direct sequel to Char's Counterattack was first teased at the Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative announcement in 2018, and officially confirmed later that year during the Gundam 40th Anniversary Project presentation. The first film was released on June 11, 2021. Netflix streamed the film overseas on July 1, 2021. A manga adaptation by Uroaki Sabashi, that serves as a sequel to Uroaki's manga adaptation of Beltorchika's Children, began on April 26, 2021, after publishing the prologue on March 26, 2020.

Tropes included in Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash are:

  • Ace Custom: Hathaway has a special Messer Command Unit for himself painted in a distinctive rose and purple color scheme. After getting the Xi Gundam, the Messer is passed on to Emerelda.
  • Action Prologue: The story opens with Hathaway, Kenneth and Gigi meeting on a flight from space to Earth and foiling a group pretending to be Mafty from hijacking the flight so they can ransom its rich and well-connected passengers. It is revealed soon after however that Hathaway himself is the actual leader of Mafty, and the prologue's hijackers were completely unrelated to his own plans to acquire the Xi Gundam, and then use it to assassinate the entire Earth Federation cabinet during their upcoming summit to pass a law that would complete the Earth Federation's transformation into a Police State.
  • Arms Dealer: As usual, Anaheim Electronics is providing weapons to both sides of the story's conflict, with the Penelope the Earth Federation requisitions and the Messers and Xi Gundam Mafty uses all being manufactured by them.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The novel specifically leaves it unclear to what extent or if certain characters even have any Newtype Psychic Powers, though Gigi, Lane and Hathaway could all be potentially read as various forms of Newtypes.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: In the novels, the Penelope is not explicitly stated to be a Gundam, only that it had inherited the design philosophy of Gundam-type mobile suits. Video game adaptations gave the Penelope the ability to cast off its Fixed Flight unit, revealing the Odysseus Gundam, a form that was exclusive to the games until the anime film trilogy added it in.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: "Mafty Navue Erin" is a corrupted transliteration of the Arabic "mufti" (an Islamic judge, loosely here contributing the "righteous" meaning), "nabiyy" (prophet), and Irish "rí" (king note ), rather than an actual term in any one language. Together, they mean "righteous king of prophets". Gigi lampshades this, saying that it's a horrible medley.
  • Attack Drone: While Gundam is no stranger to these, this story puts a somewhatnote  unique twist to it with the funnel missile. As the name implies, these are missiles controlled via psycommu system, making them homing missiles that can actually function in the Minovski Particle-ridden battlefield. The anime version of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn would later give funnel missiles to the repaired Kshatriya as a Call-Forward to Hathaway.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Mafty are a bunch of Eco Terrorists trying to save the Earth and break the Federation's control of the people through any means necessary. Though they dislike killing civilians they view it as a necessity in order to stop the Government. The Federation government are tyrants at this stage upholding inequality across the Earth Sphere using the Manhunters to forcibly deport completely legal citizens for the crime of speaking out against the Federation, even forcing them and illegal immigrants to perform slave labor in mining colonies.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Implied to what have happened to the Minister of Health and his wife when they were murdered by the fake Mafty in the movie.
  • Call-Back: The boatman hired to take Hathaway away from Davao mentions Emeralda telling him that the ocean really isn't Hathaway's thing, a reference all the way back to Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam episode 18, where Hathaway almost drowned in the ocean as a child.
  • Call-Forward: During his discussion with the cab driver, Hathaway predicts major food shortages in the coming thousand years.
  • Canon Foreigner: The Jegan Ground Type-A that the Manhunter's deploy at Davao was exclusive to the film. In the book, they just used armored cars during the short fight that broke out. Instead of opening fire on the building from the armored car, the film has the gunfire coming from a turret on the Jegan's crotch.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Hathaway opines in an inner monologue after reaching the Xi Gundam that he could've gotten to Mafty's base on Earth in much more secretive ways than taking the Haunzen, but he couldn't resist looking some of the Federation upper brass in the eyes one last time before setting off on his mission to kill them all at their upcoming summit.
  • Creator Cameo: A couple of unnamed civilians and an attendant are voiced by three of the members of [Alexandros]note  who perform "Senkou", the first film's theme song.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The Messer, Mafty’s mass-production mobile suit, developed from the same line as Neo Zeon's Geara Doga and Sazabi. Notably, it’s one of the few protagonist faction grunts in any Universal Century anime to utilize a monoeye, and part of the Zaku family no less.
  • Dare to Be Badass: At the climax of the first film, while Hathaway's re-entry pod malfunctions and was at the risk of burning up (while also being troubled of much of the events of the film questioning Mafty's methods), he receives a Newtype vision not from his Lost Lenore Quess, but from his previous mentor Amuro Ray, just as we last saw him in Axis Shock. Unlike most examples of this trope, Hathaway seems to shake it off more as an annoyance, probably because he knows he's taken a path that's less like Amuro's and more like his nemesis Char's.
    Amuro: The grim reaper won't come when you're ready for him, Hathaway.
    Hathaway: Mind your own business!
  • Destructive Saviour: The Earth Federation, like in other stories where they are made to be less sympathetic, tend to cause a lot of collateral damage. The battle with the Gustav Karls has many of their stray shots and trouble landings tear the city apart and cause numerous civilian casualties. Gawman himself chastises the Federation's carelessness but since he just fired a laser blast into a couple of heavily populated hotels, he's not one to talk.
  • Downer Ending: Hathaway is captured and executed without trial by firing squad, by order of the Earth Federation cabinet. Quess Paraya, whom Hathaway believes he has been fighting for ever since her death, does not appear to him as a Newtype spirit or anything else. Furthermore, the one who is ostensibly in charge of Hathaway's execution is none other than his father Bright - a fact which soon gets used as a publicity stunt by the Federation higher-ups to make their execution without trial seem somehow more ethical, by pretending Hathaway's own father gave the order. The only sliver of light is that Hathaway's arbitrary execution exposes the true corruption and hypocrisy of the Earth Federation government to the world, leading even more people, including Kenneth and Gigi, to form their own resistance cells to carry on Hathaway's fight.
  • Dramatic Irony: Seeing things from Hathaway's point of view shows just how little Kenneth understands of how screwed up the Earth Federation has become.
    • Kenneth has Lane bring Gawman as a hostage on the Penelope as an insurance policy against Mafty trying anything similar with nearby civilians. When Hathaway confronts Lane about this, Lane just throws Gawman out the cockpit while the Penelope is hundreds of feet in the air, intending to kill Gawman against Kenneth's orders. However, the film changes this with Lane disagreeing with Kenneth's tactics and voluntarily releasing Gawman (albeit with no parachute—so he clearly risks dying in terminal velocity) for Hathaway to pick him up, so that Lane can have a fair battle with Hathaway.
    • Kenneth notes that the previous leader of his unit is going to a town called Oenbelli as part of a "mop up operation" of any Mafty members in the area. When Hathaway and Mafty arrive on the actual scene, it's revealed Kimberly actually just massacred the majority of the town's 30,000 civilians.
    • Finally comes to a head at the end of the story, where the Federation Cabinet has Hathaway executed without trial to make an example out of him to future anti-Federation groups. As a publicity stunt, they then lie that Hathaway's own father Bright ordered the illegal execution. Kenneth, finally seeing he was on the Wrong Side All Along resigns in disgust and in the end decides he has to setup the next Mafty to carry on Hathaway's fight.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Played With especially with the setting's Grey-and-Gray Morality. The Mobile Suits are some of the largest in the Universal Century but ultimately the antagonistic Federation's grunt, the Gustav Karl, is shorter than the protagonist's grunt, the Messer. However, the Penelope Gundam, which functions as the main threat to the heroes is a massive dragon-like machine, dwarfing ally and enemy alike.
    • Played far straighter in the context of the Federation's history as a whole. By the time Mobile Suit Gundam F91 rolls around, the Federation has been adopting both smaller, more efficient MS designs like the Formula-series Gundams and a less authoritarian, hands-off stance toward the space colonies.
  • Fish-Eye Lens: The film adaptation makes use of a number of warped fish-eye lens type shots to make Gigi's seemingly prophetic abilities, Kenneth's ruthlessness, and so on seem that much more surprising and disturbing.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The monstruos antagonist mobile suit piloted by Lane is called Penelope.
  • Gaia's Lament: The decades of war since UC 0079, filled with Colony Drops, nuclear reactor powered mobile suits being blasted to pieces and poisoning the land and waters, and constant war-time industrial overproduction, have left the environment of Earth on the brink of collapse. And unless the majority of the population on Earth is moved to the space colony Lanew within the next few decades, it will fail completely. However, the Earth Federation continues to make exceptions for anyone rich or powerful enough.
  • Genocide Backfire: Kimberly, the former Earth Federation Forces commander in charge of hunting down Mafty before being replaced by Kenneth, in a last ditch effort to prove himself goes with the soldiers not rolled into the Circe Unit to wipe out what he suspects to be a Mafty base in the town of Oenbelli, killing thousands upon thousands of its innocent citizens. Hathaway and Mafty are not there. When Mafty actually does show up in the area, Kimberly's forces, who have given away their position through the massacre, are easily wiped out by the Xi Gundam. And then, the survivors of Kimberly's attack are revealed to have captured footage of all the war crimes his forces committed, which is then sent to the colonies to be broadcast everywhere and create even greater distrust in the Earth Federation.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Downplayed. The movie's Action Prologue doesn't necessarily show the full extent of Minister of Health and his wife's bodies when they're murdered by the fake Mafty, but it does cake on the blood for good measure to highlight the shocking brutality of the scene.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: Invoked. To cover up the fact they actually bought it from Anaheim Electronics, Mafty stages stealing the prototype Minovsky Craft system equipped mobile suit, the Ξ Gundam, while it is being transported from AE's factory on the Moon to Earth.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Though the conflict between the Federation and Mafty on the whole is a case of Black-and-Grey Morality, the conflict between the Circe Unit and Mafty is considerably greyer. Kenneth and Lane stretch their ethics and legality but they believe they're doing the right thing in trying to stop a bunch of terrorists. Mafty by contrast find more support amongst the people in the face of the Federation government, even if their attacks on officials leave many more innocent civilians dead.
  • Heroic Spirit: Bright describes this as being what a Gundam is.
    Kenneth: Captain, you probably dislike the use of the name Gundam for the machines of rebel elements, right?
    Bright: Not exactly. Previous generations of Gundams were always piloted by those with rebellious spirits. In their final moments, those Gundams always ended up getting decapitated, engulfed in flames, or blown to pieces. However, even after the Gundam was gone, that rebellious spirit always stayed strong.
    • Fittingly enough, this conversation is heavily implied to be one of the things that causes Kenneth to decide to create the next Mafty.
  • The Hero Dies: Zigzagged; Hathaway is executed at the end of the story, though the story's other two focuses, Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist Kenneth and Unfazed Everyman Gigi both survive and vow to continue Hathaway's fight.
  • History Repeats: Despite its original novel being written prior to that of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Hathaway's Flash manages to serve as both Call-Back and Call-Forward to their mutual plots.
    • As part of the current setting of Federation global society, people are once again being deported to space—the very same social resentment that kicked off the attack on Laplace Station in U.C. 0001. Even worse, whereas there were people who volunteered to go to space, now the deportation is compulsory and predatory.
    • Hathaway's conversation with a taxi-driver in Davao—with the latter pointing out that Mafty's high-minded ideals (and terrorist attacks against the Federation) are very difficult to sell to people like him who are confronted by economic privation—is a more cynical Call-Back to the coffee shop owner's monologue against Char's methods to Audrey/Mineva. That said, this is counterbalanced by multiple instances throughout the first film, where idle chatter and Hathaway's other conversations with regular people suggest Mafty is gaining more sympathy amongst the downtrodden.
    • In the context of it being a sequel to Char's Counterattack, Hathaway's predicament in this film is very similar to that of Amuro and Char in that film; He too is haunted by visions of a girl he loved and lost to a conflict little over a decade ago. While Char and Amuro were still haunted by the loss of Lalah Sune during the One Year War, Hathaway in turn is haunted by the loss of Cress Papaya during Char's rebellion.
    • The ECOAS/Manhunter unit, in contrast to their Necessary Evil / Well-Intentioned Extremist portrayal in Unicorn (especially when compared to the more straightforwardly-heroic Londo Bell under Bright Noa), has degenerated into the kind of State Sec that would be difficult to distinguish from the Titans of Zeta. This, therefore, makes it little wonder that Hathaway (who almost died when his family was pursued by the Titans) would need little motivation to fight them.
  • Humongous Mecha: Barring one-off mobile fortress-type weapons like the Psycho Gundam family, the mobile suits in this are the most humongous in all of the Universal Century, representing the absolute nadir of the trend of increasingly overbuilt, overpriced "dinosaurian" MS design that more or less began with the ZZ Gundam before it was finally reigned in during the Mobile Suit Gundam F91 era. Even the story's main Mecha-Mooks, the Gustav Karls, are enormously chunky, with a whooping head height of 22.0 meters.
  • Inspirational Martyr: In life, Hathaway led a single anti-Federation group. His execution however inspires countless people to take up his cause. This creates even more anti-Federation groups who in the years to come would finally drive the Federation government to truly ban further immigration to Earth, allowing the planet to begin to heal. And though it does take a century as Kenneth worries, the Earth Federation itself would collapse as well in no small part thanks to those Hathaway and Mafty inspired.
  • The Lost Lenore: The death of Quess, a girl that Hathaway only knew for a few days, in the Second Neo Zeon War has become one of the main motivations for Hathaway in the subsequent 12 years becoming a terrorist leader out to put an end to the Earth Federation government's growing corruption.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The hijackers who try to seize the flight Gigi, Hathaway, and Kenneth are on in the opening wear jack o'lantern, skull, and other Halloween masks to hide their identities.
  • Mechanical Monster: The mobile suits in UC 0105 are massive and bloated with heavy armor. The Penelope and Xi Gundam in particular have extended chests, sharp edges, and multiple lengthy control planes that evoke massive mechanical dragons more than the Knight in Shining Armor aesthetic of earlier Gundams.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe example. Kenneth considers the Federation Cabinet to have crossed the line when they sentence Hathaway to death without trial as revenge and to make an example out of him for future anti-Federation groups, even glorifying that Bright was the one who signed the order. This causes Kenneth to resign out of disgust and decide to set up the next Mafty.
  • Never Found the Body: Averted in the novels. Amuro Ray and Char Aznable are confirmed to be dead, precisely because they did find their bodies. Within the animated film, despite the clear implication in previous installments (especially Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn) that Newtypes Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence when they die (or overload their powers), it opted to leave their fates ambiguous. It, therefore, lines up with continuity when Amuro's spirit, still wearing his Londo Bell normal suit, appears to Hathaway mid-atmospheric descent.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: At the end, the Federation decides to have Hathaway executed without trial both as petty revenge and to serve as a warning to other dissidents. However, all this achieves is to turn Hathaway into a martyr and disillusioning key Federation officers to the point where they resign from service or decide to form their own resistance movements.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted hard: the engagement between Mafty and the Federation forces in Davao devastates the hotel/commercial area hard, with many civilian casualties being cleaned up in the aftermath.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Approached realistically. Gahman is released from the Penelope in mid-air and Hathaway is left to catch him in the Xi. The novel notes that Hathaway has to match the speed of his Mobile Suit with Gahman's falling velocity in order to safely save him. While he doesn't completely match the velocity, causing Gahman to crash into the opened cockpit; the rescue is successful and Gahman makes it out alive.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: During the Action Prologue of the first film, the fake Mafty hijacker takes a handgun from a fallen security guard and slides it down the front of his belt. His bravado backfires on him when Hathaway grabs the handgun while it's hanging from the fake Mafty's belt and uses its angle to shoot the latter through the leg.
  • Police Brutality: In true State Sec fashion, Gawman was subjected to this by Kenneth personally while they were interrogating him on Mafty's activities.
  • Pretender Diss: Gigi implies to Hathaway, as part of her reveal that she knows he is Mafty, suggests that the reason why he eventually decided to go One-Man Army on the "Mafty" pretenders hijacking the Haunzen is exactly this.
  • Properly Paranoid: At the end of the story, Kenneth begins to fear the Earth Federation government will try to get rid of him considering they had Hathaway executed without trial and then just to save face fabricated that Hathaway's own father Bright Noa was the one to give the orders.
  • Product Placement: As it's set in the Philippines, there is one of Jollibee.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: The story's Downer Ending closes with a final sliver of light. Kenneth vows to create the next Mafty, a place where the future Amuros, Chars, and Hathaways can be supported and stand up to the likes of the Earth Federation and all corrupt rulers who may come after. Gigi similarly intones that nothing is over, and Hathaway will become an Inspirational Martyr whose name will live on forever. And as later entires show, the Federation does eventually lose their power and becomes a Vestigial Empire.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The Penelope (and its internal base unit, the Odysseus Gundam) root from the eponymous protagonist of The Odyssey and his wife—emphasizing their unity of function.
  • Remake Cameo: when Hathaway's original voice actor in Char's Counterattack was replaced by Kensho Ono, Nozomu Sasaki took the role instead of a Federation investigator.
  • Say My Name: Hathaway's terrorist identity gets uttered quite a lot through the story, both by those discussing his exploits, and his enemies as he repeatedly avoids their attempts to kill or capture him.
    Kenneth: Mafty Navue Erin!
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: While the Earth Federation has implemented laws meant to slowly move the population of Earth to the space colonies to allow the planet time to recover from decades of cataclysmic wars, anyone rich or well-connected enough is more or less free to ignore the laws and live on Earth as they please. This had caused widespread unrest and criticism of the Earth Federation, who just cracked down even harder on critics and those remaining on Earth without Federation officials' approval, sending them into slave labor in mining colonies or worse.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: At the end of the story the Earth Federation cabinet votes to have Hathaway executed without trial, an act so blatantly illegal and corrupt that Kenneth resigns from his post in the Earth Federation military in disgust.
  • Super Prototype: Xi Gundam, a prototype for a line of Minovsky Craft System equipped mobile suits that can take on entire squads of mass produced mechs by itself.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Used by Hathaway to introduce himself at the end of the Action Prologue.
    Botanical Researcher: I'm Noa. Hathaway Noa.
  • Truer to the Text: Xi Gundam in the film adaptation is much closer in design to the original novel illustrations than the version in game adaptations and its cameo in Gundam Build Fighters Try that was redesigned to look more like the original RX-78 Gundam, forgoing the more gundam-esque head design and standard red, white, blue and yellow paint job of those appearances for its original more unique head and largely white color scheme.
  • The Unreveal: The identity of "Quack Salver", the mysterious backer who recruited Hathaway and provides Mafty with intel and weapons, is never clarified. In the novel it’s stated he is a Vice Admiral who was in charge of logistics for the entire Federation military from 0079 to 0093. He provides Mafty with all their bases which he was able to delete from Federation records with his knowledge and the constant chaos of the wars along with funding them using the vast resources he’s accumulated. It’s also stated he has connections to Anaheim Electronics and access to intel on the Earth Federation cabinet's movements. He personally introduced Hathaway to the Mafty organization, completed his military training and considers him to be Char’s successor.
  • Welcome to Hell: A variant gets uttered by Hathaway after rescuing Gawman letting him know it's just them against Lane's entire squadron.
    Hathaway: It's all Hell from here on out!
  • War Is Hell: One thing about the first film that received unanimous praise is a sequence near the end that provides a very realistic depiction of just how terrifying it is being a normal person on the ground with mobile suits fighting around you.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mafty is focused on combating the Federation's corruption as well as carrying on Char Aznable's desire to see humanity leave Earth so that the environment can recover. However, in order to achieve this, they resort to terrorist tactics such as assassinating Federation officials, which also results in significant collateral damage and civilian casualties.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Played With. Mafty doesn't go out of their way to target civilians, and the slaughter in the shuttle is what tips off Kenneth and Hathaway that the Mafty group at the beginning were fakes. However, neither the Federation nor Mafty are averse to killing civilians in a crossfire. At Davao, Gawman blasts several populated hotels in order to kill about a dozen government officials whilst the defense team deliberately fires their missiles and beams within civilian airspace and wreak a path of destruction with their stray shots. Though Lane still contributes to the Collateral Damage in Davao, he notably refrains from using most of the Penelope's armaments.
  • Written by the Winners: Notably averted. Hathaway's capture and subsequent execution without trial only causes distrust for the Federation to grow even further and for Hathaway to be remembered as a hero.
    Gigi: This... this isn't the end. His... Hathaway's name will become like the Murrumbidgee, and ascend into legend.
    Narrator: "Murrumbidgee"... Exactly like that word she had used, evoking "a river that will never run dry", from this day forth, his name would surely be passed down forever...
  • Wrong Side All Along: The story ends with the Earth Federation government having Hathaway executed without trial as a "warning" to other dissidents. They then attribute the entire thing to Bright Noa, Hathaway's own father, as a publicity stunt despite Bright having no knowledge or actual involvement in it. Kenneth resigns out of disgust and soon goes into hiding out of fear the Earth Federation higher-ups will have him dealt with to clean up loose ends. And soon after, Kenneth and Gigi vow to create the next Mafty and take up Hathaway's cause.