Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash 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 originally set to release on July 23, 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film has since been delayed three times: first to May 7, 2021, then May 21, and then finally to June 11. Netflix will stream 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:
- 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 meeting 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 Sudanese "mufti", Arabic "nabiyy", and Old Irish "rí", 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 Unicorn would later give funnel missiles to the repaired Kshatriya as a Call-Forward to Hathaway.
- 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.
- 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, Maftys mass-production mobile suit, developed from the same line as Neo Zeon's Geara Doga and Sazabi. Notably, its one of the few protagonist faction grunts in any Universal Century anime to utilize a monoeye, and part of the Zaku family no less.
- 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 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 Oenberry 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.
- 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 Oenberry, 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: Easily one of the greyest in the franchise, which is saying a lot. While Mafty is undoubtedly a terrorist group, the Federation is far from innocent. Most notably, 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.
- 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, blown up, or engulfed in flames. However, even after the Gundam was gone, that rebellious spirit always stayed strong.Kenneth: So that's what a Gundam is...
- 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.
- Hope Springs Eternal: 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.
- 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.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": The "Xi" in Xi Gundam is the Greek letter "Ξ". As such, it's pronounced "Ksee Gundam".
- 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. This is unlike in the anime canon, which opted to leave their fates ambiguous.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 dozens 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: Who exactly "Quack Salva", the mysterious backer of Mafty that recruited Hathaway and provides Mafty with intel and weapons, is is never clarified. At best we get some speculation from Hathaway that he's a former or even current Earth Federation general, given he has connections to Anaheim Electronics and access to intel on the Earth Federation cabinet's movements.
- Welcome to Hell: A variant gets uttered by Hathaway while fighting Lane and the Circe Unit after acquiring the Xi Gundam.Hathaway: From this point on lies Hell.
- 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 assassination of Federation officials, which also results in significant collateral damage and civilian casualties.
- 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.