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Manga / Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam

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You have two choices. You can forget everything you've seen here and go back to Earth...or you can come with us and learn the truth.

A Manga follow-up to the film Gundam F91, written by Yoshiyuki Tomino with art by Yuuichi Hasegawa, Mobile Suit Cross Bone Gundam takes place ten years after the Cosmo Babylonia war depicted in the movie and follows Tobia Arronax, a space colony-born Ordinary High-School Student who, during his first visit to the Jupiter-sphere colonies, becomes involved with the Crossbone Vanguard, a group of Space Pirates (utilizing stolen Mobile Suits, along with two powerful Super Prototype Crossbone Gundams) who are locked in a struggle against the Jupiter Empire, an aristocracy that is secretly plotting to invade the Earth-sphere.

After meeting the Vanguard's Ace Pilot Kincade Nau (actually F91's Seabook Arno under an assumed name) and their Captain Berah Ronah (also from F91), Tobia decides to join up with them and stop the Empire's scheme. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse when it turns out that the Empire isn't quite up to what the Vanguard thinks they're up to...


Cross Bone Gundam is one of the more popular non-anime "spinoffs" of the Gundam franchise on both sides of the Pacific, popular enough to appear in various crossover video games. The general sentiment is that the series represents Gundam at its peak: characters, storytelling, action, drama, and comedy all come together well, without the concerns that usually hobble the televised chapters of the saga (such as desire to sell toys). The fact that it's one of the few Gundam stories handled by Tomino to avert his usual Kill 'Em All ways might also be a factor.

The manga ran for 26 chapters in the Kadokawa Comics A magazine and was later compiled into six tankoubon volumes. It also has sequels, written by series artist Yuichi Hasegawa without Tomino's direct input:

  • Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Skullheart: Released from 2002 to 2004, this series consists primarily of short vignettes detailing the adventures of the Crossbone Vanguard through the three years after the end of the original manga, with a few trips into the past to see Umon when he was a rookie in the One-Year War, and to explain how narrator Twink met the crew.
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  • Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Steel 7: Released in 2006 and 2007, Steel 7 is a direct sequel to Cross Bone taking place three years later. Bernadette's step-mother Europa flees to Earth to warn the Vanguard that the Jupiter Empire is building "Zeus's Wrath", a giant colony laser, in a second attempt to destroy Earth. Tobia must race against time and agents of the Empire to recover a means with which to get to Jupiter, and to recruit the best pilots he can muster for what seems to be a suicide mission. This manga ties even more heavily into Victory Gundam than the original Cross Bone, serving to explain where the V2 Gundam's "Wings of Light" came from.
  • Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Ghost: Released from 2011 to 2016, Ghost is another sequel, set seventeen years after Steel 7, which is around the same timeframe as Victory Gundam (U.C. 0153). Our new protagonist is a young Gundam enthusiast named Font Baud, who accidentally stumbles on Zanscare's plans for the Angel Halo while on the Internet. As Zanscare hunts him down, he is rescued by the forces of Serpiente Tacon (who later take the name Crossbone Vanguard once again), a Jovian special forces group lead by Curtis Rothko (aka Tobia Arronax) and a girl named Belle. They are trying to retrieve "Angel's Call", an artifact which could make the Angel Halo far more horrific a weapon than anyone ever imagined...
  • Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Dust: Set in a previously undepicted timeframe of UC 0168 — even further into the Universal Century timeline than Victory Gundam's UC 0153 setting. It follows three characters, the "Undying Ember" Ash King, the head of a freight company, "Moonlight Crane" Kaguya Shiratori, a mercenary, and the "Iron Peasant" Taganas Tayaka, a minor warlord commanding an agricultural mini-empire, as the chaos of the Federation's slow collapse has lead to a decline in technology and dozens of minor conflicts and wars as everyone fights everyone else for supremacy over the now independent space colonies.

Character page currently under construction here.

Crossbone Gundam provides examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Jupiter Empire-employed female mercenary Rosemary Raspberry wears her pilot suit like this.
  • Ace Custom: Burns Gernsback's red Batara, and Federation pilot Harrison Martin's dark blue Gundam F91.
    • Later, the Skull Heart and X1 Full Cloth. Even later the entirety of the Steel Seven, with the possible execption of the Angel Diona, whose only purpose is to operate the Ikaros flight wing and carry spare munitions for the others.
    • Ghost introduces the Crossbone X0 Ghost, which was the original third unit of SNRI's F-97 series. Meant to be transported to the Crossbone Vanguard's flagship, the Mother Vanguard, it didn't reach its destination due to a unknown accident as the transport ship carrying it was destroyed.
    • The ThouCus ("Thousand Custom"), a Jovian squadron of 7 unique units, each of which is said to be able to take on 1,000 enemies at once. One of them, the EMS-TC 02 Phantom Gundam, is eventually upgraded to the XM-XX Ghost Gundam, using spare parts of the X-0
  • Ace Pilot: Seabook Arno Kincade Nau and Zabine Chareux for the Crossbone Vanguard; Giri, Rosemarie, and Burns for The Empire; and Harrison for The Federation.
    • And maybe five of the seven Steel Seven.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Dogatie's Motive Rant with Tobia during the final battle reveals that he was originally a honest ruler until he married Bernadette's mother, an Earthnoid girl who alway showed kindness towards people, even a miserable old man like him. After she died in childbirth, Dogatie realised how much the harsh environment of Jupiter had ripped away his humanity causing him to remain unmoved and uncaring even as his people were dying from starvation. That knowledge drove him completely insane and made him wanted to see the Earth and all the people on it burn for reveling such desolation in him.
  • Always Second Best: Callisto (both of them) rubbed this in Giri's face back when they were all in the Jupiter Empire's Newtype Corps. In fact, the revelation that Callisto is in charge of the JE remnants in Steel 7 is what finally convinces Giri to quit saying "This isn't my problem" and join up with Tobia.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Diona MS that escort Tetenith's Elegolea are piloted by female Newtypes. It doesn't help them against Tobia. At all.
    • It's heavily implied that the Diona pilots are neither elite nor Newtypes, and the unit was set up strictly for propaganda purposes.
  • Animal Motifs: Jupiter Empire Mobile Suits and Mobile Armors sport fairly obvious ones. It's... never really explained why.
  • A Nuclear Error: Averted/played straight. Faced with the monstrous Divinidad, Tobia guesses that it has several nuclear reactors within it and cuts off its appendages to keep Dougatie (who's psychotic enough to use dirty reactors, rather than Helium-3...) from exploding/self-destructing and spreading their radiation.
    • And then Dougatie reveals the 16 nuclear missiles in its chest... which Tobia promptly cuts, just below the warheads.
  • Arc Welding: Crossbone works to tie F91 and Victory closer, mostly by hinting at ties between the Jupiter Empire and Zanscare (Fonse Kagatie is said to be from Jupiter and may be connected to Dogatie; the JE's Vagon foreshadows the Zanscare's love of tires, and the Elecopte from Steel 7 uses early beam rotor tech). It also draws an explicit connection between the F91 and Victory Gundams by introducing the F99 Record Breaker, the first Wings of Light-equipped MS, as a "missing link".
    • Ghost further ties into the story of Victory, revealing that Jupiter built Angel Halo (it was originally intended as a giant space colony, not a weapon), and that Jupiter has been working closely with Zanscare in an effort to revitalize their ruined economy, though Jupiter's leaders were unaware of Zanscare's true designs until it was too late.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Or rather, Aristocracy Is Evil. One of the main points of the story.
  • Armed Legs: The Crossbones have anti-MS knives hidden in their calves. The blades can pop out through the soles of the feet for a surprise attack.
  • Artificial Stupidity: At one point during Skull Heart, Jupiter Empire remnants use data from Amuro's core fighter to create a brain clone for their Super Prototype Amakusa. Things were going perfectly until the other remnants showed up to taunt Tobia, at which point the Amakusa started attacking them. It turned out that they used their own Mecha-Mooks against Amakusa in simulation battles and hadn't reset the friend/foe indicator.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: While it does make sense that Jovian colonies would have to be careful with their supplies, water is one thing they should definitely not be in short supply of. Not with Jupiter having multiple moons with gigantic quantities of frozen water on their surface.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Pez Batara is an anti-ship MS that has a gigantic beam blade running right down the middle of its body; to attack, it ignites the blade and charges headlong at the enemy. On top of the obvious Death-or-Glory Attack element, this means it doesn't possess any other melee weapons. On top of that, said design means its main camera can only cover the right side of its body, meaning that it has an absolutely titanic blind spot. And yet Tobia manages to kick ass in one of these...
  • Badass Bookworm: Tobia is demonstrably smarter (and considerably more level-headed) than the average Gundam protagonist, coming up with tactics on the fly and applying practical solutions to various problems. This goes as far as him working out calculations to reunite with the Crossbone Vanguard in his head while awaiting his execution.
  • Bad Ass Normal: Umon Samon, MS Pilot since the One Year War - and how many veterans, let alone active pilots, from that are still alive? But then it ends up being subverted, since he's a confirmed Newtype.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Minor Vanguard pilot Yona, who is subpar when at the controls of a Mobile Suit, but kicks serious ass in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Barrier Warrior: The X3 has I-Field generators in its forearms. It's basically impervious to ranged beam weaponry, but only for 105 seconds each, AND they have a 2 minute cooldown - so, somewhat impractical. However... Because of where they're located, the X3 can grab Beam Sabers hot pointy end-first as well as force back beam shots at point blank range, causing a blowback.
    • Moreso the Full Cloth, since it has four I-field generators rather than the X-3's two, meaning it can indeed be protected from beams 100% of the time. And that's not even mentioning the ABC mantle.
  • Beehive Barrier: Beam Shields are in wide use. The Cool Ship even uses one as a sail... and what amounts to a battering ram.
  • Becoming the Mask: It's eventually revealed that Berah was fated to die. So that "Cecily Fairchild" could finally live in peace with Seabook.
  • Beneath the Mask: Berah shows her soft side in numerous scenes (including baking when stressed), indicating that she views her persona as the leader of the Crossbone Vanguard as a matter of duty rather than the person she was "born" to be. She seems to view "Cecily Fairchild" as her true self that she hides under an aristocratic façade.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Dougatie and his more extreme devotees like to claim that because Jupiter is so far removed from Earth and the challenges of life there so hard, they have "evolved" beyond the Earth Sphere's humans and should be considered a different "species"note  entirely, with a different set of emotions and set of moral values. It's basically Zeon's Spacenoid supremacism taken to an even greater extreme. Tobia himself wonders if this might have some merit a few times when seeing the extremes they're willing to go to, but eventually decides that this is a bunch of crap, and that the Jovians are just as human as the people in the Earth Sphere.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Kincade's specialty.
    • Also, Sebastian. Neatly foreshadows a certain episode of Skull Heart as well.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Steel Seven. The mission succeeds, but every member of the Steel Seven aside from Suzuki and Rosemary dies, with Tobia MIA. The pair marries and Rosemary pens a book telling the truth about the incident, but the Federation hushes it up. As Bernadette steps up to lead the Empire, she runs into Tobia - blinded in the final battle, but alive and signed on as her bodyguard.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: In Ghost, it's revealed that "Angel's Call" is in fact an alien microbe found in a derelict ship near Saturn. Unfortunately, the microbe is also deadly lethal to humans. A potential weapon that certain Jovian hardliners are keen on offering to the Zanscare Empire in their quest to wipe out Earth.
  • BFS: Crossbone X-3's Muramasa Blaster — It mounts ports that emit up to 14 seperate Beam Saber blades! The Jovians try to mimic it with the Arana Batara's Monza Blaster, which mounts half the number.
  • BFG: Crossbone X-2's Buster Launcher which, in a cute little Mythology Gag, is physically almost identical to the Zanneck's mega beam cannon.
  • Body Horror: The effect Angel's Call has on humans. It causes the body to break down and melt into a thick black goop.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the "Satellite of the Apes" chapter of Skull Heart, after telling Harrison about the mecha-piloting monkeys, his commanding officer Face Palms and grumbles "What is this, Tony's manganote ?!"; Harrison gently admonishes him not to break character.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: In an attempt to escape Side 3, Font Baud manages to not only get a Zaku II to run, but also survive inside it in one piece. Keep in mind that said mobile suit is a 70 years old relic from the One Year War. It helps that the colony also happened to be known once upon a time as Zeon. The fact that said Zaku is too old to register properly in Victory-era computer systems also ment that it could dodge attacks more easily. Hilariously, he's forced to continue flying the Zaku II as the series continues because the Crossbone Vanguard has no spare suits for him to use.
  • Call-Forward: Quite a few, done mostly to connect Gundam F91 to Victory Gundam. For example, the Crossbones have the "eyepatch" targeting sensor latter/earlier seen on the Victory, and X-2 Kai's buster launcher is almost identical in design to the Zanneck's cannon. On the other side of the coin, Jupiter's Vagon (which has wheel treads on its body for ground combat) foreshadows Zanscare's use of gigantic tires with their MS, and Steel 7 introduces a mobile armor that uses early beam rotor technology.
  • Caped Mecha: The Crossbone Gundams have anti-beam coated mantles, which provide protection against five or so beam rifle shots. They're basically extra defense with no energy requirements and are used in a number of clever improvisations throughout the series. The fact that they're dark also makes them appear to be practically invisible at longer distances, as enemies can only see their heads. One of which is black itself.
  • The Captain: Berah Ronah.
  • Character Development: Seabook and Cecily didn't have a whole lot of time to develop their characters in F91, but Crossbone does a good ways towards fleshing them out.
  • Character Witness: When Kincade and Tobia infiltrate a Jovian colony, Tobia gives a water ration to a little girl (which attracts unwanted attention, forcing Kincade to beat him while ranting about "Lord Dogatie's" valuable resources, in order to maintain appearances). Later on when they've been revealed as spies, the little girl and her mother help the pair escape, explaining that not every Jovian is fond of Dogatie's regime.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A smaller example: Early on, Kincade and Tobia go undercover in order to steal information from the Jupiter Empire. Tobia gives some extra water to a little girl, which attracts attention and forces Kincade to beat the snot out of them to preserve their cover. A chapter later, when they're trying to escape, the girl and her mother help out to repay Tobia's kindness and because not every Jovian is a fanatical devotee of Dougatie.
  • Cloning Blues: Dougatie uses cloning extensively.
    • We find out in Skull Heart that the old Zeon research team (apparently under directions from Garma Zabi) dabbled in this as well, churning out Newtype chimps.
  • Comforting the Widow: The farmer on Earth implies this happened with him and Berah, though we don't actually know if it's true. She could probably be forgiven after holding out a decade for her Chaste Hero boyfriend (Kincade seems to view himself and Berah Ronah as separate individuals from Seabook Arno and Cecily Fairchild, bound by common ideals rather than love) and then watching a pretty convincing fiery death by atmospheric reentry — though it's also never brought up again and doesn't get in the way of their Babies Ever After.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Font Baud. His digging into conspiracies around the Zanscare Empire and stumbling upon leaked data regarding the Angel Halo (causing Zanscare to try and get rid of him) kick off the events of Ghost.
  • Continuity Cameo: Grey Stoke (AKA Judau Ashta) previously appeared in V Gundam Gaiden, another manga by Yuichi Hasegawa. In that story, his Gump mobile suit has a peg leg; Skull Heart shows it losing the original leg in the fight with the Amakusa. Stoke himself is called "The Old Man from Jupiter", which is a nod to Zeta Gundam ("The Man from Jupiter" was a derisive nickname among the Titans for Paptimus Scirocco.)
    • Interestingly, when asked if he's met Amuro Ray, he flat out denies it; Yuichi Hasegawa, Crossbone's artist (and the writer for Skull Heart) also did a manga called Mobile Suit vs. Giant God: Gigantis' Counterattack, which is more colloquially known as Gundam vs. Ideon, and has Amuro team up with Judau to prevent Zeon remnants from reawakening Ideon.
    • Ghost features members of the Shrike Team joining in a battle between ThouCus and the revived Crossbone Vanguard, piloting black Victory Gundams.
  • Continuity Nod: Font Baud insists to his friends that the GP series of Gundams did exist, despite there being no official records of them.
  • Cool Old Guy: Vanguard pilot Umon Samon. Steel Seven's Minoru Suzuki as well.
    • He's not as old, but Grey Stoke most definitely counts, seeing as he's been through his share of adventures.
    • Though not quite old yet, it's pretty clear that Curtis Rothko (aka Tobia Arronax) is on the way to becoming this in Ghost.
  • Cool Ship: The Mother Vanguard, a mecha-scale Pirate ship. Complete with a full-body Beam Shield and a golden figurehead of a woman on the prow.
    • Later, in Skull Heart, the Little Gray. It actually transforms from a civilian delivery ship into a part-time pirate ship.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Tobia and his eventual Love Interest Bernadette Briette run into each other twice in just as many chapters.
  • Crippling Over Specialization: The Death Gale squad's Mobile Suits each exceed the capabilities of the Crossbones, but in only one area each. One is a Glass Cannon, another is a Fragile Speedster, and the third is a Stone Wall. Kincade successfully plays their weaknesses and wins against them. Despite having both his Gundam's arms blown off beforehand.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tobia upon interrupting the Jovians at the beginning of Steel Seven.
    Jovian: Crossbone! Why do you always always always always get in our way!?
    Tobia: I dunno. It might just be because you guys are evil.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Curtis Rothko claims that he miraculously survived the battle at the end of Steel Seven, albeit with amnesia. He's Tobia Arronax, using Curtis's identity to hide his own. It's worked for the most part, but some of Curtis's old friends have begun to catch on.
  • Demoted to Extra: For a looooong time, Crossbone was severely shafted in appearances in mecha games; SRW had only featured it once in Alpha 2 and it has only just begun to make an appearance in the Gundam Vs Series and Another Century's Episode.
  • Distressed Damsel: Bernadette becomes this when she gets "reclaimed" by the Empire. (She stays behind when Tobia effects his rescue and escape, to try and talk her father out of warring with Earth. And then he puts her in a Mobile Armor...)
  • The Dreaded/Legendary in the Sequel‎: While the Crossbone Vanguard's reputation was well-known if not infamous during the events of the manga, by Ghost (which is set around the same time as Mobile Suit Victory Gundam), even the Zanscare Empire dreads its supposed rebirth.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Giri and Barnes in Steel Seven, the former ramming the Colony Laser and the latter Taking the Bullet to ensure he can. If that doesn't seem like much, see Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale below.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Drake/Derek from Steel Seven reveals near the end that his first name is Mitchell, or perhaps Michelle, depending on how you romanize it. When the rest of the Steel Seven react in shock, he remarks "That's why I go by my middle name."
  • Enfant Terrible: Death Gale squadron leader Giri, who is a completely amoral 14-year old Tyke Bomb. (He grows out of it by Steel Seven.).
  • Eyepatch of Power: Zabine's. The Crossbone X-1 and X-2 have a flip-down targeting sight that appears to give them one. And Kincade is forced to wear a head bandage that results in this for most of the endgame.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Zabine eventually betrays the Vanguard (whom he was only allied with out of convenience in the first place) in order to chase his aristocratic ideals under Dogatie.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Averted. Tobia is a mechanical engineering student with a MS license when he first leaps into a cockpit - only intending to serve as an extra flak gun, rather than fight at melee-range - and actually passed up a chance to get to a shelter to do so. He then gets his grunt MS sliced in two, and isn't a good pilot until halfway through the second chapter.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Jupiter Empire is basically Portugal IN SPACE!, right down to the names of their Mobile Suits, being a major trade and shipping power (via the Jupiter Energy Fleet) that eventually grows into an expansionistic empire before suffering a number of humiliating setbacks and ultimately fading into obscurity. Side 3, as seen in Ghost, meanwhile, builds on earlier series' WWII parallels and depicts latter-day Zeon as a de-fanged but relatively prosperous nation best known for manufacturing consumer electronics akin to modern Japan.
  • Feudal Future: The Jovians had over time become a neo-aristocratic domain. While the Earth Sphere has the Sides acting as independent countries in all but name as The Federation's power over the colonies increasingly wanes. Not to mention that the Crossbone Vanguard is initially led by someone of noble heritage.
  • Furo Scene / Shower Scene: Berah and Bernadette have a few over the course of the series. Europa as well in Steel Seven.
  • Genki Girl: Captain Onmo of the Little Gray (and, later, president of Blacklow Delivery) has the best claim to this throughout the series.
    • Belle in Ghost. It helps that she's never been around other people anywhere near her age, so she's excited to meet Font and make her first real friend.
  • Genre-Busting
  • Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: Wonderfully averted in Steel Seven. Bernadette has the chance to save a falling Tobia and Europa with the X1 like this, but thinks better of it. She then uses the X1's cape and mouth exhaust to save them with an impromptu hot air balloon.
  • Glory Days: Side 3 as a whole in Ghost. While not exactly a backwater and is shown as an electronics and research hub, even the leads find it hard to believe that it was once known as Zeon.
  • Good Is Not Nice: After hearing about the original Crossbone Vanguard, Tobia wonders aloud how anyone could support something as crazy as the Nobility Principle. Berah, who was standing nearby, gently bops him with a book and points out that quite a few members of the crew still believe in it, and he shouldn't say things like that so casually or he might get killed. Presumably, these are the crewmen who join Zabine during his Face–Heel Turn in Volume 3.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kincade is revealed to have gotten a scar over his right eye after removing his mask.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: The Jovians are fond of naming their mobile suits in Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Standard MS weapons in UC 133 tend to be focused around long-range beam gun/rifle battles, with beam shields in wide use and related tactics/strategies, thanks in part to the Gundam F91's performance. The Crossbone Gundams are designed to take advantage of this with overpowering melee abilities (their Beam Zambers can easily cut through standard beam shields). The guns themselves aren't worthless here, but they're overused to the point of liability.
  • Gunship Rescue: When things look bleakest in the final chapter of Crossbone, the Colony armed forces arrive to act as the cavalry. Seeing droves of Zaku descended Mobile Suits helping the Federation fleet destroy seven titanic Mobile Armors about to end all life on Earth is a special kind of awesome.
  • Handicapped Badass: Curtis Rothko is capable of expertly piloting mobile suits despite being blind, due to a specially designed cockpit that converts visual data into audio. However, he has difficulty facing new machines, because the computer can't recognize them and gives him only a vague outline. He's still good enough to fight off no fewer than three Victory Gundams at once in a twenty-year-old Crossbone Gundam.
  • Happily Ever After: Yes, in a Gundam story!
    • ...After ten years of hard work and conflict, Kincade and Berah go off into the sunset, hand in hand, leaving their old names behind. We find out in Skullheart that they got married, opened a bakery, and had a boy.
    • When Tobia goes to ask Kincade for help in Steel 7, he finds out they now have two kids, and plays the trope out all the way by not meeting them, since he doesn't want to destroy their happiness...
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Death Gales, in Steel 7 - Barnes wasn't particularly happy with his lot in the first place, Rosemary was in it for the money, and Giri... got his buttons mashed by Callisto.
    • The entire Crossbone Vanguard, between Gundam F91 and this, though perhaps not completely. In one chapter Umon tells Tobia about the old Vanguard's Nobility Principlenote ; Tobia remarks on how stupid that is, and Berah bops him on the head and remarks "Most of the crew still holds those beliefs to some extent; badmouthing them so carelessly could get you killed."
  • Hero of Another Story: Given the timeframe Ghost takes place in, Uso Evin and the League Militaire's war against the Zanscare Empire might end up being in the background to the Crossbone Vanguard's exploits. On the other hand, more recent chapters do have the Vanguard and the League Militaire eventually crossing paths as well as another Shrike Team.
  • Hidden Depths: In Steel Seven, we discover that Giri is a cook - and a damn good one, to Tobia's shock.
  • Homage: "The Strongest Soldier" chapters of Skull Heart have a few to Mobile Suit Gundam, particularly the ending where Tobia escapes from an exploding asteroid base because he heard a voice calling to him.
  • Hot-Blooded: Tobia. Becomes especially clear just prior to his stealing the X3 for its maiden sortie.
    • Umon comes off as this as well. It's what's been keeping him alive after 50+ years in a cockpit.
  • Humongous Mecha: Real Robot, of course, with a couple of giant Mobile Armors thrown in for good measure.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Tobia repeatedly dismisses the idea that being a Newtype makes him anything special.
  • Improv Fu: The protagonist Tobia Arronax makes extensive use of this, thanks to his being a very quick thinker. His bag of tricks includes including throwing logs (and enemy machines), using a re-entry pod to disguise his attacks, and in one memorable instance crafting a balloon shaped like a bunch of bananas to distract a group of psychic monkey pilots.
  • Indy Ploy: Tobia, when formulating plans on his own, is the poster boy of this amongst Gundam protagonists. Lampshaded by Giri in Steel Seven, noting that Tobia's reaction to seeing him for the first time in a few years was "Wow, you got tall" (keeping in mind that they were mortal enemies the last time they met). Subverted in that he's not at all good at strategic planning - he really just reacts to the moment.
    • The Crossbone Vanguard, after the destruction of the Mother Vanguard.
  • Informed Flaw: The official profiles for the Crossbone Gundams say that because they're melee fighters, they have thick armor that retains a lot of heat, which needs to be vented often and makes their vents a potential weakpoint. Nobody ever thinks to exploit this in the entire run of the manga and its spinoffs.
  • Irony: Crossbone was written between 1994 and 1997, during the period where Yoshiyuki Tomino was said to be the most frustrated and burnt out on Gundam thanks to all the Executive Meddling that influenced Victory Gundam. However, it manages to avert his usual Kill 'Em All tendencies and maintain a fair level of humor, being possibly his most upbeat Gundam series until Turn A came along two years later.
  • Kid Hero: Tobia, starting out at age 15 or so at the oldestnote . He's still considerably more level-headed than most examples of the trope.
  • Kill 'Em All: Averted to the extent possible in a Gundam series (a subversion for Tomino himself?) - none of the characters die, and Barnes even lampshades this after the Death Gales are beaten on Earth.
  • Late to the Realization: In Steel 7, Tobia reveals himself to Harrison...who asks "Who are you again?", earning a Face Fault. Tobia reminds him that they met during the "Asteroid-E" incidentnote , and Harrison responds "Oh, that's right! ...Wait, why's a civilian in the pirates' Gundam?", netting another Face Fault.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Two of the most hilarious examples in all of Gundam.
    • The B Gundam, Umon's unit from the One Year War. It's a Ball with a Gundam-looking faceplate (which makes it actually worse than a regular Ball because the plate ruins the balance of the machine). In its sortie at the battle of Solomon, it not only managed to destroy six Doms, but also turn the tide of the whole battle (Anavel Gato left his post because of reports of the Gundam's severed head floating around, allowing Amuro to sneak in) and making all of Zeon believe that the Federation had a 40-meter tall Gundam, all thanks to Umon's guts and a lot of luck.
    • "Project E", a Zeon experiment that everyone forgot. Long story short : NEWTYPE MONKEYS. Piloting legless, four-armed Zakus. And proving themselves to be actual threats. Good lord.
  • Light Is Not Good: The angelic looking Divinidad mobile armor has enough nukes to wipe out most life on earth, and is piloted by the Big Bad Emperor himself. Even worse, there's more than one of them!.
    • Angel's Call is an extraterrestrial microbe that is both extremely contagious and lethal to human beings.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The X1 Full Cloth. Combines the high-power weapons and agility of the Full Cloth and stacks all the remaining Anti-Beam Coating equipment available to the Pirates with 4 I-Field generators onto the shoulders - in short, it's damn near unstoppable. (Only its lack of a Newtype-powered all-range attack keeps it from being a Game-Breaker, really.)
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Steel Seven. 1 Commander, 2 teams of Close-, Support, and Long-Range MS'. Explicitly referenced as an Homage when Suzuki remarks "I love Kurosawa movies!" while discussing the plan.
  • Mask Power: Kincade wears a mask of bandages during the last few chapters after barely surviving a duel with Zabine. All of the ThouCus pilots also wear masks, apparently because they are all convicted criminals.
  • May–December Romance: Dogatie reveals to Tobia that he was once forced into a political marriage with a woman who was somewhere between 50-60 years his junior at one point in order to foster relations with the Earth. The fact that he seemed to genuinely love her causes Tobia to rebuke Dogatie's own claims of being a pure evil.
  • Meaningful Name: "Serpiente Tacon" means "The Serpent's Feet". Snakes, of course, do not have feet. It's all a Stealth Pun on the fact that ST is a group that doesn't officially exist.
    • The Amakusa, which is powered by a clone of Amuro Ray's brain, is named for Shiro Amakusa, a famous Japanese christian martyr who lead a rebellion against the Shogunate. In addition to being young Japanese warriors who both died performing a Heroic Sacrifice, Amakusa was, like Amuro, said to have mysterious powers and died while leading an assault on a major fortress.
  • Mêlée à Trois: In Ghost volume 2, a four-way battle erupts among the Crossbone Vanguard, Zanscare, ThouCus, and the League Militaire.
  • Mega-Corp: By the time the original manga takes place, Anaheim Electronics had fallen on hard times, having been eclipsed by SNRI. On the other hand, it's strongly implied that they reversed engineered the remains of the F99 Record Breaker, which in time would lead to their resurgence in Victory as the League Militaire's true backers. This is explored a lot more thoroughly in the manga Silhouette Formula 91, where Anaheim outright steals the F91 data to produce their own Silhouette Gundam.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: More like Last Volume Upgrade. The X-1 is outfitted with drill-whips to counter an enemy with a range advantage.
    • And then the X-1 gets upgraded into the Skull Heart and X-1 Full Cloth versions...
    • Subverted with the X2 Kai; while it's got about a dozen more thrusters than the original, the technical overview at the end of Volume 5 notes that its performance is basically unchanged since the Jupiter Empire wasn't familiar with SNRI's tech and had to base the modifications entirely off of second-hand info (namely, the data they collected from their battles against the Vanguard). Not to mention the fact that it loses its Core Fighter...
  • Minovsky Physics: Given less than its usual emphasis, however, and barely even mentioned. This is increasingly emphasized however in the sequels leading up to Victory Gundam.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: A partially non-romantic version; in their final duel, Zabine says that Berah falling in love with a "commoner" (Kincade) made her lose sight of the Crossbone Vanguard's original goal of creating an aristocratically-controlled nation, and thinks that killing him will put things back on track. Kincade disagrees. Vehemently.
  • Noisy Nature: Tobia grew up on a colony and has trouble sleeping during his short time on Earth, due to ambient sounds. (He is also under the impression that the wild animals he meets there are free-range pets.)
  • Non-Action Guy: Font Baud. He can fly a mobile suit to some extent, but he mostly stays out of battles, never taking an active role. His expertise is in hacking.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: The Crossbone Vanguard practices this, to the extent that the situation allows. They take steps to avoid killing enemy pilots, and this is what allows Tobia to join them.
    • Subverted in that it's ultimately pointless, since the Jovians execute returned POW's as punishment for wasting valuable resources. The Vanguard keeps doing it because it's what Berah wants; to that end, everyone makes sure she doesn't learn about the executions because she's already got enough to deal with and the knowledge would only burden her further.
  • No One Could Survive That! / Not Quite Dead: Kincade barely survives being the first person to reenter the Earth's atmosphere with a Beam Shield.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The Skullheart and the Crossbone Gundam X1 Full Cloth. The former is the Crossbone X1 augmented with parts from the X3. The latter uses all the remaining Crossbone Gundam parts to build what is easily the most defensive Gundam ever.
    • Played with with the F99 Recordbreakers. There were indeed backups and plans stored away in the base, but the Jovians took care to destroy those too.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: One comment in the Gundamn! podcast's review was: Crossbone Gundam means never having to say "I'm kidding".
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: As it turned out, Garma Zabi's pet project (i.e. Newtype monkeys that can pilot Zakus) turned out to be a success.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Averted all over the place. Dogatie's Divinidad mobile armors mount sixteen nuclear missiles (and he has a total of eight Divinidads, on top of that). The heroes themselves are willing to use nukes if the situation is critical enough, as seen in Steel Seven when most of the eponymous heroes carry miniature nukes in order to stop the colony laser.
  • Nuke 'em: Dogatie's true objective is to drop thousands upon thousands of nukes upon the Earth, wiping out The Federation and at the same time, rendering the planet of no use except as a mining resource for the aristocracy.
  • Odd Name Out: The Jovian mecha and ships have a running Theme Naming using Spanish and Portuguese; the sole exception is the Elgolela, which was submitted for a design contest.
    • There's also the Amakusa, which seems like this at first, but the name does have a tenuous connection to Portuguese culture, being that it's the name of a famous Japanese christian and Christianity was introduced to the country by the Portuguese.
  • The Ojou: Sherindon "Sherry" Ronah, Berah's cousin. Bernadette is supposed to be this to the Jupiter Empire, and her absence after the war was a major factor in allowing the events of Steel Seven to transpire in the first place.
    • Belle from Ghost is noted to be from Jovian nobility (later confirmed to be Tetenith's daughter, and therefore princess of Jupiter).
  • Old Soldier: The man known as Grey Stoke, AKA "Uncle Jupiter" aka Judau Ashta,
    • Umon Samon is a One Year War veteran and still kicking ass. Example: When Dougatie is telling the Vanguard how they're all going to die in the Io base, everyone in the room is too shocked to interrupt - except Umon, who's hopping mad and demanding to know what's going to happen to the thousands of Empire citizens still in the base.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Zabine says this several times to Kincade.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Subverted. The "Satellite of the Apes" chapter of Skullheart shows that Zeon's Project E was sparked by Garma Zabi witnessing some monkeys playing Pac-Man; however, a margin note from Hasegawa suggests that he just used Pac-Man as a shorthand for whatever video games they would have in UC 0079.
  • Parental Abandonment: Played with. Tobia's parents were colony engineers who died when he was young, but he has an aunt and uncle who treat him like a son; when given the option of returning to Earth (his third chance thus far!), he says he wants to see the mission through to the end, and that their son will take care of them.
  • Percussive Maintenance: On a stubborn Unit X-3 that refuses to reactivate after repairs on Earth.
  • Pirate Parrot: Berah's pet parrot —named "Haro"— is a flapping, squaking Shout-Out to other UC Gundam series.
  • Pile Bunker: Shot Lancer, again.
  • Playful Hacker: Font. His accidentally stumbling on the plans for the Angel Halo gets him wrapped up in the conflict.
  • Psychic Powers: What would UC Gundam be without Newtypes? ...Don't answer that.
    • Belle is revealed to be able to let Curtis share her vision, granting him the ability to see through her eyes. It's unclear how she knew she could do this, given that it was a complete surprise to Curtis when she does it.
  • Puni Plush: Not that blatant, but it's there.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The quest to choose the "Steel Seven", even though it's a mixed group from the three sides that were fighting in the last war.
  • Rebellious Princess: Bernadette. She escaped to learn more about the Earth that her father tried to teach her to despise and, finding that it wasn't nearly as bad as he claimed, joined the rebellion against him and everything he stood for.
    • She doesn't stop even after becoming Jupiter's queen. In Ghost, she authorizes Serpiente Tacon to go against the politicians in Jupiter and oppose Zanscare, even urging them to retake the name "Crossbone Vanguard" as an act of defiance.
  • Red Right Hand: Kincade sports a prosthetic right hand after coming back from his duel with Zabine.
  • Reentry Scare: After losing the duel with Zabine, Kincade gets kicked into Earth's gravity well. He's basically dead for 3 chapters, until he comes roaring back to save Tobia from certain death. Turns out, he's (probably) the first one to try reentry with a Beam Shield.
  • Say My Name: Fairly often, but particularly notable is when Berah screams out an anguished "SEABOOK!" after Kincade loses his duel with Zabine and plummets to Earth.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Averted in Steel Seven. Giri rams the colony laser, which the Jovians initially write off as foolhardy suicide. However, the 0.1% divergence in alignment he caused will add up as it travels the 600,000 miles from Jupiter to the Earth Sphere, meaning it misses Earth by a long shot.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Harrison runs into this one a lot, given how slow the Federation is to react to... er, everything. He gets retired for it and goes to work for Blaclaw Transport.
  • The Scrooge: The Jovians tend to be extremely anal when it comes to resources like air, water, and machinery; the only resource they're not strict about is people. Early on, the Vanguard learns that releasing captured pilots isn't such a good idea, since the Empire punishes them losing their MS with execution.
  • Settling the Frontier: This was how the Jovian colonies originally came to be, in addition to serving as an end-point for the Jupitris-class freighters carrying their precious cargo. But while they're self-sufficient and isolated to the point of being under the Federation In Name Only, it's clear that life is considerably harder and different than in the Earth Sphere.
  • Shout-Out: Haro frequently delivers classic UC Gundam lines, including "Do You Know Char Aznable?" and "Purupuru!~"
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: "That... is... BULLSHIT! I'm not letting you KILL! ANYONE! ELSE!"
  • The Sneaky Guy: Bernadette is a milder version - basically useless in combat, but is pretty good at sneaking into places she's not expected to be in (into the Smashion, into the Mother Vanguard, into the Mother Vanguard again...). Eventually lampshaded by Capt. Onmo.
    • In Ghost, it seems that Bernadette's daughter Belle has inherited her mother's penchant for sneaking in and stowing away.
  • Social Darwinist: Karas is one.
  • Space Pirate: The Crossbone Vanguard are mistaken for such in their first battles against the Jupiter Empire, and at Umon's suggestion they decide to run with it, on the theory that a little intimidation goes a long way. Granted, they use this only as a motif while they wage a guerrilla war with the Jupiter Empire - but are seen as a straight example by the Federation.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The "Crossbone" in Crossbone Gundam: Dust is spelt as "Crossborn" in the manga covers.
  • Spider-Sense: Umon Samon is at least convinced that he has this.
  • Subsystem Damage: The Abijo's Needle Gun works this way, damaging an MS's internal systems and slowing it down for the other Death Gales to finish it off.
  • Super Prototype: All four Crossbones. X-3 in particular has all kinds of cutting-edge tech that makes it a cut above many of the other units in the series. They even complete the weaker production model portion of this trope with the XM-10 Flint, the only production model in Gundam history to possess a Core Fighter.
    • Steel Seven introduces the F99 "Recordbreaker", a descendant of the F91 and Crossbone series (the Crossbones are techically F97s) that are the first MS to use the Wings of Light later seen in Usso Evin's V2 Gundam. Ghost introduced the EMS-TC 02 Phantom Gundam, which is based on the Recordbreaker, though because Jupiter did not have the resources to create a perfected Minovsky Drive, this resulted in an incomplete mobile suit with a lack of balance between the two technologies and was abandoned as a failure.
    • Averted with the F91, however. Given that the mass-production models seen in when the Crossbone Vanguard encounters them are as powerful as the original version seen in Mobile Suit Gundam F91.
  • Surgical Impersonation: It has been extremely heavily implied that Tobia had his outer appearance altered to resemble Curtis Rothko, in order to take on the new identity.
  • Sword and Gun: Crossbone X-1, using its Beam Zanber and Beam Buster, which appropriately look like a Laser Blade cutlass and a flintlock pistol that fires Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Theme Naming: The Jupiter Empire's mecha, which are primarily derived from Portuguese - Batara = Batallia "soldier", Erebado = Elevado "elevated", etc.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kincade, as mentioned above. Tobia takes a few over the course of the series.
  • Tsundere: Giri, of all people, is specifically named as one in Steel Seven.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Karas, who starts out as Tobia's teacher, but is revealed rather quickly to be a zealous supporter and hypercompetent secret agent for Dogatie.
    • Fonse Kagatie for the Jupiter Republic in Ghost. Tetenith allied with him in order to help get Jupiter back on its feet financially, but didn't realize what exactly his plans were until it was too late.
  • Tyke Bomb: The Newtype Squadron under imperial agent Karas is made up entirely of Tyke Bombs. Giri is their most famous allumni. Tobia was supposed to join them...but he politely declined.
  • Up to Eleven: You thought a Ball taking down a Zaku was impressive? Umon Samon took down 6 Doms in one.
  • Use Your Head: Tobia resorts to headbutts quite often; victims include Karas, Zabine and Giri. For a while his main MS, the Pez Batara, is pretty much centered around this (see Awesome, but Impractical above).
  • Wagon Train to the Stars: Sort of. In Ghost, it's revealed that Bernadette commissioned and took part in a manned expedition to the Solar System's outer planets which was also in part an excuse for Tobia to find the remaining Gundam parts from Steel Seven. It was on this voyage that the crew discovered "Angel's Call" and that Bernadette gave birth to Belle.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Normally the Vanguard allows enemy pilots to escape, but near the end of the first volume Tobia learns that the Jovians execute the survivors for wasting resources. When Kincade reveals that he's well aware of this, Tobia angrily demands to know why they bother. Then Kincade explains that everyone except Berah knows, and they're hiding it from her so as not to further burden her and damage her resolve to keep fighting.
  • We Have Reserves: Standard operating procedure for the Empire, using the logic that while there are lots of pilots, the air and water they take up, as well as the mecha they pilot, are costly to manufacture. Quite a few of their mecha (particularly the Batara and the Kangrijo) were specifically made to be cost-effective above all else.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Tobia during the middle part of the manga, as he pilots a grunt MS made solely for taking down battleships and generally comes out on top. Umon mentions having destroyed six Doms while piloting a Ball during the Battle of Solomon - and has been working as a mercenary continuously since then.
    • Skull Heart shows how Umon did it, with a modified Ball called the 'B-Gundam' - basically a regular Ball with a heavy mask on the front. Half of those kills were through the power of intimidation (the B-Gundam looks like the head of a 40 meter tall Gundam), and the other half were a combination of blind luck and rage at his Cool Big Sis commander being threatened.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mobile Suit Variations has an entry on the "Vigna Ghina II" that states Dorel Ronah had joined the reformed Crossbone Vanguard and piloted the mech in battle but come Crossbone Gundam itself and he's nowhere to be seen. Steel Seven even has Giri grab an old Vigna Ghina II that the Vanguard had in its reserves and customise it for his personal use, implying that MSV's information was canon.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: A major source of angst for Berah Ronah, who must sacrifice her personal happiness as long as she remains the leader of the Crossbone Vanguard. Kincade is implied to have taken up his alias to try and make it easier for her to cope, as well as to fight for the day when they could return to their former names and the relationship they left off when events overtook their personal lives.
  • Worthy Opponent: Kincade and Harrison come to view each other as this - the latter even promises to find the former a good lawyer when they finally catch him.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Gloriously averted when Tobia Zeta Punches Sherry after hearing her spiel about how Newtypes will inherit the future and thus shouldn't get involved in the dealings of Oldtypes. And then he cuts his arm with a knife, to remind her that they're both human.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: When Tobia finds Rosemarie in Steel Seven, she's performing in a burlesque show, where she wears nothing but panties, garters, and a strategically-placed feather boa.


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