Mobile Suit Gundam
The works set in the Universal Century calendar-timeline constitute the original Gundam saga, the one on which the later alternate universes have been based. The UC Gundam works--which include TV shows, OAV's, movies, video games and other media--are set in a future where the large majority of humanity has migrated off a polluted and overcrowded planet and lives in giant space colonies in lunar orbit. Gundam has always been noted for a certain seriousness on the topic of war, with the pain and costs of combat treated in a sober manner, neither maudlin nor numb, neither pacifist nor jingoistic. The original Gundam, made in 1979, is also hailed as the series that brought a certain measure of realism to the giant-robot genre--beforehand, mecha shows existed essentially in the 'superhero' format, with unrealistic, pseudoscientific or magical attributes cohabiting freely, and fairly simplistic plotlines. Gundam was different; it was a war series; its mecha was simply military hardware, nothing more; and its backstory was a serious science-fiction narrative with a plausible techical setting and realistic pyhsics. So, on to the show.
One of the two principal combatants in most of the various Gundam works is the Earth Federation (Chiyuu Renpou). The Federation--formally, the Federated Union of Earth--is an UN-style world government that is liberal and somewhat democratic, but also corrupt, overbearing, oligarchic, paralyzed with bureaucracy and rather incompetent. As a bonus it also gets progressively less liberal and democratic as the saga's timeline progresses. The Federation's flag is not featured that often-to my knowledge it never appears in the original series at all. It is, however, shown during the title sequence of Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, where the design can be made out very clearly, though the colors are a tad iffy because of poor lighting. The flag seems to be modeled after that of the UN, with the Earth in the center of a blue field, with the diamond-shaped field possibly lifted from the flag of Brazil in a subtle attempt to telegraph the Federation's somewhat banana-republic-like qualities of lurching toward instability and repression. The flag can also be seen flying over the Federal capital of Lhasa in the movie Char's Counterattack, so it must still be in use as of UC 0093.
UPDATE: Image fixed. The old one had too many latitudinal and longitudinal lines on the globe.
A second flag for the Federation. This one actually appears in the original series, in the scene where General Reville is being welcomed at the freshly captured Zeon asteroid fortress of Solomon. It also appears in images in the Origin manga, notably at the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. It may be that this is the Federation's flag during the One Year War period, perhaps replaced wih the 'earth' design at some point between the end of the War and early 0083. The central symbol is the Federation's crest.
It appears on military hardware in general. There are at least two variations. The above marking is used on spacecraft, tanks, and mobile suits--the lower is an aircraft roundel (it also appears on air/space fighters such as the Saberfish--basically, anything with wings) The starbust-&-crescent symbol varies stylistically when used otherwise, on uniforms for example. Another variant appears below.
It appears on this banner, seen hanging at the back of the courtroom during the court-martial scene in Gundam:The 08th MS Team. The precise purpose of this design is uncertain--it could be some sort of ceremonial flag, or the vertical-hoist equivalent of the Federation's flag itself.
The flag of the space arm of the Federal Forces (Renpou-Gun), the Earth Federation's military. The acronym stands for United Nations Troops Spacy, but the direct--and official--translation is 'Federal Forces.' The U.N.T. Army and Navy presumably also have flags, but they are never shown in the animations. This flag can be seen in a newspaper photo in Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, announcing the signing of an armistice to conclude the One Year War. The picture is in b&w, but as the symbol of the Federal Forces is shown frequently on spacecraft and uniform patches and is always red-and-gold, it is a reasonable assumption that this color scheme carries over to the flag. The flag is also shown on display screens, with the initials U.N.T. punctuated, but on the treaty-signing flag they are not.
UPDATE: Image fixed. the old flag had too small a crescent, the wrong proportions of arms of the cross, and the wrong font.
The Principality of Zeon (Jion Koukoku) is a militaristic, totalitarian regime, based in a cluster of secessionist
space colonies in Side3 (L2). It starts a vicious war of agression against the Federation, nominally to gain independence
and sef-determination for of all the space colonists, whether they want it or not, but in practice in order to subjugate
the entire Earthsphere. The Zeon flag is a quite blatant ripoff of the Nazi German one, with the Sigil of Zeon in place
of the swastika. The sigil represents Contolism, the philosophy of Zeon Zum Deikun, the founder of the Republic of Zeon. Originally,
the philosophy stands simply for self-determination for the space colonists, but it is later hijacked by Degwin
Sodo Zabi who perverts it into a fascist ideology of strenght and colonial supremacism. The Principality as originally depicted
is only a fairly generic bad-guy regime, with a violently xenophobic nationalism infecting an othewise vaguely legitimate
cause--the Nazi allusions were only gradually introduced in assorted sequels over the course of a decade after the original
Gundam series aired in 1979. This flag can be seen flying off the conning tower of a Zeon sub in Gundam 0083, among other
An alternate version of the Zeon flag. It can be seen in the Origin manga, among other places. There is another version of this design with the sigil in black-bordered white.
Zeon, incidentally, is an approximate romanization of the original 'Jion.' The only time the name appears in writing--in a hanwritten note in Char's Counterattack--it is spelled 'Gion.' However, 'Zeon' has been accepted as the official English transliteration.
It may be worth noticing that there is yet to be an official translation of 'koukoku.' In English subtitles and dubs, 'principality,' 'duchy,' and 'grand duchy' are used interchangeably.
Here we have the crest of the Principality. Or rather crests--the saga has been out for 25 years, so a certain amount of artistic reinterpretation is inevitable. All of these have appeared in an offical source of some kind--animation, comics, or illustrations. The gold-on-green colorscheme attempts to duplicate the crests' most common usage, on the exterior of spacecraft and mobile suits.
The usage varies somewhat; the leftmost sigil is the most common, and appears on both spacecraft, mobile suits, and uniforms. The second only appears on mobile suits, to my knowledge; the next is a uniform badge; and the last only appears in the Origin comics.
Just before the conclusion of the One Year War the Principality of Zeon is dissolved, and the Republic of Zeon reestablished.
The Republic adopts a new flag at that time, though it is uncertain whether this is a 'new' new flag or simply the restored pre-Principality flag of the Zeon Republic. It might even be the original flag of Munzo Province, as Side 3 was know before the nationalist uprising, after which it renamed itself after its first prime minister and leader of its independence movement.
The three stars are presumably a reference to the Republic's location in Side 3 at the L-2 LaGrange libration point, in lunar orbit. The object to the right is a stylized representation of a open-type O'Neill space colony cylinder--actually a screwup in the graphics dept. as Side 3 is supposed to be made up entirely of closed-type 'Viviarium' colonies.
The flag is shown in a newspaper photo in the final episode of Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, so all the colors are grayscale, but the design is very plain and visible. The three stars would probably look better a bit more to the right--this may be a perspective problem, but I rendered it as it appears onscreen.
I thought this was a good example of a transitional flag--practical, neutral, a bit dull--it reminds me vaguely of the postwar Bosnian one.
Update: OK, I've seen a color image of the Republic flag. It's not exactly 100% reliable, though, so I'm leaving the bw version up too. Plausible, though--red, white and black/gray seem to be the Side 3 colors.
There are very few other political entities in One Year War-era Gundam. The autonomous lunar cities are under occupation by one side or another; there are some nominally nonaligned militias on Earth, but they tend to be small and vaguely pro-Federation anyway. The only genuine third party is the Riah Republic of Side 6 (L4). Also the product of a nationalist uprising--encouraged by Zeon--Riah is, however, much more moderate. Pro-Zeon at the outset of the War it nonetheless declares itself neutral, a status acknowleded by both combatant parties in the Antarctic Treaty. As the war winds on, though, Zeon belligerence and atrocities drive it into the arms of the Federation, and the two conclude a mutual security treaty in the final weeks of the War.
We don't get a flag for Riah, but we do see a symbol on military uniforms and helicopters in Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket [left image]. It is uncertain whether this is an air-force roundel, the emblem of the Riah military, or the crest of the Republic itself. The right image is a cap badge; a stylized '6' for Side 6. Makes sense.
POST-ONE YEAR WAR / ZETA GUNDAM
Three years after the conclusion of the war, a crisis shakes up the Earthsphere. A paramilitary force, made up of diehard remants of the Zeon army, stages a series of massive terrorist attacks. This prompts the Federation to turn toward authoritarianism. A new subdivision of the Federal Forces is established and charged with the task of combating anti-Federation insurgents and militants: the Titans. Their flag appears now and then in Zeta Gundam, often behind Jamitov Heimann at press conferences.
Given enormous freedom and an unscrupulous, power-hungry leadership, the Titans soon turn corrupt and brutal. Hunting down Zeon extremists soon takes a backseat to the repression of ordinary colony citizens. After a particularely egregious atrocity--where the Titans put down an anti-Federation riot with nerve gas--the AEUG is formed.
Founded by a coalition of dissident elements in the Federal goverment, defectors from the Federal Forces, moderates among the independence-minded colonists and one-time members of the Zeon military, the AEUG resists the Titans with some sucess. The acronym stands for either 'Anti-Earth-Union Group' or 'Anti-Earth-Union Goverment,' the latter symbolizing the AEUG's contentiont that they are the legitimate governement of the Earthsphere and the Titans-sponsoring one is not. That would presumably be the reason for the flag--Earth, Moon, plus a white ring for the colonies--reminiscent of the Federation's flag itself, a claim to authority.
Both of these groups are opposed by a faction of Zeon hardliners that had gone into exile at the Zeon asteroid fortress of Axis at the end of the One Year War. The Axis flag is a variant of the Principality's.
Mobile Suit Gundam, Z Gundam, Gundam ZZ, Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, Gundam 0080:
War in the Pocket, Gundam F91, Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Gundam 0083: Last Blitz of Zeon, Gundam:
The 08th MS Team, and Gundam: The 08th
MS Team - Miller's Report are copyright © 1979–2004 by Sotsu Agency and Sunrise. Please don't sue me.
Mobile Suit Gundam, Z Gundam, Gundam ZZ, Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, Gundam F91, Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Gundam 0083: Last Blitz of Zeon, Gundam: The 08th MS Team, and Gundam: The 08th MS Team - Miller's Report are copyright © 1979–2004 by Sotsu Agency and Sunrise. Please don't sue me.