The MBF-X1 Akatsuki is a high-performance mobile suit closely based on the GAT-X105 Strike and developed in secret by the Orb Union. Originally commissioned in CE 71 by Lord Uzumi Nara Athha, it would not be completed until after his death, and would remain hidden away until years later, when it is piloted by his daughter, Cagalli Yula Athha
Technology & Combat Characteristics
The most unique aspect of the Akatsuki is its armor, which incorporates a unique beam deflection system. Its armor is composed of millions of extremely small mirror units that function on the same principle as photovoltaic cells. When a beam weapon is fired, the energy from the attack is absorbed. At the same time, the Akatsuki's computer systems adjust the mirrors based on the angle at which the attack struck, then the energy is released back in that precise direction, essentially redirecting the attack back at the enemy unit that fired it. However, this system is ineffective against beam mêlée weapons such as beam sabers, and it is also highly vulnerable to physical attack.
- M2M5D 12.5mm CIWS x2
- In its head, the Akatsuki mounts two M2M5D 12.5mm CIWS guns, which are used to shoot down incoming missiles or close enemy units.
- Type-70J2 Prototype Beam Saber x3
- The Akatsuki's primary mêlée weapon, like most mobile suits. Developed based on the "Lacerta" beam saber of the Freedom, the Type-73J2 beam saber can be used as a single saber, or two docked together into a dual-bladed weapon. The Akatsuki is equipped with a total of three; two of them docked together and stored on the Akatsuki's left hip, and a third mounted to a storage rack on its beam rifle.
- Type-72D5 "Hyakurai" 56mm Beam Rifle
- The Akatsuki, like most mobile suits, is equipped with a handheld beam rifle capable of destroying most mobile suits and aircraft. The Type-72D5 "Hyakurai" beam rifle was developed from the beam rifle used by the GAT-X105 Strike and MBF-P02 Strike Rouge, which it strongly resembles. The main difference lies in the storage rack mounted underneath the barrel, which stores a single beam saber that can be ignited while docked with the rifle, or else used as a handheld weapon. The rifle is stored on the Akatsuki's right hip when not in use.
- Type-75F "Oowashi" High-Energy Plasma Beam Cannon x2
- The most powerful weapon equipped to the Akatsuki, these two beam cannons are similar to the "Balaena" beam cannons of the Freedom. They are powerful enough to severely damage even heavily-armed targets, such as battleships.
- Model-74 Defense Shield
- A heavy physical shield mounted to the Akatsuki's forearm, which can block both beam and physical weaponry.
- Power Extender
- A system designed to increase battery life and maximize energy efficiency, thus allowing the Akatsuki to remain operational longer than most mobile suits, and to equip energy-intensive weapons and technology without having to worry about an excessively short operating time. Also installed in the MBF-02 Strike Rouge.
- Combat Support Artificial Intelligence System
- A pilot-assisting A.I. system designed to assist inexperienced pilots in controlling the mobile suit and defending against enemy attacks. Also installed in the MBF-02 Strike Rouge.
- "Yata-no-Kagami" Anti-Beam Reflection System
- A unique defensive system developed for the Akatsuki. Its armor is covered by a mirror coating that is able to absorb and redirect beam rifle or cannon attacks, essentially reflecting them back at the attacking mobile suit. It is ineffective against beam sabers, however, and is also highly vulnerable to physical attacks.
When the Orb Union allowed the LCAM-01XA Archangel to seek refuge there during the First Junius War in CE 71, Lord Uzumi Nara Athha began to suspect that it was only a matter of time before the Alliance came calling, intending to subjugate or destroy Orb. He commissioned Orb manufacturer Morgenröte to create a mobile suit, based on the GAT-X105 Strike, to serve as "the ultimate Shield to defend the ideals of Orb, and a sword to protect them". Among other things, Morgenröte developed a power extender system to maximize the battery life and energy efficiency of the machine, as well as a support AI(Artificial Intelligence) system intended to aid an inexperienced pilot.
Even as Orb was repairing the Strike and the Archangel, they gathered data that they would use to that end, and secretly construction was begun on what would become the MBF-X1 Akatsuki. After the destruction of JOSH-A and the fall of Panama, it became evident that there were only two possible targets for the Alliance next: Kaohsiung or Orb. Rondo Mina Sahaku, suspecting that they would strike the latter first, convinced Lord Uzumi to secretly relocate the incomplete Akatsuki to Ame-no-Mihashira, where construction could safely continue. At this time, Lord Uzumi recorded a message, to serve as his last words to his beloved daughter Cagalli, for whom the Akatsuki was intended. At the same time, the Archangel returned to Orb, and Morgenröte was able to obtain some data on its ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam, including its weapons, which it would apply to the Akatsuki.
However, when the Alliance struck, Morgenröte and the Kaguya mass driver were destroyed, and Lord Uzumi perished. The power extender and support AI developed for the Akatsuki were instead installed on the MBF-02 Strike Rouge, a machine assembled for Cagalli from leftover GAT-X105 Strike spare parts. She would use the Strike Rouge through the end of the war.
Cagalli, who assumed the leadership of Orb following the war's end, never knew of the Akatsuki, which had at last been completed in C.E. 72, and smuggled back from Ame-no-Mihashira to be placed in a hidden hangar underneath Orb's military defense headquarters, in accordance with Lord Uzumi's instructions.
In C.E. 75, the Second Junius War breaks out. Late in the war the ZAFT fleet blockades Orb, where Logos leader Lord Jibril is hiding out under the protection of the Seirans, demanding that he be turned over. When the Seirans deny his presence, ZAFT attacks. At this time, the Akatsuki is revealed to Cagalli, who launches in the new machine, escorted by a squadron of MVF-M11C Murasame mobile suits, all of which are in Command-model gold colors. This newly-formed squadron is named the Kinshu(Gold Eagle) Mobile Squadron, and would actively participate in the battle, engaging against the Joule Team's mobile suits. At the Akatsuki's controls, Cagalli is able to rally Orb's battered defense forces and succeeds in forcing the ZAFT fleet into a stalemate, despite the subsequent arrival of the far more powerful ZGMF-X42R Destiny Gundam, which engages the Akatsuki directly. Soon afterwards the battle ends when Jibril escapes.
Cagalli and the Kinshu Team would subsequently head into space, where they played an integral part in the Second Battle of Daedalus, which would be the final battle of the war.
- "Oowashi"(大鷲) is written with the characters "大"(Great) and "鷲"(Eagle); Thematically consistent, the Akatsuki and its escorting Murasame were the "Kinshu" (金鷲, "Gold Eagle") Team.
- As with previous C.E. Gundams, the word "GUNDAM" is an acronym that denotes its operating system. The version used by the Akatsuki stands for General Unilateral Neuro - Link Dispersive Autonomic Maneuver