The series takes place in the "Cosmic Era" timeline in which mankind is divided between normal Earth dwelling humans, known as "Naturals," and the genetically altered humans known as "Coordinators," who live in space colonies. The story, set during the Bloody Valentine War, begins in the neutral space colony Heliopolis, where the secret development of advanced mobile suits for the Naturals' war effort is being conducted. The colony is attacked by ZAFT forces, the military of the Coordinators, with the objective of stealing the new units. During the incursion a teenage Coordinator named Kira Yamato pilots the GAT-X105 Strike mobile suit to fend off the invaders.
Kira is the pilot of Strike Gundam. He is a pacifist living in Heliopolis, but despite his dislike of war and conflict, he is more than willing to fight if it means protecting his friends and loved ones. Due to his kind and sensitive nature, he is said by some to be too soft for war.
Athrun is a pilot in an elite MS division of ZAFT. Athrun is a formidable mobile suit pilot, being able to fight in intense battles and hold his own against strong opponents. He pilots Aegis Gundam which was taken from the Earth Alliance.
Lacus Clyne is the daughter of the PLANT Supreme Council Chairman Siegel Clyne. She is a Coordinator whose career as an idol singer has brought her enormous popularity in the PLANTs. She is engaged to Athrun Zala for political reasons.
Cagalli Yula Athha
Cagalli is a pilot of Strike Rouge. She is the adopted daughter of Uzumi Nara Athha, Chief Representative and "Lion" of Orb Union and also Kira Yamato's twin sister. In an interesting twist, neither sibling was aware of this until the Bloody Valentine War.
Mu La Flaga
Mu is a pilot of Moebius Zero. He is lighthearted and friendly, and is more than willing to accept Coordinator Kira Yamato into the crew of the Archangel. Mu is casually boastful of his abilities, with his motto being that he can "make the impossible possible."
Murrue becomes the captain of the Earth Alliance spaceship Archangel after the original command crew is killed in a ZAFT assault on the Heliopolis space colony. Promoted to Lt. Commander when Archangel rendezvouses with Rear Admiral Lewis, she descends to the planet's surface and lands in Africa, fighting her way through ZAFT forces.
Flay is a technical college student on the space colony Heliopolis. Flay is an attractive and popular girl within the colony. During her stay aboard the Archangel, she occasionally raised alarms in the presence of a Coordinator, even going as far as to exaggerate a situation to convince others that Coordinators are the enemy.
Yzak is the pilot of Duel, which is the suit he captured in the assault on Helipolois. An elite ZAFT pilot, he was assigned to the prestigious ZAFT Le Creuset special operations team. His jealous and impulsive nature sometimes leads to tragic consequences to his decisions, which will eventually cause him to rethink his ways.
Dearka is an extremely skilled pilot of Buster Gundam who enrolls the elite Le Creuset and Joule teams. He specializes in long range combat, using mobile suits with heavy weaponry. After his experience with the Archangel, Dearka was able to re-evaluate his opinions towards the Naturals.
A pilot of GAT-X207 Blitz who enrolls the Le Creuset team Nicol. He is the gentlest and kindest of the pilots, and has a strong dislike for the war and fighting in general. He specializes in tactics and strategies, and has a deep understanding of military protocol.
Patrick is a member of the PLANT Supreme Council and father of Athrun Zala. He is an extreme anti-Natural and works towards the extermination of Naturals for the sake of all Coordinators. He also stands against Siegel Clyne, who is the chairman of the PLANT.
Siegel is the chairman of the PLANT and a father to Lacus Clyne. During his term, his primary goal was the unification of the Naturals and Coordinators. However, his term ended before this vision could be made a reality. He was succeeded by the far more aggressive Patrick Zala.
Andrew is one ZAFT's best commanders and pilots. Waltfeld is commander of the ZAFT forces in the PLANT-pledged African Community, headquartered at Banadiya. He is known as "Desert Tiger" due to his skill in piloting the ground units in the desert. He pilots TMF/A-803 LaGOWE with his partner Aisha.
Rau Le Creuset
Rau is the masked commander of the Le Creuset Alias. He is among the most skilled pilots, capable of piloting any number of suits with ease. He primarily pilots his custom colored CGUE, although he pilots many others as well.
GAT-X105 Strike Gundam
The Strike is the most versatile of the five Gundams created by the Earth Alliance's G Project that secretly collaborated with Morgenroete to develop Mobile Suits. Design-wise, the Strike is simply an extension of the Duel's frame, allowing for a multi-role function not featured in the Duel, Buster, or Blitz.
GAT-X102 Duel Gundam
This suit is among the first to be completed in the Earth Alliance's G Project series of prototype mobile suits, and was developed with the concept of a general-purpose combat machine in mind. After being stolen by ZAFT and damaged in battle, the suit is upgraded with the Assaultshroud armor, which fits several armor plates over the body for extra durability.
GAT-X103 Buster Gundam
This product of the Earth Alliance's G Project was designed as a long-range artillery mobile suit; the Buster's armament consists solely of long range weapons, including a gun launcher, a high-energy rifle, and two missile pods.
GAT-X207 Blitz Gundam
The Blitz is the first mobile weapon to use the Mirage Colloid technology. The stealth system is comprised of a field of microscopic prisms held in magnetic suspension around the Gundam, and uses the same energy conduits found in the Phase Shift armor. It is stored secretly on the Orb Union controlled space colony Heliopolis.
GAT-X303 Aegis Gundam
Aegis is, as the name implies, a commander-type mobile suit with very advanced sensors and heavy attack power. It can transform into a mobile armor configuration armed with a "Scylla" 580mm energy cannon. Additionally, the suit features a hand-held 60mm beam rifle.
ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam
An advanced mobile suit based on technology reverse-engineered from the captured Earth Alliance's G Project suits. It is primarily designed for ranged combat and thus features a large number of long range weapons. The Freedom features a unique 10-wing HiMAT mode for superior speed and agility.
ZGMF-X09A Justice Gundam
ZAFT developed Justice Gundam based on technology reverse-engineered from the captured Earth Alliance's G Project suits. The most unique feature of the Justice is its Fatum-00 backpack, which can be remotely controlled or used as a sub-flight lifter. That unit is also well-armed with a pair of beam cannons and multiple machine guns.
GAT-X131 Calamity Gundam
Designed as an artillery mobile suit, the Calamity is only equipped with several powerful beam weapons, completely lacking any close combat weaponry. The Calamity is first used in the conquest of neutral Orb, then sent to space and assigned to the Archangel-class assault ship Dominion under the supervision of Azrael.
GAT-X252 Forbidden Gundam
In contrast with Calamity Gundam, Forbidden Gundam was designed as a close-combat attack unit. One of the new technologies implemented in the Forbidden Gundam is Trans-Phase armor, which is an improved version of Phase Shift armor. Whereas Phase Shift armor utilizes a "power up" mode denoted by color and a 'power down' mode denoted by gray, Trans-Phase armor is designed to only activate at the point of impact and thus preserve energy. This energy can then be used for power-consuming energy weapons.
GAT-X370 Raider Gundam
Raider Gundam is a transformable attack-use mobile suit, designed mainly for aerial combat. Its armaments are comprised of a well-balanced set of beam weapons and shell-firing weapons, with some of them being only usable in flight mode.
A durable mass-produced general-purpose mobile suit used by ZAFT, which was developed from first mass production military-use mobile suits, MS YMF-01B Proto GINN and ZGMF-1017 GINN. It has two large, thruster-filled "wings" on its back and carries basic, dependable weapons: a 76mm machine gun and a 10-meter-long sword form its primary armament.
This is a mobile suit clearly designed for ground assaults. Unlike other ZAFT mobile suits, the BuCUE is a quadruped, more like a dog than a human. The four-legged design evenly distributes the weight of the BuCUE, giving the mobile suit greater balance and mobility on the ground than any other ZAFT mobile suit.
ZGMF-X13A Providence Gundam
Like the other Gundams created by ZAFT, Providence features "Neutron Jammer Canceller" which counters the effects of the ubiquitous Neutron Jammers and allows these suits to be powered by nuclear reactors. It is equipped with the powerful DRAGOON weapon system, as well as several smaller, more standard weapons.
As a prototype ship, the Archangel-class is equipped with several unique new features. One such feature is an ablative gel, which can be released by the ship during atmospheric reentry to absorb heat. Its armament features positron blaster cannons, beam guns, CIWS, linear cannons, and several missile launchers, making the class more offensively capable than many others.
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For many years after George Glenn's revelation, Coordinators remained illegal. When the ban was repealed in the CE 30's, the "Coordinator boom" started and lasted until the CE 50's. Following the rapid and widespread diffusion of Coordinators, major social unrest spread, throwing the world into chaos. Many Naturals started to oppose the Coordinators out of jealousy for their abilities, stating that they were created unnaturally. Anti-Coordinator pressure groups, most notably Blue Cosmos, labeled Coordinators as "unhuman" and declared that they had to be wiped out "for a blue and pure world."
ZAFT is the military of the Coordinators and is run by PLANT. It is based on a political association established by Patrick Zala and Siegel Clyne. It develops highly advanced mobile suits and runs the dead heat against Earth Alliance.
Earth Federation Force
The military force run by the E.A has tremendous power over Atlantic. Their main mechanics were mobile armors before mobile suits began to be developed in collaboration with the Morghen Lethe Company.
Blue Cosmos is the most radical of the anti-Coordinator activist groups formed by resentful Naturals, and is the ruling force behind the Earth Alliance. According to the Blue Cosmos ideology, genetic modification is a violation of the natural order, and all Coordinators must be exterminated "for the preservation of our blue and pure world."