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Paptimus Scirocco ([personal profile] scirocco) wrote2011-12-11 11:35 am
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On Newtypes

Newtypes are a rare breed of character. What is a Newtype? The name says it all: they're the 'new type' of human being, the next stage in human evolution. The theory behind this minor but groundbreaking metamorphosis is that in order to adapt to life in space, the human body evolves with heightened mental awareness. As such, Spacenoids tend to be Newtypes, and it's implied that the further the distance from Earth, the more advanced the Newtype's abilities will be.

In many respects, Newtypes are like psychics. They have an extremely high degree of spatial awareness, almost like a sixth sense. Common Newtype gifts include telepathically detecting other Newtypes and sensitivity to the hostile intentions directed at them by others, allowing them to uncannily react to their opponents even before they carry out their intended actions. No two Newtypes are the same - personality and temperament plays a role in the development of a Newtype as well, which accounts for the variety of different feats exhibited by various Newtypes.

Everyone has the potential to become a Newtype, and even some individuals born on Earth are seen evolving into Newtypes through their experiences. Technology exists that can 'force' an 'Oldtype' to begin exhibiting Newtype abilities, but these so-called 'Cyber Newtypes' are infamously erratic and mentally unstable. True Newtypes look upon a Cyber-Newtype with pity, as the process invariably damages the Cyber-Newtype's mind beyond repair.

As Newtypism is more or less a manifestation of the user's mind, their intentions, feelings, and moral qualities are somewhat reflected in how they can use their abilities, which may restrict their access to other aspects of their powers. Newtypes are not divided between "Good" and "Evil", as a major theme throughout the Gundam series is the moral ambiguity of war. Despite this, one could make an argument that Newtype abilities can be divided between "Constructive" and "Destructive" types.

"Constructive" Newtype abilities are generally wielded by peaceful souls content to 'live and let live' who refrain from harming those that aren't causing trouble. They're probably the rarer of the two types - only a handful of Newtypes can be said to fit this description, such as First Gundam's Lalah Sune or Tifa Addil of Gundam X. It bears noting that more aggressive but ultimately well-meaning characters like Camille Vidan of Zeta Gundam also develop some constructive Newtype abilities.

"Destructive" is more obviously defined. These abilities are wielded by characters who are at best fierce fighters and at worst savage warmongers. Because all Newtypes feel the pain and emotions of those around them, it is difficult for them to wield these abilities with regularity, though some Newtypes learn to block others from their hearts and so can commit acts of great atrocity without being mentally shattered. Char Aznable and Karozo Ronah are two such Newtypes.

Newtypes are different from normal people on the mental/spiritual level. They are naturally more aware of the people around them, have stronger feelings and thoughts, and so forth. This often, but not always, has the effect of making Newtypes more sensitive, or at least more responsive, to various emotions and ideas. For some people, the effect is mild; Judau Ashita makes an excellent example of someone who is generally 'normal enough' despite his psychic nature. Paptimus Scirocco on the other hand is very much driven by his mentally advanced state; his charisma, his ambitions of utopia, and his feelings of superiority are all magnified by his psychic nature.

To a degree, some (not all) Newtypes are empathic. They can sometimes feel/sense strong thoughts and emotions in other people, though it is always on the conceptual level; never very detailed. For example, Judau might be able to feel that "Haman Kahn is very upset, despite the fact her face hides it well", but he wouldn't sense "Haman Kahn is very upset because she just fought Char again."

The empathic matters tend to happen only in regards to very strong thoughts. Mild contentment doesn't register, for example. Severe Depression, strong rage/hatred, and strong happiness/joy tend to get picked up. Some lesser feelings directly related to the Newtype, such as the desire/intent to punch them, may also be picked up in a quasi-"Spider Sense" (think Spider-Man) fashion.

Telepathy is also possible in some Newtypes, though it is implied to be rather difficult to perform. A Newtype can communicate with non-Newtypes: Amuro Ray successfully guided his crewmates out of the collapsing space fortress A Boa Qu telepathically, communicating with several different non-Newtypes simultaneously. The range is uncertain: Sarah Zabiarov could hear Paptimus Scirocco calling to her from the Jupitris, which had to be at least hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Even the most powerful Newtype cannot telepathically communicate further than modern technology could, however; nothing beats a cell phone, a radio, or satellite communications for staying in touch, especially since telepathic conversations can be odd/disorienting to the uninitiated.

Of course, all of the previous have been largely mental, spiritual, or emotional effects. Newtypes can use their abilities in combat as well, manifesting their gifts to heighten the deadliness of their mobile suits, such as Camille's 'Sword of Fury' when piloting his Zeta Gundam. Newtypes can also attack one another directly - Haman Kahn and Paptimus Scirocco engage in a psychic duel, and when Scirocco is mortally wounded by Camille Vidan, he lashes out with a psychic attack so crippling that it reduces Camille to an infantile, psychotic state. It is implied that such attacks are more effective on other Newtypes than non-Newtypes - the Titans pilot Yazan Gable is immune to Camille's pressure, and he is only defeated after Camille overpowers his Hambrabi.

Much as how normal people can get odd impressions of people they meet, so can a Newtype, and it's often a bit stronger in their case. It doesn't happen for every single person they meet, but a Newtype might feel rather 'warm' about a kid like Hathaway Noa - someone who is honest, kind-hearted, and trustworthy. They might also feel that more remote characters like Bright Noa are "firm like a wall...but on fire", or other such odd descriptions. It's somewhat inexplicable in some cases, but amazingly obvious in others.

Of course, there's a major limitation to this. While it can help influence your decisions, and others might trust those feelings/decisions, they're certainly not legal evidence. A Newtype would be acting very strangely if they suddenly accosted Jamitov Hyman in public, claiming they get an awful feeling from him that means he's up to no good. To most observers, the Newtype will have just caused trouble for a respected political figure with little justification for it. Likewise, claiming "good feelings" about Hathaway won't hold up as evidence either. If he's accused of defecting to the Zeon, you can't just say he doesn't "feel like a traitor"; no court of law will accept that as any sort of proof.

Interestingly enough, a fair number of (but not all) Newtypes have something distinct to their physical appearance, which may or may not be the direct result of their gifts. Common effects include unusual hair or eye colors at birth; purple, green, blue, and so forth are all not unheard of. Then again, even non-Newtypes can have these hair colors naturally; Garma has purple hair just like Scirocco, Johnny Ridden has the same icy blue eyes as Haman Kahn, and neither of these two are Newtypes.

The following are some other notable Newtype abilities.

Communing with the Dead: One of the more common Newtype traits, wielded by almost every Newtype protagonist, is the ability to commune with the dead. In First Gundam Amuro Ray and Char Aznable both communed with slain Newtype prodigy Lalah Sune, whose spirit went on to haunt both men for the next fourteen years. During Char's Counterattack, Amuro experiences a rather unsettling dream, implied to be a recurring one, in which Lalah claims she wants to stay between both men forever and is driving them to fight. Generally fallen spirits are more supportive than that, though - Camille Vidan would never have beaten Paptimus Scirocco had he not received psychic coaching and support from several of his fallen friends and allies (and even some of his former enemies!) which culminated in these spirits holding Scirocco's suit in place while Camille rammed it. Judau Ashita also received psychic support from the fallen, though Haman is able to break free of the psychic hold of the dead and continue fighting.

Communing with each other: Sometimes, Newtype pilots on opposing sides experience a strange phenomenon in which both of them meet on the astral plane. This is implied to be a more advanced Newtype ability - when Haman and Scirocco clash in this plane, his Newtype protege Sarah says they're 'fighting in a place we can't reach'. This psychic plane is seen in Zeta Gundam when Haman and Camille briefly commune as an expanse like space, not dark and dead but colorful like a nebula, in which both Newtypes float freely. In this state Newtypes can freely sense the thoughts and memories of one another - Haman saw visions of Camille's childhood, while Camille saw Haman's memory of lost love with Char. The experience infuriates Haman in the aftermath and she compares it to an intrusion, which would indicate it wasn't an experience she underwent freely.

Psychokinesis: Very unusual. Some Newtypes exhibit psychokinetic abilities with the aid of Newtype-boosting technologies, but generally Newtypes cannot access telekinetic abilities on their own. To date Paptimus Scirocco and Uso Evin are the only two Newtypes to demonstrate any kind of telekinetic feats that were accomplished without the aid of any enhancing systems.