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So you just found out that the enemy is developing a new Super Prototype that will alter the course of the war. What are you gonna do about it?

The simplest answer seems to be to destroy it, but this more often than not ends up with some Ordinary High School Student Falling Into the Cockpit, and then you're really boned. You can come up with prototypes of your own to counter it, but this could just end up creating a Sorting Algorithm of Evil that'll lead right to your doorstep.

Better yet, why not just take it for yourself? This has a double benefit: Not only does it deny the enemy a powerful weapon, but you gain said weapon in the process. You might wanna kidnap, steal or wipe out the project data and/or the inventor(s) while you're at it.

If this is done by the hero, the story usually focuses on their attempts to get back into friendly territory with their prize. If the story is told from the view of the inevitable pursuers, then they will be attempting to recover or destroy the new unit before it can get away.

See also Phlebotinum Rebel, where the heroes Gundamjack themselves. Not to be confused with the lumberjack-themed Canadian Gundam from G Gundam. Or Candle Jack, for that ma

Examples of Gundamjack include:


Anime and Manga

  • The Trope Namer in this case would be Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, specifically the title of the first episode, where Anavel Gato does just that, setting off the plot of the series. Of course, how said Gundamjacking is pulled off should go down in the annals of badassery...
    • Zeta Gundam has the first example of this trope in Gundam with Kamille helping the AEUG pull this off. It's also slightly more justified than many examples as the Gundam in question was already powered up and idling (being examined for damage after the pilot crashed it) when Kamille ran in and swiped it.
      • The AEUG was originally planning to steal a single Gundam Mk II prototype to reverse-engineer is revolutionary "movable frame" technology. With Kamille's help, they were able to steal all three. This allowed them to send one away for study, use another for combat, and break down the last one for spare parts to keep the combat unit in service.
      • Zeta Gundam is perhaps unique in that it's a case of the main protagonist pulling this off as opposed to Falling Into the Cockpit. It's certainly unique in that Kamille's motivation for jacking the Gundam is Revenge Before Reason; he just goes along with the AEUG afterwards because it seems like a good idea.
    • Similarly, Gundam Seed begins with the ZAFT G-boys snatching four of the Alliance's five new Gundams. The plan was to steal all five, but poor Rusty got killed before he could do his part. And, of course, Kira comes by his Mid-Season Upgrade by Gundamjacking the Freedom, with help from Lacus. Gundam Seed Destiny begins with the Alliance stealing three of ZAFT's new Gundams.
      • Of course, in the Cosmic Era, due to theft and salvage, everybody has at least one Gundam on their side. Even the organization that's basically a Garbage union IN SPACE ON STEROIDS
    • Gundam X's protagonist hijacks a normal mobile suit in the first episode, but comes by the titular Gundam more honestly, only to hijack his second Gundam, the Double X. Jacking Mobile Suits to sell them was actually his personal trick of the trade before he joined Vulture and he had quite a reputation for it, with experience to match.
    • In Victory Gundam the 13 year old protagonist also steals an enemy mecha... except he stole it while it was flying by landing on it in a parachute, fighting hand to hand with the ace pilot (who is wearing an helmet and is far older), and managing to take control of the machine after a brutal fight that ends underwater. It really needs to be seen to be believed.
    • Ali Al-Saachez hijacks Gundam Throne Zwei in season one of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, despite the manufacturers finally thinking to put in a biometric scanner. Fucking Ribbons!
      • A large portion of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 revolves around the various antagonist factions trying to steal the Gundams.
      • Subverted in Season 2 when Revive and Anew fail to get the 00 Gundam because they couldn't bypass the security.
        • But Revive DOES successfully Gundamjack the 0 Raiser, only to be foiled by RED HARO of all things.
      • In the last episode of Gundam 00, Ribbons jacks the 0 Gundam after Lasse abandoned it when its GN particle tank ran out. Amuro and the RX-78, together again at last!
    • In a rare hero on hero version, look at episode two of Gundam ZZ. Judau jacks the Zeta Gundam simply because it's the only mobile suit for him to use.
      • Heck, Judau spent the first several episodes repeatedly trying to jack the Zeta Gundam so he can sell it, only to have an enemy appear the moment he gets his hands on it and be forced to fight it off.
    • Even though they were the intended pilots (for the most part), the Gundam Wing team stole their Gundams once they learned that the original plan for Operation Meteor was to Colony Drop the Earth, then crush all remaining opposition and Take Over the World, opting instead to fight the enemy that was oppressing the colonies and leaving the civilians out of it.
      • Well, technically Trowa wasn't the intended pilot of Heavyarms...at least, not the Trowa we know; The Movie shows that the real Trowa Barton was killed for being a Jerkass, leading to a nameless engineer offering to take up the dead man's name and mission for more noble purposes.
      • In episode 34, Zechs steals Wing Zero from OZ after self-detonating his Tallgeese, before OZ got a chance to destroy it.
    • Rain Mikamura in G Gundam doesn't exactly steal the Shining Gundam, as she's on its crew, but she does pilot it despite not having combat training. Later, she "borrows" Japan's Rising Gundam because she needs to get somewhere fast. Her explanation to her stunned friends was, basically, nobody was using it at the time. (Somehow, both Gundams intuitively know to give her a custom pink trace suit with heels.)
      • Well, she is their designated mechanic. Wouldn't be ureasonable to assume she might have written a minor subroutine in case she needed to put on a full suit (she was using a glove to check the function of an arm repair in an early episode) to check pilot it sometime.
      • Later, while Domon and Rain are in Hong Kong for the finals, a local kid tries to steal the Burning Gundam, nearly killing himself and screwing up Domon's shoulder in the process.
    • In Crossbone Gundam, Tobia is captured by the Jupiter Empire and forced to face off in an arena against Rosemarie in the captured X2. He manages to steal the suit in a manner similar to Garrod's first-episode Jenicejack in Gundam X, although using the X2's own decoy instead of a flashbang.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Age, the Gundam itself doesn't get hijacked, but Grudech gundamjacks the battleship Diva.
      • Although it does get hijacked in episode 5. By a seven year old.
  • Getter Robo Hien has the protagonist jacking Getter-1, then having to talk the other two pilots into working with him. Given that they were in the middle of a battle at the time, they don't have too much of a choice.
  • It happened in Mazinger Z after a fashion. Minerva X was designed by Professor Kabuto, but never actually built; Dr. Hell got his hands on the plans and constructed Minerva, using mundane armor materials instead of Super Alloy Z, and installing an AI "crown" piece in place of a Pilder.
    • And in the "The Relic of Evil" one-shot, Mazinger-Z itself was hijacked by a Kedora sent by Dr. Hell.
    • And in UFO Robo Grendizer (one of the sequels), Duke Fleed steals Grendizer and flees with it before the Vegans can seize it.
    • And Great Mazinger was seized by a Vegan commander in UFO Robo Grendizer
    • And in Mazinkaiser, a Mechanical Beast hijacked Venus A, forcing the heroes to destroy it.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has at least two angels that hijack an Eva for their own personal use.
    • Then, in Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0, Mari jacks Unit-02 to fight against Zeruel.
      • Cause THAT goes down so well.
      • What makes this interesting is that she intentionally uses a feature of Unit-02 that Asuka never used (and may not even be aware of). The fact that she was able to Evajack it at all - given the nature of the Evangelions in the original series - has spawned a number of Epileptic Trees.
  • Lelouch hijacks the strongest robot in the first season from Britannia.
    • More hilariously, in R2, the Chinese Federation captures Kallen and her Guren Nishiki, which are turned over to Britannia. Britannia heavily upgrades the Guren, only to have it stolen BACK, by Kallen herself, before they are ever able to use it.
      • When Cecile was upgrading the Guren, she admittedly went overboard, to the point that she thought no human pilot would even be able to handle its performance. Kallen, of course, has no difficulty at all, and single-handedly turns the tide of a major battle.
  • Akito Tenkawa hijacks an (advanced but not exactly Super Prototype) Aestivalis in the first episode of Martian Successor Nadesico. He meant to use it as a convenient escape vehicle, but ends up providing just the distraction the good guys needed.
  • The King Gainer of Overman King Gainer is stolen from a museum run by the ruler of Wulgusk. The Duke wants it back, only to clam up when Gain reminds him that the London IRA wouldn't like it if he had a working Overman on display. Later in the series Adette steals a bunch of Silhouette Machines to supply her troops.
  • This is how Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann gets his Gurren. They later pull the same feat by hijacking the Dai-Gurren.
    • To an extent, this is also how the Arc-Gurren and Chouginga-Gurren are attained. There aren't any troops, but they are super prototype ships that didn't belong to the Dai-Gurren Brigade.
    • This is how Team Dai-Gurren got all their Gunmen except for Simon's Lagann.
      • Speaking of Simon's Lagann, it's the reason they're able to jack a number of their bigger targets, when simply ousting the current pilot isn't an option. Simply have Lagann drill into the target to "combine" with it, and it can hijack the target's systems.
    • And most of their other tools are combination of this and Mega Manning. Need to fly? Beat a flying mecha and rip off the wings and rockets and attach the whole thing to your back. Lagann's ability to integrate with any and all kinds of mecha will take it from there.
  • After subverting Falling Into the Cockpit just previously, episode nine of Fang of the Sun Dougram has Crinn doing this to recover the eponymous unit from the Federation, quite awesomely.


Comic Books

  • The Galactic Alliance Remnant does this in an issue of Star Wars Legacy during the Battle of Mon Calamari by stealing the just-completed Star Destroyer Model before it was even fielded and removing Mon Calamari's shipbuilding capabilities in the process.
  • Iron Man has gotten his Powered Armor stolen on many an occasion.


Film

  • The movie Firefox is about Clint Eastwood's character making off with a Soviet prototype jet.
    • The movie averts the No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup trope by having him subsequently get chased down by the other prototype and forcing him into a dogfight with it. Apparently the Soviets made at least two, and certainly still have the plans (although not necessarily the scientists) to make more but don't want the Americans reverse-engineering it before it goes into production.
  • In Iron Man 2, Rhodes steals the Mark II armor, which would later be upgraded into the War Machine armor.
    • Turns out that Tony gave Rhodey authorization for the suits, ostensibly because he was dying and preparing for Rhodes to succeed him. Which explains why a machine that previously relied on the Arc Reactor in Tony's chest now has its own self-contained power source.


Literature

  • Star Wars example: Slave I, the vehicle that Jango and Boba Fett pilot, was a prototype vehicle stolen by Jango; he then blasted the other prototypes with it. Eventually more models are built...because of the popularity of the design as a result of Boba Fett being the galaxy's best bounty hunter.
    • By then the Slave I was a decades-old design and remained viable mainly because of Boba's piloting skill and the very expensive custom upgrades he'd made. The production models introduced to cash in on its fame were fairly mediocre by the time they hit the market.
    • The Expanded Universe has Kyp Durron and the Sun Crusher. Of course, he uses it.
  • Subverted in The Lord of the Rings: Boromir tries to pull one of these with the One Ring at the Council of Elrond but has his idea shot down pretty quickly.
  • Fate/Zero gives us a moment where The Berserker hijacks a high-speed jetfighter mid-flight, customises it and improves it into a legendary artifact within seconds and then engages in a insane dogfight against Gilgamesh's nuclear-powered babylonian airship at speeds that kill the original pilot in less than a second. Without actually entering the plane. This is probably one of the most memorable and epic moments in a series already built around the Rule of Cool.


Live-Action TV

  • In both the original Get Smart TV series and the 2008 movie, Hymie the robot was stolen from KAOS and reprogrammed by CONTROL.
  • In a kind of inversion, the Soviets try on several occasions to steal Airwolf. This is not quite the same as the first story, where Stringfellow Hawke has to Gundam Jack-back the previously stolen chopper from Libya.
  • With Power Rangers' abundance of Humongous Mecha, you can bet this shows up from time to time:
    • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers featured Gundamjacks of each of Tommy's Zords. Dragonzord in the first season after a briefly mind-controlled Billy was made to steal the Dragon Dagger and give it to Goldar, the Tigerzord in season 2 in an episode where Goldar stole Saba from Tommy and gave him to Rita, and in season 3 the Falconzord was stolen by Lord Zedd. The theft of the Falconzord lasted the longest, but the villains didn't use it, just kept it as a trophy.
      • The villains were the ones to claim the Shogunzords, and tried to blackmail the Rangers into piloting them. Of course the Rangers swiped the zords out from under them.
    • In Power Rangers Zeo, the two megazords were hijacked by different groups of villains and fought each other.
    • The Turbo Megazord is stolen in Power Rangers Turbo, forcing the Rangers to use the new Rescue Megazord. Something similar happened in the Sentai counterpart.
    • In Power Rangers in Space, Delta Megazord, using a virus. Then Mega Voyager, thanks to Psycho Yellow.
    • In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, all Zords were first claimed by villains, then freed or convinced to do an Heel Face Turn by the Rangers. Middle example of this trope because the Zords are sentient.
    • In Power Rangers SPD, there were a couple attempts to take over SPD Command (which is both their base and a zord). Wootox only got as far as the Transformation Sequence, but Broodwing had more success in the finale.
    • In Power Rangers RPM, Venjix's new mecha is stolen by the Rangers and turned into the Whale Zord. Later, Shifter, now rogue, decides to take one of the Rangers' megazords - the effort to break his control leads the Rangers' Mission Control to figure out how to combine all the megazords together. Oops.


Tabletop Games

  • Totally averted in Warhammer 40k. Orks salvage gear so they can use it in battle, and can start with other armies' gear at a higher point cost (i.e. more expensive), but the two true Mechs of the series are immune: The Tau booby trap theirs (With a Flamethrower!) and the Space Marines'... don't have to worry so much either.


Video Games

  • Zone of the Enders starts with an attempt to steal the previously-jacked Jehuty back, until Leo complicates things by Falling Into the Cockpit.
    • The sequel, The 2nd Runner, does the exact same thing, although Jehuty was in a container in Calypso rather than in a military base.
    • The anime prequel Zone of the Enders: Idolo climaxes with a failed attempt at this.
  • Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries did this trope once, with a faction hiring you to help steal a superheavy Clan-technology mech for their side. Possibly a double-dip of this idea, because you had the option to grab it away from them, too!
    • Also occurred in at least one of the Mech Commander games (the Masakari TWOCing mission in the original springs to mind) and most of the novels at one time or the other.
      • The Liao False Flag mission was basically this, send in several salvage craft in, steal the Davion Clanmechs and send the Steiner a nice middle finger barrage with it.
    • The Crysis mod, Mechwarrior Living Legends, allows you to blast an enemy's cockpit armor, then kill the pilot inside. Once you kill him, you're free to hop in the mech and drive it back to base to repair or sell it. Additionally, if an enemy players ejects, you can hop in his mech as he's flying up into the air, then blast him in the face when he lands.
    • It's a very common idea in the whole BattleTech universe. Since building mechs is fairly difficult, killing the pilot and capturing the mech is a very common goal according to the universe lore. Though generally this was done on the battlefield: disable the 'Mech, kill the pilot, and then drag the 'Mech to your repair bay and now it's yours.
      • You'd think if that were the case these people would start putting a Self-Destruct Mechanism on their mechs.
        • Again, building mechs is fairly difficult. Blowing up a mech just because the pilot died means your side can't recover it either.
        • This is basically expected enough in-universe that practically every BattleMech comes with standard anti-theft countermeasures already built in. The most common example, showcased in various novels, is the computer running a voice recognition check in conjunction with an individual code phrase during startup. At the same time, several novels reveal that each mech's Neurohelmet must be re-calibrated for each new user, which can pretty much only be done in the hangar. Skipping this process leads to a punch-drunk machine and a pilot with a massive, incurable hangover.
    • The Mech Assault series simplified things even further in its shift to an arcade action playstyle. With the default Battlesuit, the player could simply hack into a Mech to disable it and immediately switch over with no indication of what happened to the original warm body inside.
    • Both Mechwarrior 3 and Mechwarrior 4 and their expansions had missions where new units could be stolen from maintenance and added to the player's TO&E.
  • The Xenogears plot is kicked off by one of these operations. The game starts with the stealing team making a stand against the pursuit team. Neither side gets it, since Fei "fell into" the cockpit.
    • Then everyone try to take the pilot with them, so the plot turns into a series of Feijacking
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty starts with Ocelot stealing Metal Gear RAY from The Patriots for The Patriots. It's as complicated as it sounds, yet this is Ocelot after all.
    • In MGS4 Snake uses the old Metal Gear REX from MGS1 to escape from the underground facility. He meets Ocelot in a RAY and tears the old cat a new one.
  • In the PC game G-Nome, you can capture enemy HAWCs by forcing the pilot out with a special gun, then killing them.
  • Similarly, in the Activision version of Battlezone, you can steal enemy vehicles by sniping the pilots.
  • And Front Mission 3, you can jack any vehicle without a pilot. Though only the normal Wanzers can be kept afterward.
  • Anise Azeat of Galaxy Angel II steals an Emblem Frame/Angel Wing/whatever-they've-decided-to-call-them-this-week from the Luxiole early in the game, but gets to keep it after her Heel Face Turn and joins the Rune Angels.
  • Undeservedly obscure vehicular shooter Redline (the one that came out in 1999, not the more recent racing game) has you either on foot or in cars. Each level has a few free cars that the character can get into should his own get too damaged/destroyed, and that's that - you can't grab enemy cars. However, should you decide to cheat and use the code that adds all the guns, you'll get the supposedly-multiplayer-only ejecto-gun, with which you can eject enemies out of their vehicles and grab them. This is when you find out that, in order to make it harder for the player, enemy cars have virtually unlimited ammo.
  • C&C Generals has a hero unit that can snipe the pilots of enemy vehicles, leaving them inactive. It is then sufficient to walk a basic infantry unit inside and the unit is yours to command. The expansion pack has the Chinese Nuke Cannon being capable of firing neutron shells that kill enemy vehicle crews, making the vehicle available to capture.
  • Done oh-so-excellently in Starcraft II, wherein the playable rebel faction decides the best possible way to deal with their current goal is to steal a prototype weapon of mass destruction. By putting an insane, carnage-loving psychopath in the cockpit.
  • In Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, all of the missions to destroy Leonardo's war machines will eventually involve Ezio taking the things and briefly using them against the Borgia.
  • Persona 2 has Tatsuya steal and command an enemy warmech from the Tenchu Army.
  • This is both possible and surprisingly effective in Star Wars Battlefront when you play as an engineer class. Using your hydrospanner on an enemy tank long enough will eventually disable it and boot out the occupants so you can take it over. Stealing an enemy's tank not only keeps it from firing on your troops and but also keeps it from respawning for a while since you didn't technically "destroy" it in the first place.
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation: Grungust Type 2, Gespenst S, and Weissreiter. All the pilots were taken too and used by the Aerogaters
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2 the Neo DC steals the mass production Huckebein, the Wildfalken, and the Shirogane from the EFA.
    • Weissreiter was jacked in this game also but this time was augmented to give it a significant boost in power.
    • SRW 3 has the player re-enact the trope-naming episode of Gundam 0083, among other appearances of this trope.
    • Super Robot Wars MX has the Vegans stealing Great Mazinger and Mazinger Z in a reenactment of "UFO Robot Grendizer vs. Great Mazinger".
  • In the prologue missions of Ring of Red, a North Japanese rebel steals a Super Prototype AFW from right under the noses of the South Japan army, kicking off the game's main narrative.
  • Data East's Breakthru involves the player tracking down a stolen jet fighter prototype.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard can hijack a Cerberus Atlas if s/he either finds it unattended or s/he kills the pilot while leaving the mech itself intact.
    • Edi does this with Eva.


Web Original

  • In Atop the Fourth Wall's review of Power Rangers Zeo #1, Linkara reveals he stole Neutro from Dr. Insano.
  • In the Whateley Universe, when the Syndicate and Deathlist's army of Sabretooths try to invade Super-Hero School Whateley Academy at Halloween, school range officer Erik Mahren jacks one of the Syndicate's gunships. Turns out his old codename when he was in an Army special force was Hijacker.


Western Animation

  • Megas XLR begins with the Earth forces having already stolen the enemy Super Prototype; the beginning of the first episode has the Glorff trying to take it back again.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: In an effort to scare off a murderous classmate, Lance breaks into the military academy's armory to steal a Manus suit. Unfortunately, the classmate responded by stealing a Manus suit of his own.
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