Bright Noa (ブライト・ノア Buraito Noa?) is a character from the Universal Century timeline. At the beginning of in Mobile Suit Gundam, Bright is an officer candidate without a commission from the Earth Federation Space Forces, but takes command as the highest-ranking surviving military personnel. Bright's commands include the White Base, the shuttle Temptation, Anti Earth Union Group's Argama, the entire AEUG fleet, and Londo Bell's Ra Cailum.
Bright Noa is a loyal and dedicated soldier both in war and peace. He is known for his competence, strong leadership and ability to quickly adjust to complex situations. Thrust into leadership at a young age and by chance, and with a crew comprised largely of civilians and minors, he nevertheless demonstrated an affinity for command, and has been a key member of the Earth Federation Forces ever since. He has regularly proven himself in unfavourable situations, such as the early parts of Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ.
As captain, he enforces strict military discipline and regulations, and does not hesitate to punish his crew when they step out of line. A prime example of ability to maintain discipline and make tough decisions for one's own good is throwing the protagonist Amuro Ray into the brig for insubordination and for going AWOL. Additionally, Bright is not above using physical force to discipline crew members who are being insubordinate or otherwise disruptive. He once slapped Amuro after he refused to pilot the Gundam, despite Amuro knowing full well that his duties ensured the safety of the White Base and its crew; he punched Kai Shiden for being loud and obnoxious; and after Emma Sheen launched without permission, he ordered her to return to the bridge later for "correction".
He is considered to be the most experienced field commander in mobile suit warfare, and is often granted top-notch military equipment and has ace pilots under his command, such as Amuro Ray, Char Aznable, and Kamille Bidan. Yet Bright is known for relying on standard and reliably proven tactics rather than acts of bravado. Many would consider Bright to be one of the most successful field commanders in the Universal Century, as he has led his ships and fleets victorious in the One Year War, the Gryps Conflict, the First Neo Zeon War, and the Second Neo Zeon War.
Bright has a strong moral compass and never hesitates to make the morally right decision for the better of all, even if he has to disobey orders from his superiors. For instance, he decided to act pre-emptively during the Londo Bell-Neo Zeon encounter in Char's Counterattack. A more prominent example is in Zeta Gundam, where he defected to Anti Earth Union Group rather than continue to serve the corrupt and oppressive Earth Federation.
Although Bright is not a Newtype, he has nevertheless has some traits and experiences associated with them. He has received several telepathic messages over the series, and can sense when someone in his proximity is "like Amuro" (including Kamile Bidan, Judau Ashta and Banagher Links).
One Year War
Bright Noa is a 19-year-old Earth Federation Forces Ensign who is stationed on the SCV-70 White Base as a junior line officer. As he arrives to his assignment, he runs into chief engineer Lieutenant Tem Ray, who shows Bright a picture of his son, Amuro. When Zeon pilot Char Aznable attacks Side 7 after discovering the secret Project V, Bright scrambles to get the evacuees onto the White Base while a pilot in the RX-78-2 Gundam fights off the MS-06 Zaku II. He eventually realizes that Amuro, whom he hasn't met yet, is the only living candidate to pilot the Gundam.
Due to the surprise attack, all the original staff officers on the White Base are either killed or incapacitated. Captain Paolo Cassius, though alive, is badly wounded and not fit for command; therefore, responsibility for the ship falls upon the young Bright, who immediately takes action in putting together a suitable crew from the surviving civilian refugees to crew the ship. Among them is a woman named Mirai Yashima, who has piloting experience; Bright selects her to be the helmsman. When Bright and the Captain Paolo finally contact Amuro, Bright is upset that the pilot is just a kid and is ready to remove him, when Captain Paolo points out that they have no one else to replace him. Therefore, Bright reluctantly allows Amuro to pilot the Gundam for the time being.
Under pursuit by Zeon forces, the White Base flees to the Federation base Luna II. Upon arrival, the White Base is refused entry, and Admiral Wakkein orders Bright and the rest of the crew detained over their use of top-secret military hardware. Bright attempts to warn the officers of an impending Zeon attack, but is ignored. As predicted, the Zeon attack, but Wakkein refuses to let Bright and the others use the White Base and Gundam to fight it off; Captain Paolo intervenes, telling Wakkein that they are the only ones equipped to handle it and that he will take full responsibility. The crew fight off the Zeon attack and prepares for atmospheric re-entry to Earth. During the battle, Paolo dies from his wounds; with his death, Bright becomes the official commander of the White Base.
Landing deep in Zeon-controlled territory, the White Base is forced to fight its way to Federation space. Each battle tests them, bringing them closer together and honing their skills. In the beginning, it is thanks to the cutting-edge technology of the White Base and the Gundam, along with some timely luck, that allow the crew to survive; but as the war progresses, the White Base develops into a formidable unit. Nicknamed "The Trojan Horse" by Zeon forces, Bright and the White Base develop a mighty reputation. By the time they rendezvous with the main Federation fleet, their reputation precedes them, and the Federation leadership decides to use the ship as a major element in Federation operations. Likewise, the crew becomes so skillful in such a short amount of time that the Federation brass decides to keep them together rather than to assign a veteran military crew to take over. Bright is promoted to lieutenant junior grade for his proven effective leadership, and Mirai is accepted into the Federation Forces military and given an automatic officer's commission as an ensign, making her the ship's First Officer and second-in-command. Bright leans heavily on Mirai for counsel during difficult decisions, and together they form a strong core military leadership for the ship.
Bright remains captain of the White Base throughout the One Year War, participating in the major operations, including Operation Odessa, the defence of Jaburo, and the last stand of Zeon at asteroid fortress A Baoa Qu.
After the war, Bright and Mirai get married, and they have two children together, Cheimin and Hathaway.
Bright (27) in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation
After the One Year War, Bright, like most of his comrades aboard White Base, was alienated by the High Command of the Earth Federation Space Forces. He was promoted to commander and assigned to captain the shuttle spacecraft Temptation, whose primary missions were to escort high-ranking Earth Federation officials.
Bright defected to the AEUG to aid their struggle against the Titans after being beaten up by Titans officers, including Bask Om himself, when he objected to a set of unethical orders. Considering his veteran experience in mobile suit warfare as the captain of White Base during the One Year War, AEUG commissioned Bright with the rank of captain and gave him command of the assault space carrier Argama, which was the flagship and crown jewel of the AEUG fleet.
Bright Noa worked together with his former adversary, Char Aznable, and together they formed the core leadership of the Argama. With their combined battle experience and expertise of mobile suits, they truly became a force to be reckoned with and not taken lightly. After Commodore Blex's assassination, Char became the face and idealistic leader of AEUG, but it was Bright who took over command of the military forces. As captain of the AEUG flagship, Bright assumes command of the entire AEUG fleet and effectively leads them in all major battles.
Several highlights of Bright's tour of duty as captain of the Argama include the attack on Federation Headquarters at Jaburo and Kilimanjaro, Operation Maelstrom, and the final three-way battle between the fleets of the AEUG, Titans, and Axis Zeon near the Gryps Two space colony. After the climatic battle at Gryps Two, the AEUG fleet was left crippled and Bright was the sole experienced military commander within the ranks of AEUG leaders.
First Neo Zeon War
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Bright (28) in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
He continued to command the Argama during ZZ Gundam. After taking the Argama to the colony Shangri-La to repair the Argama and take Kamille to the hospital, he and the crew of Argama was attacked by an old foe Yazan who was helped by Judau Ashta and his friends. While Judau attempted to steal the Zeta Gundam, as he was able to make it move, Bright compared him to Kamille and Amuro. Eventually when Yazan revealed his true colors, Judau in the Zeta Gundam defeated him and left before Bright could ask his name. While in Shangri-La, Bright had to deal with multiple attacks by Mashymre Cello's troops and Judau's attempts to steal the Zeta Gundam, but all the encounters ended with Judau defeating the Neo Zeon forces and then returning the Zeta Gundam. Due Judau's abilities, Bright believed he could be a major help to the AEUG, and would send him the Zeta Gundam to train him and force him to join the Argama. Eventually he was successful, and all of Judau's friends and Judau himself joined the Argama. Soon afterwords Roux Louka would join the Argama, as a liaison to La Vie en Rose, for supplies. After a struggle with Mashymre's forces, the Argama successfully leaves Shangri-La. After docking with La Vie en Rose, he meets old friend Emary Ounce who gives Judau the ZZ Gundam and upgrades the Argama to have the Hyper Mega Particle Cannon. After Fa leaves the AEUG, he creates the Gundam team which made of Judau and his friends whom uses the ZZ Gundam, Zeta Gundam, Gundam Mk-II, the rebuilt Hyaku Shiki and Mega Rider. Throughout the show he attempts to train the Gundam team to be real soldiers. While his friend Emary housed romantic feelings for him and was very attractive, Bright remained loyal to his family. On a mission in Dublin, he met Fa and Kamille once more. When he learned Haman planned to drop another colony, the Argama and Karaba, were able to rescue a portion of the population of Dublin at the price of destroying most of Karaba's force and highly damaging the Argama. He and the Gundam team went back to La Vie en Rose, to get the new Nahel Argama. Bright despite being assigned as the ship's captain, was separated from it in combat and he with Shita and Qum returned to La Vie en Rose. He later met with Sayla Mass and Leina Ashta, who discussed of Char's whereabouts and possible plans. He and the rest of the AEUG forces would later arrive at Core 3 to back up the Nahel Argama's crew in battle only to find the battle over. He later confronted an emotional Judau and allowed Judau to punch him. He later saw off Judau and Roux to the Jupiter Fleet. After the Axis Zeon was defeated, AEUG forces were integrated back with the Earth Federation, and Bright was re-instated as an officer of the Earth Federation with the rank of Captain.
Second Neo Zeon War
Bright (33) in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
He was later made the commanding officer of Londo Bell Task Force, as seen in the movie Char's Counterattack. He was rejoined by his former subordinate Amuro Ray. They played critical roles during the events in Char's Counterattack when they encountered and fought Char Aznable's Neo Zeon rising faction for the last time.
Third Neo Zeon War
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Bright (36) in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
In UC 0096, Bright Noa would later appear in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and he is still the commanding officer of the Londo Bell corps. His ship, the Ra Cailum, has been equipped with a Minovsky Craft System, enabling it to operate on Earth and in space. Bright is present at the Battle of Dakar where a Zeon mobile armor lays waste to the city. He is ordered by Ronan Marcenas to either secure or destroy the Garencieres, which housed the key to Laplace's Box. Bright sees the job as a personal request, however. Ronan also asks Bright to take his son, Riddhe, on board the ship with his Delta Plus. Upon meeting, Riddhe requested that he not be given special treatment, to which Bright states he'll receive none. As Riddhe turned away to look at a picture of Amuro, Bright received a call that the Garencieres had moved.
The Ra Calium moved to Torrington to repel a Zeon remnant assault on the city and military base. They are later witnessed to the Unicorn Gundam transforming into Destroy Mode and battling the Shamblo. Once the battle is over, Bright orders Riddhe to take the Gundam into custody. However, the Vist Foundation launches its own RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee, which swiftly captures the Unicorn.
All three suits are then brought aboard the Ra Calium, while at the same time the ship became occupied by Vist Foundation member, agitating the crew. Bright calmed his crew, reminding that they still serve General Staff HQ and they should consider the Foundation people to be part of them. Although their operating circumstances changed, Bright states that their mission was to hunt down the Garencieres.
As he exited the briefing room, Meran informed him that the supplies delivered to the Garuda are fit for royalty. He then visits Banagher Links, the Unicorn's pilot, in his cell and kindly questioned him. Banagher laments that if anyone finds the coordinates to Laplace's Box, "that place" would become a battlefield and that more people like Loni would die. Bright asks if Banagher escaped the Garencieres, but he says that the group simply let him go, and that Zinnerman was unhappy with the operation. Bright agrees based on the movements of the ship, and asks if he was given free will despite being a technical prisoner. Banagher says that he never felt as though Zeon was an enemy, since was a civilian and not a soldier taught to discern friend from foe. As Bright leaves, he tells Banagher not to give up because he has strength, though he says it was dumb luck that he found the Unicorn. Bright says that it may have been pure luck, but those were the circumstances of all the Gundam pilots before him, and that he chose to pilot the Gundam on his own. He asks what gave Banagher the resolve to pilot the suit, and he says there's someone he wanted to help: Mineva Lao Zabi.
Bright and Meran then go to a private terminal and get in contact with Beltorchika Irma, who confirmed that the General Revil had been deployed on a covert mission for General Staff HQ. Bright suspected they are targeting the Nahel Argama, as its crew know of Laplace's Box. Beltorchika asks if they should warn the Nahel Argama, because it would not stand a chance against the General Revil. Bright then stated that they need to get contact with the Garencieres and had Kai Shiden negotiate a plan to save Mineva from the Garuda and get the Unicorn away from the Foundation.
As the crew prepared to transfer the Unicorn to the Garuda, Banagher broke away from his Vist bodyguards to try and talk to Riddhe. Bright catches him and while the Tri-Stars occupy the bodyguards, he inform Banagher of the plan.
As the Tri-Stars, the Banshee and Riddhe/Delta Plus make their way to the Garuda, the carrier is assaulted by the Garencieres. The Ra Calium attempted to go on alert, but Meran stopped them, reminding everyone to remain focused on the mission. Bright and everyone else were later witness to the psychofield generated by the Unicorn enabling the Garencieres to make orbit with the Nahel Argama.
As the Ra Calium sets out for space to rendezvous with the Nahel Argama, Bright received a reprimand from Martha Vist Carbine for allowing the Unicorn to fall into the Sleeves' hands. Bright admits that his plan backfired, with Frontal capturing the Nahel Argama due to his quick response. Martha asks how he could lose track of the group, and Bright explains that the standard patrol fleets were removed from the area due to the nature of the General Revil's mission, and subtly implies the Vist Foundation's hand in the conflict. He confronts Martha on what Laplace's Box actually is, and she tells him about The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry that has been a Vist keepsake. The "box" is guarded by a white unicorn and a black lion, and Martha tells Bright that if they can't protect the box, then they'll destroy it as she dismisses the services of Londo Bell.
Bright is later informed by Kai that the Federation had rebuilt the Gryps Laser as Gryps II with the intention of destroying the Magallanica where the Box is located before it falls into anyone else's hands. With the Nahel Argama engaged in battle and no means of warning them nor being able to evacuate the colony, Bright orders the Ra Calium to descend to Earth. Upon arriving at Cheyenne Mountain, where Gryps II's control centre is based, Bright declared his authority as Londo Bell commander to inspect the place. When he enters the command center, he finds Chairman Ronan in the process of inserting the activation keys for the superweapon. He attempts to protest the decision, vowing to turn against the Federation if Ronan goes through with the plan, to which his superior calls his bluff. After he inserts the final activation key and starts charging Gryps II, Bright turns to leave, but then Alberto Vist revealed that Riddhe was piloting the Banshee and was in the line of fire. Bright turned to the base commander and insisted they shut off Gryps II, to which he was refused, as the laser was approaching critical mass and any accident would endanger the thousand people aboard the superweapon.
Ultimately, the Magallanica is saved as the Unicorn and Banshee create a three-layered psychofield to deflect the laser. Soon after, Princess Mineva begins broadcasting to all of Earth and space, revealing the Box's secret, that it was the original Universal Century charter, which stated that Newtypes were meant to take part in government. Martha ordered that the General Revil intercept the Magallanica and stop the transmission, Alberto declares that the conspiracy is over with the Box's opening. Bright then tells Martha that the military will be taking over and that she as a civilian had no say. He then takes her in to questioning.
Bright Noa (45), U.C. 105
20 years after the events of the Second Neo Zeon War, Bright ends up in a position that no father should ever be forced into: As an officer of the Earth Federation military, he condemns Hathaway to death after Hathaway's capture as leader of the anti-Federation terrorist group Mufti. Apparently, Bright didn't know who the Mufti leader really was until the time of his execution, when he was completely unable to do anything to stop it; whether this was an unfortunate coincidence or the doing of his fellow commanders is unknown.
This incident triggers Bright's definitive retirement from the military. After witnessing the execution and spending a long time in a heavy depression, Bright finally regains his spirits enough to open a small restaurant with his remaining relatives, Mirai and Cheimin.
Notes & Trivia
Bright was the captain of Gundam series' main mothership in Super Robot Wars series for a long time before his role was taken by Murrue Ramius in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3.
In plot mainly as she still defers to his authority due to his experience not only with the One Year War but the events of the previous games in the series. In later games, mainly ones without UC Gundam, she does take the lead role, more so in games with Gundam SEED Destiny as she would be the experienced captain. In the first Super Robot Wars Z game, she was the lead captain of a part of the ZEUTH group while Bright was the other.
In Super Robot Wars V, he defers to Captain Okita from Space Battleship Yamato 2199 due to the latter's age and experience, though Okita asks Bright to take over for him should he become unable to continue serving as the overall commander of that game's multiversal heroic fleet, known as the Earth Fleet Tenkuu. In the ending, Bright does fulfill Okita's wishes when Okita canonically dies like he did in his own series, even overseeing Okita's funeral and the decommissioning of the Tenkuu forces in the 'true' ending of the game.
Not counting spin-offs, Bright is the most recurrent characters in the franchise. He made his debut in Mobile Suit Gundam, and continued in Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ, Char's Counterattack and finally Gundam Unicorn.
Bright's only known pupil is Beecha Oleg, whom he trusted to take command of Nahel Argama.
This makes Beecha as de facto Captain for Nahel Argama until Bright make his return.
Bright is quite famous (or infamous) for slapping his crew members, usually to teach them some discipline. In one episode of Zeta Gundam, he even tells Lieutenant Emma to "get up on the bridge for some disciplinary action" while slapping the air.
Fans consider his slaps "therapy" for young angsty pilots, turning them into "Men of Destiny" and argue he should have applied it to Kira in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3. However, this overlooks that it's often not Bright alone who convinces the pilots to pull themselves together; for instance, it was also Fraw's words to Amuro that got him piloting again.
In Mobile Suit Gundam, Bright is mentioned to be from the city of Hong Kong and is sometimes listed as being British in official material. However, as the anime was produced before the deal in 1984 to return the city to China, it is unclear whether Bright Noa is meant to be British or Hong Kongese.