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In the TV anime Mobile Suit Gundam's spinoff model series, MSV, Johnny Ridden (ジョニー・ライデン Jonī Raiden ) was one of the many pilots who fought for the Principality of Zeon during the devastating One Year War. His nickname was originally said to be the Red Blitz (赤い稲妻 Akai Inazuma ), but this was later retconned into the Crimson Lightning (真紅の稲妻 Shinku no Inazuma ).
He was born at Side 3 in Universal Century 0056, and a descendant of Australian settlers. He lived well since he was the son of a politician. Ridden enlisted in the Zeon military and underwent basic training in UC 0078, just months before the outbreak of the war.
Zeon Involvement Edit
Ridden was assigned to the Mobile Assault Forces under Kycilia Zabi and made a name for himself in the Battle of Loum on January 15, 0079. Ridden destroyed three Salamis-class warships before an order to retreat was issued, and it was widely believed he would have rivaled Char Aznable's equally impressive mark of five had he remained on the battlefield longer. Johnny Ridden was then given a special two rank promotion to Lieutenant, since his previous rank was Ensign. Due to his exploits, and preferred color scheme of red and black, he was nicknamed 'Crimson Lightning'. Ridden scored most of his kills during the war with his customized MS-06R-2 Zaku II High Mobility Type. The unicorn emblazoned on the Zaku's elbow was a tribute to Kycilia, and it symbolized his feelings for her, as the legend of the creature stated that it only opened its heart to a pure-minded woman. Shortly before being assigned to the Chimera Corps, Ridden is promoted to Lieutenant Commander and is given perhaps his most famous and trademark mobile suit, the MS-06R-2 Zaku II High Mobility Type, of which he and only three other pilots have.
Even though he is assigned one of the first Gelgoogs, Ridden questions whether the new mobile suit design is enough to change the fate of Zeon. He is one of the few aware that the Zeon forces are short on experienced pilots.
In October, Ridden was assigned to the elite Chimera Corps and upgraded to the MS-14S Gelgoog prototype. At the Battle of A Baoa Qu on December 31, 0079, Ridden was overwhelmed by the Earth Federation's onslaught. With time running out for the beleaguered base, he fought desperately to protect Kycilia's escape via a Zanzibar warship, unaware that she had already been assassinated by Aznable. Ridden was officially listed as missing in action following the battle, but was assumed dead and promoted posthumously. (In the last cutscene of the Ridden Ace mode in Encounters in Space, it shows a floating crimson Gelgoog head.) It has been recorded that after his final battle, he shot down a staggering one hundred eighty-five enemies in all, for the entire war. It was said that Johnny Ridden was so feared at the battle of A Baoa Qu that a full rank promotion was offered to anyone who was able to shoot the ace down.
Ridden was thought to have survived A Baoa Qu, in Gundam Evolve 9, one of the three MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam units that appeared (Red Zeta) was designed to be piloted by Johnny Ridden, but since Johnny is missing, it was instead piloted by Yurii Ajissah. Another of those Zeta units was hinted at being piloted by Shin Matsunaga under the code-name Grey Wolf.
According to the Japanese manga 『MSV戦記 ジョニー・ライデン』"Mobile suit Gundam - MSV Chronicle "Johnny Ridden" by Yuichi Hasegawa (長谷川裕一), Ridden survived the One Year War, and assumed the name Johnny Dopp(ジョニー・ドップ) and fought a villain called Dr. Q along with Shin Matsunaga. However, the story took liberation to say that Johnny is working against the Zabi family instead of fighting for them. Like many other manga of the Gundam series, and especially by Yuichi Hasegawa, as he himself claimt, are not official but he would like it to be.
Ridden's nickname was originally said to be the Red Blitz, from an RB that was found on the model kit of his customised Gelgoog by Bandai. In recent games and material, he is clearly stated as being the Crimson Lightning. It is possible this change was because Red Blitz was too close to Red Comet, the nickname of Char Aznable. Crimson, on the other hand, is often mistaken for red and could be seen as a metaphor for Ridden's own misfortune in being misidentified as Aznable.
Ridden's Gelgoog is known to not carry a shield so that its maneverability is slightly better then that of a normal Gelgoog.
Despite his success as a pilot, Ridden is often overshadowed by the more famous Aznable, and sometimes it is jokingly said that his Zaku is more famous than he is. In fact, in the Playstation 2 version of the strategy game Gihren's Greed, he has the following conversation with fellow ace Shin Matsunaga.
Ridden: "Hey, I've heard of you. The White Wolf, right? Nice to meet you."
Matsunaga: "Oh, this is a pleasure. I didn't expect to meet with the famous Red Comet."
Ridden: "! I'm not the Red Comet; I'm the Crimson Lightning!"
Matsunaga: "Oh, I'm terribly sorry. Then, I'm counting on your support, Crimson Lightning Char Aznable."
Ridden: "... Forget it..."
Matsunaga: "Hm? What's wrong, Char?"
Furthermore, Char Aznable himself has heard of him, but is confused as to his nickname, referring to him as the Crimson Nightmare or the Red Nova. Needless to say, Ridden is less than amused.