MSV-R: The Return of Johnny Ridden

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MSV-R:The Return of Johnny Ridden (機動戦士ガンダム MSV-R ジョニー・ライデンの帰還, Gundam MSV-R - Johnny Raiden no Kikan) is a manga by Ark Performance first serialized in Gundam Ace on April, 2010. The theme, setting, and mechanics are interlocked with the MSV-R (2009) design series project.

In U.C. 0090, three members of the Federation Survey Service; Rimia Greenwood, Led Wayline and Ashley Brown Brandon are charged with collecting data on various mobile suits, prototypes and wonderweapons that will bring the dark parts of the end of the One Year War to light. Among their subjects of interest are Kycilia Zabi's ace pilot-only Chimera Corps, and the Zeon ace pilot Johnny Ridden.

Tropes used in MSV-R: The Return of Johnny Ridden include:
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Not exactly ancient, but a key catalyst of the plot involves a scheme by Kycilia that involves the Chimera Corps and Johnny Ridden in particular.
  • Badass Normal: The Chimera Corps was very much this by design. As Kycilia wanted a force of Oldtype aces capable of handily confronting Newtypes in battle.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: The FSS increasingly finds itself in the midst of some wider event. And for Led Wayline in particular, he begins suspecting that someone out there is trying to use him to get to Johnny Ridden. Especially when Wayline is Ridden.
  • Continuity Nod: To various UC works. And as the story progresses, Char's Counterattack.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Subverted with Johnny Ridden. While he was very much respected in his prime, he always seemed to be overshadowed by the Red Comet himself, Char Aznable.
  • The Dreaded: "Vasuki," the Federation ace in charge of Task Force "Knight Yeager," has this air about him. He's revealed to be Yazan Gable.
  • Eighties Hair: Many of the characters have these as well as a bit of '90s hair, being consistent with the rest of UC.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Jaburo, though the manga deconstructs this. Mainly by highlighting how thanks to Minovsky Particles' communications-jamming and electronics-scrambling properties as well as the nature of Zeon's attacks, the idea of having this at all proved to be one of the major reasons why the Federation couldn't end the OYW sooner.
  • Excuse Plot: Averted. What initially seems to be a routine series of data-gathering adventures by the FSS quickly takes a darker and more ominous turn.
  • The Ghost: Johnny Ridden, of sorts to the Federation. Justified in that (in addition to Char constantly overshadowing him), there's little available information to Federation authorities on him.
  • Government Conspiracy: It's eventually revealed that elements high up in the Earth Federation government are also trying to find Johnny Ridden for their own ends.
  • Interquel: The story is set in-between Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ and Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The manga also highlights certain tensions within the Earth Federation Forces, which is especially evident if it's between the EFSF's finest and grunts in a backwater outpost on Earth.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Played with. While the manga in general is connected to the Mobile Suit Variations R series and showcases a number of mecha (as well as model kit) designs, it's generally well-integrated into the plot.
  • Mildly Military: Justified in that the FSS, while also having access to mobile suits, is not a formal military unit.
  • Modern Major-General/Well-Intentioned Extremist: Admiral Gopp, though he's technically retired from the military, is a sympathetic take. He's far more familiar with Realpolitik and backroom dealings, even ingratiating himself with the Titans before quietly abandoning them. This would serve him well as Congress Chairman, though it's revealed that he only did what had to be done not only for self-preservation. But also to help ensure that the Federation stayed stable and that Revil's dreams didn't die with him.
  • Multinational Team: Of sorts, as the FSS welcomes people from the Republic of Zeon and other space colonies.
  • Posthumous Character: Kycilia Zabi by this point has been dead for over 10 years, but her presence continues to loom heavily over the plot.
  • Private Military Contractors: They're revealed to still exist in the Universal Century. Among the more notable ones being P.M.C. Themis, comprised of ex-EFSF, ex-Zeon and even ex-Titans personnel and run by a member of the Chimera Corps who may know more than he lets on.
  • The Remnant: In addition to a number of rogue mercenaries and Federation deserters, the FSS comes across various Zeon Remnants as the story progresses. Eventually, Char's Neo Zeon makes its presence felt as well.
  • Retired Monster: The head of P.M.C. Thermis is sort of this from the Federation's perspective, having served on the opposing side during the OYW as part of the Chimera Corps, who may know a lot more than he's letting on.
  • Spanner in the Works: Char Aznable himself, upon learning of the conspiracy and the Chimera Corps' plans. With the intent of using those old grudges to his advantage.
  • Subordinate Excuse: It's strongly implied that Kycilia and Johnny were in love with each other.
  • Super Prototype/Flawed Prototype: Tracking down these, which include one-off, limited production and heavily customized mobile suit models, is part of the FSS' job.
  • The Untwist: It's all but stated outright that Led Wayline is an amnesiac Johnny Ridden.