Knightmare Frames (ナイトメアフレーム, Naitomea Furēmu) are humanoid war machines developed by the Holy Britannian Empire. Unveiled during the invasion of Japan, Knightmare Frames are almost exclusively used in place, and sometimes alongside of the practically obsolete main battle tanks. The name "Knightmare Frame" is a play on the word "nightmare" and a knight's mare. There also exists a derivative type of war machine based on the Knightmare Frames called Knight Giga Fortress.
Knightmare Frames often have a humanoid shape and are usually between four and five meters tall, about twice the height of an average main battle tank, giving them a significant height advantage, although not necessarily range advantage. In addition to the standard range of bipedal movement, Knightmare Frames are equipped with Landspinners, self-propelled roller skates attached to the ankles of the machines, which allow them to achieve high mobility and speeds on most terrain. Visual data is gathered through Factsphere sensors, which have thermographic capability and an array of other data-collection functions which are collated in real-time. Factspheres are commonly protected under a layer of armor which can be retracted to improve system sensitivity. Knightmare Frames are piloted from a cockpit set in the protruding 'hump back' in the unit. The cockpit is a self-contained control center which can be ejected in case of emergency. Although Knightmare heads seem to have no real function besides housing Factsphere sensors, it seems they are required to pilot the Knightmare, as seen when a pilot ejects himself when his life in danger and the Knightmare's head is knocked off.
Knightmare Frames are typically armed with rocket-propelled anchors called Slash Harkens (スラッシュハーケン, Surasshuhāken) and a number of other weapons. Mass-production models usually carry handheld rifles, which are able to fire micro ordinance as well, and a number of Chaos Mines, cylindrical air burst grenades that spray deadly shrapnel over a small area. Less common equipment, though more widespread as the series progresses, are Maser Vibration Swords (MVS), a form of vibroblade which oscillates at a high rate to cut through almost anything, and Hadron Cannons, powerful energy cannons which can obliterate almost anything in their path. Late in 2017, Float Systems (フロートシステム, Furōto Shisutemu), devices which allow Knighmares to fly, are introduced, and by 2018 also fall into common use.
Knightmare Frames are powered by the Yggdrasil Drive (ユグドラシルドライブ, Yugudorashiru Doraibu), a fictional energy source. Its centerpiece is a Sakuradite device called the Core Luminous (コアルミナス, Koa Ruminasu), where in a cube of unknown composition is weightlessly suspended. The centerpiece may also contain some kind of liquid, as when the Lancelot first launched, bubbles could be seen rising before the activation of the Core Luminous. The cube revolves at high speeds during a state of drive activation known as Yggdrasil Resonance (ユグドラシル共鳴), apparently involved in the conduction of electricity. The technology is named after the Yggdrasil Tree of Norse Mythology. The drive is recharged through a Sakuradite energy filler (エナジーフィラー, enajii firā).
Despite constant animations directed at the Yggdrasil Drive, its location in the Knightmare has never been made clear, nor has the energy filler but can be estimated to be around the underside of the cockpit block, close to where the cockpit meets the Knightmare's frame. It is estimated the Yggdrasil Drive's location is around the waist for most Knightmare frames, as arms and legs are constantly destroyed in combat but the Knightmare is still able to function. This would also lend creedance to the energy filler's location in the lower part of the cockpit block, as it provides power to the drive, and would therefore need to be as close as possible, while still being able to be removed.
In old mass production types, the head is used to store the Factsphere sensor and the chest is occupied by an extension of the cockpit used as the emergency ejection function. The Tristan Divider is still able to function while the frame is severed at the waist, as seen in the finale of R2.
Inside a standard Knightmare frames cockpit block some of the mainstream features are the three panoramic display monitors, the dual control joysticks, and instrument panels. The panoramic monitors are linked to outside sensors and cameras, and can be switched to display other information such as status or even as a video communication system. In custom frames, the interface system varies, dependent on the Knightmare's primary function towards combat. For example, the Gawain's interface has a full screen 'ceiling' or dome above both pilots that show direct surroundings of the Knightmare, most likely used so calculations for its Blaze Luminous defense can be inputted accurately.
The creation of Knightmare Frames is roughly divided in nine Ages, which mark the birth of a new kind of weapon platform and its evolution into a full-fledged combat system.
First Age: InfancyEdit
The beginnings of the Knightmare Frame came from the creation of 'emergency survival cockpits' for conventional vehicles. Equipped with rocket engines to fly the crew away from the wreck, the contraptions were soon equipped with artificial legs to allow greater mobility. Limited room inside said vehicles restricted the number of legs to two. Though not a weapon in any sense of the word, the 'walking cockpits' provided the base form for their successors.
Second Age: Turning PointEdit
Several years later, the creation of several common Knightmare Frame technologies, such as the Factspheres and Landspinners, lead to the funding for Knightmare Frame prototypes. However, the new technologies performed erratically, and the research was outsourced to military-based robotics projects and social-oriented programs. The former was assigned to a Britannian Army Special Division, the 'Special Dispatch Guidance System Division', while the latter went in the hands of a private group, the Ashford Foundation. The foundation implemented technologies related to training and education, enabling the entire Knightmare Frame program to make progress fluidly.
The bipedal weapon was nicknamed 'Knightmare' by the Army but its non-offensive equipment was referred to as 'Frame' by civilians. The union of those two terms gave birth to the name 'Knightmare Frame'.
Third Age: ArchetypeEdit
With the results gained from the two separate programs, Knightmare Frames were developed in combat-effective platforms. Use of Sakuradite became paramount in making the Knightmare Frames perform to expectations, resulting in the mineral's value increasing greatly, turning it into a resource as important as fossil fuels in international politics.
The Third Age also marked the creation of the Ganymede prototype, manufactured and designed by the Ashford Foundation. Its test pilot, Marianne quickly became famous and was granted knighthood, before eventually getting married to the Britannian Emperor. However, the company suffered great loss when Marianne was assassinated. The Ashford Foundation eventually retired from its business and its employees were disbanded. The truth on the Empress' death was never truly elucidated but rumors suggest that her downfall was caused by a political feud meant to keep the rising Ashford Foundation in check.
Fourth Age: ImplementationEdit
The Fourth Age saw the introduction of the RPI-11 Glasgow, the first mass-production weapons platform. Its abilities allowed the Britannian Empire to easily dominate Japan during the invasion of 2010 A.T.B. The Glasgow moved on to become the baseline unit for the Britannian Army, though it is eventually made obsolete. Some Glasgow units are still used by the Knight Police for law enforcement, and other countries have used it as a base in the creation of their own Knightmare Frames.
Fifth Age: EvolutionEdit
Following the success of the Knightmare Frames against conventional weapons of war, attention was turned to creating Knightmare Frames intended to destroy similar weapons, including other Knightmare Frames. The RPI-13 Sutherland is the result of this. The Sutherland features improvements to cockpit comfort and function, better mobility, and increased close-combat capabilities to emphasize its role as an anti-Knightmare weapon. The Second Princess Cornelia and her bodyguards make use of the Gloucester, a Sutherland variant designed specifically to combat other Knightmare Frames, reflecting the Chinese Federation and the EU's development of their own Knightmare Frames.
Sixth Age and Seventh: Missing and ContinuationEdit
The sixth age features almost no improvements in Knightmare Frame technology, earning it the moniker "Missing Generation" but the Sixth Generation Knightmare Frame Gawain was the first Knightmare Frame to use a Float System, Druid System, Hadron Cannons and later Gefjun Disturbers were added to get better control of its Hadron Cannons and to give it a Stealth System. The creation of the Seventh Generation Lancelot marked the first significant innovation. Sakuradite is not only used in the Yggdrasil Drive, but is also scattered throughout the frame, increasing performance dramatically in all areas. This allows the Lancelot to effectively employ the MVS (Maser Vibration Sword) and electromagnetic shielding. In addition to the frame, Sakuradite is also used in the VARIS (Variable Ammunition Repulsion Impact Spitfire), with the intent of giving it the strength to survive a direct hit. It also features the implementation of a system that can remotely activate an auto-pilot that calls Knightmare Frame to the the pilot by pressing a button on the key, though the range of this feature is limited to short distances. This kind of rapid development completely defies the notion of general purpose and mass production units, resulting in the Lancelot being a unique machine. The first mass-production seventh generation frame is the Vincent, which bears many similarities in design to the Lancelot. However, it lacks many of the Lancelot's experimental technologies, such as the Blaze Luminous and Harken Boosters.
Eighth and Ninth Age: AspirationsEdit
The Eight and Ninth Generations represent the highest level of Knightmare technology seen in the series. Britannia's efforts are led by Camelot heads Lloyd Asplund and Cécile Croomy while Rakshata Chawla produces advancements for the Black Knights. The Knights of the Round use mostly eighth-generation Knightmares, as does Lelouch when he acquires the Shinkirō. The Chinese Federation are also in possession of a Shen Hu, an eighth generation frame. The Ninth Age sees the introduction of the Energy Wing, a Float System giving unrivaled agility and allowing for blinding speeds; but being highly difficult to control. Only two Ninth Age Knightmares are known: the Lancelot Albion and the Guren S.E.I.T.E.N. It is assumed all float-equipped, Eighth Generation, and higher generation Knightmares are built in with their own oxygen supply for combat at high altitudes and, for some, underwater travel and combat.
Knightmare Frames by GenerationEdit
- Burai (mass-produced)
- Burai Kai
- Glasgow (mass-produced)
- Gun-Ru (mass-produced)
- MR-1 (retired)
- Panzer-Hummel (mass-produced)
- Raikō (prototype)
- Akatsuki (mass-produced)
- Bradford (prototype)
- Bradford Brave
- Chu Yen
- Gareth (mass-produced)
- Gekka (prototype)
- Guren Flight-Enabled Version (prototype)
- Guren Mk-I (prototype)
- Guren Mk-II (prototype)
- Lancelot (prototype)
- Lancelot Conquista
- Zetland (prototype)
- Zetland Heart
Knightmare Frames by FactionEdit
Holy Empire of BritanniaEdit
- Aquila (Game Only)
- Equus (Game Only)
- Gekka Custom
- Zetland Heart
- Portman Type 2
- Regalia (Game Only)
- Sheffield Eye
- Bradford Brave
- Vincent Prototype
The Order of the Black KnightsEdit
- Akatsuki Command Model Zikisan
- Burai Experimental Radiant Wave Type (Game Only)
- Burai Kai
- Gekka Pre-Production Test Type (Game Only)
- Gekka Kyoshiro Tohdoh Custom
- Guren Type-02
- Sutherland Sieg
- Tristan Divider
- Panzer Hummel
- Panzer Wespe
Star of Madrid Edit
- Numerous Knightmare's, typically those piloted by members of the Knights of the Round, are named after characters from Arthurian legend. Interestingly, it can be noted that, by the conclusion of the second season, every single Knightmare bearing such a name has been destroyed/defeated on-screen.
- Most mass production Britannian Knightmares are named after locations in the British Isles, the ancestral homeland of the Holy Britannian Empire.