Battledress, more commonly known as a Battle Dress Uniform or just BDU, is the common real-world military term used in general to describe garments worn in armed conflict, and can typically include elements such as fatigues, body armour, or refer to factional colours or camouflage combinations.
Although the term isn't used in the Appleseed universe, BDUs are frequently a part of the story, as the main characters are often seen wearing elaborate examples of protective clothing that feature uniform identities.
Seen once in the manga, debuting in volume five (published as Appleseed: Hypernotes), the K-2 “Garthim” is a wetsuit-like one piece protective garment fashioned out of a rubbery composite material, similar in appearance to a Datasuit (see below) but considerably thicker. A K-2 comprises of multiple, sandwiched layers of material that can be expanded on demand, either by user input or microprocessor overrides. When fully inflated, the outermost skin of the suit is rigidified in so as to maintain sea-level atmospheric pressure of no more than 40 FSW in the interior, even when the outside pressure may exceed fifty times that level, at 2000 FSW. In order to do this, the wearer must be utilizing the K-2's matching helmet, Darth-Vader like headgear that also features heads-up-display and communications functionality, while completing the neck seal to maintain the interior pressure levels. It appears the Garthim helmet also has limited oxygen generation capabilities, or at least a small rebreather system.
Computer controlled, the inflation process is fully automated, and will prevent crush injuries or deaths during inadvertent submergence in liquids, or if the wearer is trapped under debris, or both (as demonstrated in the Hypernotes). At full inflation, however, respiration is severely hindered, as there is literally no flexibility in the material to allow even for the expansion and contraction of a breathing human's chest; such conditions will tire an operative in less than optimal condition, and limits the amount of time that the Garthim will effectively act as a life preserver.
The one-piece K-5 “Gasium,” at least in appearance, is nearly identical to the K-2 “Garthim”, though the drysuit and pressure equalization functionality is lost in favour of material flexibility and higher resilience to assault munitions. Meant solely for dry combat conditions, the K-5 is fashioned out of woven Kevlar-variant materials, making it semi-bulletproof and flameproof, with sewn in sidearm holsters on both hips (which are eliminated by the 2130s in favour of strap-on holster), and various zippered pockets for smaller ES.W.A.T. field issue components. The K-5, in both the manga and movie series, differes from the K-2 by featuring a distinctive, horseshoe-shaped padded collar, that appears to protect the neck against soft-tissue injuries or whiplash, which if correct, would probably be useful for Landmate pilots in combat.
The K-5, while semi-armoured itself, is not alone capable of preserving life in intense firefights. As such, it has multiple mounting points and strapdown buckles for heavier metallic alloy armour panels, in the shin, forearm, knee, and shoulder regions. Also, the contours of the suit are designed to allow for a bulkier bulletproof vest to be worn over the upper-torso. All mounting points are supposedly rubber lined for the elimination of clash and clatter, yet in Ex Machina this appears to be less than totally effective.
Gasium suits can be worn (apparently even with armour panels installed) in the cockpit of second-generation Guges-D Landmates.
K-7 Light “Gasium”EditIdentical to the K-5, the K-7 is made of thinner materials, and is meant to be worn during low-risk urban operations, where mobility is key, and armour capabilities takes second place. Unlike the K-5, it lacks strapdown points for additional bulleproof panels.
Although not in itself a BDU, the Datasuit is an integral component of one. Essentially a tight, multi zone electrostatically-sensitive film, the Datasuit is worn directly upon the skin like a one-piece undergarment, and is used to capture the minute electrical impulses generated by muscle and nerve tissue in a moving human. Using this information, the Datasuit can relay the wearer's movements, even the most minute ones, to the Landmate they are piloting for the utmost accuracy in motion re-creation. It appears the Datasuit communicates with the Landmate wirelessly, as there are no apparent cable connections on the garment.
Although technically not a body armour, Datasuits do add an additional level of fortification to any BDU worn over it, owing to the composite material they are made from. Interestingly, they are virtually impenetrable by edged-weapons or chemical solutions, whether they be alkali or acidic in nature. In terms of wearer comfort, they are capable of allowing sweat transmission from the inside out, and are highly flexible, not a hindrance to wear during combat. Typically, an ES.W.A.T. operative will always wear a Datasuit under their uniform, should they be required to pilot a Landmate on short notice.
Links and TriviaEdit
- Although the K-series suits are mostly the same in both the manga and anime iterations of the saga, the strap-on armour panels bear almost no similarities. For example, in the manga (and the 2004 movie), the shoulder panels are formed of overlapping steel panels that resemble both classical Roman armour, as well as the roof of the Sydney Opera House, where in Ex Machina they are dome-shaped, and bear the triple-circle Seburo motif.