Manga: Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin

A Manga re-telling of the original Mobile Suit Gundam written and illustrated by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, character designer and animation director of the original series as well as character designer for Zeta Gundam, Gundam F91 and Gundam Unicorn (which he also illustrated the first three volumes of original novels).

The series is basically a manga adaptation of the original series, the third of its kind, and follows many of its plot elements while expanding on those elements and adding in unique elements of its own. The plot is the same as the original series and is as follows:

The series follows Ordinary High-School Student Amuro Ray, opening in the midst of a stalemate in the war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. Though the Earth Federation has (or, rather, had) superior numbers and resources, the Zeon military has annihilated much of the Federation's population with chemical weapons, decimated their fleet with their new mobile suit technology, nearly ended the war in a stroke with a Colony Drop, and follow up by invading Earth.

While fighting a losing battle on Earth, the Federation stepped up its R&D program to develop its own mobile suits, resulting in the Super Prototype "Gundam". While doing final tests on the Gundam in a remote space colony, they are attacked by a small Zeon force led by Char Aznable. Amuro ends up Falling into the Cockpit in order to save the colony, and from there is pulled into the war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. But, of course, things aren't as simple as they appear to be...

The manga itself is currently being adapted into a four episode series for theatrical release. It is a prequel covering the manga's flashbacks to Char and Sayla's childhood and the rise of Zeon. It premiereed in March 2015. As part of a deal between Sunrise and Right Stuf, it is given an american release by the latter with an english dub recorded by NYAV Post.

In addition, it spawned at least one spin-off sidestory, entitled Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Artesia 0083, which concerns Sayla's search for her brother, Char Aznable.

In the United States the manga was previously available from Viz, who released it in twelve collections in the American comic book format, following the Japanese tankobon editions (Small size, few colour pages and printed on newsprint). Unfortunately, these editions cost double the standard price for about half the content, and are now out-of-print. More fortunately, Vertical Inc have picked up the series and are planning to release the entire series, retranslated, in a Limited Edition hardback format based on the Japanese aizoban editions (which are over-sized, have more colour pages and are printed on high quality gloss paper). Several volumes are already out with more volumes set to be released in the future.

The Manga provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: The role of Sayla Mass is expanded from Supporting Character to that of Main Heroine, on an equal paring with Amuro. As a result of the events in the Prequel Volumes (5, 6, and 7), Sayla was forced to grow up fast and fend for herself, and as a result is more active, aggressive, and adept in combat by the time the beginning events of Side 7 occurs. During the events of The Origin, Sayla headshots bad guys, heel kicks Cozun Graham in the jaw, mows down Zeon infantry fighting vehicles with a car mounted machine gun, shoots down countless Zeon mobile suits including killing Newtype Corps pilot Simus Al Bakharov, pilots her own customized GM Mobile Suit, and using her real name Artesia Som Deikun, rallies Zeon soldiers and leads them in a mutiny against Kycilia Zabi during the Battle of A Boa Qu.
    • Mayor Eschoenbach goes from an impotently resentful paper tiger whom Garma keeps around because he can keep the civilians in line to the leader of an underground guerrilla resistance that actually gets into a shooting war with Garma's forces.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Manga greatly expands on important events from the original series whilst, at the same time, completely disregarding more trivial ones. Of note is the greater grasp on the story that Yasuhiko has in comparison to Tomino, one can see this through Yasuhiko's greater sense of geography. In the anime, the White Base basically hops from place to place on Earth, whereas in the manga the White Base makes a clear journey from Los Angeles (where they land and where Garma Zabi is based) to Brazil (where Jaburo is located). Yasuhiko also switches certain events around, of note is that Operation Odessa takes place after the White Base reaches Jaburo, and Amuro encounters his mother before the White Base crew defeat Garma Zabi in battle.
    • The manga also goes into greater detail about Char and Sayla's backstory and Zeon Deikun.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted for Saslo Zabi. While he never appears in the series proper, some supplementary materials have him looking like an older Garma. In this he looks like a younger Degwin.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Kycilia. Dear lord. Goes from a cold, calculating Chessmaster who nonetheless wants what's best for her nation and loves her father to a Manipulative Bitch who'll do anything to get on top, including manipulating Gihren into killing Degwin for her and then killing him to "avenge" their father.
    • Char also gets it bad. Not only is his smugness cranked way up, he has far more morally questionable deeds under his belt than just trying to kill our heroes and betraying his leaders due to a family vendetta. Among other things, he sends the real Char Aznable to his death and steals his identity, manipulates a bunch of poor Amazon natives into helping him with promises that Zeon won't infringe on their tribal ways like the Federation even as his fellow Zeon soldiers try to mold them into guerrillas and may have ultimately caused the One Year War. And he smokes! But then, we are talking about a guy who eventually tried to blow up the Earth, here.
      • Of course, this is all hardly surprising, considering Char's adoptive father figure, Jimba Ral, is also a much nastier character than he was in the original. In the TV series what little information we get on him comes from Sayla's memories of a kindly old man who looked after her family in its hour of need. In this he was a borderline-abusive Conspiracy Theorist who wouldn't stop ranting about the Zabi family's complicity in Zeon Deikun's death and deliberately molds Char into a Tyke Bomb to use against them, whom Sayla resents for stealing her and her brother's childhoods by pushing his vendetta on them when she just wanted to get on with her life. On the other hand, this version of him never actually kills anybody. In the original timeline he may or may not have been responsible for the car bomb that killed Saslo Zabi, whereas in Origin it's another of Kycilia's evil schemes.
    • The flashback arc keeps piling it on, with Zeon Deikun himself going from the Timothy Leary-inspired New-Age Retro Hippie he was described as in the original's background materials to an unstable, raving lunatic who wanted to blow up the Earth (this may have been a result of the poison that killed him affecting his brain, if indeed he was poisoned.).
      • Interestingly, Deikun's more hawkish bent here casts a somewhat sympathetic light on Degwin Zabi's possible complicity in his death. It's entirely plausible that Degwin killed him not out of a lust for power, but to keep him from starting a war they had no hope in hell of winning.
    • Even Garma and Dozle, the two most sympathetic Zabis in canon are given a few additional Kick the Dog moments. Though they're still more heroic than either Kycilia or Gihren.
  • Age Lift: Mirai is aged up by four years to facilitate a scene where she gets to briefly see young Char and Sayla while working as an intern under her father, who's the owner of the Texas colony and a friend of Don Massnote . Interestingly, this would make her two or three years older than Captain Bright, assuming everybody else's ages remain consistent, which puts a slightly different spin on their relationship.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Invoked by the special guest commentary in volume two by CLAMP, who spend a goodly portion of the interview gushing about how cool and attractive Origin's more visibly sociopathic version of Char is.
  • Alternate Continuity/Broad Strokes: Of sorts. While the manga does follow the anime's plot and still set in the Universal Century, there are enough changes and unique differences to the original canon that it could be considered this.
  • Arm Cannon: Both the GM series and some of the Zakus mount a double-barreled machine gun on their left arms.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Char can't hurt an assassin clad in a full suit of plate armor until he jams it through the face slit with a sword.
  • The Artifact: The small fighter jets on White Base are still called Core Fighters, despite the fact that they don't form the core of the RX-series mobile suits' torsos in this version. The one that the Gundam gets in its Midseason Upgrade is completely different.
  • Ascended Extra: Yasuhiko's notes on the flashback arc go into length about how he developed the Zeon Lt. JG Tachi, a minor character who assisted Hamon's Roaring Rampage of Revenge, into a full-fledged Dogged Nice Guy with a crush on her that lasted for years.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The flashback arc sees Char participating in, and occasionally instigating many pivotal events leading up to the war.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Goes into some detail about how messed up both the Zabis and the Deikuns were.
  • Black Shirt: Real Char's entire vocabulary seems to be made up of Gihren Zabi's talking points.
  • Book Dumb: Amuro is at least competent at robotics and computer hacking, but he still gets the last leader of the Soviet Union mixed up with a type of Korean rib dish in History class.
  • Call Forward: Ramba Ral's cockpit gets torn open during a mock battle with the future Black Trinary while testing the MW-01, in a manner similar to his final battle with Amuro.
  • Canon Foreigner: The White Base has a much larger crew than in the original version, necessitating Yasuhiko to invent a large cast of Mauve Shirt characters from whole cloth, most of whom end up dead by the end.
  • Chest Blaster: Some of the Zakus in this version have chest-mounted machine guns.
  • Colony Drop: Which killed 50% of the population of Earth.
  • Cool Mask: Char's, which was presented to him by his former Zeon Academy roommate Murata on the eve of the Dawn Uprising as a token of respect. Before that, Char had been wearing Cool Shades, which he justified by claiming he had a medical condition (they were actually to keep people from realizing that he didn't have the same eye color as the now deceased original Char Aznable). Murata made him a mask fitted with the same type of lenses that couldn't get knocked off in a fight, after a Federation officer slapped his glasses off during a heated argument.
  • Crapsaccharine World: During the flashbacks set on Earth, we take a glimpse of the stately Spanish estate Young Char and Sayla spent part of their exile in. This is in sharp contrast to a large, nearby refugee camp populated by those from North Africa fleeing the expanding Sahara Desert, a Call Forward to the sands reaching Dakar's outskirts in Zeta Gundam.
  • Creepy Child: Young Char takes to violence a little too readily, much to his sister's horror. Also, at one point during their years in New Texas, his teachers wanted to expel him because he freaked them out.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • The Battle for Jaburo. While the Zeon managed to breach Jaburo's defenses rather effectively, they were totally unprepared to run into large numbers of the new mass produced GM's (as opposed to the obsolete pre-war Gun Cannons), whose heavy shields and beam weapons allow them to destroy Zaku's with near impunity in the tight corridors of the base. The Zeon pilots mistaking the GM's for actual Gundams turns it into a full blown rout and massacre when they become cornered.
    • In the flashback arc, there's a battle on the Moon when Professor Minovsky tries to defect and is pursued by five Zaku I's (piloted by Char, Ramba Ral, and the Black Tristars). The Federation scrambles a dozen Guncannon to protect him, but the Zakus destroy them all without a single casualty on their side.
    • The opening of the OVA series shows Dozle's Zeon fleet getting completely annihilated by the Federation fleet. However, the tables are quickly turned when Char and a squadron of Zakus arrive and begin annihilating the Federation fleet.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the 1979 series was by no means a light-hearted romp through space, the manga's tone isn't too far off from Zeta Gundam or Gundam Unicorn.
  • Death by Adaptation: Mayor Eschoenbach.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Big brother flies off the handle and hits you in the middle of an argument? Give his car a Youngstown tuneup! Kycilia Zabi is not to be messed with.
  • Eagleland: The Texas colony was originally an unfinished Wild West-themed resort complex that was converted into a working settlement that tries to live up to the old American image.
  • Evil Knockoff: Zeon engineers build their own Guntank to compete against the prototype Zaku MW-01. It mostly looks the same apart from its "face", which, interestingly, has the vent slits placed differently in such a way that it has a menacing, skull-like look.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Not only does Amuro do this, as per the original series (at least this time his ability to make it move is Justified by him having hacked his father's files and read the user's manual), but in the flashback arc this turns out to be how Char got his start, too. Taking over the controls of a Guntank he was being given a ride in, he destroys 4 more of the same model through a brilliant combination of Beginner's Luck, Newtype hax, the enemy being too shocked by the attack to retaliate and him having command of the main cannons only.
  • False Flag Operation: The Zabi family plays ping pong with this trope in the aftermath of Deikun's death. Either poisoning him or simply taking advantage when he died of a heart condition, Sasro Zabi uses his contacts in the media to stir up conspiracy theories blaming the Federation government to get people's support for the independence movement. Then, Kycilia blows up Sasro in retaliation for him hitting her when they had a disagreement and blames Jimba Ral as a pretext to conduct The Purge against his remaining loyal followers.
    • Char himself gets in on the act when he hacks a Federation asteroid monitoring station knowing that the damage caused by a comet allowed to hit a Zeon colony by the Federation's "negligence" will ramp up the growing tensions.
  • Gilligan Cut: During the lead-up to the Jaburo invasion, Char tries to assuage the Amazonian chieftain's fears about trading one oppressor for another by saying Zeon won't interfere in the affairs of tribal peoples who live in harmony with nature like the Federation has done. The very next panel shows his subordinates teaching the tribe's young braves how to use a rocket propelled grenade launcher.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: It's not open war yet, but Hamon has this vibe in the flashback arc, with soldiers crowding around her and occasionally getting pulled into her schemes with Ramba Ral.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: Discussed; When Char infiltrates Luna 2 to gather intel and data on the Gundam, he admits that he's tempted to just steal it. Fortunately for the plot, Sayla's first confrontation with Char was moved to this scene, and he decides to withdraw instead.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The assassin who kills Jimba Ral hides in Don Mass' mansion by dressing up in a suit of armor used for decoration.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Zeon Deikun gets a very theatrical one, clutching his chest and collapsing on the podium in the middle of a dramatic speech.
  • Incest Subtext: The way Char is struggling with Sayla during their meeting at Luna II looks uncomfortably like Attempted Rape. To his (very small) credit, he apparently doesn't realize who she is at first and has a bit of an Oh, Crap moment when it finally dawns on him.
  • Karmic Death: Kycilia's death is caused precisely by her manipulations to kill Degwin and Gihren to take over Zeon: her manipulating Degwin in putting himself on the Solar Ray's firing line and Gihren into pulling the trigger starts the Battle of A Baoa Qu that gets Artesia back among Zeonian people, and her killing Gihren for Patricide prevents the information of Artesia's return to be known until the officer that was about to warn Gihren starts a mutiny against her, starting the chain of events that led to Char's legendary Boom, Headshot.
  • La Résistance: The citizens of LA are much more active in resisting the Zeon occupation than any of the civilians in the original series were. But then, it is LA.
  • Lighter and Softer: While Lalah was a child prostitute before being rescued by Char in the original series, in this version she was simply being used for her Psychic Powers by a gang of petty crooks to cheat at casinos.
  • Made of Iron: Dozle Zabi is rather less than instantly killed by a bomb placed in his and his brothers car.
  • Meaningful Name: Char and Sayla's mom, Astraia, is named after a Greek goddess who supposedly inhabits the constellation Virgo and will one day return to Earth to usher in a new age of peace. Astraia was forced to stay behind when her children fled to Earth but promises she'll come to join them some day. Her death before she can fulfill that promise heralds the beginning of the Universal Century as an era of endless warfare.
  • Midseason Upgrade: Unlike the original series, both the Gundam and White Base get one at Jaburo, with White base getting beefed up armor and guns, while the Gundam finally gets the Core Block system.
  • Mighty Whitey: Char ropes a group of South American natives into helping him invade Jaburo. Most of them are eager to assist him in fighting their Federation oppressors, but their tribal chief can tell he's full of it.
  • Milestone Celebration: The anime adaptation will be released in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Gundam franchise.
  • More Dakka: Yasuhiko certainly gives his mobile suits more mounted machine guns than the original series. Then there's the new Zaku machine guns, which in this version trade in the original's iconic pan magazines for a higher capacity belt feed from the backpack. Strangely, you can see the end of the retracted ammo belt sticking out of the back even on Zakus equipped with the bazooka instead.
  • Mythology Gag: During the Ramba Ral saga, Kai's Guncannon gets destroyed and replaced with the "Canon Zaku", a captured Zaku with its head replaced with the Guncannon's. This not only references the "Zeta Zaku" from ZZ Gundam, but also bears an uncanny resemblance to the Zanny, a mobile suit from the obscure late '90s PC game Gundam Tactics: Mobility Fleet, which was an early prototype of the GM cobbled together by the Federation from Guncannon and Zaku parts.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: From Side 3's perspective, at least. If the Zabi family really did assassinate Zeon Deikun, it was probably the best thing they could have done for the nation, even with all the political instability it brought on. Deikun wanted to declare war on the Federation, a war the colony defense force as it existed at the time, when proper mobile suits had yet to be invented, was in no way prepared to fight. By postponing the war, Deikun's death saved Side 3 from a massive Curb-Stomp Battle, while the One Year War as it actually played out, though hideously destructive to almost everybody else, ended with surprisingly little damage to the Zeon home colonies.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Lady Roselucia is one who is decidedly not played for laughs.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Notably, we actually get to see Amuro and friends attending high school towards the end of the flashback arc's second act.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Hayato is extremely proud of his Japanese heritage in this version, as he demonstrates while judo-flipping an entire squad of Zeon soldiers in a neutral village who had insulted him and his friends while declaring his Japanese Spirit won't allow such a slight to go unpunished. Amusingly, he's lived his whole life prior to landing in the Americas in a space colony, making him a sort of Asian, sci-fi counterpart to a stereotypical Boston Irish.
  • Race Lift: Because the North America arc was moved further south than it was in the original, Amuro is now half Hispanic instead of half White, his hometown being changed from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Rosarito Beach, Baja California. He even looks noticeably swarthier in most of the color illustrations than he did in the anime, though this may just be due to the different palette.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: In addition to being a brutal dictator, Gihren Zabi is also an avid gardener. There's something almost surreal about a man who'll go on to order the deaths of billions dressed in gardening gloves and an apron holding a pair of pruning shears.
  • The Real Remington Steele: During the flashback to Char and Sayla's childhood, Sayla meets Char Aznable — an almost Identical Stranger for her brother, "Edouard Mass" — at the Texas colony, their latest refuge. Char and Edouard become friends, but Edouard arranged for the pair to pull a Twin Switch to get past spaceport security — just in time for the young Texan to be assassinated, and for Edouard (now the Char everyone knows) to enter the Zeon military.
  • Riddle for the Ages: For all the exposition we get in the flashback arc, the manga never comes out and says explicitly that Zeon Deikun was actually poisoned or if his death was simply a heart attack. There's plenty of evidence for either theory. On the one hand, Deikun was behaving erratically before he died, which Jimba Ral described as a symptom of the poison he believes the Zabis used. On the other hand, Astraia says he was always high strung since she met him.
  • Scenery Porn: Yasuhiko puts his skills as an illustrator to work and as a result the series far exceeds the original anime in artistic quality.
  • Shotacon: Kycilia behaves in an extremely creepy manner towards an 11 year old Char. She later claims to have been testing him to see how he'd react, but it still makes one wonder.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Char is seen smoking and drinking in a bar during Gihren Zabi's speech. Notable because in the original series, Char was only drinking.
    • The flashback arc contains an amusing scene of a teenage Crowley Hamon trying to invoke this trope only to start coughing up a lung.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Astraia's illness and eventual death isn't elaborated on much. Like her husband, she may or may not have been poisoned.
  • Super Prototype: Downplayed compared to the original — only the Gundam itself is a prototype in this version, while the Guncannon is a previous Federation attempt at fielding mobile suits (failed because, while excellent in attacking ships and supporting infantry, is pathetic at fighting other mobile suits, while even the Zaku I can both outfight it and perform reasonably its other missions) and the Guntank is a tank (or possibly a self-propelled artillery vehicle) with a humanoid torso, and both were already mass-produced and used in the field (with the Guntank's deployment preceding the start of development of mobile suits by years).
    • Inverted by the Guncannon, in fact. In the Jaburo arc, the Federation rolls out an entirely new line of Guncannons, the RX-77-02, which are much sleeker and more humanoid than the unwieldy, hunchbacked RX-77-01 version we've seen up to this point. Specifically, they're the version from the original series.
  • Teen Genius: Mirai Yashima is mentioned to have already started taking university courses and is working as an assistant to her father in a major interplanetary business concern at the age of 15 in the flashback arc, which does take some of the ridiculousness out of the idea of her piloting an entirely new class of warship with no training but a commercial spaceplane license.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Char to Garma, pushing him into starting an insurrection against the Federation and a later obsession with White Base. Every time Garma takes a foolhardy risk, Char's right there behind him pushing the buttons.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Volume 5 is one long one for Sayla.
  • Tyke Bomb: Jimba Ral raised Char to be a weapon in his war against the Zabi family.
  • Unusual Weapon Mounting: In addition to the classic forehead machine guns, this incarnation of the Gundam also gains a pop-up gatling gun in its right shoulder and two missile launchers recessed into its left, as well as an optional backpack that replaces one of the iconic beam sabers with an artillery piece.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: All the really horrible things that happen on Side-7 during the first few installments only happen because the Federation decided to develop the Gundam in secret on a neutral colony.