Manga re-telling of 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
, the original novels of which he illustrated the first three volumes.
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 will garner an Anime adaptation although it is unknown what form this will take. 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 costed double the 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). The first three volumes are already out with more volumes set to be released in the future.
The Manga provides examples of:
- 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 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, tries to rape Sayla before he recognizes her and 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 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.
- Arm Cannon: Both the GM series and some of the Zakus mount a double-barreled machine gun on their left arms.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gilligan Cut: During the lead-up to the Jaburo invasion, Char tries to assuage the Amazonian chieftan'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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Oh Crap: Char gets a bad one during the Luna II arc when he realizes that the woman he's trying to force himself on is actually his estranged sister. He's so shaken up that he runs off and orders his men to pull out even though they had the upper hand.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Super Prototype: Downplayed compared to the original — only the Gundam itself is a prototype in this version, while the Guncannon and Guntank suits are previous attempts at Federation Mobile Suits already used in the field.
- Surprise Incest: What Char gets for trying to get his Rape, Pillage, and Burn on at Luna II.
- Too Soon: Garma's HQ is moved from New York to LA due to the then-recent 9/11 attacks.
- 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.