Manga / Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin

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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 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam F91 and Mobile Suit 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 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 three spin-off sidestories set both before and after the main storyline:
  • "Casval 0057" (or "Birth"), about Zeon Zum Daikun hiding from Federation authorities while his son was born.
  • "Artesia 0083'', which concerns Sayla's coming to terms with her Zeon heritage after the war, as well as Kai Shiden finding a direction in life.
  • "Amuro 0082" Amuro reunites with Fraw, Hayato, and the kids in Japan while Zeon assassins try to avenge M'Quve.

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 it up and released 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). All twelve volumes have been released, with the three sidestories included in the final volume.


The Manga provides examples of:

  • 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 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.
    • Zenna goes from being just Dozle Zabi's wife and mother of Mineva to being a cadet officer who participates in Garma's uprising who becomes Dozle's wife.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • M'Quve, while still a Smug Snake who violates the Nuclear Weapons Taboo at the Battle of Odessa, subsequently refuses Ghiren's orders to launch even more nukes when it becomes clear Zeon is losing and instead of dying in a glory-seeking duel with Amuro makes a Heroic Sacrifice, personally leading an MS squad in his Gyan to clear a path for his forces to retreat and then self-destructing in the middle of a flotilla of Federation gunboats to keep them from shooting his men down as they fly back into space.
    • Likewise, Dozle Zabi's reputation as A Father to His Men is further emphasized, showing how sympathetic he was even before the One Year War.
    • Degwin is shown to be a much more caring father figure, at least to Garma. When Gihren arranges for mass riots against the Federation forces occupying Zeon, Degwin warns him that if any harm comes to Garma, then Gihren would regret if very badly.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Many characters are far nastier in this version of the Universal Century.
    • Kycilia 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. She is also responsible for the assassination of Jimba Ral and the attempted assassinations of Char and Sayla. In her second attempt on Char's life, Kycilia arranges to to have an entire passenger ship Char is supposedly riding in destroyed.
    • 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. The OVA adds setting up his former roommate (and original Char's friend) to die in a captured tank during the Dawn Uprising after the roommate figured out his true identity.
    • 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 has 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 wage war against Earth (this may have been a result of the poison that killed him affecting his brain, if he was indeed 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 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.
    • The Federation gets a turn in the third OVA episode during the leadup to the Dawn Uprising. The Uprising was triggered by unrest after severe damage to a Zeon agricultural pod led to food shortages. In this version, a Federation cruiser's arrogant refusal to yield the right-of-way to an outgoing freighter caused a collision that sent the cruiser careening into the pod instead of negligence at a meteor monitoring station allowing a stray meteor to hit it. Federation troops are also shown violently putting down protests calling for independence afterwards.
    • The real Char Aznable is at first present as a decent enough guy. However, he quickly becomes a firm and fanatical believer in Zeon and the Zabi family. He eventually volunteers to join the Zeon military, and even openly wishes to fight in a war against the Federation in a few years, causing his pacifist parents to disown him. Char's rabid Zeon patriotism is also probably what helps motivate Casval/Edouard to arrange the real Char's death and steal his identity.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The manga has a more focused story, cutting out many trivial episodes from the original series. This is especially obvious during White Base's time on Earth. In the anime, the ship basically hops from place to place on a rather vague course, 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 to fit the new story, such as Operation Odessa taking place after the White Base reaches Jaburo, and Amuro encountering his mother before the White Base crew defeat Garma Zabi in battle.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Many events are shown in more detail than the original series, such as Amuro's life at Side 7 and the last moments of the colony that got dropped. The manga also goes into greater detail about Char and Sayla's backstory and Zeon Deikun.
  • 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.
    • The anime version, which is only adapting the flashback arc, however, seems to be intended as a prequel to the original anime continuity.
  • Anachronic Order: The multi-book flashback arc starts immediately after the Jaburo invasion ends and then snaps back to the White Base leaving South America. Interestingly, this strongly parallels the oft-recommended "Machete" viewing order for the Star Wars filmsnote , the end of the Jaburo arc being where the second Compilation Movie ended. It's not a perfect fit though, since the Europe arc, which while heavily truncated in the movies still contains a few pivotal moments such as Miharu's infiltration of the White Base, was shuffled to after Jaburo in Origin.
  • An Axe to Grind: Ortega's High Mobility Zaku II foregoes any guns whatsoever for a scaled up poleaxe version of the Zaku's standard Heat Hawk, which he uses as an anti-shipping weapon.
  • 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 stabs a sword through the face slit.
  • 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.
    • The female cadet officer who attempts to stall Dozle Zabi during Garma's raid is revealed to be Zenna Zabi, who's generally been given a larger role compared to the original series.
    • Char's original roommate at the Zeon Military Academy goes from a random schmuck killed by a stray bullet during the Dawn Uprising to one of the original Char Aznable's friends with a small arc of his own. He figures out Casval's identity after seeing his eyes, so Casval sends him to capture a Federation tank without telling the rest of the squad, leading to his death.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The flashback arc sees Char participating in, and occasionally instigating many pivotal events leading up to the war.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Earth Federation texts tend to be shown in the official languages of the United Nations. Meanwhile, anything involving Zeon or Side 3 feature a substantial presence of German and Japanese text, driving home the parallels to the Axis Powers.
  • 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.
  • Boom, Headshot: Char gets an epic one on Kycilia, shooting her with a bazooka round that goes through her head before detonating, destroying the bridge of the ship she's on and causing it to crash into its mothership, destroying them both.
  • 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.
    • There are also many on the Zeon side (as to be expected, given the greater focus on them), including Sgt. Ash and his squad, who join Denham and Gene in the initial raid on Side 7 and General Garcia who leads the attack on Jaburo and replaces Kycilia and M'Quve as the pilot of the Adzam.
  • Cassandra Truth: Two examples:
    • It's implied in the flashbacks that General Revil and a number of other Federation officials saw the impending war coming as well as the potential of mobile suit technology but were ignored until it was too late.
    • When he took on the job to develop Federation mobile suits Tem Rey wanted to develop a multi-purpose mobile suit made to fight other mobile suits first and the rest as a side, but was forced to develop the Guncannon, suited for attacking warships and support infantry but rather poor at fighting other mobile suits. It's only after twelve Guncannons gets wiped out by four Zaku I and a MS-04 Prototype Zaku designed to take on other mobile suits (and, admittedly, piloted by the future Black Trinary, Char and Ramba Ral) that the Federation agrees to develop what will become the Gundam.
  • Chest Blaster: Some of the Zakus in this version have chest-mounted machine guns.
  • Colony Drop: Which killed 50% of the population of Earth.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Char's mentor and Ramba Ral's father Jimba is shown as one. When sheltering Char and his family, Jimba constantly rants about how the Zabi family are responsible for killing Char's father Zeon Deikun and are planning to take over Side 3 to form their evil empire. Whether he's right about them poisoning Zeon is up in the air, and Degwin may just have been an opportunist, but Gihren and Kycilia are definitely power-hungry and willing to sink to low depths to do it.
  • 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.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Garma in the flashbacks is shown undergoing this, all in an attempt to make himself a "true" Zabi man. Which is lampshaded by Degwin, Dozle and Kycilia (to their concern). Though compared to most of the other Zabis, Garma is still the more innocent one.
  • 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 Mobile Suit 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.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Invoked in-verse by Zeon Deikun himself, his ramblings betraying how he sees himself as a new Jesus for his ideology.
  • 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 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam or Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
  • Death by Adaptation: Mayor Eschoenbach.
  • Decompressed Comic: To the point that almost 160 pages are used to tell the events of the first episode alone.
  • 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. However, in the OVA, it is changed to them acquiring an actual Guntank on the black market.
  • Exact Words:
    • When Sayla confronts Char over his deeds since leaving the Texas colony, particularly stealing the real Char Aznable's identity, he replies "Artesia, I swear to you, I was not the one who killed him. That was Kycilia's people." Sayla doesn't buy it: even if his hand wasn't on the trigger, he knowingly left the real Char in a position to die.
    • Char claims he wears his sunglasses or mask due to a "pigmentation issues" that leaves his eyes very sensitive to UV rays. In fact, it's to hide the fact that his eyes are blue while original Char's are brown. That certainly could be considered a problem of pigmentation.
  • 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.
  • Flawed Prototype: The Zaku prototypes:
    • MS-01 did its job well enough... But said job was that of a mobile worker, a humanoid bulldozer. When fitted with a nuclear reactor and used for combat or space-based operations the MS-01 was slow, and underpowered and had poor range due the high propellant consumption from moving the arms and legs. It also had a completely exposed and open cockpit, leaving the pilot vulnerable to enemy fire.
    • MS-02 was somewhat better than MS-01, but remained inefficient enough that Gihren, after visiting the research centre, shut down the development program, at least until Minovsky showed him the design of the next prototype and convinced him to give them a last chance. Ramba Ral also complained that the cockpit was a "deathtrap", as the cramped confines would have the pilot slamming into the walls during extreme maneuvers and collisions.
    • MS-03, being the first one with the AMBAC system, solved the propellant consumption problem and managed to secure funding for further development, but its reactor gave it poor mobility.
    • MS-04 worked well enough it could actually fight, but was still expensive, complex and short-ranged while the Zaku I had similar performance and superior range and simplicity while costing less, resulting in the latter being mass-produced and the MS-04 remaining a small number of prototypes. It still saw combat piloted by Ramba Ral in a skirmish before the war and during the One Week War, before being retired when Ramba Ral resigned in protest against Operation British.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Dozle clearly sees Mineva as this, seeing her as the Zabi family's redemption and to a degree, all Spacenoids. Given what becomes of her by the time Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn takes place, his hopes were well-founded.
  • Gentle Giant: Strangely enough, Dozle. Sure he had his gentle side during the original series, but he had a passion and an anger that radiated off him when he wasn't keeping himself in check. In Origin, he seems practically docile by comparison until his brother is assassinated right in front of his eyes and who's last words were essentially that being soft would get him killed. Suddenly it puts a lot of his anger in the original series into perspective.
  • 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.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Professor Minovsky realizes at one point that not only is his research being taken seriously, but that Zeon has gone even further than even he expected, to his mounting horror. Which motivates his attempt to defect to the Federation, and die in the process.
  • 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.
  • Gratuitous German: Zeon in general makes frequent use of this alongside Japanese. Which both highlights Side 3's predominant ancestries and the parallels to the Axis Powers of the Second World War.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Dozle Zabi knows perfectly well that he has the blood of multitudes on his hands and it deeply pains him as much as he tries to hide it; indeed, he even warns the rest of Zeon's commanders prior to the Battle of Loum that they would be tried as war criminals if they lose. Still, he nonetheless continues commanding Zeon's forces with gusto, if only so he could save his family and homeland as well as help redeem the Zabi name through Zenna and Mineva.
    • Professor Minovsky gets one upon realizing that not only has Zeon succeeded in making mobile suits viable beyond his own expectations (to his growing horror). But that Zeon's engineers could improve on his designs without his guidance. Which spur him to defect to the Federation, and die in the process.
  • He Knows Too Much: Lino figured out that Char Aznable is actually Casval Rem Deiku. Lino wanted to become a Secret Keeper and fully supported Char's plans for revenge against the Zabi family. Unfortunately for Lino, Char doesn't trust anyone and had Lino killed.
  • 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.
  • Hippie Teacher: Zeon Deikun used to be one before becoming a politician, albeit the angry, Weather Underground style of hippie.
  • 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.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: An in-universe gaffe used to illustrate how distant the colonies have become from Earth. In a particularly heartbreaking scene in the flashback arc, a boy named Yuuki talks with his girlfriend as he's about to go off to war that he's been reading up on his family's ancestral home of Japan and wonders wistfully if he'll live long enough to visit there (spoiler:He won't). His girlfriend notes they share some similar racial traits and wonders if she has any Japanese ancestry as well. Her name is Li Fang.
  • 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.
    • The three sidestories all qualify. "Casval 0057" has the Zabi family and Ranba Ral working together to protect Zeon Zum Daikun from the Federation while Casval is being born. In "Artesia 0083", Kai plays the Butt Monkey, and Cowardly Lion, again while helping to defuse a half-thought out attempt to repatriate Sayla to Zeon. "Amuro 0082" resolves the Love Triangle between Amuro, Fraw, and Hayato while they all tour Japan, and a group of Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains does slapstick battle with Amuro's bodyguards in the background. All three stories have a remarkably low body count compared to the main story.
  • Made of Iron: Dozle Zabi was sitting next to his brother Sasro when the car they were in is destroyed by a car bomb. Sasro is killed, of course, but Dozle is able to walk out of the wreckage with little more than some facial scarring.
  • 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.
  • Messianic Archetype: Not only does Deikun look like jesus, but before his death we hear him talking with a LOT of religious imagery, including disciples, crosses, sinners, and hellfire; if you follow the Zabi assassination theory, he was also betrayed by a very close friend. He basically sounds like a Jesus expy, but crazier and less forgiving.
  • 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.
    • Then the Gundam gets another one in the final arc, gaining the magnetic coating and having its shoulder guns replaced with more thrusters.
  • 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 was released in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Gundam franchise.
  • Military Academy: The flashback arc shows Char and Garma's years together at the Zeon military academy, along with the Dawn Uprising of cadets and graduates. The original Char Aznable's acceptance into the Academy is the catalyst for Casval's return to Side 3 and the Zabi attempt on his life that resulted in Casval taking up Char's identity.
  • 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.
  • Multiethnic Name: General Revil's middle name (usually rendered as Abraham) is given the Arabic spelling, Ibrahim, in the Vertical Inc. translation, possibly to highlight the multicultural nature of the Earth Federation.
  • 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 Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, 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.
    • The computer interfaces used by the Federation in the OVA series are based on the ones seen in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
  • Nepotism: Played with.
    • A major part of Garma's character is a need to prove that he earned his rank and perks, rather than just getting them because he's a Zabi (Whether he actually has is up for debate). Char uses this to maneuver him into the battle where he dies.
    • In comparison, Dozle is painfully aware of how his position is thanks to this. Nonetheless, he succeeds in more than earning his rank and credentials, though not simply because he's a Zabi.
  • 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.
  • No Social Skills: In the flashback arc, it's shown that it took time for Amuro to be more than a total recluse with next to no social skills.
  • Not So Different: In addition to comparing Gihren to Hitler and other dictators from generations past, Degwin dreads how much he's taken quite a bit from Deikun. To the point of calling Gihren a fiend possessed by Deikun's grudges. This could explain how he not only succeeds in winning over Deikun loyalists over time, but also Char's allegiance.
  • 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.
  • Parental Abandonment: It's revealed that Lalah has no love for her parents in India, given how they all but sold her to petty crooks for cash.
  • Parental Neglect: Amuro's mother rejects him for fighting in the war, and his father is more concerned about the Gundam he built than the son who pilots it (or his wife).
    • Averted however by both Degwin and Dozle Zabi, who still try their best to be good parents to Garma and Mineva respectively. Even Zeon Deikun himself ironically enough averts this, given how for all his bouts of craziness, he still cared dearly for his children.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: The first time that Char and Amuro meet in person, rather than on opposite sides of a mobile suit battle, Amuro is in civilian clothes and is trying to get his car out of a rut in the road when Char (in full uniform) was driving by. Thinking that Amuro was just a stranded motorist, Char stopped and towed Amuro's car back onto the road.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Degwin is portrayed to be much more levelheaded. Even though he seized power from the Zeon and Ral families, he continues to keep relations with the Federation because he's perfectly aware that Zeon doesn't have the capability of fighting them in open battle. Even during the early stages of the Dawn Uprising, he urges Gihren to rein in the Zeon rebels battling the Federation troops, pointing how they're not prepared for war.
  • 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.
    • Interestingly, in volume 7 it's said that one of the pieces from the Colony Drop fell on southwestern Canada, which almost certainly includes Amuro's original hometown.
  • 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. When Sayla called him on this years later, Char insisted that he didn't kill the original Char, he just chose not to warn him of the dangers of associating with him (Which isn't much better, as Sayla immediately points out).
  • Red Shirt Army: The Federation garrison stationed in Zeon is quickly overwhelmed and forced to surrender to a small contingent of Zeon military cadets despite having a massive numerical and technological advantage. Justified in that the Federation occupation forces are generally portrayed as having a dangerous combination of incompetence and overconfidence, and the cadets were being led by Char himself.
  • 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.
  • Safety Gear Is Cowardly: Several Zeon officers believe that donning normal suits (Vacuum protection gear) when they're going into battle to be a sign of cowardice. This invariably means that if the hull gets breached (Which often happens in space battles, especially if there's a Gundam around), their chances of survival go from slim to none.
  • 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.
  • Scenery Gorn: Operation British and the ensuing aftermath are covered in graphic, brutal detail. The Battle of Loum is likewise shown in all its gruesome splendor.
  • 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 at attacking ships and supporting infantry, it is pathetic at fighting other mobile suits, while even the Zaku I can both outfight it and perform reasonably well in 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 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.
  • Tempting Fate: The beginning of the OVA, during the Battle of Loum has a Federation captain smugly proclaiming how it would be easy pickings to wipe out Zeon as Dozle's fleet is pushed back...only to be interrupted mid-speech as an anti-ship round from Char's Zaku II strikes the cockpit before exploding.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: To a degree, Garma. His own desire to be seen as a "true" Zabi worthy of his station as well as Char's influence leads to him down a darker path, though he never goes as far as either Kycilia or Gihren.
  • 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.
  • Tranquil Fury: Degwin thinks General Revil's calm demeanor while being held as a POW means he'll be willing to encourage the federation to negotiate peace if he's allowed to escape. He gets a nasty surprise when the general returns to friendly territory.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Volume 5 is one long one for Sayla, starting with her father Zeon Deikun's death. Separation from her mother, flight to Earth, an attack on her home, escape to the Texas colony, her mother's death, her cat's death, and her brother's (faked) death follow over the next six years.
  • Twin Switch: When a gun is found in the original Char's luggage before his flight to enter the Zeon military academy, Casval offers to switch places with him and take a later flight. And then Zabi agents blew up the flight to prevent Deikun's heir from entering Zeon, leaving "Edouard Mass" dead while Casval continues on as "Char Aznable" with stolen documentation.
  • 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 (later replaced with a second gatling, although its final space-type form eschews them for additional vernier mounts), as well as an optional backpack that replaces one of the iconic beam sabers with an artillery piece.
  • The Uriah Gambit: In order to eliminate a fellow Zeon cadet who has figured out his true identity, Char orders the cadet to commandeer a Federation tank. Then he orders another squad of cadets to destroy the tank by leading them to believe that it's still being operated by a Federation crew.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Shuichi Ikeda and Toru Furuya reprise their roles as Casval/Char and Amuro respectively, even as teens (Casval's case) and even younger than that (Amuro), albeit this is averted as Casval as a kid, since he's voiced by a woman instead. This is possibly one of the reasons why Casval doesn't speak, so far at least, too much in the animated adaptation compared with his adult self.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Degwin Zabi of all people comes across as this in contrast to Deikun, who's depicted as crazier and more rabid.
  • Walking Tank: The Adzam, originally a strangely un-aerodynamic flying machine whose "legs" were immovable housings for VTOL rotor fans, is re-imagined as one.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Sasro died early in the story and very little was revealed about him.
  • Wham Shot: Tem Rey gets one upon seeing the experimental Guncannons destroyed by Zeon's Zaku I's first hand.
  • 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.
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