Mobile Suit Gundam – Final Thoughts

Mobile Suit Gundam – Final Thoughts (Review)
機動戦士ガンダム /Kido Senshi Gundam

Mobile Suit GundamMobile Suit Gundam is a series that I’ve been aware of since 1989, but didn’t have any real interest in watching.  That all changed within the last few years, when I began watching more and more anime or reading more and more manga with Gundam references in it.  However, my own (and surprising) distaste for the mecha genre meant I kept putting it off and putting it off as a series to watch, though I scored the TV series in 2009 and I was curious to understand Gundam‘s impact on anime and manga.  Eventually, I decided enough was enough and took some time to watch this father of the modern day “real robot” mecha genre.  There are problems with this series to be sure, but the good outweighs the bad as far as I’m concerned.

*SPOILERS!!!*

Mobile Suit GundamAt its heart, Gundam is a tale of a boy and a crew of amateurs and generally inexperienced people suddenly thrust into the fires of combat as the fight for their lives and then for Earth. Gundam‘s start, while interesting, contains a fair amount of things that are tough to swallow. For example, Amuro is shown as a gifted student who gets lost in research and studies when the series starts. A Zeon infiltration team, complete with three Zaku mobile suits, end up attacking the residence within the Side 7 colony space station and Amuro ends up getting into the cockpit of the Federations top secret, prototype mobile suit, known as a Gundam. Using the oh so convenient users manual and and decent AI computing technology, Amuro is able to protect people and ends up being Gundam’s pilot from that moment on.

Mobile Suit GundamSorry, but that is just a stretch IMO.  I can buy that Amuro is a quick learner. I can buy that Gundam’s on-board computers can learn from each battle to become more intuitive (a concept that is eventually dropped when Amuro has sufficient experience combined with supernatural “Newtype” abilities). I can even buy a bit of luck as Amuro goes into combat for the first time. However, even if Amuro’s father is the head of the Gundam project, I can’t buy Amuro having such easy access to be able to get to a Gundam unit (even though the Federation were attempting to evacuate the units), nor can I buy the fact that the Gundam’s operator manual is just lying around to be found. Imagine coming onto a base, finding a tank, and then there being an operator’s manual to show you exactly what everything does, including firing the turret.

Mobile Suit GundamFurther to that, Amuro appears to become proficient at Gundam’s usage rather quickly.  Indeed, he’s able to hold his own against the infamous “Red Comet,” the Zeon ship’s captain named Char, who’s very skilled at using mobile suits and killing Federation types. Tomino-sensei does address this later by having Amuro say that his early successes were due to luck and Gundam’s on-board computer, but then seems to change things up by making Amuro a Newtype, a next step human evolution. I don’t have a problem with the Newtype stuff, but maybe some other hint that this was going on with Amuro early on, combined with some sort of knowledge about Newtypes (or their possibility) from the beginning might have been better.  Until Amuro gains experience and then has his Newtype abilities, it was hard to believe he could win so many fights early on.

Mobile Suit GundamThat takes me out of characters for the moment to address story presentation.  Viewers are thrown into the mix without any background information.  We know there’s some sort of war and people are living on giant space station colonies called “Sides.”  Unfortunately, the “Zeons” aren’t really explained other than they were a colony that broke off from Earth but why is not revealed. Some of the ruling Zabi family, like Garma and Gihren, don’t look fully human (mainly due to skin and hair color) and the way the story is initially presented, I actually thought the Zeons were an alien race who’d allied with the humans on Side 3.  It wasn’t until several episodes in that I realized this wasn’t the case and it wasn’t until near the end that the whole political elements of why Zeon broke off are revealed. I really didn’t like that delay of information.

Mobile Suit GundamAlso, the concept of the Sides are not really explained, nor the asteroid stations, until later in the series.  When we finally get the explanation, things make so much more sense.  One can see the location of the various sides at the Lagrange points, the asteroid bases, and then the travels through Earth’s local space becomes clear. At the beginning of the series, it wasn’t clear at all were the different Sides were, nor just how far ships were traveling from point to point. That was something that frustrated me a fair amount, but I suppose that initially, Tomino-sensei didn’t feel this level of explanation was important. I’m betting that it was a point that viewers back when this series was first released wanted and thus we eventually get the explanations. I just feel this should have been done from the start.

Mobile Suit GundamReturning to the characters, with Amuro being the star, it is only natural that he get the most character development. Sayla gets the second most character development due to her importance to the story and her ties to Char. Kai gets some nice development as he starts off as a civilian who will fight but really doesn’t give a care until he falls in love with a Zeon spy, who’s death causes him to shape up.  Mirai gets some development but it isn’t all that great.  Characters like Frau Bow and Hayato really don’t get much in the way of development and other characters such as Ryu and Sleggar aren’t around long enough to get any sort of real character development. Also in the mix are the three orphan kids, used primarily as filler but occasionally given moments to shine.

Mobile Suit GundamRomance is something the series handles rather poorly. Granted, this is a shounen series, but even still, the romance stuff could have been handled better. Oddly enough, Frau Bow may have the best defined romantic stuff in the anime.  It is clear from the start that Frau Bow has feelings for Amuro and that he just sees her as his childhood friend. Eventually, she comes to accept that they’ll never be together as his Newtype abilities grow but then what? There’s this moment where Amuro sees that Hayato pays her a visit before going into combat and she had helped care for Hayato after he’d been injured in combat. So, does this mean that they are an item?  While I shouldn’t have, I did a quick look-see and discovered that apparently, the answer is “yes.”

Mobile Suit GundamI’d seen the rather sweet image of Amuro and Sayla sharing a zero-G kiss in the Gundam docking bay and thought I’d witnessed a spoiler of their romance. However, the TV series never gave me the impression that they have any romantic feelings for each other.  Any expressions of concern Sayla had for Amuro were ones I could see her having for any of her comrades in arms. The same could be said for Amuro toward Sayla. The only person Amuro clearly had romantic feelings for was Matilda. One could say that Amuro developed some sort of romantic feelings for Lalah after their Newtype communion. I think Amuro had a sexual attraction to Hamon but that’s it.  So, I guess I was rather disappointed to learn that Amuro and Sayla didn’t become a couple, though I understand they are one in the novels.

Mobile Suit GundamMirai may have the most head-scratching romance of the series.  With her basically being second in command of White Base, she and Bright always worked well together and after Bright’s mental collapse, it really seemed like they’d be a couple, even if not publicly.  However, just before Sleggar’s final mission, suddenly, she’s madly in love with him, I guess because he slapped her hard in an earlier episode.  In fact, she’s so much in love with him that Bright realizes this and lets her go have words with him before he goes into combat. I remember thinking, “What the heck is this?!” It was completely out of left field and just didn’t work for me at all.  I have no idea what Tomino-sensei was thinking other than having someone to mourn for Sleggar when he died.

Mobile Suit GundamSo while there are things like the credibility stretch of getting Amuro and company become a successful fighting force and the horrible romance elements, as I mentioned, the heart of the story is Amuro and company’s dealing with the situation they find themselves thrown into and overcoming the odds despite the hells of war.  Therein lies Gundam‘s main interest.  While Amuro may have been frustrating for a while and Kai very annoying, I liked seeing them grow beyond this. I liked how the crew pulled together to warrant becoming official members of the military because of their service. I even liked how the three orphan kids would risk their lives fighting small fires during combat operations.  These kinds of stories are what made Gundam so enjoyable for me.

Mobile Suit GundamAnother element that made things very interesting for me was that Tomino-sensei was not afraid to kill characters.  While characters like Char fell into the cliched realm of “super powerful yet always defeated, but able to get away to fight another day,” other villain characters did not fall here.  Many were around for several episodes before being eliminated and one never knew when or even if a character would be killed. Even on the “good guy” side, Tomino-sensei was not afraid to take some characters out, though most were just supporting roles. However, that made a strong enough impression that until the last episode, I wasn’t sure if certain characters might not die.  That’s a mark of some nice writing, in my opinion.

Mobile Suit GundamDespite some of the cliched nature of the Char character, to include his uncanny ability to figure out what his opponents are really up to no matter how crafty their plan is, Tomino-sensei made an effort to try to make Char a more three-dimensional character.  This started by having him be the brother of the likable Sayla.  He’s shown to not be ruthless, such as when he didn’t have the two Rick Dom pilots executed for putting Lalah’s life in danger after they were completely honest about the situation.  Indeed, with Lalah, he’s shown he can be quite compassionate to others besides Sayla. His personal vendetta against the Zebi family, though not clear for the longest time, also helps round him out as a character. That’s another sign of decent writing.

Mobile Suit GundamIn the end, I found Gundam to be a very good series despite some flaws in execution and introduction to the series.  Its also very nice to watch some other anime (such as when I recently watched Keroro Gunsou episode 95) and immediately get the Gundam jokes.

The novelization is out of print, but I’m thinking of trying to score it just to see how Tomino-sensei wrote things for a more adult audience.

I’m also looking into scoring Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, as I hear it is actually a better written tale than Mobile Suit Gundam. I won’t get to start watching it immediately, but I’ll certainly look into starting it sometime in the near future.

Mobile Suit Gundam
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24 Responses to “Mobile Suit Gundam – Final Thoughts”

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a long time gundam fan it was really fun to read your reactions to each episode.

    You might want to read http://gundam.aeug.org/archives/1999/01/1156.html in it Mark Simmons goes over what was to be Gundam if it hadn’t been canceled. Some interesting stuff.

    Also you might be interested to know that Yasuhiko Yoshikazu (head animator for first gundam) for the last ten years had been doing his version of first gundam as a manga called Gundam the Origin. Fixing somethings with the narrative and adding more depth to events. Now that it’s done Sunrise has announced they will be animating it. No one knows what format it’ll be though.

    There’s two versions of the Gundam novels out an older three volume set and a single collected volume. The translation is the same but the naming patterns are different like in the older Zeon is Zion and Char is Sha. The newer one is really hard to find and can be expensive but the three volumes of the older release are plentiful last I looked.

  2. Manae says:

    As I mentioned in the last post, here’s a quick run-down of what happens to a lot of the cast immediately after the series. Anything said is inferred or outright stated almost as soon as any character shows up in Zeta, but if you’re worried about spoilers (for yourself or other readers) it would be best to just reject the comment without reading it:

    Due to not understanding them, the Federation was deeply suspicious of Newtypes–fearing them to be ESPers–and Amuro’s fame made his status hard to hide. To make matters worse, despite what he said immediately after he would remain haunted by Lalah’s death. Fleeing space to get away from her memory, Amuro was set up in a rather large house in the countryside and waited upon by servants, all on the Federation’s dollar. He was aware it was a gilded cage despite the freedoms he was offered, but really didn’t care.

    Sort of taking Char’s advice finally, Sayla retires to a sea-side villa. (I had seen that she was supposed to return in Zeta as Amuro’s love interest in earnest, but her seiyuu was not available to do the series and it was scrapped.)

    Bright remains in the Federation, but eventually finds himself as the captain of the civilian transport Temptation, not much more than a glorified airline pilot. He does still maintain his fame and respect, especially amongst civilians. He and Mirai marry, and she lives on Earth with their children.

    Hayato and Frau Bow hook up, and they adopt the orphans. Hayato winds up in North America at a military museum.

    Kai becomes a [freelance, I believe] investigative reporter after leaving the Federation.

    Char initially flees beyond Mars to the asteroid city-state Axis with the majority of the Zeon remnants that refuse to live under Federation rule, but decides eventually he has much more important roles to fill back within the Earth sphere.

    Pretty sure that’s everyone of consequence that is still alive at the end. Of course, a lot more gets added in Zeta but that’s half the fun.

    Also, don’t forget about some of the OVAs, as there’s a plethora that fit within the original series or between it and Zeta. 0080 and 0083 both stand alone fairly well and offer some connections between the two mains in the series, though some characters cameo near the end of 0083 that you wouldn’t really understand until watching through Zeta.

  3. O-chan says:

    I’m surprised you watched the original TV series (which I plan to get once Bandai releases the sets) since my first exposure to this series formally was the compilation movies which fixed some storytelling issues of the original series (mainly the 3rd and final movie). After this you may want to take a breather then check out 0080: War in the Pocket, 0083: Stardust somethingoranother, and 08th MS team. They all take place in the same continuity and were the definitive Gundam works of the classic anime period. You also may want to revisit this series with the compilation movies to compare and contrast the differences.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is a completely off topic musing, but whenever I see someone use the word ‘score’ when they acquire something, I get the image of bootlegging and shady dealings at an abandoned warehouse in my head 🙂 For me it’s such an odd choice of a verb to use for ordinary purchases or downloads. I guess you starting and ending the article with talk about ‘scoring’ made it stand out for me this time and I thought you could use a chuckle.

  5. junior says:

    ——————
    The translation is the same but the naming patterns are different like in the older Zeon is Zion and Char is Sha.
    ——————

    Frederik Schodt, the translater for the original novel release, made a conscious decision to spell the names using the way that the names sounded as opposed to the popular renditions of the names at the time. Mark Simmons translated for the later release, and iirc his translation basically amounted to changing the names so that they would match the official spellings (which ended up largely matching the popular spellings) and leaving the rest of Schodt’s translation largely alone.

    Watching Gundam Z next is the course of action that I’d encourage (skip over 0080, 0083, and 08th MS Team for now; you can always come back to them later if you want and elements of the latter two pretty much assume that you’re familiar with some aspects of Gundam Z). In the meantime, you may want to check out the manga series ‘Gundam Sousei’, which I’ve mentioned before. It’s short (only 24 chapters long) and takes a semi-parodic and silly look at the group that created Mobile Suit Gundam.

  6. karry says:

    “it wasn’t clear at all were the different Sides were, nor just how far ships were traveling from point to point.”

    Its generally a mark of every anime using space travel. In Gundams especially, any two objects at any given time are simultaneously considered extremely close and extremely far away from each other. Its barely possible to recreate any given battle from Zeta due to this “principle”.

    “Even on the “good guy” side, Tomino-sensei was not afraid to take some characters out”

    Amuro dies in episode 3 !

    “I’m also looking into scoring Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, as I hear it is actually a better written tale than Mobile Suit Gundam.”

    Dont you dare believe it. Compared to 0079 – Zeta’s story is poo on a stick. Its chock full of side stories not contributing anything to the main line, characters with inexplicable actions, and just plain old writer’s stupidity. I personally consider Zeta to be the worst of UC, just below the retardation level of 0083. Of course it also has millions of fanboys, and we all know that millions of flies cant be wrong…

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    As a long time gundam fan it was really fun to read your reactions to each episode.

    Thanks. ^_^

    You might want to read http://gundam.aeug.org/archives/1999/01/1156.html in it Mark Simmons goes over what was to be Gundam if it hadn’t been canceled. Some interesting stuff.

    I will do that. Thanks. ^_^

    Also you might be interested to know that Yasuhiko Yoshikazu (head animator for first gundam) for the last ten years had been doing his version of first gundam as a manga called Gundam the Origin. Fixing somethings with the narrative and adding more depth to events. Now that it’s done Sunrise has announced they will be animating it. No one knows what format it’ll be though.

    I’d be interested in watching this for sure.

    There’s two versions of the Gundam novels out an older three volume set and a single collected volume. The translation is the same but the naming patterns are different like in the older Zeon is Zion and Char is Sha. The newer one is really hard to find and can be expensive but the three volumes of the older release are plentiful last I looked.

    Its the second version that I’m looking for.

    As I mentioned in the last post, here’s a quick run-down of what happens to a lot of the cast immediately after the series.

    Thanks for the info. I had read that Sayla’s seiyuu’s inability and then death is why her roles were slashed so much. With a Gundam remake, a new seiyuu is obviously in order.

    I’m surprised you watched the original TV series (which I plan to get once Bandai releases the sets) since my first exposure to this series formally was the compilation movies which fixed some storytelling issues of the original series (mainly the 3rd and final movie).

    I tend to go to the source to start everything just to understand how things afterward came into being.

    After this you may want to take a breather then check out 0080: War in the Pocket, 0083: Stardust somethingoranother, and 08th MS team. They all take place in the same continuity and were the definitive Gundam works of the classic anime period. You also may want to revisit this series with the compilation movies to compare and contrast the differences.

    In the end, I may do them all. For some reason, I have difficulties in doing movie adaptations of anime TV series. I’ve done some and often end up disappointed. Not saying this is always the case, nor that this would be the case here. I’ll likely wait until I get my new, monster PC though.

    This is a completely off topic musing, but whenever I see someone use the word ‘score’ when they acquire something, I get the image of bootlegging and shady dealings at an abandoned warehouse in my head 🙂

    I tend to use the term “score” for anything I acquire. ^_^

    In the meantime, you may want to check out the manga series ‘Gundam Sousei’, which I’ve mentioned before. It’s short (only 24 chapters long) and takes a semi-parodic and silly look at the group that created Mobile Suit Gundam.

    I’ve got that written down and stickied on my desk. Not sure why I haven’t tracked that down yet. ^_^;;;

  8. AstroNerdBoy says:

    “it wasn’t clear at all were the different Sides were, nor just how far ships were traveling from point to point.”

    Its generally a mark of every anime using space travel. In Gundams especially, any two objects at any given time are simultaneously considered extremely close and extremely far away from each other. Its barely possible to recreate any given battle from Zeta due to this “principle”.

    Well, all sci-fi series have battles much closer than they would be in reality. I understand that. However, when Gundam started, it wasn’t at all clear to me if the Sides were in close Earth orbit or off in another solar system. ^_^;

    “Even on the “good guy” side, Tomino-sensei was not afraid to take some characters out”

    Amuro dies in episode 3 !

    He did? ^_^;;;

    “I’m also looking into scoring Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, as I hear it is actually a better written tale than Mobile Suit Gundam.”

    Dont you dare believe it. Compared to 0079 – Zeta’s story is poo on a stick. Its chock full of side stories not contributing anything to the main line, characters with inexplicable actions, and just plain old writer’s stupidity. I personally consider Zeta to be the worst of UC, just below the retardation level of 0083. Of course it also has millions of fanboys, and we all know that millions of flies cant be wrong…

    *lol* I’ll keep that in mind. ^_^

  9. Ether101 says:

    I personally think Zeta Gundam is horribly written. Its basically Gundam with out any of its charm and all of the flaws cranked up to 11.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    I have enjoyed reading your thoughts.
    I was born in Japan and watched Gundam when it was on air first time.
    I was 15 at that time. It was shocking for me to watch Gundam. First robot animation fight against human. Robot is not a super robot just a machine.
    Every thing is new for me.
    I have been loving Gundam since.
    Please watch ZGundam and let me know your thoughts.
    It is too bad that English DVD does not have original opening/ending movie &
    music though.

  11. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I personally think Zeta Gundam is horribly written. Its basically Gundam with out any of its charm and all of the flaws cranked up to 11.

    *lol* Z-Gundam seems to be a love it or hate it series. ^_^;

    I have enjoyed reading your thoughts.

    Thanks! ^_^

    I was born in Japan and watched Gundam when it was on air first time.
    I was 15 at that time. It was shocking for me to watch Gundam. First robot animation fight against human. Robot is not a super robot just a machine.
    Every thing is new for me.
    I have been loving Gundam since.
    Please watch ZGundam and let me know your thoughts.

    That’s the plan. Need my new PC though.

  12. Anonymous says:

    English Version

    Do not listen to these idiots down, mirate Zeta Gundam, in my account the best Gundam series (along with Victory Gundam and Gundam Maybe 00)

    so yes, stay aware of one thing, that if you wanted to see or expect to see something similar to the original 1979 series, then do not expect much … because Zeta is darker, psychological, complex and mature than it Original .. . Tomino here from the first chapter gives twist to the whole universe beginning apartir “zero”. with new political factions, new “scenario”, new characters, etc … a recommendation before you see the number of eggs in 0083: Stardust Memoryes, which serves as a bridge between the series and the series originak Zeta, so you will not feel lost when comienzes Zeta undoubtedly alongside the movie of Char, is a masterpiece, and finally gives all the guidelines and ends by defining the genre of real robots and inspires many works as Evangelion, Death Note, etc … really not lost.
    although your prime criterion is what ultimately not be misled by the underdogs, people of low intellect that insurance did not understand all the issues I raise mature and complex series or got stuck in the first chapters without understanding that he would because twist to the universe and not looked over more …

    Spanish Version

    no le hagas caso a esos Idiotas de Abajo, mirate Zeta Gundam, a mi consideracion la mejor serie Gundam (junto con Victory Gundam y Talvez Gundam 00)

    eso si, advertidos quedas de una cosa, que si querias ver o esperabas ver algo igual a la serie original de 1979, entonces no esperes mucho…ya que Zeta es mas Oscura, Psicologica, Compleja y Madura que la misma Original…aca Tomino desde el primer capitulo le da vuelta de tuerca al universo empezando apartir todo de “cero”. con nuevas facciones politicas, nuevo “escenario”, nuevos personajes, etc…una recomendacion antes que te veas la serie de Ovas de 0083: Stardust Memoryes, que sirve de Puente entre la serie originak y la serie Zeta, asi no te sentiras perdido cuando comienzes Zeta que sin duda junto a la peli de Char, son una Obra Maestra, y la que finalmente da todas las pautas y termina definiendo el genero de robots reales e inspira numerosas obras como Evangelion, death note, etc…realmente no tiene pierde.
    aunque tu criterio es lo que prime al final, no te dejes llevar por los de abajo, gente de escaso intelecto que seguro no entendio todos los temas maduros y complejos que planteo la serie o se quedaron atascados en los primeros capitulos sin entender de que iba debido a la vuelta de tuerca al universo y la miraron por encima no mas…

  13. krotto says:

    if one day you spend to see Zeta Gundam, I recommend it in the original Japanese language with English subtitles. The English dub no offense sucks, and perhaps the reason I hate the series, for those horrible voices for the story or plot itself. Zeta Gundam is a masterpiece and the best anime series work.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      if one day you spend to see Zeta Gundam, I recommend it in the original Japanese language with English subtitles.

      That will be easy since I only watch anime in Japanese with subtitles. 😉 Zeta Gundam is on the list and I do have it, but I just haven’t had the time to watch it. 🙁

  14. WMC says:

    Mr. Tomino, the director of the manga “Gundam the Origin,” probably heard the derisive howls from the balcony about plot stinkers from the ancestral anime “Mobile Suit Gundam” — like the very improbable littering of the ground with a top secret instruction manual for the gundam just as Amuro stumbles along. Maybe Mr. Tomino motivated himself, but in “The Origin” this is handled much better. The first scene has Amuro hunched over his father’s home computer, in a junky, stinky room. He has hacked into the classified files and has remembered the “pass code” for the gundam. When the bungled infiltration of Side 7 by one of the enemy operators intent on personal glory escalates into fighting and the gundam team, including Amuro’s father, frantically puts the gundam on a sled transporter and trundles it toward the launching bay to get away from Side 7, all hell breaks loose. The plot explodes into the fog of battle, and the sled with the gundam crashes just at Amuro’s feet — a much more plausible serendipity. He crawls up on the gundam toward where he knows the entrance is. Using the pass code he enters the body and literally falls into the seat. In the ensuing battle the gundam’s AI is minimized in “The Origin’s” version. Amuro is frantic when an enemy Zaku mobile suit shows up right in front of him. Amuro takes it out because the weapons of the gundam are so boss, not because he suddenly gets years of experience in one minute. He just uses the thumb buttons on the side grips, again much more plausible. The only hint of artificial intelligence or new types comes when in the climax of the fighting, someone — and it remains a mystery who — says, “Use the beam saber” over the com link. That beam saber is first on my want-list.

    All twelve volumes of “The Origin” impressed me with the plausibility of the science and the plot lines.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      As a writer, I think Tomino-sensei is able to look back and see the problems with the original MSG.

      Anyway, I should read the manga sometime.

      • WMC says:

        Yes. Tomino-sensei transformed the Gundam culture. “The Origin” is directed at intelligent adults, not as with “Mobile Suit Gundam” at 15-year-olds. I’ve always thought he generated all this great work, along with Yazuhiko-sensei, on his own. I just wanted to attribute your justifiable “derisive howl” over the uberconvenient instruction manual. In “The Origin” there is no manual. Only a suggestive screen shot of Amuro’s father’s PC as Amuro broods over it.

        Volume 1 of “The Origin” gives us Amuro’s fateful introduction to prototype Gundam 02. 01 had been destroyed early in this incident depicted so well here. I say again, you will love this stuff. Open it anywhere. The art work by itself will grab you and not let go.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Someone told me that in Tomino-sensei’s first Gundam novel (I think there were three total novels that he wrote to cover the original story of the TV series), Amuro was already a Federation trainee pilot of the Core Fighter, which explains why Amuro was so easily able to pilot Gundam when he first encounters it. Is that the case in the manga?

          • WMC says:

            Never a hint of Amuro being a trainee of anything at the beginning of “The Origin.” He just reads, probably illicitly, his father’s PC files on the gundam. Father is the lead engineer. Amuro’s a little different from in the TV series. More self concerned and clueless, less innocent teenager, less lead heart throb. His intrusion into Gundam 02 flies very well in “The Origin” as a combination of luck, acquaintance with the relevant computer tech from his father’s PC, and panicked hand gestures, which any mobile suit, especially the gundam, instantly translates into actions. His thoughts, body postures and hand gestures are barely relevant to the fight with the Zaku. Very unskilled. He doesn’t even think about the seat belt. However, when he gets the beam saber in his (the Gundam’s} hand the fight is over. When the Zaku’s fusion engine explodes with a mighty boom, it blows an irreparable hole in Side 7 and everybody has to leave. The plot proceeds excellently from there.

            Very faint, unnoticeable, hints of his new type-ness occur, but they never affect the plot until much later.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            Thanks for the info. ^_^

  15. WMC says:

    I read Volume I of the manga “Gundam the Origin” again and have some amendments and additions.

    1. Amuro’s father, who is quickly trying to get Gundam 02 off space colony Side 7, looks up and sees it standing and moving instead of supine on the sled. A few panels later everyone sees, from the video link, that it’s Amuro in there! The team says “Open a channel to him.” So later when someone says,”Use the beam saber,” it could have been Amuro’s father. It’s left open, but it’s very plausible.

    2.The best sign of Amuro’s inexperience appears when he puts the right palm of the gundam’s hand against the open end of the Zaku’s hand cannon and pushes hard, throwing the it over violently — instead of just blasting it with one of the gundam’s weapons or grappling with it like a very fast wrestler. He hadn’t yet got the beam saber in his hand.

    3. Later in the same day, when Amuro, in Gundam 02, is launched out of White Base, the Federation’s airplane/spaceship, he has suddenly become much more adept. He fights Char, Zeon’s best warrior and incidentally Sayla’s brother, to a standstill. With help from some other guys from White Base.

    4. The art. Yaasuhiko’s work is so good it will become an iconic standard for any subsequent manga publication. For me it often takes long, frequent looks to get all the details that he put in, like acute-angled closeups of postures, near shots of shoulders, upside down space views, a different sight line for the same object, omnipresent, accurate foreshortening, and the blast flashes from the guns. Each panel looks like a still frame from a movie, but it’s not, so the jumps, which he manages terrifically, make you fill in the blanks — for me the defining feature of manga. He does great debris. He uses no approximation first drafts. He inks All the black lines using a brush! Fantastic.

    • WMC says:

      Could be Sayla, who’s acting as the communications duty officer talking to Amuro, who tells him to use the beam saber. Could be Gundam 02 itself, but if we buy that we look in vain for any other signs of the gundam’s artificial intelligence. I don’t see any other appearance of it in “The Origin.” Anyway, it’s pretty cool that the authors don’t tell us. Leaves lots of room for conjecture.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks for the info. 🙂

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