Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vol. 2

By Yoshikazu Yasuhiko; Original Story by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yatate; Mechanical Design by Kunio Okawara. Released in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten, serialized in the magazine Gundam Ace. Released in North America by Vertical, Inc.

When we last left our heroes, they’d finally gotten back to Earth. Of course, this proves to be only the beginning of their troubles… they’re in enemy territory, and are being told by their allies in South America “get here first, then we’ll tell you what to do next.” Their ace pilot is having a bit of a PTSD attack, and wants no part of all of this. The refugees they picked up are resorting to taking hostages just to be allowed to leave. And our man in charge, Bright Noah, just can’t seem to get any respect. But then, this is what happens when your enemies call your ship the “Trojan Horse”… you have all the luck that Troy did.


To get the obvious out of the way first, most of what you enjoyed about the first book is present and correct here in the second. The battles are done very well, with lots of attention to detail and realism (given that these are robot wars), but don’t take up so much of the book that you get bored with all the combat. The overall tone is serious, but there are some very amusing dashes of humor, including Lieutenant Reed’s ulcer, Fraw Bow’s jealousy (and a flash of the same thing from Amuro), and every exasperated face Noah makes. But overall, the message continues to be what Gundam does best: war is a horrible thing that destroys entire cities, and one should never revel in it.

I think my favorite party of the volume was watching every single interaction between Char and Garma. After all the earnestness that our heroes fall into, it’s great seeing two people who clearly despise each other attempting to one-up each other in how politely smug they can be. Char’s needling of Garma, and manipulation as the story goes on, really shows of his people skills, albeit not in a good way. He spends much of this volume simply watching things develop (well, that and taking long showers so that he can properly show off his fantastic naked body to the reader). This makes his arrogant sneering at Garma right at the end all the more startling, and reminds you once again that he may be the bad guy you love to hate, but he’s still the bad guy.

As for Amuro, he gets the bulk of the second half of this volume, as he reunites with his mother. I’ll be honest, I totally expected him to return and find his mother dead – all the signs were pointing that way – but then, this series has pointed one way and gone another before, so I shouldn’t be surprised. What we got was even better, though – his mother has no context for what’s happened to Amuro at all, and all she can see is that her little boy has become a killer. This is far more visceral than most stories of this time, given Amuro has to lethally fight his way out of the encampment his mother is living in. It’s the emotional heart of the story.

And then there is the titular Garma. The Gundam story makes sure that we don’t simply see the Zeon enemy as “space Nazis”, and Garma’s desire to be worthy of his name, as well as his romance with an Earth girl, is part of this. I was never quite sure till the end how invested he was in Icelina, but it seems to be more genuine than I thought, and I wonder if she’ll return at some point down the line. But in the end, this is a story about war and the prices that one pays during it, and the final images we see are a father brutally gunned down in front of his daughter, and a father stunned to hear of the death of his son.

I admit I would perhaps have slightly fewer mech battles if I were plotting this, but oh well. Gundam is still a riveting and fascinating series, and fully justifies why it has endured all these years. And the presentation, again, is fantastic – a real coffee table book. It’s hard to wait three more months to see what happens next.

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  1. hmm…not really, in your book and some other people’s books it may be, but in my book it isn’t. you either kill’em and or tell somone to kill’em, char did neither. he counted on garma’s foolishness against the gundam, and kept help from coming. he didn’t kill him, he let him die.


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