Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vol. 3

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.

In the first 2 volumes of this Gundam manga it’s been fairly easy to root for our heroes. They’re fighting against an empire with fascist tendencies, and the two main antagonists we’ve gotten so far are a smug schemer and a daddy’s boy who looks to be in over his head and is dispatched fairly easily at the end of the last volume. Char will no doubt continue to be a headache, but Garma is no more. Of course, this means we need a new minor villain, and it’s not going to be Char, as he’s too busy smirking. And so we get to the title character of this book, Ramba Ral.


Make no mistake about it, Ramba Ral is exactly what this book needed at this point. Even if Char is a very popular character with fans, the fact is that the heroes and villains have been more black and white than they needed to be. This is particularly evident at Garma’s state funeral, which Gihren quickly starts using as a political rally to mobilize the troops. This, combined with the funeral choreography and the uniformed fascism, makes the Principality of Zeon look like Nazi and the Naztones to a degree. Ramba Ral is different, and reminds you that this isn’t “fighting aliens” – all of these people are ultimately human beings with human flaws and human virtues. He’s a captain who loves him men, loves to fight, and is very good at it. His wife is second in command and clearly much of the brains behind the operation. It’s a shame that the plot decrees his fate at the end of this book, as I’d much rather he have been the main antagonist.

And counterbalancing Ramba Ral being a villain who is easy to respect and admire, our heroes are having a very rough time of it. Amuro has always been a petulant teenager, but here his temper tantrums get dealt with in detail, and he runs away. Bright, meanwhile, is doing his best to try and think like a commander, but making decisions that are the right thing to do is proving to be unpopular… not only with his men, but with Mirai. As for Sayla, she’s finding that being a double agent is a lot harder than it looks, particularly when you’re not working for the villains. All three of these characters make somewhat dumb decisions, pay for them, and later learn to read people’s hearts to see what the better option is.

There’s still lots of what makes everyone love Gundam in the first place. The battles are taking up more and more space in the book, but are still very exciting. And the political back and forth and constant attempts to get the upper hand is even better. Char excels at this, of course, even when captured for insubordination. He’s just a man who wants his sunglasses. That’s all. Add in an afterward by Shimoku Kio, who draws the female cast, and has the Genshiken meet Amuro, and you have absolutely no reason not to pick this up. An excelletn volume.

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