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Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation Paperback – April 1, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Mobile Suit Gundam was and remains a captivating epic saga ... "Gundam viewers can enjoy a rendition that departs significantly from its animated counterpart ... Highly recommended, especially for "Gundam anime fans." -- "Library Bookwatch

About the Author

Yoshiyuki Tomino is one of Japan's best known sci-fi animation directors, and the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books. Since working on the Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy) series in 1964, he has directed or created some of Japan's top robot and fantasy-themed works, for television, theaters, and the original video anime market. Best known for the hugely popular Gundam TV shows, in recent years he has attracted attention for his works, Brain Powrd (1998), Turn A Gundam (1999), and Overman King Gainer (2002). Fluent in spoken and written Japanese, Frederik L. Schodt is an author, interpreter, and translator who has written extensively on Japanese culture and Japan-U.S. relations. His classic Manga! Manga! introduced the English-speaking world to Japanese comics culture.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880656868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656860
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #760,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bo Hunt on July 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
I must start this review by stating my bias. I love Yoshiyuki Tomino's work, and Gundam is my favorite saga of anime.

This book, in my opinion, is the best piece of Gundam fiction hands down. As the original Gundam series neared it's end, Sunrise pulled the plug. The series was cut by almost a full season, forcing an entire story arc to be squished into a handful of episodes. About this time Tomino wrote the first of the three books contained in this volume. A few years later, as the series entered a revitalization and Sunrise ordered a three movie compilation to be made, Tomino began writing the final two books. Oddly enough, the original translation of these books were the very first part of the Gundam saga to reach America at the tail end of the 80s.

The books are a masterwork. They diverge from the original series from the first page, dropping the cliche of "young civilian boy finds giant robot his father built and fights evil" for a more realistic view. Amuro Ray is now a cadet, and the refugees of Side 7 are booted off White Base at the first chance. The story is dark, focusing on the pain of war and the stress of battle. Many characters who survived the anime die, and other are left out almost entirely. The story focuses more on Newtypes than the anime did, explaining what they are in better detail. There are only a frwMS attles, but each is heart pounding and well written.

The bottom line is this: Do not read these looking for a novelization of first Gundam. However, if you love serious science fiction, this volume will blow you away. Low points: Some of the translation is ackward, and the ending may make you cry. Personally I liked yhe ending, it was very powerful even if depressing.

I strongly recommend this book, to any Mecha or Sci-Fi fans.
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I'm a long-time fan of the Gundam series even if I believe it's been about ten years and five series too many since they had anything new to say. Then again, that's the nature of all fandom for continuously operating decades-old franchises. For those unfamiliar with it, Gundam is a mecha anime based around the titular brand of mecha which is a portmanteau of the words "Gun" and "Freedom."

The rough premise of (almost) every Gundam is that there's a central conflict between two factions, usually Earth and her space colonies, which are beating the crud out of one another with little regard for civilian casualties. Then the titular mecha, almost always an advanced prototype more powerful than anything else on the battlefield, falls into the hand into an outside observer. This character chooses to fight on the side of the slightly-or-more-than-slightly-less-heinous of the two sides while learning harsh lessons on war.

The series carry harsh lessons about the cost of fighting which are undercut by the fact the audience is here to see mechas blow each other to pieces. I'm particularly fond of the Mobile Suit Gundam movies, Zeta Gundam, Gundam Wing, Gundam Seed, Gundam 00, and the Universal Century mini-series (08th MS Team, IGLOO, War in the Pocket, Stardust Memory, Char's Counterattack). Which should tell you, despite my lackluster description, I really like the franchise. But what would be a good place to really read about what Gundam is about?

That would be this collection of novels.

Written by Gundam's creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino, and translated into English, these are about as close to his original vision for the series as you're going to get.
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Most of you already know this is the original Mobile Suit Gundam animation series aka UC 0079 but told completely differently.

This novel is aimed for more of a mature audience unlike the original TV show. For starters I always thought the original TV show was annoying at best. I always love the Gundam action battles but I found annoying characters tropes to be a major problem. As I get getting older it's like I can't stand to even deal with the characters on the UC Gundam shows or the later Gundam shows that take place in different timelines. Good news is that most of the characters in the novel are not crybabies or annoying. Of course there are some characters that are in their teenagers years and have trying to become adult problems but the book doesn't dwell on it that much at all. Some of the characters that had a bigger role in the TV series only have very minor roles in the novel (to the point they are only referenced a few times in the whole book!). I found mostly the characters that aren't important in the TV show got the push back, nice.

Another thing I wasn't a big fan of in the UC Gundam universe is the Newtype/ESP concept. Now the novel goes into much more detail on the Newtype/ESP than the original TV show ever did. The novel did answer a few questions I had regarding that concept. Actually the novel goes into much more in depth about the behind the scenes of Zeon, Earth Federation, and more. This novel does explain more about how both governments in the book work and such (like how can Zeon make really incredible Mobile Suits over the Earth Federation and the inner workings of the Zabi family). Besides the behind the scenes it goes into great detail of how the world of UC 0079 was like in detail as well.
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