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Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vol. 1- Activation Hardcover – March 26, 2013
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"It’s a good book. Very good, actually. Very good war comics, requiring no prior experience with anime or mecha or Gundam – just a well-made, old-fashioned war comic, full of thrills and spills and lucky breaks and narrow escapes and preening villains you’ll love to hate and pigheaded heroes you may hate to love, and expert drawings by a master craftsman, and hard, sturdy violence." - Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"It's not often that I bother taking up space just to discuss the presentation of a book, but this is certainly one of Vertical's finest releases. Both the graphic and actual material design of the cover is special, and the interior is of a much higher quality than your average manga. This especially holds true throughout the healthy handful of color sections, which look absolutely gorgeous on the glossy paper stock...The whole package is an absolute must for fans of Gundam, but I'd say there's plenty to enjoy in this nearly 450-page monster for anyone remotely interested in mech action and sci-fi storytelling." - Otaku USA
"This is the root of all the tropes and themes of Gundam but with a loving layer of refinement that cleans up a lot of the rough edges of the original...It many ways this is the clearest vision of the original story and a great place to start as well as revisit." - Reverse Thieves
"From the painted opening prologue, the storytelling is of an incredibly high standard, with Yasuhiko’s touch servicing action scenes especially well. Visual highlights abound... It’s a dazzling, action packed ride, and I’d recommend it highly." - Anime UK News
About the Author
Hokkaido native Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (1947-) is a Japanese animator and manga artist. His career as a character designer has spanned over four decades, creating famed characters for such anime as Super Atragon, Brace Raideen, and the widely known Mobile Suit Gundam. Considered a pivotal player in mecha and sci-fi anime, Yasuhiko's characters, stories and illustrations are unmistakable in their style and serve as timeless examples as pioneers of manga and animation in Japan.
Yasuhiko began his career as an animator in Osama Tezuka's Mushi Productions, and later on decided to go freelance to work for a number of animation productions for both film and television. In the late 70's, Yasuhiko would turn his attention to the world of comics, as he has since penned nearly two dozen titles since.
In 1981 he was awarded the Nebula Award by the Japanese Sci-Fi Association.
In 1990 his work Namuji won the Japan Comic Artist Association Grand Prize
And in 2000 he took the Japan Media Arts Award for Best Comic with his title A Revolutionary Dog.
Top customer reviews
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The art is great, especially the beutifully rendered full color panels. Each full color page is its own work of art.
The dialogue only gets more atrocious as the story continues. Whoever did the localization for this manga shouldn't be allowed to translate any more manga. The translations are very bad. You have hardened soldiers screaming "ya turd!" and "ho hum!!!" in the middle of life and death battles and it makes the story feel more like a doujinshi then a classic manga. There also numerous turns of phrases that fall awkward or make little sense after translation.
The speech bubbles are atrocious. Several dozen times each volume the sentences are sliced up among 3 or more speech bubbles making it very difficult at times to gauge the tone or content of dialogue. If any Letterer broke up the dialogue the way gundam does they would never be published. I understand the dedication to the original work but the excessive use of speech bubbles just to hold one word in a middle of sentence that bears no emphasis is frequently jarring and relentless in the series.
The story is shockingly bad. The first volume is a thrilling, engaging read with well thought out conflicts of a domestic emergency in space and the tensions between soldiers and civilians who have to rely on each other for survival. It was an interesting to see civilians pulled into duty and grow into their own as soldiers. But around halfway into the second volume the story takes a nose dive in plausibility. Basically, the problem is there are many, many times where White Base could have been destroyed or seized but whoever is laying siege to them at the time retreats for absolutely no reason at all. The first time with Char is plausible, but after Ral annihilates them 3 consecutive times but then retreats with no explanation at all 3 separate times, it just feels like the author is trying to stretch this story beyond believability. Also, they have 3 children on White Base, even during dangerous military operations which removes it even further from plausibility.
The characters are very hit and miss. Amuro is Shinji from NGE, make no mistake. Sayla and Mirai are strong likable female characters who hold their own with male characters. Sgt. Ryu is a grizzled young veteran who keeps the civilian combatants in line. Kai and Judo are largely useless characters. Fraw is an embarassing female caricature whose only purpose is to absorb and reflect Amuro's angst. Captain Bright is an interesting conflicted character who has to keep the crew of White Base functioning. And then there about a dozen throw away characters who die instantly or make no contribution to the story.
The first book is good, I will not contest that, but the story gets much much worse with each volume
The Illustration of the book is what really sells it. There are panels and pages so cool you just have to stop and admire it for a couple of minutes. I even think some of them would make great wallpapers. The Comic is mostly black and white, but there are some absolutely beautiful fully colored scenes, and these are the best. The colors are lively and deep, but not cartoonishly so. This is due to the art style being more realistic and proportioned than a typical manga or anime. This is also thanks to the mechanical design (Which is taken very seriously), that any futurist can enjoy. It's very action heavy, but it's easy to follow.
The Story is pretty serious and doesnt try to censor itself, though it isn't glorified carnage. Unlike the show which pretty much demonized Zeon with few exceptions, this places both sides on a grayer note; though Zeon still has a hint of Space Nazism to them. If you're familiar with the show, you'll get the same jist, but you'll still apreciate the sublte yet meaningful changes. I'd say this story is better than the show. If you're new to it, this is the best way to start as the anime shows its age at this point.
I should note that the designs are not 100 percent accurate to the typical portrayal of the both the characters and especially the Mobile Suits. They look bulkier and more heavily armed, with certain aesthetic differences, like Shoulder Magnums( which the RX did not have),or different character looks.
Also, i love the feel of the cover of this book. I don't know what its made out off, but i can't stop touching it.
Where do I start?
If you are familiar with Mobile Suit Gundam Universal Century you'll appreciate this as a masterful retelling of the Origin story of one of the greatest science fiction sagas of all time. As is mentioned in the introductory essay (there are three), there is a lot of subtle world-building detail to be found in this story, a maturation of the story into what it always had the potential to be. The dialog is crisp and powerful in its delivery, and full of emotion. The artwork is incredible, better than either the TV show or the films. Some of it is in color (the cover image is actually from one of the color panels inside the book), and the color sections are absolutely astounding in their quality. The blacks are deep and fully saturated, and the paper is a brilliant high-quality white semi-gloss. If you're used to manga then you know what to expect as far as details that represent motion, sound, emotion, etc. Words simply cannot convey what an incredible step-up this manga is from "ordinary" manga.
Judge a Book by it's Cover
For once you CAN judge a book by its cover. When I saw this book in the store, with it's thick waxy hardcover, I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It's GORGEOUS. It's not a cheap glossy cover like you're used to or a cheap paperback. This is archival quality paper inside, not cheap newsprint. That would be great if the content was okay, but...
A Giant Among Classics
This manga is fantastic. It stands as a work of art alongside the greatest graphic novels and comics of all-time. You'll want to own every one of them and display them on your bookshelf alongside your Complete Calvin and Hobbes and most treasured trade hardbacks of great comic stories. I haven't been so starstruck since the first volume of Queen Emeraldas and Zita the Spacegirl for sheer nostalgic wish-fulfillment that makes me feel like a five-year-old taking his first glimpse at his dad's comics from his locked desk drawer.
THIS is the reason why I watch anime. THIS is the reason why I read manga. If you miss out on this, you are missing out on one of the greatest works of art ever created. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko is a grand master and this is one of the greatest graphic novel/comic/manga creations of all time.
If you love Gundam, if you love Manga, if you love ART, buy this now and read it immediately. If you've a shred of appreciation for the greatest heights of the Manga Art Form, you will treasure it forever.