Do you love Giant Robots? Drama? Larger than Life Action? Look no further than these excellent entries into one of the grandest animated series in all of Japan!
The Mobile Suit Gundam series, which is approaching its 40th anniversary, is one of the most defining franchises in anime. This mecha series is not only an inspiration for numerous anime and manga series that come after, but is a staple in Japan with its own museum, cafes, model building competitions, usage on government posters, and even a life-size statue in Tokyo! So what makes this series so popular? Two series that have been made into manga show the original story and tell a side story that gives even more depth into the Gundam Universe. Let’s explore the two!
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
A retelling of the original series in 1979, this expanded version of the original source material from the hit anime, “The Origin” gives backstory into the events that lead to the One Year War. It also gives the first ever explanation into how one of the most popular characters in the franchise and all of anime, Char Aznable, came to be, long one of the greatest mysteries in anime lore. This twelve-volume set tells the story of the One Year War in a narrative style, focusing on the rebelling Principality of Zeon, led by the Zabi family, and the ace pilot Char Aznable, who is not all he seems. We also see the opposing Earth Federation’s secret weapon known as “White Base” and its experimental mobile suit, the RX-78-2 Gundam, piloted by Amuro Ray. These tales of suspense, mystery, and tragedy have captivated readers and viewers alike for decades with its large and dedicated fanbase!
Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt
A side story during and immediately after the One Year War, Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt shows the stories of two opposing forces fighting inside a dangerous area where energy sometimes erupts in large bursts of lightning, giving it the name the “Thunderbolt Sector.” The Zeon forces keep this area safeguarded as it is one of the most important supply routes to their base A Baoa Qu (featured prominently in the anime and in “The Origin). Meanwhile, the Federation attempts frequently to take this area themselves, through the use of their ace pilot Io Fleming, who is always listening to a pirate radio station of classical jazz, blues, and R&B music. The story weaves interconnectedly between Federation and Zeon characters, which continue even after the One Year War, where those who were once foes must ally together.
These two stories are just a starting point for the franchise, which has over two dozen main entries, video games, novels, and highly rated anime series. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is a twelve-volume set that can be ordered online or in our branch while Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt is currently in its seventh published volume with more to come!