When anime is brought up in conversation I often flash to my memories of early Dragon Ball, however it wasn’t until I started watching Gundam Wing that I became an Otaku. The giant machines and world politics were something that blew my mind after years of watching Beast Wars. It was so epic in scale and it fed my over active imagination.
So with the 35th Anniversary the series went back to the beginning with an OVA filling in some of the blanks of the original series backstory. Let’s talk about Mobile Suits, assassinations and deadly family feuds.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin takes place in the years before the Zeon/Earth conflict and the events of the Original Gundam series. The episode works more as a prequel to the manga series it’s based upon and follows Casval Rem Deikun and his sister Artesia as they’re brought into a growing conflict.
During these times, the people of the space colonies are unhappy with their lives and the lack of support from the Earth Government. After years of unrest the colonial government looks to separate from Earth, but the real question is how will lead the charge. As a result of in fighting a feud between to powerful families; The Deikun’s and the Ral, starts.
With the head of the Deikun family assassinated, the Ral’s look to take control but need to kill the rest of his family. But before they can do so, the surviving children are sent to earth. Away from the politics and the potential civil war that could break out.
Despite this, the young Casval sees Earth and it’s government a threat and the seeds for a future the Red Comet are soon planted.
From a technical side, Origin features a strong animation and art style, taking inspiration from not only the manga it’s named after but the original series. The OVA is animated by the series main studio Sunrise, and the studio continues to mix 2D and 3D animation extremely well.
During the episodes opening action scene, the fighting looks more like a cut scene from one of the many Gundam games rather than a mixing of animation styles. This mix allows the show to create more fast paced and detailed action, something that would take much longer to draw in a more traditional way.
That being said, the show is light on action past the opening five minutes. The main thrust of the show follows the politics. But what the show lacks in action is makes up for in world building.
Over the course of OVA’s 60 plus minutes we get a look into the unrest that happened in the days before the Zeon Empire. Adding to the Nazi comparisons we see a colony that’s sick and tired of being held down by the earth government. Large scale rallies and riots are shown during the opening 30 minutes of the show as civil unrest leads to evil empire of sorts.
If there is one complaint agains the OVA, it’s that it takes time away from it’s serous tone to add cartoonish comedy with the inclusion of Artesia’s cat, Lucifer. While this part is small and shown in an interesting way (through still images in a cartoonish style) it doesn’t match the rest of the anime’s tone.
In the end, the anime works well as a companion piece with the manga series. It’s quick, well written and tells part of the story that isn’t hugely focused on. For fans of the series, this title is a nice way to celebrate the franchises 35 years of stories.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin was produced by Sunrise. The title is currently distributed by Daisuki with an English dub soon to come.