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Category Archives: Gundam

Rise of the Red Comet: Mobile Suit Gundam- The Origin Finale Reflection

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt

Dozle’s fleet retreats after sustaining damage, but the mobile suit groups push into the Revil fleet, inflicting heavy damage on Federation forces. The Black Tri-Stars destroy the Ananke and capture Revil himself, while Char single-handedly destroys several Federation cruisers on his own. The Battle of Loum thus becomes a victory for Zeon, and Zeon prepares to mop up remaining resistance elements in space. While Degwin feels that their objectives have been fulfilled, Giren and Kycilia conspire to continue the conflict, desiring to totally annihilate the Earth Federation. Meanwhile, Dozle gives Char his own battlecruiser, asking him to investigate the Federation’s Project V. Char accepts the assignment and sets about bringing his subordinates up to speed. While on a training exercise, Char runs into a Federation cruiser and boards it, learning that Revil had been freed. He chooses to let Revil go. Amuro later attempts to gain access to his colony’s military section and get an answer to what Gundam is. He meets William Kemp, who discloses nothing and warns him to never speak of the Gundam to anyone. Returning home, Amuro finds that his father’s research has been removed from their home. When the Antarctic conference begins, Revil makes a live speech on the state of Zeon, encouraging his men to continue fighting and enraging Degwin, who asks Garma to crush the Federation forces. Sayla Mass prepares to transfer to Side 7, away from the conflict, and the Federation sends out the Pegasus-class assault carrier to take delivery of the RX-78 II, an instrumental weapon against the Zeon mobile suits. This is the scope of what happens in The Origin‘s sixth and final instalment: from here on out, the events of Mobile Suit Gundam begin, and The Origin thus comes to a close a shade more than three years after its first episode was released. Over its run, The Origin‘s primary focus has been on Char Aznable and his rise to prominence, as well as portraying the events that led to the formation of the Zeon and instigation of the One Year War.

By the events of Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeon had already been established as a fanatical, war-warmongering group spurred on by the Zabi family: The Origin explains how things reached this state and in doing so, humanises Zeon to some extent, similarly to how Gundam Unicorn had blurred the lines between justice and evil. Zeon had not been born of a desire to eliminate Earth-born humans, but rather, to establish an independent government in space for their people and promote exploration of what would later be referred to as the continued evolution of humanity. After Zeon zum Deikun’s death, Degwin Zabi’s rise to power and his subsequent actions with the Zeon armed forces suggests that his intentions had been to make it clear to the Federation that Zeon should not be treated lightly. Throughout The Origin‘s finale, he is presented as being moderate compared to Gihren and Kycilia; having felt that their goals have been accomplished, he arranges for Revil’s release such that peace negotiations can begin. Degwin’s disgust for Gihren’s blood-lust is apparent in the finale: he openly compares Gihren to Hitler and Napoleon. The complex dynamics within the Zabi family show that even here, there is a divide as to what the proper course of action for Zeon is. However, when Revil publicly proclaims his intentions to continue the war, Degwin is shocked and immediately renounces Revil, ordering Garma to smash the Federation despite his own desire to end the conflict. The complexity of war is a central theme to most Gundam works (save spin-offs like Build Fighters, which deal with sportsmanship and craftsmanship): within the dialogue, characters wonder openly if it is in our nature to fight, as well as whether or not humanity can ever be free of war. There is no easy question, and The Origin shows that once a conflict has started, it can be very difficult to stop things from spiralling out of control: much as how the world was dragged into two World Wars within the past century, once things reached a tipping point in the Universal Century, bloodshed became unavoidable, with the only inevitability of war being that suffering and loss results.

The horrors and futility of war notwithstanding, The Origin‘s other focus is on Char Aznable. While a fearsome pilot, Char’s ultimate traits are his charisma: he has a powerful ability to inspire and also deceive those around him depending on his intentions. Char’s subordinates respect him, while his superiors place their faith in his ability; he is trusted and wears his roles well as a leader and pilot. Seeing Char wield these while outside of a mobile suit show that he’s also a terrifying individual to be around. The combination of these attributes make him the perfect foil for the more selfless Amuro Ray — The Origin can be seen as showing the milestones in Char’s life that set him apart from Amuro. Merciless and utterly focused on achieving his goals, Char only fights for himself and stands in stark contrast to Amuro, who, over the course of Mobile Suit Gundam, comes to fight for those around him and in the process, mature as an individual. Because The Origin offers additional insight into how Char came to be, seeing the endpoints for both Char and Amuro’s journey throughout the Universal Century suggest that one’s worldviews are deeply influenced by their own motivations and raison d’être — those who fight for others, for a selfless reason will continue to fight for the hope of a better future, whereas those who fight for themselves end up losing sight of what their goals are and succumb to despair, as Char does by the events of Char’s Counterattack. Watching the two clash provides a powerful visual metaphor for the conflict between two opposites, and this dichotomy, vividly portrayed within The Origin, is why the Char-Amuro rivalry remains such an enduring one.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Despite a delay of two and a half months from the original release date for this finale, the wait between episodes four and five for The Origin still remains longer by around a half-month. There’s quite a bit that happens in The Origin‘s finale, and as such, I’ve chosen to extend the post by ten images for a total of forty. We pick up where we left off last time, with Char flying into the heart of the Revil fleet with weapons at the ready. I open with the note that the fight depicted in The Origin‘s finale deviates considerably from what was seen in the first episode: Char sorties with a bazooka rather than an anti-ship rifle here, and while originally flying into combat with wingmen Slender and Denim, The Origin revises him to flying into the enemy fleet on his own.

  • Befitting of the finale, the space combat is fierce and vividly animated: the Battle of Loum far surpassed anything of Gundam Unicorn in terms of scale, and here, Tianem smashes through Dozle’s forces. The Federation initially believe themselves at an advantage – the Magellan-class ships are more heavily armed and have a higher broadside capacity compared to the Musai-class (a maximum of fourteen mega-particle shots per broadside against the latter’s six), and with their initial defeat of Dozle’s forces, victory seems straightforwards. Broadside mass is not the singular determinant of superiority in naval combat, especially considering that different factors, such as projectile energy and fire control accuracy, also impact a battleship’s effectiveness, as well.

  • As the engagement continues, Admiral Tianem loses the position of Dozel’s fleet. In order to facilitate the unique space combat of the Universal Century, writers imparted unique properties into Minovsky Particles to justify the necessity of close range combat and the ineffectiveness of long-range sensor arrays in space combat, as well as the presence of mobile suits. In the absence of this limitation, capital ships exchanging fire from a distance would be the norm, and doctrine would center around tactical manoeuvres and fire control, similar to battleship combat during the Second World War.

  • Degwin and Garma watch the Battle of Loum unfold in a cruiser on the front lines. Garma’s inexperience is mirrored here, when he begins panicking as Zeon forces begin folding under the Federation bombardment. Garma’s great weakness is a thirst to prove himself, and this comes into conflict with his inexperience.

  • Dozle’s gambit to smash into the Revil fleet unexpected is successful, catching the Federation forces completely off guard. The page quote for this talk is another line from Franklin D. Roosevelt: sourced from his Address on Hemisphere Defense in Dayton, Ohio on October 12, 1940, this speech was made more than a year before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbour and referred to the European conflicts, as well as the Japanese conquests of Asia at the time. While the Americans were reluctant to enter the Second World War at this time, Roosevelt was planning to build up his Arsenal of Democracy with the aim of assisting Allied forces in Europe and Asia. With the attack of Pearl Harbour, Roosevelt formally declared war on the Axis nations.

  • Dozle’s fleet reappears amidst the Revil fleet, and at extreme close ranges, they deal serious damage to Federation vessels. It is here that I am more impressed with both Musai and Magellan class ships: they do not explode in one salvo and it takes sustained fire to damage them. This brings to mind situations in other Gundam series where some large vessels could be destroyed in a few shots. Gundam 00 was notorious for this: during both seasons, the Virginia-class explode immediately after being hit, and the 00 Gundam was capable of destroying the Federation’s Baikal-class cruisers in one shot. This is probably meant to accentuate how powerful Gundams in general are, similar to how military hardware is useless against extraterrestrial forces in other films.

  • The vast differences in how Federation and Zeon ships are designed is meant to remind viewers that different environments result in radically different capital ship designs. Zeon forces have more skeletal ships, a consequence of their need to maximise the number of ships built given a finite amount of resources, and also to reduce their profile in combat engagements. By comparison, Federation vessels resemble ocean-going vessels given modifications to operate in space. These larger vessels can carry more firepower but ultimately present a larger profile for enemies to shoot at, as well.

  • While Char sorties with only a bazooka, one of the Black Tri-Stars utilises an anti-ship rifle during the Battle of Loum. This high-powered weapon distinctly has an anti-materiel role and resembles the M39 EMR, albeit one sporting a distinct muzzle brake. It’s been seen with a fast firing rate for a weapon of its size and appears to fulfill the equivalent of a designated marksman weapon. The anti-ship rifle that comes with Char’s Zaku II High Grade model is apparently large enough to be comfortably wielded in the hands of a Master Grade and feels more akin to a mobile suit-sized Barrett Light Fifty.

  • Details such as using rocket motors to provide additional cutting power are incorporated into The Origin: here, the Black Tri-Stars finish off the Ananke. While the finale’s portrayal of the Battle of Loum differs from what was seen in The Origin‘s first episode, the general order of events are the same, with Char racing onto the battlefield and the other mobile suit forces following suit. With only space fighters and anti-air defenses available to them, Federation capital ships are completely outmatched, becoming little more than sitting ducks for the agile mobile suits.

  • Char destroys a Federation space fighter with a well-placed kick, and earlier, fighters launch very similarly as one might see fighters taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. The Origin is similar to Gundam Unicorn in the presentation of details – from things like operation of various switches to change a mobile suit’s configuration to the loading of ordinance into chambers for firing, The Origin is very similar to a Tom Clancy novel, depicting even minor elements to show that everything has an engineered, mechanical nature to remind audiences that even among the horrors that arise from war, the incredible engineering that goes into the design of war machines mirrors humanity’s great capacity for inventiveness.

  • Ultimately, however, Gundam intends to show its viewers that impressive engineering notwithstanding, war is fought by people, and that the impacts of warfare on people are very real. Tom Clancy holds a similar belief: his portrayal of competent HUMINT and individual soldiers are meant to show that at the end of the day, people ultimately make the difference, as well. Back in The Origin, Char earns his moniker, “Red Comet”, during the Battle of Loum, after streaking about the battlefield at three times normal speed, drawing the Black Tri-Star’s attention: they begrudgingly dub him the Red Comet after seeing his exceptional speed.

  • The last time I anticipated writing about The Origin‘s finale, I had just come back from a fantastic steak dinner at a local restaurant, and it was a beautiful spring evening. I was unaware that the finale was unavailable for simulcast, and so, it is nearly two and a half months later that I’ve finally had a chance to watch it. By a curious turn of fate, this coincided with another delicious steak dinner earlier today. Under warm summer skies, I enjoyed a cheesecake in the afternoon, as this time of year is a time of celebration and of excellent food. As afternoon turned to evening, I went to The Keg during their Lobster Summer event, during which they import fresh Atlantic lobsters from the East Coast. I ordered their eight ounce sirloin with half-lobster – their steaks are as good as always, and the freshness in the lobster was apparent. On its own, the lobster meat was tender and lightly sweet, but with clarified butter and a dash of lemon juice, the flavour can only be described as heaven on earth.

  • With naught more than a bazooka and his wits about him, Char eliminates several vessels on his own, firing rounds into specific areas and making use of his heat-hawk to slice open vulnerable areas. While the Black Tri-Stars are savage in their attack, Char is much more pragmatic and conservative with his ammunition, only dealing enough damage to cripple ships and in one instance, carefully targeting a cruiser’s magazines that triggers secondary explosions which subsequently tear a Magellan-class cruiser apart.

  • Kycilia and Gihren discuss the need to continue their war after witnessing the Zeon victory at Loum. Dozle, on the other hand, orders a moment of silence for the fallen in combat in the aftermath of the Battle of Loum. Kycilia is counted as one of the more enigmatic of the Zabis – tasked with handling intelligence, Kycilia resents that Gihren holds more responsibility and power. While demonstrating loyalty to Zeon and the cause, Kycilia also secretly plots a military coup to seize power, and to this end, created her own secret police. Her death comes at Char’s hands years later, when he kills her with a man-portable shoulder-fired rocket launcher in a scene that is counted as one of the greatest headshots of all time in fiction.

  • The likes of Adolf Hitler are rarely mentioned in anime: besides The Origin, the only other time I’ve seen Hitler was in Makoto Shinkai’s 2011 film, Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below, where the Führer is seen in a tapestry depicting the world’s incursions into Agartha. Gihren’s thirst for blood and conquest here brings to mind the sort of thing that Odin worried seeing in his son, Thor, in Thor – Odin had previously contended with Hela’s lust for destruction and imprisoned her. Fearing that Thor would turn out no better, Odin banished Thor to Earth until such a time when he was ready to return. However, with the turmoil in Zeon, Degwin’s unable to reign in Gihren’s bloodlust, and eventually is reduced to little more than a figurehead.

  • Garma confesses that he feels under-accomplished, asking Dozle to help him transfer to the front lines rather than remain behind as an officier, where he may earn his own stripes and prove himself worthy of his position. Of the Zabi family, Dozle is perhaps the most reasonable – even while dedicated towards Zeon, Dozle cares for those under his command and does not share Gihren’s genocidal tendencies towards the Federation. His daughter, Mineva, would play an important role during the Laplace Conflict of Gundam Unicorn, helping Banagher Links uncover the secret behind Laplace’s Box.

  • At a gala celebrating the Zeon victory at Loum, Gihren gives a speech about his intentions to utterly destroy the Federation. Of the various Gundam universes, I’ve heard that Gundam SEED‘s story was built off the Universal Century, and so, the villains in SEED seem to inherit the worst of Gihren’s traits. By comparison, Gundam 00 is said to have drawn inspiration from Gundam Wing, although by the time Innovation and the ELS come into play, the divergence becomes large enough such that the similarities are superficial. Gundam 00 was the first Gundam series to feature extraterrestrials, and so when I began watching Gundam Unicorn, I thought Unicorn to be much better grounded (at the time, we were only up to episode three).

  • The verbal exchange that Char and Garma have draws stares from onlookers, and here, the contrast between Garma and Char could not be more apparent. Calculating and calm, Char steers Garma into playing right into his hands, infuriating Garma and encouraging him to stick to his path simultaneously. Char’s grudges against his enemies are carefully concealed behind a veneer of charisma, to the point where Char can betray his foes without giving them any indication that they have been had.

  • Degwin and Revil share a conversation after the latter’s capture, where Degwin admits that he has no appetite for warfare. Such conversations are very instructive, and as important to the development of story in Gundam as the combat sequences themselves, as they give insight into how individuals within the Universal Century see things when faced with a fellow human being, rather than when seated behind the cockpit of a mobile suit. The Origin places a bit more weighting on conversations and details than it does the combat sequences, to reiterate that war is more about the humans fighting them, rather than the hardware itself.

  • Kycilia speaks with M’quve, a Zeon commander whom she tasks with heading the negotiations. M’quve has a particular liking for cultural artifacts and is earlier seen stating to a museum curator that his relics are fakes. The scene was reminiscent of a similar moment in Black Panther, when Erik Stevens (birth name N’Jadaka) is browsing at a British museum and informs one of the curators that their Wakandan artefact is made of vibranium, prior to stealing it. Back in The Origin, despite his aristocratic nature and preference for trickery over direct confrontation, M’quve is a devoted Zeon who will step onto the battlefield when necessary.

  • Dozle summons Char for a private discussion on Zeon’s knowledge of Project V, or Project Vinson. This Federation project became known informally as Project Victory, intended to produce the first Federation mobile suit. Much as how the Soviets held the advantage early in the Space Race, Zeon’s advancements with mobile suit technology gave them a significant edge over the Federation. However, with time and the efforts of capable scientists (Wernher von Braun for the United States, and Tem Ray for the Federation), the technology gap would eventually be closed and then surpassed: the RX-78 II was far more sophisticated than any Zeon machine, mirroring how the Saturn V rocket would be the only rocket that brought man to the moon.

  • Dozle assigns Char his own Musai-class ship and staff. While the staff are initially reluctant to wear their roles, feeling that Char is a superior commander, Char makes it clear that he still sees himself as a pilot, first and foremost. His captain’s struggles to lead effectively are the object of humour, but in spite of his initial ineffectiveness, Char (somewhat sardonically) guides him towards leading his men more effectively.

  • During the covert operation to break Revil out of Zeon captivity, Federation soldiers can be seen firing bullpup rifles resembling the modern-day FAMAS, a French service rifle with a distinctly-placed charging handle (visible in this screenshot). Throughout The Origin, real-world weapons can be seen alongside fictional weapons. In earlier episodes, Federation forces are seen using the Colt M72A1, a fictional 4.8mm bullpup rifle. However, the carrying handle and sight assembly seen in earlier episodes differs than the ones seen here, as does the placement of the charging handle.

  • Revil’s escape is revealed to have been an inside job: Federation forces manage to “infiltrate” a Zeon prison and spring him with limited resistance, but this was deliberate so that Zeon had a justification to invade Earth. While a bit of a messily-explained aspect, it is worth noting that the whole of the Universal Century can be inconsistent in places owing to the number different stories, rather similar to how there are contradictions in the Star Wars Expanded Universe as a consequence of the sheer amount of material. Large franchises invariably will pick up inconsistencies as a result of authors not being fully aware of existing materials or else deliberately introducing discontinuity to better suit their narratives: this is the nature of the beast.

  • Char’s crew panics when they find themselves face-to-face with a lone Federation vessel. Ever composed, Char offers the acting captain suggestions. In the English dub, Char is voiced by Keith Silverstein, who had previously performed Full Frontal’s voice in Gundam Unicorn and absolutely nailed the role, presenting Full Frontal as charismatic and focused as Char is. In the original Japanese dub, Shūichi Ikeda repraises his role as Char, having voiced Char in his previous appearances.

  • The Federation officers, after the initial shock wears off, attempt to eliminate Char. This backfires when Char uses his own weapon, a ceremonial-looking rifle resembling a saber, to fire a disabling shot that knocks the sidearm from one of the Federation officer’s hand. Before Char can press forward with his questioning, Revil himself appears on the bridge. In response, Char promptly apologises, wishes Revil safe passage and heads off. When he returns to his allies, he explains to his men that he feels as though he stepped into some sort of political game and has no inclination to interfere.

  • One touch in The Origin I particularly liked was how there are short moments depicting all of the classic Mobile Suit Gundam characters in their lives prior to and a short ways into the One Year War before they become involved with White Base. Mirai Noa (née Yashima) is a pilot for a civilian transportation service by the events of the One Year War, and following the attack on Side 7, she joins the White Base crew. Here, she meets Bright Noa and helms the vessel. From a quiet young woman of a wealthy family, Mirai’s presented as being more confident now, although she’s still susceptible to moments of embarrassment.

  • Amuro’s curiosity about the Gundam project leads him to try and enter the military installation on the far end of Side 7. The guards manning the front post turn him away, but when Amuro mentions the Gundam, they take him in and bring in William Kemp, who warns Amuro to never discuss the Gundam with anyone. In the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Amuro was presented as a skillful mechanic and had an innate understanding of machinery, which, coupled with the RX-78 II’s overwhelming combat performance, allows him to stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Char in combat. The Origin reveals that he studied his father’s work extensively, which would explain his ability to operate the RX-78 II later on.

  • In order to prevent a future leak, military intelligence units pay a visit to the Ray residence and clear out everything related to the Gundam. The Origin ultimately makes several changes to the progression of events in Gundam, but overall, I never found them to be terribly disruptive towards the existing flow of events that I am familiar with. Compared to most folk, I am a freshman when it comes to the Universal Century, having first taken an interest in it through Gundam Unicorn and Char’s Counterattack – my story with Gundam began with 00 back eleven years ago, and I ended up skipping over AGEReconguista in G and Iron-Blooded Orphans, which I personally felt to have deviated from the stories that made the Anno Domini and Universal Century so engaging. In particular, my friends advise against watching Iron-Blooded Orphans because of the series’ excessive focus on drama over meaningful themes.

  • The Antarctic Treaty is so-named because it was signed in Antarctica. A climate-controlled geodesic dome houses a large metropolis, a far cry from the present-day Antarctica that was seen in the likes of A Place Further Than The Universe. The treaty of the Universal Century has nothing to do with the real-world Antarctica Treaty, which was signed in 1959 and bound signatory nations to the terms that the southernmost continent was only to be used for scientific research, and that no country may claim sovereignty over the continent.

  • With instability brewing, Sayla mass is offered a chance to transfer over to Side 7, away from the conflict. This sets in motion the events that lead her to cross paths with Amuro Ray. At this point in time, Side 7 is far removed from the Zeon-Federation war, but once the events of Mobile Suit Gundam begin, Zeon attacks Side 7, and Sayla boards White Base. She eventually becomes the second pilot for the RX-78 II and develops feelings for Amuro.

  • The negotiations begin at Antarctica: they were originally intended to be a discussion of the surrender terms, but when Revil appears and delivers a speech ordering the Federation to continue fighting. While not as memorable as John F. Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the Moon” speech or George S. Patton’s address to the Third Army, Revil’s “Zeon is Exhausted” speech is very well-known in the Gundam community. Realising the condition of Zeon, the Federation regroups, and rejects the surrender terms. The end result is a ban on WMD and colony drops: the Zeons are left with an advantage, as they possess mobile suits.

  • The abruptness and unexpectedness of Revil’s declarations anger Degwin, who had been anticipating a transition to peace once the surrender proceedings had concluded. He orders Garma to crush the Federation, continuing the war. Zeon forces subsequently launch an invasion of Earth itself. The Origin ends with the message that the story continues in Mobile Suit Gundam, and while there have been a handful of depictions concerning the events of the One Year War in other series and games, I would love to see a modernised adaptation of Amuro and his time as the RX-78 II’s pilot.

  • As Revil’s speech is broadcast, it is listened to by many, including Kai Shinden. Here, Fraw Kobayashi (née Bow) frolics in a pond with other children and invites Amuro to join her, but Amuro declines, his mind weighted down by thoughts of the Gundam project. A longtime friend of Amuro’s, Fraw looks after him in The Origin, but he seems unaware of her feelings for him. As the One Year War progresses, Fraw and Amuro grow apart: Fraw eventually marries Hayato Kobayashi. Her fate in the original Mobile Suit Gundam and retelling differ.

  • On board a flight to Side 7, Sayla listens to Revil’s speech. When accosted by some unsavoury men, she manages to cool their advances with little more than a cold glance. Sayla has since reached her aspiration to become a doctor, and despite the dramatic difference between her and Char’s careers, the two siblings share the ability to intimidate with a look. During the One Year War, Sayla searches for her brother and later meets him again, where he explains his desire to avenge their father. The two will cross paths again as the war continues, where Sayla reminds Char of his goals to destroy the Zabi family.

  • While The Origin does not show the Gundam, White Base is shown en route to take delivery of the Gundam following the credits. White Base, officially SCV-70 (although it is known by a few other designators), was commissioned to act as a mobile suit assault-carrier and was capable of independently exiting and entering the Earth’s atmosphere without additional equipment. Besides carrying a maximum of six mobile suits (including the Gundam), White Base also had comparable firepower to a Musai-class. The deployment of White Base is reminiscent of the gradual change in naval warfare doctrine during World War Two: whereas battleships and long-range guns dominated previously, aircraft carriers soon displaced them. This is mirrored in Mobile Suit Gundam, where engagements between mobile suits become the staple of space combat.

  • Seeing the interior of White Base’s bridge in a modern form was superb: the remastered designs are entirely faithful to the original layout as seen in Mobile Suit Gundam. On its inaugural mission, White Base is state-of-the-art and will serve as the home base for the RX-78 II, participating in numerous operations throughout the One Year War until its destruction at the Battle of A Baoa Qu, which would also see the defeat of the Zeon forces. However, unresolved hostilities resulted in Operation Stardust, which saw a second colony drop. The Titans were formed to prevent another Zeon incursion, but the group became worse oppressors than those they sought to stop, resulting in the Gryps Conflict. Zeon itself splintered into factions that sparked the First Neo Zeon War and later, the Laplace Conflict.

  • Bright Noa is one of the most famous commanders in all of Gundam, and in The Origin, his career with the Gundam and their pilots is just beginning: he is an ensign at this point. A dedicated leader, disciplined and forward-thinking, Bright exhibits all of the traits of a capable captain, preferring simple and effective tactics over flash. Best known for his Bright Slap, Bright guides many Gundam pilots throughout his career to follow their own hearts: by the events of Gundam Unicorn, Bright is able to convince Banagher Links to confide in him and follow through on a mission to keep the RX-0 away from the Vist Foundation.

  • With Project V finishing and the Gundam operational, Tem is overjoyed and remarks that he’d made life rather difficult for Amuro. While he might’ve been short with Amuro because of pressure from his research and development, Tem genuinely cares for Amuro. The Gundam’s completion marks a moment of hope for the Federation, and the post-credit scenes in The Origin exude this sense through and through – Gundam marks a point where the Federation finally had a weapon to match the Zeon mobile suits, and hope is kindled. The music in the final scenes accentuates this feeling, as does the positive atmosphere on White Base’s bridge and above all, Tem’s optimism.

  • When The Origin‘s first instalment was shown, it was March of 2015. I was nearly done my second term of my graduate studies, and had supposed that The Origin would be the Gundam series I would watch throughout my Master’s programme, much like how Gundam Unicorn was something that I watched during my undergraduate studies. I predicted that the fourth episode, then assumed to be the finale, would finish by September 2016, which was when I had expected to defend. However, I ended up defending my thesis a full three months earlier, and The Origin had two extra instalments to showcase The Battle of Loum in greater detail. I thus ended up finishing The Origin well after my Master’s thesis: the finale meant that the series wrapped up nearly a year-and-a-half later than expected, but the wait was one that was worth it, as I enjoyed The Origin much more than I thought I would. With The Origin behind us now, I remark that Girls und Panzer: Das Finale‘s second episode also has a known première date now, being set for June 2019. A little extrapolation shows that the sixth episode will likely be available on Blu Ray by September 2025 at the earliest.

The Origin ends up being a solid animated addition to the Universal Century for showing Zeon’s perspective of the war and how the situation became what was seen in Mobile Suit Gundam. In addition, it also solidifies Char’s character, giving more exposition as to what motivates and drives him, as well as what makes him a suited opponent for Amuro Ray. While the artwork and animation in The Origin is not as impressive as what was seen in Gundam Unicorn, it nonetheless remains of a very high standard, capturing the scope and scale of major battles in the Universal Century prior to Mobile Suit Gundam and giving viewers a modernised glimpse into the events that precipitated the formation of Zeon and the One Year War. Through details, from control panels to watching munitions being chambered, The Origin succeeds in presenting the early weapons of the Universal Century was being proper pieces of military hardware rather than cannon fodder. Coupled with its concise narration, the end result of The Origin is a greater understanding of why Zeon undertook the actions that it does, which enriched my appreciation of the story in the Universal Century. Consequently, I would recommend The Origin to folks who are fans of the Universal Century. The Origin is also suited as a gateway into the Universal Century: how the different factions and mobile suits came to be are explained in excellent detail, so those unfamiliar with the first Gundam timeline would be able to see a very succinct presentation of how things come to be. The only real disappointment is that the RX-78 II itself does not appear in a combat role, only appearing in blueprints: anyone looking to see a modernised RX-78 II in The Origin will not find that in The Origin, but beyond this, the solid origin story and modern visuals make The Origin an excellent experience overall.

Clash at Loum: Mobile Suit Gundam- The Origin Episode Five Reflection

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.” —General Dwight D. Eisenhower

The opening stages of the One Year War begin when Zeon launches a surprise attack on Side 2, eliminating Hatte altogether, while Kycila leads task force in capturing the lunar cities of Granada and Von Braun. Amuro and his friends are caught attempting to sneak into a restricted area in Side 7, but Amuro is spared a beating when guards recognise him as the son of Tem Ray. After witnessing the massacre at Side 2, Ramba Ral refuses to participate in Operation British and becomes wanted for treason against Zeon. The Zeons continue with Operation British, dropping the coloney Island Iffish on Earth with the aim of destroying the Federations Jaburo Base, but the coloney break into three sections upon re-entry. The largest pieces impacts with Australia and the sum of the impact halves Earth’s population. Meanwhile, Sayla Mass has become a doctor, and while treating the injured from the political strife breaking out, she learns from a Zeon operative that Casaval is alive, piloting a red mobile suit and later sees him attacking a coloney, after she herself had helped fend off ruffians. While she manages to protect Eduardo Mass, he dies. With Operation British unsuccessful, Zeon launches another attack at Loum. Although their ships are routed by Federation Forces, their mobile suits allow them to even the odds in terms of fighting strength. Char himself steps out into battle, locating the main Federation fleet on short order after pushing his Zaku to its limits. The Origin‘s fifth instalment comes nearly a year after the fourth, and in it, the more horrific stages of the One Year War are illustrated, including the gassing of Island Iffish for the purpose of dropping it as a kinetic impactor. The Origin presents a different take on things than did Gundam Unicorn, but with its high animation quality, is able to capture the sort of devastation that characterises the One Year War, and also illustrate the processes, as well as individuals, behind Zeon’s atrocities.

In contrast with the earlier instalments, the fifth The Origin entry is more fragmented in design, portraying different aspects of the One Year War’s opening stages. From the early Zeon victories to their failed execution of Operation British, from Char’s verbal sparring with the Black Tri-Stars to watching Sayla Mass defend her adopted family and home, The Origin presents a series of war stories that show where everyone’s at since the events of the previous episode. The episode does not follow any one character in particular; in doing so, it is able to capture the scope of the One Year War. In this episode’s presentation, one also gains the impression that Zeon’s worst atrocities and actions were the consequence of Gihren’s decisions. Gihren has been counted as the Universal Century’s incarnation of Adolf Hitler, sharing Hitler’s Social Darwinism beliefs, as well as placing an undue amount of emphasis on Wunderwaffen. Gihren’s beliefs are extreme enough that his father, Degwin, denounces him: Degwin’s original ambitions had been to gain independence for and rule over Zeon, whereas Girhen sought to dominate and destroy the Federation entirely. The Origin evidently presents Gihren as having architected the suffering and deaths of billions; the lingering animosities and injustices indirectly lead to the formation of the Titans and precipitate the rise of three Neo Zeon factions following the downfall of Zeon.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I can’t believe it’s been ten months since I last wrote about The Origin, and for this post, we begin with the Zeon fleet engaging Federation forces. As the instigators, Zeon has the initiative in the One Year War’s early stages, rapidly gaining an edge over the Federation. Early space battles were characterised by long-range engagement between naval vessels. Originally, the Federation were lagging behind on their armaments and fired conventional rounds from their cannons, only upgrading to mega-particle cannons later in the war.

  • Along with the Magellan-class cruisers, The Salamis-class cruisers were the earliest space-faring vessels the Federation fielded, but by the time of the One Year War, they proved outdated: their weaker weapons and lighter armour made them ill-equipped to deal with Zeon battleships, and they were lost in great numbers. Magellan-class cruisers were better armed than the Salamis-class, but both vessels proved inadequate against mobile suits, leading the Federation to design spacecraft capable of housing their own mobile suits.

  • While audiences familiar with things like Cosmic Era and even Anno Domini would be more accustomed to seeing mobile suits equipped with directed energy weapons, Universal Century does not introduce beam weaponry until the RX-78 II. Prior to the Federation’s deployment of the first Gundam, mobile suits were essentially humanoid tanks, armed with scaled-up firearms that still proved exceptionally effective: the basic machine guns Zakus carry fire MBT-sized rounds at several hundred RPM and despite becoming ineffective later on in Gundam as technology advances, they certainly would have been sufficient to overwhelm whatever was available to the Federation when first deployed.

  • During the battles on the moon, Char himself is present, but while engaging Federation forces mid-combat, his thrusters fail to provide the propulsion that he needs. He nonetheless destroys Federation fighters engaging him before continuing with his mission. Char’s choice of red colouration is strictly a personal preference, making him immediately recognisable on the battlefield and earning him the ire of other Zeon soldiers, especially the Black Tri-Stars.

  • Zeon forces destroy the Hatte Colony Cylinder here during an operation. Colonies are fairly commonplace in the Universal Century and are separated into two categories – open colonies have windows and mirrors that allow sunlight in to mimic natural weather patterns, while close colonies were more inexpensive and could house double the number of residents. Industrial 7 in Gundam Unicorn is a closed colony. Despite their seeming fragility, the large size of colonies allow them to withstand a considerable amount of damage – colonies have a diameter of 6.4 kilometres and are typically 36 kilometres in length.

  • Ramba Ral watches as his forces assault the colony Hatte, encountering next to no resistance. He considers it a meaningless slaughter rather than war, and his experiences here shape his actions later on. While Zakus and early space-capable battleships are often presented as primitive and obsolete, enhanced by the limited animation of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the revisitation of the Universal Century with modern animation and artwork illustrate that for its time, the early weapons of both the Federation and Zeon are cutting edge.

  • Gihren Zabi is probably my least favourite of the characters for his facial features: he’s got all of the characteristics of an unlikeable 80s villain. With his exceptional brilliance and ability to sway a crowd, his resemblance to Adolf Hitler is probably deliberate, and here, he gives a speech about the need to eradicate enemies to Zeon. Having seen The Origin and read the history of the Universal Century, it is safe to attribute many of the worst events to him in some manner.

  • Amuro’s only appearance in the fifth episode of The Origin is when he and Kai Shinden, plus a couple of classmates, are caught trying to sneak into an area of Side 7 under construction. Some of the guards recognise Amuro as Tem’s son and jovially remark that if he wished to tour the area, he merely needed to ask for permission. They then proceed to beat the living daylights out of the others while Amuro looks on in disapproval.

  • When Dozle explains the plan behind Operation British, Ramba Ral has reached his limit and storms out of the meeting, feeling that war is not about maximising the enemy’s casualties. His refusal to carry out an order eventually lead the Zeons to count him a traitor, but in the fifth The Origin episode, his fate remains unknown. Dozle and the others continue the operation in his absence, mounting engines onto Island Iffish and prepare to guide it along a trajectory towards earth.

  • Inside the colony, a young man named Yūki promises to protect the inhabitants from Zeon invaders and spends his final moments with his girlfriend before she takes shelter. When Zeon introduces the nerve agent inside the colony, total casualties ensue, and Yūki himself dies slowly in the cold after expending the last of his energy trying to enter the shelter, after seeing the bodies of others caught outside. The nerve agent penetrates the interior of the shelter, killing all within, as well: officials were likely anticipating an invasion force rather than outright extermination.

  • When it becomes clear of what Zeon’s intentions with the depopulated colony are, Admiral Tianem leads the already depleted Federation fleet in a desperate bid to stop the colony from impacting with Earth. The full firepower of the remaining Federation ships are insufficient to destroy or even slow the colony, and the Federation fleet sustains further damage while trying to stop Island Iffish, engaging defending Zeon elements. It is not until the Zeons construct the first Colony Laser that there is a viable weapon of destroying objects the size of a colony all at once. The Titans would construct their own Colony Laser during the Gryps conflict, and in Gundam Unicorn, the Federation secretly commissioned the Gryps II laser.

  • One wonders if the UNSC Infinity’s CR-03 Series-8 MACs could deal enough damage to stop a colony, given an estimated yield of around 50 gigatons. The Zeon’s plan do not account for the forces of re-entry causing Island Iffish to break up in the atmosphere. While considerably less dense compared with a natural asteroid of similar dimensions, the sheer size of a colony could deal considerably damage nonetheless: the three fragments hit Australia, the Pacific Ocean and North America near Toronto, and the resulting damage from the impact, resultant cooling of the climate and seismic activity lead to immeasurable casualties.

  • Sora no Woto fans typically do not agree with my conclusion that the world’s state in the anime was caused by a human war, instead, insisting that global devastation was caused by an extraterrestrial avian species. Their theory is ill-justified and disintegrates when one asks about the species’ role on ecology and why their presence is not noticed in Sora no Woto. An event rivalling a colony drop in scale, following a protracted war, on the other hand, provides a much more plausible explanation, and the events of The Origin reinforce the idea that colony drop events can cause the sort of devastation that the folks in Sora no Woto must contend with.

  • The results of Operation British are vast Federation civilian casualties, with no damage done to Jaburo base whatsoever. Despite his insistence to continue the war, and his proclaimation that those who carried out Operation British are to be punished, Gihren offers no rebuttal when Degwin counters that responsibility of Operation British actually falls on him. I imagine that Gihren is referring to the subordinates who executed the plan, but ultimately, it would appear that for his sharp-mindedness, Gihren did not expect the colony to disintegrate during re-entry.

  • Dozle is easily the least disagreeable member of the Zabi family. Despite his bombastic nature, Dozle is surprisingly gentle. His loud rants quickly cause Mineva to wake up. He promises to make a world where children do not needlessly die in war and resolves to fight for Zeon in the hopes that a Zeon victory will allow such a dream to be realised. Mineva will later play an instrumental role in the Laplace Conflict during the events of Gundam Unicorn, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the OVAs, one of the elements that remained unaddressed is what eventually happens to Banagher, Mineva and Riddhe.

  • A doctor by this point in time, Sayla Mass is very dedicated towards her work, but when a Zeon operative reveals information to her about Casval, who’s taken the name Char Aznable by now, Sayla cannot help but be distracted from her duties. Her longing to meet Casval again does not appear to have wavered after all this time, although the rumours surrounding him lead her to wonder what he’s become since they went their separate ways following their mother’s passing.

  • Char informs his mechanic of performance limitations in his Zaku and requests that the limiter be disabled here. He later spars verbally with the Black Tri-Stars, whose animosity for him are out in the open. While they are quite hostile towards Char, perceiving him as being present to steal their glory and receiving special treatment, the events at Loum will lead them to confer upon him begrudging respect. The Zeon forces begin amassing to take Loum, realising that the Federation will certainly respond, and despite the disparity in their numerical strength, the Zeons place their wagers on mobile suits as playing an instrumental role.

  • Freshly-outfitted Federation cruisers launch from underground sites. Special booster units are seen attached to them, allowing them to overcome escape velocity, speaking to the relatively primitive state of the Federation space fleet: in later Gundam instalments such as Gundam Unicorn, warships are able to exit the Earth’s atmosphere and return to space at will. The composition of this scene brings to mind a moment in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare where Captain Reyes takes control of the SDF Olympus Mons and sets course for Mars to exact revenge against the SDF fleet.

  • Zeon’s march to war drives their supporters to rally and clash with anti-Zeon parties, resulting in civil disturbances within the colonies as citizens become divided with respect to which side they should support. Because Loum is set to receive Federation support, Zeon’s leadership decide to eliminate Loum before the Federation can reinforce them and as such, is anticipating attack from Admiral Tianem’s forces at Loum.

  • The fifth instalment of The Origin reveals that Crowley Hamon is also an accomplished singer. After evicting agents working on Kycilia’s behalf, she performs a ballad that mirrors the increasingly grim and sorrowful mood that has gripped the Universal Century as Federation and Zeon forces continue their war. For a few moments in The Origin, the futility of war can be felt in Miyuki Sawashiro’s performance: she’s a capable singer and played Perrine H. Clostermann of Strike Witches, Masami Iwasawa in Angel Beats! and Sword Art Online‘s Shino Asada (aka. Sinon).

  • When ruffians begin attacking the nearby village in the Texas Colony and make their way to the Aznable Estate, Sayla picks up a lever-action rifle and begins firing, killing several ruffians in the process. Despite her objection to the fighting and violence between the Federation and Zeons, seeing all of the injured and wounded as being people, Sayla does not hesitate to fire on people who threaten those around her. Despite their older weapons, the residents of the Aznable Estate put up a fight and eventually manage to drive off the ruffians.

  • During the course of the night, Eduardo Mass dies from cardiac failure, likely brought on by the intensity of the combat. There’s little time to mourn his passing, as outside, the Zeon forces have engaged and destroyed the docks to a nearby colony. The surviving ruffians are consumed with fear when they realise they cannot return, only to find themselves at the hands of understandably angry residents.

  • As of late, one of my friends picked up the 1/144 System Weapons 007 revision package for the beam spear for Federation mobile suits, as well as the Sinanju’s Rocket Bazooka options. As I have an HGUC Sinanju, he gave me the parts to upgrade the Sinanju: I’ve found the Sinanju to be an excellent model all around for its detail and options, and I’ve also seen several different choices for the Rocket Bazooka. The 007 revision provides the original under-barrel attachment, as well as the means to convert the bazooka into a standalone weapon system, and even can be mounted onto the shield, allowing me to configure the Sinanju into the loadout it’s seen with in the fifth and sixth episodes of Gundam Unicorn.

  • Despite her furious resolve to survive and do what she can, Sayla’s desire to contact her brother’s fate drives much of her actions in Mobile Suit Gundam, where she later takes on a position on board White Base and becomes the backup pilot for the RX-78. She encounters him on several occasions, and later learns of his motivations to exact revenge on the Zabi family. This revelation shows that Char actually had very little interest in the Zeon cause, desiring advancement to better position himself for revenge. However, upon meeting Amuro Ray and losing Lalah Sune, Char’s quest for revenge against Amuro takes on a more personal tone.

  • The Zeon forces prepare for their attack on Tianem’s fleet, marking the opening of the Battle of Loum. One of the elements I’ve noticed in The Origin is that combat sequences are comparatively fewer relative to those of other Gundam series; The Origin places a much greater emphasis on the human elements of warfare and so, it is appropriate to be illustrating the sorts of things people experience in war. With this in mind, I’m hoping that the finale will have a bit more combat scenes, rather similar to how Gundam Unicorn was predominantly driven by stories of the people involved and presented a fantastic finale.

  • Degwin and Garma watch on as the Zeon forces begin engaging the Federation Fleet. The Origin’s animated incarnation appears to have dispensed with the Zeon’s attempts to drop a second colony onto Earth, and instead, opens with the Zeon forces engaging Tianem’s fleet as a distraction. Nuclear weapons are also absent, with all of the engagements being traditional ship-to-ship battles. When the Battle of Loum is mentioned, my mind immediately returns to the fuzzy, low-resolution image that belies the true scale and intensity of the ship-to-ship battles as seen in the high-resolution, crisp presentation in The Origin.

  • The Origin depicts the Federation as having an overwhelming edge over Zeon forces, and here, Tianem remarks on the necessity of stamping out Zeon as his forces decimate Dozle’s fleet. Both Zeon and the Federation have access to mega-particle cannons, which are explained to result from the fusion of Minovsky Particles in a high energy-environment. When properly contained by an I-field and propelled in a certain direction; compared to other directed-energy weapons, the mega-particles are much more powerful for their size, but the generators to compress and fuse Minovsky particles are themselves massive, being only appropriate for deployment on capital ship-sized platforms.

  • The RX-78 II was thus revolutionary for making effective use of an innovation called the E-cap. An energy capacitor, the E-cap holds Minovsky particles and fuse them to generate a mega-particle beam capable of destroying a mobile suit in a single shot, as Amuro discovers when sortieing in the RX-78 II for the first time. Because the high energy resulting from a beam rifle cannot be deflected by anti-beam coatings, mobile suits would come to rely on speed and I-fields to avoid destruction. Federation Mobile Suits adopted beam technology more quickly than their Zeon counterparts, although Zeon eventually catches up.

  • Char prepares for sortie in his distinct red Zaku. To reach the Federation fleet, he pushes the engines to their absolute limits, ignoring the system’s warning and gaining a lock before Federation vessels can detect and engage him with their CIWS. Subtle details in the thruster outputs, the keystrokes Char uses to disengage the limiters and warning indicators even as his targeting computer marks out Federation vessels made this scene particularly enjoyable to watch. With the hitherto unmatched power of a mobile suit, Char feels as though even God himself ought to bow down to him: for his exceptional skill as a pilot, Char is also unabashedly confident in his own ability.

  • It is here at Loum that Char becomes known as the Red Comet, and with this final screenshot, my talk on The Origin‘s fifth episode draws to a close. Superbly enjoyable to watch, I’ve found The Origin to be an excellent interpretation of the Universal Century, perfect for folks who enjoyed Gundam Unicorn and general fans of the Universal Century in providing a modernised, detailed view of Char’s story and the rise of Zeon. I note that this movie’s been around since September 2, but things have been busy, and I’ve only recently had the chance to really sit down and write about it. The conclusion of this post means that we’re very nearly done The Origin, which will close with the sixth episode, “The Rise of the Red Comet” in the upcoming May.

With the next and final chapter of The Origin releasing in May 2018, there remains a ways to go yet before we see the conclusion of The Origin, which deals with Char and his ascendancy in Zeon as the ace pilot. I’ve longed to see the Battle of Loum with modern animation, and the fifth instalment of The Origin does just this, showcasing the One Year War’s most infamous battles in fantastic detail. From the technical aspects of Zeon’s Musai-class compared against the Federation’s Salamis and Magellan-class vessels, to Char’s requests for removing the limiters on his Zaku and participation in some of the battles, The Origin continues in following the development of the hardware involved in fighting the wars, as well as the people fighting them. Of note was Ramba Ral’s refusal to participate in Operation British, reflecting that while the Zeons were undoubtedly an antagonistic entity, there remained at least a handful of reasonable individuals in Zeon. Ramba Ral’s role in The Origin differs greatly from what it was in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, where he was intended to represent an ordinary but devoted soldier whose death came about from the tragedy of conflict. The Origin takes numerous liberties with the narrative, but so far, things have remained consistent: ultimately, I am quite excited to see what the last chapter of The Origin will entail, and it would be most pleasant if Amuro Ray and the RX-78 II makes a combat appearance in the finale to fight Char and his Zaku II Custom.

Eve of Destiny: Mobile Suit Gundam- The Origin Episode Four Reflection

“Weapons are an important factor in war, but not the decisive one; it is man and not materials that counts.” —Mao Zedong

In the aftermath of the Dawn Rebellion, Degwin Zabi arranges for the Federation to withdraw their military assets from Side Three to avoid future incidents. After being reprimanded for failing to look after Garma, Dozel orders Char to Earth, but grants his request to be a mobile suit pilot. On Earth, Char works as a construction worker and meets Lalah Sune, working for a shady figure. He saves her life and grants her request, taking her into space. Meanwhile, Tem Ray pushes forwards with the RX-78 program to develop a Federation mobile suit. When the Federation learns that Trenov Y. Minovsky plans to defect, they stage an extraction operation that is foiled by Zeon, who deploys their mobile suits to great effect against the Federation RX-77 Guncannons, eliminating them and killing Minovsky in the process. Back at Side Seven, Amuro Ray begins to wonder why his father is sent on frequent business trips and begins reading into his father’s research, learning about the development of the RX-78 mobile suit even as the first shots of the One Year War begin, when Zeon declares itself as an independent Principality and mounts an invasion of the moon. The progression of history in The Origin differs from that of the original Universal Century in some key areas: for instance, the One Year War began originally when Zeon gassed four colonies at the start of UC 0079, and Minovsky dies much later. However, in spite of these differences, The Origin‘s final episode proved to be a solid addition to Gundam origin, primarily following the first deployment of mobile suits against Federation forces.

The main draw in the fourth The Origin OVA is its depiction of the natural progression of humanoid weaponry resulted in the Universal Century from construction vehicles and arming them, in a manner not unlike the development of the earliest fighter aircraft in World War One, which consisted of pilots bringing pistols and grenades with them into the air. Soon after, machine guns were bolted onto the aircraft, and with the development of an interrupter mechanism to prevent the guns from shooting up the propellers, the earliest dedicated fighter aircraft were born. Mobile suits share a similar background, initially being armed mobile workers that saw great strides after the development of a suitable power supply (a Minovsky reactor) and the AMBAC system, which provided unparalleled balance and coordination needed to give the weapon human-like dexterity. The Origin captures the development of fictional military hardware in a plausible manner, allowing mobile suits to gain credence as a weapon, and their first combat operation against Federation forces draws yet another parallel with the introduction of tanks in warfare. Although the first deployment of tanks at the Battle of Flers–Courcelette in September 1916 is widely regarded as a failure, German soldiers initially lacked the means to effectively engage them, falling into disarray when they arrived on the battlefield. Unable to penetrate them with their rifle rounds and grenades, Germans claimed that tanks turned warfare into a slaughter, and it was not until later that they began devising means of confronting these vehicles, using six grenades in a cluster to blow tracks off. The Zeon mobile suits, though far more effective and reliable than Mark I tanks, have a similar effect on Federation Forces, overwhelming them and prompting them to continue development into the mobile suit programme.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The fourth episode to The Origin comes out nearly a year and a half after the release of the first episode back in March 2015. I was quite excited about the announcement, which encompassed four episodes, and so, imagined this one to be the last release for The Origin. Here, Garma, Zenna and Char participate in a ticker-tape parade after their successful strike against the Federation garrison. The Federation seems to be an inept bureaucracy by this point, lagging behind the Zeons.

  • After Char is dismissed, Zenna is called to Dozle’s study. Subtle details in the animation, such as Dozle trying to straighten his hair out, already hints at what will subsequently happen: Dozle asks out Zenna here, who is completely taken aback. Viewers already familiar with the Universal Century will already know the outcome, as Zenna later marries Dozle and they have one daughter, Mineva, who will go on to play a substantial role in Gundam Unicorn.

  • At a casino, Char watches his higher-ups lose in roulette. Another client appears, winning consecutive matches before the casino staff switch the dealers, causing the same client to lose a large sum of money. Standing behind this man is Lalah, who Char feels is a little unusual. I’m no gambler, and remark that I’ve got no idea of how to play Poker, so whenever casinos are featured in a particular work I’m watching (especially something like Casino Royale), I don’t particularly understand what plays are being made.

  • A young girl from Mumbai, Char and Lalah meet again formally at a dock. This is where things begin, later resulting in Char rescuing her and assigning her as a pilot. While with a friendly disposition, she holds Char in high regard and is willing to fight for him, culminating in Lalah’s death after she takes a blow from Amuro Ray meant for Char during a heated battle. Amuro Ray himself had noticed that Lalah was unique, and her death transforms the rivalry between Amuro and Char.

  • Lalah laments the fact that her only family photo is of a poor quality and is initially distrustful of Char, but Char later offers to help her create a digital image and use software to boost its quality. Scanning an image is relatively easy, as is cleaning it up using photo editing software. Owing to my background, I’ve been sent to help deal with technological issues pertaining to computers and their peripherals, as well as in accomplishing tasks that seem minor.

  • Despite being smaller than his opponents, Char is more than a match for them physically. His death glare is sufficient to send adults recoiling in horror, being comparable to those that Sam Granger and John Clark occasionally field during their operations in order to dissuade local toughs from bothering their work. After Char intervenes and prevents the fellow in the image from striking her for ostensibly disobeying him, a frigate arrives and sinks his boat before firing on the adjacent area. In the chaos, Char makes off with Lalah.

  • Back at the construction site, the fellow from earlier has arrived to take back Lalah, but is decapitated by his bodyguard by means of a chakram, who has taken up a new offer. Char picks up a shovel and fights him, during which Lalah subconsciously calls out to him, allowing him to dodge the chakram and impale the bodyguard using the remains of the shovel. This scene is one of the more explicit depictions of violence I’ve seen in Gundam, although lacking any of the disturbing implications seen in other anime.

  • Even with the assassin dispatched, another party joins the fray. From the casino, they order Lalah be handed over, seemingly aware that she has capabilities that could help them profit. However, while the casino group begins marching on the construction site to find Lalah, Char powers up his mobile worker and destroys most of the party’s equipment, driving them off.

  • Federation brass share with Tem a plan by Minovsky to defect from Zeon. A fair portion of the fourth episode is thus set on the moon as this occurs, which has been colonised by the time of the Universal Century. I’ve never actually seen the moon cities in Gundam before until this OVA, having only heard about it in the passing during Gundam Unicorn, where Alberto Vist suggests that the Nahel Argama bring the Unicorn to Anaheim Electronics headquarters on Von Braun rather than Luna II.

  • Documentation on Tem Ray is not particularly illuminating; The Origin paints him as a skillful but also rigid engineer with a very set vision for his RX-78 program. His interactions with Amuro, coupled with Amuro’s remark that “not even his own father hit him” in Mobile Suit Gundam, suggests that he is more conservative and disciplinarian in nature. Here, he wonders why Amuro had Fraw Bow over without any pants on.

  • The mass produced RX-77-01 Guncannons are the forerunners of the RGM-79 GM series of production mobile suits, which were produced using information derived from the Gundam project. The manufacturers consider the RX-78 unnecessary and are eager to demonstrate the Guncannons in battle. However, these units are designed based on combat footage of the YMS-03 Waff, the first mobile suit to utilise a miniturised Minovsky Reactor.

  • During the operation to transfer Minovsky into Federation hands, a small detachment of mobile suits, led by Ramba Ral, arrives to regain custody of Minovsky. The Federation decide to deploy twelve elite pilots into combat against four Zeon suits, boldly claiming that it will be taking a sledgehammer to deal with a fly, although they fail to account for a fifth mobile suit painted in red.

  • During the Battle of Mare Smythii, Char draws first blood by shooting down one of the Federation fighter craft escorting the Guncannon carrier. Their destruction prompts Miguel Gaia, Ortega and Grade Mash, three other mobile suit operators, to disparage Char. Openly expressing distaste for Char and how he managed to become a mobile suit pilot. These pilots later become the Black Tri-Stars, a mobile suit team legendary for their aggression and efficacy in combat.

  • Equipped with lower calibre weapons and rockets, the Guncannons arrive and organise themselves to fire on the Zaku mobile suits. Despite landing what appears to be direct hits, the mobile suits emerge from the dust clouds unscathed and begin a devastating assault on the Guncannons. Despite outwardly resembling mobile suits more so than the original Guncannon, their loadout appears more suited for dealing with conventional weaponry, such as capital ships and fighter craft.

  • Lacking the same heavy-calibre weapons as the Zakus, the Guncannons are defeated one after another. One of my friends, an expert on all things Universal Century, speculates that the Guncannons lack the AMBAC system, which prevents them from executing melee attacks. The Zakus capitalise on this, closing the distance and absorbing all fire in order to knock down and disable the Guncannons.

  • Some of the Guncannons seem similarly armed to the Titans of Titanfall, possessing a smaller caliber cannon and a shoulder-mounted ordnance pod firing rockets. The mobile suits evade them, and here, Ramba Ral’s MS-04 Bugu charges into combat, firing its 100mm machine gun. Firing shots nearly the size of main battle tank rounds, the sheer volume of shells mobile suits could put down range made them particularly lethal, and even the advanced Chobham armour modern NATO tanks use might not be able to resist firepower of that volume.

  • One of the Zakus use a heat-hawk to brutally beat down one of the remaining Guncannons, and in the ensuing carnage, Minovsky is killed as a falling Guncannon crushes him. The battle over, Tem observes that the Guncannons are plainly no match for the Zakus and is approved to continue development into the RX-78 project, officially dubbing it a Gundam. The original RX-78 was the first mobile suit to feature beam weaponry: its primary armament was a rifle capable of firing rounds as powerful as those of a battleship and could rend a mobile suit with a single shot, as Char later finds out when encountering the RX-78 for the first time.

  • While Ramba Ral and the others engage the Guncannons, Char himself hangs out in the back, destroying the carrier while evading its anti-air fire.

  • The battle draws to an end with total losses for the Federation forces. It seems almost a tradition that I am able to enjoy a meal out on days where I’ve watched The Origin: with the first episode, it was a family dinner, and on the second episode, I had a ginger-beef poutine. This time, I sat down to a dinner of Russian-style beef on spaghetti with fried pumpkin and carrot, accompanied with garlic bread and tomato soup. A hearty dinner is perfect for a chilly autumn evening, and although this month has been warmer than average, it’s beginning to cool down now.

  • A Zeon official negotiates with the administrator of the Grenada city here as the Principality of Zeon prepares for all-out war. I gathered that her name was Catherine, and that she’s working with Kycilia Zabi.

  • In contrast with Amuro’s sloven ways, Tem is organised and meticulous: this is evidenced in how he keeps his room, and it is here that Amuro discovers the true nature of his father’s work. Schematics for the RX-78 can be seen in the background, and its leg design carries over to the RX-93 ν Gundam. Delving into some of the blueprints, Amuro spends long hours in front of his computer while the world around him braces for the inevitable.

  • The Principality of Zeon is formed in UC 0078, adopting a political agenda similar to that of the Third Reich. While they are designed to be an antagonist faction that makes it very distinct as to who’s who, some folks seem to sympathise with Zeon for reasons beyond fathoming. While there are certainly reasonable characters in Zeon, the Zabi family’s directions lead Zeon to commit numerous atrocities, and as of late, it seems that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare‘s Settlement Defense Front is organised along similar lines as Zeon.

  • Consequently, as a result of his sleep patterns, Amuro falls asleep in class, and here, is teased by none other than Kai Shinden. I usually try to maintain a half-respectable sleep pattern, hitting the hay at no later than 23:00 local time and waking up at 07:00. In this manner, I am assured at least seven to eight hours of sleep, which keeps me going for the day. Of course, by around 17:00, I’m usually quite tired and ready to call it a day.

  • Later in the day, Kai and his friends insinuate that Amuro and Fraw are in that kind of relationship, resulting in the world’s most hilarious expression from Fraw. Fraw Bow (sometimes Frau Bow in romanisations) is a friend of Amuro’s — she looks after him while his father is away, but their relationship never reaches such a stage in Mobile Suit Gundam as Amuro continues fighting against Zeon.

  • As relationships between Zeon and the Federation further deteriorate, hostilities erupt. Musai-class light cruisers exchange fire with Federation cruisers. While originally outfitted with conventional projectile weaponry, both Zeon and Federation cruisers field mega-particle cannons The Origin: over time, beam weapons render armour useless, so mobile suit development gradually shifts towards a greater emphasis on speed over armour.

  • Overwhelmed with her own helplessness as the Federation and Zeon forces go to war, Fraw Bow bursts into tears after entering Amuro’s room and seeing him reading through weapons manuals. Unbeknownst to either Amuro or Fraw, both will play a role in the One Year War, and it is suggested that his talents for mechanical engineering allowed him to become familiar with the Gundam despite it being his first combat deployment.

  • A Megellan-class battleship explodes after taking fire from Zeon battlecruisers. Depicted as being quite fragile, the battleships in Gundam generally feel more fragile than their counterparts in Halo, lacking the energy shielding that larger vessels have. However, mega-particle cannons might have similar effects on armour as the plasma weaponry that the Covenant uses. Consequently, it would be interesting to see whether or not Zeon cruisers could fight toe-to-toe with UNSC capital ships.

  • Char’s Zaku is seen with a standard 100mm machine gun here, firing at Federation cruisers. With the Battle of Loum unfought as of yet, Char has not made a name for himself in combat, but nonetheless resolves to excel as a mobile suit pilot and eventually, take his revenge on the Zabi family for their actions.

  • Lalah gazes out at the stars from the lunar surface and remarks that their twinkling is beautiful. Char corrects Lalah, stating that, lacking an atmosphere, stars won’t twinkle. The effect is formally known as astronomical scintillation, arising comes from moving air refracts the starlight in random directions, giving the sense that their magnitude is fluctuating. Following Lalah’s remarks, I wondered briefly whether or not The Origin would dispense with physics, but thankfully, it has not, and the moment is probably to suggest that at this point, Lalah is still a bit of a naïf.

  • The fourth OVA ends with Char streaking off into battle as a red comet. Overall, The Origin was a fantastic adventure, and news that it will be continued was most welcome. The fifth episode will be titled “Clash- Battle of Loum” and the sixth will be “Birth of the Red Comet”. For the time being, though, this post draws to an end: I’m quite excited that The Origin will be continuing, and look forwards to seeing where things go. Further to this, unlike Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, I will very likely be able to watch and write about The Origin‘s final two episodes in a timely fashion.

The only negative point that readily comes to mind about the fourth The Origin OVA lies in how abruptly it ends: while a fantastic portrayal of ever advancing mobile suits and the growing hostilities between Zeon and the Federation, the amount of space combat was admittedly insufficient. In fact, one of my friends remarked that four OVAs seemed inadequate to cover material leading up to the One Year War, and would only accept the fourth OVA as the last installment if an official source stated thus. Mere hours later, we learned that there will in fact, be a continuation. Split into two parts, with one being released in autumn 2017, and the final in 2018, the upcoming episodes will deal with the Battle of Loum in much greater detail and Char’s journey to becoming the Red Comet. While the dates are a long ways off, the announcement is most welcome, for there will be additional installments that bring the events of the Universal Century to life using the visual styles Gundam Unicorn established. To see pivotal battles, including the One Week Battle and Operation British, in high detail, would be a chilling but instructive experience for Universal Century fans, and I look forwards to gaining more exposure to the most intricate universe in the Gundam franchise. This news also means that, for completion’s sake, I will try to stick around long enough to blog about the two remaining OVAs in The Origin.

Dawn of Rebellion: Mobile Suit Gundam- The Origin Episode Three Reflection

“It is a principle of diplomacy that one must know something of the truth in order to lie convincingly.” —Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October

Around six months have elapsed between now and when The Origin‘s second episode aired. Casval and Char prepare to board a flight outbound for Munzo, but realising that there’s a price on his head, Casval plants an antique revolver in Char’s baggage and offers to swap places with him so the latter won’t miss the entrance ceremony. As Casval predicts, the flight is sabotaged. Now taking on the identity of Char Aznable and shedding his old name, he enrolls at the Zeon military academy and begins his training. His remarkable prowess for both physical and cognitive coursework eventually draws Garma Zabi’s ire, but when he looks after Garma following an accident during a training exercise, the two strike up a cordial friendship. A collision between a Federation and civilian vessel sparks unrest in Munzo, and when the Federation resorts to lethal force, Char suggests to Garma that they directly assault the Federation garrison on Munzo. Garma succeeds in rallying the other trainees, and in what would eventually become the Dawn Rebellion, manages to force the Federation forces to stand down. Char is given his iconic mask here by Lino Fernandez, his former roommate, and although the latter persists in trying to gain Char’s trust, Char views him as a future liability, orchestrating his former roommate’s death during the chaos while they attempt to take the Federation garrison.

This third episode of The Origin illustrates Char as a charismatic leader, whose remarkable talents is matched by a highly intimidating presence and uncommon skill in setting up situations to work in his favour. He views death as a necessary element in realising his plans, and bears sociopathic tendencies, feeling no remorse in sacrificing the original Char or Lino to drive his machinations forward. Despite these attributes, Char never comes across as arrogant; Char maintains a polite manner even while working to manipulate situations. In the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Char’s objective was revenge against the Zabi family, and to this end, he makes extensive use of deception to achieve his means. The Origin illustrates that Char is a deft hand at employing this deception even at the military academy, and in a way, he might be considered to be responsible for the One Year War by encouraging Garma to lead the rebellion against the Federation forces, driving hostilities between the EFSF and Principality of Zeon further. In the background, mobile suit development continues: with Dr. Minovsky announcing a miniturised fusion reactor, the mobile suits come closer to the forms that are seen in the Universal Century.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • As a The Origin post, I’ve got thirty screenshots, rather than the usual twenty, since the episodes are longer and also quite conducive towards discussion: the overall writing and pacing in this episode are impressive, and some have even considered this OVA to surpass some of the classics, such as Gundam 0080, 08th MS Team, and Gundam Unicorn in terms of narrative strength.

  • The Zabi family sabotages the flight, thinking that they’re rid of Casval once and for all. During this explosion, the original Char Aznable dies, and Casval subsequently takes his name, arriving by the next flight and enrolling at the Zeon military academy in Char’s place. From here on out, Casval Zum Deikun will be referred to as Char for consistency’s sake, and any references to the old Char will be clearly marked as such.

  • Right from the beginning, the original Char’s friends remark that Char’s changed quite a bit over the summer: the original Char was more jovial and melodramatic in some places, whereas Casval is more serious, focused and less predisposed for banter. He dons a pair of sunglasses to conceal the fact that his eye colour differs from the original Char’s, and as a cover story, states that the shades are to protect his vision from decay.

  • One of the questions that some viewers have posed is why Federation officiers are present at the Zeon’s opening ceremony, and the answer to that is that at this point in time,Munzo is merely an autonomous colony. The Zeon military academy is training individuals for the militia, a separate element from the EFSF’s main forces that (on paper) answers to Federation officers. On an unrelated note, the page quote for this discussion comes from Char’s deception.

  • With the opening ceremonies past, Char and the others begin training: Char’s academic and athletic performance is impressive, and he quickly becomes noticed at the academy. In fact, his performance makes Speedy Gonzales look like regular Gonzales (this line comes from Futurama‘s “War is the H Word”, where Leela disguises herself as a male soldier to prevent Fry and Bender from dying when they join the army and are sent to neutralise the balls on Sphereon I. Like Char, she also sports a pair of shades and performs very well in physical exercises.

  • During a lecture, Char attempts to help Garma answer a problem backfires, and Garma’s friends threaten Char. Without laying a finger on any of them, Char manages to frighten them with a glare reminiscent of John Clark and Sam Driscoll’s glares: in Tom Clancy novels, some of the characters with extensive field experience are able to defuse an argument or make their intentions clear with a look.

  • Although powerful, Dozle’s mobile suit programme is hampered by the lack of a suitable power supply and Gihren orders the research scrapped, thinking that there is no future for mobile suit warfare. However, Dr. Minovsky himself steps in and introduces a hypercompact fusion reactor that possesses the same output as a standard reactor while having a much smaller size. This power supply further generates Minovsky particles, known in the Universal Century for its electronics disruption and communications jamming properties.

  • A prototype Zaku I is shown here: Minovsky states that the future of warfare, in the face of Minovsky particles, will be a departure away from long-range precision munitions and return to close-quarters confrontations. Despite having inferior numbers to the EFSF military, the mobile suit will change the face of warfare forever: after the One-Week War forces a ban on WMD, the mobile suits that Zeon possesses proves superior to anything the Federation has, tipping the war seemingly in favour of the Zeon forces.

  • It’s now been a little more than two years since the finale to Gundam Unicorn aired; that episode was a veritable masterpiece and resulted in the largest blog post I’ve ever written up until now, spanning some 9000 words and featuring 75 images. That feat will be matched by the upcoming Girls und Panzer Der Film. I had written the Gundam Unicorn finale post after a memorable Victoria Day Long Weekend in 2014, and this year, while I spent much of the Long Weekend working on my thesis (the first draft is about a half-day from being finished now), this break was also quite enjoyable.

  • This year, my Long Weekend started on Friday, which I took off to get the figures into the paper and, after stepping out for a chicken-and-bacon melt sandwich, spent the afternoon playing through Star Wars: Battlefront‘s trial to experience the heroes and survival gameplay. A more detailed post will come out on that at some point in the near future. Saturday was spent gathering and inserting the remaining figures into the thesis, but there was also enough time to watch Hai-Furi. We had honey garlic and buffalo boneless wings, plus a supreme and Canadian pizza for our evening meal. Then, I spent most of yesterday out shopping for new clothing and went to the China Palace for dinner. Today was dedicated towards wrapping up odds and ends in the paper. The rain persisted for most of the Long Weekend, but it’s much-welcomed, and overall, I’m quite happy, since I was able to push the thesis paper’s first draft to near completion, enough to find time and write the review for this episode of The Origin.

  • The prospect of highly maneuverable platforms carrying nearly as much firepower as a battlecrusier is most appealing to Dozle, hence his support for the programme. When Gihren learns that the matter of a power supply has been solved, he rescinds his order and demands that mobile suit development be given full priority, to Dozle’s joy. This head start allows the Zeon forces to have the advantage in the early days of the war.

  • While participating on a 40-kilometer hike, Char and Garma are neck-and-neck for first place. Whereas Char is merely determined, Garma grows tired of being out-performed by Char on all occasions. A scheduled rainfall forces both to stop, and while Char is resting, Garma pushes ahead but falls into the ravine, injuring himself. Char arrives, and while the camera angles imply that Char will follow Garma’s taunts and finish the latter off, Char merely is fashioning a makeshift shelter to keep the rain off Garma.

  • Char makes it clear that he has no intention of mocking Garma, and although Char is driven by revenge against the Zabi family for assassinating Zeo Zum Deikun, Char is patient, waiting years to reach a position where he is able to take revenge. While both Char and Talia al Ghul of The Dark Knight Rises utilise plans that involve manipulating the individuals around them, the latter’s plans are much more complex and therefore, more prone to failure: Char uses more direct approaches to defeat the Zabi family.

  • Thus, after this exercise, Char and Garma come to be on friendly terms: the latter even requests that the two be roommates, and in spite of Char’s sharp remarks, seems okay with Char’s personality. However, Char’s friendship is merely a sham: by the events of Mobile Suit Gundam, he finally reveals his deceit, deliberately misinforming Garma on the position of White Base, and Garma dies in the resulting attack.

  • Back at the Texas Colony, Artesia has also matured and resolves to be a medical doctor: touched by the sorrow and losses she’s experienced, she feels that a career in medicine would allow her to perhaps help others out and reduce the sorrow in the world. She enrolls at a medical school at Side 7 and meets Amuro Ray here when Char leads an attack on Side 7.

  • Artesia feels that it is unlikely that Casval could have truly died on board the sabotaged flight and wonders if he’s not alive somewhere. Char and Artesia do not meet again until the One Year War starts, and despite the time that’s elapsed, Char still cares greatly for Artesia, giving her the funds to move away from the conflict.

  • After an immensely successful mock-combat exercise, Char asks a commanding officer whether or not their forces, training in asymmetrical warfare, are merely scapegoats meant to accentuate the superior firepower of the other Federation forces to dissuade other Sides from considering independence. The officer strikes him across the face for alleged insubordination, but Char’s calm resolve and the other students eventually force the officer to recover Char’s sunglasses. Both instances show the charisma that Char radiates, and for this reason, he becomes a very effective figure in a leadership role.

  • Things further worsen when an EFSF battleship and civilian vessel collide: the battleship’s main engines detonate and propel it straight into an agricultural coloney, leading to its total destruction. Char and Garma are on duty, clearing away the debris, when they notice a Federation troop-carrier deployed. Char immediately deduces that their objective will be to use force to pacify the growing unrest at Munzo.

  • The protests arising on Munzo come in response to the Federation’s refusal to take responsibility for the destruction of an agricultural colony, and soon turn into riots when the Federation begin employing lethal containment measures, opening fire on the rioters with small arms and even main battle tanks.

  • As the situation worsens, Char decides to take action, motivating Garma to lead the other recruits in a daring assault against the Federation compound. This scene demonstrates another aspect of Char: he plans his actions meticulously to ensure that things will go accordingly to plan, and even when the unexpected occurs (such as Lino deducing his identity), he remains quite calm, taking time to assess the situation and devise a suitable solution that works best in the long term.

  • Lino gives Char a prototype of his iconic mask here to continue concealing his identity, and while Char appears quite grateful, he also suspects that Lino could be a liability in the long run. Char’s mask later matures into the version seen in Mobile Suit Gundam as he grows accustomed to wearing one, and I imagine that come the fourth OVA, audiences will have a chance to see Char in full combat (i.e. a scene lasting much longer than what was seen in the first episode).

  • Hiding his own doubts and rallying the other recruits, Garma orders everyone to sortie in their APCs. Resembling modern day APCs, the vehicles used at the academy are outfitted as self-propelling mortars and also have a heavy machine guns. Both weapons are used to great effect in the recruit’s assault on the Federation base: catching them completely by surprise, the trainees manage to disorient their enemy.

  • Zenna Mia holds Dozle at gunpoint while trying to buy the others enough time to reach their objective and begin the operation, but Dozle quickly overpowers her and demands to know who’s leading this unauthorised operation. He relents when he learns that Garma is in command of the entire operation, and Zenna’s words suggest that no one is aware that Char had planned out the entire operation. Zenna later marries Dozle and they have a daugher, Mineva Lao Zabi (Gundam Unicorn‘s Audrey Burne).

  • Back in the heat of things, lead by Char, the trainees mount a terrifyingly effective assault against the Federation forces, making use of shoulder-fired rockets and assault rifles to damage facilities and take down foot mobiles. Char orders Lino to commandeer an enemy tank after losing one of their APCs, and takes advantage of the chaos to order the other trainees to fire on this tank, culminating in Lino’s death.

  • For higher mobility, Char and the other trainees use a jetpack to maneuver quickly around the base. The coordination that the trainees fight with attest to Char’s leadership and organisational qualities: while plainly useful in a military setting, these skills are also applicable to any setting involving management, and one of my aims is to eventually take on more project management experience.

  • While Lino takes heavy fire from blue forces, Char remarks that he is no longer Casval, having fully taken on his identity as Char Aznable. He reaches the command center and negotiates a surrender with the Federation officers, who are completely bewildered that the trainees could coordinate and organise a successful assault of this scale.

  • I generally found Federation forces to be depicted as reasonable throughout other Gundam set in the Universal Century (save Zeta Gundam), and so found it easier to support their causes and goals. Their presence in the third The Origin episode, however, felt distinctly cowardly and complacent, and so, it became quite easy to see why Zeon was pushing for independence. 

  • With the operation complete, Dozle is relieved to learn that Garma is safe, and Char remarks that there’s a nice quality about the colour red. The Federation eventually withdraws their forces, and the narration states that this is perhaps the first element that sparks the One Year War only a year later. This is what the fourth episode of The Origin will depict; besides Lalah, it is possible that several major combat operations and even the RX-78 II will be depicted.

  • As with Yu-Yu’s “Hourglass of Stardust”, the third episode of The Origin has a fantastic ending song in Ko Shibasaki’s  “Eternal Astraea”. At this time, I have no idea when it will come out, but I do know that I loved the song. After the credits finish rolling, the focus switches to Amuro and his father as they travel to Side 7, which is under construction. Amuro’s father asks him to help out with the family, since he will be quite busy.

  • Once their flight arrives, Amuro steps out into Side 7 for the first time: the colony is filled with construction cranes and is where Amuro will call home until the events of the One Year War. Nine months after its start, Char pursues Federation forces carrying a Gundam, the Federation’s answer to the Zeon Zaku IIs. With this last image, this post comes to an end, and over the next few days, I’ll aim to roll out a post on Valkyria Chronicles, which I’ve finally finished. The upcoming weekend, whether or not I will have a post for Hai-Furi out on time will depend largely on the timing for when my copy of Girls und Panzer Der Film arrives.

The Origin‘s third episode firmly establishes Char’s new-found identity, and as such, the stage is now set for Char to demonstrate his skill as a mobile suit pilot. Moving into the fourth and final of the OVAs, titled “Fateful Eve”, it’s likely that rumours about how it will follow Operation British and the Battle of Loum will hold true. This is logical; the third episode of The Origin wraps up during UC 0078, and the One Year War began in UC 0079. Although this war devastated both the EFSF and Zeon forces, it will be thrilling to watch the opening salvos of the One Year War (and perhaps even the One Week War) remastered. With a total of only four OVAs announced, it’s unlikely that all of the major battles during the One Year War will be shown, but given that Amuro Ray’s now made an appearance in two of the last three The Origin episodes, and the fact that the fourth OVA will cover a bit of Lalah’s background, as well as the RX-78 II’s development, it is possible that audiences will be treated to an HD, modernised version of Char and his Zaku II squaring off against Amuro’s RX-78 II. There is quite a bit of possibility as to what will actually happen in the fourth OVA, but at present, the fourth OVA’s release date is only enigmatically set as “early 2017”, which puts the release date as being at minimum, seven to eight months away.

Artesia’s Sorrow: Mobile Suit Gundam- The Origin Episode Two Reflection

“Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy, but in passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince’s part to pardon.” —Francis Bacon

It’s been some eight months since Blue-eyed Casval aired, and in this second episode, three years have passed since the events of the first episode. Casval and Artesia are adjusting to their new lives as Édouard and Sayla Mass, but when an assassination attempt leaves Jimba Ral dead, Don Teabolo Mass (their adoptive father) decides to take them to the Texas colony at Side Five to elude the Zeons. Here, they meet the Aznable family and also learn of Astraia’s death, an event that drives a wedge between Casval and Artesia. Eventually, Casval decides to leave Artesia and pursue a future with Char Aznable at the military academy. Back at Munzo, Ramba Ral consents to be a test pilot for a “mobile worker”, forerunner to the mobile suits later seen, at Dozle’s request. As the Zeons gear up for a war of independence against the Federation, Casval begins pursuing his own path, motivated by revenge against those who destroyed his family. This marks the last time that Casval and Artesia will see one another again before the One Year War begins. In comparison to what might be considered a typical aspect of Gundam, The Origin emphasises the human aspect of each of the characters, favouring conversations and moments that serve to shine more light on each character over grant combat scenes. In doing so, insight into how Char Aznable and Sayla Mass come into being is provided, illustrating that all stories must start from somewhere.

The Origin‘s second episode deals primarily with Casval and Artesia’s reactions to Astraia’s death. Casval takes this news particularly hard, despite not showing any significant outward emotion; this change is noticed by one of his headmasters, who remarks that Casval is quite intimidating. If there were any doubts, a brawl with one of the patrons at a saloon in the Texas colony seems to reinforce that the polite, friendly Casval is gone. A comparison may thus be drawn between Casval and Anakin Skywalker: both lose their mother and turn their emotions inwards, leading them to pursue revenge. Darth Vader and Char’s origins were never explored in both franchise’s first instalments (A New Hope and Mobile Suit Gundam, respectively), but even here, similarities in characterisation may be seen: resolute with taking revenge, Casval’s first step towards this end has him applying for the military academy, leaving Artesia behind. While most of the second episode is devoted to characterisation, there’s also a short section depicting a test of Zeon’s “mobile worker” prototype. The precusors of mobile suits are bulky, unwieldy but powerful, boasting enough armour to repel a Federation gun-tank’s firepower and the physical strength to defeat it. With Ramba Ral’s input, Zeon’s weapons programme is progressing rapidly, showing that they are determined to secure independence and eventual dominance over the ruling Earth Federation.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • In the three years that have passed since the first episode of The Origin, Artesia has matured quite a bit and is very vivacious, spending her time volunteering at a makeshift hospital not far from the Mass residence. Meanwhile, Casval studies history with Jimba Ral, although  his innate talent means that he has no trouble grasping the material and thus, allows his mind to wander during Jimba’s long-winded lectures about the Zabi family.

  • While I was quite tempted to do a shorter post with only twenty images, The Origin consists of sufficient material such that these posts can be accompanied by the full thirty images. I’m well aware that my posting has been quite sporadic and infrequent; my thesis project is now nearing completion, so I’m finding less and less spare time to watch shows, much less write about them as I’m directing more time towards implementing the last of the components to said project.

  • Proximity with infected patients means that Artesia herself falls ill. As an older brother, Casval cares greatly for Artesia and promises to keep an eye on her throughout the evening. Throughout this post, I will be referring to Casval and Artesia as their original names, rather than their aliases, Édouard and Sayla, for simplicity’s sake. From the third episode onwards, I will refer to Casval as Char Aznable, and Artesia as Sayla Mass.

  • In a letter to Astraia, Artesia remarks that nearly 50 lunar cycles have elapsed, and that halfway to the 100 mark, the number that Astraia promised before they’d be able to meet once again. Careful inspection of Artesia’s letters will show that they’re written in cursive English: though I do not write in cursive, I did learn how to do so during primary school. However, at present, handwriting is deteriorating: compared to the last generation, my handwriting is terrible, and worse yet, it’s considered “excellent” compared to the norm.

  • However, the evening calm is broken when a group of terrorists under the Zabi’s payroll break into the Mass residence and massacre everyone in sight, with the intent of taking out Jimba Ral, who was planning on a full-scale war against the Zabi family using his contacts at Anaheim Electronics, along with Casval and Artesia. With the exception of Dozle, the Zabi family is depicted as a power-hungry group, and in the three years since the first episode, they have consolidated control over Munzo.

  • In a scene straight out of what could be reasonably expected from a movie made in the 1930s, an assassin in Knight armour attacks Casval and Artesia. Casval eventually manages to beat the assassin in single combat and drives his own sword into the assassin’s visor.

  • Don Mass was able to escape an assassin when he fell out of a window: although injured, he manages to survive, and here, listens to Shu Yashima’s suggestions about moving to Texas Colony. Depicted as being very loving of Casval and Artesia, Don was friends with Zeon Daikun, hence his choice to adopt Casval and Artesia.

  • Mirai Yashima is Shu’s daughter and later becomes Captain Bright Noa’s wife. Like the first The Origin episode, this episode features plenty of cameo appearances for characters seen in the original Mobile Suit Gundam: what Gundam Unicorn did for mobile suits of the Universal Century, The Origin does for characters, serving as a welcome aspect for those who know the Universal Century well.

  • The Zabi family prepare for a public announcement, and the atmosphere surrounding Munzo plainly resembles that of Nazi Germany: the Zeon flag itself bears similar designs with those of the Third Reich’s, and it appears that Federation control here is generally diminishing, even if the Zabi family still allows them to maintain a presence here for the present.

  • After a Federation officer steals the microphone from Hamon, Ramba Ral engages all of the Federation soldiers in a fist fight, damaging half of the bar in the process. Dozle arrives to break up the fight and request Ramba Ral’s presence for a favour.

  • It turns out this favour is to test out the experimental weapon, “mobile worker”, a massive exosuit that fundamentally resembles The Matrix‘s APUs: with a massive claw arm and manipulators lacking dexterousness, these prototypes also have an open cockpit that offers a pilot with minimal protection. These scenes reinforce the idea that Zeon was the first to devise the concept of a humanoid combat platform, and their weapons are typified by fitting components within heavy armour.

  • Against the Federation Guntank, the prototype mobile worker’s armour can resist the machine gun fire without much difficulty, and its main shield can survive consecutive rounds from the Guntank’s main cannon. During testing, the Guntank is torn apart by the mobile worker’s claw arm, and this prototype already exhibits some of the features that will carry over to the Zaku line of mobile suits.

  • These past few days have been quite hectic, as I began implementing C++ blueprints for my simulation. I finished watching this second episode yesterday while enjoying a ginger beef poutine: the savoury cheese-and-gravy of the poutine, mixed with the tart, sweet sauces and crunch of the ginger beef made for an excellent, if somewhat unconventional poutine, and the day before, I was out and about, picking up a new MacBook Pro and iPhone 6 to aid my thesis work (I will be developing a variant of my simulation for iOS, and also am working to become more familiar with iOS app development in Swift 2.0). Short reviews of both devices will come out in due course, of course.

  • A young Amuro Ray is seen with his father, adding to the list of cameo appearances. Still a child, Amuro is playing with an early Haro: originally, Haro were custom-built by Amuro, but in The Origin, they appear to be commercially-available toys. This is the closest that Amuro and Char get in The Origin, as the latter is travelling with Don Mass and Artesia to their new home in Texas Colony.

  • The rationale for moving to Texas Colony at Side 5 was to demonstrate that the Deikun children posed no threat to the Zabi administration and would be willingly placing themselves in close proximity to Munzo. While not shown in this review, the second episode does show that space colonisation is quite mature, with large numbers of colony cylinders organised at the different Lagrange points.

  • Astraia’s health is in decline; she’s visibly aged since the first episode while imprisoned, and longs to see her children again. While technically a prisoner, Hamon gains permission to visit per as a result of Ramba Ral’s agreement to help Dozle out.

  • As another clever call-back to Mobile Suit Gundam, Ramba Ral’s mobile worker is painted blue, and he destroys a mobile worker another soldier is piloting during testing. With most of its sensors disabled, the testing comes to an end, and Rambal Ral remarks that the unit’s performance against another mobile worker is limited by its lack of dexterity, as well as the unsafe cockpit design. This feedback eventually leads to the design of an enclosed cockpit, and superior manipulators for the mobile suits.

  • I’ve become quite accustomed to demonstrating prototypes for my supervisor and the university’s higher-ups: over the past few months, we’ve had interviewers, camera crews and the Dean of Science visited our lab. While not quite ready as a thesis, I had a reasonable amount of content to demonstrate for these events.

  • As a developer, I value feedback, and always incorporate suggestions into the next version where applicable. This was the case with the Giant Walkthrough Brain, and last weekend, I spent most of Saturday making the Unity project more adaptable: because Jay Ingram’s presentations often undergo changes, I decided to write several wrappers to expose some parameters without compromising encapsulation elsewhere. The new changes make the project far more adaptable (and easy to adjust without inadvertently altering mission-critical functions).

  • Texas Colony apparently was planned as a Wild-West themed amusement park, reproducing the landscapes and town of this age. In my province, ranching and cattle are large industries, and we’re known throughout Canada for having the best beef around: I enjoy driving through the foothills in the south of the province because they evoke a very Wild-Western feeling.

  • To the left is the real Char Aznable. His similarity to Casval is stunning (this is precisely why I insist on referring to Casval as such until at least next time), differing only in the colour of their eyes. On Tuesday, I was at a networking event, and was surprised to learn from one of the attendees that there’s apparently someone on campus who looks quite similar to me, but is of the opposite gender.

  • Tensions ease immediately after Char and Casval meet: they’re shown to be getting along just fine, and several of the adults remark so, as well. While Casval is outwardly studious and friendly, he’s also got a darker side that seems to intimidate those around him.

  • Quill pens haven’t been widely used since the 1820s, when John Mitchell developed the fountain pen. Prior to this period, quills were widely used for manuscripts, and have been in use since the sixth century.

  • The mood of the moment changes dramatically when Casval arrives with news of Astraia’s death. This marks the turning point in the episode: while still quite dark with assassinations and the Zabi’s ever-increasing control over Munzo, the second episode of The Origin remained quite cheerful as Casval and Artesia settled into their lives under Don Mass’ care.

  • Casval decidedly evokes memories of Riddhe Marcenas; his limited reaction to Astraia’s death stands in contrast with those of Artesia, and ultimately, contributes to a change in his character and motivation that endures throughout the One Year War.

  • The Aznable family administers the Texas Colony, and later attempt to migrate to Zeon in UC 0079 while the Battle of Loum was raging. The shuttle they were on was, in a stroke of irony, destroyed by Casval, who will have assumed the identity of Char Aznable by this time, and when the dust settles, the entirety of Side 5 was destroyed.

  • Whereas other review sites declined to comment on this moment, Casval’s fight with another cowbow seems to be his taking out his frustrations. I’m actually not too sure if this fellow here is on Zeon’s payroll, but Casval’s immediate disapproval of him might be a very subtle hint of his low-level Newtype capacities manifesting. The fight was surprisingly one-sided, and Casval very nearly inflicts a fatal wound with the classic “nails through board” until Artesia intervenes and crys out at him to stop.

  • Char celebrates after he is accepted into the military academy. Char appears to be an idealist, readily agreeing with Zeon doctrine. Roger Aznable disapproves of Char’s decision, and Casval, who likely knows full well of what joining Zeon entails, keeps his opinions to himself.

  • While Artesia appeared to be recovering from Astraia’s death, Lucifer’s death and Casval’s decision to leave shortly after deal a double blow, lending itself to the episode’s title. From here on out, Casval and Artesia part ways. The next major Gundam  project in the works is Gundam: Thunderbolt: at present, I’m not following Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, but the premise behind Thunderbolt is intriguing: set in UC 0079, concurrent with the Battle of Loum, it will depict the forgotten war at Thunderbolt sector, a boneyard of abandoned colonies and space vessels.

  • There’s no information on what Thunderbolt will entail, beyond a 15-second trailer boasting some Cowboy Bebob-style jazz music, and even for The Origin, all that’s known is that the next episode will be aired in Spring 2016. The ending song to this episode doesn’t quite capture me as Yu-Yu’s “The Stardust of the Hourglass”, but there were some interesting pieces of background music in the episode, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for the second soundtrack volume.

With the second episode now over, eyes now turn towards what will happen next in The Origin, as Casval experiences another assassination attempt that allows him to claim the identity of Char Aznable and eventually become Zeon’s most respected pilot. This upcoming third episode will likely depict Casval’s time at the academy, and renewed Zabi efforts to finish him; consequently, the third episode is something to look forwards to. The official description states that it will be titled “Dawn of Rebellion” and, in addition to the aforementioned plot points, also deal with the continuing mobile suit development and rising tensions between Zeon and the Federation. In continuing to build up the history in the Universal Century, The Origin continues in presenting a tangible story behind Char Aznable, and it will be interesting to see how he fits in with the events of the Universal Century’s history before the One Year War. The release date for the third episode has not been provided: a poster only yields that it will come out somewhere in Spring 2016. While this looks to be quite a ways away, I imagine that the time will disappear in the blink of an eye: there might be a wait, but I reassure readers that this won’t be a long wait.