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Category Archives: Gundam

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.

Blue-eyed Casval: Mobile Suit Gundam- The Origin Episode One Reflection

“All sins have their origin in a sense of inferiority otherwise called ambition.”  —Cesare Pavese

It’s finally here, nearly two years after rumours and speculation about an animated adaptation of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin began during 2013. The animated adaptation of The Origin deals primarily with Casval Rem Deikun and his younger sister, Artesia Som Deikun. After Zeon Zum Deikun’s death in UC 0068, the opening episode to The Origin details the chaos and confusion that subsequently spreads throughout Side 3. For their protection, Ramba Ral and Crowley Hamon devise a plan to smuggle them away from Side 3 to Earth, along with Ramba’s father, Jimba, although during their transit, Crowley, Casval and Artesia encounter a battalion of Federation Tanks. Casval manages to take them out, and they escape from the growing political tensions that follow. The Origin also introduces the Zabi family as a conniving group. Shortly after events of the first episode, Degwin Sodo Zabi transforms Side 3 into the Principality of Zeon, a totalitarian system, although Gihren Zabi gradually takes over. By UC 0079, Zeon declares war on the Federation, initiating the One Year War. The ceaseless cycle of violence and vengence isn’t broken until UC 0096, during the events of Gundam Unicorn. The first episode to The Origin concludes with Caseval and Artesia experiencing space for the first time, and as the episode draws to a close, there’s a half-year wait before the second episode comes out.

The Origin retains much of the stylistic elements from Gundam Unicorn, including a first episode that steps back to introduce characters, factions, beliefs and how everything started. It appears that Zeon Zum Deikun was already intending to break away from the Federation: an ardent believer in the Newtype philosophy, he argued that the spacenoids would eventually undergo evolution to adapt for space and that the Earth was sacred for its life-supporting environs. His beliefs meant that, even had he declared war on the Federation, the conflict itself would have been unlikely to have seen the same sort of atrocities that were committed during the course of the One Year War. Conversely, the Zabi family’s portrayal in The Origin fully suggest a group of individuals who are willing to resort to atrocities in revenge for their perceived mistreatment of the spacenoids. Casval’s unwavering, authoritative presence also hints at his future of being a capable leader and pilot: he is fearless even when threatened by Kycilia Zabi, and despite lacking any experience, he manages to disable four Federation RTX-65 Guntanks during their escape. Other well-known characters are also reintroduced; Ramba Ral left a particularly positive impression, with his friendly personality and talent for getting the job done, however mundane it may be (he even rescues Artesia’s cat at one point). The Origin‘s first episode is focused on giving the Zeon characters more background to show the human faces behind all of the events that subsequently transpire in Mobile Suit Gundam, and leaving this episode, I find that much of the One Year War’s events might be chalked up as a consequence of the kind of merciless and ruthless beliefs that led to the outbreak of conflict during the Second World War.

Sceenshots and Commentary

  • The Origin opens up to the Battle of Loum, which began as an attempt to drop a second colony after Operation British had failed. The Federation was able to deal damage to the Zeon forces, but Zeon illustrated the effectiveness of mobile suits in combat.

  • Char’s MS-06S Zaku II is given a red finish and is capable of moving three times faster than standard Zaku IIs. Equipped with a 280 mm bazooka and an anti-ship rifle in place of the Zaku’s signature machine gun, Char demonstrates his talents as a pilot, effortlessly disabling several Federation battleships before running out of ammunition for his bazooka.

  • The opening battle demonstrates what Mobile Suit Gundam could look like if it was completely redone using present animation techniques and tools: the screens and vessel interiors take on a feeling that distinctly feel like earlier generations of what was seen in Gundam Unicorn, and it looks amazing. Char’s Zaku emits an ominous sound as he flies by a Federation battleship here: the monoeye sound is famous for being an intimidating sound, and my first exposure to it was during Gundam Unicorn.

  • Capitalising on the cutting-edge Zaku II, Char flits throughout the battlefield, amazing his allies and striking fear into the Federation forces. Despite lasting only around four minutes, the combat sequence is nothing short of impressive, and while the CG effects are less inconspicuous than they were in Gundam Unicorn, they aren’t terrible, and in all, this segment of the Battle of Loum is spectacularly animated, giving a sense of scale that was not seen in Gundam Unicorn.

  • The sheer amount of activity going on at any given moment is nothing to sneeze at, and even though this Federation battle group is behind the front lines, Zeon’s use of mobile suits allows them to critically damage a number of Federation vessels, including what appears to be a carrier for launching space fighters. While it’s an unconventional comparison, I liken the Battle of Loum to The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi‘s “Day of the Sagittarius” episode.

  • Char uses a well-delivered kick to wreck one fighter, and shoots down another with his head-mounted vulcans. One would wonder if Yuki could effectively coordinate a battle group of this composition against mobile suits: compared to battleships, the mobile suits offer very nearly the same level of power, but have the added advantage of a significantly higher mobility.

  • The Magellan-class and Salamis-class starships comprise the bulk of the Federation forces in UC 0079. The former is 327 meters in length and armed with seven twin mega particle cannon turrets, four internal missile launchers, as well as 14 anti-aircraft machine guns that would later be used to help defend the ships against mobile suit attacks. The latter is 61.3 meters in length and compared to the Magellan-class, is more lightly armed. The onset of mobile suit combat meant that both types of starships were outperformed, and the Federation would race to get their own mobile suits into production. After this point, the Magellan-class would serve as a makeshift mobile suit carrier, and would ultimately be phased out in favour of the Alexandria-class heavy cruisers and the Ra Cailum-class battleships.

  • The level of detail in The Origin matches that of Gundam Unicorn: in the latter, viewers were treated to watching Banagher waiting for a Zeon beam Gatling gun’s device drivers to load, and here, Char is notified that he’s only got one round left in his bazooka, and that his anti-ship rifle, having been handed off to Denim, is out of range. These subtle details add a great deal to the immersion in The Origin.

  • With only a single round left in the chamber, Char flies his Zaku II directly into the heart of the storm. From here on out, the events depicted in the first episode are set eleven years back: befitting of the title, this is truly where everything began. This is pretty much it for the screenshots of the Battle of Loum: I could spend all day praising this opening sequence, but this is supposed to be a post about Casval and Artesia Deikun.

  • Astraia Tor Deikun and Zeon Zum Deikun converse on the eve of Zeon’s speech, illustrating Zeon’s stress concerning his upcoming speech. An ardent proponent of Earth’s significance and the philosopher who proposed the Newtype theory that later became the crux of the Battle for Laplace’s Box, Zeon was the leader of the Munzo Republic, which had declared independence from the Federation but nonetheless maintained a republic government.

  • Zeon suffers cardiac arrest and dies before delivering his speech. Theories on his death in-universe are varied, with some suggesting that his death was a consequence of overwork and stress, while others claim that the Zabi family was responsible. Degwin Zabi would succeed Zeon, and subsequently, Munzo became the Principality of Zeon, a totalitarian regime that mirrors the Third Reich and Imperial Japan.

  • The confusion surrounding the exact nature of Zeon’s death is left a mystery, and source materials do not ever clarify whether or not the Zabi family was in fact involved in his death, leading to much discussion in the real world. What is known is that supporters of the Zabi family then try to pass Zeon’s death as an action from the Federation in the hopes of giving them the justification for declaring war on the Federation.

  • Sasro Zabi is the second son Degwin Zabi, but was assassinated by Zeon’s supporters after suspicions began arising concerning the Zabi family’s implications in Zeon’s assassination. Dozle Szabi survives: his appearance belies a gregarious and good natured character.

  • Ramba Ral and Jimba Ral discuss the circumstances behind Sasro’s death: compared to his original incarnation in Mobile Suit Gundam, who had a calm disposition, Jimba Ral is significantly more paranoid here. Conversely, Ramba is portrayed as a reliable character, similar to his role in Mobile Suit Gundam.

  • The comedy factor is quite strong in The Origin, considering that this is a Gundam series set in the Universal Century. Gundam Unicorn only had one comical moment, set in Black Unicorn after Captain Otto receives orders to collaborate with the Garencieres in order to recover the Unicorn. By comparison, The Origin sees several moments of comedy, including Ramba Ral’s attempts at coaxing Lucifer (Artesia’s cat) out and staging a big deal about his tires blowing out to slow down the Federation forces.

  • Ramba Ral might be seen as a tragic character in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, but The Origin also paints an additional side of him, showing him as a level-headed, caring individual who gets the job done.

  • Artesia reacts to news that Astraia will not be leaving with them; throughout the events of The Origin, Casval retains a stoic personality even in the face of intimidation and danger. Owing to the Zabi family’s actions, it’s decided that Casval and Artesia will be smuggled off Munzo to Earth.

  • Astraia, Artesia and Casval spend one final evening together as a family before the children leave. Astraia promises Artesia that they’ll reunite as a family after 100 moon cycles: if we define a moon cycle as the time it takes to go from a new moon to a new moon, then one cycle lasts 29.5 days. So, 100 moon cycles is roughly 2950 days, or 8.08 years.

  • Astraia waves goodbye to her children after Crowley arrives in a stolen Gun-tank to extract them. Astraia’s fate is after being placed in state custody by Roselucia Deikun is not given in The Origin, but the source material states that she is later imprisoned and dies from a stress-induced illness.

  • The Origin manages to balance out humour with more emotional moments, and in doing so, sends the message that this series is one that knows where to be amusing and where to focus on developing the tenor of a scene. The end result is something that ends up being immensely rewarding to watch.

  • Casval’s intuition and determination to take out his enemies leads him to shoot down four Federation Gun-tanks, hinting at his future career as a pilot. Even under the face of overwhelming odds, Casval continues firing until Artesia cries out for him to stop.

  • The Origin presents Guntanks as obsolete equipment by 0079; presumably, they’re state-of-the-art when deployed in 0068, but appear to lack sufficient armour against its own weapons. Conversely, the modern day M1A2 Abrams has sufficiently well-designed armour such that even the M829A1 “Silver Bullet” APFSDS round from other M1A1 Abrams are unable to penetrate at close ranges, as documented in friendly fire incidents and a case where an Abrams tried to destroy an abandoned Abrams stuck in the mud.

  • It bears testament to just how different things have become since 0068: early on, the Republic of Munzo’s government, though disrespectful of the Federation, can still maintain conversation without the need to resort to arms. Here, Donzle demands that the Federation forces hold their fire until Casval and Artesia are safely delivered. However, the Federation officier appears to fake a conversation suggesting that their orders are absolute, causing Donzle to pop his stitches.

  • The facial expressions surrounding this moment are hilarious, but at the same time, might also seem out of place in a Gundam where the artwork matches the style employed in Gundam Unicorn. All in all, they’re not so overused that they’re distracting, and instead, serve to add an additional side to The Origin that makes it unique from previous instalments of Gundam.

  • Gihren Zabi watches as the Federation forces open fire to destroy the rogue Gun-tank. Likened to the Führer in terms of his beliefs of a master race, his oratory capacity and belief in superweapons, Gihren is the true ruler of the Principality of Zeon, using his cunning and manipulation to seize power. He is executed by Kycilia Zabi later on, and she assumes control of Zeon for a brief period.

  • Crowley Hamon is Ramba Ral’s aide and lover, helping him with a variety of requests. She participates in the One Year War as well, and ever faithful to Ramba Ral, even continues fighting on after he is killed in action, making use of a Magella Attack Tank’s turret to very nearly destroy the RX-78 II, but is killed when Ryu Jose crashes into the tank.

  • After cargo workers hear a cat in the containers, Lieutenant Tachi, one of Ramba Ral’s subordinates, tries to draw the workers off by claiming the cat could be in another container. Bumbling but reliable, he fights for Zeon once the One Year War starts and greatly admires Ramba Ral, helping Crowley with her plans to avenge Ral’s death but is killed during combat with Amuro Ray.

  • Aside from Donzle, Kycilia and the other members of the Zabi family are presented as evil right from the start; the other Zeons, and Char himself, are shown to be reasonable people with a human side. Kycilia herself dies at Char’s hands when the latter uses a rocket launcher to score what is considered to be one of the greatest headshots of all time, even surpassing FPS_Doug’s talent for obtaining awesome headshots.

  • As the cargo freighter leaves Side 3, Artesia and Casval see the stars, sun, moon and Earth itself for the first time, finding themselves awestruck at the astronomical beauty in spite of themselves. The next episode is dubbed Artesia’s Sorrow and is supposed to air somewhere in Fall 2015, a little more than a half-year from now. This episode will focus on Artesia and Casval’s separation, as well as Casval’s transformation into Char Aznable. From the next The Origin post onwards, I’ll refer to Casval as Char, and Artesia as Sayla after the two assume new identities on Earth.

  • As the episode draws to a close, Yu-Yu’s “The Stardust of the Hourglass” begins playing. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song that captures all of the sadness and loneliness of not just space, but the One-Year-War itself. With a harp and slow melody, this song captures the mood of the Universal Century perfectly. The soundtrack was released three days ahead of The Origin‘s premier on Feburary 25, and despite its short length (only five tracks), the music is beautifully composed.

While The Origin might be animated in the same style as Gundam Unicorn, there are some subtle differences: The Origin is more liberal with its application of humour, whether it be the style employed while Ramba Ral recounts his attempts to secure Artesia’s cat to Crowley or when he claims his jeep’s broken down, stalling a column of Federation tanks. Similarly, Dozle Zabi manages to (quite literally) pop a seam after Federation soldiers tell him that they intend to fire on the Guntank carrying Casval and Artesia. The Origin has a slightly lower animation quality, with some facial expressions appearing less polished than they had in Gundam Unicorn. Beyond this, here, we have a thrilling opening to The Origin that excels at world-building to tell a story about the people on the other side of the One Year War: their monstrous acts during the war itself serve as a reminder that humanity can be capable of horrors to one another, but also that no evil ever begins this way. With the second episode set for release somewhere in Autumn 2015, it appears that Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is releasing on a similar schedule as Gundam Unicorn did: assuming no unforeseen delays occur, this series will finish by September 2016.