“Blue-Eyed Casval”

「初めての旅」 (Aoi Hitomi no Kyasubaru)

A Welcomed Prequel:

Apologies for this post not being out closer to the release date, but I’ve only just watched Gundam: The Origin after months of meaningless procrastination. After the rather hyped announcement of Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (coming this fall!), I found myself inspired to watch this prequel that I’d put on hold. I’d heard good things, and even though I’ve only watched the original Mobile Suit Gundam, I knew that was enough to jump into this. Thankfully, it turned out even better than I anticipated. I’m feeling the urge to go all out and binge-watch the rest of the UC Gundam anime in celebration of how fantastic this episode was.

CG Battles Done Right:

It may not have been the most action-packed, but the first five minutes of this episode were more than enough to keep me satisfied. Not only was it intense, colourful, and constantly moving, but the CG actually looked good – better than good, it looked fantastic! The camera panning throughout space as lasers were shot and ships blew up was thrilling to watch. Of course, it’s nice to have classic well-drawn 2D fights, but this is a case where the transition to 3D does not hinder. If only every anime had this budget and level of CG. Maybe some day…

Familiar Faces – Char, Sayla, and the Zabi Family:

As advertised, Gundam: The Origin focuses on the past of the privileged siblings, Casval Rem Deikun “Char Aznable” (Tanaka Mayumi) and Artesia Som Deikun “Sayla Mass” (Han Megumi). Knowing that these four OVAs are set to adapt volumes 5-7 of the Gundam: The Origin manga, I expected we’d begin with Char and Sayla in their early youth. But I was not aware of their history and the events that lead up to the Mobile Suit Gundam story. I’m going into this blind, and that’s making it that much more enjoyable. Even though I’m still to watch Zeta and ZZ, I already cared enough about these two characters to watch their backstory.

It’s fair to say that Sayla is cute as buttons, charming from start to end. She’s the younger of the two, and her naivety about her current position is evident. Some may feel that the comedic or innocent moments that she provides are out of place here, but I just don’t see it. It’s nice to have a character is untainted by all the politics, drama, and death going on around her. Char, on the other hand, knows what going on. Even as a kid, he’s a smart cookie. He cares for his sister, and his proactive nature makes him an interesting lead. Whether it be him verbally-jousting with terrifying, powerful political figures, or actually taking the helm and dealing damage to his enemies. He brings the action at just the right moments. But Sayla provides the perfect counter, grounding him just before he goes over the edge. These poor kids, having to go through all these horrors…

The Zabi family are bound to play a big part in this prequel, and this first episode did a good job at showing them in their younger days. Whether it be Garma looking innocent before everything went wrong, or Kycillia (Watanabe Akeno) reminding me just how cunning she was in the original series. She killed one brother before, so what’s stopping her from being the one behind that explosive assassination? It was one moment of many where she came across as genuinely intimidating – I sure wouldn’t want to face off against her; I feel sorry for anyone who dares scorn her.

Ramba Ral (Kiyami Shigeo) and Hamon Crowley (Sawashiro Miyuki) were another pair that made a good attempt at stealing the show. I wasn’t left with much of impression of them in Mobile Suit Gundam, but here they came across as genuine and passionate, with a flirtatious back-and-forth, making them equally badass lovers. Like Kycillia, Hamon suffers from irritating sexism, only to kick some nuts and deal some damage in response. Even though this adaptation is out in 2015, the source material very much feels true to the original series; yet the women stand out, proving themselves despite everything that’s thrown against them. Admittedly, I’m biased towards well-written, likeable, or sympathetic female characters, so this first episode ticked all the right boxes for me.

The Perfect Balance of Familial and Political Drama:

The truth is in the (sub)title. Action is awesome, but the character drama is what made this so exciting. Familiar faces facing off against one another is any fan’s dream, but this isn’t built on an empty plot. Behind every motive or action there is some sort of political aftereffect. Whether it be those revolting against the system, the poisoning of the Char and Sayla’s father, or the ever-shifting blame on who killed who? The media plays an important part, and the characters are aware of how they are being perceived by the public. We may get our quota of missiles and explosions, but it’s the intellectual and politically-influenced back-and-forth between opposing sides that I enjoyed most of all.

Family drama is always good as well. The Zabi family are a twisted bunch, especially when you’re aware of their eventual demise. None of their deaths were pretty, but watching them here at each other’s necks added more to their characters than I originally perceived. Not only that, but the dynamic between Astraia Tor Deikun (Tsunematsu Ayumi) and Roselucia Deikun (Ichijou Miyuki) was another fascinating one. The beautiful mistress and the disdainful wife makes for one hell of an emotionally-charged scene. Roselucia blames Astraia for her inability to have children, and clearly her grudges are everlasting. She’s an imposing figure, even with her weak health, and her effectively sentencing Astraia to live in the lonesome tower was loaded with palpable disgust. It was a powerful scene, and possibly one of my favourite of the whole episode.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Again, I have to apologise for the lateness of this post. The second episode is due on October 31st, so you can expect that to be covered around that time. Truthfully, I went into Gundam: The Origin with high expectations, and left even more satisfied than expected. Although the action was much appreciated and wonderfully animated and choreographed, it’s the character dynamics, familiar faces, and emotional drama that resonated with this first episode. Char and Sayla have a rocky journey ahead of them, and knowing where they eventually end up, it’s only makes the following episodes that much more exciting.

Full-length images: 14, 37, 54.

ED Sequence

ED: 「Hoshikuzu no Suna Tokei」(星屑の砂時計) by Takatori Hattori Presents Gundam The Origin featuring yu-yu (服部隆之 Presents GUNDAM THE ORIGIN featuring yu-yu)


  1. “The Red Comet Begins”

    Where Gundam: Reconguista in G stumbled, Gundam: The Origin is the one picking things back up. (Just like AGE and Unicorn‘s dichotomy a few years ago. AGE stumbled, Unicorn–and Build Fighters–picks things back up.) And the ironic part about G-Reco is that it’s supposed to be set within the same continuity as the Universal Century and would eventually connect with Turn-A Gundam. Nothing like stories from the early UC era (or Gunpla Battles) to get interest in the Gundam franchise back up…

    Anyway, I did have a few laughs with Ramba Ral’s comedic moments (though whether those moments were accidentally or subtly foreshadowed by Mr. Ral in Build Fighters, I dunno). And there seems to be a hint as to why Char earned his (memetic) reputation for being a cradle snatcher–this scene.

    Finally, the Zabis really are one screwed-up family, but the Deikun family skirts the border–especially with Roselucia.

    If the second episode of Origin gets a local (“local” referring to the Philippines in my case) theatrical release (just like Arpeggio of Blue Steel-Ars Nova DC this past May) I’m looking forward to seeing it in the theater. (Please make it happen, ODEX…along with Ars Nova Cadenza!)

  2. This showed how perhaps Zeon Zum Deikun may not have been the innocent or noble philosopher many believed him to be. Given the way his prepared speech seemed to be going and how broken he looked already, he really wasn’t too far behind the Zabi family, making it seem more like the Zabi family didn’t so much hijack his otherwise “noble” ideals and twisted and perverted them for their own use as much as simply taking the insanity Zeon already had and took it to the next logical step.

    It’s only too bad that this story is its own thing and not canon to the animated series’ (unless there’s retconning I haven’t heard about).

    The biggest reason being that, despite it being eleven years before the One Year War, the Earth Federation and others already have (early type) Guntanks (which even these ones ARE considered “Mobile Suits”) which, canonically, were initially designed in UC 0075 (hence the RX-75 numbering in Mobile Suit Gundam), in response to hearing rumors about the Principality of Zeon creating mobile suits (the MS-05 Zaku I), so wanted an anti-MS/artillery unit that could take them down. Here, such early type Guntanks are already widely mass produced, having come out in UC 0065 in The Origin whereas the initial mobile suits leading up to Mobile Suit Gundam, starting with the MS-01, wouldn’t be tested until the early UC 0070s, after the Principality of Zeon was already formed.

    1. Yeah, Origin makes a bunch of changes to canon, which generally allow things to make more sense.

      Though to be fair, the Japanese typically have a different view on what is “canon” than us westerners, and there were two different continuities with the series and the compilation movies already.

      I can also recommend the manga; the books are a bit expensive, but very high-quality, and the story is excellent.

      1. Yeah, it’s usually differentiated between animated works, then everything else (games, manga, novels, etc.), with some things considered “gray areas” because while their stories may not interfere with the continuity of things (and maybe even enhances it), not being (official) animated works means they don’t count either. The Crossbone Gundam manga (at least the parts that take place between F91 and Victory Gundam) probably being the best example.

        Depending on how The Origin continues during the actual One Year War during the Mobile Suit Gundam timing, it could possibly come down to fans simply choosing which version of events to follow as, while the movie versions of Mobile Suit Gundam are usually seen more often, they also don’t negate the TV series version of events either.

        Aside from slight edits and omitting some events (that don’t drastically impact the narrative, like Amuro vs. M’Quve at Texas Colony, which didn’t really matter in the long run of the series), the movie versions basically got rid of some of the more gimmicky things like the G-Parts, which, when one thinks about it, really didn’t serve much purpose in the series beyond being used as the G-Fighter a majority of the time, rather than “upgrade modules for the Gundam” as they were described to be (in fact, I think most of the configurations were only used once each aside from the G-Armor, which is basically just the G-Parts docked over the entire Gundam like, as the name describes, armor). So simply replacing the G-Parts with the Core Boosters didn’t change a whole lot of things.

  3. One word: Excellent

    Not to deride other timelines or series but somehow I realize that nothing beats good ol’ Gundam set in UC era.

    Looking forward to episode 2.

    1. The Universal Century era definitely has far more interesting politicking compared to most of the AU series’, IMO, making you just as, if not more interested in seeing the “human” side of things (politics, philosophies, driving forces, etc.) and not just flashy/one-sided/etc. mobile suit battles while a lot of such things tend to only be brought in to force plot along or something, which can lead to a bit of confusion.

  4. Origin is the same idea of Yamato 2199: to tell the real story now that we have the means to do so (better animation, massive budget, and an agile narrative) After all the hit-or-miss (more miss than hit) TV series made by the younger staff, seeing that the veterans at Sunrise did with Unicorn and now Origin gave us hope with a franchise that’s been torned apart (aside self-inflicted wounds with G-Reco)
    Old-school UC mantains that balance between fast-paced action and character drive, alongside the political side of the story, someting that most AU’s seems to have forgotten or exaggerate one of the other. The beggining of the path for Casval to became the legendary Red Comet Char Aznable, the lost innocense of Artesia, the fall of the Deikun and Ral Houses, the ambitions of the Zabi, Ramba and Hamon being even more awesome than in 0079… this is how you tell a story, aside the aesthetics of the early mecha of UC.

    Comment aside the first 5 minutes, with the Battle or Loum: Magnificent representation of what space combat was in the early months of the One Year War after the Atlantic Treat, with the Zeon MS thrashing the Federation Fleet and Char (the always awesome Shuuichi Ikeda) becoming the feared ace on the eyes of every Federation soldier with his red custom Zaku-II.

    Not so hyped about G-Tekketsu (or how Sunrise wants Gundam to become Break Blade), but fortunately, Origins and the hope of a TV series for the rest of the novel, gave us hope

    1. It also really gives off the feeling of seeing just how powerful and different the mobile suit really was. Most AUs tend to just have mobile suits already, usually for quite a while too, but don’t really feel like they demonstrate just how drastically different and how effective they are compared to older military vehicles, tactics, and whatnot – mostly just how a newer mobile suit outclasses an older mobile suit or something.

      The Universal Century managed to show it, like with much of the One Year War, similar to WWII. Up until the mobile suit, it was battleship vs. battleship and seeing who can hit harder faster in order to sink the opposing ship first (which the Federation was largely superior in with the exception of Zeon’s Gwazine-class and Dolos-class ships). The arrival of the mobile suit in space combat, even as early as the MS-05 Zaku I, and just how devastatingly effective it was against the powerhouses of the time is much like how aircraft quickly showed just how obsolete the battleship was becoming/going to become in WWII, with very fast changes from relying on those battleships as the mainstay force of naval fleets to aircraft carriers (mobile suit carriers).

      Even outdated aircraft like the Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber were the key reason why the modern German battleship, Bismarck, soon met its demise not long after first setting out, or the fact that the Japanese battleship, Yamato, was taken down at the end of WWII almost solely by aircraft.

      And as most fans know, in the hands of a skilled pilot, even a single mobile suit can be hugely effective against just battleships and space fighters. Char himself, with his MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type, being able to destroy five Federation Magellan-class battleships (the most powerful Federation battleship throughout the One Year War) single-handedly, earning him a two rank promotion and his “Red Comet” nickname. Then you have others like Johnny Ridden, the “Crimson Lightning”, having destroyed three Federation Salamis-class destroyers (the Federation workhorse) by himself, the Black Tri-Stars, who had managed to capture General Revil, the leader of the Federation at the time, and so on. Even later in the war, you had guys like Anavel Gato, the “Nightmare of Solomon”, who was able to single-handedly hold off pursuing Federation forces as Zeon forces retreated from space fortress Solomon.

      All due to mobile suits fighting mostly just battleships and space fighters as opposition.

      I also like how newer mobile suits in the Universal Century aren’t always SO far ahead of older ones like what tends to happen in most AUs. Like even the RX-78-2 Gundam, while definitely the most powerful and advanced mobile suit at the time it came out, it wasn’t like it was virtually impossible for older mobile suits, even the standard Zaku II, to defeat it as piloting skill mattered just as much, if not more than the performance of the mobile suit (unless the tech gap is somehow just THAT wide), and it only took a couple months before Zeon came out with the MS-14 Gelgoog themselves, which is seen as just as good, or possibly better, than the Gundam.

    1. You could watch this first, but you’d likely view it differently if you had watched the original Mobile Suit Gundam before – you would be familiar with almost all the characters and their dynamics, instead of being introduced to them in this episode. But the story itself doesn’t require much knowledge of the Gundam franchise, since it’s set before the main events of the UC timeline.

      If you wanna watch it, then go for it, it’s definitely possible. I’d still recommend the original at some point.

    2. I watched it blind and absolutely loved it, though I was constantly looking up people on the wiki it didn’t didn’t hurt my enjoyment in the least i found it interesting finding out who these people were.

      I didn’t do it , but it certainly made me want to jump into a gundam series, though maybe after I watch the next one I’ll want to.

      Either way I definitely recommend this as I don’t think you need and prior knowledge, because I certainly had very little and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

  5. While overall awesome, I still felt the opening battle scene somewhat too …er weightless.
    Yes, I’m aware this was supposed to be zero G but watching those massive MSs and spaceships moving like that seem a bit off.

    I also found Gihren’s hobbies and casual attires really funny.(which aren’t in the original comic.)

    1. “The second episode is due on October 31st, so you can expect that to be covered around that time.”

      Technically, it is a series–of four OVAs. Be prepared to wait patiently for the next installments, similar to Gundam Unicorn back during 2010-2014. While it’s easy to marathon Gundam Unicorn now, that wasn’t the case for those who waited for each episode to be shown during those years…

    1. In terms of Mobile Suit Gundam itself, the RX-75 Guntank was the first attempt under Project V (Vinson Project) by the Earth Federation to build their own mobile suits, in response to rumors about the Principality of Zeon building combat mobile suits (the MS-05 Zaku I, and the MS-06 Zaku II soon after). The Guntank primarily being meant to be anti-MS and artillery support mobile suit.

      The second to come along being the RX-77 Guncannon, which was fully humanoid and used as a mid-range support mobile suit with its cannons and beam rifle.

      The RX-78 Gundam was the third to be made, basically “perfecting” the humanoid frame, allowing it to be faster and more agile in combat, hence being more of a close combat mobile suit.

      The Origin slightly changes things up as this is the RTX-65 Guntank Early Type, coming out ten years earlier than the Guntank originally did in the Mobile Suit Gundam anime, so by the time the One Year War comes along, mobile suits like the Guntank and Guncannon are already seen as “antiques” and the Gundam comes off as far more advanced and modern.

    1. It kind of is. It’s an OVA/Movie series for starters and being headlined by a lot of old school anime people. It’s basically like it ignores that the last 10 years of so of changes in how anime gets mace and what it’s about never happened, just good old fashioned storytelling. For this reason I’m kind of surprised to see it covered or much of any interest in it. I mean I love it because I’m immensely tired of the Moe Otaku centric escapades of your average popular show, but I’d figure today’s fanbase would have an immensely hard time getting into it and it doesn’t help that it’s an OVA/Movies series which people hardly seem to pay attention to anymore. Personally if you ask me it feels like all the interesting and refreshing anime content is happening in OVAS and Movie series so I hope that trend changes outside of Japan.

      1. It’s definitely more for long-time Gundam fans who either grew up with the Universal Century Gundam series’ or, for those who didn’t get into it until it hit the US with Gundam Wing, managed to find, watch, and get interested in the Universal Century, similar to Gundam Unicorn.

        Definitely not something for either more recent Gundam fans who have never seen the Universal Century era Gundam series’ (at least should see Mobile Suit Gundam, either the series or the compilation movies) and/or those who expect things to play out like most of the more recent Gundam series’ since Gundam Wing; “pretty” characters with fast-paced, flashy, bombastic, one-sided, and/or much more super robot-style mobile suit battles, and whatnot.


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