Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin

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Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin cover.jpg

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (機動戦士ガンダム THE ORIGIN; Kidō Senshi Gandamu: The Origin) is a manga written and illustrated by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. It is a retelling of the story from the 1979 series Mobile Suit Gundam, of which Yasuhiko was the original character designer.

An anime adaptation of the manga, with the first parts focusing on the stories of Casval Rem Deikun (more famously known as Char Aznable) and his sister Artesia (aka Sayla Mass), produced by Sunrise began releasing in 2015. Yasuhiko is the chief director of the adaptation, with Sunrise veteran Takashi Imanishi as director, and Katsuyuki Sumisawa as the scriptwriter.

Tropes used in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin include:
  • Action Survivor: Artesia, aka Sayla Mass, who's forced to be this out of necessity over the course of the flashback arc. By the One Year War, she becomes a veritable Action Girl.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The manga not only does this to the 1979 anime but reinterprets many of the events and key figures in the One Year War.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Both Gihren and Kycilia Zabi are shown doing even more heinous acts, among others.
    • Garma is given a few Kick the Dog moments to emphasize his desire to be a "true" Zabi, but still comes across as the most "innocent" of them.
    • Char's more villainous aspects are emphasized as well, given how he kills quite a few people in his own vengeance-fueled battles against both the Zabis and Federation.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • The female cadet officer who attempts to stall Dozle Zabi during Garma's raid is revealed to be Zenna Zabi, who's generally been given a larger role compared to the original series.
    • Crowley Hamon, while a well-developed character in her own right has a considerably larger role this time around.
  • Age Lift: Compared to the original, Mirai Yashima is portrayed as being four years older.
  • Alternate Calendar: The Universal Century, of course.
  • Alternate Continuity/Broad Strokes: The events of The Origin retell many of the same general plot points as the original show, but several differences abound. Indeed, a number of key events in both the plot and One Year War are even switched about.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Earth Federation texts tend to be shown in the official languages of the United Nations. Meanwhile, anything involving Zeon or Side 3 feature a substantial presence of German and Japanese text, driving home the parallels to the Axis Powers.
  • Colony Drop: Operation British, which the manga reveals killed 50% of the Earth's population, whether from the actual drop in Australia or the ensuing aftermath.
  • Continuity Nod: Both the manga and OVAs contain several to the Universal Century. The soundtrack for the OVAs in particular not only include elements of the 1979 anime but also remastered versions of those original tracks.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Garma in the flashbacks is shown undergoing this, all in an attempt to make himself a "true" Zabi man. Which is lampshaded by Degwin, Dozle and Kycilia (to their concern). Though compared to most of the other Zabis, Garma is still the more innocent one.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The first real mobile suit battle, between Zeon's then-new Zaku Is and the Federation's first-generation Guncannons, is effectively this.
  • Crapsack World: This is a Universal Century work, so this is ever present.
  • Darker and Edgier: Decidedly so compared to the original 1979 series.
  • Decompressed Comic: The flashback arc, as well as bits and pieces of the Battle of Loum is told over the initial four parts of the OVA version.
  • Family Business: In addition to the Zabis turning Side 3 into one, Mirai's revealed to be the heiress of the powerful Yashima Group, which owns Texas Colony at Loum.
  • The Federation: Which is shown to be as corrupt, bloated and dysfunction as its portrayal in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
  • Flash Back: An entire arc of the manga is focused largely on Char and Sayla's backstory, set to the backdrop of the turmoil leading up to the One Year War. Said arc also serves as the basis for the first set of OVA adaptations.
  • Flawed Prototype: The early Zeon mobile suits (prior to the Zaku I), as well as the first-generation Guncannon for the Federation.
  • Fling a Light Into the Future: Dozle clearly sees Mineva as this, seeing her as the Zabi family's redemption and to a degree, all Spacenoids. Given what becomes of her by the time Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn takes place, his hopes were well-founded.
  • Gentle Giant: Dozle Zabl is still this, though much more so prior to his brother Saslo being killed in an explosion. His subsequent anger and hard bravado throughout the One Year War is thus very much justified, though his gentleness still shows in how he's A Father to His Men as well as a caring husband and father to his family.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Zeon resorted to using Operation British out of the belief that it would end the war much faster, even if it meant killing a good chunk of the Earth's population.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Professor Minovsky realizes at one point that not only is his research being taken seriously, but that Zeon has gone even further than even he expected, to his mounting horror. Which motivates his attempt to defect to the Federation, and die in the process.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: While there are definitely villains and good characters on both sides, the war isn't as clear-cut as it seems.
  • Guest Strip: The manga features guest commentary, including the likes of CLAMP.
  • The Gump: The flashback arc reveals that Char was involved in (if not instigating) a number of events that eventually culminated in the One Year War.
  • History Repeats: There are quite a few historical parallels present, which are especially evident in the rise of the Principality of Zeon.
  • How We Got Here: The Origin puts greater emphasis on events leading up to and during the One Year War.
  • Humongous Mecha: It wouldn't be a Gundam show without them. In the flashback arc, however, it's shown that the Earth Federation already had Guntanks and first-generation Guncannons in service prior to the OYW, but generally considered them as glorified crowd control at best. Like the 1979 show however, it wasn't until Zeon began mass-producing viable mobile suits, that the top brass finally realized their potential.
  • Knight Templar: Zeon Deikun himself is portrayed as this, being more unhinged and fanatical rather than the saintly image he's previously seen as. Though it's left open as to whether he's always been like this or as a result of poisoning.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • The epilogue "sequels" penned by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, Artesia 0083 and Amuro 0082 are decidedly more light-hearted.
    • Lalah Sune's backstory is ironically this compared to the original series. In The Origin, she's shown as being forced to work for some small-time crime lord to cheat in casinos before meeting Char. This is in contrast to her previous introduction as a child prostitute.
  • Mauve Shirt: The White Base now has a much larger crew under Bright Noa's command than in the anime.
  • Mega Corp: A number of these exist, such as the Yashima Group, Zeonic and Anaheim Electronics. By war's end, Anaheim becomes the premier one.
  • More Dakka: Mobile suits, such as the updated take on the Zaku II, are shown having additional guns and munitions incorporated into their armor.
  • Not So Different: In addition to comparing Gihren to Hitler and other dictators from generations past, Degwin dreads how much his son's taken quite a bit from Deikun. To the point of calling Gihren a fiend possessed by Deikun's grudges. This could explain how he not only succeeds in winning over Deikun loyalists over time, but also Char's allegiance.
  • Race Lift: Downplayed, but Amuro's revealed to be half-Hispanic instead of half-White. This is due to his hometown on Earth being in Baja California this time around rather than in Canada.
  • Retraux:
    • While the animation is up to 21st Century standards and incorporates CGI, the art style of the OVAs (and manga) harken back to the 1979 original, with a dash of The Eighties for good measure. This is further helped by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko being among the key figures behind the original show.
    • The soundtrack similarly invokes era the original show was made while incorporating more orchestral and ominous elements.
  • Riddle for the Ages: For all the manga's exposition and expansion on the backstory, it never outright reveals who or what killed Zeon Deikun, as there's much in the way of evidence for any theory.
  • Scenery Porn: The art of the manga really conveys the Universal Century universe in all its beauty.
  • Scenery Gorn: ...But given that it's an Universal Century work, there's also a lot of this too.
  • Start of Darkness: The flashback arc shows both Casval Deikun's descent into becoming Char Aznable and Zeon's simmering anger, all leading up to the One Year War.
  • Tempting Fate: The beginning of the OVA, during the Battle of Loum has a Federation captain smugly proclaiming how it would be easy pickings to wipe out Zeon as Dozle's fleet is pushed back...only to be interrupted mid-speech as an anti-ship round from Char's Zaku II strikes the cockpit before exploding.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Garma Zabi is given his share of Kick the Dog moments, which is meant to highlight the darker side of his desperate desire to be deserving of the Zabi name. Even then, he's one of the more sympathetic characters compared to Gihren or Kycilia.
    • To a degree, Amuro Ray at least initially. Though in his case it's more of him being a bit of a recluse and not all that sociable.
    • Kai Shiden is also shown to be more antagonistic initially, in part due to Amuro tending to outshine him. Like in the original series, he gets better though.
  • War Is Hell: Both the manga and OVAs pull no stops in showing just how massive and brutal the One Year War is.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: The One Year War and the tensions leading up to it. But while the Earth Federation's far from blameless, the Spacenoids aren't exactly without their own skeletons in the closet either, like Zeon's Operation British.
  • Zeerust Canon: Played with, as the manga and anime both update some of the more Zeerust elements of the original series and justify some of those same elements.