Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation By Yoshiyuki Tomino


    It's always interesting to find a translation of a Japanese novel aimed at the anime fanbase. There aren't enough of these available in the West.

    I'm a big fan of the original 70s Gundam series. (It wasn't as good as, say, Gundam Wing or War in the Pocket, but few anime are.)

    This book is a alternate retelling of Gundam 0079 and includes all of the Tomino tropes that are frustrating but fascinating.

    Stupid impulsive characters. Mindless senseless deaths. Pacing that's too fast for it's own good. Bizarre ending.

    The themes are the same as the show, but the content is different and down sized in scale.

    I enjoyed this more than watching most of Zeta Gundam, but not as much as watching the original series.

    Thank god it's as short as it is though. There's only so much Tomino I can take. 9781611720051 My name is Mike, a Gundam fan, and I put this book down 2/3rds of the way through it.

    The story being different than the anime was fine. It was cool to see Amuro already be a semi-trained pilot, and the action scenes were well done. What didn't work was... well, everything else. Parts 1 and 2 literally ended the exact same way with Amuro falling for a chick he doesn't know and then killing them in combat as they pilot an Elmeth against his Gundam. Most characters got exactly zero development. Tomino did far more telling than showing in his writing and thus it was hard to get invested in anyone beyond the core characters like Amuro, Bright and Char. I'm pretty sure there was a contradiction a few times regarding how Zeon treats space colonies - they are mentioned killing millions in a poison gas attack, but later are described as being protective of all spacenoids (or something; it was difficult to get a grasp of things). Multiple times a paragraph would describe how mature a character had become but then call them naïve by the end, usually over something trivial. I could go on. And yes, the other reviews of women not having the best treatment are correct. I was sad to see Sayla reduced to being the Playboy bunny of the book. If this was Tomino's original vision for the franchise, then I am glad it never transitioned to the anime. 9781611720051 Tolstoy's War and Peace in space, with a characteristically detached, emotionally stoic Japanese presentation. If you're familiar with the grandiose, almost camp world of the early Gundam anime, the deliberate pace of the novel may throw you, but there's a real sense of deliberate plotting and world-building here. The coldness of the prose takes a little getting used to, but as pretentious as the book's desire to elevate the future robot wars genre can sometimes make it come off, it works. There are moments of enormous cosmic beauty to be found here amidst the carnage and plotting. 9781611720051 It is a interesting companion piece to the 1979 Gundam anime. I love all the political & hard sci Fi details. I guess the only thing that weirded me out is the pubic hair scene. 9781611720051 I've been making my way through the Gundam series for a while now and as the original 0079 anime (Mobile Suit Gundam) has stuck to the top of my list, I thought it would be really interesting to read the novelization of the original anime, retold by the original creator. This book is FASCINATING, the differences between the anime and the book starkly outline the themes that Tomino wanted to emphasize throughout the property. A couple loose thoughts:

    1. There is more backstory on the One Year War in one page of this book than there is in the entire anime series. The anime is focused on Amuro and the White Base crew as people and their relationship to warfare and tragedy in general, because of the format of this book Tomino has much more space to go into the political and military machinations that lead the White Base into the situations that they find themselves in, and it really gives a much more complete and clear framework to understand the world of Gundam as a whole.

    2. The way that Tomino talks about Newtypes in this book is really interesting. Caveat: I really like how understated Newtypes are in the anime, their existence is drip-fed to the viewer over the series and it's unclear how much Amuro's piloting ability comes from his Newtype potential, the extent of the rest of the White Base crew's Newtype potential, and although Lalah's interaction with Amuro is given significance there really aren't a lot of Newtype interactions until the sequel series. In the book, Tomino immediately discusses Newtypes thoroughly both through conversations and interactions between the characters and textually as the narrator, and makes it clear what he thinks Newtypes are, what they could be, how they are seen currently in the narrative and the issues that come up as a result of their existence. Coming from the subtlety of the anime, it's like jumping into an oasis from the desert, it's almost overwhelming how much more information you get in this book.

    3. Tomino continues to be bad about writing women, this book is no exception, there are some good women characters but the way they are discussed is still not great especially by modern standards. This book is more adult than the Anime especially when it comes to Amuro's relationship to Sayla, it introduces complications to Amuro's characterization but it's hard for me to come down positively or negatively when it's all wrapped up in the weird masculinity that Tomino Gundam shows tend to preach.

    This book took me a while to get through but only because I would devour one of the three sections and then have to process all the information I was given. If I had time I would go back and watch 0079, Zeta, and ZZ Gundam with the knowledge that this is what Tomino was really trying to convey in those shows, hamstrung by (I assume) the limitations of the genre and outside pressures to relate to children and sell toys. I really recommend this to anybody who is interested in a deeper read of Gundam and has watched the original series, I really hope the sequel novels get translated some day.

    5/5 stars 9781611720051

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    A great read.—Asian Reporter

    Japan's Gundam franchise boasts a worldwide cult of devotees. This second edition of creator Yoshiyuki Tomino's novelization is redesigned for a new generation of fans.

    Yoshiyuki Tomino is one of Japan's best known science-fiction directors.

    Frederik L. Schodt writes extensively on Japanese culture and lives in San Francisco, California.


    Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation

    48 Status updates....
    It starts at page 21 and it goes till page 516.

    The misogyny train in this fine literature is fully booked and not stopping till it reaches the other station.
    WOOOO WOOOOOO
    Women are only around as literal sex objects, towards the end it even describes an alarm voice as attractive female IT'S JUST A VOICE and finally the last sentence is of a naked woman.
    Let's not mention that Lala Sune and Kusko Al die for manpain and Amuro is the one that sends them to their grave because he can't get a handle on his anger. Then the relationship with Char is just them pretty much hating each other because Amuro killed them.
    THen their is Sayla Mass/Artesia Deikun that really doesn't do much here but act as just a sexual outlet for Amuro who seems to love her but only so he can shove his dick in her. She's humiliated on several occasions and called a bungler and finally at the end she pees herself twice because..... because wimmin or something. The text even goes on to describe how strong she is or something but she's the only one doing it and no man does.
    Finally at the end she swims naked into an ocean... for no real reason.
    Sayla isn't the only one to escape unharmed. Frau Bow has kids dumped onto her and then is pointedly forgotten.
    Mirai is also constantly torn down by the creepy author gaze.
    I see that I posted at page 188 about He wanted her and then again on page 245 again that he wanted her AND AGAIN ON PAGE 414Those are some creepy ass words. Even in Romance it's kind of like. Can you not treat people like possessions, especially women?
    I bet I even forgot some instances of he wanted her. No she never wants him either.

    So what about the mecha and stuff. Mostly massive info dumps with a tiny bit of action going on. There really wasn't a lot to dig into character wise unless it's Amuro being a shitstain or Char being a shitstain or any of the other men being shitstains. So many shitstains this book needs some professional carpet cleaning.

    If you like Gundam 0079 it's best to just.. not read this book. Not only does it kill off the main character for... super telepathy message???? but it's plain shit to the other characters. 9781611720051 As an alternate experience to the proper Gundam 0079 anime, it's different enough to warrant a read-through, but the prose and writing itself leads much to be desired, especially in characterization. 9781611720051 It was nice having the technological and Newtype stuff laid out in a clearer way than the show, and I liked getting to spend more time with some of the characters and the alternate ending (although I wish there was more to it!) but HOLY MISOGYNY BATMAN. Tomino and Murakami competing to see who can write about women more terribly lol. 9781611720051

    Awakening: ☆☆☆☆☆

    Escalation: ☆☆☆☆

    Confrontation: ☆☆☆☆☆

    Reviews of individual novels in the links above. 9781611720051 I am a huge fan of the Gundam franchise so I have many thoughts to unpack, but first of all, this was so much better than I ever would have imagined!

    So it follows the major events of the anime, milestone battles mark the arcs of the novel - but all the downtime is cut! This at first gave me mixed feelings. It condenses the One Year War into just a handful of battles; you lose the sense of monotony and exhaustion, the deep bonds that form on the White Base, and the doggedness of Char's forces nipping at their heels all the way.

    But the novel fills that space with a new angle on the conflict: we get to go inside characters' heads, we have more focus on the Newtype phenomenon, many character dynamics feel different to the show, there is an entire arc reminiscent of characters from Zeta.

    Primarily this books tries to be darker than the show, it's what Tomino wanted in the first place. For a while as I was reading, I was thinking he meant it to be standalone and that was why these changes were made. But actually the events as they take place here still work perfectly fine in the anime canon (at least up to where I've seen so far), they just provide a different angle.

    There are things mentioned in season two that didn't happen in season one, but take on a bigger meaning with my new-found book knowledge . It's not a perfect match up but I think you can take it as an alternate interpretation of certain events. It fleshes out what we've already seen, ignores certain storylines, tweaks some details. My particular favourite change was Kycilia's death scene; Char is so metal.

    To sum up, I really enjoyed learning new details about this world, even things as simple as the name of the guy who's always sat in front of Mr Bright on the bridge, or the fact that Zeon use velcro to walk around zero gravity areas of their ships. These minutiae can only enhance my joy. There are definitely still the same problems from the show, but as it was written in pretty much the same year, I don't think we can expect Tomino to have changed his opinions of women, or his weird idolism of Nazis. There may have been a touch of racism too but I've read a bunch of old books lately and at this point it's impossible to keep track of the specific instances. It's out of date by modern standards but I still think it was doing very well for the 1970s (especially being from Japan).

    I only bought this on a whim but I would highly encourage all Gundam watchers to check it out. 9781611720051