By Tom Tolios / February 17th, 2015
Bandai’s YouTube channel for Gundam has posted a video for the first seven minutes of their forthcoming anime release Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin I Blue Eyed Casval, an adaptation of the Char Aznable and Sayla Mass origin chapters from the manga Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, who was also the character designer and animation director for the original series. Yasuhiko has returned to the anime industry after a long absence to direct this new release. The preview can be seen both in English and in Japanese with English subtitles.
The preview begins with the Battle of Loum, one of the earliest and most critical conflicts between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon at the beginning of the One Year War. After this incredible sequence, which heralds the advent of ‘the Red Comet’, the narrative goes back about twelve years to when Char and Sayla were children growing up in the tumult of a nation on the brink of revolution. In the manga, the Char and Sayla origin flashback takes place roughly halfway through the story. When they meet in the aftermath of a pitched battle between their respective sides, Char warns Sayla to leave the Federation or he’ll be forced to kill her the next time they cross paths. Sayla can’t believe her brother could have become so cold and hard during their years of separation, and this shock triggers memories that detail their lives as children, the struggles they went through to survive after their father was assassinated and how they eventually grew apart and lost track of one another for many years.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is an updated reimagining of the seminal anime by Yoshiyuki Tomino. Yasuhiko’s manga trims away the narrative fat in some places and adds more exposition in others in order to portray the events in a more logical and mature light. It is primarily the story of Amuro Rey, a boy with evolved human traits and an innate capacity for piloting who finds himself fighting for the Earth Federation against the rebelling Zeon. It’s a classic tale of war that revolutionized anime and brought rise to the ‘real robot’ subgenre which focused on complex character dynamics and treated the giant robots solely as weapons. This approach was a drastic departure from the norms of the time, when the giant robots were essentially super heroes that oftentimes spoke, emoted or at the very least possessed some type of personality that identified them as protagonists themselves and not just the means to an end.
Char Aznable, Amuro’s rival in the story, is the most popular character in any iteration of Mobile Suit Gundam, so an origin story is going to make big waves amongst the series’ enormous fan base, especially considering Yasuhiko is the chief creative mind behind the prequel and is helming the project. Char’s origin is masterfully told in the manga, and from the preview offered by Bandai, the anime adaptation looks to be just as strong.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin I Blue Eyed Casval is set to stream on-demand starting on February 28th, 2015 via DASIKUI in Japan and will then see a worldwide Blu-ray collector’s edition release on April 24th, 2015. Fans in the USA and Canada interested in purchasing the release can do so at Rightstuf.com, and fans in Europe can inquire at Alltheanime.com.
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