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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reader's Diary #1424- Yoshikazu Yasuhiko: Mobile Suit Gundam Origin I Activation

Ah, piloted mecha suits. Think Tony Stark's Hulkbuster, think Avatar's AMPs, think Pacific Rim's Jaegers. Certainly not an original idea, but ones that nerds the world over have embraced for some time.

For many, their fandom began with the late 70s/early 80s animated Gundam TV series out of Japan. There have been many spin-offs both in print and anime form, but one that seems to have garnered particular respect is Yoshikazu Yasuhiko's Mobile Suit Gundam Origin series. Yasuhiko was the original character designer so people will thrilled to have him back and perhaps more importantly, the books are very faithful to the original series.

Not having had any exposure to the original series, I can't say that I share their enthusiasm. I found it all confusing and underdeveloped. The artwork is very busy and pages upon pages of smoky, gritty explosions, with little to no text left me completely in the dark of what was going on, who was getting hurt, or who was winning. The little text, when it was there, was compelling. The premise seems a bit like the Hunger Games set in space in that after the Earth has become overpopulated, space colonies (think districts) have been formed and one of those colonies wishes to separate. Unfortunately, there's precious little exposition. That would be fine if the art was up to the challenge of telling the story, but it was not.

Most reviews I've read on this series have been positive and in that way it reminded me of the graphic novel adaptation of Game of Thrones. It would seem that with both, prior knowledge of the stories and characters are needed to enjoy it and few acknowledge or appreciate that for newcomers, things needed to slow down and properly fill in the gaps.

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