Originally starting in 1979, the Mobile Suit Gundam series has become a huge franchise that helped define the mecha genre in both anime and manga, with new series and films released regularly alongside a barrage of model kits, statues and video games. But for most modern fans in the west, their introduction to the world of Gundam was courtesy of the 1995 series Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Airing in 2000 on Cartoon Network’s new edgier programming block Toonami, the series was a huge ratings success and created the larger western Gundam fandom that exists today. There were several manga tie-in and adaptations following the series release, but this 2010 series is an expanded retelling of the original series and incorporates elements of previously released spinoff materials.
In the year A.C. (After Colony) 195, humankind had flown its nest, the Earth, to search for new hope while living in space colonies. However, the United Earth Sphere Alliance has used its military might under the guise of “justice and peace” to seize control of some colonies and those colonies have lost their autonomy and have been forced into silence. But the seeds of resistance have not been entirely crushed. “Operation Meteor” is about to take flight…
Much like Vertical’s previous release of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin which retold and expanded upon the original Gundam series, Endless Waltz – Glory of the Losers can be seen as both a celebration and a remastering of the anime series that will appeal to both hardcore Gundam fans and new readers. Right from the get go, you can see all the tropes that made the show such a huge hit. Being the opening volume, most of the focus is on introducing Heero and Duo with other main characters Trowa and Quatre only making short appearances. But the character dynamic is quickly established with the broody leading protagonist Heero and the more light-hearted and goofy Duo having fundamentally different ideologies and outlooks. Duo’s appearances in this opening volume never come off as super serious and he always seems to be making light of his self-coined nickname of the God of Death. Despite his whacky nature, he is quickly established as unwilling to take part in missions that could lead to innocent deaths and it is quickly clear his goofy personality is hiding something deeper. Likewise, Heero, emotionless and mostly silent exterior makes him hard to get a read on, but there are enough little details to keep you interested (especially his strange relationship with leading female character Relena).
Original series writer and Gundam veteran Katsuyuki Sumizawa oversees the script of this retelling and it is clear he still has a great grasp and understanding of these characters whilst also doing a great job and keeping the series accessible to those who may not have caught the original series the first time round. Artist Tomofumi Ogasawara also does a great job at giving the work an authentic feel whilst building on both the original look of the anime and the subsequent redesigns used in later spinoff material. This opening volume also gives him plenty of chances to show off his range as an artist with everything from gunfights to birthday party rejections to the giant mech battles the series is renowned for.
Gundam fans will naturally be picking this series up and this new accessible retelling of a classic series is a great addition to previous Gundam manga entries. A great action manga for dedicated and casual readers alike!
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing 1: Endless Waltz – Glory of the Losers is published by Vertical on July 20th (£11.99, p/b, 9781945054341)