In the year 0068 of the Universal Century, Casval Rem Deikun's life is thrown into chaotic disarray after the assassination of his father, a prolific figure in the crusade towards civil rights for people who live away from the Earth's surface. Casval and his sister Artesia receive aid from soldiers who were loyal to their father, and the siblings are whisked away from their home, separated, and thrown into a twisted fate that sees them come into their own as soldiers and adults.
Years before stealing the name Char Aznable or his "Red Comet" moniker, Casval must contend with the rise of a militarized version of his father's ideology and his own vengeful nature as intergalactic war molds him into a legendary mobile suit pilot.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is an ode to excellence, an art habitually outdoing itself. It is the epitome of what Gundam is and was, and is the type of work only a master can craft. Origin is cinematic brilliance, and one of the finest in modern manga adapting and modern anime storytelling. As such, it is as charming and emotionally evocative as the franchise has ever been, continually asserting itself among the best animated series this decade has to offer.
It would be unwise to herald such a title as absolute perfection; there are blemishes in this magnificent work of art. The questionable overreliance
on 3D CGI can be off-putting when non-mechanical objects rendered in such a style look worse than Dozle in a car accident. Additionally, the film series stumbles choppily at first before truly hitting its monumental stride. Some of the ending themes are forgettable and the music takes a while to truly match the scale and magnificence of the series proper. Certain moments regarding character relationships can feel rushed as well. However, in the face of an 18-meter behemoth of passion and glory, these issues the size of a small dent. They exist yet mean little; mere bumps and scratches in the left calf of a machine painted, oiled, and buffed with the utmost care.
The character designs by legendary Gundam veteran and original mangaka Yoshikazu Yasuhiko are absolutely perfect, perfect updates on both the iconic designs of yore and the art redesigns of the manga. The expressions are the liveliest in the entire franchise, striking the perfect balance between character detail and freedom of animation of the models. As for the mechanical designs of the pre-0079 era, they work exquisitely as the prototypes and predecessors of what would become the norm of the One-Year War. The CGI work for these mechs, in particular, is nothing short of commendable, as the clunky experimental designs of the iconic mobile workers --prototypes to the iconic mobile suits-- are capitalized on tremendously. The directing of the action sequences --courtesy of franchise veterans Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Takashi Imanishi-- is exquisite, most especially in regards to the iconic Custom Red Zaku II Char pilots. One need look no further than the spectacular opening scene in episode 1 or the battle in episode 6 to know exactly how kinetic and monumental these skirmishes are. The smoke effects work wonderfully as well, particularly in regards to the purple smoke and explosions of Federation ships and student artillery. Dare I say, if the CGI were present in the mechanical models exclusively, this would be Gundam’s visual magnum opus! It already achieves such marks from a directorial standpoint.
Even more care was taken to make sure that each development of the characters, narrative, and technology, kept the integrity of the original series intact. Char’s vengefulness was built up perfectly and shown to be as innate to him as humanly possible. Seeing him in a position of power is an absolute treat, whether it be him taking down a Guntank single-handedly as a child, or beating up a spy with his fists and a spiked plank. His malicious tendencies also originated from a place that feels both human and sensible, unlike a more direct counterpart in Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader and how the Star Wars prequels attempted to do the same. Additionally, witnessing other major characters from the original series in their younger forms was particularly charming. The biggest standouts were Dozle --the lovable oaf-- and Ramba Ral, both of whom were particular highlights in Origin. Even witnessing a younger Amuro Ray was wonderful, especially when everyone’s favorite troublesome little mascot, Haro began acting like the lovable goof fans know and love. The characters brand new to Origin held up as well and worked wonderfully in their roles, particularly Ramba’s father and the man who would take care of Char and Sayla in the second episode. Every second spent with these characters is wonderful and full of the type of bittersweet pleasantness you never get in anime, especially when you are familiar with where they end up in 0079.
The voice acting held up tremendously as well. Keith Silverstein did a marvelous job playing Char’s teenage and adult self, with just the type of calculated, semi-dominant, and slightly spiteful tinge that truly made up Char as a person up until the end of the original 0079. Kirk Thornton was splendid as a slightly younger but ultimately gravely Ramba Ral, and Doug Stone was splendid as his desperate, constantly stressed, and slightly deranged father. The most interesting casting choice was Mike Pollock -best known for his role as Eggman- whose performance as Char and Sayla’s caretaker, Don Teablo Mass. There are a plethora of other cast members who did wonderfully in their roles as well, such as Liam O’Brien, and other well-known VAs such as Lisa Ortiz and Patrick Seitz make great background character voices. Even Hamon’s singing in the penultimate installment --in both languages-- especially in the context of the original’s story, is as beautiful as it is soul-crushing. Everything melts into a wonderful English dub, lip-syncing issues aside.
There’s a sense of love and passion Origin exudes, a marvelous sense of charisma that exemplifies the joys of cinema. It may not be as thematically rich as Thunderbolt, as visually mesmerizing as Char’s Counterattack, or as inviting as Turn A, but in many ways, this exemplifies the best of what Gundam has to offer. Even when displaying a sense of brutality synonymous with Gundam, this love letter to the franchise never stops bringing a sense of whimsy and evoke visceral emotion to the silver and digital screens. You may need to watch other installments to truly appreciate this one, but in doing so, this is your reward: the absolute pinnacle of Gundam!
'Gundam Origin' is the best thing that has yet happened to the Gundam franchise. The series is so different from all the other Gundams, and so successful at what it does that it appears to be more similar to 'Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex' and 'Legend of the Galactic Heroes' than it is similar to other Gundams.
This time around our story does NOT center around bunch of kids who fights against each others with super robots, and question their morality after falling in love with enemy kids. And when people lose their families, they do NOT get over it in mere 10 minutes
like they do in the alternative version, the original Mobile Suit Gundam. No. This time our story centers around politics and military tactics, and comes off exactly as mature and realistic as is possible in the animated medium. However, from its core 'Gundam Origin' is character biography. It aims to capture the life of Casval Rem Deiku in a way most similar to Sports series such as 'Major' and 'Hajime no Ippo', but also close to Career series such as 'Glass no Kamen' (actress) and 'Uchuu Kyoudai' (astronaut). I am mentioning these 4 series because they are the only other anime I have ever seen to go as deep into character-centric story telling as 'Gundam Origin'. I am a huge fan of this concept, and never in my life did I think I would see the 5th successful series to achieve this to be This anime. I have been blown away.
The details put on art and animation are insane. These six episodes took three years to make. And while this is not uncommon for OVA series at all, the team didn't exactly spend their days loitering around. This is a work of such high caliber it mainly reminds me of 'Hellsing Ultimate'. Outside of few building scenes, there are practically no scenery that hasn't been animated. Even during debates, there are no scrolling backgrounds to make it create the illusion of animation and movement. During these scenes, almost every side character is in some way reacting to the conversations, be it in forms of expressions, habits or body gestures. It's crazy.
The thing that impressed me the most is the character design, more specifically their faces. Approximately 93% of the 200something characters don't even look like anime characters. For the first time ever, I have been impressed by the animated faces of middle aged men. They have unreal amount of details, separately designed side/front profiles and realistic facial features. The faces have so much depth that it doesn't even stop there. Especially during close-ups, we can see shadows cast on their faces according to their facial features and room lighting. If this doesn't impress you then I have no idea what could. Also, for the first time since 'Gankutsuou' has a goddamn piece of clothing burned in my very soul. I am talking about the onepiece dress seen in episode 2 at Club Eden. Talk about pretty. For the sake of readable length, I won't go further into details, but practically everything has been polished and there isn't much CGI outside episode 6. But even in the finale the CGI is so well done that less experienced viewers won't even realize they are looking at CGI.
The series is, by no means, perfect. One of the side characters, Zabi Garman, can be seen as a plot element who only exists to lead the story in preferred direction. Our main character can be criticized of being a Gary Stu level Jesus who is perfect at everything and anything. Personally, I didn't find any of these factors to be actual "problems" that could ruin the series for me. Rather, I thought they were done well. For example, the expectations others' and Garma himself put on him didn't match his personality, so it was easy for him to get played. Most of the time everything feels like it has been done with high level of self-awareness. The team behind Gundam Origin seems to be well aware of all its flaws and did their best on making it believable, acknowledging its imperfections and weaker sides.
Since I haven't spoken anything about the sounds yet, I suggest you head to your closest youtube and copy-paste the following song title "Crowley Hamon - Don't Say Goodbye" and enjoy. I let this piece speak for itself.
When it comes to enjoyment, I can't speak on the behalf of Gundam fandom for the reason that I am not a fan of Gundam series in generally. Thus far the only ones I have really enjoyed were Vietnam, Hamburger Meat and Nice Float (08th MS Team, 0080 War in the Pocket and Unicorn - in case you are not up to date with hottest Gundam memes). I can still speak as a fan of mature anime series, as a fan of character portray, and as a fan of anime in generally. The levels of mature and realistic are -ironically- almost unrealistic, the characters are far better than anyone could expect, and the art kept constantly impressing me. I will call Gundam Origin an obligatory view for all anime fans.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin/機動戦士ガンダムTHE ORIGIN Review
Story (10/10) Masterpiece
The main purpose of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is to setup the origin story to not just the Gundam but the entire Universal Century's story and all of the characters, protagonists and antagonist that play major roles in the 1979's original Gundam anime which kickstarts the whole Gundam franchise in the first place. With that being said this 6 episode OVA I felt did a wonderful job at introducing the whole of Universal Century to the viewer. But obviously coming from myself a person who is already quite knowledgeable to the universe damn near every
character that was introduced I already knew about and just getting more backstory on them is just a treat for someone and people like me. As far as it's pacing, explanation and plot I thought everything was perfectly executed considering this as an Origin Story to the lore of UC Gundam I felt nothing important was left unexplained your typical origin story.
Art and Animation (10/10) Outstanding
The artstyle approach taken in Mobile Suit Gundam Origin is one that is quite reminiscent to the old school artstyle of yesteryear. It definitely showcases that this art style definitely (at least to me) still has it's own charm to it in the modern day of today's frequent and quite similar art style we see across many popular anime series. The animation smooth and crisp across every scene and at first and definitely around episode 3 or 4 we get to see a decent amount of CG that is used on Mobile Suits, Space crafts and other machinery. At first I was not too fond to it but by the end of episode 6, I'm not going to lie this is some of the best CG I've seen to be put forth on a series that includes it on mechs especially basically every scene that has the Red Zaku in it, if CG is done it should be done like this.
Sound (10/10) Superb
The sound effects, background music and (english dubb) voice acting you and can definitely tell (especially if you are a fan of Gundam and English Dub voice acting) was treated with the utmost care. Keith Silverstein (who also voiced Full Frontal) can do the most ambitious, passionate and most charismatic Char Azanable voice you will hear amongst the many different english voice actors that have done him in the past, by far my favorite thus far and I hope he voices him from hear on out.
Characters (10/10) Outstanding
The amount of characterization and backstory care we are given to many key characters of the original Gundam series is outstanding especially Casval Rem Deikun. Characters I cared not for because to be honest they get introduced and killed in the original series so quick that you don't really have a chance to know who these people are, are given great backstories that should make a newcomer care a bit for them before they most likely bit the dust in the original series. Many of those characters you get to understand their ambitions and motives through these 6 episodes than you ever did in the original and I fairly enjoyed it and thought it was handled perfectly.
Enjoyment (10/10) Superb
As a Gundam fan I had a fucking blast with The Origin. As a newcomer I can see if one might think that this could be a bit too much of an info dump to the Universe since it may feel like this Origin story wants you to remember all of these many key characters that will definitely appear in the original Gundam series. That might be where a newcomer might be overwhelmed and turned off especially since there is no actual presence of the Gundam in this Origin story even though that is the name of the OVA. One could also say they were better off calling it Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin of Universal Century as that can be read as a more accurate representation to what is present in this OVA, this could easily hinder a newcomer's enjoyment and I completely understand if it did. Some might even say it might be better to watch the original series and then go back and watch this, but I feel if you are someone who can get ahold of majority of what this origin story brings to the table it will serve as a great introduction into a great space war story.
Overall (10/10) Masterpiece
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin I feel accomplishes what I think it was trying to do and that is setting up the Universal Century's lore perfectly. I honestly hope they decide to make a remake of 0079 Gundam using this OVA's animation, artsytle and voice actors. But I'm not too sure seeing as though they seem to be working on another Unicorn Gundam Anime and then a Hathaway's Flash anime which are both welcomed but were not asked for as much as a 0079 remake (or hell Crossbone!).
If you are a returning fan of Gundam you should be most pleased
If you are a newcomer you better pay attention because their a lot this OVA demands you.
PSA: This is a prequel; please watch AFTER you watch the original series
As far as how it adapts the story, it does a very good job adapting the prequel story-pieces of the manga adaptation, "The Origin," and I definitely recommend it to anyone who has seen the original series, especially if they're about to re-watch it.
If you consider the early-UC timeline to be "The Story of Amuro Ray and Char Aznable," then this sets the stage perfectly: It takes you from "before their time," through their childhood and adolescence, and finishes you off perfectly with all of the main players taking their places
for the beginning of the first episode of the original series. It definitely focuses more on Char than it does on Amuro, but, looking at the early-UC timeline, Char IS the character whose story affects the world the most while his past is the one least explained.
I'll put it bluntly: the animation flips back and forth between "cheap horseshit" and "a little bit more than above average," and that definitely detracted from it. If none of the CGI had been used (or if any actual effort had been put into the CGI), then this would not have been anywhere near as big of an issue. It's embarrassing that something that was supposed to be this huge production ended up with scenes that looked as bad as this did.
The sound design, on the other hand, is absolute perfection -- It's everything I could've wanted. The Japanese voice acting was what it was, to be expected, and the English dub was pretty good, though I would've liked it more if more of the original series cast had been brought back (especially for Amuro, Char, and Bright).
Like I said: If you've seen the original series, watch this, especially if you're about to re-watch it. But do NOT watch this before watching the original series.
We all enjoy looking up at the night sky, and watching the stars. And quite often we wonder what exactly is going on...out there in deep space. Fortunately, there's a ton of excellent space anime which will clue us in and make our imaginations run wild!
Gundam is one of the largest anime franchises today, made up of more than a dozen TV shows, as well as movies, OVAs, and more. With so many stories split up into multiple timelines, it can be tough to know where to start. But don't worry. This comprehensive Gundam guide will help light your way.