You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything about the current summer anime season, like I’ve been doing for the past few seasons, listing what I was interested in watching. Well, just like for the spring season, I just haven’t been able to find much I want to watch.
Interestingly, the only two new things I am watching are Gundam-related. I’m still watching the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt, which is slowly getting released as OVAs, and so actually started in the spring. The other series is called Mobile Suit Gundam Twilight Axis, and the pace is even slower — it’s getting released as web shorts of a few minutes in length, once a month. I’m digging the visuals, but I find it hard to follow the story — it might be better to wait until they’ve all been released, and watch them in one go.
I’m not really complaining about the lack of series to watch though, as it gives me more time to catch up on the pile of stuff I’ve been wanting to watch. I’ve already spotted a few things I’m in interested in for the fall season though, and I’ll write those up just before the season starts.
My first steps leading to me getting into Gundam started earlier this year when I watched the episodes released so far of the OVA series Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. This prequel series to the original 70s Mobile Suit Gundam anime really kicked off my interest and love of Gundam, and since then I’ve watched a few more series (always sticking to the “Universal Century” timeline stories), and I’m currently in the process of watching the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam series.
Back to The Origin, it’s actually an adaptation of an original manga series, and I came across this Forbes piece that shares the news that you can currently read the first 30 issues/chapters in English for free online through publisher Kodakawa’s ComicWalker site. I’m quite looking forward to reading this, as it seems to include even more background story than what we’ve seen in the anime adaptation.
I wrote a while back about watching the original 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam series with my wife, and how, despite the poor animation, I was enjoying it. It did take us a while to get to the end, because in the middle of the series (comprised of 43 episodes) you hit a long stretch that I found to be pretty uneventful, but yesterday we hit the homestretch, and watched the final 14 episodes in one go. I think I would recommend you instead watch the 3 compendium films that were made out of the series (using footage from the series), as they cut out a lot of the fat, which for me was really the close to 20 episodes in the middle (the essential bits I’d say are the first 10 or so and then from around episode 30, when they return to space). Also, the idea of “Newtype” gets introduced ridiculously late in the series, and has a lot more focus in the compendium films, and in fact, Gundam creator Tomino is said to have used these compendium films to fix a few things he saw with the series. That being said, I’m still happy that I watched the entire series, to see where it all came from, and I’m hopelessly addicted to exploring the rest of the “Universal Century” shows (this refers to shows that take place in the same timeline as the original series, whereas a lot of Gundam shows over the decades take place in different timelines that have nothing to do with the original series, and are simply inspired by similar motifs). I’ve been using this guide to help me plan my journey, as I continue to watch shows in order that they take place in the timeline, and not based on date of release – immediately after finishing the original series, I watched Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt, which I loved to bits.
I wrote recently that I watched the new Gundam “Origin” series with my wife (the 2 episodes that are out), and that it was making me want to watch the original 70s series, something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. It’s one of my wife’s all-time favorite series, and she’s been suggesting I watch it for what feels like forever. I finally started doing that last night – with her – and 3 episodes in, it definitely shows signs of being something I can get into. Sure, the animation is horrible, but you can see that the story goes beyond the normal space anime tropes, and it’s interesting for me to see how the characters that I was introduced to in The Origin are doing now – and I’m now even more eager to see the 3rd episode of The Origin when it comes out, to see how Char and his sister get separated. It can be fun to watch these old series – I absolutely loved watching Future Boy Conan last year.