This time the manga comes to some of the most iconic moments in the original Gundam series.

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Volume 3
Story & Art by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Mechanical Design by Kunio Okawara
Based on the TV series created by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Translated by Melissa Tanaka

Available from Amazon.com and RightStuf.com

The Premise

The Zabi family, the military dictators of the Duchy of Zeon, have been hit hard by the death of Garma in the previous volume at the hands of White Base (with a little help from from Char Aznable/Casval Deikun). Gihren Zabi swears that Zeon will avenge Garma’s death upon the Federation. Meanwhile, White Base continues to make their way through Central & South America. There they’ll end up taking on their most dangerous opponent yet – Ranba Ral, who will push the ship and her crew, and the Gundam itself to their limits.

High Points

There are just too many great moments in this volume to choose from. From Gihren Zabi’s speech at  Garma’s funeral, to every aspect of Ranba Ral’s clashes with White Base.

Ranba Ral an opponent who matches, if not exceeds Char, when it comes to the threat he poses to White Base. It’s no spoiler to say that Char’s attention is split between completing his mission at hand, and his desire to screw over the Zabis. Ranba Ral, on the other hand, has all of Char’s skill, except he’s focused on the task at hand – capturing or destroying the White Base and the Gundam.

Also, the Gouf, Ranba Ral’s mobile suit, which is featured on the book’s cover, looks like a Zaku as interpreted by Gerald Scarfe, which makes it even more terrifying, considering that his work on The Wall was pretty much high-octane nightmare fuel.

Low Points

Unfortunately, this volume features Amuro at his most obnoxiously petulant. I can’t think of a Gundam pilot who is more obnoxious than Amuro is in this volume except Kamille Bidan at the start of Zeta Gundam.

Scores

Originality: Each of the engagements in this volume is completely different from the last.  5/6

Artwork: Yasuhiko is still knocking it right out of the part. 6/6

Story: This is the best plotted volume of the manga. Everything just clicks together and flows perfectly. 6/6

Characterization: Ranba Ral is the best opponent that the crew of White Base has faced thus far, both in terms of his skill and drive, and in terms of his depth of character. Unfortunately, Amuro’s development takes a hit here, which hurts the volume. 5/6

Emotional Response: I’ve been reading manga for almost 15+ years now, and this is one of the most intense volumes of manga I’ve read in a very long time. 6/6

Flow: After last volume’s after iffy flow, I was glad to see the action in this volume have a strong rhythm to it. 6/6

Overall: This is an excellent volume of manga, and it really clinches, in my opinion, Gundam’s place (and this manga’s place in particular) in the annals of great works of MilSF. 6/6.

In Total, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin – Volume 3 gets 40 /42.