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Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム?) was a series of three novels based on the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series, written and illustrated by Yoshiyuki Tomino. It was first published by Asahi Sonorama from 1979 to 1981, then reprinted by Kadokawa Shoten in 1987 with minor revisions.

This novelization was intended to be more mature than the TV series and as such has several revisions and changes to the story. All three volumes of the 1979 release were translated into English by Frederik Schodt and published by Del Rey Books in September, 1990 as "Awakening", "Escalation" and "Confrontation". This translation was subsequently revised in 2004 and compiled by Stone Bridge Press into a single 476 page edition titled Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation.


In the year U.C. 0079 the Principality of Zeon has declared its independence from the Earth Federation, and subsequently launched a massive war of independence which has raged on every continent on Earth and in nearly every space colony and lunar settlement. Zeon has the upper hand through their use of a revolutionary new type of weapon, their humanoid-like mobile suits. When a Zeon recon team disobeys mission orders and begin attacking Side 7, pilot Sergeant Major Amuro Ray stumbles across the Federation's latest weapon: the Gundam. With the aid of Earth Federation soldiers stationed aboard the MS carrier White Base the newly formed crew of refugees set out to change the course of the One Year War.


Volume 1: Awakening

Chapter 1: Side 7

Chapter 2: Escape from Side 7

Chapter 3: The California Crush

Chapter 4: Newtypes

Chapter 5: Zeon

Chapter 6: The Texas Zone

Chapter 7: Lalah Sune

Chapter 8: The Beginning

Volume 2: Escalation

Chapter 9: Escape

Chapter 10: Kusko Al

Chapter 11: Prelude

Chapter 12: People

Chapter 13: Contact

Chapter 14: Premonition

Chapter 15: The Attack

Chapter 16: The Elmeth

Volume 3: Confrontation

Chapter 17: Power and Ambition

Chapter 18: Dozle Zabi

Chapter 19: Retreat

Chapter 20: A Stirring

Chapter 21: Test Firing

Chapter 22: A Baoa Qu

Chapter 23: Zum City


Earth Federation

Principality of Zeon



Earth Federation Forces

Mobile Suit

Mobile Pod

Support Units

Principality of Zeon

Mobile Suit

Mobile Armor

Support Units


In 1979, before the airing of the TV series ended, director Yoshiyuki Tomino created the novelizations of the Mobile Suit Gundam anime. The novels, issued as a series of three volumes, allowed him to depict the story in a more sophisticated, adult, and detailed fashion. The most notable difference from the anime is that the civilian Amuro Ray is now depicted as always haven been a soldier, who dies in the final attack against the Zeon stronghold of A Baoa Qu from a stray shot of bazooka from a Rick Dom. Furthermore, Char Aznable and the crew of the Pegasus II (White Base), along with handpicked men under Kycilia Zabi's command, make a deep penetrating attack against the Side 3 and together kill Gihren Zabi, after which Kycilia is killed by Char. Tomino later lamented that had he known that anime ending would be different and that another Gundam series would be made, he would not have killed off Amuro in the novelization. Because of these deviations from the TV series and subsequent sequels, the novels themselves are not considered canon. The 1987 revision of the novelization was an attempt by Tomino to rectify some of these continuity issues, cutting Amuro and Hayato's deaths from the novelization.

English translation

At the time, there were no officially recognized romanizations of character and mobile suit names, and a variety of different spellings were being used in the English-language fan community. For example, Frederik Schodt wrote the name "Char" as "Sha." "Sha" is a transliteration of the Japanese pronunciation, although Mr. Tomino later confirmed at Anime Expo New York 2002 that the name was originally based on the name of French singer Charles Aznavour. It was later elaborated in the 2004 edition of the English translation that Schodt felt that the "Char" rendering "seemed too close" to Aznavour's name, and thus Schodt opted for "Sha".

Schodt also rendered "Zaku" as "Zak," and (after consulting with Tomino) "Jion" as "Zeon," instead of "Zion," which was in use in some fan circles. Some North American fans, already attached to particular spellings, disapproved of Schodt's official renditions.

Many years later, when the Gundam series was finally licensed in North America, the rights holders created a unified list of "official spellings" for English-language materials, and some of these spellings include Schodt's renditions, as well as the renditions to which certain North American fans were attached.

In 2004, Frederik Schodt revised his original translation of the books, which had been out of print for nearly a decade. What had been a three volume set in the 1990 Del Rey edition was re-released by Stone Bridge Press into a single 476 page edition titled Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation.

By this time the rights holders in Japan had created a unified list of romanized character and mobile suit names, which Schodt used in this 2004 edition.


The initial release in 1979 saw success, selling over 500,000 copies of the first two volumes. Although there was initially concern over high school students being uninterested in books, the concurrent airing of the TV series helped boost its popularity.

Notes & Trivia

  • The English translation is the first time Zeon is referred to as the "Principality of Zeon", as translator Frederik Schodt didn't want to use "Zion" as that could make readers think of the Zionism ideology.
  • This novelization marks the first appearance of the RX-78-3 Gundam "G-3" and MS-09RS Rick Dom C.A. Custom.
  • Unlike the TV series, the entire novelization takes place in space, with the only ground battles taking place in colonies.
  • Oddly, the White Base has its naming reversed - instead of the Pegasus-class White Base and White Base II, it is the White Base-class Pegasus and Pegasus II.



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