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Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム?) is a novel series based on the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series, written 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

The novel opens on a Core Fighter training exercise with Lt. Ralv barking orders at Ryu Jose, Kai Shiden, Hayato Kobayashi, Sean Crane and Amuro Ray, who are all already military cadets. After a description of the landing and taking off process, The Pegasus is on its way to dock at Side 7 for its mission to pick up new federation Mobile Suits. Amuro reminisces about Side 7 and Fraw Bow because he grew up together with her there, his lack of focus combined with his earlier mistake during training leads to anger from Lt. Ralv who slaps him four times then sends the cadets to lunch. Ryu remarks that Amuro should "Try a little harder to stay out of trouble next time."

We then shift perspective to a Musai cruiser heading away from Luna II, where Char Aznable and Dren notice The Pegasus (which the Musai crew refer to as the "Trojan Horse") Char and Dren's conversation leads to the decision to send Zakus to scout Side 7, due to suspicion that the Earth Federation is up to something. After a bit of description of the founding of the Universal Century, the Sides, Minovsky Particles, the birth of Zeon, the Zabi family, and Zakus, perspective shifts to Lt. Denim and Ensign Gene in their Zakus.

As Denim and Gene approach Side 7, marveling at it's size they find the graffiti surrounded entrance hatch hanging open, after remarking that the Federation wouldn't be able to do anything against two Zakus even if it was a trap, they head inside. Once inside they see a large elevator carrying a Mobile Suit and another Mobile Suit with uncannily human-like eyes on a trailer nearby. Denim thinks that the best plan would be to capture the Suits, but he can't help feeling that this is his chance to prove himself to Char.

As The Pegasus prepares to receive the two new mobile suits, Captain Paolo Cassius remembers noticing a Musai flying out in space earlier, but isn't too worried. It's then that the news of an attack from inside the colony breaks out. Denim and Gene in their Zakus had begun attacking the Mobile Suit holding area, igniting a battle between them and the Federation forces there. Amuro back on The Pegasus notices two of their Core Fighters leave following an explosion, both of which are then shot down by Denim.

Ryu leads Amuro and the other cadets into the colony where they notice the Guncannon doesn't have its legs attached yet, the path there is dangerous due to the battle taking place nearby. On the way, a Core Fighter flying above crashes into a nearby hill, which causes debris to fly off of it and kill Sean, the blood and gore of this event hits Amuro physically, dyeing his suit with blood but also mentally as he witnessed the death of a friend up close, but all they could do is keep running. Amuro again thinks about Fraw and this area once being the placed that he lived. Amuro and company eventually make it to the evacuation capsule, witnessing more death on the way and running under the legs of one of the Zakus. They see many civilians escaping in groups, Amuro looks for Fraw but doesn't see her, and they decide to keep moving on to the Mobile Suit area. After Amuro falls into a small crater and sees the hand of a child blown away above him, he prepares himself to climb into the Mobile Suit lying in the trailer nearby, the Gundam. He uses his simulation training experience to ready the Gundam to fight and after a battle, destroys the Zaku piloted by Gene.

Denim laments his failure, overconfidence and loss of a subordinate (along with his Zaku). He recalls Chars warning "Remember Denim, it's a scouting mission..." and leaves alone.

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

  • Naliss Zabi
  • Margaret Ring Blair
  • Giyal
  • Rolm
  • Zerol
  • Frankly
  • Milky Way
  • Randolph Weigelman
  • Admiral Chapman Jirom
  • McLaughlin
  • Callahan
  • Leroy Gilliam
  • Garcia Dowal
  • Tom Nishimura
  • Captain Forsythe



Earth Federation Forces

Mobile Suits

Mobile Pods

Support Units

Principality of Zeon

Mobile Suits

Mobile Armors

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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