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Please note that this is the Gundam Wiki's article on the 1987 novel adaptation; if you are looking for the article on the 1979 novel adaptation then you should head to Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation.
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.

Story

Universal Century 0079: The Principality of Zeon has declared its independence from the Earth Federation, and subsequently launched a massive war of independence, a war which has raged in every continent on earth and in nearly every space colony and lunar settlement. The Zeon have the upper hand through their use of a revolutionary new type of weapon, their humanoid like mobile suits. When a Zeon recon team disobey mission orders and begin attacking Side 7 its citizens stumble across the Federations 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 — or die trying.

Characters

Earth Federation

Principality of Zeon

Civilians

Mechanics

Earth Federation Forces

Mobile Suit

Mobile Pod

Support Units

Principality of Zeon

Mobile Suit

Mobile Armor

Support Units

Production

In 1979, before the end of the anime, Yoshiyuki Tomino himself created the first novelizations of the original Gundam anime series. The novels, issued as a series of three books, allowed him to depict his story in a more sophisticated, adult, and detailed fashion. The biggest difference between the anime series and the novels is that in the latter Amuro Ray is killed in the final attack against the Zeonic stronghold of A Baoa Qu by a stray shot of bazooka from a Rick Dom. Char Aznable and the crew of 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 series would be made, he would not have killed off Amuro in the novels. Because of such significant deviations from the animated series, movies, and subsequent sequels the novels themselves are not considered official, however, the detailed account of past events leading up to the introduction of the mobile suit and early skirmishes of the OYW are more or less accepted in the continuity. Nonetheless, they are often enjoyed by fans because they provide a great deal of detail and help explain the philosophical underpinnings of the Gundam series.

The three novels were translated into English by Frederik Schodt and published by Del Rey Books in September, 1990. At the time, there were no officially recognized romanizations of character and mecha names, and a variety of different spellings were being used in the English-language fan community. In the original three novels, therefore, Mr. Schodt wrote the name "Char" as "Sha." "Sha" is a transliteration of the Japanese pronunciation, although Mr. Tomino later publicly confirmed at Anime Expo New York 2002 that the name was originally based on the French name Charles Aznavour, a 1970s lounge singer. (Interestingly, the 2004 edition of the English translation revealed that Schodt felt that the "Char" rendering "seemed too close" to Aznavour's name.) He also rendered "Zaku" as "Zak," and (after consulting with Mr. Tomino) "Jion" as "Zeon," instead of "Zion," which was in use in some circles. Some North American fans, already attached to particular spellings, took great umbrage at Schodt's renditions, forgetting that in the original Japanese most character and mecha names are in a phonetic script known as katakana, and that there were, therefore, no "official spellings." Many years later, when the Gundam series was finally licensed in North America, the rights holders did come up with a unified list of "official spellings" for English-language material, 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 as one single volume of 476 pages (with a vastly improved cover design), titled Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation. Since the rights holders in Japan by this time had created a unified (although still evolving) list of romanized character and mecha names, Schodt was able to use it, and Amuro's rival in the novel thus became "Char" and not "Sha"; the popular Zeon Mobile Suit, similarly, became "Zaku," and not "Zak". [Source: Frederik L. Schodt]

Gallery

Editions

External Links


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