Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin V & VI Collection Review

Cold Cobra

I'm entirely trustworthy...
AUKN Staff
The first four Origin OVAs told the… origin story of complex antagonist Char Aznable, while the original Gundam series joined the One Year War already several months in. So what happened in between? That’s what these two OVAs are here to show us…

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ayase

State Alchemist
I think the further development of the Zabis that you talk about was as enjoyable for me as Char’s own. I do enjoy a good tale of the politics of power, along with Gihren’s very obvious fascist leanings I think it’s interesting how many other parallels to real world rulers and power struggles can be drawn.

The origin (ha) of Zeon itself strikes me as having a lot in common with African and South American nations as they struggled against their colonial rulers. Deikun himself has the air of a revolutionary independence leader with genuine convictions, while Degwin (and, I think, Kycillia) sees an independent Zeon as a vehicle for their own personal power and enrichment without much regard for ideology at all, which brings to mind situations like Mobutu’s brutal toppling of Lumumba in the Congo.

Dozle and Garma meanwhile are more like Stalin loyalists in the USSR, convinced through naïveté, stubbornness or selective blindness that they’re still pursuing the same noble goals of the revolution even while evidence to the contrary starts mounting. And Gihren is obviously the most dangerous of all as a man of conviction, but of horrifying conviction.

In this regard, I think The Origin makes Char’s story even sadder. With his initial thirst for revenge leading him to commit some pretty questionable actions, to his soul-searching and moderation following the events of MSG, and finally his end as very nearly another Gihren when he comes to believe it impossible to accomplish his goals by any other means. His entire life, really, was lived for his father, but Deikun himself never really had to deal with the realities of conflict and leadership the way Char did, so his idealism was always going to be impossible for him to live up to.
 

thedoctor2016

Harem King
As much as I do love Chars counterattack him (seemingly) randomly deciding to fire Axis at the earth does feel weird especially after this and his arc in Zeta.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
As much as I do love Chars counterattack him (seemingly) randomly deciding to fire Axis at the earth does feel weird especially after this and his arc in Zeta.
While the events of The Origin no doubt played a part in shaping him as such, I think the truth is Char was always kind of an extremist at heart (even if an idealistic one, practically it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference) right from when he set out on his path of revenge. I mean we know he’s perfectly fine with offing individuals who pose an obstacle (or even present an opportunity) to him, so as with most extremists it was probably only a matter of time until that train of thought started extending to entire populations.

He’s a complex guy, for sure. Just as many of his actions are admirable as are difficult to justify - It’s that moral greyness that makes him interesting, and human.
 

Cold Cobra

I'm entirely trustworthy...
AUKN Staff
I definitely think the politics part of Gundam, especially the UC timeline, often gets ignored, which I know makes sense as giant robots fighting each other and buying construction kits based on said giant robots are the key things in the wider popularity of the series, but its still a shame. As @ayase has wonderfully laid out here, with the possible exception of Gihren, none of the people in the higher positions of power are simply good or evil, and are all the more interesting for it.

It's one of those "its there if you want it" things, where you can just watch the show because an unfortunate teen has ended up in the pilot seat of a cool looking mobile suit, or you can see a war treated all too realistically, with people on all sides having soldiers that are enjoying it, just doing their duty, afraid, pretty much conscripted, and everything in between, meanwhile a bunch of politicians scheme from the safety of their home base. It's a very fun and interesting mix, and one of the reasons I love the Gundam meta-series so much.
 
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