"What is 'Gundam', anyway?" This simple (?) question is answered in our fifth casual weekly column just for new fans!
by Ema Baba
You may have heard we weren't coming back, but here we are with a 5th super-simple column for new Gundam fans!
we covered Gundam faces and coloring,
was devoted to masked men and Haro.
covered the Universal Century, and
took on mobile suits, which leads us to one more thing that's unmistakably Gundam.
What makes a Gundam? Plenty of awesome mobile suits, "MSVs", that don't show up in the show!
Last time we went over the basics of mobile suits, so by now we should be all fired up go deeper! (Gotta keep it cheerful.)
Some mobile suits are like the Gundam, and spring to mind whenever someone says "robot". Some mobile suits are like the Zaku, that they're even making
of these days. There are plenty of mobile suits that every man or woman of a certain age knows all about.
……But did you know that some mobile suits never actually appeared in an anime?
"What do you mean?", you ask. "How?" "You're not making any sense again!" Well, you've got a lot left to learn, and MSVs are a good place to start!
What makes a Gundam? MSVs with their own side stories!
Really, the Zaku makes an excellent example. Let me explain: MSV stands for "mobile suit variation" (but mobile armors qualify too!)
It refers to modified mobile suits, usually tweaked while designing a model, that did not appear in the anime.
They were born when designs by Kunio Okawara, the mecha designer for
Mobile Suit Gundam
and a host of other Gundam shows, were published in hobby magazines.
Honestly, First Gundam didn't have many mobile suits(!)
It had too few! So when it came time to make the models, it was a perfect chance to mix in some variety. This moment of passionate creativity is the root of all MSVs.
One of the most popular methods is to give a mobile suit people already love a slick new "prototype" or "full armor" look
But wait, there's more to MSVs than that!
Remember the Black Tri-Stars? The ones that piloted Doms? I know, I know, this sounds like a pop quiz. But think like you're in the U.C. Try to figure out their story. What did they pilot before they had Doms? Zakus, of course! Starting to get the picture? (Delusion, maybe?)
So yeah, some MSVs like the "Black Tri-stars Zaku" are created just by imagining who would have used a suit, or what it could have been used for.
So while MSV is a general term for mobile suits which appear in non-anime side stories,it also refers to designs based off other MSVs, comics, novels, models, games, and more.
What makes a Gundam? MSVs in action in far-flung eras!
MSVs can be timeless. Think the Zogok, or the Juaggu which finally did appear in
Mobile Suit Gundam UC
over thirty years after its creation.
The Juaggu especially has always been one on the most unique First
MSVs. Yet, all of a sudden, here it is! Gundam fans were shocked!
"Really? A Juaggu? In 2011?" People were shocked, people were amazed. (I think there were a few tears of joy too.)
The Zeon remnants' Juaggu stood up and fought the Federation bravely in a whole new era.
It's like it was shouting "Mobile suits are born to fight!" Longtime Gundam fans loved seeing a retro (!?) design go up against the newest and sleekest. That's the kind of situation that only Universal Century Gundam can give you! Right?
Now, before the Juaggu had been just one of many MSVs, but now that it had made the leap to the silver screen it deserved a model kit with all the latest tech built in. One thing led to another.
A happy accident led to a hit new Juaggu Gunpla! It even managed to sell out nationwide. Such a beautiful story. (*wipes eyes*)
It's also amazing how well the timeless ideas of Director Tomino and designs of Mr. Okawara hold up after over thirty years.
(Note: If you want to see just what the Juaggu's made of, check out the middle of
Mobile Suit Gundam UC
episode 4. You won't regret it.)
……Of course, the Juaggu isn't the first time an MSV has managed to sneak its way into a show. The "Tigerbaum Museum" also had MSVs on display.
At the Tigerbaum Museum, a rich man's collection of Zeon's One Year War mobile suits was on display like you'd normally see art at a museum. Along with common suits like the Zaku I and Acguy, he'd also managed to acquire some rare treasures. You should check it out in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ! (No, seriously. Go and watch it.)
Well, well, well, well, well, that's it for this week. Next week we'll be taking another laid-back look at what makes Gundam Gundam!
Scriptwriter. Troublemaking scenarist.
Learning more every day to teach you about the fun of Gundam!