I’m excited to highlight the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin hardcovers because they are one of my favorites in the manga collection. If this is your first intro to Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin, I highly recommend it whether you are a fan of mecha or not, because it's one of the best science fiction manga to ever release. It’s a great starting place if you are looking to get into the Gundam universe, it features some of the best artwork I've ever seen in a manga, and it also has one of my favorite antagonists of all time, Char.

Any who, it's no secret that I recommend checking out Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin whether it be through the anime or the manga, but if you are wanting to read the series, I highly recommend checking out the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin hardcovers released by Vertical. But if you are wanting to watch it as well and are confused on where to start, definitely check out our Mobile Suit Gundam Watch Guide!

In this review, I'll talk about the positives of picking up the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin hardcovers, what makes them different from other Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin manga releases, how the manga differs from the anime, and more!

What's Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin about?

If you have yet to delve into MSG: The Origin yet whether it be through the anime or manga, the story follows young Amuro Ray. During an attack by Zeon on Side 7, Amuro stumbles upon the RX-78-2 and becomes its pilot even fighting against the mysterious and formidable Zeon pilot Char aka The Red Comet in his maiden battle. The two end up developing a rivalry; Each fascinated by the other and driven somewhat by their need to be victorious over the other.

All in all, the series is about the conflict between Zeon and the Earth Federation and their race against one another to develop mobile suits, but even though that’s the overarching story, the main story follows the Federation’s ship, White Base, the people on it, and the battles they have to overcome. There’s interweaving motivations and political plots that add twists and turns to this story along the way and it really delves into the stories of the people who are fighting too, so this story has a little bit of everything.

How do the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin hardcovers differ from other Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin manga releases?

As far as manga releases go, Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin was first published by Viz with English translation, but due to low sales at the time, only 12 volumes were released and it was cancelled before the full series could be translated. Those were also released in a perfect-bound magazine format, like you see with National Geographic magazines, so they weren’t like your typical paperback manga release. These are of course now out of print, so they are harder to collect. To learn more about out of print manga, check out our Out of Print Manga Guide.

In 2013, Vertical began releasing hardcovers of MSG: The Origin and they released a total of 12 volumes that completes the series.

One of the biggest differences of course is the fact that these volumes are hardcover rather than the perfect-bound magazine format as seen with Viz's previous English release of Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin. The hardcovers also feature color pages, new cover designs, a 6.27 x 1.31 x 8.26in format, and they contain extra material.

How does the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin manga differ from the anime?

The Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin anime is a classic, which has had its own fair share of releases, including the original 1979 anime, a 2015 OVA that adapts the manga, then a recompilation version of the OVA released in 2019, and you also have the compilation movies too that condense the entire series into three films.

This story has been retold a number of times, but for me, the Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin hardcovers is a more hashed out version and the story additions further enhanced this already esteemed and outstanding story. Plus, it’s an entirely new experience reading it and there are some differences in regards to the plot points, some added back story, more insights into the motivations and the personalities of the characters, differences in some of the battles, and more. This is the original story with some changes and some new additions. I want to make sure it's known that the manga is a retelling not a remake of the original story.

On many occasions I also found myself feeling more for characters than I originally did after watching the anime, such as Garma. I don’t remember feeling for characters like Garma after watching the anime as much as I did when reading the manga. As a whole, I felt myself more connected to the characters in MSG: The Origin more so after reading this manga. I also liked that this retelling had a nostalgic feel but it also had a modern feel as well.

Positives to Buying the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Hardcovers

They are one of the most high quality manga releases to date

Appearance-wise, the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin hardcovers are one of the most, if not, the most beautiful I’ve ever seen to date. The Dark Horse Deluxe Editions are up there as well in terms of quality, but with how striking these look both on and off the shelf thanks to their artwork, they are striking and stand apart from the rest. I really love the color palettes used on the covers, which transitions from oranges and reds and then to blues and purples on later volumes.

They are stunning volumes, but they also feel incredible in hand thanks to their matte finish. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s artwork on each cover is nothing short of incredible as well. When you see these on the shelf, you want to know what they are and then you open them up and you are pulled in by the story and the artwork inside.

The quality you see on the outside of these volumes carries on to the inside with their glossy, thick white paper. They also have a sewn binding and since they made these volumes just the right amount of thickness, they are a joy to read and all of the panels are fully visible while reading. Not to mention, the print quality and the contrast of these are amongst the best I’ve seen.

The color pages in the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin hardcovers are beautiful

One of the best things about the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin hardcovers are the color pages by Yasuhiko. These are not included in any other release of Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin, so you'll only be able to experience the color pages in the hardcovers released by Vertical.

The tones he chooses to use in his art are absolutely beautiful. Yasuhiko is an incredible artist in black and white, but his color pages are even more incredible to witness.

There's extra material at the end of each volume

At the end of each volume, there’s special contributions, whether it be drawings or commentary, from prominent mangaka or figures in the industry in addition to those who worked on Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin’s anime and manga.

Here's what's included in each volume:

  • Volume 1 includes an essay by Hideaki Anno, the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Volume 2 has special contributions by CLAMP, including an interview and a drawing of Amuro with Haro
  • Volume 3 has an illustration gallery by Yasuhiko as well as a special contribution by Shimoku Kio, the creator of Genshiken and more
  • Volume 4 has two other illustrations by Yasuhiko and a special contribution by Yokusaru Shibata, creator of Tani Kamen and more
  • Volume 5 has commentary by Yasuhiko and the Gundam ACE editorial department as well as a special contribution by Koji Kumeta, creator of Kakushigoto
  • Volume 6 has another gallery of incredible illustrations by Yasuhiko
  • Volume 7 includes a special feature called “On the Eve” that was originally included in the MSG: The Origin Official Guidebook and thoughts on Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin by Mamoru Nagano, who contributed mecha designs on Zeta Gundam and more
  • Volume 8 includes a special contribution and illustration by Makoto Yukimura, the creator of Vinland Saga, as well as more illustrations
  • Volume 9 includes special commentary and an illustration by Makoto Shinkai, creator of Your Name, Weathering With You, and more
  • Volume 10 includes special contributions by the creator of Ferryboat Tales and more, Kazuhiro Fujita, and more illustrations by Yasuhiko
  • Volume 11 has more illustrations and a special contribution by author Toh EnJoe.
  • Volume 12 has a conversation between Yasuhiko and Makoto Shinkai, a discussion with Tatsu Uchida, a marital artist from Kansai, a concluding message from Yasuhiko, and more beautiful illustrations by Yasuhiko as well

Final Thoughts: Are the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Hardcovers worth it?

Yes, they are. All in all, with a more mature retelling, I personally think these hardcovers are the best way to experience Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin if you are looking to read the series. Viz also released an English translated version of the series, but those were never completed, so this is the best manga release of the series you can buy. On top of that, the quality of the hardcovers by Vertical can’t be beat and the extra material is fun to experience and read. Of course, there is an anime of the series as well, so if you end up reading and enjoying the story you have that to look forward to also. 

Whether you are a die-hard gundam fan already, someone looking to get into your first series in the franchise, or a manga lover who’s looking for a new series to get into, these are an incredible addition to any collection. The Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin hardcovers are one of the most beautiful looking and most high quality manga releases I’ve picked up to date, so they are definitely worth picking up.

Where to Buy Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Manga

If you'd like an all-around and inside look of the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin hardcovers, check out our review on teh Anime Collective YouTube below!

Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Manga Review with Inside Look of Volume 1 and Extras