Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin – The Fascinating Journey of Casval the Sociopath

hisui_icon_4040_round I have said it once and I will say it again, “Streaming has changed everything about how people watch anime.” The ease and convenience have made it that watching things legally streaming has become so simple that shows that are not streaming pretty much disappear from the general consciousness. In the past , there used to be some notable exceptions. There were titles that were so popular that they retained a viewership despite the fact that they were hard to find through anything other than illicit means or importing. Now even titles with evergreen fandoms have become almost invisible when they are not streaming.

The prime examples are Macross Delta and Dragon Ball Super. Compare the conversation around Macross Frontier and Macross Delta. Macross Frontier was the talk of the town with anitwitter and Macross Delta was really only discussed by the hardcore of the hardcore Macross faithful. You could argue this has to do with something like a difference in quality between the shows but the general silence surrounding Macross Delta was present even before a single second of Delta had aired. Even the evergreen Dragon Ball series could not avoid this. Whenever anything Dragon Ball comes out through normal means the fans come out in legion beyond even the familiar faces of fandom. Just look at the turn out to the new Dragon Ball movies in theaters. So when something as monumental as the first new Dragon Ball TV series in 18 years (Dragon Ball Z Kai is not new material) comes out like a ghost in speaks volumes. It would have been the ONE series that I assumed this would not happen to but even Goku could not defeat the beast of invisibility that comes for a series without a streaming component.

In between the world of no streaming and shows with a footprint in fandom lies Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin anime. Much like a phasing card in Magic: The Gathering it seems that Gundam: The Origin spends parts of the time visible to fandom and then disappears for a time. Whenever a new episode of Gundam: The Origin comes out the previous episodes will stream for a month and the go back into Sunrise’s version of the Disney Vault. It means that Gundam: The Origin is not normally available to what you think of streaming anime but it also has a visible footprint.

If you have ever owned a Netflix account and used it actively you have probably put something in your queue and put off watching it until they day you realize it is not longer streaming through the service. It is VERY easy to put off until tomorrow what could easily be done today until it is too late. That is why we are talking about Gundam: The Origin today. With the release of the 4th episode, we wanted to muse on the OVA series while the iron is hot. In this current window of streaming in probably the best time to discuss the show. It lets everyone who might have otherwise overlooked the series a chance to sample it for free while also reminding people who have forgotten to watch it the last time it was available that they have a second chance.

narutaki_icon_4040_round Ahh, the Gundam 0079 story is the best with an incredible cast of characters. Trying to add to that narrative could be a dangerous tightrope walk but Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s storytelling is impeccable. The flashback arc that The Origin anime covers is so much less about robots than you would expect in a Gundam series, it is a dramatic, compelling story of the road to war.

Disclaimers:

  1. There may be spoilers for Gundam 0079 since this is a prequel story.
  2. To keep things from getting confusing: Casval will be the name used for the rest of the post no matter what phase of his identity he is in.

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Manga of the Month: The Ancient Magus’ Bride

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (魔法使いの嫁) by Kore Yamazaki

hisui_icon_4040_round As someone who has been playing tabletop role-playing games for decades, I am always a fan of a good magic setting. I love exploring magic systems, learning about magical organizations, and thinking about spell possibilities. So fantasy series in anime and manga certainly scratch this itch. Kate and I usually give all but the most lecherous and/or despicable fantasy series a chance to see what they have to offer. While I love the standard sword and sorcery medieval setting my preferred setting is series where magic lies hidden beneath the world we know today. There is a strong appeal to the idea that magic is hiding just around the corner right outside of your vision. In my humble opinion, it is a reason Harry Potter is so popular. I know it is the reason I like Mage: The Ascension and Type-Moon material.

Therefore I was naturally inclined to see out The Ancient Magus’ Bride. It’s a rich magical world set in the shadowlands of England where a half fae mage takes in a young lady as his new apprentice and his wife. The Ancient Magus’ Bride is a stunning combination of fantastic art, rich world building, and subtle storytelling draw fans of fantasy into a beautifully melancholy dream of fairyland.

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Baccano! Novel 1: The Rolling Bootlegs—Immortal Gangsta’s Paradise

hisui_icon_4040_round I was recently at the Kinokuniya Bookstore since it is on the way to the Mid-Manhattan Library. After looking at the new English-language manga I sent out two tweets. The first was the cover of  Queen Emeraldas manga and the second was the cover of the Baccano! novel. I asked if anyone had read either book and what they thought of it. Interestingly enough the Queen Emeraldas manga got quite a few responses but I did not see any conversation around Baccano! That was not the expected reaction at all.

I say that because I always thought that American fandom (or at least the anitwitter portion) loved Baccano! Whenever Durarara!! comes up it seems like someone always has to bring up that “they are fine with more Durarara!! but what they are really waiting for is more of the far superior Baccano!” It even has all the classic hallmarks for mainstream popularity: It has a Western setting, it has lots of violence, it can be sexy but it does not have excessive fan service. Not every series that has that combination is popular, they still have to be good, but any show that has all three is far more likely to be very popular.

It seemed like a formula for instant success. Now it might have been that I posted my tweet at a time that all the Leiji Matsumoto fans were out in full force but the Baccano fans were AFK but it made me extremely eager to read the first book. Was the silence just bad timing, a sign that Baccano! fandom has sadly died off since there has been no new anime since 2007 or is the book itself the weak link in the chain.

narutaki_icon_4040_round Baccano! like its (more?) well-known cousin Durarara!! is based on a very long running series of novels by Ryohgo Narita. But unlike DRRR!!, Baccano’s anime only finished up a couple of story arcs before ending. Though many of us still hold out hope that more anime is in-store, we’re lucky enough to now have access to the original novels in case those hopes are never met.

The first Baccano! novel covers some familiar ground and characters of the anime but in a more linear fashion.

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