The Rise of the Red Comet
- Episodes : 6
- Genre : Military, Sci-Fi, Space, Action, Mecha, Shounen
- Airing Date : Apr 24, 2015 -May 5, 2018
- Producers : Sunrise
Kidou Senshi Gundam: The Origin Introduction
For nearly 40 years, Char Aznable (and his mask) has been the human face of the Gundam franchise. While fans were already aware of his origins through other official source materials, this OVA/movie series finally explores the how and the why Char came to be. While the original series from 1979 passingly says Char and his sister were assisted by Ranba Ral, in this anime, you finally get the full story on how that happened, how Char got his name, his iconic mask (and why he wears it) and how he got his moniker - The Red Comet.
What We Liked About Kidou Senshi Gundam: The Origin
For those that are familiar with the Gundam mythos whether it would be from anime, games, of the encyclopedias, this anime is certainly for you. Fans may have been aware of the “what” behind Char and Sayla’s origins, but they never saw the “who,” “how,” and the “why” behind them. Though the original Gundam anime and its sequels tend to make reference to his birth father, Zeon Zum Daikun, we finally get to learn about him and their relationship. Not only that, you finally get to learn about Char’s mother. The story largely focuses on Char and Sayla, however the series briefly highlights other characters from the original series such as Amuro, Kai, Ranba Ral, and a few more surprises.
1. The Core Seiyuu Cast
For hardcore fans of Char, Shuuichi Ikeda, who has been the character’s seiyuu since his debut is once again back to play the man. As for Char when he was a child, Mayumi Tanaka, the voice of Kuririn from DBZ and Luffy from One Piece happens to play him. Tanaka does a great job of channeling Ikeda’s performance as Chibi Char. It’s interesting that Tanaka was casted as Chibi Char when considering that she voices Luffy, and Ikeda voices Luffy’s hero, Shanks. Some may wonder if it was meant to pay homage to that.
In addition to Shuuichi Ikeda coming back as Char, Banjo Ginga is back as Gihren, Tooru Furuya is back as Amuro, and Toshio Furukawa is back as Kai. While Keiko Han, the voice of Lalah, isn’t back, her daughter Megumi has come to embrace the Gundam legacy as she inherits the role of Saylah from the late Yo Inoue.
2. Has a solid soundtrack
The series still uses a good number of background tracks from the original series so it establishes a perfect connection. Despite how old some of the instrumentals are, they still have this timeless feel to them. A lot of the original tracks still capture the intensity of the battle, its sci-fi mystique, and political settings to keep its old fans. Each episode offers a different ending song that is more in tune with modern Japanese rock and pop. So if you want an excellent balance of new and original, The Origin perfectly offers that.
1. You Need to Watch the Original Series
Despite being a prequel, you’re going to need to see the original series first in order to understand the mythos as a whole. Most of the characters are from the 1979 series and without watching it, it’ll be difficult to contextualize everything. A lot of details in regards to let’s say Char and Garma’s friendship, Ranma Ral and Harmon’s relationship, as well as Kycilia’s relationship with her general, M’Queve, are highlighted and explore in The Origin but without any exposure to watching the first series, you can’t appreciate these qualities. But if you do watch the Origin, it is then mandatory to watch the 1979 series.
2. Some cast members are not back
While some original voice actors are back, there are some that were replaced and for understandable reasons. Due to the passing of some original seiyuus such as Yo Inoue (Sayla), Hirotaka Suzuoki (Bright), and Daisuke Gouri (Dozle), they were naturally replaced but the characters don’t feel the same without them. In some other instances, Masashi Hirose couldn’t resume the role of Ranba Ral due to health reasons. Considering that some other original seiyuus such as Katsuji Mori (Garma), Mami Koyama (Kycilia), and Keiko Han (Lalah) are still alive, a good number of fans can’t understand why they didn’t come back to their respective roles. Their replacements just don’t live up to the original performers and it would be nice to have these icons back in the roles that they made.
Hardcore fans of Gundam, or most notably those of Char, are going to love The Origin. Think of the last episode as the Rouge One of Gundam and you’ll get that kind of kick. While the details revealed in this story were already in guidebooks for as long as fans can remember, we finally get to see it in anime form and that’s what fans want. Though we dwelled on the Japanese cast in this review, considering it has more consistency than the English dub in relation to retraining cast members, we feel it’s more appropriate to watch it in Japanese for those purposes. As for being a prequel to a franchise that started in 1979, it’s nice to see that it still maintains a sense of faithfulness to the original designs. So if you want to learn the origin of Char in anime form, check out Gundam: The Origin!