Joined: 26 Apr 2002
|Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:01 pm Post subject: How Gundam was MEANT to be Done. *Original Series SPOILERS?*
|The Internet is a wonderful tool, especially when you find things on it that you might not've even heard about otherwise.
For those of ye not in the know, the original Series of Mobile Suit Gundam was meant to run for 52 Episodes. Initial low ratings had it slashed back to 39, but Sunrise managed to negotiate and get another month's worth of Episodes out of them.
Anyway, credit for this goes to NewtypeS3 of GameFAQs for Posting it, NowheremanXP of ZeonicCorps for fixing some names and Mark Simmons for the translation along with basically everything else.
Just one little sidenote: the Episode numbers include the "lost" Episode Cucuruz Doan's Island which was cut out of all DVD releases. It was 15, so for any Episode after Time, Be Still add +1 to is Episode Number to get the right one. Okay? Good.
Oh, and to cover my arse: there will be Spoilers for the Original Series in here. Keep in mind that the specifics might've changed a little but certain characters do die in both of them. You have been warned.
|Mark Simmons wrote: |
|Some months ago, I came into possession of a really cool set of books on the original Gundam TV series. Published by Sunrise and titled "Mobile Suit Gundam Record Collection", these five hardcover books were published over the course of 1980 and contain all sorts of background info, production notes and staff comments from the Sunrise archives. Far as I know, these are also the first Gundam books ever published - none of my other books (Roman Albums, Kodansha story books, Rapport Deluxe books, etcetera) were published until 1981, when the compilation movies stirred up renewed interest in the TV series.
Anyway, since these books were compiled by Sunrise, they feature all kinds of cool production info and trivia. The first book contains a neatly typed version of Tomino's original series proposal, but the real dirt is in the fifth volume, which gives you Tomino's outline of the originally-planned 52-episode storyline.
See, when the first Gundam TV series was planned out, it was going to be a full year. As the show went on, the powers that be decided to cut it off early. Japanese TV shows are apparently divided up into "cools" of 13 weeks each (is this a mangled English broadcasting term?), and it was decreed that Gundam would be cut from the full 4 cools to a mere 3. From what I've read, the staff fell down on their knees and begged for an extension, and they got an extra month in which to wrap up the story - thus the final series length, 43 episodes.
Okay, enough preamble. Let's get to the fun stuff - the story in a nutshell. I've made some notes and analysis at the end, so be sure to skip down to the end even if you don't feel like reading the whole synopsis.
The 52-episode version roughly parallels the broadcast version up through the Battle of Solomon (episodes 35 and 36). Then the weirdness begins...
Now we get the part where White Base pursues fleeing Zeons and runs into M’Quve’s fleet near the Texas Colony. As in the TV series, M’Quve has been dispatched from Kycilia's lunar base at Granada to hold off the Federal Forces pursuers and allow the survivors of Solomon to reach safety. The Texas Colony segment is pretty much the same as the TV series, but it continues for three Episodes instead of two.
In this first episode, hostilities are joined between M’Quve's forces and White Base. Barom, one of the captains under M’Quve, duels the Gundam in a Rick Dom. The fighting appears to spill over from Side 4 to Side 5, though the synopses of the following episodes seem to be confused as to which is which, a confusion that will continue throughout the entire Gundam saga.
Be it duly noted that in this outline, the names of most of the Mobile Suits are different - the Gyan is the "Bakuji", the Rick Dom is the "Dowadge", and the Gelgoog is the "Gyan". Tomino tends to latch onto certain names and keep trying to work them in someplace until they stick. To avoid confusion, I'll use the names from the TV series where available.
Amuro duels M’Quve's Gyan.
Amuro duels Char's Gelgoog. Incidentally, there's no Doctor Flanagan in this version - the Flanagan Institute is headed by a Doctor Sophia, who's a guy.
The Challia Bull Episode. Though he only lasts for one episode, Challia Bull's name keeps coming up in later episodes, as he turns out to have a lot of Newtype underlings. When a character is introduced as "He used to work under Challia Bull", it's shorthand for "He's a powerful Newtype with no combat experience; watch him die". Here, the Braw Bro is called the "Gelgoog" - see what I mean about Tomino's name-shuffling?
Now the divergence begins. Kycilia launches an attack on Luna Two, and White Base ends up helping fight it off. Kycilia's fleet includes the mighty carrier Dolos, three Gwazin-class battleships, and a gaggle of cruisers - this is some heavy ****. To scout out Luna Two, Kycilia dispatches a recon team consisting of a Gasshia (piloted by a veteran named Daru) and two Goufs. The Gasshia never appeared in the broadcast series, but Okawara later drew up nice line art of it based on Tomino's rough doodles. Yes, these are all ground-combat Mobile Suits, but I guess crawling around inside Luna Two counts as ground combat.
Anyway, Sayla impetuously grabs the Guntank (the Guntank!) and goes to intercept Daru's recon team. Mobile Suit combat ensues.
White Base remains at Luna Two and, along with the rest of the Federation fleet, is restocked in preparation for an attack on Granada. Unlike the TV Series, the Federal Forces aren't using the captured Solomon as a staging area - perhaps in the long version the asteroid fortress was destroyed outright rather than captured. At any rate, Luna Two is shortly attacked by Lalah Sune's Elmeth, backed up by Char's new Mobile Suit "Kikeroga" (this is described as "something like the Braw Bro").
As in the broadcast Episode where Amuro fights the Braw Bro, the Gundam can no longer keep up with Amuro's superhuman reflexes, and after the fight it is refitted with magnetic coating by the scientist Mosk Han. From Mosk Han, Amuro hears that his father has been captured by the Flanagan Institute. "He's alive?" gasps Amuro (I guess he didn't meet dad at Side 6 in this version). "Naah, they killed him". Weird little interlude.
Then Amuro takes his retooled Gundam out for a spin and blows Char's Kikeroga to kingdom come.
The Federal Forces depart Luna Two, destination Granada. Kycilia intercepts the fleet and dispatches space Adzams (space Adzams!) to mess 'em up. Amuro is able to find the space Adzam's weak spot and the invasion proceeds on schedule.
Granada falls. At the last minute, Kycilia tells Char and Lalah to flee and save themselves. She knows Char's true identity, and reckons that inflicting him on her brother Gihren will be revenge enough.
The Federal Forces occupy Granada as a staging point for an invasion of Side 3. The Elmeth stops by and sinks the Federation's new battleship "Amerigo" (named after the explorer/cartographer/egomaniac Amerigo Vespucci, I presume). By the way, its Bits are called "doku" in this version.
Gihren sends Char some reinforcements - a batch of the new Mobile Suit "Galbaldy" (again, Okawara drew this up after the fact) and the "semi-esper" youth Paccadelia, one of Challia Bull's hand-me-downs. When battle is joined, Amuro and Lalah enter a Newtype mind-meld (as in the broadcast series), but in this version their rapport is disrupted by Paccadelia, who thinks Lalah is consorting with the enemy and blows her up. D'oh!
Lalah gets the customary spectacular dying telepathic experience, Char blames Amuro for the whole mess, and Kai and Hayato blast the hapless Paccadelia into space dust.
Char meets Gihren Zabi in person for the first time. However, he's now too obsessed with defeating the Gundam to take advantage of the opportunity to whack Gihren.
Meanwhile, Degwin Zabi, patriarch of the Zeon Duchy, has decided to seek peace. After all, he now has no heirs left other than the loony Gihren, and he doesn't exactly want him to win the war. Degwin meets up with White Base and comes aboard with his dishy secretary Kusko Al (same name as the character in the novels, totally different character), to whom Bright takes an immediate liking. Degwin recognizes Sayla and begs her forgiveness for doing away with her father Zeon Deikun, corrupting Deikun's dream, placing the fate of humanity in the hands of his crackpot son, and so forth.
Then Gihren's Mobile Suit hit team shows up to do away with dear old dad. Degwin begs Sayla to ice him and put a stop to the fighting, but she refuses, pointing out that she's not like her brother. Degwin is killed anyway, but Bright rescues Kusko Al.
Amuro is convinced Kusko Al is a spy, but Bright defends her. There's a footnote pointing out that this is typical of Amuro, who's a raging paranoid.
White Base makes a foray into Side 3, since this is where the Federal Forces will be heading next. They intercept a flotilla of refugees, who have been forcibly evacuated from Side 3's 38 Bunch. White Base goes to check out this mysterious colony and is fended off by an expertly-piloted "Garaba" (yet another new Mobile Suit). They capture the pilot and he reveals that the colony has been commandeered for "Operation Solar Ray", but that's all he knows.
We are treated to an explanation of why Char hasn't whacked Gihren yet. Sure, he's sworn an oath to avenge his father, he's already murdered his best friend towards this goal, and now all that stands between him and vengeance is to ice the freak who's standing right in front of him... but now he also has a major hate on for Amuro and the Gundam. If he nails Gihren, who's going to build him a Mobile Suit tough enough to take out the Gundam? If he single-handedly ends the war and brings peace to the war-weary human race, when's he gonna get a chance for a showdown with Amuro? Sorry, dad, one quest for vengeance at a time.
While Char agonizes, he and Gihren confer on personnel matters. They have one spare Braw Bro but two Newtype candidates; one is a veteran named Dardan, and the other is yet another of Challia Bull's underlings, a powerful but inexperienced kid named Gola. Char opts for Dardan, opining that Gola isn't cut out to be a soldier (after all, look what happened with Paccadelia).
Meanwhile, the Federal Forces conduct a whimsical violation of the Antarctic Treaty. In an effort to pinch Zeon's energy supply, White Base leads an attack on a Jupiter Energy Fleet convoy. Kusko Al, who turns to be a spy after all, warns the Zeons and flees the ship. While Mirai takes over as captain, Bright must pursue his tragic love interest, hunt her down and kill her like a dog.
The attack on the Jupiter Energy Fleet begins. Amuro duels Dardan and blows him away. Amuro also senses the presence of Gola, and likens it to the second coming of Lalah Sune.
Gola has figured out Char's secret identity. He tells Gihren, who quite reasonably reckons that if Char were really going to ice him, he would have done so by now. The Federal Forces mass at Granada to invade Side 3, and Gihren blasts them with the Solar Ray, taking out over half the Federation fleet.
Amid the chaos, the Zeons attack. Amuro duels Gola's Zeong and, in a dazzling display of Newtype prowess, destroys it. However, Amuro is getting mighty tired of exterminating Newtypes - his butchery of Gola reminds him all too well of what happened to Lalah.
Amuro sets off for Side 3's 38 Bunch to discover the secret of the Solar Ray. Char intercepts him in a Garaba for one final duel. As Char and Amuro fight, Gihren uses the Solar Ray a second time and wipes out the remainder of the Federation fleet. Char and Amuro are both stunned by the sight of the colony-scale laser cannon in action, but Amuro recovers first, trashes Char's Garaba and then single-handedly (single-handedly!) destroys the entire Solar Ray.
Manifesting her latent Newtype powers, Sayla senses that Char ins't dead, just horribly injured.
Char, who is really messed up at this point, limps back to Gihren's headquarters at A Baoa Qu. Gihren pins a medal on his chest and gives him a hefty promotion for helping him attain ultimate victory. Char is horrified to realize that, distracted by his vendetta against Amuro, he's not only failed to complete his original mission but he has in fact helped his father's murderer become supreme ruler of the human race. Ooops.
Amuro, wading through Zeon plebes, also has an overdue epiphany. He finally realizes that these hapless minions aren't the real enemy - it's the leaders, nutcases like Gihren Zabi, who are responsible for war and bloodshed. Rather than slaughtering plebes and wiping out other Newtypes, he should be going after the evil scum who started this whole thing. Kill the leaders and the war ends. Thus resolved, Amuro leads White Base toward A Baoa Qu.
Amuro and White Base reach A Baoa Qu. White Base plows into the fortress and the crew begin fighting their way in through grueling hand-to-hand combat. Amuro duels the fortress' last line of defense, the Gigan (the Gigan!), and the Gundam is trashed. He joins the rest of the crew in bloody hand-to-hand combat, closing inexorably in on Gihren's hideout. Even Char limps into the fray, hoping to make up for his epic screw-up.
Ultimately, though, everyone falls by the wayside, wounded or captured by Gihren's royal guard. Amuro alone makes it to Gihren's hideout, where he confronts the evil genius.
"Ha-ha", Gihren jeers, "You're too late! I've set A Baoa Qu to self-destruct!"
"In one minute and thirty seconds, right?"
"Damn you, Newtype!" cries Gihren, going down in a hail of bullets.
Amuro is immediately surrounded by Gihren's tardy royal guard. Before they can blow him away, he points out that their leader is dead and the entire place is about to go “kaboom”, so they should probably run away while they can. They follow his advice.
What follows is something pretty close to the broadcast version. Amuro crawls back into the wreckage of the Gundam and telepathically directs his friends back to White Base so they can survive the destruction of A Baoa Qu intact. Sayla and Char run into each other and tearfully greet each other as brother and sister. Char insists that he can't escape with Sayla, but the synopsis doesn't explain why - I dunno if he's pinned by a girder, riddled with bullets, or just so ashamed of himself that he can't go on. At any rate, everyone but Char makes it back to White Base and rides out the blast. Amuro emerges from the explosion in what's left of the Gundam and the White Base crew are reunited.
It's year 0080 of the Universal Century. On January 3, the Earth Federation and the Zeon Republic make peace and everyone lives happily ever after.
Okay, now for some closing commentary.
First off, you'll note the amazing proliferation of new Mobile Suits. Many of these were sketched out by Tomino, and in the years following the TV series, Okawara took it upon himself to render these as finished line art. Now you know how the Dowadge, Galbaldy, Gasshia and Gigan - the infamous Pezun Mobile Suits - fit into the story. In the sort of ironic twist we've come to expect from Tomino, the Gundam is finally done in by the silliest of the lot, the dopey Gigan. The Zeon answer to the Guntank, this is a Mobile Suit torso mounted on a buggy with a tank turret on top of its head. Tomino doesn't even bother to specify the name of the pilot - it's just some dweeb.
On the other hand, if the series had run the full 52 episodes, we'd have been treated to more brilliant Yaz character designs. I'd be happy to see the Gundam dispatched by a wheeled gun turret if it meant we could see wacky characters like Dardan, Gola, Paccadelia, Kusko Al and Daru given life by the master character designer.
And speaking of characters...
The note about Amuro's paranoid streak was quite illuminating for me. I'd never thought about it in this light before, but the kid does have a definite track record here. In original Gundam, Amuro is consistently the first to suspect everyone:
"They're conspiring against me, they're gonna take my Gundam away, but I'll show them - I'll steal it and bury it in a sand dune!"
"One of our generals is a traitor, I'll bet it's that fink Elran!"
"Hey Bright, I know you're sweet on her and all, but Kusko Al is going to sell us out first chance she gets!"
And you know the funny thing? He's always right. What does that tell you about Tomino's world view?
Similarly, the long version offers a revealing explanation of why Char doesn't just kill all the Zabis when he has the chance. It's not that he's forgotten his quest for revenge, it's just that he's started another one and he wants to handle them in the proper order. This may help explain his weird behavior in later Gundam stories.
Anyway, food for thought. Dig in!
Enjoy, speculate, discuss and let rage against TV Network Executives fester.
Personally, Lalah doesn't seem to have the same huge effect in the 52-Episode version that she does in the Series. Maybe it's because the notes don't speak of Char's feelings for her or because she's not the only Newtype rookie used by the Zeon. Either way, though, it's interesting to see that Char wasn't the "Gundam Killer" like he was in the TV Series. Instead it's just some weapons platform on wheels piloted by a nameless grunt.
Whoever can find me a picture of the Garaba will win this Board forever.
Last edited by Arbron on Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 05 Jul 2004
|Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:59 pm Post subject:
|Ah, this topic of the original 52 episode script came up on Gundam.com before it went down a few years back.
In the discussion, quite a few people on that board said they prefered the shorter ending, mainly because Kycilia taking out Gihren was an interesting plot twist, and Char doesn't look like such a loser. In the original script, Gihren becomes a more typical evil mastermind, and Char basically gets played for a fool. I think Char's popularity wouldn't be what it is now if the original script was used.
However, everyone said they'd have loved to see Gundam get whacked by the Gigan just for the comedy factor.
On the Garaba, there's an Aura Battler in Dunbine with the same name, and it happens to be piloted by a masked ace pilot, the Black Knight, who has a hidden identity.
Another note on the Gundam novels. Amuro, Kai and Hayato start off as trainee pilots rather than civilians. I don't think there's much point to having Char's Gundam in SRW though.... Unless it has Char Kick!!!
Zeta novels.... Well, it's been over 2 years since I read it now, so I might forget a lot of stuff. It starts with new scenes featuring Char heading off to join up with the other AEUG members, commenting on the naming of the Rick Dias and how he didn't understand the foreign language of Japanese. There's also a scene with Bright captaining a shuttle filled with Titans and telling the co-pilot to give them a rough ride. Many of the filler battles from the TV series have been cut out, and some scenes are explained more in-depth than the TV series. eg. one scene where Kamiyu talks about Katsu having a problem and Char nods in agreement. The novel version goes "Char nodded, even though he had no idea what Kamiyu meant."
Many scenes are different, and the ending in particular is darker. Deaths tend to be more violent in the novel. Katsu doesn't just ram into an asteroid and explode. In the novel, Yazan bounces him off the asteroid and then literally punches his guts out with the Hambrabi. Yazan is also quite definitely dead as his Hambrabi is shot in the cockpit. Kamiyu is also an even better pilot, and also more ruthless than in the anime. However, he never resolves issues with his parents, and starts going crazy gradually, as opposed to just being hit by Scirrocowhatsisface's psychic attack.
And as a finale, after Four's death, an already brain fried Kamiyu starts believing that Rosamia is his mother. Gates comes along to get them apart, but he and Rosamia end up killing each other in front of Kamiyu, and Kamiyu ses his "mother's" violent death... yet again. When Fa finds the Zeta Gundam floating in space later, the cockpit is open, and Kamiyu is inside, all silent. Fa thinks he's just exhausted, and closes the cockpit before towing the Zeta back. She doesn't notice Kamiyu's helmet visor was open.
"My body is an unstoppable... weapon!" - El Blaze