by Harutoshi Fukui and drawn by Kōzō Ōmori
In my review of the very first volume of the Gundam NT manga, I said it was alright but didn’t really have much more than a long introduction to what was happening. It felt somewhat like supplemental material to Gundam Unicorn than anything that stood on it’s own. Thankfully, this second volume is much more “full” and actually gets the story moving in a fairly decent way. This comic tells the story of a group of people once called “The Miracle Children”, as they were widely publicized for predicting the colony crash in Australia- the very event that triggered the “One Year War” seen in the very first Gundam show. Now adults, it seems like they have not adjusted well, and one of them may be the pilot of the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 03, a failed “third brother” of the other two models, and possible key to time itself.
“U.C. 0097, one year after the opening of “Laplace’s Box”. Despite the revelation of the Universal Century Charter that acknowledges the existence and rights of Newtypes, the framework of the world has not been greatly altered. The conflict later dubbed the “Laplace Incident” is thought to have ended with the downfall of the Neo Zeon remnants known as the Sleeves. In its final battle, two full psycho-frame mobile suits displayed power beyond human understanding. The white unicorn and the black lion were sealed away to remove this danger from people’s consciousness, and they should now be completely forgotten. However, the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 03, which disappeared two years earlier, is now about to show itself in the Earth Sphere once more. A golden phoenix… named Phenex.”
We get a lot of story here, making this volume substantially better than the first. First and foremost, we see the person that I assume is likely the “main antagonist”, and insane clownish man named Zoltan. Zoltan is either laughing or threatening to murder people, making him the sort of Zeon character we haven’t seen since the One Year War, and reminds me a lot of The Joker from DC Comics or Kefka from Final Fantasy VI. We also see that behind the scenes, some people aren’t too happy about the peace deal between Neo Zeon remnants and The Earth Federation. it seems some “Spacenoids” are not thrilled with anything that goes against their “Zeon Conservatism” and are making plays in the dark to separate from Queen Mineva Lao Zabi and possibly start another war.
Gundam always has a tendency to take modern events and work them into the narrative, and perhaps this is a nod to many world governments toying with extreme right-wing conservatism, and Japan’s slide into the romanticizing of its own imperial past. Hopefully the message isn’t too ham-fisted as that would muddy the story quite a bit in my honest opinion.
We are also starting to get hints of the fate of Rita Bernal, the enigmatic Newtype friend of both Jona and Michele, who has been “missing” for a few years after a test flight of the “Phoenix”. We actually see a flashback to those events and what exactly went down, and why everyone is trying to recover the vessel. I have a feeling this will try to further explain “what a Newtype is” considering Unicorn did that a little bit, and we are slowly moving away form the idea that they are nothing more than Space Jedi. I hope it isn’t over-explained, but being able to actively explain things like ghosts talking to pilots, and people seeing the future would be cool.
This book was actually pretty good, and has got me excited to finish the story up. As of this writing, I don’t believe that the place I am reading this has any more (for now), because let’s face it – this was never released in the US (yet?). I will keep everyone posted as I get more, or I’ll just watch the film – we shall see. It establishes the motivations of all of the characters, sets up the antagonists, and even shows some of the war mongering nonsense going on in the world in the aftermath of Char’s Counterattack and the Lead up to Hathaway. This is a definite must read for me right now, and I hope I get to finish it!