[SILLY QUESTION] Gundam books for Kids?

Posted by fujikuro 
Maybe a silly question here, but my son has become enamored with Gundam. Are there any books or graphic novels that would be even remotely age-appropriate for a 6.5 year old boy? Star Wars level violence is OK, but it would be best if the language were PG if possible. Thanks for any info you might have!

More serious than thou
Most Gundam manga are about as violent as the shows - not gory or anything, but people die all the time. I'm not sure any that have been released in English are easy enough reading for that young of a kid, but he'd surely enjoy most of them with parental assistance.

The best bet is probably the G-Gundam manga, for obvious reasons - it's G-Gundam! Lots of action, minimal violence. Tokyopop released it in the USA, and it shouldn't be too hard to find.

Most of the manga side-stories are kid-safe, but Blue Destiny has nudity and some adult themes. The disadvantage is that a lot of the side-stories really require you to know something about the series they're spun off from in order to appreciate them.

You might want to track down Tokyopop's releases of "The Last Outpost" (Gundam Wing sidestory, aka G-Unit) and Gundam Astray (Gundam Seed sidestories).

Last Outpost stands entirely on its own. Not the best story, but light reading as I recall.

Gundam Astray is a lot more fun, but not as accessible. It's more closely tied to the TV series it accompanies, but not so close that it would be confusing. The problem with Astray is it consists of several series which build on each other, not all of which were published in English. It goes Astray, then Astray R, then X Astray... and after that, Tokyopop stopped publishing them in English.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
The old Tomino Mobile Suit Gundam novels (translated by Frederick L. Schodt) got reissued a couple of years ago. There are three of them. I remember them being violent and having unusual transliterations of the names such as Sha instead of Char. There's some major plot points that are different than the anime (Amuro starts out as a military pilot) and I think more characters die in this version. I remember a sentence about somebody putting their hand in somebody's shirt and grabbing their boob and it was like the only shocking thing in the trilogy. Oh yeah, and Sayla Mas or whatever her name is sunbathes nude at the end for some reason. I read these in the 90's in my teens and remember liking them alot. You should look for them at the bookstore and read them yourself then make note of the sections with the boob grab and nude sunbathing if they bother you and then I think these would be okay to read to your son. They're not long novels either. The cover art on the originals was fantastic and I remember it fondly. Ah...memories.

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2012 05:57PM by Scopedog.
Actually the novels specifically state that Amuro and Sayla have sex all the time and he asks for a lock of her pubic hair to take into battle with him. Not sure that's super appropriate for a 5 year old.

The old Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 manga got translated up to volume 9 and was pretty good, but the lack of an ending may bother you. I like the Kondo art, though.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
Ginrai Wrote:
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> Actually the novels specifically state that Amuro
> and Sayla have sex all the time and he asks for a
> lock of her pubic hair to take into battle with
> him. Not sure that's super appropriate for a 5
> year old.

Wow I don't remember that at all but its been almost twenty years since I read them. I picture them working as a bedtime story so if the sex and pubic hair and boob grabbing isn't integral to the flow of the plot or story I'm sure fujikuro could skip over it. It would be funny to imagine his son rereading the books on his own as a teen and then confronting his dad "WHAT ELSE DID YOU HIDE FROM ME!?"

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2012 05:50PM by Scopedog.
Scopedog Wrote:
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>"WHAT ELSE DID YOU HIDE FROM
> ME!?"


you were adopted
Dang... I only own the first MSG novel. I surely woulda remembered something like pubic hair hoarding.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
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Ginrai Wrote:
> Actually the novels specifically state that Amuro
> and Sayla have sex all the time and he asks for a
> lock of her pubic hair to take into battle with
> him. Not sure that's super appropriate for a 5
> year old.

I read the novels a couple of years ago, and I don't remember the pubic hair thing. Though the sex is fairly prevalent. I like the scene where Sayla is satisfied within a few minutes, then she rolls over and goes to sleep, leaving Amuro sitting morosely on the side of the bed. Classic.

On the other hand I wouldn't recommend reading the MSG novels to a kid because they're not very good.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
asterphage Wrote:
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> On the other hand I wouldn't recommend reading the
> MSG novels to a kid because they're not very good.

I thought they were great when I was a kid. They may not stand up to scrutiny now but what Gundam story does?

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I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2012 05:55PM by Scopedog.
Scopedog Wrote:
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> I thought they were great when I was a kid. They
> may not stand up to scrutiny now but what Gundam
> story does?



All the ones not directly written by Tomino :p
VF5SS Wrote:
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> All the ones not directly written by Tomino :p

For example? I think the non-Tomino Gundams are worse, especially the all-Gundam Gundams where every mobile suit is a Gundam even the Zakus.

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I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army
No I mean when he doesn't write the scripts

he's a director

although sometimes I heard he would be very controlling of what the writers were doing

which is where the awkward dialog tends to stem from

usually he lets off after a show gets going

Garzey's Wing is the purest Tomino experience
VF5SS Wrote:
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> Garzey's Wing is the purest Tomino experience

I heard its an Aura Battler spinoff with no Aura Battlers in it so its dead to me.

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I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army
That's what Daryl Surat likes to say

but nobody ever buys them Aura Battlers
MattAlt (Admin)
Bust out the crayons, kids -- it's time for FUNDAM!!!!

[ifs.nog.cc]

(love the one of Amuro decking Char)





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2012 06:52PM by MattAlt.
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MattAlt Wrote:
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> Bust out the crayons, kids -- it's time for
> FUNDAM!!!!

What is Gundam gesturing towards, all the humans that look alike to him?

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I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army
Scopedog Wrote:
> They may not stand up to scrutiny now but what Gundam
> story does?

0080

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH


KIMI YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO~



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2012 07:54PM by VF5SS.
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Scopedog Wrote:
> The cover art on the originals was fantastic and I
> remember it fondly. Ah...memories.

Well, you're entitled to your fond memories, but...



-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2012 08:25PM by asterphage.
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asterphage Wrote:
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> Scopedog Wrote:
> > They may not stand up to scrutiny now but what
> Gundam
> > story does?
>
> 0080

Perhaps.


asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Scopedog Wrote:
> > The cover art on the originals was fantastic and
> I
> > remember it fondly. Ah...memories.
>
> Well, you're entitled to your fond memories,
> but...
>
> [toyboxdx.com]

I think they're great. Compare them to the average sci-fi novel cover of the time or even now. Sci-fi novel covers are usually as generic as the covers of romance novels and are scarcely relevant to the content. I was always impressed that these seemed to be original paintings probably painted by Americans exclusively for these novels. I especially like the style of the Gundams on the 2nd and 3rd covers and I love the fact that the Red Comet on the 3rd cover is a Zaku FZ from 0080. You've got to remember that Gundam hadn't proliferated yet at that time, even in Japan, so there weren't 10,000,000 styles of RX-78. It was interesting to me to see these American variations. These covers are totally fixated in my brain right alongside the classic Yuji Kaida Bandai model kit box covers (F-91 and 0080 in particular). Maybe its just me.

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I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2012 11:39PM by Scopedog.
Inconsistencies aside, I also love those novel covers. The Gundam on 2's probably my favorite, but the one on 3's neat just for its strange proto-Katoki-ness.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
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I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
Scopedog Wrote:
> I was always impressed that these seemed to be
> original paintings probably painted by Americans
> exclusively for these novels.

I believe that is the case, I'll check my copies later.

And yeah, it is nice that they commissioned original art, rather than recycling some licensed Okawara art that might look horribly out of place on these covers.

> I especially like the style of the
> Gundams on the 2nd and 3rd cover and I love the
> fact that the Red Comet on the third cover is a
> Zaku FJ from 0080. You've got to remember that
> Gundam hadn't proliferated yet at that time, even
> in Japan, so there weren't 10,000,000 styles of
> RX-78. It was interesting to me to see these
> American variations.

The second cover is well-painted, but I feel like the weakness of all three covers is that they're obvious imitations of original Gundam art. I can't quite put my finger on which illustrations they may be based on, but they have these compositional oddities that seem to indicate the artist heavily using reference.

I'd actually appreciate it a lot more if they'd just gone original with it, instead of basing it on the official designs. It seems like they tried to market this release to general SF fans, not so much to Gundam fans (however few there were at the time), so I don't think that would've hurt.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Prometheum5 Wrote:
> but the one on 3's neat just for its strange
> proto-Katoki-ness.

I always thought that was based on some Izubuchi art, or one of those Hitoshi Fukuchi variations from the Char's Counterattack and 0080 instruction manuals. The proportions have that feel to them, and it would fit with the Zaku FZ in the back.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
MattAlt (Admin)
Man, I don't know what you guys are smoking! The 2nd and 3rd are borderline acceptable, but the first one is TERRIBLE from pose to execution to, well... everything. Looks like he's tripping over his own two feet trying to walk.

It neatly encapsulates that combination of "not caring" and "not having any artistic chops" that characterizes nearly every American attempt to portray giant robots in the Eighties and Nineties that I can think of.
I read the second book back in the early 90's. Because I had no context other than model kits (which were mostly of the F-91 era), it made little sense. I think I thought that Guntank and Guncannon were literally a Gun Tank and Gun Cannon.

Ooh I know, I had these English language 0083 comics that were made from screenshots of the anime.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
My first exposure to Gundam was SD BB Senshi kits of the Gundam F91 and the Dragon Gundam. I still love that F91 kit. The design fascinated me.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
MattAlt Wrote:
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> It neatly encapsulates that combination of "not
> caring" and "not having any artistic chops" that
> characterizes nearly every American attempt to
> portray giant robots in the Eighties and Nineties
> that I can think of.



MattAlt (Admin)




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2012 07:49PM by MattAlt.
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[www.sarna.net]

anything on this page



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2012 09:30PM by VF5SS.
MattAlt (Admin)
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The real problem with these three Gundam novels (and they ARE written by Tomino) is that they are incredibly dry. There's no metaphors and almost no descriptions. It's written like this: "Amuro's Gundam pointed at the Zak. The Gundam fired. The Zak exploded. Amuro flew the Gundam back to the White Base."

It's just very literal and unpoetic.

And regarding the pubic hair, apparently pilots carry around these "amulets" made of their girlfriends' pubic hair as good luck charms to help them not die in combat.

The American Robotech novels are frankly way better than these.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2012 08:03PM by Ginrai.
MattAlt (Admin)
Yeah. I remember being very excited to read those books when they came out and then sorta confused at how un-engaging they were afterwards, and I definitely can't blame the translator for that; Schodt is the man.
Are the later Gundam novels any better, Alto-san?

I think the first three suffer from being basically scripts for ideas that never made it into the original series, hence the dry expository style of writing.
Ginrai Wrote:
>
> The real problem with these three Gundam novels
> (and they ARE written by Tomino) is that they are
> incredibly dry. There's no metaphors and almost no
> descriptions. It's written like this: "Amuro's
> Gundam point at the Zak. The Gundam fired. The Zak
> exploded. Amuro flew the Gundam back to the White
> Base."
>
> It's just very literal and unpoetically.

Forget metaphors, forget poetic language, Tomino doesn't even know how to show instead of tell. "Almost no descriptions" is right. Instead of telling us what the protagonist sees when they enter a space colony, he tells us how long the colony is and how it's constructed. My favorite terrible line in the Gundam novels, and one of my favorite pieces of terrible writing in any novel, is this:

"He wished he could wipe the tears from his own eyes, but in order to do so he would have had to enter an airlock and take off his helmet."

Do we really need to be told that as a blank statement of fact? It makes the character sound as dry and analytical as the prose, carefully considering the cost/benefit of going into the airlock to wipe his eyes. Even a line where he unthinkingly reaches up to wipe the tears away and his hand bumps into his helmet instead would be a little more flavorful, less detached, and would illustrate Amuro's youth and inexperience.

There are actually a few moments of attempted poetry in the novels. As a Gundam fan, one of my genuine favorite passages comes when Amuro first encounters Char in person, while telepathically communing with Lalah:
"Then a door opened behind Lalah, and through the light it let in, Amuro made out the shadow of a quickly moving man. A sound like static violently intruded on his and Lalah's thought communication. There was a perceptual spark, and then a fragmentary interruption by a third thought form overlaid on his and Lalah's. It was not words. It was a ruptured type of noise, and it assumed an aura of hate."

Of course, he immediately follows that up with:
"The man was wearing a red-colored military uniform with a platinum-colored helmet and face mask, and he appeared to be an officer of the Zeon forces. A cape fluttered from his back. It was Commander Char Aznable, a.k.a. Casval Rem Deikun, of the Zeon forces."

I don't even know where to start with that paragraph. Tomino tells us the guy is wearing a military uniform at the start of the first sentence, and that he appears to be a Zeon officer at the end of the sentence. He's wearing a red Zeon officer's uniform, okay? You're not getting paid by the word, Tomino-san. It's like he's spinning out this description to greater length so that the fanboy readers will know it's gonna be Char - as if they can't guess - but then he just turns around and tells us it's Char anyway.

And he commits another cardinal writing sin - he breaks point of view. Amuro is clearly the viewpoint character in this sequence, and Amuro does not know that Char is Casval Deikun, but Tomino tells us anyway. It's a limited third person POV, sure, but it's clear that the third-person description is meant to be filtered through Amuro's understanding of the situation. However, Tomino can't resist throwing little factoids in at every turn, even when they come across as things that the author is directly telling to the reader, without even allowing them to emerge through narrative.

It's sad that Tomino can only reach even as high as that passage about Char's thought-communication when he's trying to convey something unreal and indescribable to his readers. Anything that's physically conceivable, no matter how wonderful, gets the matter-of-fact treatment. It's literally mind-numbing for a reader who's expecting an actual story.

Which brings us to Veef's point, which hits it on the nose:

VF5SS Wrote:
>
> I think the first three suffer from being
> basically scripts for ideas that never made it
> into the original series, hence the dry expository
> style of writing.

I always say that the novels make a fine history book for Gundam fans. There's plenty of information in there that one might wish to believe is true even in the TV series continuity (the description of the Flanagan institute, characterization for some minor characters, the story of how Gihren introduced Ramba to Hamon). Even if you strictly separate the continuities, the details in the novels inform the thought processes that led to the series. But it's still hard to get past that deficiency in style.

Tomino's elucidation of Zeon Deikun's ideals and the political and science-fictional concepts underlying the entire series are probably the most interesting thing in the novels. Deikun summarizes his belief in Newtypes as such:

"The universe is a new environment, which will compel mankind to change. If the first stage in mankind's evolution was his evolution from an ape to a human, and the second stage was his breakthrough from feudalism to the rational science of the Renaissance, then the third will be his transformation ino a new type of human, a man with profound sensitivity and insight and a far greater awareness of the vastness of time and space."
"The transition to Newtypes will be a natural one. The act of walking increased man's range of movement, and helped the concept of tribe and nation-state to develop. Powered vehicles expanded man's awareness to a global level. And now civilization is advancing in outer space. By living and working in space, man's consciousness will transcend the boundaries of Earth and become truly universal. The vastness of space will be 'home.' And as man's consciousness expands, he will begin to tap the unutilized portions of his cerebrum--the over half of his brain cells unused since time immemorial, the enormous untapped mental reserves given by God precisely for the new environment of space. And when that happens, man will change. Man will become a more enlightened, refined, and compassionate being. It is space--the act of living in an extraterrestrial environment--that will act as the trigger."

Granted, Tomino isn't clear about whether Deikun is postulating primarily a physiological or social change here, and he mixes biological and spiritual language. Is it God or evolution that's doing this? Is it an involuntary change or is it happening in humans' consciousness? Regardless of how you read it, though, it's a much clearer vision of what Newtypes are supposed to be, and why they're supposed to exist, than the handwaved "some people who live in space become psychic" of the anime.

There are a lot more passages like this, from Deikun and from other characters, and almost all hold some precious little gem for Gundam fans. Prising out that value is the best reason to read the novels.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
But is it good enough for a 6.5 year old?

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I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army
go read Harry Potter
MattAlt (Admin)
The world cries out for Gundam/Potter cross-over fan-fiction.
[www.fanfiction.net]

are you sure you want to cry out
MattAlt (Admin)
"The wars are over and the Gundam pilots want a place to call home. The found it, somewhere in the Scottish Highlands. An unplottable castle steeped in magic..."

Admit it, man. YOU wrote this.
I and Veef Macleod of the Clan Macleod.

Living in the Scottish Highlands
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