-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Sun, 23 Apr 2000 17:20:15 -0700

This just in:

Kunio Ohkawara Gundam Design Works (1999.11.1, Movic, ISBN4-89601-436-7)
128 pages (16 color) for 2,200.

This book is, on the one hand, a companion to the Kunio Ohkawara Gundam Art
Works book and, on the other hand, part of another line entirely, the
Mechanical Design Works Series. There's a Votoms Art Works and Votoms
Design Works, so my guess is that both the Art Works and Design Works
series are currently just two volumes deep.

I forgot to mention it in my previous review, but the Gundam 0079 RPG book
was laid out "Western" style: spine to the left, text read from left to
right and top to bottom. Gundam Design Works is also laid out "Western"
style, as are the Newtype 100% Collections, the Gundam Mechanics and a
number of other Gundam reference book series. Gundam Century Renewal
Version was laid out "Eastern" styel: spine to the right, text read top to
bottom and right to left.

The book's cover is reproduced, without title, as an 11-by-20 heavy stock
fold-out poster. The books chronicles Ohkawara's career in ten phases:

1. Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3 (1978~79)
2. Mobile Suit Gundam (1979~80)
3. Mobile Suit Z Gundam (1985~86)
4. Mobile Suit Gundam F91 (1991)
5. Mobile Suit Gundam F90 (1990~93)
6. Mobile Suit V Gundam (1993~94)
7. Mobile Fighter G Gundam (1994~95)
8. New Mobile War Chronicle Gundam W (1995~96)
9. Mobile New Century Chronicle Gundam X (1996~97)
10. Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team (1996~99)

11 of the 16 color pages are devoted to Ohkawara's original designs (as
opposed to the final designs actually used) for the nine Gundam
series. Three pages are designs for the original Gundam series, from a
brightly colored robot that literally looks like a toy, through a couple of
Sphinx-like White Bases and a Gunperry with "Gun Boy" painted on the side,
to alternate versions of the Guntank and Guncannon. All of these recently
appeared in Gundam Archive and Gundam Age, but here they're given
full-color treatment and lots more detail.

The rest of the book is in black and white and is divided into six parts:

Kunio Ohkawara Interview
Chapter 1: For The Gundam
Chapter 2: Growth The Gundam
Chapter 3: Next The Gundam
Guest Comment
Data Base

Chapter One covers 1977 to 1979 and nearly half is given over to Invincible
Steel Man Daitarn 3. Not only was Daitarn Ohkawara's break into mechanical
design, but it becomes clear from the juxtaposition of the two how much the
first Gundam owed to Daitarn, design-wise. The early versions of Gundam
were clearly an Egyptian-inspired motif, with the Sphinx-like White Base
and a Pharoah-like Gundam. The Pharoah's face was covered by a slotted
mask and his headpiece became less and less majestic until it was little
more than a helmet with slotted fairings, but the heroic visage was
initially that of Daitarn.

Chapter Two covers 1984 to 1992, Z and F91 -- V is conspicuous by its
absence. The Z designs are interesting mainly for how different they are
from Z as we know it. I was also struck by how reminiscent they are of
Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross, better know in America as the
Robotech Masters. The F91 designs are of interest because the Crossbone
Vanguard MS are much more insectile and monstrous in the early stages, some
even sporting cruciform mono-eyes and huge claws.

Chapter Three covers 1994 to 1999, the alternate universes of G and W and h: 0e side story of 08th MS Team -- X is conspicuously absent here.

The guest commentary is by Eiji Yamaura (Gundam), Masao Iizuka (Gundam),
Kohichi Inoue (F91 & G-Saviour) and Kohtaro Nakayama (G Gundam & Gundam
W). The Data Base is simply an index of the mechanical designs in the book.


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