-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Sun, 3 Sep 2000 19:33:41 -0700

This just in:

Mead Gundam (2000.2.25, Kodansha, ISBN4-06-330091-9) 322 pages (16 color) for

I was a bit disappointed in this book because I'd expected more finished
illustrations. The book is essentially a reproduction of Syd Mead's sketchbook
of the designs for the Turn A Gundam mecha, from inception through the entire
production phase, so most of the illustrations are mere roughs. At that, the
book is quite text heavy and, except for reproductions of Mead's own
hand-lettered notes, entirely in Japanese. Of the color pages cited about, all
but the end pages are near-monochrome color washes.

That being said, there's a lot of treasure buried in here. Alas, I'm in no
condition to dig it up just now, my eyesight having been worsened (well,
changed, such that my current prescription no longer works for close-up reading
and barely suffices for on-screen) to the point that I find it tiring even to
attempt more than a cursory scan. One gem by way of example: SUMO is an
abbreviation for Strike Unit for Maneuver Operation. (Burke, please take note!)

The book is divided into nine sections, as follows:

Turn A Gundam (16 to 155)
SUMO (156 to 165)
FLAT (166 to 181)
Diana Counter (182 to 201) -- this became the Wadom
Militia Robot )202 to 209) -- this became the Rib
4 Leg (210 to 227) -- I'm not sure where this fits in, it's a cargo/transport MS
Bandit (228 to 256)
Turn X (257 to 305)
Mobile Suit Design Document (306 to 317)

This is sandwiched between an introduction by Yoshiyuki Tomino and a
retrospective and profile of Syd Mead.

Given Syd Mead's stature in America, this book may be translated into English
when Turn A is finally released over here. Unless you have good Japanese
reading skills, you may want to wait for that edition. I'm sure I'll get more
and more out of it as I dig deeper and deeper into it, but for now my return on
investment has been less than anticipated.


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