-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Tue, 26 Dec 2000 18:36:30 -0800


Just as I was bemoaning how overdue it was, what should appear?

Gundam Episode Guide, Volume 4: The New World - Future Century / After Colony /
After War (2000.11.10, Kadokawa Shoten, ISBN4-04-853071-2) 160 pages (80 in
color) for 1,800.

The long-awaited fourth volume of the five-volume reference is, as the full
title implies, a compendium of the three non-UC or "alternate universe" series:
G Gundam, Gundam W and Gundam X. The book is laid out Western style, read from
left to right, top to bottom, rather than Japanese style, which is read from top
to bottom, right to left. The cover illustration is Yuji Kaida's rendition of
the XXXG-00W0 Wing Gundam Zero Custom.

The first 80 pages are in color and consist of a rather strange set of
introductory pieces that are followed by detailed backgrounders on all three
series -- characters, MS, history and timelines. The only thing that prevents
these from being the definitive references for their respective series is that
none of the model numbers is given for any of the MS. The sections here are:

Preface (2)
Gundam As Melodrama (4-7)
Another UC - Two Decades of Gundam/Gun-Pla (8-13)
Worldview/Characters & Mechanisms/Highlight of Gundam
Mobile Fighter G Gundam (14-35)
New Mobile Report Gundam W (36-63)
After War Gundam X (64-80)

The last 80 pages are in black & white and consist mainly of the Design Works, a
combination of story digest -- a brief paragraph synopsizing each episode of
each series down the right edge of each page, four episodes per page, and line
art from the corresponding episodes filling out the rest of the page and the
facing left-hand page. When an MS appears in the line art, it **is** identified
by model number, which makes you wonder why this what not the case in the
Mechanisms color section. There also appear to more mecha in the line art,
including some that I've never seen before, such as a hydrojet-propelled
Polyphemus submarine apparently used by one Marcus Guy to salvage G-Bits in
Episode 18 of Gundam X. (Mythology note: Polyphemus is the actual name of the
Cyclops blinded by Odysseus and his men in Homer's Odyssey) The sections here
are:

The Design Works of Gundam (81-143)
Gundam Spec List (144-145)
Visual & Sound Guide (146-149)
Filmography (150-156)
Index (157-159)
Colophon & Indicia (160)

I learned a number of interesting things just browsing this tome. For example,
Trowa Barton's clown guise is based on the 16th Century Italian commedia
dell'arte character Pierrot. (There are six other such characters, whose names
you may recognize from other contexts -- Columbine, Harlequin, Pantaloon, Punch,
Scaramouche and Zany -- which makes me wonder whether we'd've had an entire
squadron of motley heroes had there been **seven** Gundams instead of just
five!)

As with the rest of this series, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I'm
eagerly awaiting the fifth and, alas, final volume, New Universal Century, which
I expect will cover Turn A Gundam and, hopefully, G-Saviour and anything else
that's been released but not covered in previous volumes. With luck, I won't
have to wait as long for it as it seemed I waited for Volume 4!

-Z-

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