Another year, another Gundam series makes its way onto Toonami’s airwaves. Ever since Iron-Blooded Orphans debuted in 2016, Toonami hasn’t missed a year without a Gundam entry making its way onto the block. Despite Gundam not being as massive as it was during the heyday of Gundam Wing’s debut (on Toonami), the 40-year-old franchise is back on the rise lately, and it’s a good time to be a Gundam fan. I’ve been anticipating Gundam: The Origin’s arrival on the block for a long time. I even listed it as one of my 2019 Toonami expectations on a recent Toonami Faithful Podcast.


For those unfamiliar with the series, Gundam: The Origin initially began as a manga retelling of the original anime, with some new content taking place before Universal Century 0079. From 2016 to 2018, Sunrise made six OVAs adapting the events before the original anime. Similar to Gundam Unicorn, a 13 episode recut named Gundam: The Origin – Advent of the Red Comet began in April and is, at the time of writing, still airing in Japan. A fast turnaround for sure, but unsurprising, considering how frequently Toonami seems to be picking up brand new anime quickly. It also helps that all six OVAs of The Origin are already available dubbed, which makes piecing it together for the recut not as arduous.

The Origin is centered around the story of young Casval Rem Deikun and how he evolves from a normal boy into one of the most iconic anime villains ever created, Char Aznable. Char was already a fantastic character in the older series, to the point where the masked villain trope was frequently recycled in future Gundam series (Zechs in Wing, Rau Le Creuset in SEED). Seeing his backstory and witnessing how the frequent bloodshed within the Earth Federation molded Char into who he became made The Origin a fantastic entry to the ever-expanding Universal Century Timeline. It’s not often that we witness the “villain” take the role of the story’s protagonist, but it meshes well with the franchise’s predominantly heavy tone. Thanks to Char taking the lead this time, the overarching themes of hope and freedom are replaced with constant danger and despair, resulting in one of the darkest Gundam works to date.


As a warning for first time viewers: If you’re expecting a smorgasbord of robots destroying each other and not much else, you’re going to be severely let down. Also, expecting lots of giant robot fights is (in my opinion), the wrong way to go about watching most Gundam series. Gundam, especially the Universal Century timeline, was never really about the Mobile Suits as much as it was about the ramifications of war and the impact it has on innocent people and those involved. The Origin is probably one of the most character-driven entries in the whole franchise, and it heavily latches onto that principal theme. I would say that it shouldn’t deter you from watching it, but not everyone wants to deal with the political side of Gundam and that’s understandable.

That said, Gundam: The Origin, despite not having much mecha fanservice, is still backed by a strong cast of characters and a compelling story filled with intense moments from start to finish. Witnessing Casval’s troubled background gave me a deeper appreciation for Char. Because of his father, Zeon Zum Deikun, and his royalty and military background, Casval grew up only knowing conflict and war. Despite living somewhat happily with his mother and sister, his father’s presence over his life never left him, even after Zeon’s death. Even in The Origin, you can see the difference between Casval’s “any means necessary” demeanor and his sister Artesia’s (old school Gundam fans will know her as Sayla Mass) desire for a more peaceful life for all. I’m glad the prequel still maintains the fantastic characterization all around, and hopefully, you all will appreciate this new look behind some of the classic characters we know and love.


If you want a taste of things to come, I highly recommend checking out the entire OVA series on Hulu (available subbed AND dubbed) or checking the subbed version of Advent of the Red Comet on Crunchyroll and VRV. For those knowledgeable with Char and his reign over the Principality of Zeon, you’re all in for a real treat. For those who don’t know about the original series or remember much from it, I’d recommend still giving it a chance. There may not be a lot of robots beating the nuts and bolts out of each other, but you’re still going to get a great, character-driven story with amazing characters in the process. Either way, The Origin is one of the strongest entries in the Universal Century timeline, and any Gundam fan shouldn’t miss out on this.