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Volume 1

 

Review by Chris Guanche

March 5, 2006

 

Summary

 

In Future Century (FC) 59, the Devil Gundam causes a disturbance at the Neo Japan space colony. The Neo Japan forces, led by Ulube Ishikawa's Gun Magna, attempt to stop the Devil Gundam, but they fail. The Devil Gundam escapes to Earth, and a wounded Ulube vows revenge. One year later, the 13th Gundam Fight is about to begin. Instead of resorting to war, the nations of the world use the Gundam Fight tournament to decide on the ruler of the colonies. As Gundams descend to Earth to fight, Neo Japan's Shining Gundam lands in Rome, Neo Italy. Inspector Belchino and Officer Mezzina investigate the crash landing of the carrier pod, and Belchino decides it's best to keep possible Gundam Fight news out of the spotlight. Just then, members of Michelo Chariot's gang arrive to inspect the carrier pod. Mezzina wonders how it's possible for a mafia boss like Michelo to be Neo Italy's Gundam Fighter, and Belchino tells him the brass doesn't know what it's doing. Elsewhere, Neo Japan's Domon Kasshu has a drink in a bar with some kids when punks from Michelo's gang enter the bar and harass the children. Domon punches one of the punks and calls him scum for stealing from children. He then shows the punk a picture of a man and asks the punk if he knows him. The punks attack Domon, and he fights them off until he's arrested by Belchino. Later, Domon's partner Rain Mikamura comes to the police station to bail him out. Belchino releases Domon on the condition that he leave the country within the hour, but Domon tells Belchino to complain to his government if he has a problem with the Gundam Fight. In the street, the kids from the bar thank Domon for helping them and warn him about Michelo. When Domon reaches their hotel, Michelo punches through a wall and asks Domon who he is. Domon challenges Michelo to a Gundam Fight, and Michelo responds by breathing fire at Domon. During the fight, one of Michelo's punks grabs Sophia, one of the children. Michelo then hops into his Neros Gundam and begins attacking Domon. Michelo holds Sophia over the ledge of the hotel's roof and threatens to drop her unless Domon fights him. Domon accepts the challenge and summons the Shining Gundam. Michelo repeatedly kicks Domon and has him on the ground, but Belchino and Mezzina rescue Sophia. With Sophia safe, Domon begins fighting Michelo at full strength. Domon then uses his final move, the Shining Finger, to destroy the Neros Gundam's head and disqualify Michelo. Afterwards, the children thank Domon and Belchino asks him not to return to Neo Italy.

In New York City, a parade is held for Neo America's Gundam Fighter Chibodee Crocket, who recently defeated Neo Iraq's Scud Gundam with a single punch. As he travels through the street, Chibodee thinks to himself that he wants to fulfill his American dream and win the Gundam Fight. Later, as Chibodee prepares to fight Carmela Conomy at the Universal Unification Boxing Match, Defense Department agents Douglas and Grumman warn him about Domon. Chibodee isn't worried, especially since he has his all girls support team, including Janet Smith, Shirley Lane, Cath Ronary and Bunny Higgins. At the boxing arena, Chibodee makes a flashy entrance by riding in on his Gundam Maxter. He enters the ring and is immediately knocked out by Conomy, who turns out to be Domon in disguise. Domon challenges Chibodee to a Gundam Fight, and Chibodee accuses Domon of being a cheater. He attacks Domon with a frenzy of punches, one of which grazes Domon. Domon then escapes and returns to his hotel, where Rain criticizes him for his showy stunt. She reminds him that if he screws up, he won't be able to save his father. A note from Chibodee is slipped under the door, telling Domon to meet him on Broadway. Later, Domon heads for Broadway, and Rain wakes up and discovers that the Gundam Fight is supposed to be at Brooklyn Stadium. On Broadway, Domon is ambushed by Douglas and Grumman in their transforming Murphy helicopter mobile suits. Rain rushes to Brooklyn Stadium and accuses Chibodee of playing dirty tricks. Chibodee then sees an explosion from Broadway and realizes that Douglas and Grumman are behind it all. Domon runs from a Murphy, and Chibodee punches it with his Gundam Maxter. Domon summons the Shining Gundam, and the two agree to fight together to get rid of the Murphys. After doing so, they begin their Gundam Fight. Domon barely dodges Chibodee's powerful punches, and Chibodee says he built up his power because he grew up in poverty, hoping to one day go to the colonies. The two continue to punch each other, and Chibodee transforms to boxing mode by using his shoulder armor as boxing gloves. He knocks Domon down with his Burning Punch and moves in for the knockout, but Domon attacks with his Shining Finger and destroys Chibodee's left arm. After the battle, Chibodee asks Domon to finish him off, but Domon reminds Chibodee that he can keep fighting in the tournament. Chibodee decides to start over and vows that he will challenge Domon again and win.

In Neo China, Domon and Rain watch the Dragon Gundam, which reportedly belongs to the Kokuryu gang. Rain wonders why gang members keep ending up as Gundam Fighters, but Domon says that's none of their business. A boy asks Domon if he's going into the gang's fort and offers to help him. Domon has a look at Gundam Fighter Sai Saici and is surprised that he's so old. With no other options, Domon follows the boy and is ratted out as soon as they reach the fort. The boy, Sai Saici, addresses the old man, Hiryu'u, and thanks him for taking care of the Dragon Gundam. Sai Saici then reclaims his stolen Dragon Gundam and challenges Domon to a Gundam Fight. Domon summons the Shining Gundam and comes under attack from Sai Saici's dragon claws. He swipes at them with his beam saber, and Sai Saici deploys his Feilong Flags to confuse Domon. Sai Saici vanishes from sight and attacks Domon. Domon realizes what the pattern is and lashes out with his Shining Finger at Sai Saici. However, Sai Saici uses one of his dragon claws to attack Domon's arm and cut the power supply to the Shining Finger. Sai Saici realizes that Domon is a strong fighter and deserves his colony champion title King of Hearts. Sai Saici's support crew, the Shaolin monks Keiun and Zuisen, suggest calling the match a draw. They tell Sai Saici that he needs more discipline, and they also tell Domon that Rain was taken away by Neo Russia. Domon speeds off in his Core Lander to find Rain. He knows they have to keep fighting if they're ever going to find his brother Kyoji. Domon recalls coming home from his training a year ago when his father Raizo and Kyoji completed work on the Ultimate Gundam. At that time, Kyoji was accused of treason and escaped with the Ultimate Gundam, which later became the Devil Gundam. Domon's mother was accidentally killed during Kyoji's escape, and Raizo was accused of treason and sentenced to indefinite cryogenic stasis. Ulube then approached Domon and told him the only way to save his father was to become a Gundam Fighter and track down Kyoji on Earth. Nastasha Zabigov welcomes Domon to Neo Russia and introduces their Gundam Fighter, Argo Gulskii. Domon asks them to release Rain and at least let her repair the Shining Gundam, but Nastasha refuses. Domon attacks Argo with his damaged Shining Gundam, but he finds that Argo's Bolt Gundam is incredibly strong. Argo attacks Domon with the Graviton Hammer, and he prepares to crush the Shining Gundam's head. In Neo France, Gundam Fighter George de Sand watches the battle on TV with Princess Maria Louise. He tells her that both those fighters are brutes and can never equal the power of his Gundam Rose.

Nastasha tells Rain that Domon has no hope for winning because Argo used to be a feared space pirate. Now a convicted criminal, he's fighting in the Gundam Fight to save himself and his pirate crew. Rain says that Domon has his own reasons for being in the Gundam Fight himself. Domon vows that he will track down Kyoji, and he channels enough power to use a Shining Finger and destroy Argo's arm. Nastasha can't believe he has so much power, and Rain says Domon trained under Master Asia, the greatest martial artist of the colonies. Domon asks Nastasha if she wants to call the fight a draw, but she says he clearly won. He then shows her a picture of Kyoji, but she says she's never seen him. Domon then announces that he's off to Neo France to fight Europe's most powerful Gundam, the Gundam Rose. At the Neo Japan colony, Ulube is informed that a dozen intelligence agents vanished after sending messages about the Devil Gundam. In Paris, George fights against Neo Egypt's Pharaoh Gundam IV and attacks it with his chevalier beam saber. He defeats the Pharaoh Gundam and claims the victory for Maria Louise. Domon then arrives in the Shining Gundam and challenges George to a Gundam Fight. George says he would normally reject such a forceful demand, but he intends to teach Domon some manners. As the two begin to fight, Rain warns Maria Louise that she should keep a distance between Domon and George to stay safe. Domon dodges George's attacks, so George deploys his rose bits and uses the Roses Screamer. Domon is pinned down by the bits, which create a barrier around the Shining Gundam. Domon tells George that pride is his weakness, and he uses a Shining Shot blast to break free of the bits. The blast hits the Eiffel Tower, which begins to crumble over Rain and Maria Louise. George grabs the tower, and Domon stops short of using the Shining Finger on George's head. Domon asks George why he's giving up, and George says it would be shameful if he didn't protect Maria Louise. Afterwards, George tells Domon that his actions were dignified. Just then, the Pharaoh Gundam resurrects and attacks, but Domon destroys it with the Shining Finger. Rain says that the Gundam was infected with Devil Gundam (DG) cells, but it's not the Devil Gundam. George asks what's going on, and Domon says the Devil Gundam turned the Pharaoh Gundam into a walking zombie. In Tokyo's Shinjuku district, Master Asia vows that he will show Domon what a King of Hearts really is.

As time passes, Domon competes in other Gundam Fights and defeats Neo England's John Bull Gundam, as well as Neo Mexico's Tequila Gundam. Eventually, Domon's search for clues about Kyoji brings him to Shinjuku, which has been left in ruins. Domon is surprised to see his mentor Master Asia, the previous King of Hearts and winner of the 12th Gundam Fight. Domon says he's glad to see Master Asia, and Master Asia comments that he's impressed by Domon's fighting record so far. He then summons his Kowloon Gundam and asks Domon if he'd like to join the Devil Gundam's forces. Domon is shocked, and Master Asia reveals that Chibodee, Sai Saici, George and Argo have already joined up with him. Domon asks what they're all doing and summons the Shining Gundam. He tells Master Asia he's being manipulated, but Master Asia denies that charge. Domon says the Devil Gundam wants to destroy Earth and humanity, but Master Asia says Domon can only really understand if he joins him. Suddenly, the Kowloon Gundam transforms into the powerful Master Gundam. Master Asia has everyone attack Domon, and he dares Domon to defeat them all. Domon asks them if they've forgotten their dreams, but Master Asia says dreams are for weak-minded fools. Domon says he doesn't want to fight them, and Master Asia tells him real battles aren't fought one-on-one. Rain runs underground to investigate an energy reading. Domon is pinned to the ground and realizes that everyone has become much stronger since he fought them. Master Asia tells Domon he can never win, and he moves in for the killing blow. Suddenly, the four members of the Shuffle Alliance appear and say they have come to punish their former leader Master Asia for his crimes. Master Asia orders the four to attack the Shuffle Alliance. In an underground tunnel, a masked ninja named Schwarz Bruder tells Rain she shouldn't go any farther because the Devil Gundam is inside the tunnel. He says that it will soon hatch from its cocoon and become a threat. She asks Schwarz who he is, and he answers that he's Neo Germany's Gundam Fighter. Domon tells Master Asia that the Devil Gundam is using him, but Master Asia replies that he's following the Devil Gundam out of free will. The Shuffle Alliance members tell Domon that he has to show Master Asia his true self with his fists. Domon then attacks, but Master Asia easily dodges. The Shuffle Alliance use their powers for a special attack against the four Gundams, but it is ineffective. They realize that the four men are the successors of the Shuffle Alliance. They then use their powers and sacrifice themselves to cleanse the four fighters of the DG cells. Master Asia calls them fools, and Domon says they risked their lives for those who will save Earth. He says Master Asia is no longer his master, and he channels all his power into a Shining Finger Sword attack. Master Asia is shocked by Domon's Super Mode, but just then the Devil Gundam emerges from the ground.

 

Commentary

 

So there's Tokita's first stab at adapting a Gundam TV series into manga form. Unfortunately, like his Gundam Wing adaptation, the level of compression leaves much to be desired. In this one volume, Tokita roughly covers the first 15 or so episodes of the TV series. Many events are cut or completely changed. For example, in the TV series, Domon fought Argo after George, and Rain was never kidnapped. George fought against Neo Cuba's Gastro, not the Pharaoh Gundam IV. There are two changes that stick out in particular. First is the explanation of the Devil Gundam's backstory. I really enjoyed the TV episode (#6) where it was explained through Domon's hallucinations. Not having that here makes it have a bit less of an impact. Second is the introduction of Master Asia. In the TV series, Master Asia and Domon had their reunion and fought on the same side until Master Asia's treachery was revealed. It really established their relationship to set up their rivalry. Here, Master Asia shows up and within one page says: "Hey, I'm evil so join me!" Doesn't work as well, obviously. On a side note, this may be too specific a complaint, but it bothers me that TOKYOPOP labeled the series as "100% Authentic Manga," even though they're using the edited names from the American TV broadcast. Doesn't sound so authentic to me. Overall, this manga is only recommended if you're a hardcore G Gundam fan who has already seen the show and wants to scoop up anything related to it.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

2.5 out of 5 stars
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