Mobile Suit Gundam: Blue Destiny

Based on the Sega Saturn game trilogy Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: The Blue Destiny, Yu Kajima and his unit of experimental Federation corps pilot mobile suit test units in battle to find out how effective the new equipment is. A thankless job, Yu Kajima’s group has a high turnover rate and gets little respect from the regular unit corps. While clearing out a Zeon base, a blue mobile suit appears and takes on Kajima’s unit. In a flash the men are almost destroyed before the mysterious blue unit retreats from recieving heavy damage itself during the fight. But before the unit is gone, the haunting image of a woman with angelic wings calls out to Yu to stop her. Written and illustrated by Mizuho Takayama, Mobile Suit Gundam: Blue Destiny from Mixx Manga explores a new side-story adventure in Universal Century 0079.

Manga: Mobile Suit Gundam: Blue Destiny
Release Date: 7/1999
Release Studio: Mixx Manga
Volume: 1 of 1

MSRP: $12.95
Pages: 220
Orientation: Flipped
Author/Artist: Mizuho Takayama
Editor: Joel Baral, Brian Kaya
Translator: Stu Levy

Notes: Review is based on a Retail purchased copy of the final product.

Second Lt. Yu Kajima and his teammates, Second Lt. Philip Hughes and Warrant Officer Samana Feuris, pilot experimental mobile suits for the Federation. With the assistance of Maureen Kitamura watching over them as a communication operator, the team functions fairly well in the dangerous job. In the turning point of the war, the Federation has been successfully pushing back the Zeon forces with each attack on an Earth-based Zeon base. Yu and company manage to clear out the Zaku II units without much trouble, but a scientist with his own agenda is watching not too far away. Captain Alf Chamra is testing his own experimental Gundam unit, which carries the same blue paint scheme as some of the Zeon units. Commanded by the combination of a pilot and EXAM system, the blue unit can react faster in battle than ordinary units. As the base is secured, the blue mobile suit activates on its own and flies into the base where Yu’s unit is located.

Attacking without provocation, the blue unit destroys every Federation mobile suit it encounters. Luckily, the three had enough time to prepare for an attack while the blue unit took down the other soldiers. Philip and Samana get trashed first before turning its attention to Yu. Just as it looks like they’re going to die, Philip’s GM grabs the blue unit’s leg, leaving it open for Yu’s attack. The blue unit retreats, but not without heavy damage. Suddenly, Yu hears a voice calling out. The image of an angelic woman floating through space begs for someone to stop her. Meanwhile, news of the appearance of a strange blue mobile suit has made it to Major Nimbus Schtazen of the Zeon forces. Alf Chamra is actually a Zeon traitor who took the secrets of an experimental mobile suit with him to the Federation. Nimbus and his forces are determined to find and destroy Blue Destiny.

Chamra looks over Blue Destiny and the heavy damage it received in battle. While the pilot died early on, the unit performed beautifully. Now all he needs is a new pilot, and Yu Kajima is the perfect candidate for the machine. Yu reports the appearance of a blue Gundam to his superiors, who demand proof before they allow an investigation. Yu orders Maureen to compile their data from the battle while the three men go look over the new GM units they’ve been sent to test next. As Maureen tries to locate the records, she finds out that their database has been hacked and all the information on the blue Gundam has been wiped from the system. However, there’s no time to look into the hack because the Zeon forces are approaching from the sea to attack. Yu and his team are going to need to assist the base defense force or else the base will be lost.

Yu and his team end up facing constant attacks as they’re dragged into the troubled past of the Blue Destiny. Major Nimbus Schtazen has his own EXAM-based system that sits inside the Zeon built Iflyte and is determined to make sure the Federation unit is destroyed at all costs. Chamra manages to take control of Yu’s team and Yu is assigned to pilot Blue Destiny. The combination is successful, but Yu has trouble combating the lust for death created by the EXAM system. And the truth behind the EXAM system is revealed as Yu learns about an innocent newtype named Marian Welch and the professor who abused her trust by using her skills to create a system to destroy the newtypes he feared.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Blue Destiny is a one-shot title that was originally planned for a series of volumes to cover the events in the Blue Destiny game trilogy. Unfortunately, the publisher closed down as the first arc came to a close. While you do get a complete story in just one volume, it leaves out the details of the future encounters with the EXAM system as Yu and his team try to destroy every copy ever installed in a mobile suit. The storyline mixes in a little of the romance and fear aspects from the original Gundam TV series along with some more modern story pacing and characters similar to The 08th MS Team. The art style is very strong, whether it’s character dialogue in panels or simply a full-page, detailed illustration, such as a Dom hidden under netting amongst some trees. The translation is fairly accurate, but the adaptation can wander here and there. You may even recognize some lines that are very similar to ones in the 08th MS Team’s English dub. Sound effects have been replaced with English text overlayed on the original Japanese text.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Blue Destiny may be a one-shot title, but it’s a must have for any Gundam fan. The storytelling and action, combined with great artwork, make it a compelling read that can be enjoyed over and over again. With six chapters and 220 pages, Blue Destiny is well priced at $12.95 in a slightly-larger-than-average manga format. Since it’s out-of-print (first published in July 1999), I would recommend checking your local used book store to find a copy. Mobile Suit Gundam: Blue Destiny would make for an interesting OVA series, but for now we still have the games, a novelization, and this manga title by Mizuho Takayama.