TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt vol. 4
YEAR (USA RELEASE): August 2017
COMPANY: Viz Media
Story & Art by Yasuo Ohtagaki
Original Concept by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino
Both the Federation and the Principality of Zeon had suffered significant losses but both Io Fleming and Zeon Sniper Daryl Lorenz survived, despite their mecha suffering significant damage.
As Federation backups arrive, many Zeon are able to escape and land somewhere on Earth, but the Federation was able to secure Zaku technology during a raid.
Meanwhile, another group known as the Nanyang Alliance, a faction of the Federation who are able to capture and secure a scientist who worked with Doctor Mitchum and has details on the P. Device, the core of next-gen MS Piloting Systems.
Fastforward a year later, as the Federation and Zeon sign an armistice, but what are both sides planning during this time of peace? And is a new battle brewing?
What is “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” about?
Back in 2012, mangaka Yasuo Ohtagaki wrote and illustrated the manga “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt”.
With eight volumes published, the series would receive a 4-episode ONA anime adaptation and a second season is slated for adaptation.
The manga is set during the One Year War (U.C. 0079) and the Earth Federation’s Brotherhood and the Principality of Zeon’s Living Dead Division are in battle in the Thunderbolt Section, a zone that is littered with debris from the destruction of space colonies and because the area has numerous electrical discharging.
Fighting for the Earth Federation is Ace pilot, Io Fleming and for the Principality of Zeon, Zeon’s best sniper, Daryl Lorenz is focused on killing Fleming.
As Io won the first meeting between the two, this time around, both the Federation and Zeon plan to escalate the battle as the Federation plans to send the Gundam in one more time to finish the job, but leading the Gundam are young recruits. Meanwhile, Zeon follows Daryl Lorenz piloting the new Psycho Zaku.
And with a sneak attack, they are able to decimate the Federation. With only a few survivors of the Federation, what happens when Earth Federation’s Moore Brotherhood enters a Zeon ship?
Also, the Federation’s Io Fleming and his Gundam takes on Zeon’s Daryl Lorenz and his new Psycho Zaku for control of the Thunderbolt Sector and significant losses are taken in by both sides, until Federation forces come to back the decimated group, thus capturing Zaku technology, while Lorenz and other remnants manage to hide on Earth.
But a new faction has showed up and manages to secure technology that can prove to be dangerous against the Federation and Zeon. How will both sides deal with this issue?
And a year later, what is on the mind of Io Fleming and Daryl Lorenz? Will these two meet in battle once again?
When it comes to the Universal Century Gundam stories, they are my favorite. And while many of us have been entertained by stories involving Amuro Ray, there have been a variety of stories that have taken place in the Universal Century, some more deeper than the others and others just focusing on the action.
“Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” may seem like the latter because of the action focusing on Earth Federation vs. the Principality of Zeon but once the manga goes into character development, the storyline focuses on how people are growing tired of the war. People sick of seeing deaths of friends and loved ones.
Io Fleming is a man born from a wealthy family and he and his friends are thrusted into war. Fleming is secretly dating Captain Claudia Peer, a captain who is sick and tired of war and that the Earth Federation keeps sending teenage pilots as reinforcements and always depressed and tense when Fleming, the Beehive’s best pilot goes to fight against the Principality of Zeon. Along with Fleming and another childhood friend, engineer Cornelius Kaka, all three were born in privilege and are now assigned to the Beehive.
Fleming is an excellent pilot and surprises the Principality of Zeon when he shows up and takes many of them out with his Gundam and always playing his jazz music through a pilot radio station.
Meanwhile, on the opposite end are the Living Dead Division of the Principality of Zeon. A group that is put together of people who have been significantly injured or maimed and are still fighting with prosthetics.
Their best fighter, Zeon Chief Petty Officer Daryl Lorenz, is an excellent sniper and wants revenge against Fleming for killing his teammates. He has lost his legs in battle and carries a retro-style radio that he listens to in battle.
We see the other side as those who feel they are wronged and want revenge against the Earth Federation for the death of their loved ones.
Zeon scientist Karla Mitchum is responsible for giving the soldiers prosthetics but when her loved one is killed, she wants Daryl to rid of the Earth Federation, especially the man responsible, Io Fleming.
But we see how the grass is definitely not greener on the other side and how difficult life was for children growing up in the Principality of Zeon and in order to make sure their families were taken care of, they had to join the military at a young age.
The fourth volume focuses on the post-war as both Federation and Zeon are at a time of peace but a new threat arrives when a faction of the Federation manages to capture a Zeon scientist who has data on the technology of the creation of the Psycho Zaku.
Meanwhile, Io Fleming gets a new Gundam and Daryl Lorenz and his Psycho Zaku also gets an upgrade.
The character designs, artwork and storyline by Yasuo Ohtagaki are wonderful and I really like how the emotion of the characters are depicted. The story has been action-driven, detail of the artwork has been excellent and for mecha fans, “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” vol. 4 gives readers a balance of war but also peace.
Prepare for a new threat to both Federation and also Zeon…the Nanyang Alliance.