The sixth volume of Yasuhiko Yoshikazu’s Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin picks up where the fifth left off with Char and Sayla’s backstory, but this and the seventh volume expand to include other major characters on the Zeon side, as well, going up to the start of events in the main storyline in the first volume. This gives the series an unusual structure where roughly the first four volumes proceed from what now seems to be the middle of the story, then the next three volumes cover the beginning. Now that the backstory has caught up to the beginning of the series, I assume that the eighth volume will jump to where the fourth left off. I’d be interested to know why Yasuhiko decided to structure the story this way; perhaps he wanted to make sure his adaptation began the same way as the original TV anime before going off on a different path, similar to how the first Rebuild of Evangelion film started mostly the same as its predecessor and only made major changes in the second film.
There’s also an interesting effect in how the reader reacts to the Zeon characters in this approach. Since the first part is primarily from the Federation characters’ point of view, Zeon forces are clearly the “bad guys,” though of course it’s not totally simplistic in this. However, Yasuhiko then reverses the good guy/bad guy dynamic by treating Char as the protagonist for almost as long as Amuro had been the focus in the first part of the plot. I especially like his treatment of the members of House Zabi, and one of my favourite scenes comes when Dozle reflects on how they used to be a better family, and tells his wife “I don’t ever want you to regret marrying into House Zabi.”
I’m apparently a few volumes behind at this point (the tenth volume will be released later this month), but I’ll need to get caught up because it keeps getting better with every volume.