Thursday, November 30, 2017


It's time to kick off our fifth year of the Manga Test Drive's annual Holiday Review extravaganza!  As always, I'll be putting up a new review every day from the 1st of the month to Christmas covering some of the manga and manga trends that defined 2017.

That also means that this is our fifth year of the Manga Test Drive's annual Holiday giveaway!  Our prize is once more a $25 RightStuf gift certificate, and entry is as simple as always.  All you have to do is leave a comment below noting what your favorite manga of the year was before Christmas Day.  It doesn't necessarily have to have be a new series, so long as it was new to you. After the holidays, I will pick one winner at random from said comments.  In the mean time, enjoy the season, enjoy the reviews, and get to commenting!

Friday, November 24, 2017


It seems like no matter how many of these I do, I keep coming back to Gundam Wing.  This one is the most recent attempt yet, having debuted this year in English.  Can this version improve upon its precedesors?  Can it possibly make Gundam Wing's story any more coherent?

MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM WING ENDLESS WALTZ: GLORY OF THE LOSERS (Shin Kido Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz: Haisha-tachi no Eiko), written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa, art by Tomofumi Ogasawara, and based on the franchise by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino.  First published in 2010 and first published in North America in 2017.


In the year After Colony 195, the United Earth Sphere Alliance is at war with the space colonies orbiting Earth.  To save themselves and fight back against the Alliance, a group of scientists send down five young pilots in powerful mobile suits to strike fear into the forces of OZ.  As we follow the charismatic pilot Duo Maxwell, he learns that not only is he not the only Gundam pilot on earth but that their mission will force them to confront some of OZ's most skilled and dangerous pilots.

Friday, November 17, 2017


The majority of Gundam manga out there are spinoffs, be they spinoffs of shows, other Gundam manga, or (in this case) video games.  The vast majority of these go unlicensed, but today's review is one of the rare exceptions.  So what, if anything, makes this one so special?

MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: THE LOST WAR CHRONICLES (Kido Senshi Gundam Senki), with art by Masato Natsumo, based on the game by Tomohiro Chiba and Bandai Games, the franchise by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino, and character designs by Koji Aisaka and Toshihiro Kawamoto.  First published in 2002 and first published in North America in 2006.


During the height of the One Year War, Zeon forces control much of Western Europe from their base in Odessa, Lithuania.  It is here at this fateful spot that an elite, experimental squad of Federation pilot plan on striking back, led by the dashing Lt. Matt Healy and Corporal Noel Anderson.  Even as failures and infighting amongst the Zeon troops force them to change their strategy, Matt's forces are confident that they can win.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


From UC side stories we move on to one of the more popular (or at least nostalgic) AU properties.  Is it worth our lover, or simply all our hate and our sorrow?

MOBILE FIGHTER G GUNDAM (Kido Butoden Ji Gandamu), by Kouichi Tokita, based on the franchise by Hajime Yadate & Yoshiyuki Tomino.  First published in 1994 and first published in North America in 2003.


In the Future Century, Earth has been ravaged by years of war.  To prevent further disaster, the world governments have agreed to decide which nation rules the world through the Gundam Tournaments, where each nation's champion pilots a powerful mobile suit and fights their way to victory.  As the 13th Gundam Tournament begins, Neo-Japan's champion Domon Kasshu hopes to use his powerful Shining Gundam to clear his father's name and stop his wicked brother from taking over the world with the help of his former mentor.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


For the second year in a row, we'll be looking at the wild world of Gundam manga!  To start things off, let's look at one of the most recent additions to the franchise.

MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM THUNDERBOLT (Kido Senshi Gundamu Sandaboruto), written by Yasuo Ohtagaki & based on the series by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino .  First published in 2012 and first published in North America in 2016.


As the One Year War reaches it peak, two sides face off against one another in the wreckage of the Side 4 colony, now know as the Thunderbolt sector.  One side is the Moore Brotherhood, a faction of the Earth Federation staffed by former residents of the colony and led by the daring pilot Io Fleming.  The other side is the forces of Zeon, who are using amputee pilots to test experimental suits and defend their supply routes at the same time, led by their star sniper Daryl Lorenz.  The two inevitably clash in the wreckage, but only one can survive.