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Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt – Volume 5 (Review)

By: Mithrandiel

The rivalry between Io Fleming and Daryl Lorenz continues in the latest volume of Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt. With the plans for the immensely powerful Psycho Zaku nowhere to be found, an emerging force known as the Nanyang Alliance seeks to capture this power for themselves. A highly populous country where over 90% of the population consists of religious warriors willing to fight to the death, both the Federation and the Principality of Zeon hope to intercept the Psycho Zaku blueprints before they fall into the hands of these zealots.

The volume opens with Lorenz going toe-to-toe with a squadron of Monks from the Nanyang Alliance, realizing their coordination and abilities alongside his companions. Having rescued an informant named Pedro Garcia, they’re hoping that the intel will give them an edge on disrupting their future plans. After a fierce battle, Lorenz succeeds in his mission and is given a name and a face for his next target:

Meanwhile, a pair of Zeon soldiers are given a suicide mission in an attempt to bring down a Federation warship. Both of them being amputees, they are given the opportunity to “contribute to the cause” – seemingly unaware of the heroic things that fellow amputee Daryl Lorenz continues to accomplish. Their mission is unfortunately cut short when Io Fleming makes his stunning return in a brand new machine: the Atlas Gundam.

Splitting the ship in two, Fleming returns to a hero’s welcome aboard the Federation ship. After seeing his maneuvering in the previous volume to return to the battlefront, it was cool to see his efforts come to fruition. His superior officer, Commander Humphrey, even comments on the difficulty they faced assigning him to the new Atlas Gundam after losing the full-armored Gundam to Zeon. Still, Fleming continues his redemption as the scent is renewed on his nemesis.

As the Federation ship departs, the volume closes with the introduction of a mysterious faction.

What’s the deal with these guys? Are they pursuing the Federation to try and surprise them? Are they a 3rd-party faction with no real allegiances? Guess we’ll have to wait and find out…

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt continues to purposefully, if slowly, flesh out the broader conflict in this volume. After 4 volumes of a pretty clear dichotomy between the Principality of Zeon and the Federation, each with their appointed champions, it’s refreshing to see the Nanyang Alliance and this mystery faction enter the mix. That being said, the overarching story largely remained at a stand-still.

The art continues to impress – particularly the opening chapter, which features a lot of action in and around water. The dynamism of the water in the various panels is seriously impressive.

Volume 6 will be upon us soon, so make sure you catch up on Thunderbolt sooner rather than later! You can find it here.

Note: VIZ Media provided us with a complimentary copy of this manga in exchange for our honest review.

Thunderbolt Gundam - Volume 5

Thunderbolt Gundam - Volume 5
86.25

Mithical Rating

9/10

    Story Pacing

    8/10

      Characters

      9/10

        Art

        9/10

          What Works

          • Broader picture begins to come into focus this volume
          • Introduction of Nanyang Alliance adds some needed depth to the narrative
          • The Atlas Gundam is siiicckkk

          What Hurts

          • This volume was a bit short - last pages feature an unrelated story
          • With a 3rd and 4th (?) faction entering the mix, the story has more depth, but seemed to largely stand still for this volume.

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