Well, Gundam fans, it’s out. The latest edition of the Mobile Suit Encyclopedia. This time it’s called Mobile Suite Illustrated 2009. This is at least the 6th edition. The earliest edition I have is the Mobile Suit Encyclopedia which appears to have been published in 1989 and claimed to have 370 mobile suits. After that came the Mobile Suit Encyclopedia Ver. 3.0 (1992) which claimed 559 mobile suits. 1998, 2003 and 2006 saw new editions.
Now we’ve got the 2009 edition that weighs in at 472 pages (200 in color). If you’re a Gundam fan then you can’t convince yourself that this purchase isn’t worth it. It rounds up mobile suit designs from most of the Gundam franchise (certainly all the ones that were animated). Many designs from manga and video games show up too. It’s divided into chapters called Universal Century, Experimental and Event Movie, Another Century, and Games Variation.
At this point, Gundam fans are no doubt discussing how much it too much. It’s nice to have so many mobile suit designs in one place. However, the book is growing so enormous that I think it’s high time they separated out the Universal Century material from the alternate setting material. I’m not recommending this just because the book is growing so thick and heavy. In order to fit so much into one book many images are reduced in size or removed altogether. The majority of mobile suit designs have only small “front” and “back” images. The detail images showing their weapons, special parts and so on are largely discarded.
I’m enjoying the book and recommend it not just to any Gundam fan, but any mecha fan as well. I got my copy from Hobby Link Japan.