East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


The whole Origin


n the end it took me more than 18 months.
It was early may 2019 when I decided to splurge 30 bucks on the first volume of the Vertical edition of Mobile Suite Gundam: The Origin, the reboot/redesign of the original 1979 TV series Mobile Suite Gundam as a manga, by the original character designer Yoshikazu “Yas” Yasuhiko.
An object of beauty, a thick massive hardback, printed on high-quality paper and with color inserts and extra features.
The first of twelve volumes.
As I posted about it on the 17th of May 2019, I commented that despite the high cost, I’d probably end up getting the whole series.
I said I was ready to live on instant noodles for the next 18 months.

In fact it took me 27 months.
Buying the whole series meant spending something between 300 and 400 euro.
A lot of money, more than one rate of my mortgage.
So I set myself a challenge – I would buy the remaining 11 volumes using only the money I’d make via my Amazon affiliation links on my Italian language blog. After all, I usually review books, and any commission for sales via my affiliate links get paid as gift cards I can only spend on Amazon anyway.

And so I did it.

And it was not that bad.
I was able to get a new volume every two or three months, without altering my schedule on the blog.
Nice and smooth.
Then, in January this year, somebody filed a complaint to Facebook about my Italian blog, that supposedly spreads hatred and bad propaganda with its mix of book reviews, publishing updates and the occasional recipe.
As a result, my contents were blocked on Facebook, and the number of visits dropped.
I had just got volume 11 of Gundam: The Origin for Christmas, and all of a sudden, the very marginal income I made via my affiliate links had dried up.

It took me 8 months to make the 23 euro I needed for the last volume.
And incidentally it goes to show that my original estimate had been correct.
I had only failed to consider the possibility of my blog being blocked on Facebook.
But what the heck, I had made my decision, and I was not going to change it just because some prick had decided to sabotage my Italian blog.

Eight months.

The 12th and last volume of the series was delivered by the postman one hour ago.
I have a complete set.

Now I might go, re-read it, and review every single volume.
Let’s keep this as a project for the long cold winter nights.