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KLIATTWhen a group of junk techs scouring a decimated satellite for salvageable parts find a pair of fully functional MS Gundam Units, can giant robots in hand-to-hand combat be far behind? The junk techs are Kisato, a young girl; Liam, a coordinator (a genetically altered human being); the Professor, a striking woman who is obviously brainy (she's wearing glasses); 8, a wisecracking laptop computer; and Lowe, the lovable rogue who pilots one of the MS Gundam Units (nicknamed Red Frame). Gundam Seed Astray is a single series in the larger Gundam Seed universe—think of all those Star Trek spin-offs, and you'll know what I'm talking about—and so takes for granted certain concepts that the uninitiated might find confusing. It doesn't really matter, though, because the basic concept of Gundam Seed Astray is simple: giant robots fighting. There are two good reasons to buy this manga series: 1) it is part of a hugely successful franchise (any series that produces its own technical manual is popular), and thus enjoys brand name recognition; 2) series featuring giant robots in hand-to-hand combat are popular with young adolescent boys, and Gundam Seed Astray has plenty of that. However, please note that this manga contains quite a bit of bad language (including the S-bomb); unfortunately, gratuitous vulgarity seems to pop up in quite a few of the manga series I review, series that are otherwise perfect for junior high-schoolers. This is an optional purchase, more so if other Gundam Seed series are popular in your library. (Vol. 1). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Tokyopop, 174p., Ages 12 to 18.