Gundam (Japanese: ガンダム, Hepburn: Gandamu), also known as the Gundam Series (ガンダムシリーズ, Gandamu Shirīzu), is a science fiction media franchise created by Sunrise that features giant robots (mecha) called mobile suits bearing the name Gundam. It began on April 7, 1979 as Mobile Suit Gundam, a TV series that defined the real robot or "mecha" anime genre by featuring giant robots in a militaristic setting. The popularity of the series and its merchandise spawned a franchise that includes television series, OVAs, films, manga, novels and video games.

In 2014 the Gundam franchise generated ¥80 billion per year,[1] ¥18.4 billion of which was retail sales of toys and hobby items.[1] Gunpla (plastic Gundam models) make up 90 percent of the Japanese character plastic-model market.[2] Academics in Japan have viewed the series as inspiration; in 2008, the virtual Gundam Academy was planned as the first academic institution based on an animated TV series.[3]



Mobile Suit Gundam was developed by animator Yoshiyuki Tomino and a changing group of Sunrise creators with the collective pseudonym of Hajime Yatate. The series was originally entitled Freedom Fighter Gunboy (or Gunboy) for the robot's gun, with boys the primary target demographic. Early production had a number of references to freedom: the White Base was originally "Freedom's Fortress", the Core Fighter was the "Freedom Wing" and the Gunperry was the "Freedom Cruiser". The Yatate team combined the English word "gun" with the last syllable of the word "freedom" to form the portmanteau Gundom. Tomino changed it to Gundam, suggesting a unit wielding a gun powerful enough to hold back enemies like a hydroelectric dam holding back water.[4] In keeping with the concept, Gundam are depicted as prototypes or limited-production, with higher capabilities than mass-produced units.

Most Gundam are large, bipedal, humanoid vehicles controlled from a cockpit by a human pilot. The "mobile suits" have a cockpit in their "torsos", with cameras built into their "heads" to transmit images to a cockpit.


Mobile Suit Gundam reportedly pioneered the real robot subgenre of mecha anime.[5] Unlike its super robot cousins, Mobile Suit Gundam attempted realism in its robot design and weaponry by running out of energy and ammunition or malfunctioning. Its technology is derived from actual science (such as Lagrange points and the O'Neill cylinder in space) or feasible technology requiring only a few fictional elements to function (such as Minovsky Physics).[6]


Most of the Gundam animation (including the earliest series) is set in what is known as the Universal Century (UC) calendar era, with later series set in alternate calendars or timelines. Although many new Gundam stories are told in their parallel universe with independent timelines (giving them greater creative freedom), the original UC storyline continues to be popular. It established the series, setting the standard for hard science fiction in anime; the original Gundam marked the maturing of the giant-robot genre. Nostalgia for the oldest Gundam shows (and its status as a pop-culture icon in Japan) is a factor in its continuing success.[7]


SD Gundam, a spinoff of Gundam which began during the mid-1980s, emphasizes comedy and adventure. Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G and Gundam Build Fighters feature contemporary settings and use Gunpla as plot elements.


TV series, films, and video

Except for Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (which follows the current calendar era), all mainstream Gundam series are set in a fictional era which begins after a drastic event or chain of events. The scenario commonly changes as the story progresses between Earth, space, space colonies and in some cases the Moon and terraformed planets.

Name Media Year(s)
Mobile Suit Gundam TV series 1979–1980
Compilation movies 1981–1982
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam TV series 1985–1986
Compilation movies 2005–2006
Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ TV series 1986–1987
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack Movie 1988
Mobile Suit SD Gundam Movies 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993
OVA 1989–1991
Compilation TV series 1993
Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket OVA 1989
Mobile Suit Gundam F91 Movie 1991
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory OVA 1991–1992
Compilation movie 1992
Mobile Suit Victory Gundam TV series 1993–1994
Mobile Fighter G Gundam TV series 1994–1995
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing TV series 1995–1996
Compilation specials 1996
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team OVA 1996–1999
Compilation movie 1998
After War Gundam X TV series 1996
Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz OVA 1997
Compilation movie 1998
Turn A Gundam TV series 1999–2000
Compilation movies 2002
G-Saviour Live-action movie 2000
Gundam Neo Experience 0087: Green Diver Specialty format movie 2001
Gundam Evolve Animated shorts 2001–2005
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED TV series 2002–2003
Compilation specials 2004
Superior Defender Gundam Force TV series 2003–2004
Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War OVA 2004
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny TV series 2004–2005
Compilation specials 2006
Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079 OVA 2006
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73: Stargazer ONA 2006
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 TV series 2007–2008
Compilation specials 2009
Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: Gravity Front OVA 2009
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn OVA 2010–2014
Compilation TV series[8] 2016
SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors Movie 2010
TV series
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer Movie 2010
Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G OVA 2010
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE[9] TV Series 2011–2012
Compilation specials 2013
Gundam Build Fighters TV series 2013–2014[10]
Mobile Suit Gundam-san[11] TV series 2014
Gundam Reconguista in G[12] TV series 2014–2015
Gundam Build Fighters Try TV series 2014–2015[13]
Special episode 2016
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin[14] OVA[15] 2015–present[12]
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans[16] TV series 2015–2017
Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt[17] ONA 2015–2017
Compilation movies 2016–2017
Mobile Suit Gundam: Twilight AXIS[18] ONA 2017
Compilation movie 2017
Gundam Build Fighters: Battlogue[19] ONA 2017
Gundam Build Fighters: GM's Counterattack[19] ONA 2017
Gundam Build Divers Prologue ONA 2018
TV Series 2018

Manga and novels

Manga adaptations of the Gundam series have been published in English in North America by a number of companies, such as Viz Media, Del Rey Manga and Tokyopop, and in Singapore by Chuang Yi.

Video games

Gundam has spawned over 80 video games for arcade, computer and console platforms, some with characters not found in other Gundam media. Some of the games, in turn inspired spinoff novels and manga. Most Gundam video games, except Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, were released only in Japan.[20]

Gundam models

Hundreds of Gundam models, primarily made of plastic but sometimes with resin and metal detail parts, have been released. They range in quality from children's toy kits to hobbyist and museum-grade models, and most are in 1:35, 1:48, 1:60, 1:100 or 1:144 scale. Promotional 1:6 or 1:12 scale models are supplied to retailers and are not commercially available. For Gundam's 30th anniversary, a full-size RX-78-2 Gundam model was constructed and displayed at Gundam Front Tokyo, in the Odaiba district;[21] it was taken down on 5 March 2017.[22] A new statue of the Unicorn Gundam was erected at the same location, now renamed The Gundam Base Tokyo.

Other merchandise

Bandai, Gundam's primary licensee, produces a variety of products.[23] Other companies produce unofficial merchandise, such as toys, models and T-shirts. Products include Mobile Suit In Action (MSiA) action figures and Gundam model kits in several scales and design complexities. Each series generally has its own set of products, MSiA and model lines such as Master Grade and High Grade Universal Century may extend across series. The most popular action-figure line has been the Gundam Fix series, which includes the mecha in the animated series, manga and novels and accessories to create an updated version. In addition to Master Grade and High Grade Gundams, Bandai released a 30th-anniversary series of Gundam models in 2010.[24] The Real Grade (RG) Gundam series combined the Master Grade's detailed inner structure with additional colour separation, making the 1:144-scale series complex in design and compact in size. After the introduction of the RG Gundam series, Bandai released the Metal Build series in March 2011 (beginning with the 00 Gundam).[25]


Bandai maintains several websites to promote Gundam projects; Gundam Perfect Web is the official Japanese site. Its English-language counterpart is the US-maintained Gundam Official. In 2005, the website hosted the Gundam Official User Forum. The forum was based on the existing fan forum, Gundam Watch, using many of its staff. When the project was retired, Gundam Watch was reborn and became Gundam Evolution.

A number of series-specific websites have been created, often available for a limited time (usually to promote a DVD release). Common content includes character and mecha listings, lists of related merchandise and pay-for-download content. Special pages are frequent, often presenting downloadable wallpaper or a small game. The Superior Defender Gundam Force website has a game in which players take the role of villain Commander Sazabi, attempting to blast his subordinate with weapons.

Global spread

Since 1980, Gundam has appeared in the following countries and regions:

Country Debut year
Hong Kong
Philippines 1983
Indonesia 1987
United States
Latin America
Australia & New Zealand


Gundam is a Japanese cultural icon; it is a ¥50-billion-annual business of Bandai Namco, peaking at ¥54.5 billion in 2006.[26] Stamps were issued, an Agriculture Ministry employee was reprimanded for contributing to the Japanese Gundam-related pages,[27] and the Japan Self-Defense Forces code-named its developing advance personal-combat system Gundam.

See also


  1. ^ a b Bandai Namco Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Statement
  2. ^ Flow of the Japan toy industry (日本の玩具産業の動向), Japan Economics Department, Information section (日本経済情報課)
  3. ^ Lewis, Leo (November 1, 2008). "Gundam cartoon academy to turn science fiction into reality in Japan". The Times. Retrieved July 10, 2017. 
  4. ^ Gundam Archives, production notes
  5. ^ Oppliger, John (2007-10-12). "Ask John: Which Gundam Series Have Had the Most Impact on Anime?". AnimeNation. Archived from the original on 2009-06-16. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  6. ^ Gundam Science, The High Frontier - G.K. O'neil's Space colonization plan, Gundam Century, Out Magazine special edition, Renewal Version
  7. ^ [1] 機動戦士ガンダムは、同じくバンダイグループの(株)サンライズが制作し、1979年4月~1980年1月にテレビシリーズ第1作が放映されて以来、テレビシリーズ8作品、劇場用映画9作品などが公開され、20年以上にわたり人気を保っています。米国をはじめ、ヨーロッパ、アジアでも作品が放映され、各地で高い人気を得ています。
  8. ^ "Gundam UC Anime Gets TV Broadcast With New Opening, Ending Themes (Updated) - News". Anime News Network. 2016-02-20. Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  9. ^ "Level 5 to Help Create Gundam AGE Anime This Fall (Updated) - News". Anime News Network. 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  10. ^ johnny ridden. "GUNDAM GUY: Gundam Build Fighters Season 2 - New Series Project In Progress!". 
  11. ^ "Mobile Suit Gundam-san 4-Panel Gag Manga Gets Anime". Anime News Network. June 24, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Gundam's 35th Year Marked With Reconguista in G, The Origin". Anime News Network. 2014-03-20. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  13. ^ "ガンダムビルドファイターズトライ". 
  14. ^ "Gundam The Origin Manga to Launch Anime Project - News". Anime News Network. 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  15. ^ ""Gundam The Origin" episode 1 90-second trailer released!". Gundam.info. 2014-05-31. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  16. ^ "機動戦士ガンダム 鉄血のオルフェンズ". 機動戦士ガンダム 鉄血のオルフェンズ. 
  17. ^ "『機動戦士ガンダム サンダーボルト』". 『機動戦士ガンダム サンダーボルト』. 
  18. ^ "『機動戦士ガンダム Twilight AXIS』". 『機動戦士ガンダム Twilight AXIS』. 
  19. ^ a b http://na.gundam.info/topics/white/135006
  20. ^ "MobyGames: Game Browser". MobyGames. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  21. ^ appetiteforjapan (2015-12-02). "Diver City Tokyo: the ultimate Gundam experience". Appetite For Japan. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  22. ^ "「実物大ガンダム立像」5年の歴史に幕。そして新たなプロジェクトへ!". 公式ガンダム情報ポータルサイト「GUNDAM.INFO」 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  23. ^ "GUNDAM.INFO The official Gundam news and video portal". na.gundam.info (in Japanese). Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  24. ^ Suzuki, Toshiyuki. "RX-78-2 Gundam (RG) (Gundam Model Kits)". Hobby Search Co., Ltd. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  25. ^ "METAL BUILD FREEDOM GUNDAM". Gundamplanet.com. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  26. ^ Nekkei BP mook, Otona no Gundamu Perfect (Gundam for Adult's Perfect), Business & History+Character+Mechanic, Nekkei Entertainment, ISBN 978-4-8222-6317-1
  27. ^ "Japanese workers in row". BBC News Online. October 5, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 

External links