MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM (Japanese : 機動戦士ガンダム, Hepburn :
Kidō Senshi Gandamu, also known as FIRST GUNDAM, GUNDAM 0079 or
simply GUNDAM \'79) is a televised anime series, produced and animated
by Sunrise . Created and directed by
Yoshiyuki Tomino , it premiered
in Japan on
Nagoya Broadcasting Network and its affiliated ANN
stations on April 7, 1979, and lasted until January 26, 1980, spanning
43 episodes. It was the very first
Gundam series, which has
subsequently been adapted into numerous sequels and spin-offs. Set in
the futuristic calendar year "
Universal Century " 0079, the plot
focuses on the war between the Principality of Zeon and the Earth
Federation, with the latter unveiling a new giant robot known as the
Gundam piloted by the teenage civilian mechanic
Amuro Ray .
In 1981, the series was re-edited for theatrical release and split
into three movies. The characters were designed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Kunio Okawara was responsible for the mechanical designs,
including the eponymous giant robot, the RX-78-2 Gundam. The first
movie was released on February 22, 1981. Tomino himself also wrote a
trilogy of novels that retell the events of the series. Two manga
adaptations of the series have also been written by two manga artists
Despite initial low ratings that caused the series' cancellation, the
Gundam saw a boost from the introduction of
Gunpla models in 1980 and from reruns and the theatrical release of
the anime, leading to the creation of a prolific and lucrative media
and toy franchise. The series is famous for revolutionizing the giant
robot genre due to the handling of mobile suits as weapons of war as
well as the portrayal of their pilots as ordinary soldiers, as opposed
to the previous style of portraying hero pilots and their giant super
* 1 Plot
* 2 Production
* 3 Media
* 3.2 Novel
* 3.3 Compilation movies
* 3.5 Video games
* 4 Reception
* 4.1 Background research
* 4.2 Gundam-themed rides
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
See also: List of Mobile Suit
Set in a fictional universe in the year
Universal Century year
0079 according to the
Gundam Calendar), the Principality of Zeon has
declared independence from the Earth Federation, and subsequently
launched a war of independence called the One Year War. The conflict
has directly affected every continent on Earth, also nearly every
space colony and lunar settlement. Zeon, though smaller, has the
tactical upper hand through their use of a new type of humanoid
weapons called mobile suits . After half of all humanity perishes in
the conflict, the war settled into a bitter stalemate lasting over 8
The story begins with a newly deployed Federation warship, the White
Base, arriving at the secret research base located at the Side 7
colony to pick up the Federation's newest weapon. However, they are
closely followed by Zeon forces. A Zeon reconnaissance team member
disobeys mission orders and attacks the colony, killing most of the
Federation crew and civilians in the process. Out of desperation,
Amuro Ray accidentally finds the Federation's new
Gundam , and neutralizes the situation. Scrambling
everything they can, the White Base sets out with her newly formed
crew of civilian recruits and refugees in her journey to survive.
On their journey, the White Base members often encounter the Zeon
Char Aznable . Although Char antagonizes Amuro in
battle, he takes advantage of their position as Federation members to
have them kill members from Zeon's Zabi family as part of his revenge
scheme. Amuro also meets ensign
Lalah Sune with whom he falls in love,
but accidentally kills when facing Char. When the Federation Forces
invade the Fortress of A Baoa Qu to defeat the Zeon forces, Amuro
engages on a final one-on-one duel against Char due to their shared
hatred for Lalah's death. Having realized he forgot his true enemy,
Char stops fighting to kill the last surviving Zabi member, Kycilia
Zabi. Amuro then reunites with his comrades as the war reaches its
Yoshiyuki Tomino used the series to tell a story about
The "Mobile Suits" of the show were inspired by the powered armor
from the American novel
Starship Troopers from 1959. Mobile suits
were conceptualized as human-like robots which would not appeal only
to children. Yoshiyuki Tomino's original plot for the anime was
considerably much more grim, with Amuro dying halfway through the
series, and the crew of the White Base having to ally with Char (who
is given a red Gundam), but finally having to battle him after he
takes control of the Principality of Zeon. The original concept found
expression in a series of novels written by Tomino soon after the
show's conclusion, and elements of the storyline weaved themselves
Gundam and Char\'s Counterattack .
In previous series Tomino worked in, villains were alien agents.
Gundam was the first of his work which featured humans as
antagonists. The director commented he wanted to tell a story about
war. He aimed to expose thoroughly starting with Japanese aggression
in Manchuria in 1939. Tomino did not allow for changes to history and
wanted to use the story to make viewers confront the tragic realities
of war. The director was unwilling to discuss the message of his work,
expecting the viewers to reach their own conclusion. Additionally, he
commented he "packed his frustrations" when making Gundam.
Tomino met mechanical designer
Kunio Okawara when he first worked in
two television series from Sunrise. Tomino liked Okawara's work and
asked him to collaborate with him in his upcoming project. Originally,
the anime would be called "Gunboy" but it was renamed Mobile Suit
Gundam. The White Base, the mothership of the protagonist crew
members, is designed with a 3 plane view method by Kunio Okawara,
however, it is not specially designed for the anime series Gundam, it
was actually a salvaged design from the anime Invincible Steel Man
Daitarn 3 . The idea of having a space carrier from Tomino is partly
inspired by the earlier science fiction anime Space Battleship Yamato
, in which he claimed to be a fan of. It was intended to be in a more
realistic black colour, but was changed to white by the order of
Sunrise, similar to the colour change of the main mecha
changed from a grayish white to white, red, blue and yellow. Director
Tomino showed great disgust in the colour change, also noticing the
unrealistic non-aerodynamic design of it after the show was on air,
said in an interview that such design would never appear in the real
world, since it would be a sitting duck from fighter aircraft. Tomino
still held a grudge 10 years after the show aired and stated in an
Newtype 1989 April issue that the imaginary enemies of
Gundam are Sunrise, sponsors and television stations.
Tomino compares the machines with religious history in Japan, most
notably the worship of
Buddha statues located in temples. The
relationship between the pilot and the mobile suit has also been
compared with the
Formula One drivers who rely on machines to achieve
a goal. In order to give the mechas fast movements, most of the
fights were situated in space where there was no gravity. This led to
the creation of space colonies as a common setting. In order to
explain how could such a young man as Amuro pilot the Gundam, the team
came up with the idea of making him a Newtype.
In February 1980, Mobile Suit
Gundam was aired in Italy, the first
country to broadcast the show outside Japan. Mobile Suit
also later aired by the anime satellite television network,
across Japan, with the series continuing to be aired on the network
currently, and later its respective networks worldwide, including Hong
Kong, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and other regions.
Hoping to capitalize on the success of
Gundam Wing from the previous
Bandai Entertainment released a heavily edited and
English-dubbed version of Mobile Suit Gundam, premiering on Cartoon
Toonami block across the
United States on Monday, July 23,
2001. The series did not do as well as Wing but the ratings were high
enough for the whole series to be aired and to spawn an enormous toy
line. Due to the
September 11th attacks , Cartoon Network, like many
other American TV stations, began pulling, and editing, war-themed
content and violent programming, resulting in the cancellation of the
series. However, the series finale was shown as part of Toonami's "New
Year's Eve-il" special on December 31, 2001 and the unaired episodes
were aired in reruns during 2002.
On Saturday, June 8, 2002, the series was given another chance by
Cartoon Network on their late-night
Adult Swim block, but it was again
pulled before completing its run because of low ratings.
On May 30, 2006,
Bandai Entertainment re-released the English dub of
the TV series in a 10 volume DVD set. There was no Japanese audio
track included, apparently because
Yoshiyuki Tomino felt that the
original mono mix was in too poor of a condition to use. However, in
2007 the original series was released on DVD in Japan, which sold over
100,000 copies within a month's time from December 21, 2007 to January
At the 2010
New York Comic Con /New York
Anime Festival , Bandai
Entertainment announced that they would re-release Mobile Suit Gundam
with both the original Japanese audio and the English dub. Only one
episode out of the 43 episode will not be dubbed, at the request of
Yoshiyuki Tomino .
Gundam in two sets in the summer of
2011. The first set was released on September 13, 2011.
Following the closure in 2012 of
Bandai Entertainment, the series has
been out of print. At their
New York Comic-Con 2014 panel, Sunrise
announced their plans to re-release all of the
Gundam series on home
video in North America, starting with the original series. They will
be distributed via
Right Stuf Inc. . They will release the series on
Blu-ray and DVD in October 2015.
On July 25, 2015, UK anime distributor
Anime Limited announced they
will release Mobile Suit
Gundam in cooperation with Sunrise for the
first time in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray.
In both American TV showings and on the international DVD and Blu-ray
release, episode 15 ("Cucruz Doan's Island") was cut out. According to
Yoshiyuki Tomino, the removal was made at his request, with the
episode becoming a "lost episode" of sorts, never being dubbed. The
episode remained on the Japanese DVD and Blu-ray releases.
In 1979, before the end of the anime,
Yoshiyuki Tomino himself
created the first novelizations of the original
Gundam anime series.
The novels, issued as a series of three books, allowed him to depict
his story in a more sophisticated, adult, and detailed fashion. Along
with this adaptation came several major changes to the story. For
example, Amuro is already a member of the Federation military at the
time of the initial Zeon attack on Side 7, and the main characters in
the Federation serve on the White Base-class ships Pegasus and Pegasus
II rather than the Pegasus-class White Base. Additionally, the war
continues well into the year UC 0080 in the novels, whereas it
concludes at the beginning of that year in the anime series. In the
Amuro Ray is killed in the final attack against the Zeonic
stronghold of A Baoa Qu when his RX-78-3 is pierced through the torso
by a Rick Dom's beam bazooka. This occurs as Char's unit attempts to
warn him about Gihren's intention to destroy the fortress and take the
Federation's offensive fleet along with it. Char and the crew of
Pegasus II (White Base), along with handpicked men under Kycilia
Zabi's command, make a deep penetrating attack against the Side 3 and
together kill Gihren Zabi, after which Kycilia is killed by Char.
Tomino later lamented that had he known that anime ending would be
different and that another series would be made, he would not have
killed off Amuro in the novels.
The three novels were translated into English by
Frederik Schodt and
published by Del Rey Books in September 1990. At the time, there were
no officially recognized romanizations of character and mecha names,
and a variety of different spellings were being used in the
English-language fan community. In the original three novels,
therefore, Mr. Schodt wrote the name "Char" as "Sha." "Sha" is a
transliteration of the Japanese pronunciation, although Mr. Tomino
later publicly confirmed at
Anime Expo New York 2002 that the name was
originally based on the French name
Charles Aznavour , a popular
French-language singer. (Interestingly, the 2004 edition of the
English translation revealed that Schodt felt that the "Char"
rendering "seemed too close" to Aznavour's name.) He also rendered
"Zaku" as "Zak," and (after consulting with Mr. Tomino) "Jion" as
"Zeon," instead of "Zion," which was in use in some circles. Some
North American fans, already attached to particular spellings, took
great umbrage at Schodt's renditions, forgetting that in the original
Japanese most character and mecha names are written in katakana , and
that there were, therefore, no "official spellings." Many years later,
Gundam series was finally licensed in North America, the
rightsholders did come up with a unified list of "official spellings"
for English-language material, and some of these spellings include
Schodt's renditions, as well as the renditions to which certain North
American fans were attached.
Frederik Schodt revised his original translation of the
books, which had been out of print for nearly a decade. What had been
a three volume set in the 1990 Del Rey edition was re-released by
Stone Bridge Press as one single volume of 476 pages (with a vastly
improved cover design), titled Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening,
Escalation, Confrontation. Since the rights holders in Japan by this
time had created a unified (although still evolving) list of romanized
character and mecha names, Schodt was able to use it, and Amuro's
rival in the novel thus became "Char" and not "Sha"; the popular Zeon
Mobile Suit, similarly, became "Zaku," and not "Zak".
Following the success of the Mobile Suit
Gundam TV series, in 1981
Tomino reworked the footage into three separate compilation movies.
The first two movies, Mobile Suit
Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam:
Soldiers of Sorrow, were released in 1981. The third movie, Mobile
Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space, was released in 1982.
Each of the three movies is largely composed of old footage from the
TV series, however Tomino felt that some things could be changed for
the better. Tomino removed several aspects of the show which he felt
were still too super robot-esque for the real robot series he intended
Gundam to be, such as the
Gundam Hammer weapon. The G-Armor upgrade
parts were also completely removed and replaced in the narrative by
the more realistic Core Booster support fighters, and Hayato receives
a RX-77 Guncannon at Jaburo to replace the disadvantaged RX-75
Guntank. The third movie also includes a substantial amount of new
footage expanding on the battles of Solomon and A Baoa Qu.
In 1998, the three compilation movies were first released directly to
VHS subtitled into English as part of Bandai's AnimeVillage releases,
which makes them among the first
Gundam works released in English. The
movies were released again in North America on May 7, 2002 in DVD
format, available separately or in a boxed set. These are also
available only with re-done Japanese audio with English subtitles, the
DVDs identical to the 20th anniversary release of the movie
compilation in Japan. The original Japanese voice cast members
rerecorded their lines with the exception of those who were deceased.
The 20th anniversary release was digitally remastered and many of the
sound effects were replaced, most notably the futuristic gun sounds
being replaced by louder machine gun sound effects. Also, the music
soundtrack, while not remixed was rearranged and in some cases removed
from some scenes. The vocal songs are rearranged also, especially in
the closing credits of the second and third movies.
Bandai Visual has announced the re-release of the Mobile Suit Gundam
movies on DVD from new HD masters and with the original, theatrical,
mono audio mix. This boxed set was released in Japan on December 21,
2007. On May 18, 2010,
Bandai Entertainment re-released the 20th
anniversary version of the trilogy under their
Anime Legends label.
As with the TV series, the movies will be re-released in North America
under Sunrise themselves with distribution from Right Stuf.
The trilogy of films were distributed on DVD in the
United Kingdom by
Beez Entertainment in 2005 in Japanese and with a selection of
subtitle tracks including English.
Anime Ltd. has since acquired the
UK license and has released a limited edition Blu-ray box set of the
movie trilogy (limited to 500 units) as an exclusive, sold only on
their AllTheAnime.com store. It was released on March, 27th 2017, in
Japanese with English subtitles only.
There have been two manga series based on Mobile Suit Gundam. The
first one is Mobile Suit
Gundam 0079 by Kazuhisa Kondo. It was
published in Dengeki Comics from 1985 to 1986 in a total of twelve
tankōbon volumes. Viz Media later published its first nine. volumes
between 2000 and 2003. The second manga is Mobile Suit Gundam: The
Origin by anime character designer
Yoshikazu Yasuhiko . It was
published from June 2001 to June 2011 in
Kadokawa Shoten 's
magazine and collected in a total of 23 tankōbon volumes. The series
was first released in English by
Viz media but was dropped before it
was completed; It is now currently being released by Vertical
Publishing as of March 2013.
Besides adaptations, there is a popular parody yonkoma manga titled
Mobile Suit Gundam-san , which was written and drawn by Hideki Ohwada
and serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's
Gundam Ace magazine since 2001.
This manga was adapted into an anime in 2014. Ohwada also created a
Gundam Sousei (ガンダム創世), which follows
Yoshiyuki Tomino and the Sunrise staff as they work to make the
television series and the compilation movies. This series was
serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's
Gundam Ace magazine from 2009 to 2011
and compiled in the Gundam-san tankōbon starting in Volume 5. The
manga was also collected in two tankōbon volumes released in January
Main article: List of
Gundam video games
(For the list below, only video games featuring mobile suits that
appeared in the One Year War, or related variations)
There have been many video games based on or with mobile suits from
Gundam series. Of these, the following have crossed the
border into North America:
Gundam Battle Assault ,
Gundam Battle Assault 2
Gundam Side Story 0079: Rise From the Ashes
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space
* Mobile Suit Gundam:
Gundam vs. Zeta
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire (Mobile Suit Gundam: Target in Sight
in Japan and Australia)
* MS Saga: A New Dawn (Mobile Suit Gundam: True Odyssey in Japan)
* Dynasty Warriors:
Gundam , Dynasty Warriors:
Gundam 2 , Dynasty
Gundam 3 (
Gundam Musou in Japan)
* Dynasty Warriors:
Gundam Reborn: Playstation 3 only
Current generation games that have been unreleased in countries
outside Japan include:
* Mobile Suit
Gundam (1993 arcade game)
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Spirits of Zeon ~Dual Stars of Carnage~
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Spirit of Zeon ~Memory of Soldier~
* Quiz Mobile Suit Gundam: Monsenshi
* Mobile Suit
Gundam Giren\'s Greed: Blood of Zeon
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Lost War Chronicles
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Climax UC
* Mobile Suit Gundam: The One Year War
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Path of the Soldiers (also referred to as Ace
Gundam Battle (series)
Gundam G-Generation (series)
Gundam SCAD Hammers
* Mobile Suit Gundam: Operation: Troy
* Kidō Senshi Gundam: Senjō no Kizuna
* Mobile Suit Gundam:
See also: Cultural impact of
Gundam was not popular when it first aired, and in fact came close to
being cancelled. The series was originally set to run for 52 episodes
but was cut down to 39 by the show's sponsors, which included Clover
(the original toymakers for the series). However, the staff was able
to negotiate a one-month extension to end the series with 43 episodes.
Bandai bought the copyrights to build plastic models for the
show's mecha, which was a relatively new market compared to the old
Chogokin series Clover was making, things changed completely. With the
introduction of their line of
Gundam models , the popularity of the
show began to soar. The models sold very well, the show began to do
very well in reruns and its theatrical compilation was a huge success.
Audiences were expecting another
Super Robot TV show, and instead
found Gundam, the first work of anime in an entirely new genre: the
Real Robot genre. The
Anime ranked #2 on Wizard's
Anime Magazine on
their "Top 50
Anime released in North America", and is regarded as
changing the concept of Japanese robot anime and the turning point of
history in Japan.
Despite being released in 1979, the original
Gundam series is still
remembered and recognized within the anime fan community . The series
revolutionized mecha anime, introducing the new
Real Robot genre, and
over the years became synonymous with the entire genre for many. As a
result, for example, parodies of mecha genre commonly feature homages
to Mobile Suit Gundam, thanks to its immediate recognizability.
The series was the first winner of the
Anime Grand Prix
prize, in 1979 and the first half of 1980. In the top 100 anime from
Gundam was twenty-fourth. The magazine Wizard listed the
series as the second best anime of all time. By the end of 2007, each
episode of the original TV series averaged a sales figure of 80,928
copies, including all of the different formats it was published in
(VHS, LD, DVD, etc.). The first DVD box set sold over 100,000 copies
in the first month of release, from December 21, 2007 to January 21,
2008. As part of the 30th Anniversary of the
Gundam series, the
company officially announced a project on March 11, 2009 called
Real-G, a plan to build a 1:1 real size scale
Gundam in Japan. It was
completed in July 2009 and displayed in a Tokyo park then taken down
later. The 18-meter tall statue was reconstructed in Shizuoka
Prefecture and was taken down in March 2011. In August 2011 it was
dismantled only to reopen in Odaiba, Tokyo on April 19, 2012. It now
stands in Odaiba along with a gift shop called "
Gundam Front Tokyo."
Most of the series' critical response has been owed to the setting
John Oppliger observes that the characters of Amuro
Ray , to whom the young Japanese of that time could easily relate, and
Char Aznable , who was "simply fascinating", made a major
contribution to the series' popularity. He also concludes that "in
many respects First
Gundam stands for the nostalgic identifying values
of everything that anime itself represents". The series has been
Anime News Network for the way it portrays war with Amuro
facing traumatic moments as a result of killing enemy soldiers in his
becoming of a soldier. The series is also notable for having humans
from a different race as antagonists rather than evil creatures.
However, the animation has been noted to have notoriously aged when
compared with series seen in the 2000s.
Mecha anime creator
Shoji Kawamori attended
Keio University in the
same years as
Hiroshi Ōnogi and character
Haruhiko Mikimoto , where they had a Mobile Suit
club called "Gunsight One", a name they would use years later as the
call sign of the bridge of the SDF-1 spaceship from their first
Macross anime television series. In fact, The Super Dimension Fortress
Macross mecha anime series was inspired by
Gundam in several aspects
during its early development.
Guillermo Del Toro has cited the series
as an influence on Pacific Rim .
Richie Kotzen , former guitarist from Poison and
Mr. Big, released an album called Ai Senshi ZxR in 2006 in Japan. The
album consisted of covered music from the
Gundam series and original
songs. American musician
Andrew W.K. also released an album called
Gundam Rock on September 9, 2009, in Japan. The album consists of
covered music from the
Gundam series to celebrate its 30th
The background research of Mobile Suit
Gundam is well praised in its
field. The positions in which the colonies (sides) are located in
orbit are called Lagrangian points , and are real world solutions to
the three body problem. The colonies (sides) are based on the O\'Neill
cylinder design for space habitats . The
Gundam franchise was a
major contributing factor to the fame of the O'Neil cylinder in Japan.
Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu" was an amusement park attraction at the
Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park located in
Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi ,
Japan. It was a dark ride for the park.
Gundam the Ride, which opened
to the public on July 20, 2000, was based on Mobile Suit Gundam. Set
during the final chaotic Battle of A Baoa Qu,
Gundam the Ride places
its riders in an Escape Launch Shuttle about to leave the battleship
The animation of
Gundam the Ride used mostly computer graphics,
however, all human characters were hand-drawn cel animation, similar
to the style current
Gundam video games are done in. All of the
character designs for
Gundam the Ride were done by
Haruhiko Mikimoto .
The ride's characters make a cameo appearance in the video game
"Encounters in Space" while the player (playing as
Amuro Ray in his
Gundam) is making his way through the Dolos.
The ride closed on January 8, 2007 and replaced with "
Attraction" The main feature of this attraction is a full size 1:1
Gundam model, lying flat inside the venue. Instead of sitting in a
movable cockpit and watching a CG movie, it requires participants to
carry handheld devices throughout the attraction to find certain
pieces of information, similar to a scavenger hunt , in order to
activate the Gundam. The interior of the attraction is a mock-up of a
Federation ship, and employees remain in-character inside of the ride.
Anime and manga portal
* 1970s portal
* 1980s portal
Gundam (mobile suit)
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Gundam Science, High Frontier
Gundam SF World
* ^ Mobile Suit
Gundam Epoch Vol. 1
* ^ 王立科學博物館
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