English: Mobile Suit Gundam
Synonyms: Kidou Senshi Gundam, First Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam: 0079, MSG
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 7, 1979 to Jan 26, 1980
Duration: 25 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 7.951 (scored by 12808 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction drama mecha sci-fi
Oct 12, 2008
OK, granted this was animated nearly 30 years ago, so the colors, resolution, and movement are most certainly not as up to some people’s standards. But I feel for its time, I do have to give it some of the credit it does deserve. I feel in terms of design in both character and mechanical, it is excellent and innovative and can transcend into our current generation’s style of animation and makes it timeless, which has been proven in some of the animated cutscenes of the PS1 and PS2 games such as Federation vs Zeon or Journey to Jaburo and thus keeps it up to date. And the battles themselves are pretty intense and plays careful strategy into it. Afterall, in war, you always got to think two steps ahead of the game. Such as when Char and Amuro first fight, Amuro easily loses energy on the beam rifle because he relied on it too much. So such tactics in terms of both offense and defense in this anime are effectively applied.
For the voice acting, this is the anime that helped define the careers of Furuya Tohru, who plays Amuro, and would later play Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon, Seiya in Saint Seiya, and Yamucha in Dragon Ball. This also helped the career of the late Suzuoki Hirotaka, the voice of Captain Bright who is also famous as Kuno from Ranma, Kaifun in Macross, and Shiryu in Saint Seiya. And one more mention I want to make is Furukawa Yoshio as Kai which is quite a surprise because he plays bad ass characters like Shin from Fist of the North star and Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z. And the cast list goes on. In addition to a great Japanese cast, the English dub of the TV series (don’t remember the movie dub too much) is also incredible. As much as I can’t stand Richard Cox as Inuyasha and Ranma, I thought he was dead perfect as Kai. I thought his voice matched the character well and I think his performance equals to that of Furukawa’s. I also enjoyed Brad Swale as Amuro. He portrays a character that is young, intelligent, and growing. But the problem I had with the dub was Char. I don’t remember who played him, but I felt he was not as charismatic as Ikeda Shuuichi. But overall, you’ll get an incredible experience watching it in either language though it is a pity that the TV series DVD set is only in English and the trilogy DVD set is exclusively in Japanese. But the DVD trilogy does have a new set of voice actors such as Dozle’s and Ma Kube’s voices were changed. Ma Kube’s original voice actor passed away while Dozle’s voice actor, Gouri Daisuke was busy with other stuff, I guess.
The music is also cheesy, but also catchy. If you think of the Ashita no Joe themes as true old school Japanese music, expect the same, but still represents a transition period to where Japanese popular music is now with beats but in a retro sense. The TV series music is of course a bit more campy, but sings about how the Gundam will rise and defeat their enemy and the ending theme is about Amuro being a man. But the trilogy soundtrack is much more mature and also maintains themes in relation to the series.
I understand that Gundam isn’t really a series that’s for everybody. Afterall, I grew up on Transformers and Voltron, and the concept of robots as a potential military weapon does have a lot of appeal to me. But when I got a first hand view of the series, I was later captured by the characters and intrigued by the story and that this just wasn’t some shallow action anime. Tomino truly made a revolution of this series that initially failed in the ratings, but would now become one of Japan’s biggest anime franchises. Despite the success Gundam continues to have, it is a pity it never caught on in the long run outside of Japan, but I still manage to always find myself back to sometimes watching either the TV series and/or movie.
Jul 30, 2008
The central plot of Mobile Suit Gundam is fairly simple, laying out a brutal war between two sides: the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. Amuro Ray, our main character, gets involved in the conflict by boarding the Federation's great weapon, Gundam (I'm not gonna explain details because then it defeats the purpose of watching for yourself.) Long story short, he becomes the Gundam's pilot and a valuable member of the Federation crew that works aboard White Base (a war spaceship.) Now what makes this great is the fact that everybody aboard White Base, from the Commander of it to Amuro, is a total novice with little to no experience. Over the course of the series we get to see their development together as well as individuals. The tale is filled with elements of stuff like death, killing, family, friendships, etc., all building up to a spectacular finale. Our story of course focuses primarily on the White Base gang and their adventure, but it does a good job at also centering in on the opposing side at the right times and giving insight to their side of the battle. Also, just to add, the pacing is exceptionally good.
The series is from 1979, so do not expect top-notch animation by today's standards. I'm sure it was five star art in its time, but I simply rated it a 6 by today's standards. Don't let that turn you off though. The sound is obviously old as well, so the sound effects have that old recording sound that really doesn't stand up to today's sound quality, so again the 8 is by today's standards. But again, give it a chance because it's actually pretty cool. As for the opening and ending themes, they're just kinda fun songs that, as you'll see, are for the purpose of Mobile Suit Gundam alone. The background music actually consists of some pretty interesting and catchy tunes that couldn't fit the show better. They're different than a lot of the stuff you hear in today's anime.
Now for Characters. As I've said, they're all amateurs. A lot of the characters aboard White Base go through tragedies that bring out great development. Some of them have hidden secrets and relations, some of them fall in battle, some of them leave White Base, and many other things. There's plenty for you to discover about our crew as you go through the series.
Enjoyment is definitely at its best. The father of mecha, Mobile Suit Gundam, sure doesn't lack in its action. We have a nice variety of different Mobile Suits on both warring sides to switch things up, and the Gundam itself is very entertaining to watch because it has a large array of weaponry. Also, a battle takes place in just about every place you could think of: space, land, sky, underwater, underground, and even inside White Base itself. The enjoyment factor does not disappoint, and always entertains your eyes with superb military brawls between mechas, and even hand-to-hand combat.
Obviously there's some contrasting opinions on this series and its status concerning its rating. However, I truly feel it is worth a shot from any anime fan, just because it is a classic title that has had such influence on anime and the mecha genre especially. read more
Apr 1, 2009
Feb 14, 2008
Mobile Suit Gundam chronicles the adventures of the White Base crew and the enemies that are in a close proximity to them over the course of the series. The main crew consists of about ten characters with the famous Amuro Ray at the centre of it all. The story follows the White Base as it tries to evade the Zeon and complete its objectives. As a side plot to the main story of the White Base is the ongoing duel between Char Aznable and Amuro. As they both fight in the brave new world of Universal Century 0079/80. They have to deal with ever evolving mobile suits and the emergence of the Newtype.
As far as the art is concerned I went into the series with no expectations. This was made after all in 1979. I was pleasantly surprised to find fluid animations and a style that fit the series perfectly. While it is small potatoes compared to the crappiest animation by todays standards it was quite the achievement for animators back then. Being all hand drawn a series of this magnitude is quite the undertaking and it doesn't disappoint. The story is just too good to worry about the quality of the animation.
From the corny opening I gathered that the music would be horrid, but It didn't hold true to my prediction... luckily. Featuring various scores from an orchestra to a sort of 80's techno/pop feeling the music is definitely dated, but that only adds to the charm of the series. The voice acting by the English cast is fairly well done. Nothing to call home about, but they get the job done. Char's voice actor is definitely the standout for me from the series. The other characters fall into the mid-talent range.
The characters of Gundam are what make the show great. Gundam is predominantly a character driven drama and the characters are all given well written dialogue save for some of the minor characters. This only stands for the main characters though as the supporting cast is generally acknowledged as being there, but rarely gets any screen time or meaningful lines. Amuro is your typical mobile suit pilot, he is always miserable and has a very selfish "me first" attitude. He accepts his role better later in the series, but definitely makes himself unpopular with the rest of the crew. Char on the other hand is always charismatic and willing to do whatever it takes to fulfil his goals. On a side note the inclusion of the children was a horrible idea and they are always in the way and very annoying. They single handedly brought the character score down one point.
Overall Gundam was very entertaining, but it is not without its quirks. As I've already gone into what I liked about the series, I'll now focus on what prevented this series from going down as truly great. First of all the Zeon are basically a hybrid version of the Nazis of WWII fame and the Empire from Star wars. The cross overs are all over the place. At one point a Zeon Admiral is described as Hitler-esque. Point is, the Zeon are not a very original enemy and steal a lot of their traits from other sources. Even their uniforms are definitely very Nazi. Another quirk,(I call them quirks because they are not really bad, but things I definitely noticed) the amount of time they spend on things related to food is just uncanny. Almost every episode has a segment where Amuro is being berated for not eating or being reminded to eat. It just comes off as an annoyance after 30 episodes. Finally, they call it a military and they are always trying to do military activities, yet they have children on the bridge, people are routinely stealing mobile suits and for anyone that knows anything about the military it will seem very fictional in regards to the military activities.
Throughout the series I only had a few major problems, but overall it is a must watch for anyone that considers themselves an Anime fan. read more
Jan 30, 2007
First came out in 1979 by director and animator Yoshiyuki Tomino, who was able to make several animes during his time and still is. One of his most famous works is the Mobile Suit Gundam anthology, from the Original Mobile Suit Gundam to Turn A Gundam, Tomino was able to make most of all the Gundam Series.
We are all to familiar with the story liine, a boy with problems looking for answers comes across a large macha and uses it to save his friends and allies from utter destruction. The name of the Samurai shaped robot is Gundam.
The story goes with young Amuro Ray, becomes facinated by his father's creation for the Earth Federation Army, the Gundam. He uses the giant Robot to save his friends and escape into space with the new mobile battle ship White Base. They encounter many enemies like the notorious Char Aznable (aka The Red Comet) who wants to test the Federation's new power.
If you are a true Gundam fan you'll let the old look past you. It doesn't matter how old it looks or sounds, if you respect Gundam then you respect the Original. Gundam is one of the most famous animes you'll hear, not just in the USA but in Japan entirely. Why do you think they have so many spin offs? So give the amazing series a try and then watch other Gundam series created by the father of all Gundam's Yoshiyuki Tomino. read more
Apr 22, 2009
Yet, despite all this, for some reason I just loved this show, for several reasons. First off, this is a great coming of age story for the main character, Amaro. It's really exciting to watch Amaro go from rookie pilot to one of the best over the course of the show, it makes things quite rewarding. In fact, I'd say almost all the characters in the show grow a little, almost every main character on the White Base gets developed pretty well. And it is the same with the "bad guys", which obviously adds a lot to the show.
Speaking of the bad guys, I love how both sides of the war have both good and bad people, it's very realistic and avoids the somewhat corny trait a lot of shows have when they have pure evil vs. pure good (see: Hokuto No ken). Lots of the fighting and politics, and how the world ends up after space are all pretty plausible, which is another nice touch to get you immersed into Gundam's world.
Despite all the great stuff on the side, in the end, the show developers knew exactly what people wanted when they watched this show, and that was sweet Gundam fights. While it can get a little predictable, almost every episode features a fight with Gundam. All these fights are really well done, especially ones with Amaro's main rival, Char. They are pretty intense, and it's fun to watch Amaro get better and better.
In order to keep things from getting too stale, there are generally mini-arcs happening during all the fighting. For example, an important person might be injured/sick for a few episodes, and the rest of the crew has to adapt. These arcs aren't usually too complex, but they do a good job of developing everyone and keeping the fights a little fresh.
It should be noted that despite first airing in the 70s, the art isn't too bad. Explosions and such look kind of lame, but I still found myself excited during action scenes. The music is extremely awesome though, which was a huge surprise.
Overall, I just never imagined such an old show would really grab me like Gundam did. Despite being a bit formulaic, it executes everything read more
Mar 26, 2008
The first few episodes of MSG were interesting, setting up what would seem to be an epic tale. Also, we are able to see the origins of many mecha themes and ideas. My only real complaint with the first few episodes was the way Amuro (zero experience) was able to go toe-to-toe with Char, a legendary pilot. A mecha convention that just has to be accepted, not a big deal I guess. After the initial episodes, one would expect the action to die down and start developing the story and the characters. However, in the next few episodes there was more fighting. A few more episodes passed and it started to feel tedious. In comparison, Gundam SEED had several episodes that were completely devoted to character development.
In between the fights far too little happens to develop the characters and the story. Yes, there is some development but that is clearly overshadowed by the shear number of battles. As for the story itself, it seems to follow a "monster of the week formula" with new mechs and mini-bosses. The transition between each mini-boss/arc was quite bad and broke the overall flow the series. While this was expected and bad enough there wasn't enough continuity between each episode. Every time an episode ends, it ends. Conflicts arise and the resolution all happens within the course of one episode (cliffhangers don't seem to exist in MSG). Essentially, there is an episodic feel most of the time and the flow was not seamless. Gundam 0079 followed this straightforward and monotonous path until the last 8 episodes. The last 8 episodes were pretty good and the story finally starts to get interesting, especially when they introduce the concept of 'Newtypes', finally! However, that does not make up for the 30 episodes you had to go through to get here.
As for the characters, let me start off with Char. Simply put, Char is the most interesting and most complex character in MSG, perhaps in the whole Gundam universe. However, this can only be said after watching MSG, Zeta Gundam, and Char’s Counterattack, nearly totaling 100 episodes. Unfortunately, I can’t really say he received too much development over the course of MSG. He’s already quite charismatic and admirable from the beginning and pretty much stayed this way through out. Amuro, well at least in MSG, is quite a brat and does what pleases him as well as whine. Not exactly the most likable of character. However, this is nowhere as near a bad as Camille in Zeta Gundam and he does change over time. While Amuro may have been a brat for the first half this was no where near as annoying as the actual children. Why where they allowed to roam as they please? Perhaps they were used as comic relief? Either way, they were quite annoying and hurt the overall character score. However, the only characters that stood out in MSG were Char and Amuro, the rest were flat and forgettable.
Although it seems that I'm being very harsh towards this title I actually enjoyed it somewhat. Perhaps its a bit unfair that I'm reviewing this title 25 years after it was first shown. I'm comparing it to some modern titles that does what Gundam 0079 does but better in every possible way and I'm not just talking about animation and music. (note: I do not imply that all new mecha anime is better. There's plenty of crap out there and far inferior to MSG) At the time Gundam 0079 can be considered innovative and new. MSG pretty much redefined the whole genre of mecha anime, from super robot era of the 70's to the real robot era of the 80's. Mecha lovers should watch this if only for historical reasons. Ok, on second though you should probably watch the movies…
Overall, Gundam 0079 focuses too much on fights and not enough on the development of the story and characters. It loosely follows a "monster of the week" formula with its mini arcs. Not only is the continuity overall bad, it also has bad continuity in-between episodes. It seems every time an episode ends, it ends. As for the characters, only Char and Amuro stood out and the rest were quite flat. Sadly they didn’t spend enough time on the characters. The depiction of war and the people involved are far beyond its time. The ‘enemies’ are not evil, but simply on different sides. If only Gundam 0079 didn't have those 30 some episodes in the middle. read more
Feb 14, 2012
I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed this show. Sure, it can be a little cheesy and hasn't aged the best but it was a fun show with some really memorable moments. The action can be really cool, the tech was interesting and some of the characters really had their moments especially the scene stealing Char Aznable. He is a fantastic reoccurring antagonist who is a much more interesting character the all of the crew members of the White Base. There is some themes of the effects of war on civilians in the early episodes but soon gets drowned out by constant robot fisticuffs.
My main criticisms with the show really make themselves apparent around the midway mark. The show becomes increasingly reliant on a formulaic structure of robot fights and then a return to the status quo. There is the odd episode that bucks this trend but it becomes rather tiresome with a 43 episode runtime. Amuro's character arc peaks early then becomes stagnant for a great proportion of the show, this doesn't change until the final plot line. The motivations of the villains don't seem apparent until the later episodes. Some of the functions of Gundam seem like big gimmicks to sell toys. I understand that was a purpose of the show but it seems very silly at times. Especially when the functions seem completely impractical for battle. The soundtrack wasn't varied enough and the songs weren't particularly good to begin with.
Mobile Suit Gundam is undoubtedly part of anime history. I would recommend to committed anime fans but keep in mind it's age. It can be a fun ride with a few really stellar episodes including some surprisingly strong final episodes. 7/10
You can see this review and more at neoncrimsonblog.wordpress.com read more
Aug 6, 2010
The core of the plot is actually quite simple: War between Earth Federation and Principality of Zeon. Pretty simple? But the whole story itself is not so simple. Throughout the series, you will learn more about the war, and it's not as simple as "good guys vs bad guys." The good guys aren't actually that good, and the bad guys aren't actually that bad. Both side have a solid reason for fighting, and this is the part that made the story interesting. Even each character has various reasons for fighting. Though there is a bit of disappointment in the middle, where there's a lot of filler episodes. This is probably due to the fact at that time, Gundam has a pretty low rating, so it got cut from 50 episodes to 26 episodes, then somehow got extended to 43 episodes. I think it will be better if it didn't got cut in the first place.
It's a 1979 anime, so the animation is pretty bad (though I believe it's pretty good for the time.) Even so, the mecha and character design, though old, is quite good. The mecha design is very distinguishable from each other, and is actually quite good despite being old. Even some of the enemy grunts have quite good designs, which is pretty widely known to this date, such as the Zaku. Character design is also good. Nowadays there's a lot of animes that have characters that look like each other, or characters that looks like a character from another anime. That's not the case here. I've never seen any other character that looks like Amuro Ray or Bright Noa in another anime. Also, I think it's just me, but somehow I find myself not noticing stock animation very often. They do exist, but somehow I notice them less often here than in recent anime works.
Okay many people will disagree with me on this, but for me myself, the soundtracks are actually quite good. Gundam is one of the very few series that I watched without ever skipping the OP song, not to mention for a whole 43 episodes. Sure it's very old and sounds cheesy, but somehow it's pretty addictive for me. I can't get that "Moeagare x3 Gandamu!!" lyrics out of my head for a whole month after watching this. The soundtracks during the anime itself is also good. They build a good atmosphere for the scene, and some are also quite addictive.
Not only soundtracks, the SFX is also good. It's pretty classic that once you watch this, you will recognize the sound if it's played somewhere. I myself recognize many of the same SFX being used in Macross up to Macross 7.
Characters are quite good, though the very minor ones are not. Most characters have a good development throughout the stories, especially inside the White Base since they're just amateurs at the beginning. One thing noticeable is that each character has pretty solid ideals. Being on one side doesn't necessarily means they have the same ideals. This is why there's a lot of conflicts on board the White Base, and the reason for Char's actions throughout the series. Minus point is that the subject on romance pretty oddly carried, but romance really isn't the focus in Gundam.
I really enjoy this series, for reasons stated above. Especially the battles, although the animation is bad, but they're pretty interesting. Grunts actually put up some fight, unlike more recent works where numerous grunts got destroyed with 1 attack without putting up any fight. Also, as godly as the Gundam is, it still struggles in many battles, especially in the beginning when Amuro is still a rookie.
Miscellaneous things I took into considerations:
-IT"S MECHA! Yeah I'm a mecha maniac, which is why I love this series. This is also the the reason why some people disliked Gundam, since they hate mechas.
-Helps me to better understand the story in later series, like Zeta, ZZ, CCA, and Unicorn.
-No bishoujos/bishounens/overly moe characters. I really hate animes that only uses bishoujos/bishounens/overly moe characters as the selling point.
-Technologies in the series, although fictional, still seems plausible to some extent. It's still fictional, but much more realistic than many other mecha animes.
-After watching this I noticed a lot more parodies in animes/mangas. Yes Gundam is one of the most often parodied anime, like in Sgt Keroro, Hayate no Gotoku, Full Metal Panic, and even Ghost in the Shell.
So yeah this is an old anime. My parents haven't even met each other when this anime is aired. Still, this is a pretty good anime, IMO even better than many of the recent animes. Though it's true that this anime is not for everyone, you should give it a try, unless you're a mecha hater, or if animation is very important to you, or if you seek romance. But if you're not, then by all means go ahead and give it a go. I am glad myself that I've watched this anime. One thing of advice, if you do watch this, you might want to look more info about this series in the internet, there are many interesting things that aren't covered in the anime. read more
Jul 22, 2010
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Osamu Tezuka brought sophistication to Japanese animation, Go Nagai added the dark aspect, Leiji Matsumoto added the romantic space opera feeling… and then Tomino Yoshiyuki came to add the real robots and the overblown dramatization of characters. The way I see it this dude managed to combine the best of two worlds, that of the exciting aspect of mecha with that of the complicating world and dramatic settings of space operas. He did a fine job for his time, not only in creating a whole sub genre of his own, but also initializing one of the longest, most famous, non-stop expanding, and most successful sales-wise franchises of all times. Enter the Gundam!
Consider this a small essay on all of the Universal Century seasons, as I am too bored to write a different entry on each one when they are otherwise following the same storyline.
Tomino deserves a place in the hall of fame for establishing an entire new approach to sci-fi and war dramas with realistically operating mechas and a detailed evolving scenario. Many tried to copy it, very few succeeded. The thing is, it would take several years for this fact to be proven back when it aired, as the original Gundam series hardly got the tv ratings it deserved because it was still too low on action and too serious on dramatic story. Tomino’s first attempt was actually a failure as most kids still wanted brainless action and simply changed the channel to Voltes V, while the more romantic sci-fi lovers still preferred Leiji’s Battleship Yamato or Space Pirate Captain Harlock space operas to robots fighting each other with sabers, or something like that.
Tomino had to wait several years until his second Gundam series (the Zeta Gundam) changed the public opinion towards a positive light. Because the circumstances were much better in the mid 80’s, when the classical super robot formula was beginning to lose its appeal and all mecha shows simply copied the exact same formula Voltus V had reached. Also, most of the first generation anime fans, who grew up with Tetsuwan Atom as kids and Mazinger Z as teenagers, now were adults who again wanted something different than the same old robots hitting each other. Because of their age, they now wanted something more focused on the setting and the characters and less on the action. And hell, why not have more realistic technology while you are at it? I mean, the mysterious alloy X or the new energy harvested from Y rays was starting to feel too simple for an otherwise epic story of planetary proportions.
This is what practically made Gundam so captivating; its attention to finer details. The mecha were drawn more complicating and not like Lego toys, the console panels looked more realistic, weapons and spaceships were functioning with a theoretical scientific explanation. Typical mecka series feature special attacks like rocket punches and chest beams without much justification (how they work, what fuel they use, how they are installed, how much energy they use up, etc.). Also, most accessories on them have a reason for being there (oxygen tanks, fuel reservoirs, radar censors).
Another great thing about Gundam’s mecha is how weapons and spaceships have a tremendous variety. Typical mecha series have only a couple of robots with a few accessories such as weapons and booster backpacks. In Gundam, everything comes in a vast assembly line and with a huge customization that can generate thousands of different combinations. Although that was practically nothing much plot-wise, it did help to further propel the sales of material related to the robots. There were thousands of plamo fans, who were spending thousands of Yens on thousands of extra accessories for creating their own Gundam model. Which means, market-wise, it blew the competition out of the water.
Other features is how every Gundam show had the best graphics of its time. This tradition continued to every new installment thereafter. The human figures may not have any great detail but keep their form intact throughout the series. They don’t deform or get simplistic in funny situations.
In the sound department, the series has nice music themes, staring with a ballad before heading for more pop songs later on. It feels like a huge contrast to the style of the blood-boiling openings of other retro mecha series but they are good on their own,
Now about the voice acting part… yes and no. On the good side, the dialogues are a lot more sophisticated in context, usually mentioning various situations regarding clashes of ideologies and friendships which are tested in the midst of battle and political agendas. On the other hand, the voices themselves simply don’t… sound real. Tomino may have been great in the story and the themes but in the liveliness part of the dialogues he ranks amongst the worst writers ever. His characters all sound wooden and artificial, changing moods and tones in voice and ideas and their stream of thought and emotions swings simply make no sense. Which makes everything feel like a whim of the moment with little regard to what actually happens on screen. That alone drops the level of realism as well as the empathy with the characters.
I have heard some who claim that the weird way the characters act and talk is part of what makes them so unique and memorable. So yeah, I guess if you compare these lunatics with any other cast of their time they surely stand out immediately. They make no sense but then again they are special for the same reason.
The story part is by far the most mature one ever seen as of yet, making even the one in Captain Harlock to feel simplistic. In the future, overpopulation leads to the creation of space colonies around Earth. The exploitation of the colonists and the creation of a psionic race of humans, begin a catastrophic war, centered on colony independence from Earth control. The protagonist is Amuro, a civilian piloting (by need rather than choice) a Mobile Suit Gundam (huge mecha, boosted by mind waves) in order to protect his colony from other revolting Spacenoids (people living in space). Although he is a Newtype (human with advanced psionic powers, trait of many spacenoids), he fights along the Federation’s side, which is composed of Oldtypes (normal people). He just wants to end the terrible war, as soon as possible. He doesn’t care which side wins as long as peace returns. The main rival is Char, a Zeon Newtype official, with ambitions that include both the dominance of Newtypes in space and the assassination of the radical Zeon royal family.
The story is much more realistic and well planed than anything else that came out before it for the following reasons:
- Unlike having a typical “Aliens/monsters vs Humans” story, Gundam has a “Humans vs Humans” story. So, we feel sad even when the bad guys lose, because they are not heartless/bizarre aliens/monsters, bound to destroy Earth just for the heck of it. They are mistreated people with feelings and hopes for the future, like the good guys.
- There are essentially no good guys and bad guys. The apparent good Earth Federation of the planet’s surface promotes law and peace through tyrannical means. The apparent evil Zeon Principality of the revolting colonies cause mass destruction and murder because the Federation didn’t allow freedom through peaceful means.
- Many events are reminiscent of real-life historical events:
a) French Revolution: The mistreated peasants (Zeon) revolt against the uncaring aristocrats (Federation).
b) World War Two: The exploited German people (Zeon) turn to fascism in order to revenge Europe’s (Federation) snubbing restrains (Zeon uniforms resemble those of Nazis).
c) Afghanistan War: Terrorists (Zeon) destroy the Two Towers (major cities) by ramming airplanes on them (descending colonies), in order to resist America’s (Federation) forceful control over their country.
- Other issues of great importance are also discussed in the series:
a) Humanity’s uncontrollable expanding populace is constantly increasing demands in food and water and exhausts Earth’s natural resources. This gives an ecological theme to the story.
b) Humanity’s overpopulation leads to non-stop wars for control of the world’s natural resources. This leads to further destruction of the planet’s fragile balance. A solution proposed in the series is birth control and population stability.
c) There is great racism between Oldtypes and Newtypes. The first believe to have more rights and the second believe to be genetically superior. This gives the series a message about human rights and equality before law.
d) Zeon leaders want to eradicate most of humanity and maintain a small, genetically improved populace that can easily be controlled. This gives the series a message about humanity, power mongering and elitism.
e) There are romantic relationships in the series, centering on key characters. And they are not the lame harem-type relationships with the boy being a jerk and the girl kicking the shit out of him every 5 minutes.
- Gundam is also a sci-fi war drama. There is angst before the tragedy of war and sorrow for the dead in the battles. No one is treated just as a faceless drone (the insane Zeon leaders do, which has a reverse result on us). The protagonist does not take sides in this war. He is neither pseudo-democratic/autocratic nor fascist. He just chose a side in order to end the war. This prevents the series from promoting or damning political ideologies and just proposes a pacifistic world-view. It still does use propaganda against political ideologies though, as it has a lot of allegories with the events of World War Two. And hates with guts everything America, Japan or Germany did to the world (not a bad thing but propaganda none the less).
- The story slowly changes the formula from season to season, as well its main cast, thus preventing the show from feeling like a complete rehash.
a) The first series is about the war between colonists and federals, as well as the political intrigues of the Zeon royal family and the sinister plan of Char to take revenge for what they did to his family.
b) The sequel, Zeta, is about the aftermath, when megalomaniacs plan to turn the Federation into a totalitarian regime, while even the royal family of the colonists plans to crawl into politics in a way to gain power and support. Also, the number of Newtypes starts to increase and more and more use psionics as means to fight better.
c) The next sequel is… well… a plotless silly comedy with robots. Very few people consider Double Zeta to be even a mediocre season because it trashed the feeling of drama and epic struggle for silly strolling in random places with random people. But heck, Tomino just wanted to make something light for a change and he realized it didn’t work and didn’t try to repeat it.
d) Next came Char’s Counterattack, a movie where Amuro and Char have their final showdown, ending a rivalry which lasted for decades. It also shows how Char slowly changed his priorities from a simple revenge to a global conspiracy to force humanity into space.
e) After that, several side stories and a final season for this continuity came, but none managed to be equally captivating, as the setting started to feel like it was going in circles, pretty much like what had happened with the classical super robots formula. All the later characters were far less interesting, the stories felt like slight variations of the first two seasons, and Tomino himself pretty much hated Gundam Victory (ironic name BTW) and demanded to end the storyline there. After that he preferred to focus on alternative universes which usually lasted one or two seasons at the most, with a movie finale.
As far as the stories are interesting, the pacing of them will feel bad for most as it tends to be slow and the plot twists simply come out of nowhere, because the characters all have weird mood swings and yell for no apparent reason or without proper justification. Also there still are logical fallacies in the story despite all good efforts to not have those. The Newtypes for example are supposed to be far better in controlling Mobile suits and even have the ability to use telepathy to sense others of their kind and even chat with the dead. But there several points where even normals get to fight evenly with them or hear them talking with telepathy, or their lasers seem to miss despite the ability to lock on their targets. All that make things look tad random and unrealistic but still beat the competition.
As far as characters go, Amuro and Char are memorable, since they reappear in later series as allies and rivals again. They have a decent strong personality and character development. As it usually goes with most bad guys, Char is a far more interesting character than the too-goody protagonist, Amuro. His childhood past and the loss of many loved ones changed him several times. He originally seeks to help humanity live permanently in space, then to destroy it, then to defeat Amuro, then to avenge the Zeon leaders, then to lay low until he can be ready to strike anew, and so on, and so on… Poor Amuro hardly affects the story as Char does. The second season finds Amuro taking the sidelines while another character, Kamille, is now the protagonist, teaming up with Char, who now has an alias, and going to take out the asses who plan to take over the world with the fear of weaponry. Kamille is far more of an idealist and he screams like an idiots how love and friendship and the shitz are more important than politics. Well, he is definitely more memorable than that dried up Amuro but on the other hand HE DOESN’T SHUT UP AND NAGS LIKE A SPOILED BRAT. And I guess that sold too well because all following series aimed to have a Kamille look aline. The Titans faction is a fine example of how a democratic party can easily turn to fascists themselves out of fear of losing its authority.
But as I said, the characters behave weird and their character development feels more like random mood swings that came out of nowhere. It still makes them more memorable than the average cast of their era as almost half of them are eventually killed by the end of the timeline, usually in a very dramatic way. Also, them talking as ghosts offers a metaphysical aspect to the show, proving how emotions outlive death and how ideals are more then empty words. read more
May 25, 2010
[KIND OF A SPOILER]
The ending was a very good ending that tied it up fantastically whilst introducing a spiritual level with the emergence of newtypes. Arthur C. Clark would be embarrassed by yet another mediocre rehashing of his original concept, which is really older than him, but he was the one who brought it to science fiction and made it what it is today. Asimov also hinted at it in his Foundation series. It happened in other anime besides this one, but what always disappoints me is that the revolution is never shown. Here, all of humanity will become newtypes, but this is never shown. In elfen lied, another show that used this concept, all of humanity were to become diclonius, but this was never shown. I guess the vision from there on out is too fantastic, and must be toned down a bit. (Imagine getting the job to animate the evolution and destruction of humanity!) The newtype thing was interesting, but it wasn't fleshed out, and ultimately fell a bit flat from its potential. I could say that about this whole show though. Hurrah for starting a genre, but it was a kind of lackluster start to the genre.
So, for my score: a 7 for the story, more or less for the reasons I've talked about. In general I would have given the art a 7, but for coming up with the designs of the suits, designs that have remained with us ever since this show aired and essentially pioneered a genre, I have to push that up to an 8. The sound was pretty bad, with an embarrassing opening and closing, but an okay soundtrack, so I give it a 5. The characters were very hit or miss. I liked Char and Sayla, I despised the little kids (what purpose did they serve?), so I give a 6 for characters. I enjoyed it a lot despite it's faults, so I'll grant it an 8. This makes my overall rating a 7. I recommend it to people who are interested in seeing a historic show. If you don't really care about the history of anime, then whether or not I recommend it depends on how much free time you have and how much you enjoy the genre. I personally think every true fan of anime should at least do themselves the favor of watching part of this series. read more
Nov 1, 2011
Sadly, all 1st Gundam is, when stripped away from its legacy, a half-germinated seed. It hasn't even bloomed, it hasn't even stemmed, hell it hadn't even broke ground!
In today's world, had we no Real Robot mecha, we would simply call 1st Gundam a very good idea.
(forgive me if I include the words "seem" and "seemingly" a lot)
So, fittingly, it's idealism that sets the show into fruition but that's about it. Like most classic sci-fi, they tend to rip history out context for context, and paste it .
30 years ago was communism vs. democracy, so it doesn't take a historian to draw this conclusion: Earth Forces for order, Zeon Federation for "colonial"-states. So I naturally have common questions:
How did it start? I'm not sure... Why should we care?
After 5 eps I answered myself: Because of the Gundam!
Earth Forces, despite having... (seemingly) the entire Earth at the beginning of the war, happened to lose so much of their land because of clumsy looking tin cans? So JUST ONE MECH tides the war?
Look, I'm all for cool mecha designs, but this disregard for logic already had me scratching my head.
I mean, just 2 years later we get 1st Macross rationally explaining where they got their ideas for their mecha at (in less than an episode...) and also portrayed the complexity of it far minutely and tensely than in the 1st ep of Gundam.
I know, I know... it was uncommon for robots to make sense.
Well, there's a saying "he who aims for two hares gets one". Meaning Tomino hindered the development of a now diverse subgenre by nothing more than haphazard planning (Anno with Gunbuster?)
Being the first of something can only excuse so much. Even the two most memorable characters (when compared to the rest) Amuro and Char limit us from caring.
Amuro's introduction, a closet nerd (it seems) who likes machines (but seemingly small ones), really gets the hang of piloting a Gundam... with nothing more than a manual and "the Gundam's abilities"??? That's an awful lot to digest...
But with Char, who is he? Well, even if we won't find out for a good while, why should we care anyway? He's as talented as the Gundam so I guess THAT is why? Wha-?
But I digress, I'm talking about the show from different standards. Standards that many older movies and TV shows still abide by. So the show wasn't ahead of its time is all I'm really saying. But for all its political layering, focus on amateur infrastructure, and constant bouts with the enemy... one wonders if Gundam is just a bridging from Super to Real Robot more than anything.
If seen in that regard, then it is indeed a pass.
The OP and END seem to go hand in hand with that idea too; the OP a pleasant tune praising the Gundam a la to Super Robot, and the END being a quiet eulogy of Amuro's struggle.
The rest of the music isn't bad but typical of the era: overused songs for the battles, dramatic courses when things simmer, and the like. The art isn't here but in the presence.
Which is what 1st Gundam probably invoked more so than anything: that mecha fights can be intricate, thorough, and tactfully engaging. Sure, "tactics make the weapons", but at least Tomino painted many classic battles with concise and grounded physics, weaponry fatal to all mecha, lead character model or not, and even successfully uses the battles to excuse plot contingencies. Even the animation is studious; vacuum leakages are cool, metal denting is clear regardless of speed or magnitude, and explosions and laser rupturing are the cherry toppers.
Tomino is a technical director so here's where his heart and soul really lie. An auteur he is, but not a poet.
And opposite of that passion would be characters, motives, and scenarios. I'm not sure if it's ethical to compare to later incarnations but most first episodes in subsequent series usually explain the cause(s) of war, if not something to go on. Examples include:
Gundam SEED - Discrimination for each other leading to a nuking
Gundam Wing - Growing civilizations on numerous colonies lead to Earth monarchies focus on control
Gundam 00 - ......to fight war w/war?
Turn A Gundam - One civilization imposes on a lesser civilization a la pioneers unto the Indians.
Well, we don't ever completely understand how things started, only on what effects they caused throughout. Plotting things with this handling is what I'd call excusing.
What about Amuro and his family being briefly mentioned? Heck, Char gets more downtime simply because his lot goes higher than Zeon's. Or what about the cast on White Base and beyond? Only a few get such involvement and it's mostly to glaze where the Gundam needs to be next anyway.
1st Gundam's characters = the shows weakness
I must again digress that what saves Gundam from being unwatchable is how dutiful Tomino exercises direction. The show's honest intent with mecha slug-outs remedies the logical fallacies that plague the show. When the animation quality goes slightly higher during a fight, I didn't mind and I doubt others will. As for pacing... well, due to Tomino planning, the show just breaks into tolerable.
5 eps of important, 10-15 of monster-of-the-week, rinse repeat.
If you're gonna bother watching an dated model, at least you know what you're gonna look for...
So, a staple of anime? Yeah, I guess. Deservedly? No way. The show is the pioneer of Real Robot potential in name only and probably excused other notable directors such as, Takahashi, Ishiguro, Kawamori, and do I need to mention Anno again?
Since people tend to look ahead, 1st Gundam is hardly an excuse to look back and see how far things have come... but it is if you care about the meta-series, Gundam overall, Real Robots, or just for the sake of knowing yer history.
Letter Grading Time(LGT)
Story: C (what is this all about? what was it all for?)
Art: A- (classic mecha designs that are used in many ways still to this day)
Sound: C+ (*listens to the themes* not bad... *watches and listens* ....... *mutes*)
Animation: B (70's or 80's? I dunno!)
Characters: D+ (what characters? oh yeah, the people that are in this show...)
Enjoyment: B- (wow... didn't think Gundam 00 and Code Geass derived from this!)
Overall: B- (focus on what you're watching it for and grit your teeth) read more
Jun 18, 2010
Jan 15, 2009
For every single on, who calls themself anime watcher it is a real treasure, it is the first in gundam series, also it is 30 years old, and for many of us the music and all is very classic.
Watch, Learn, Enjoy.
Nov 4, 2011
if you aren't an appreciator of retro anime, the animation style may take some getting used to. Even for fans of classic anime, the animation can be painful to watch at times (visible pencil lines, dust on the screens, perspective issues, just to name a few!) which is understandable when you consider the cramped timeline and minuscule budget the animators had to work under to complete it.
The story is well balanced and enjoyable, and has something for everyone in it. you will laugh, you will cry, and there are lots of characters you'll want to punch in the face (but don't worry, Lietennant Bright will likely take care of that for you). the characters are amazing. there isn't a single character in 0079 I don't love, and I would gladly take a 2D bullet for any of them if you are unmoved by either the story and the plights of the characters, you aren't paying attention. what makes First gundam great is that the anime is only the surface, and I'm not talking about the whole family of spinoffs within the UC vein alone. there is so much backstory to immerse yourself in, how and why the space colonies were built, where tomino got his inspiration for the colonies and their design, minovsky physics, and the astro-geopolitics of the universal century; its a world you can truly lose yourself in, and one that i visit in my imagination every day.
often people debate whether to watch the tv series or skip through it and watch just the compilation movies. in my opinion they are both worth watching and have their own strengths and weaknesses. a lot of people blame the TV series as having lots of filler and episodes that don't advance the story at all, which is true, but they also offer more detail in the places where it counts. the movies, while using some scenes directly from the tv series, also has a lot of new animation that is of considerably higher quality, and may be easier on the stomachs of people who aren't used to older anime. The movie hits all of the major points of the story, while glossing over a lot of things. The upside being you have an undiluted plot and it can have a higher impact on the viewer, the downside being missing the detail offered in the TV series.
if you are new to 0079, I would recommend watching the movies first to get a taste for it, and then watch the TV version later. either way, both are a must-watch. the dub of both the movies and TV anime are pretty good, so whether you prefer subs or dubs, you are in for a treat
Jun 1, 2012
Opening sequence: 4
Ending sequence: 2
Rating: AA: I know there’s plenty of action but there isn’t plenty of objectionable content though. It’s a pretty safe show.
The story revolves around Zeon breaking away from the Federation and declaring a war of independence. When the show begins we’re several months later and we follow the story of the White Base, a ship who as escaped Zeon forces and is on the run with a crew full of civilians who have to come together as a military force to survive. The story is excellent and the future of humanity in space is very well portrayed, more realistically then you’d ever hope from an older series at least. They are some drawbacks, such as the focus being more on the ship and its crew than the war and its progression at first but overall it’s all good. There will be many unexpected turns throughout the series, especially near the end and it isn’t the kind of show where you can just sit there and guess everything that will happen. One last weak point I’ll attribute to the story is the lack of political matters and an almost absent focus on the Zeon homeworld and the Zabi family who were the best assets of the series.
The characters were average and perhaps the reason the show didn’t rank higher with me. Amuro falls in line with a sea of uninteresting basic teenage lead that we see in anime. The captain and the other crewmen aren’t really explored, nor are their relationships, they become better friends but that’s about it. Fraw was an interesting enough character but her relationship with Amuro never develops, at all, becoming one in a long line of incomplete romantic relationships in anime. Kai ended up being the most interesting character on White Base, quite surprising considering his first impression. Char and his sister ended up being the better characters but they weren’t explored enough as well, more should have been done on them. Char should have been the main character. It’s unfortunate but because the series concentrated too much of its time on battle the overall interactions between characters remained minimal and cut short often leading to what feels like incomplete development. The detailing of their past and their struggles was also downgraded leaving much to be desired; elements such as Char and Alicia’s past were only given a short flashback and a few mentions when they were by far the story with the better potential. The show relied a little too heavily on hitting others to put them in their place as well and over-used the “be a man” rhetoric that’s supposed to boost the strength of the main character to 100%. And the worse, the three annoying little trolls that were the kids on the ship: people today often speak against the new moe trend but at the very least the new designs for younger members of the cast in today’s anime aren’t similar to trolls. The Zabi family was almost entirely composed of characters with potential but they were barely seen during the series, the director had the impression the most interesting characters were on White Base, he was wrong.
The voice acting was fine, the actors knew what they were doing. They were a few instances of badly processed emotional scenes but these were ill conceived by the director of the show so it didn’t leave much room to the voice actors; after all what they couldn't act was never intended to be there in the first place. I’m specifically referring to crucial emotional moments whose power was lessened by how short they ended up being.
The amount of action was staggering; one good point I’ll give the series is it had decent action and well enough animated battles for an older anime. However, it did have many instances of repeated animation. The fact that they put in a battle in every single episode acted in detriment of the show, it severely cut on the show’s emotional moments and character development to introduce often unnecessary battles. The final 15 or so episodes do throw in more action then the rest of the series but its enhanced quality, intensity and climatic value were more than enough to warrant it, it actually bumped the rating for the series in my case. The truth is the series should have started low on action to put more into politics, the characters and relationships and then gradually move the intensity of the battles to the level of the last 15 episodes.
There is almost no fanservice, a few scenes of nudity but that’s it.
In the end it’s a good enough series but hardly ranks with the top classics out there. It’s worth watching just to know what the fuss is about and get the lay down of the Gundam franchise if you plan on watching the subsequent series. If you’re into mecha or space battle heavy shows then you’ll definitely want to see it. read more
Feb 23, 2010
Mobile Suit Gundam has a captivating story that will suck you in from the very begining. Over the course of the series you will see the development of the young protagonist Amuro Ray from a civilian to war hero, and the hardships and heartbreak he must incounter along the way.
For being 30 years old Mobile Suit Gundam is still a beautiful anime to behold. It should be in no way compared to modern HD anime, but insted treasured for it's timlessness and wonderful portral of it's characters and their emotions.
An opening theme song ranking among the most famious in history, iconic sounds of mobile suits and space combat, and a exellent cast of voice acting from both the Japanese and English versions of the show bring this show to near perfection.
Each character has their own style and presence about them that is wonderfuly flushed out for all to see and admire. We watch as characters are forced to deal with the war they have been flung into and how they change overtime. We see the emotional termoil these teenagers are forced to sholder from watching friends, and enemies die in battle.
Its almost hard to put into words the level of awsomeness Mobile Suit Gundam displays. The series is adored by so many tens of millions of people throughtout the world. Only by watching it can one truly appreciate and understand why.
Mobile Suit Gundam is the first series into what has now become the most successful anime franchise in existance. It is the very definion of what it means to be a classic. For any Gundam, mecha, or dare I say anime fan of any age or origin this will be an adventure you do not want to pass up. read more
May 8, 2012
MSG0079's strong points include good character design, an excellent cinematic score, and the new ways it showed an action anime could be produced, but it has weak points, too. The background landscapes are quite bland; earth is mostly represented as a hilly brown wasteland. The english dub is also so-so, with Bright's actor a high point and Frau Bow's a major low.
MSG0079's most glaring flaw is the way some episodes become a 22-minute chunk of confusing exposition. Most of 'Hand to Hand Combat' is devoted to the characters explaining the plot. We see Amuro recuperating in his quarters, Ramba Ral preparing an invasion of White Base and Ryu, Hayato and the others set out on a buggy to scope out Zeon. One gets the impression of a fragmented and unfocused plot. As Ryu astutely says, "Why is everyone on White Base running around doing whatever they feel like?"
All in all, a landmark anime with some flaws, as landmark anime will often have. read more
May 11, 2013
1) I'm truly shocked that Mirai, Fraw Bow, Kai, and Hayato all survived. If you had asked me at episode 5 what were the odds of that, I would have said less than 15% or so.
2) Series would have been better plotted if it had been 5-10 episodes shorter.
3) Ditto if the Newtype stuff had been developed or brought in earlier.
4) The kids being on board the White Base is still idiotic and a huge breaker of suspension of disbelief.
5) Poor Sayla - such a butt monkey. I think I've figured out her role: she's there to make Amuro seem more like a hero. (The casual sexism in MSG is getting kind of amusing: first we have Amuro's comment about how he hates to take orders from a woman, then we have an entire episode devoted to Sayla trying to prove a woman can fight - and failing completely. Even though somehow Amuro's amateur fights turn out alright...)
6) I got very tired of how the previews for the next episode seem bent on spoiling it as much as possible - gee, Matilda dies? Just want I wanted to know. That big assault we've been waiting 10 episodes for succeeds? *Swell*. You bastards. Why are you doing this to me?!
7) With episode 10, I applaud Char's betrayal of Garma. You tried many times, and finally succeeded beautifully. Well done, you scarlet scum, well done indeed.
Overall, a very good series which has aged surprisingly well, and so I can well understand why it was so influential - it must've come as a thunderous clap to watchers of the time, a vision of how mecha anime *could* be. read more