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Sep 29, 2018 9:25 AM
Anime Relations: Mobile Suit Gundam
Where does one start watching Gundam? Well, it's a pretty big and old franchise, so it really depends on your personal taste. Read through the list below and pick something that sounds interesting to you. I marked the possible start points in orange. Gundam can roughly be split into:

- the UC (Universal Century) series; these are connected into one huge story, but also have some side stories that are more standalone

- the AE (alternative universe) series; these aren't connected and can be viewed however you like

Main UC story:

  • Mobile Suit Gundam (0079) - the original series from the 70's. You can watch the movies instead if you like, they contain all the important bits. If you don't mind the old production and the plot holes, this is a good place to start and get introduced with all the main characters.

  • Zeta Gundam - continues from 0079, avoid the movies they have some story elements altered.

  • Gundam ZZ (ZetaZeta) - continues from Zeta, can be a bit annoying at the beginning because it moves slightly away from the main story, but a lot of the main characters appear in later episodes, some briefly.

  • Char's Counter Attack (CCA) - the final movie, a high budget theatrical production which makes it particularly popular among the fans. The characterization can be weird at times (Quess) as is typical for Tomino, but the ending is very emotional and memorable.

Also UC, but mostly side stories, where you also see mentions or appearance of the main characters in some of them. I list them in no particular order:

  • The Origin - this one is actually set before 0079 and tells the story of Char and Sayla in detail. It's a heart felt, high budget production with gorgeous animation, but the second half can get pretty dry with politics. It's probably better appreciated once you've seen the whole main UC story.

  • Gundam Unicorn (OVA) - set after CCA, the story follows Mineva Zabi, the young Zeon princess. It fills in a decent amount of info you might have missed from the UC stories and wraps things up nicely. This is a great treat if you've seen the whole main UC story, but it's also a perfectly valid starting point if you want to watch something modern with nice production.

  • 0080: War in the pocket - the most serious among Gundam series. It screams "War is bad!" in your face and it has a beautiful production too. If you like the 80's style, this is a good place to start. All you need to know beforehand is there are two big sides in a conflict.

  • Gundam F91 - this was supposed to be a full series, but unfortunately got scraped and cut and pasted into a movie. As a result there are some inconsistencies in the story and characterization. But the good thing is F91 was made roughly in the same era as 0080 so it has outstanding music and animation. Another good place to start if you like the 80's style.

  • 08th MS team - another series hit with production problems. This time the director died a few episodes in and consequently the series took a different direction. It starts heavy, like 0080, but becomes more streamlined. If you like the 90's style however, this is a good starting point.

  • Thunderbolt - a very gritty side story about a relentless clash between Gundam and Zeon forces in one key sector - even more morbid than 0080. Excellent music and animation. If you want something modern and brutal, this is a good place to start.

  • MS IGLOO - this is actually 3DCG and one of the early more ugly ones, but it's a fantastic short series. The character expressions and poses actually look quite interesting and funny at times, like they were rotoscoped or something. The story is set slightly before the events of 0079 and follows an experimental team working for a Zeon corporation. It's mostly tragic, like watching failed technological experiments of the 3rd Reich towards the end of WW2. You'll really appreciate IGLOO if you watch it after you've seen most of main UC story.

  • 0083: Stardust Memory - most famous for its Top Gun - style opening. It's set between 0079 and Zeta, but it's not really that important to watch it. Unfortunately the team had a fallout mid production, so by the end most of the characters become very unlikable (especially Nina) due to erratic characterization.

  • Victory Gundam - by a popular vote the worst Gundam ever. Tomino is said to have been suffering from depression even more than usual while making it, so it's full of weird designs and story elements.

  • Turn A Gundam - intended to be the final universe of all the Gundam series, where all the alternative time lines end up. It displays technologies and references from all other Gundams. It's also the last Gundam that was hand drawn on cells, before they moved to digital production. It starts out very interesting, but as it goes on the characterization becomes more weird and inconsistent - as is typical for Tomino.

Other alternative Gundams:

There's a whole bunch of them, like Seed, Wing, 00, G Gundam, After War X, ... but I won't get into them because they're pretty hit or miss and not really essential to watch by any means. I'll just mention the most recent ones:

  • Gundam Build Fighters - more or less a funny homage with a lot of references to different Gundam series, geared mostly towards kids.

  • Gundam G in Reconquista - really beautiful, with an interesting color palette and designs, but it's sometimes hard to comprehend what Tomino is trying to say. Like most of the series where he has largely free hands you'll either like it or be thrown off by the weird characterization and inconsistent flow of events. Supposedly this is actually considered to be a part of the UC universe, placed after the Turn A Gundam. However, you'll find no proof of that in the series itself.

  • Iron blooded orphans - a solid adventure with loots of heated action, but it can be a bit shallow at times, in the eyes of more seasoned viewers.

Posted by Boltz | Sep 29, 2018 9:25 AM | Add a comment