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Gundam's Alternative Timelines

Apr 08 2022, 12:38 AM | Updated Jan 19, 6:47 AM
Now, let's be real - as a franchise, Gundam is being perceived as this mess of close looking, but slightly different shows, and when you actually that they don't have direct continuity, being in separate timelines and all this, there's a high chance for the person to "NOPE" out of the topic.

But still, from person who has seen alot of what the Gundam franchise has to offer, it's safe to say not all timelines of this monster of a franchise are worth it, in fact, some of them are so thematically different, they're whole separate genres. So I'll try my best here to explain which show may be to whom's liking, since unlike the "main timeline" of the Universal Century, the alternative ones can be totally enjoyed as a separate things of their own. I do also believe that enjoying these timelines might pique your interest towards the main one as well, since more or less the themes of the Gundam shows does feel pretty close, despite the different timelines.

Kidou Butouden G Gundam

Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Kidou Butouden G Gundam
TV, 1994, 49 eps Me:- Author:-
The first ever separate timeline is the Future Century one, and boy, does this one deviates. The setting for this one more or less feels like marital arts competition, but with mechs, which, of course had been quite controversial. Some people adore the more goofy aesthetic and silly premise, others ardently hate it's existence, considering this show as some juvenile joke to the franchise.

If you can be open minded and you do feel you'd like the super-robot approach on this one, give it a go, otherwise, it's a decent skip for the Gundam fans who're more into this franchise for it's depth or grit.
Shin Kidou Senki Gundam Wing
TV, 1995, 49 eps Me:- Author:8
Gundam Wing might be one of the best known shows to the west, since it was the first ever Gundam that aired over the States, spreading worldwide. What this means, though, is that alot of people have biases for it, in both it's positives and negatives. It was also the first ever show to try to cater to the female audience as well, having pretty bishounen design on it's main leads.

Beside all this, the show's setting is intriguing, the cast does feels slightly undeveloped, but still entertaining to watch, and I do believe the "villains" in this show deserve special mention. Plot wise, the show hold out fairly solid, I believe.

The particular strength of this show, for me personally, was the way that each of the main cast was perceiving the war, the complex and detailed pondering of the cast over the human nature and it's desire to participate in wars, and also, what does wars actually means for us over the grand scale of life.
Shin Kidou Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz Special
Movie, 1998, 1 ep Me:- Author:9
The conclusive spectacle to the finale of Gundam Wing, again, it's very tied to the show, so it's a must watch if you do had good time with it. Again it more or less feels as a conclusion of every cast's internal struggle, I do believe this movie does fleshes out and wraps up very satisfyingly some character arcs.

Also, art wise, the movie looks gorgeous even now, the redesigned mechs from the show does make wonderful showcase of all of theirs arsenal. Also I cannot mention the wonderful insert song of TWO-MIX - Last Impression, it can struck a chord in one's heart, as well as the moment where Hero does the long range sniping, in his own peculiar way. Scenes like that are like visual poetry, I'm not saying it can struck anyone, but for me ? It personally did.
Kidou Shinseiki Gundam X
TV, 1996, 39 eps Me:- Author:8
This show has very peculiar spot, it sort of feels like a "what if" scenario of the One-Year War, from the UC, it's interpretation of Newtypes and the post-apocalyptic setting sure feels like something very refreshing. It has a bit of a rushed ending, since it was cancelled halfway into production, so the latter part might feel lackluster in it's buildup, but despite so, I do believe even with that said, that the show's worth one's time.

The cast is very vibrant, interesting and likeable, the main duo feels adorable to watch on screen, and I do like how the shows portrays this one picture of the Earth, slowly but surely rebuilding itself in front of our eyes, recovering from the horrors of the past, being traumatized by it, but then again, never forgetting about them.

I do believe this show by itself can be interesting watch for anyone, although I do believe the UC veterans might really enjoy and appreciate the setting of it even more so.

Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED
TV, 2002, 50 eps Me:- Author:-
Now, at the start of our new century, Gundam more or less staring to slip down into the anime fans' thoughts as an "old and dated show, kind of a classic", so a remake of sorts, which more or less has the original story but does adapts it to the newer generation of anime watchers was bound to happen.

Let's make the characters prettier, let's make the mechs more cooler, with even more superpowers and odd quirks, and also let's steal the plotlines of the UC Gundam and make it seem fresher, with more teen angst and less political depth. Also let's add rainbow coloured laser barrage, this looks cool.

If you feel something sounds wrong with the upper paragraph, I'm just kindly advising you to look away from these series. I totally understand that they're pretty popular and had introduced alot of people to this franchise, but from a veteran viewer's point, this really isn't something for me.

Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED Destiny

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny

Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED Destiny
TV, 2004, 50 eps Me:- Author:-
As a sequel to SEED, more or less the upper statements does cover this one too, with the slight note that even for dedicated SEED fans, this show felt worse than the previous, in it's writing and rehashed usage of frames and whole animation snippets, imagine being so engrossed into making the show good, that you're reusing animation for previous episodes into the newer ones.
Turn A Gundam
TV, 1999, 50 eps Me:- Author:-
Now, I did made an obvious mistake of lumping this show and G Reco into the alternate timelines, and not into the UC ones, for which I will get flak from the old guard of fans, but, hear me out on this one, Turn A and G Reco are so far ahead in UC that honestly they don't feel that they do belong there in the first place.

So, what do we have as a show for the 20-th anniversary of the Gundam franchise ? Something very peculiar, a show that does very odd retrospection of the Gundam franchise by itself, while being pretty subtle about it. It's setting is very detached from any of the known ones, featuring the Earth with it's technological advancements, which feels closer to 18-19-th century. Also, a bit of trivia, Tomino wanted this show to be the first that features a female main character, but he had to eventually remake this idea, and to cave in for the requests for a male lead, but still, you can't help but see how feminine Loran is.

I do think this show is very untypical, but in a good way, so if you don't mind the relaxed pace, a Gundam fan of the older shows can totally enjoy this one.

Kidou Senshi Gundam 00

Mobile Suit Gundam 00

Kidou Senshi Gundam 00
TV, 2007, 25 eps Me:- Author:9
This show feels like a bit of an upgrade and update upon Gundam Wing, if we're being honest. The plot feels very close, although the setting is pretty intricate, since it did draw inspiration from the current themes that were plaguing out society, and are held on by constant debates, as in the renewable power sources, the fossil fuel depending, the unstoppable conflicts in the Middle east and the never ending local conflicts there, as well as the massive political and economical alliances that the current globe is currently shifting to and fro.

So then again, on the backdrop of this very hard-sci fi setting, the plot, while close to Wing's , feel much more complex and detailed, also the main cast is much superior, in the way their interactions are written.

I do believe this might be one of the shows that could easily serve as an introduction to the Gundam franchise, since despite it's sci-fi roots, you can't help but feel it's setting being pretty grounded and tangled into our current reality. The character cast is quite large, but it's kept consistent throughout it's whole run, and it honestly might be one of the best standalone Gundam shows.

Kidou Senshi Gundam 00 Second Season

Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Second Season

Kidou Senshi Gundam 00 Second Season
TV, 2008, 25 eps Me:- Author:8
Direct continuation of the first season, I really found it great that despite the newer anime standards of having 24 or 12 episode show runs, Sunrise always tried it's best to aim for their golden standard of 50 episodes per major show, just as in the 80's.

While this show does expands on the existing solid foundation of the 1st season, the writing starts to feel a very bit predictable for the more avid Gundam fans, which is slight departure from the first season's brash and unexpected, albeit perfectly balanced, writing. Still, there is much to appreciate and like here, so it's certainly a must watch considering you do had good time with the 1st season.

Kidou Senshi Gundam 00 Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer

Kidou Senshi Gundam 00 Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer
Movie, 2010, 1 ep Me:- Author:5
This is an odd one, considering the decent and well-wrapped ending we get from the series, this movie feels like opening Pandora's box - in a way more content is surely nice, the animation has this high grade polish and the battle scenes are nice, but then again, the plot itself is honestly not making much sense. I mean, Gundam as a franchise always liked to play around concepts like psychic powers and mind readings, but I honestly didn't saw any point in the inclusion of a hivemind abstract space aliens in it, even more so that neither of the two seasons even tried to hint at any of this, which is just, ass-pulled writing at it's worst.

I do advise anyone to skip this thing, for the fans of the series might surely be disappointed with this one. While it does features nice animation and decent choreography, in it's writing it sort of feels like a bad fan-fiction.

Gundam: G no Reconguista

Gundam Reconguista in G

Gundam: G no Reconguista
TV, 2014, 26 eps Me:- Author:-
G Reco, as it was mentioned before, is a show set in UC, with not real connection to this timeline. It's plot is about distant future with no warring factions, just separate groups of people living somewhat harmonically. In this show there is a clear nod to the environmental issue at hand, so it's fairly untypical setting to say the least.

This show is somewhat of a departure from the well-established Gundam tropes, which can be considered as both fresh and lukewarm, depending on the person.

I don't really think I can recommend this one, it sort of feels as this show doesn't really know what it does or it wants to do, but if you're craving for some Gundam, and you're feeling experimental, give this one a go.

Kidou Senshi Gundam AGE

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE

Kidou Senshi Gundam AGE
TV, 2011, 49 eps Me:- Author:5
This show is very underwhelming for a plethora of reasons, one of which being that it tries to do the thing that SEED tried, to introduce the Gundam franchise to yet another generation, borrowing heavily from the UC lore. This by itself is not too bad, the problem is that the show looks, feels like and it's written for preteen audience at best, and I don't really mean this sarcastically.

Despite it, being a Gundam show, you can't help but feel that you're watching something that's not intended for even teen audience, and I don't mean this by purely the visuals, no, the writing and the plot moves as such, which feels jarring and, not something you'd like to look forward from a Gundam show.

I do believe this series might be nice introduction to Gundam for your preteen kid, to be watched as a Sunday morning cartoon, but I really can't see it as something more than this, you can certainly skip it.

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans
TV, 2015, 25 eps Me:- Author:8
This show was the long awaited invigoration to the more mature and gritty roots of the franchise, it's having this modern design while keeping it's writing serious and emotional. In a way it does feel like the setting is close to After War X, but then again it's not.

It does features the struggles of a mercenary unit, which is comprised of young adults and kids to find their place in this ruthless world. The point being, their only skill is to be soldiers, that's their only purpose in existence, but does it have to be so ?

The show is a solid feature, it's very welcoming for both veterans and entirely new watchers, so I do think it's very worthy of giving it a shot.

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans 2nd Season

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans 2nd Season

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans 2nd Season
TV, 2016, 25 eps Me:- Author:8
While the second part does lags behind, having lost a bit of it's genuine charm and appeal, it still provides for a solid conclusion of these series, having both great and tough to take moments, but you can't help this, this is part of the Gundam's appeal as a franchise, the point was never to end on a fake, wishy-washy point.

Again, solid entry as a standalone franchise, it's definitely one not for the skipping.
Gundam Build Fighters
TV, 2013, 25 eps Me:- Author:-
Well, this show is from the trend that likes to make Gundam shows more approachable, and less so dark and serious. While this does have fans and is appreciated, I cannot say this for myself. This show feels like, if you take the concept of Pokemon or Beyblade, and instead of the titular monsters they do fight with Gunpla, yes, plastic made Gundam model kits, and more or less that's it.

It does have a a lot of nods and references to the models which this show borrows from, but I don't really feel this can be a solid grip for the fans of the older shows. Then again, if you're looking for something lighthearted, you can probably like it, I just don't think this is a Gundam show in a good way.
Gundam Build Divers
TV, 2018, 25 eps Me:- Author:-
More or less the same concept as Build Fighters, but it's revolving around an MMO type of game. From the viewpoint of the fans of Build Fighters, the usual consensus is that this show is weaker, compared to Build Fighters, so I guess you can't really call this great addition to the Gundam franchise as a whole, or even the more lighthearted entries, even.

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