A planet filled with gigantic robots can be terrifying or exciting, depending on the motives of their creators. The world of Gundam has giant robots called mobile suits that are used by ordinary humans for warfare against the Earth Federation and Principality of Zeon. This is an amateur crew which finds themselves aboard a spaceship to demand autonomy. In such a crisis, the government’s secret weapon, a gargantuan humanoid robot piloted by a gifted teenager, Amuro Ray, is the last resort to save the planet in the One Year War.
The original series “Mobile Suit Gundam,” written by Yoshiyuki Tomino in 1979, takes place in the year 0079 of the Universal Century. Before the series, animations in the mecha anime genre depicted sentient robots powered by mystical, supernatural sources, but “Mobile Suit Gundam” was the first TV series that defined the “real robot” subgenre, where robots are governed by realistic physics and technological limitations. The advanced weapons are controlled by humans using pedals, levers, and flipping switches. Gundam’s multiverse has a majority of antiwar sentiments. These sentiments often point out how common civilians are being used for greed by powerful people.
It was not well liked in its early days. What ended up popularizing the franchise was the release of its toys—mini versions of Gundams that could be built like puzzles. These kits, called Gunpla (a portmanteau of “Gundam” and “plastic”), make up 90 percent of the Japanese character plastic-model market. Its merchandise has been a major part of Gunpla’s popularity. There are 50 TV series, movies and OVAs, as well as novels, video games and manga. These days, the franchise is so prominent in Japan that it can be likened to Star Wars here in the U.S. Just this April, a Gundam Theme Park and life-sized RX-93 v Gundam opened alongside Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport Fukuoka, the world’s largest and tallest Gundam statue.
The Gundam universe continues to expand as a new series, “Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury,” premiered this October. On top of the show’s critiques on war and capitalism, it also introduces the series’ first queer female protagonist. The Gundam realm’s newest video game, “Gundam Evolution” is also set to release at the end of 2022, and is an immersive, team-based first-person shooter that allows you to pilot iconic Mobile Suits from the anime. If all of this wasn’t already enough to get you excited about Gundam, it’s only a matter of time before the franchise reels you in with its newest inventions. Some devote fans display their gratitude through an enormous figurine collection. Others have tattoos depicting the amazing robots. We have selected our favourites below.