Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム Kidō Senshi Gandamu?, lit. Mobile Soldier Gundam, also known as First Gundam, Gundam 0079 or simply Gundam 79) is a televised anime series, created by Sunrise. Created and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, it premiered in Japan on Nagoya Broadcasting Network between 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.
The series was later re-edited for theatrical release and split into three movies in 1981. The characters were designed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Kunio Okawara was responsible for the mechanical designs, including the titular giant robot, the RX-78-2 Gundam. When the first movie was released on February 22, 1981, it was regarded as the new age of Anime and an event called Declaration of new age of Anime (アニメ新世紀宣言) in Shinjuku and director Tomino delivered a speech questioning the then social concept in which stereotypical Anime was portrayed as being bad and poorly made to the gathered 15,000 youngsters.
The series was the first winner of the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize, in 1979 and the first half of 1980. 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 taken down later. However, Bandai now plans to rebuild it near their factory.
Set in a fictional universe in the Universal Century year 0079, the Principality of Zeon has declared independence from the Earth Federation, and subsequently launched a war of independence. 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 perish in the conflict, the war settled into a bitter stalemate lasting over 8 months.
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 civilian in the process. Out of desperation, citizen boy Amuro Ray accidentally finds the Federation's new arsenal—the RX-78 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, and unknowingly, change the course of the war.
Original Concept and Development
Tomino's original plot 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 into Zeta Gundam and Char's Counterattack.
The final episodes (encompassing the battles of Solomon and A Baoa Q) were originally planned to be more elaborate, with exotic Zeon mecha defending the fortresses. Budget cuts scrapped the episodes (and the designs) although at least two (the Dom-like Dowdage and Gelgoog-Like Galbaldy) do become resurrected for Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ.
Gundam was not popular when it first aired, and was in fact cancelled before the series was intended to end. The series was originally set to run for 52 episodes and was cut down to 39 by the show's sponsors, which included the original toymakers for the series. However, the staff was able to negotiate a one month extension to end the series with 43 episodes.
When Bandai received the licensing to the show's mecha, however, 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, and the show began to do very well in reruns and even better in its theatrical compilation. Audiences were expecting another giant robot show, and instead found MS Gundam, the first work of anime in an entirely new genre, the mecha drama or the 'real robot' genre as opposed to the 'super robot' genre.
Mobile Suit Gundam was also later aired by the anime satellite television network, Animax, 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 airing Gundam Wing the previous year, Bandai Entertainment released a heavily edited and English-dubbed version of the series premiering on Toonami across the United States on Monday, July 23, 2001. However, the series did not do as well as Gundam Wing and would be pulled before it had finished. Following the pattern of its initial airing in Japan, it was later cancelled before the entire series was shown. When the September 11th attacks occurred, the series was almost over (there were only six episodes left). Immediately following the attacks, Cartoon Network and many other stations, began pulling war-themed content and violent programming as well. Although Cowboy Bebop came back before too long, Mobile Suit Gundam did not. However, the series finale were shown as part of Toonami's "New Year's Eve-il" special on December 31, 2001. It is sometimes stated that MSG was cancelled "because" of the September 11, 2001 attacks. This was verified by a Toonami producer in a March 4, 2002 with Anime News Network.
On Saturday, June 8, 2002, the series was given another chance by Cartoon Network in 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 21, 2008.
In both American TV showings and on the American DVD release, episode 15 ("Kukurus Doan's Island") was cut out. Tomino remained silent as to why the episode was cut and it remains a mystery, the episode becoming a "lost episode" of sorts, never being dubbed. The episode remained on the Japanese DVD release.
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.
Perhaps the most controversial difference between the anime series and the novels is that in the latter, 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 Aznable 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. Because of such significant deviations from the animated series, movies, and subsequent sequels the novels themselves are not considered canonical; however, the detailed account of past events leading up to the introduction of the mobile suit and early skirmishes of the OYW are more or less accepted in the continuity. Nonetheless, they are often enjoyed by fans because they provide a great deal of detail and help explain the philosophical underpinnings of the Gundam series.
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, when the Gundam series was finally licensed in North America, the rights holders 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.
In 2004, 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, Yoshiyuki Tomino returned in 1981 and 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 the late 1990s, the three compilation movies were first released for directly to VHS dubbed in English with a different vocal cast from the later English dub of the TV show, 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. But these are available only with Japanese audio with English subtitles. This DVD boxset is identical to the 20th anniversary release of the movie compilation DVDs. The original voice cast members rerecorded their lines with the exception of those who were deceased. The 20th anniversary release is digitally remastered but many of the sound effects are replaced, most notably the futuristic gun sounds being replaced by louder machine gun sound effects. Also, the music soundtrack, while not remixed is 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 box set is scheduled for release in Japan on December 21, 2007.
Mobile Suit Gundam manga, namely Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 and Gundam: The Origin are published in English by Viz Communications.
- Amuro Ray
- Bright Noa
- Fraw Bow
- General Revil
- Hayato Kobayashi
- Kai Shiden
- Matilda Ajan
- Mirai Yashima
- Ryu Jose
- Sayla Mass
- Slegger Law
- Tem Ray
Principality of Zeon
- Char Aznable
- Crowley Hamon
- Degwin Sodo Zabi
- Dozle Zabi
- Garma Zabi
- Gihren Zabi
- Kycilia Zabi
- Lalah Sune
- Ramba Ral
- Black Tri-Stars
Weapons and support units
Opening and ending songs
- Tobe! Gundam (翔べ! ガンダム Tobe! Gandamu?, Fly! Gundam)
- Lyrics: Yoshiyuki Tomino (as the pseudonym "Rin Iogi")
- Composition: Takeo Watanabe
- Arrangement: Yuji Matsuyama
- Artist: Koh Ikeda
- Eien ni Amuro (永遠にアムロ?, Forever Amuro) by Koh Ikeda (TV series)
- Suna no Jūjika (砂の十字架?, Cross of Sand) by Takajin Yashiki (Movie I)
- Ai Senshi (哀 戦士?, Soldiers of Sorrow) by Daisuke Inoue (Movie II)
- Meguriai (めぐりあい?, Encounters) by Daisuke Inoue (Movie III)
- Char ga Kuru (シャアが来る Shaa ga Kuru?, Here Comes Char) by Hori Koichiro
- Kirameki no Lalah (きらめきのララァ Kirameki no Raraa?, Shining Lalah) by Keiko Toda
- Ima wa Oyasumi (いまはおやすみ?, Now is Good Night) by Keiko Toda - Insert Song in Episode 36
|Character||Japanese Actor||English Actor (Series)||English Actor (Movies)|
|Amuro Ray||Toru Furuya||Brad Swaile||Michael Lindsay|
|Char Aznable||Shuichi Ikeda||Michael Kopsa||Steven Blum|
|Bright Noah||Hirotaka Suzuoki||Chris Kalhoon||Wheat St. James|
|Mirai Yashima||Fuyumi Shiraishi||Cathy Weseluck||Leslie Buhr|
|Sayla Mass||Yō Inoue||Alaina Burnett||Olivia Bardeau|
|Fraw Bow||Rumiko Ukai||Kristie Marsden||Melissa Fahn|
|Kai Shiden||Toshio Furukawa||Richard Ian Cox||Eddie Frierson|
|Hayato Kobayashi||Kiyonobu Suzuki||Matt Smith||Richard Cansino|
|Ryu Jose||Shōzō Iizuka||Ward Perry||Ward Perry|
|Lalah Sune||Keiko Han||Willow Johnson||Lia Sargent|
|Gihren Zabi||Banjo Ginga||Hiro Kanagawa||Doug Stone|
|Garma Zabi||Katsuji Mori||Brian Dobson||Unknown|
|Kishiria Zabi||Mami Koyama||Michelle Porter||Bambi Darro|
|Dozle Zabi||Daisuke Gouri||French Tickner||Peter Spellos|
|Degwin Zabi||Hidekatsu Shibata||Chris Schneider||Elliot Reynolds|
|Ramba Ral||Masashi Hirose||John Payne||Michael McConnohie|
|Crowley Hamon||Yumi Nakatani||Lenore Zann||Dian Andrews|
Gundam the Ride
"Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu" was an amusement park attraction at the Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park located in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan.
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 Suruga.
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 Mikimoto Haruhiko.
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.
Gundam Crisis Attraction
Set to replace the original "Gundam the Ride", the main feature of this attraction is a full size 1:1 Gundam model, lying flat inside the venue. Instead of siting 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.
(For the list below, only video games featuring mobile suits appeared in One Year War, or related variations)
There have been many video games based on or with mobile suits from the original 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: Encounters in Space
- Mobile Suit Gundam VS Series
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire (Mobile Suit Gundam: Target in Sight in Japan)
- MS Saga: A New Dawn (Mobile Suit Gundam: True Odyssey in Japan)
- Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 (Gundam Musou in Japan)
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 Pilot)
- Gundam Battle (series)
- SD Gundam G-Generation (series)
- SD Gundam SCAD Hammers
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Operation: Troy
- Kidō Senshi Gundam: Senjō no Kizuna
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Gundam
See also: Super Robot Wars
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.
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".
American Musician Andrew W.K. 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 Anniversary.
- Mobile Suit Variations
- Mobile Suit X
The background research of Mobile Suit Gundam is well praised in its field, positions in which the colonies (sides) are located in orbit are lagrangian points are based on real scientific theory, while the colonies (sides) are based on the O'Neill cylinder theory. It even caused the fame of the O'Neil cylinder in Japan.
- Otona no Gundam Perfect, Nikkei Business Publications January 21, 2008
- http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/edit-list/2002-03-04/cartoon-network-interview interview
- http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mobile_suit_gundam_vol_1_the_battle_begins/ Rotten Tomatoes page of the first volume.
- http://www.animejump.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=40&page=1 ("The sound quality of the recordings that remain from First Gundam is quite poor at this time. Because of this, there was no other way but to re-record the First Gundam movies, including the addition of new music. So there would be no possibility of having the original soundtrack released in the United States.")
- Otona no Gundam, Adult's Gundam, Nikki Entertainment
- http://www.animeondvd.com/conitem.php?item=180 ("I asked that it would be skipped. There is a reason, but since the staff is still alive I can't answer it. It’s a long story.")
- Tomino, Yoshiyuki (2004). Mobile Suit Gundam. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press. p. 11. ISBN 1-880656-86-8.
- Tomino, Yoshiyuki (2004). Mobile Suit Gundam. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press. pp. 470–473. ISBN 1-880656-86-8.
- [ 商品詳細 ] バンダイビジュアル株式会社
- Gunota Headlines
- Oppliger, John (June 24, 2008). "Ask John: Which Anime Have Been Ahead of Their Time?". AnimeNation. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- John Oppliger (2008-05-16). "Ask John: Why Are Gundam Fans So Obsessed With First Gundam?". AnimeNation. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- "Gundam Rock English Cover Album to Ship in Japan". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- Gundam Century, Gundam Science, High Frontier
- Gundam SF World
- Mobile Suit Gundam Epoch Vol. 1
|File:Wikiquote-logo-en.svg||Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Mobile Suit Gundam|
- Official Websites: Anime, GundamOfficial
- Mobile Suit Gundam (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Mobile Suit Gundam at the Internet Movie Database
|Gundam metaseries (production order)
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO
|Gundam Universal Century timeline
U.C. 0079 — 0080
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team,
Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket