Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム Kidō Senshi Gandamu , lit. "Mobile Soldier Gundam"), also known as Gundam 0079, is a televised anime series, produced and animated by Sunrise. Written and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, it premiered in Japan on Nagoya Broadcasting Network and its affiliated ANN stations on 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.
In 1981, the series was re-edited for theatrical release and split into three movies: Mobile Suit Gundam I (機動戦士ガンダムⅠ), Mobile Suit Gundam II: Soldiers of Sorrow (機動戦士ガンダムⅡ哀・戦士編 Kidō Senshi Gandamu II Ai Senshi-hen ), and Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space (機動戦士ガンダムⅢ めぐりあい宇宙編 Kidō Senshi Gandamu III Meguriai Sora-hen ). The characters were designed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, and Kunio Okawara was responsible for the mechanical designs, including the eponymous giant robot, the RX-78-2 Gundam. The first movie was released on February 22, 1981. Tomino himself also wrote a trilogy of novels that retell the events of the series. Two manga adaptations of the series have also been written by two manga artists.
Gundam was not popular when it first aired, and in fact came close to being cancelled. The series was originally set to run for 52 episodes but was cut down to 39 by the show's sponsors, which included Clover (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 bought the copyrights to build plastic models for the show's mecha, which was a relatively new market compared to the old Chogokin series Clover was making, 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, the show began to do very well in reruns and its theatrical compilation was a huge success, leading to the creation of a prolific and lucrative media and toy franchise. The series is famous for revolutionizing the giant robot genre due to the realistic handling of mobile suits as weapons of war as well as the portrayal of their pilots as ordinary soldiers, as opposed to the previous style of portraying hero pilots and their giant heroic super robots.
Set in a fictional universe in the "Universal Century" 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 and nearly every space colony and lunar settlement. Zeon has the upper hand through their use of a new type of weapon, called humanoid mobile suits. A Zeon recon team disobeys mission orders and attacks an unfinished base called Side 7. Its citizens accidentally find the Federation's new weapon called the Gundam. The newly formed crew of refugees, with support from Earth Federation soldiers stationed aboard the MS carrier White Base set out to change the course of the One Year War.
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.
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- Amuro Ray
- Bright Noa
- Fraw Bow
- General Revil
- Hayato Kobayashi
- Kai Shiden
- Matilda Ajan
- Mirai Yashima
- Ryu Jose
- Sayla Mass
- Slegger Law
- Tem Ray
- Char Aznable
- Crowley Hamon
- Degwin Sodo Zabi
- Dozle Zabi
- Garma Zabi
- Giren Zabi
- Kycilia Zabi
- Lalah Sune
- Ramba Ral
- Black Tri-Stars
Opening and Ending ThemesEdit
- Tobe! Gundam (Fly! Gundam) by Koh Ikeda (TV series)
- Eien Ni Amuro (Forever Amuro) by Koh Ikeda (TV series)
- Suna no Juujika (Cross of Sand) by Takajin Yashiki (Movie I)
- Ai Senshi (Soldiers of Sorrow) by Daisuke Inoue (Movie II)
- Meguriai (Encounters) by Daisuke Inoue (Movie III)