Gundam (Japanese: ガンダム Hepburn: Gandamu), also known as the Gundam series (ガンダムシリーズ一覧 Gandamu Shirīzu ichiran), is a Japanese science fiction media franchise/media mix created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise that features giant robots (mecha) with the name "Gundam" (after the original titular mecha). The franchise began on April 7, 1979 with Mobile Suit Gundam, a TV series that defined the "real robot" mecha anime genre by featuring giant robots called mobile suits in a militaristic setting. The popularity of the series and its merchandise spawned a franchise that includes television series, OVAs, films, manga, novels and video games, as well as a whole industry of model robots known as Gunpla (plastic Gundam model).
|Created by||Hajime Yatate|
|Original work||Mobile Suit Gundam|
|Owned by||Bandai Namco Holdings|
|Films and television|
|Television series||See below|
|Traditional||Gundam War Collectible Card Game|
|Video game(s)||See list|
|Toy(s)||Gunpla (plastic Gundam models)|
The Robot Spirits
S. H. Figuarts
Military science fiction
Gunpla makes up 90 percent of the Japanese character plastic-model market. Academics in Japan have viewed the series as inspiration; in 2008, the virtual Gundam Academy was planned as the first academic institution based on an animated TV series.
The Gundam franchise had grossed over $5 billion in retail sales by 2000. By 2014, annual revenue of the Gundam franchise reached ¥80 billion per year, ¥18.4 billion of which was retail sales of toys and hobby items. As of 2018, Gundam is one of top 15 highest-grossing media franchises of all time, estimated to have generated more than $20 billion in total revenue.
Mobile Suit Gundam was developed by animator Yoshiyuki Tomino and a changing group of Sunrise creators with the collective pseudonym of Hajime Yatate. The series was originally entitled Freedom Fighter Gunboy (or Gunboy) for the robot's gun, with boys the primary target demographic. Early production had a number of references to freedom: the White Base was originally "Freedom's Fortress", the Core Fighter was the "Freedom Wing" and the Gunperry was the "Freedom Cruiser". The Yatate team combined the English word "gun" with the last syllable of the word "freedom" to form the portmanteau Gundom. Tomino changed it to Gundam, suggesting a unit wielding a gun powerful enough to hold back enemies like a hydroelectric dam holding back water. In keeping with the concept, Gundam are depicted as prototypes or limited-production, with higher capabilities than mass-produced units.
Most Gundam are large, bipedal, humanoid vehicles controlled from a cockpit by a human pilot. The cockpit is located in the torso, while the head serves as a camera to transmit images back to the cockpit. Most of the series protagonists are Newtypes, genetically advanced humans adapted for space. Newtypes have psychic abilities that enable them to sense each other across space and to utilize special mobile suits.
The series itself has been described as a space opera.
Mobile Suit Gundam reportedly pioneered the real robot subgenre of mecha anime. Unlike its super robot cousins, Mobile Suit Gundam attempted realism in its robot design and weaponry by running out of energy and ammunition or malfunctioning. Its technology is derived from actual science (such as Lagrange points and the O'Neill cylinder in space) or feasible technology requiring only a few fictional elements to function (such as Minovsky Physics).
Most of the Gundam animation (including the earliest series) is set in what is known as the Universal Century (UC) calendar era, with later series set in alternate calendars or timelines. Although many new Gundam stories are told in their parallel universe with independent timelines (giving them greater creative freedom), the original UC storyline continues to be popular. It established the series, setting the standard for hard science fiction in anime; the original Gundam marked the maturing of the giant-robot genre. Nostalgia for the oldest Gundam shows (and its status as a pop-culture icon in Japan) is a factor in its continuing success.
TV series, films, and video
Except for Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (which follows the current calendar era), all mainstream Gundam series are set in a fictional era which begins after a drastic event or chain of events. The scenario commonly changes as the story progresses between Earth, space, space colonies and in some cases the Moon and terraformed planets.
|Name||Media||Release date||Timeline and year|
|Mobile Suit Gundam||TV series: 43 episodes.||1979–1980||UC 0079|
|Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam||TV series: 50 episodes.||1985–1986||UC 0087|
|Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ||TV series: 47 episodes.||1986–1987||UC 0088|
|Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack||Movie||1988||UC 0093|
|Mobile Suit SD Gundam||Movies||1988, 1989, 1991, 1993|
|Compilation TV series||1993|
|Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket||OVA : 6 episodes||1989||UC 0079-80|
|Mobile Suit Gundam F91||Movie||1991||UC 0123|
|Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory||OVA: 13 episodes||1991–1992||UC 0083|
|Mobile Suit Victory Gundam||TV series||1993–1994||UC 0153|
|Mobile Fighter G Gundam||TV series||1994–1995||Future Century 60|
|Mobile Suit Gundam Wing||TV series||1995–1996||After Colony 195|
|Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team||OVA||1996–1999||UC 0079|
|After War Gundam X||TV series||1996||After War 15|
|Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz||OVA||1997||After Colony 196|
|Turn A Gundam||TV series||1999–2000||Correct Century 2343-5|
|G-Saviour||Live-action movie||2000||UC 0223|
|Gundam Neo Experience 0087: Green Diver||Specialty format movie||2001||UC 0087|
|Gundam Evolve||Animated shorts||2001–2007|
|Mobile Suit Gundam SEED||TV series||2002–2003||Cosmic Era 71|
|Superior Defender Gundam Force||TV series||2003–2004|
|Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War||OVA||2004||UC 0079|
|Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny||TV series||2004–2005||Cosmic Era 73|
|Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079||OVA||2006||UC 0079|
|Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73: Stargazer||OVA||2006||Cosmic Era 73|
|Mobile Suit Gundam 00||TV series||2007–2008||Anno Domini 2307-8, 2312|
|Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: Gravity Front||OVA||2009||UC 0079|
|Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn||OVA||2010–2014||UC 0096|
|Compilation TV series||2016|
|SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors||Movie||2010|
|Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer||Movie||2010||Anno Domini 2314|
|Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G||OVA||2010|
|Mobile Suit Gundam AGE||TV Series||2011–2012||Advanced Generation 115-164|
|Gundam Build Fighters||TV series||2013–2014||Our Century|
|Mobile Suit Gundam-san||TV series||2014|
|Gundam Reconguista in G||TV series||2014–2015||Regild Century 1014|
|Gundam Build Fighters Try||TV series||2014–2015||Our Century|
|Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin||OVA||2015–2018||UC 0068, 0071, 0078|
|Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans||TV series||2015–2017||Post Disaster 323, 325|
|Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt||OVA||2015–2017||UC 0079|
|Mobile Suit Gundam: Twilight AXIS||OVA||2017||UC 0096|
|Gundam Build Fighters: Battlogue||OVA||2017|
|Gundam Build Fighters: GM's Counterattack||OVA||2017|
|Gundam Build Divers||Prologue OVA||2018||Our Century|
|Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative||Movie||2018||UC 0097|
|SD Gundam World Sangoku Soketsuden||Net Animation||2019-TBA|
|Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise||Net Animation||2019-TBA||Our Century|
|Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash||Movies||2020-TBA||UC 0105|
On July 5, 2018, it was announced at the Anime Expo 2018 that Legendary Pictures and Sunrise are teaming up to developing a Live action Gundam movie. On March 6, 2019, Deadline reports that Brian K. Vaughan will write and will also serve as an executive producer for the film.
Manga and novels
Gundam has spawned over 80 video games for arcade, computer and console platforms, some with characters not found in other Gundam media. Some of the games, in turn inspired spinoff novels and manga. Most Gundam video games, except Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, were released only in Japan.
Hundreds of Gundam models, primarily made of plastic but sometimes with resin and metal detail parts, have been released. They range in quality from children's toy kits to hobbyist and museum-grade models, and most are in 1:35, 1:48, 1:60, 1:100 or 1:144 scale. Promotional 1:6 or 1:12 scale models are supplied to retailers and are not commercially available. For Gundam's 30th anniversary, a full-size RX-78-2 Gundam model was constructed and displayed at Gundam Front Tokyo, in the Odaiba district; it was taken down on 5 March 2017. A new statue of the Unicorn Gundam was erected at the same location, now renamed The Gundam Base Tokyo.
Bandai, Gundam's primary licensee, produces a variety of products. Other companies produce unofficial merchandise, such as toys, models and T-shirts. Products include Mobile Suit In Action (MSiA) action figures and Gundam model kits in several scales and design complexities. Each series generally has its own set of products, MSiA and model lines such as Master Grade and High Grade Universal Century may extend across series. The most popular action-figure line has been the Gundam Fix series, which includes the mecha in the animated series, manga and novels and accessories to create an updated version. In addition to Master Grade and High Grade Gundams, Bandai released a 30th-anniversary series of Gundam models in 2010. The Real Grade (RG) Gundam series combined the Master Grade's detailed inner structure with additional colour separation, making the 1:144-scale series complex in design and compact in size. After the introduction of the RG Gundam series, Bandai released the Metal Build series in March 2011 (beginning with the 00 Gundam).
Bandai maintains several websites to promote Gundam projects; Gundam Perfect Web is the official Japanese site. Its English-language counterpart is the US-maintained Gundam Official. In 2005, the website hosted the Gundam Official User Forum. The forum was based on the existing fan forum, Gundam Watch, using many of its staff. When the project was retired, Gundam Watch was reborn and became Gundam Evolution.
A number of series-specific websites have been created, often available for a limited time (usually to promote a DVD release). Common content includes character and mecha listings, lists of related merchandise and pay-for-download content. Special pages are frequent, often presenting downloadable wallpaper or a small game. The Superior Defender Gundam Force website has a game in which players take the role of villain Commander Sazabi, attempting to blast his subordinate with weapons.
Since 1980, Gundam has appeared in the following countries and regions:
Rest of Europe outside Italy
Gundam is a Japanese cultural icon; it is a ¥50-billion-annual business of Bandai Namco, reaching ¥54.5 billion annual revenue by 2006, and ¥80.2 billion annual revenue by 2014. Stamps were issued, an Agriculture Ministry employee was reprimanded for contributing to the Japanese Wikipedia Gundam-related pages, and the Japan Self-Defense Forces code-named its developing advance personal-combat system Gundam.
The impact of Gundam in Japan has been compared to the impact of Star Wars in the United States.
- Flow of the Japan toy industry (日本の玩具産業の動向), Japan Economics Department, Information section (日本経済情報課)
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- Bandai Namco Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Statement
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- Gundam Archives, production notes
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