Since it’s debut in 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam became one of the biggest franchises in Anime. Almost 40 years later, and there are plans for a 1:1 Scale Gundam to be erected. For comparison’s sake, Gundam is about as popular as Star Wars over in the East. Spawning a huge amount of spinoffs and side stories, the Mobile Suit Gundam mythology all started with the original. Here’s why you should watch Mobile Suit Gundam.
Set in UC 0079, Mobile Suit Gundam follows the story of Amuro Ray as he finds a prototype military mobile suit when his colony comes under attack from the fascist Federation of Zeon, who is vying for independence in space from the EFSF, who controls the entire Earth. Zeon campaigns for the rights of discrimination against Spacenoids (people born in space). However, both sides commit terrible atrocities, with Mobile Suit Gundam kicking off at the end of the ‘One Year War’, which has halved the entire population of humanity.
Our protagonist, Amuro stumbles upon the Gundam, a prototype Mobile Suit that has the power to turn the tide of the entire war. On the other side of the war is Char Aznable or ‘The Red Comet’. Char is a young, up-and-coming commander in the Federation of Zeon who pilots Red Mobile Suits that somehow move 3x faster than any others. Char’s secret identity is the son of Zeon Deikun, who was brutally assassinated when the Zeonic forces become embroiled in war a decade prior to the events of Mobile Suit Gundam. Vying for revenge, Char looks to rise up the ranks in Zeon’s army to topple the controlling family.
With Amuro and Char serving as rivals in the show, we’re greeted to a more gritty take on the typical colourful anime robot, and the show created the entire genre of ‘Real Robot’- Which has since spun off into properties such as Macross, Robotech and Votoms. With a whole host of cool robots to look at, a developing rivalry between Amuro and Char as well as twists and turns along the way, Mobile Suit Gundam is a seminal work in Anime, and created many of the archetypes that we often see perpetuated today.
The supporting cast is bright and colourful. With the rest of the Earth Federation Military scarce on resources, we see Amuro and his classmates and cohorts take control of the White Base, a brand-new ship captained by a young Federation officer named Bright Noa. Mobile Suit Gundam kicks off the UC Gundam timeline, and is directly followed up by Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Char’s Counterattack, Gundam Unicorn, Gundam F91 and a whole host of other spinoffs that take place during the One Year War. While the animation remains slightly dated, the action and drama in Gundam is second to none, and establishes an entire mythos that’s still being referred to and built upon today. We’ve popped the opening of one of its spinoffs below.
The Blu-Ray Remaster of the show comes complete with all 44 episodes of Gundam, and even comes with the English Dub of the show, though the Japanese Dub is also absolutely excellent. Amuro and Char’s Japanese voice actors carry their rivalry single-handedly with incredible rapport, with the actors continuing to reprise these two legendary roles almost 40 years later in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, a prequel to Mobile Suit Gundam. While English Dubs have come and gone, Mobile Suit Gundam’s English voice acting is to quality.
Well, what are you waiting for? Mobile Suit Gundam is the best place to start with the series, and with this Blu-Ray Set, it looks better than ever and also provides context for the rest of the side stories that take place in the One Year War. While it is slightly dated, it’s well worth taking the ride.