Mobile Suit Gundam

Mobile Suit Gundam, known in Japan as Kidō Senshi Gundam (Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム, Hepburn: Kidō Senshi Gandamu, also known as First Gundam, Gundam 0079 or simply Gundam ’79), is an anime television series, produced and animated by Nippon Sunrise. Created 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 first Gundam series, which has subsequently been adapted into numerous sequels and spin-offs. Set in the futuristic calendar yearUniversal Century” 0079, the plot focuses on the war between the Principality of Zeon and the Earth Federation, with the latter unveiling a new giant robot known as the RX-78-2 Gundam piloted by the teenage civilian mechanic Amuro Ray.

This article is about the 1979 anime. For the series that it spawned, see Gundam.
“Zeon” redirects here. For the Intel computer brand, see Xeon. For other uses, see Zeon (disambiguation).

Mobile Suit Gundam

Cover of the first Anime Legends English DVD box compilation, featuring the protagonist Amuro Ray and the titular RX-78-2 Gundam.
機動戦士ガンダム
(Kidō Senshi Gandamu)
Genre Mecha, military science fiction, space opera
Anime television series
Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Produced by Yasuo Shibue
Hobuyuki Okuma
Wataru Sekioka
Written by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Music by Takeo Watanabe
Yūshi Matsuyama
Studio Nippon Sunrise
Licensed by
Original network Nagoya TV
English network
Original run April 7, 1979 January 26, 1980
Episodes 43[lower-alpha 1](List of episodes)
Manga
Written by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Illustrated by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Published by Akita Shoten
Demographic Shōnen
Original run 19791980
Volumes 2
Novel
Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation
Written by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Published by Asahi Sonorama
English publisher
Imprint Sonorama Bunko
Published 1979 – 1981
Anime film series
Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Produced by Masami Iwasaki
Masuo Ueda
Takayuki Yoshii
Written by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Music by Joe Hisaishi
Takeo Watanabe
Studio Nippon Sunrise
Licensed by
Released March 14, 1981 March 13, 1982
Runtime 139 minutes (I)
133 minutes (II)
144 minutes (III)
Films 3
Anime film
Mobile Suit Gundam:
Cucuruz Doan’s Island
Directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Studio Sunrise
Released 2022 (2022)
 Anime and manga portal

In 1981, the series was re-edited for theatrical release and split into three films. 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 film 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.

Despite initial low ratings that caused the series’ cancellation, the popularity of Gundam saw a boost from the introduction of Bandai‘s Gunpla models in 1980 and from reruns and the theatrical release of the anime, 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 handling of mobile suits as weapons of war, as well as the portrayal of their pilots as ordinary soldiers. This aspects contrasted with the previous style of portraying hero pilots and their giant super hero robots.

. . . Mobile Suit Gundam . . .

Set in a fictional universe (Universal Century year 0079 according to the Gundam Calendar), the Principality of Zeon has declared independence from the Earth Federation, and subsequently launched a war of independence called the One Year War. 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 perishes 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 civilians in the process. Out of desperation, young Amuro Ray accidentally finds the Federation’s new prototype arsenal—the RX-78 Gundam, and manages to beat back Zeon forces. Scrambling everything they can, the White Base sets out with her newly formed crew of civilian recruits and refugees in her journey to survive.

On their journey, the White Base members often encounter the Zeon Lieutenant Commander Char Aznable. Although Char antagonizes Amuro in battle, he takes advantage of their position as Federation members to have them kill members from Zeon’s Zabi family as part of his revenge scheme. Amuro also meets ensign Lalah Sune with whom he falls in love, but accidentally kills when facing Char. When the Federation Forces invade the Fortress of A Baoa Qu to defeat the Zeon forces, Amuro engages on a final one-on-one duel against Char due to both blaming the other for Lalah’s death. Having realized he forgot his true enemy, Char stops fighting to kill the last surviving Zabi member, Kycilia Zabi. Amuro then reunites with his comrades as the war reaches its end.

Director Yoshiyuki Tomino used the series to tell a story about war.[1]

The “Mobile Suits” of the show were inspired by the powered armor from the novel Starship Troopers from 1959.[2] Mobile suits were conceptualized as human-like robots which would not only appeal to children.[1] Yoshiyuki Tomino’s original plot for the anime 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.

In previous series Tomino worked in, villains were alien agents. Mobile Suit Gundam was the first of his work which featured humans as antagonists. The director commented he wanted to tell a story about war.[1] He aimed to expose thoroughly starting with Japanese aggression in Manchuria in 1939. Tomino did not allow for changes to history and wanted to use the story to make viewers confront the tragic realities of war. The director was unwilling to discuss the message of his work, expecting the viewers to reach their own conclusion. Additionally, he commented he “packed his frustrations” when making Gundam.[3]

Tomino met mechanical designer Kunio Okawara when he first worked in two television series from Sunrise. Tomino liked Okawara’s work and asked him to collaborate with him in his upcoming project. Originally, the anime would be called “Gunboy” but it was renamed Mobile Suit Gundam.[4] The White Base, the mothership of the protagonist crew members, is designed with a 3 plane view method by Kunio Okawara, however, it is not specially designed for the anime series Gundam, it was actually a salvaged design from the anime Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3.[5] The idea of having a space carrier from Tomino is partly inspired by the earlier science fiction anime Space Battleship Yamato, which he claimed to be a fan of.[5] It was intended to be in a more realistic black color, but was changed to white by the order of Sunrise, who similarly ordered the main mecha, Gundam, changed from a grayish white to white, red, blue and yellow. Director Tomino showed great disgust in the color change, also noticing the unrealistic non-aerodynamic design of it after the show was on air, said in an interview that such design would never appear in the real world, since it would be a sitting duck from fighter aircraft. Tomino still held a grudge 10 years after the show aired and stated in an interview in Newtype 1989 April issue that the imaginary enemies of Gundam are Sunrise, sponsors and television stations.[6]

Tomino compares the machines with religious history in Japan, most notably the worship of Buddha statues located in temples. The relationship between the pilot and the mobile suit has also been compared with the Formula One drivers who rely on machines to achieve a goal.[7] In order to give the mechas fast movements, most of the fights were situated in space where there was low gravity. This led to the creation of space colonies as a common setting. In order to explain how a person as young as Amuro could pilot the Gundam, the team came up with the idea of Newtypes.[1]

. . . Mobile Suit Gundam . . .

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. . . Mobile Suit Gundam . . .