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Mobile Suit Gundam
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Mobile Suit Gundam

Mobile Suit Gundam (Jp. 機動戦士ガンダム) is a televised anime that was written and directed by Tomino Yoshiyuki and is made up of 43 episodes that were aired in 1979. The series was later re-edited for theatrical release and split into three movies in 1981. Although the story has similarity with Starship Troopers, the idea of Mobile Suit came from the powered suit of Starship Troopers . Yasuhiko Yoshikazu did the character designs and Okawara Kunio was responsible for the mechanical designs, including the titular giant robot, the RX-78-2 Gundam.

Table of contents
1 Synopsis
3 History of the broadcasting
4 Novel
5 Characters
6 Weapons and Support Units
7 See also


The original Mobile Suit Gundam takes place during the One-Year War in the year Universal Century 0079 (U.C. 0079). During this time period humans live in orbiting space colonies called Sides. The ruler of Side 3 declares war against the earth for the independence of the colonies. In the early stage of the war, Earth Federation Force was defeated badly resulted by the change of strategy by the Minovsky Particle, which jammed communication and radar devices. Minovsky Particle changed the war from out range strategies centered to close combat centered battle. Meanwhile the Minovsky Particle had communication and radar jamming capabilities, it also allowed Mobile Suit with high performance in battle.

The story is about a crew of Earth Federation Space Forces on a space ship called White Base that fight against the Principality of Zeon using human shaped weapons called Mobile Suits. The crew of White Base fight Zeon using an advanced Mobile Suit called Gundam, that is more powerful than any weapon that Zeons have previously produced. The Gundam and the White Base are so important to the Federation, that the crew journeys to Jaburo, the Federation's main base located on the Amazon basin. In the process, the Gundam's pilot, Amuro Ray, and the other draftees are exposed to the harsh conditions of war, participate in many brutal battles, and experience the tragic trials and consequences of the conflict.


Mobile Suit Gundam marked the maturation of the giant robot genre. Prior to Gundam, most giant robot shows were formulaic with archetypal characters. They were often monster of the week shows in which the teen hero would jump into the robot (typically an heirloom from his late scientist father) and defend earth against an evil alien organization who would try all manners of gimmiky methods to take over Earth only to be defeated each time by the giant robot's superweapon. These shows often seemed interchangeable and shared recognizable traits that are now parodied in anime today. Such as the teen hero shouting his robot attacks, weapons materializing out of thin air, and the lenghty robot transformation sequences. Westerners are mostly familiar with these through the Force Five and Voltron series.

Gundam brought a sense of realism and feasability to the use of giant robots. In that sense, they were futuristic military hardware and not the almost magic superweapon of the "special" teen hero or just as often a Power-Rangers styled superteam. The robots of Gundam had limitations such as running out of power or ammunition. And they were only as good as the pilot in their cockpit.

The Mobile Suit design radically moved away from the popularized 10 story tall robot warrior look and adopted a more utilitarian appearance. And most importantly, the two sides were not depicted as good and evil but as two opposing political organizations. There were likeable and unlikeable characters on both sides. In contrast to the unending incompetence of the villains and their henchmen in the previous giant robot shows, some foes were worthy opponents, even superior. The characters in Gundam sometimes paid a hefty price for winning (which, in this case, more properly means that the characters simply survived the day and not necessarily tactical or military victory) and heroes as well as villains died in battle.

History of the broadcasting

The series did not receive high ratings when it was first aired, and was in fact cancelled before the series was intended to end. The series was to be aired with 52 episodes but due to the fact of low ratings, it was down sized to 43 episodes. 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. The models from the show sold very well, however, and the show did very well in reruns and in it's theatrical compliation. Much like the original Star Trek, the original Gundam was not appreciated by its initial audience, and also like Star Trek, proceeded to spawn a massive sci-fi franchise, spawning numerous sequels, model kits, and videogames up to the present day.

Mobile Suit Gundam was released in the U.S. (dub only) in July 2001 on Cartoon Network but, following the pattern of its initial airing in Japan, it was later cancelled before the entire series was shown. When the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks occurred, the series was almost over. Immediately following the attacks Cartoon Network, and many other stations, began pulling war-themed and violent programming. Although Cowboy Bebop came back before too long, Mobile Suit Gundam did not. Perhaps it had not been earning high enough ratings to justify returning the series for so few remaining episodes. It is sometimes stated that MSG was cancelled "because" of September 11. While this is likely why it was taken off initially, it is not sufficient to explain why the show didn't return. Aside from fan speculation, the source of this meme seems to be an anonymous report which appeared on the fansite gundam.com on Sept. 14, purporting to summarize an internal Cartoon Network memo. This report can be seen in The Internet Wayback Machine.

In 2002 the series was given another chance by Cartoon Network in one of their late-night programming blocks, but it was again pulled before completing its run.


Tomino Yoshiyuki wrote novels of Gundam on his own as an alternative universe of Gundam itself. The biggest difference is that Amuro Rey is killed in the final attack against the Geonic stronghold by a stray shot of bazooka from a Rick Dom. Char Aznable and the crew of White Base along with handpicked men under Kycilia Zabi's command makes a deep penetrating attack against the Side 3 and kills Gihren Zabi together 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 Amuro. These novels are official, yet are not widely regarded as the official story due to these differeneces.

The three novels were translated into English by Frederik Schodt and published by Del Rey Books in September, 1990. Mr. Schodt chose to use several non-official romanizations in his translation, for example rendering the name "Char" as "Sha." Zaku was rendered as Zak, reportedly based on a fanon text stating that this was was an acronym for Zion Air Kommand. This is not supported in any onscreen dialogue. Another change was rendering "Zion" as "Zeon," despite the already widespread fan usage of the alternate "Jion", which preserves the original pronounciation. "Zeon" (which does not), however, was later made the official romanization when Gundam was licensed in North America.


Earth Federation

Principality of Zeon

Weapons and Support Units

Notice: Spelling of all weapons are not official.

Principality of Zeon

Support Units

Mobile Suit

Mobile Armor

Earth Federation

Support Unit

Mobile Suit

Mobile Pod

Mobile Armor

See also

Followed By: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Gundam series
Universal Century: Mobile Suit Gundam | Gundam - The 08th MS Team | Gundam 0080 | Gundam 0083 | Zeta Gundam | Gundam Double Zeta | Char's Counterattack | Gundam F-91 | Victory Gundam | G-Saviour
Future Century: G Gundam
After Colony: Gundam Wing |
After War: Gundam X
Correct Century: ∀ Gundam;
Cosmic Era: Gundam Seed | Gundam Seed Destiny