Hi everyone. I’ve been trying to stay away from writing a Gundam related post for a while, but I decided that now was the time to get this one out. It’s something that I obsess completely over, so I try to introduce my fanaticism into this blog in small doses. Over the years as a Gundam fan, I’ve always been asked where someone would start when it comes to watching this franchise. All in all, that question makes sense. From an outsider’s point of view, the Gundam franchise is a huge monster that seems endless and in some ways, it is. When I originally started digging deeper into anime, I was watching Gundam and some other shows. I would crank one series after another because, with some issues here and there, this is a franchise that appeals to me on a huge level. The franchise is my Naruto, my One Piece, or whatever long running series that goes on forever. I love this franchise to death, flaws and all.
To be clear, this isn’t a post dedicated to tell you which series I like more than others. That is incredibly wrong, because I believe that people should have their own opinions about these shows. Besides, I want more people to watch Gundam. That would only steer people away from watching more of it. This is only a guide or a breakdown of the huge monster, the Gundam franchise. I will not mention any of the compilation movies in this post, though a lot of them are quite good, because they are a retelling of various series but not as in-depth. The fact that a post like this must exist is ridiculous, but then again it might be necessary for some people. Let’s cut down this franchise into reasonably watchable sized chunks.
Okay, the first step to making the Gundam franchise manageable is mentioning that it’s cut down into different universes that have nothing to do with each other. That means a lot of Gundam series don’t interconnect with each other for the most part. G Gundam doesn’t connect to Gundam Wing, Gundam OO doesn’t connect to Gundam SEED, and so on. There is one small exception when it comes to Turn A Gundam, but that’s another discussion for a different day.
The Universes are divided up like this:
That looks a little intimidating, doesn’t it? Well don’t worry about it too much. Most of these don’t have that much too them. The Universal Century is the only thing the huge is unmanageable for the franchise here. Let’s look at this a different way without the Universal Century.
-Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (movie)
Correct Century (Connects a lot of universes into one):
-Turn A Gundam
-Gundam SEED Destiny
-Gundam SEED Stargazer (ona series)
-Gundam OO S2
-Gundam OO: A Wakening of the Trailer Blazer (movie)
Regild Century (A long time after Correct Century)
-Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans
-Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans Season 2
See, that looks a lot less intimidating doesn’t it? Not many series to watch in each series with maybe a little more than fifty or so episodes to most of these universes. The cosmic era has two fifty-episode series in it, but not that terrifying. Okay, let’s look at the major elephant in the room of the Gundam franchise. The Universal Century. Now to make it less intimidating, there are only four full length anime series in this era. There is the original: Gundam 0079, its sequel: Zeta Gundam, Zeta’s sequel: Double Zeta Gundam, and Victory Gundam, which takes place a long distance away from the start of the franchise. The only things that make the Universal Century intimidating are the attachments or the various ovas and side stories that flesh out the universe even more. Without those, the Universal Century looks like this.
UC 0079: Gundam 0079 (42 episodes): A story about the one year war
UC 0087: Zeta Gundam (50 episodes): The Gryps Conflict
UC 0088: Double Zeta Gundam (50 episodes): The First Neo Zeon War
UC 0093: Char’s Counterattack (1 movie): The Second Neo Zeon War
UC 0123: Gundam F91 (1 movie)
UC 0153: Victory Gundam (50 episodes)
That’s still of lot of episodes to watch, but not as scary as it could be. There are a lot of ova series that are set around the one year war. Those being:
-Gundam War in a Pocket (6 episodes)
-Gundam ms 08th team (12 episodes)
-Gundam Thunderbolt (6 episodes two seasons each at the moment with more on the way)
-The various Gundam MS Igloo CGI OVAs
There is also 0083: Stardust Memory (12 episodes), which tell is the midway point between the original series and zeta Gundam. It’s a solid transition from how the world universe changed after the original series. Gundam Unicorn is set in 0096, three years after Char’s Counter Attack. It has only seven episodes, but each of them are one hour long with the last one being an hour and a half. Each episode is like its own movie and I just love it to bits. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rewatched it. Gundam NT is a movie that takes place after Gundam NT and resolves all the Gundam Unicorn plots that really didn’t need to be resolved. Next winter will be the start of Hathaway’s flash, something that follows around the chaos brought by Captain Bright’s Son.
In that same vein, Gundam the Origin, an ova in the same way Unicorn is, but it’s like a historical documentary on how the one year war came into being and gives a detailed history of Universal Century. I love this little series as well. It’s six episodes and tells the story of rise of the Red Comet and the rest of the Gundam crew. There was Gundam Twilight Axis too, but I don’t think that it’s worth it at all. The episodes were too short to matter or develop any sort of plot.
So with all that in Gundam universe stuff in mind, you are probably asking what I recommend to watch first? I would recommend three series. Start with Gundam Wing, Gundam OO, or Iron Blooded Orphans. If there was a forth, it would be G Gundam. I started with Wing myself. OO and Orphans are series that came out recently. All of them give you a good sense of what a Gundam series is like without being weighed down by a hideous amount of lore or burdened from so many other series. After those three, watch whatever you feel like within reason. Even the sequel series are only indirectly connected to each other, though I don’t think you would do something like going from the end to the beginning to the middle. That’s just weird.
So in the end, I hope I made the Gundam franchise less terrifying for you guys. When it is cut down like this, it doesn’t look as intimidating as one giant glob. If it still feels like a huge mess, let me know how I can explain it all better. Thank you for reading this and I hope I didn’t bore you. The Gundam franchise is something that continues to grow, so this post is only accurate up to May 13, 2017. At some point this post will be outdated, though a lot of the information will still be true.