An introduction into Gundam as taken from our previous article ‘ Gundam: A Guide to Timelines in Anime ‘.
Mobile Suit Gundam, a mecha meta-series and a staple of Japanese Culture spanning across anime, manga, novels, games, theme parks and so much more. Beginning in 1979 with the first series known as ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’, the Gundam franchise has continued to expand and become a giant multi-verse that can be somewhat daunting to people who don’t know where to begin.
Within this article we will be taking a more in-depth look into the Universal Century (U.C.) timeline, the starting point for the entire Gundam franchise. The Universal Century timeline is the biggest of all the timelines containing multiple series, OVA’s and movies on the animated side but also includes a huge amount of manga and novels. While some manga series and novels have been included in the table below this is not a comprehensive list but rather a guide to some of the more popular series that compliment there animated kin.
This is the chronological order of the U.C timeline:
|U.C 0079||Mobile Suit Gundam||Series||43 Episodes (42 English version)||1979|
|U.C 0079||Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team||OVA||12 Episodes||1996|
|U.C 0079||Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War||OVA||3 Episodes||2004|
|U.C 0079||Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079||OVA||3 Episodes||2006|
|U.C 0079||Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Gravity Front||OVA||3 Episodes||2009|
|U.C. 0080||Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket||OVA||6 Episodes||1989|
|U.C. 0082||Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Deleted Affair – Portrait of Young Comet||Manga||14 Volumes||2001-2009|
|U.C. 0083||Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory||OVA||13 Episodes||1991|
|U.C. 0087||Gundam Neo Experience 0087: Green Divers||Special||2001|
|U.C. 0087||Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam||Series||50 Episodes||1985|
|U.C. 0088||Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ||Series||47 Episodes||1986|
|U.C. 0093||Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack||Movie||1988|
|U.C. 0096||Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn||OVA||7 Episodes||2010-14|
|U.C. 0105||Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash||Novel||3 Volumes||1989-1990|
|U.C. 0120||Mobile Suit Gundam F90||Manga||1 Volume||1990-1991|
|U.C. 0123||Mobile Suit Gundam F91||Movie||1991|
|U.C. 0133||Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam||Manga||6 Volumes||1994-1997|
|U.C. 0136||Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Skull Heart||Manga||1 Volume||2003-2004|
|U.C. 0136||Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Steel 7||Manga||3 Volumes||2006-2007|
|U.C. 0153||Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Ghost||Manga||Ongoing||2011-Present|
|U.C. 0153||Mobile Suit Victory Gundam||Series||51 Episodes||1993|
|U.C. 0223||G-Saviour||Live-action Movie||2000|
While compilation movies in anime as of late have become more of a habit rather than using it as a tool to improve upon previous work. In 1981 Yoshiyuki Tomino felt his Gundam series needed to be reworked in order to fit in-line with his original vision for a real robot series that Gundam was intended to be. Largely composed of old footage from the television series and by removing the more super robot-esque elements of the show, three compilation movies were created.
Mobile Suit Gundam (1981)
Mobile Suit Gundam 2: Soldiers of Sorrow (1981)
Mobile Suit Gundam 3: Encounters in Space (1982)
Zeta Gundam also received a compilation movie treatment to coincide with Gundam’s 25th anniversary. Unlike Tomino’s previous compilations major plots points and characters were changed or edited from the television version to allow the movies to flow more smoothly, and to bring the series into the 21st century for a new generation.
Zeta Gundam A New Translation: Heir to the Stars (2005)
Zeta Gundam A New Translation 2: Lovers (2005)
Zeta Gundam A New Translation 3: Love is the Pulse of the Stars (2006)
Over the years two separate manga for Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 have been published that closely follow the events of the anime, namely Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 and Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin . Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 is a direct interpretation of the events in the anime in manga form. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is a broader reinterpretation of the original series with the inclusion of Char’s back story to help explain some of his actions in the anime.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ have both received manga adaptations consisting of three volumes and work as a basic re-telling of the events in their respective anime series.
Although never having received an official release outside of Japan Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam and sequels are probably the most talked about manga series in the Gundam franchise, being one of the only manga to have a story and cast of characters akin to an anime series. Working as a sequel to the events in the F91 movie, Crossbone is viewed as what the F91 series would have been if it had not been turned into a theatrical release.
In 1979 before the end of the anime, Yoshiyuki Tomino himself created the first novelizations of the original Gundam anime series. The novels, issued as a series of three books, allowed him to depict his story in a more sophisticated, adult, and detailed fashion. The novel’s have huge difference to the actual series and were translated into English by Frederik Schodt in September, 1990.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening
Mobile Suit Gundam: Escalation
Mobile Suit Gundam: Confrontation
These books are now out of print.
However in 2004 Frederik Schodt revised his original translation of the books into a single volume titled Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation.
To begin the celebrations of the 35th Gundam anniversary a new anime series is coming in the fall season this year – Gundam Reconguista in G . Written and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino in his first Gundam anime since Turn A Gundam , joining Tomino is the character designer Kenichi Yoshida of Eureka Seven fame. This new series will take place in the timeline set after the Universal Century called Reguild Century.
It has been known for sometime that Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin will be getting an anime adaptation, until recently it was assumed or hoped that it would be a series, however it appears the current plan is to release four theatrical releases in cinemas starting in 2015 to celebrate the 35th Gundam anniversary.