is a Japanese anime series. The scenario was created by Yuuichi Abe.
A Japan/America co-production, SD Gundam Force initially broadcasted on Cartoon Network in US for 26 episodes, and later on TV Tokyo for 52 episodes, making it the longest Gundam series to date. Though the final 26 episodes were left unaired on television in America, fans petitioned for the second half to be released, and in 2008 the last 26 episodes were released in an English-dubbed DVD set.
Unlike previous SD Gundam
series, SD stands for Superior Defender. It is a crossover
series based on the three SD settings that were used in earlier SD Gundam anime
: SD Command Chronicles
, a science-fiction-styled militaristic setting; SD Sengokuden
, a setting with samurai-themed robots; SD Gundam Gaiden
, a medieval European fantasy-themed setting. It also contains many references and homages to the standard Gundam
shows, especially those of the Universal Century
, Future Century
, and After Colony
timelines. In a sharp contrast to the dark nature of most of the other Gundam series, SD Gundam is extremely lighthearted, though it does at times get more serious as the series goes on, but it's never as dark as the more "traditional" Gundam series.
The story is set in the futuristic city of Neotopia, a happy peaceful place where humans and robots co-exist, until the Dark Axis, an evil force from another dimension, arrives.
Aware of the Dark Axis in advance, Neotopia established the secret Super Dimensional Guard to combat the invaders whilst keeping the conflict a secret from the public. A young boy named Shute becomes accidentally involved in the first battle between the Dark Axis and the SDG's Gundam Force robot hero, Captain Gundam. Shute's friendship with Captain is critical to activating Captain's Soul Drive, his mysterious power source that is the key to victory. As the fighting continues, Gundams from other dimensions such as Zero and Bakunetsumaru arrive to help out. As the Gundam Force beat back the mono-eyed invaders the battle spreads beyond Neotopia into the dimensions of Lacroa and Ark, leading into a final confrontation with the supreme leader of the Dark Axis - General Zeong.
See List of Superior Defender Gundam Force characters
The characters of SD Gundam Force are split into two major factions- Super Dimensional Guard and Dark Axis. Amongst these are various sub-factions/alliances, usually designated by their members land of origin.
Cast & Crew
- Shute - Paku Romi
- Sayla, Nana - Akiko Nakagawa
- Keiko - Aya Hisakawa
- Captain Gundam - Hiroshi Kamiya
- Bakunetsumaru, Ninja Gundam - Susumu Chiba
- Zero - Mitsuki Saiga
- Genkimaru -Yumiko Kobayashi
- Gundiver - Kazuya Nakai
- Cobramaru - Kiyoyuki Yanada
- Daishogun - Juurouta Kosugi
- Commander Sazabi - Shuichi Ikeda
- Deathscythe - Kentaro Ito
- Professor Gerbera, Madnug - Akio Otsuka
- Destroyer Dom, Patrol GM - Hiroshi Matsumoto
- Zapper Zaku, Gunbike, Gunpanzer - Eiji Yanagisawa
- Leonardo, Pawn Leo Commander, Zako soldier, Zakrello gate - Takashi Nagasako
- Tallgeese, Epyon - Taiten Kusunoki
- Grappler Gouf - Mantarô Iwao
- Patrol Ball - Kiyotaka Furujima
- Kibaomaru - Masayuki Tanaka
- Mayor Margaret Gathermoon - Rei Sakuma
- Elmechu - Sawa Ishige
- Gundamusai, Raimi - Yuuko Satou
- Moukinmaru - Tetsuo Komura
- Battle, Zako Soldier - Tamotsu Nishiwaki
- Deed, Entengo, Zako Soldier - Kentarou Itou
- Lilijimarna - Miyu Matsuki
- Ginkaku - Masanobu Kariya
- Kinkaku - Makoto Yasumura
- Ashuramaru - Katsuyuki Konishi
- Mark, Chief Haro- Takahiro Yoshimizu
- Nataku, Pawn Leo - Takayuki Kondou
- Britainmaru - Eiji Maruyama
- Hogaremaru, Guneagle - Daisuke Namikawa
- Kijumaru - Hirofumi Nojima
- Zako Soldier - Hisanori Koyatsu
- Zako Soldier - Daisuke Kita
- Operator - Kaoru Morota
- Koa - Erino Hazuki
- Rock - Takuya Kirimoto
- Shute - Deborah Sale Butler
- Captain Gundam, Grappler Gouf, Fenn,, Deathscythe / Deed, Zaku Hour co-host - Doug Erholtz
- Bakunetsumaru - Yuri Lowenthal
- GunEagle - Dave Wittenberg
- Mayor Margaret Gathermoon, Noah - Philece Sampler
- Tallgeese, Zakerello Gate, Gunbike, Leonardo - Paul St. Peter
- Genkimaru - Wendee Lee
- Sayla, Koah - Michelle Ruff
- Zero The Winged Knight, Bell Wood, two Zakos - Aliki Theopilopoulos
- Chief Haro / Mark, Destroyer Dom - Scott Jasper
- Commander Sazabi, Asharamaru, Grey Doga, Prio, Zako Red, Young Train - Dominic Joseph
- Zapper Zaku, Kao Lin, Entengo - Danny Katiana
- Keiko, Juli, Princess, Doah - Kate Savage
- Allan Peters
- David Lelyveld
- Taylor Henry
- Michael McConnohie
- Kari Wahlgren
- Dave Mallow
- John Smallberries
- His Name is Captain
- Soul Drive, Activate!
- Zero, the Flying Knight
- Attack the Enemy Musai!
- Gundam Force, Team Up!
- The Blazing Samurai Comes to Neotopia
- Go! Gunbike!
- A Princess, A Cake, and the Winged Knight
- Bakunetsumaru's Struggle
- Gundam Force Triple Attack!
- The Mystery of Lacroa Part 1: Arrival
- The Mystery of Lacroa Part 2: Trapped
- The Mystery of Lacroa Part 3: Return
- Undercover Mission! Learn the Gundam Force's Secrets!
- Mach Wings: GunEagle!
- Masters of the Deep Sea: GunDivers!
- Ashuramaru: The Old Rival Returns
- Fly, Captain! The SDG Base Hangs by a Thread!
- Showdown! Bakunetsumaru vs. Ashuramaru
- Fenn's Disaster
- Awakening! Feather Dragon
- Attack of the Big-Zam
- Fire Up! Captain System
- Trouble! Stolen Soul Drive
- Neotopia's Moment of Truth
- The Final Battle! Commander vs. Captain
- Breaking in! The Dark Axis
- Three Paths
- Sure-Win Technique Sealed!? The Menace of the Minovs Sea Border
- Revival! We're in Charge?
- Evil Sword Epyon
- Epyon's Assault
- Rescue! The Cursed Princess Lacroa
- The Dark Robe of Princess Lacroa
- The World's Greatest! Genkimaru~!
- Riceballs and the Garden of Wisdom
- Clash! The Dark Deathscythe
- Princess Rele, Revive!
- Gerbera's Call
- Kibaomaru's Invasion!
- Captured Shute and Rele
- Wars of Ark
- Final Move! Kibaomaru vs Shute
- Bakushinmaru, Ignite!
- Gundam Force, Assemble!
- Cobramaru's Tears
- Startup! Musha Daishinsho
- Universe Castle in flames, Genkimaru shouts!
- Prelude to Ruin, the True Colors of Gerbera
- The World Disappears!? The General's Threat
- Decisive Battle! The General vs Everyone!
- The Way Home
Each episode title is presented over a card, the art of which changed over the series to reflect the evolution of the main cast:
- A simple shining Gundam Force badge
- The three main Gundams assemble and Captain fires his rifle directly at the screen. After the glow subsides the Gundams are seen together and Shute leaps into frame and joins them.
- The three Gundams stand in the background as Shute leaps up in the foreground, doing a triumphant pose.
- The Gundams appear in the regular forms before the card spins around to reveal them in their most powerful forms.
Differences between English and Japanese version
Although SD Gundam Force was designed with US standards in mind, there exists subtle differences between the English and Japanese language versions of the show. These include:
- Various specific eyecatches are used in the Japanese version, whilst the English release uses only one. Examples of differences in the Japanese version include one featuring Mayor Margaret with the various Neotopian Ball mecha and subtle changes to the standard animation such as Bakunetsumaru tripping over, causing his helmet to fall off.
- The Japanese version has a set of specific OPs and EDs whilst the US version uses scenes/screenshots from the show. Whilst the Japanese version uses similar for its OPs, the EDs are mostly new animation:
- * ED 1- A Zako soldier steals Sayla's umbrella, prompting Shute to give chase. Initially unsuccessful, Captain convinces him not to give up and Shute finally manages to retrieve it.
- * ED 2- Various members of the cast dancing (The visuals are very similar to at least one of the EDs used for Keroro Gunsou).
- * ED 3- The Gundamusai flying through the Minov Sea.
- * ED 4- Scenes of Princess Rele.
- In the episode 'Cobramaru's Tears', Cobramaru attempts ritual suicide to repent for failing his master Kibaomaru. As the issue of attempted suicide in a children's show would be controversial in most English-speaking countries the dialogue in the English language version is changed to imply that Kibaomaru is ordering Cobramaru to kill himself and/or go into exile.
- In the Japanese version, certain characters are voiced by the seiyū of the past Gundam characters they are referencing. As the Gundam dubs have used various voice acting casts this homage was not used in the English language version.
During the show's run in Japan, a limited time attraction was opened. Titled SD Gundam Force: Destructive Daishogun Appears!!Zako?
, the twenty minute show used a special theater to present a whole new SD Gundam Force adventure which the audience could interact with. Seemingly set in between episodes 26 and 27 (although overall it is best treated as being non-canon), the stars of the show are the Zakos who have been forced to become the SDG's cleaning crew. The Lacroan villain Da Jarle, Knight of the Hammer and the Ark Destructive Daishogun Hakaimaru seek to unify the world with the mysterious Zakarello Mobile. Da Jarle is able to change the appearance of others and Hakaimaru has a bath fetish that leads to him creating a 'Super Bathhouse' command station. The audience and the Zakos join the Gundam Force as they attempt to stop this new alliance.
Original characters were created for the show by Masato Ichishiki, author of the SD Gundam Musha Maruden/SD Gundam Force Emaki Musharetsuden/SD Gundam Musha Banchō Fūunroku manga. Motion capture data was taken from Japanese pro-wrestler Shinya Hashimoto for Hakaimaru's movements. Whilst Hakaimaru appears to be a generic Musha Gundam, Da Jarle resembles a OZ-12SMS Taurus.
The video portion of this attraction will be included as an extra on the forthcoming complete Japanese SD Gundam Force DVD boxset.
Two games have been released based on the show; a side scrolling platform game for the Game Boy Advance and a 3D action adventure game for the Playstation 2. The GBA game retold the story of the first 26 episodes of the show and allowed players to play as either Captain Gundam, Bakunetsumaru or Zero the Winged Knight. Characters could be switched at any time (for the cost of one bar from the special attack meter) and players would need to use each character's strengths to successfully complete the game.
The PS2 title was a much grander affair, presenting a brand new story. The mysterious Dimesional Halo appears in Neotopia and creates mirror versions of Neotopia, Lacroa and Ark. The Gundam Force are forced to battle their way through these copy dimensions and even face their own evil dopplegangers to reach De Scar Road and defeat the Dimensional Halo.
Each Gundam Force member had a variety of new forms they could achieve including one super secret form for each which could only be unlocked by a code (the code was presented on a Japanese trading card and eventually filtered to the Western fandom). The game even eventually allowed the player to play as a Zako soldier.
The Dimensional Halo and it's minions were based on the weapons of the Zanscare Empire in Victory Gundam. The game also featured further references to the earlier UC, FC and AC timeline in the form of new villains to populate the mirror dimensions.
Manga & Side Stories
SD Gundam Force has received a few manga interpretations. These include a serialized retelling of the show, a prequel manga and a loosely connected sidestory. Similar to most TV-to-manga adaptations, the 3 volume adaptation makes various subtle but notable changes for pacing reasons. Examples include the complete absence of Gunbike/Gunpanzer and Madnug managing to override his brainwashing, only to be killed by Zeong for his betrayal.
The prequel manga presents untold stories of Captain Gundam, Bakunetsumaru, Zero, Zapper Zaku, Grappler Gouf and Destroyer Dom. The sidestory, SD Gundam Force Emaki Musharetsuden, is set in the land of Ark and focuses on a band of heroic Musha Gundams.
- Although Gundam SEED had previously used the cel-shading animation technique, this is the first Gundam TV series to use it in the entire show.
- SDGF holds the distinction of being the first Gundam show to receive it's world premiere in the US and having the longest run of any Gundam series (52 episodes).
- A common misconception is that the show is solely an American creation. Whilst the series was designed with the American market in mind and premiered there it was animated in Japan and was always intended to be marketable to both Western and Eastern markets and the Japanese premier followed soon after the American one. A similar criticism is the belief that the series is not 'true' Gundam and instead a 'neutered' child friendly attempt. Many who make this claim are unfamiliar with the existing SD Gundam franchise (which SDGF draws from heavily) and believe that Gundam focuses solely on the military dramas that have been the franchise's focus in Western areas.