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separate compilation

Mobile Suit Gundam

is a televised anime series, created by Sunrise. Written and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, it premiered in Japan on Nagoya Broadcasting Network between April 7, 1979 and January 26, 1980, spanning 43 episodes. It was the very first Gundam series, which has subsequently been adapted into numerous sequels and spin-offs.

The series was later re-edited for theatrical release and split into three movies in 1981. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko did the character designs and Kunio Okawara was responsible for the mechanical designs, including the titular giant robot, the RX-78-2 Gundam. When the first movie is released in 22 February 1981, it is regraded as the new age of Anime and an event called Declaration of new age of Anime (アニメ新世紀宣言) in Shinjuku and director Tomino made a speech questioning the then social concept which stereotype Anime being bad and poorly made to the gathered 15 thousand youngsters.

The series won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1979 and the first half of 1980. By the end of 2007, each episode of the original TV series averaged a sales figure of 80928 copies, including all medias it was published in (VHS, LD, DVD, etc.). The first DVD box set sold over 100,000 copies in the first month of release, from 21 December, 2007 to 21 January, 2008.

Synopsis

Set in a fictional universe in the Universal Century 0079, The Principality of Zeon has declared independence from the Earth Federation, and subsequently launched a war of independence. The conflict has directly affected every continent on earth and nearly every space colony and lunar settlement. Zeon has the upper hand through their use of a new type of weapon, called humanoid mobile suits. A Zeon recon team disobeys mission orders and attacks an unfinished base called Side 7. Its citizens accidentally find the Federation's new weapon called the Gundam. The newly formed crew of refugees, with support from Earth Federation soldiers stationed aboard the MS carrier White Base set out to change the course of the One Year War.

Background

The series was not popular when it first aired, and was in fact cancelled before the series was intended to end. The series was originally set to run for 52 episodes and was cut down to 39 by the show's sponsors, which included the original toymakers for the series. However, the staff was able to negotiate a one month extension to end the series with 43 episodes.

When Bandai received the licensing to the show's mecha, however, things changed completely. With the introduction of their line of Gundam models, the popularity of the show began to soar. The models sold very well, and the show began to do very well in reruns and even better in its theatrical compilation. 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.

Mobile Suit Gundam was also later aired by the anime satellite television network, Animax, across Japan, with the series continuing to be aired on the network currently, and later its respective networks worldwide, including Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America, and other regions.

Hoping to capitalize on the success of airing Gundam Wing the previous year, Bandai Entertainment released an heavily edited and English-dubbed version of the series premiering on Cartoon Network's Toonami across the United States on Monday, July 23, 2001. However, the series did not do as well as Gundam Wing and Cartoon Network would pull the show after it had finished airing. Following the pattern of its initial airing in Japan, it was later cancelled before the entire series was shown. When the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred, the series was almost over(there were only six episodes left). Immediately following the attacks, Cartoon Network and many other stations, began pulling war-themed content and violent programming as well. Although Cowboy Bebop came back before too long, Mobile Suit Gundam did not. However, the series finale were shown as part of Toonami's "New Year's Eve-il" special on December 31, 2001. It is sometimes stated that MSG was cancelled "because" of the September 11, 2001 attacks. This was verified by a Toonami producer in a March 4, 2002 with Anime News Network. interview

On Saturday, June 8, 2002, the series was given another chance by Cartoon Network in their late-night Adult Swim block, but it was again pulled before completing its run because of low ratings.

On May 30th 2006, Bandai Entertainment re-released the English dub of the TV series in a 10 volume DVD set. There was no Japanese audio track included, apparently because Yoshiyuki Tomino felt that the original mono mix was in too poor of a condition to use However, in 2007 the original series was released on DVD in Japan, which sold over 100 thousand copies within a month's time from 21 December, 2007 to 21 January, 2008.

In both American TV showings and on the American DVD release, episode 15 (Kukurus Doan's Island) was cut out. Tomino remained silent as to why the episode was cut and it remains a mystery, the episode becoming a "lost episode" of sorts, never being dubbed. The episode remained on the Japanese DVD release. This episode also has an error in continuity at minute 19 when the Gundam's weapon is suddenly changed.

Novel

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. Along with this adaptation came several major changes to the story. For example, Amuro is already a member of the Federation military at the time of the initial Zeon attack on Side 7, and the main characters in the Federation serve on the White Base-class ships Pegasus and Pegasus II rather than the Pegasus-class White Base. Additionally, the war continues well into the year UC 0080 in the novels, whereas it concludes at the beginning of that year in the anime series.

Perhaps the most controversial difference between the anime series and the novels is that in the latter, Amuro Ray is killed in the final attack against the Zeonic stronghold of A Baoa Qu when his RX-78-3 is pierced through the torso by a Rick Dom's beam bazooka. This occurs as Char's unit attempts to warn him about Gihren's intention to destroy the fortress and take the Federation's offensive fleet along with it. Char Aznable and the crew of Pegasus II (White Base), along with handpicked men under Kycilia Zabi's command, make a deep penetrating attack against the Side 3 and together kill Gihren Zabi, 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 off Amuro in the novels. Because of such significant deviations from the animated series, movies, and subsequent sequels the novels themselves are not considered canonical; however, the detailed account of past events leading up to the introduction of the mobile suit and early skirmishes of the OYW are more or less accepted in the continuity. Nonetheless, they are often enjoyed by fans because they provide a great deal of detail and help explain the philosophical underpinnings of the Gundam series.

The three novels were translated into English by Frederik Schodt and published by Del Rey Books in September, 1990. At the time, there were no officially recognized romanizations of character and mecha names, and a variety of different spellings were being used in the English-language fan community. In the original three novels, therefore, Mr. Schodt wrote the name "Char" as "Sha." "Sha" is a transliteration of the Japanese pronunciation, although Mr. Tomino later publicly confirmed at Anime Expo New York 2002 that the name was originally based on the French name Charles Aznavour, a popular French-language singer. (Interestingly, the 2004 edition of the English translation revealed that Schodt felt that the "Char" rendering "seemed too close" to Aznavour's name.) He also rendered "Zaku" as "Zak," and (after consulting with Mr. Tomino) "Jion" as "Zeon," instead of "Zion," which was in use in some circles. Some North American fans, already attached to particular spellings, took great umbrage at Schodt's renditions, forgetting that in the original Japanese most character and mecha names are written in katakana, and that there were, therefore, no "official spellings." Many years later, when the Gundam series was finally licensed in North America, the rights holders did come up with a unified list of "official spellings" for English-language material, and some of these spellings include Schodt's renditions, as well as the renditions to which certain North American fans were attached.

In 2004, Frederik Schodt revised his original translation of the books, which had been out of print for nearly a decade. What had been a three volume set in the 1990 Del Rey edition was re-released by Stone Bridge Press as one single volume of 476 pages (with a vastly improved cover design), titled Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation. Since the rights holders in Japan by this time had created a unified (although still evolving) list of romanized character and mecha names, Schodt was able to use it, and Amuro's rival in the novel thus became "Char" and not "Sha"; the popular Zeon Mobile Suit, similarly, became "Zaku," and not "Zak".

Compilation movies

Following the success of the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series, Yoshiyuki Tomino returned in 1981 and reworked the footage into three separate compilation movies. The first two movies, Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam: Soldiers of Sorrow, were released in 1981. The third movie, Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space, was released in 1982.

Each of the three movies is largely composed of old footage from the TV series, however Tomino felt that some things could be changed for the better. Tomino removed several aspects of the show which he felt were still too super robot-esque for the real robot series he intended Gundam to be, such as the Gundam Hammer weapon. The G-Armor upgrade parts were also completely removed and replaced in the narrative by the more realistic Core Booster support fighters, and Hayato receives a Guncannon at Jaburo to replace the disadvantaged Guntank. The third movie also includes a substantial amount of new footage expanding on the battles of Solomon and A Baoa Qu.

In the late 1990s, the three compilation movies were first released for directly to VHS dubbed in English with a different vocal cast from the later English dub of the TV show, which makes them among the first Gundam works released in English. The movies were released again in North America on May 7, 2002 in DVD format, available separately or in a boxed set. But these are available only with Japanese audio with English subtitles. This DVD boxset is identical to the 20th anniversary release of the movie compilation DVDs. The original voice cast members rerecorded their lines with the exception of those who were deceased. The 20th anniversary release is digitally remastered but many of the sound effects are replaced, most notably the futuristic gun sounds being replaced by louder machine gun sound effects. Also, the music soundtrack, while not remixed is rearranged and in some cases removed from some scenes. The vocal songs are rearranged also, especially in the closing credits of the second and third movies.

Bandai Visual has announced the re-release of the Mobile Suit Gundam movies on DVD from new HD masters and with the original, theatrical, mono audio mix. This box set is scheduled for release in Japan on December 21, 2007.

Manga

Mobile Suit Gundam manga, namely Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 and Gundam:The Origin are published in English by Viz Communications.

Characters

Earth Federation

Principality of Zeon

Weapons and support units

Opening and ending songs

Opening:

  • Tobe! Gundam (Fly! Gundam) by Koh Ikeda (TV series)

Ending:

  • Eien Ni Amuro (Forever Amuro) by Koh Ikeda (TV series)
  • Suna no Juujika (Cross of Sand) by Takajin Yashiki (Movie I)
  • Ai Senshi (Soldiers of Sorrow) by Daisuke Inoue (Movie II)
  • Meguriai (Encounters) by Daisuke Inoue (Movie III)

Note: On Cartoon Network's Toonami and Adult Swim airings, much shorter opening and ending sequences, 45 seconds long, were used in place of the Japanese TV openings and endings. These opening and ending sequences are also used in the Bandai releases from Volume 4-10.

Cast

Character Japanese Actor English Actor (Series) English Actor (Movies)
Amuro Ray Toru Furuya Brad Swaile Michael Lindsay
Char Aznable Shuichi Ikeda Michael Kopsa Steven Blum
Bright Noah Hirotaka Suzuoki Chris Kalhoon Wheat St. James
Mirai Yashima Fuyumi Shiraishi Cathy Weseluck Leslie Buhr
Sayla Mass Yō Inoue Alaina Burnett Olivia Bardeau
Fraw Bow Rumiko Ukai Kristie Marsden Melissa Fahn
Kai Shiden Toshio Furukawa Richard Ian Cox Christy Mathewson
Hayato Kobayashi Kiyonobu Suzuki Matt Smith Richard Cansino
Ryu Jose Shōzō Iizuka Ward Perry Unknown
Lalah Sune Keiko Han Willow Johnson Lia Sargent
Gihren Zabi Banjo Ginga Hiro Kanagawa Doug Stone
Garma Zabi Katsuji Mori Brian Dobson Unknown
Kishiria Zabi Mami Koyama Michelle Porter Bambi Darro
Dozle Zabi Daisuke Gouri French Tickner Peter Spellos
Degwin Zabi Hidekatsu Shibata Chris Schneider Elliot Reynolds
Ramba Ral Masashi Hirose John Payne Michael McConnohie
Crowley Hamon Yumi Nakatani Lenore Zann Dian Andrews

Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu

Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu was an amusement park attraction at the Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park located in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan.

Gundam the Ride, which opened to the public on July 20, 2000, was based on Mobile Suit Gundam. Set during the final chaotic Battle of A Baoa Qu on December 31, Universal Century 0079, Gundam the Ride places its riders in the place of civilian passengers onboard an Escape Launch Shuttle about to leave the battleship Suruga en route to Side 6. Of course once the Escape Launch leaves the Suruga it is immediately caught up in the tumult of war and must be escorted to safety by two GM pilots, Earth Federation Forces aces and members of the notorious "Jack the Halloween" Team, Jack Bayard and Adam Stingray.

The animation of Gundam the Ride used mostly computer graphics to create the large and engrossing space battles and mobile suits. However, all instances where a human character appears on screen while talking to the riders were created by hand-drawn cel animation, similar to the style current Gundam video games are done in. All of the character designs for Gundam the Ride were done by Mikimoto Haruhiko.

Like most themed rides Gundam the Ride had its own themed gift shop, called Gundam Mania, which was staffed by people dressed as Gundam characters. At the time of its opening Gundam Mania was the largest Gundam shop ever built, although it no longer holds that position. This gift shop sells vast amounts of Gundam-related merchandise, including t-shirts, model kits, videos and DVDs, various toys, and Gundam-themed snacks, as well as some unique merchandise which is produced exclusively for Gundam the Ride.

The Halloween team, as well as the Escape Launch, make a cameo appearance in the video game "Encounters in Space" while the player (playing as Amuro Ray in his Gundam) is making his way through the Dolos.

The ride closed on January 8, 2007.

Video games

(For the list below, only video games featuring mobile suits appeared in One Year War, or related variations)

There have been many video games based on or with mobile suits from the original Gundam series. Of these, the following have crossed the border into North America:

Current generation games that have been unreleased in countries outside Japan include:

Note: The various Mobile Suit Gundam series are always featured in the "Real Robot" side of the Super Robot Taisen/Wars series of games, except in original-exclusive series like Original Generation Series or Cybuster. In addition, Universal Century's Gundam always take part in all SRW series, except the most recent-two, SRWJ and SRWW, which Gundam SEED, G Gundam, and Endless Waltz take over the role of Gundam side.

Legacy

Despite being released in 1979, the original Gundam series is still remembered and recognized within the anime fan community. The series revolutionized mecha anime, introducing the new Real Robot genre, and over the years became synonymous with the entire genre for many. As a result, for example, parodies of mecha genre commonly feature homages to Mobile Suit Gundam, thanks to its immediate recognizability. Furthermore, John Oppliger observes that the characters of Amuro Ray, to whom the young Japanese of that time could easily relate, and Char Aznable, who was "simply [...] fascinating", made a major contribution to the series' popularity. He also concludes that "in many respects First Gundam stands for the nostalgic identifying values of everything that anime itself represents".

See also

Variation models:

Trivia

  • Tomino's original concept for the series 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.
  • The reason that the episode "Kukurus Doan's Island" was removed from the English-Language version of the series was that it was cut at the request of Yoshiyuki Tomino himself. He felt that the episode's story was substandard. On the other hand, Doan appears (possibly also the plot episode) in the game SD Gundam G Generation Advance. You can also fight Doan in his Zaku II, in the video game Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation Vs. Zeon. Also, this episode was not withheld from the Japanese box set that was released in December of 2006.
  • Originally, the design for the Gundam by Tomino and Kunio Okawara had the Gundam colored a uniform low-visibility gray. The show's sponsors, looking for a marketable toy line, prevailed upon the two to give the Gundam its arresting white, red, blue and gold scheme. A later retcon explained the colors by making them a demonstration/test scheme that was never repainted. In the novels, Amuro's first Gundam was completely white with some red, supposedly reminiscent of an X-Wing color scheme, and instead of the Gundam being upgraded with magnetic coated joints, Amuro was simply given a new one - the G3, which was colored a uniform low-visibility gray.
  • The final episodes (encompassing the battles of Solomon and A Baoa Q) were originally planned to be more elaborate, with exotic Zeon mecha defending the fortresses. Budget cuts scrapped the episodes (and the designs) although at least two (the Dom-like Dowdage and Gelgoog-Like Galbaldy) do become resurrected for Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ.
  • The positions in which the colonies (sides) are located in orbit are lagrange points are based on real scientific theory. While the colonies (sides) are based on the O'Neill Cylinder theory.
  • In Another Century's Episode 3, the Gundam is present, having some of the best armor and attack in the game.

References

External links

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