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.
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 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.
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".
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.
|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, 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.
(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.
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