Anime’s international popularity is growing faster than ever. According to Netflix, over 120 million households watched at least one Japanese animation film last year just on their platform. The reason for this growing popularity is anime’s distinct art style and spectacular storylines. Despite being animated, these shows typically have heavy themes that range from light-hearted to mature, making them relatable to all viewers.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train is the highest-grossing anime and Japanese film ever made. It also happens to be the most successful film worldwide in 2020, with half a billion dollars accumulated. However, all of this success was made possible by some of the anime that gained worldwide popularity in the 1980s. One such anime is Mobile Suit Gundam, also known as First Gundam, Gundam 0079, or simply Gundam ’79. With its character development and one of the greatest anime stories ever told, Mobile Suit Gundam reinvented the industry.
In this article, we will discuss what makes Mobile Suit Gundam one of the best anime to watch:
1. Produced by One of the Best Studio
Mobile Suit Gundam is a sci-fi anime series about enormous robots; it made its Japanese debut on April 7, 1979. The creators of this anime are Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yatate. Hajime Yatate (矢立 肇, Yatate Hajime) Is a pseudonym for the Sunrise animation staff’s collective contributions. Hajime Yatate is best known for his work on Cowboy Bebop (1998), the various Gundam series, Love Live! School Idol Project, and others. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko did the character designs, and the mechanical models, including the titular giant robot, the RX-78-2 Gundam, were executed by Kunio Okawara.
In the 40 years since the show has used the incredible power of merchandising to become a major force in pop culture. Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), arguably one of the best and most influential works of Japanese science fiction ever produced, has inspired many written works, comics, video games, TV and movie spin-offs, sequels, and remakes.
Mobile Suit Gundam, sometimes referred to as Japan’s “Star Wars,” transformed mecha shows into hard science fiction from the realm of semi-superhero “Super Robots.” Similar to Star Wars, it was poorly received by the audience, and the original series was cut down to 43 episodes because of the poor ratings. However, the series achieved the success it deserved thanks to its unique plot and realistic characters.
Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt is one of the series’ numerous sequels. This sequel contains one of the most well-known mobile suits in this anime. The name of that mobile suit is Psycho Zaku, and its features and use in the plot helped it become famous. In the anime, the Living Dead Division of the Zeon army controls Psycho Zaku. Its cutting-edge operating system can allow users to control the limbs of a mobile suit by speaking directly to the suit’s drive system with their thoughts.
2. War Theme
At the start of the twenty-first century, it appears clear that the events of Japan’s mid-twentieth-century wars continue to impact Japanese society. As a result, many Japanese animations also have a strong theme of war. Mobile Suit Gundam is a strong character anime with lots of action set in a plausible future earth-sphere against the backdrop of an independence war.
It elevated animation beyond kid-friendly entertainment into mature stories, and Japan is still one of the only nations that believe the animation medium is capable of such. The influence of this anime is also visible in contemporary “anime” works.
3. Impressive Mobile Suits
This anime is best known for its mobile suits, and anime figurines of these suits are still popular among collectors. Long-term franchise fans have seen over a hundred different animation mobile suits. Each mobile suit has a distinct design that gives them individuality.
The United Nations Earth created and used Gundams as high-tech, high-performance mobile suits against the Space Revolutionary Army toward the end of the Seventh Space War. Vulture and the New United Nations Earth used Gundams in the Eighth Space War. The use of Gundams was restricted to Newtypes during the 7th Space War, and they teamed up with Bit Mobile Suits and the Flash System.
One of the best-looking Gundam series, if not the best overall, is Thunderbolt. The exquisitely presented 2D Mobile Suits, which update decades-old designs while maintaining their iconic power, bring the series to life in a way that has never been seen before. The animation scene showing a Zaku grunt battling the Full Armor Gundam effectively conveys the mecha’s terrifying power. The battles are spectacular and flashy.
4. Characters Based on Real life People
Characters in many war-themed television shows end up having a real-world feel to them. A franchise like Mobile Suit Gundam frequently draws inspiration from historical conflicts, especially World War II, and explores themes related to those conflicts. Some of the characters from the series that were based on actual people included:
- Char Aznable
Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, also known as the Red Baron, is the inspiration for Char Aznable (and the sometimes rival of Snoopy in Peanuts). During World War I, Richthofen was a fighter pilot for the German Air Force. Even today, more than a century later, he is regarded as one of the greatest and most well-known fighter pilots ever. In the anime, char is also an excellent pilot.
- Gilbert Durandal
Gilbert Durandal’s last name derives from Roland’s legendary sword, which he used while serving as Charlemagne’s paladin during the British and French Wars. Roland and Durandal shared a strong sense of honor and beliefs about how war should be fought. In legend, Roland was just as tenacious in facing his opponents as Durandal. Additionally, he was just as quick to eliminate anyone who did not support or agree with him.
- Kira Yamato
Kira Yamato shares many traits with Luke Skywalker, and as a result, he also shares many characteristics with King Arthur. He has a sister who was raised somewhere else and was raised by relatives other than his parents. He finds greatness by necessity, leading others in battle by controlling his Gundam.
The Gundam anime has had a significant impact on both Japan and the rest of the world. The Gundam franchise is as popular in Japan as Star Wars is in the United States. This anime was one of the best because of its unique themes and realistic characteristics, influencing various modern anime. According to Deadline, the Gundam franchise may even make it to Hollywood.