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Mobile Suit Gundam

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Mobile Suit Gundam


Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム, Kidō Senshi Gandamu)


Story & Script
Character Design
Mechanical Designer
Art Director


Japanese April 7, 1979 - January 26, 1980
English July 23, 2001 - June 2, 2002
Number of Episodes 43

Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム, Kidō Senshi Gundam) is a televised anime series written and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino and made up of 43 episodes aired in 1979.

The series was later re-edited for theatrical release and split into three movies in 1981. The idea of Mobile Suit came from the powered suit of Starship Troopers, although the story otherwise bears little resemblance to that novel. 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.


Universal Century 0079: The Principality of Zeon has declared its independence from the Earth Federation, and subsequently launched a massive war of independence, a war which has raged in every continent on earth and in nearly every space colony and lunar settlement. The Zeon have the upper hand through their use of a revolutionary new type of weapon, their humanoid like mobile suits. When a Zeon recon team disobey mission orders and begin attacking Side 7 its citizens stumble across the Federations latest weapon: the Gundam. With the aid of Earth Federation soldiers stationed aboard the MS carrier White Base the newly formed crew of refugees set out to change the course of the One Year War — or die trying.


The series was not popular when it first aired, and was in fact canceled 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 toy-makers for the series. Luckily, 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. Much like the original Star Trek, the original Gundam was not appreciated by its initial audience, and also like Star Trek, proceeded to spawn a massive sci-fi franchise, spawning numerous sequels, model kits, and video-games up to the present day.

Mobile Suit Gundam premiered on Monday, July 23, 2001 on Cartoon Network's Toonami in the US. It did very well, but it was later canceled before the entire series was shown . This was due to the September 11, 2001 attacks occurring. 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 last episodes were shown as part of Toonami's "New Year's Eve-il" special on December 31, 2001. It is sometimes stated that Mobile Suit Gundam was canceled because of the September 11, 2001 attacks. While this is likely why it was taken off initially, it is not sufficient to explain why the show didn't return. Aside from fan speculation, the source of this seems to be an anonymous report which appeared on the fan-site on September 14, purporting to summarize an internal Cartoon Network memo. This report can be seen in The Internet Wayback Machine.

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.

In both American TV showings, and on the American DVD release, Episode 15: Cucuruz Doan's Island was cut out. It was felt, even by Tomino, that this episode was not up to par with the rest of the series and so it was never dubbed, making it into a "lost episode" of sorts.


# Episode Title Japanese Airdate English Airdate
1 Gundam Rising 7 April 1979 23 July 2001
2 Destroy Gundam! 14 April 1979 24 July 2001
3 Vote to Attack 21 April 1979 25 July 2001
4 Escape from Luna II 28 April 1979 26 July 2001
5 Re-Entry to Earth 5 May 1979 27 July 2001
6 Garma Strikes 12 May 1979 30 July 2001
7 The Core Fighter's Escape 18 May 1979 31 July 2001
8 Winds of War 26 May 1979 1 August 2001
9 Fly! Gundam 2 June 1979 2 August 2001
10 Garma's Fate 9 June 1979 3 August 2001
11 Icelina- Love's Remains 16 June 1979 6 August 2001
12 The Threat of Zeon 23 June 1979 7 August 2001
13 Coming Home 30 June 1979 8 August 2001
14 Time, Be Still 6 July 1979 9 August 2001
15 Cucuruz Doan's Island 14 July 1979
16 Sayla's Agony 21 July 1979 10 August 2001
17 Amuro Deserts 28 July 1979 13 August 2001
18 Zeon's Secret Mine 4 August 1979 14 August 2001
19 Ramba Ral's Attack 11 August 1979 15 August 2001
20 Hand-to-Hand Combat 18 August 1979 16 August 2001
21 Sorrow and Hatred 25 August 1979 17 August 2001
22 The Trap of M'Quve 1 September 1979 20 August 2001
23 Matilda's Rescue 8 September 1979 21 August 2001
24 Black Tri-Star 15 September 1979 22 August 2001
25 The Battle of Odessa 22 September 1979 23 August 2001
26 Char Returns 29 September 1979 24 August 2001
27 A Spy on Board 6 October 1979 27 August 2001
28 Across the Atlantic Ocean 13 October 1979 28 August 2001
29 Tragedy In Jaburo 20 October 1979 29 August 2001
30 A Wish of War Orphans 27 October 1979 30 August 2001
31 A Decoy in Space 3 November 1979 31 August 2001
32 Breakthrough 10 November 1979 3 September 2001
33 Farewell in Side 6 17 November 1979 4 September 2001
34 A Fateful Encounter 24 November 1979 5 September 2001
35 The Glory of Solomon 1 December 1979 6 September 2001
36 Big Zam's Last Stand 8 December 1979 7 September 2001
37 The Duel in Texas 15 December 1979 10 September 2001
38 Char and Sayla 22 December 1979 9 April 2002
39 The Newtype: Challia Bull 29 December 1979 12 September 2001
40 Lalah's Dilemma 5 January 1980 2 June 2002
41 A Cosmic Glow 12 January 1980 2 June 2002
42 Space Fortress: A Baoa Qu 19 January 1980 2 June 2002
43 Escape 26 January 1980 31 December 2001


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 biggest 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 by a stray shot of bazooka from a Rick Dom. 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 official, 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 1970s lounge 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 in a phonetic script known as 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". [Source: Frederik L. Schodt]

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(機動戦士ガンダムⅠ) and Mobile Suit Gundam: Soldiers of Sorrow(機動戦士ガンダムⅡ哀・戦士編,Kidō Senshi Gundam II: Ai Senshi), were released in 1981. The third movie, Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space(機動戦士ガンダムⅢ めぐりあい宇宙編,Kidō Senshi Gundam III: Meguriai Sora), was released in 1982.

Each of the three movies are 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.

The three compilation movies were released originally dubbed in English in the late 1990s to the early 2000s, with a different vocal cast than the English TV show dub, direct to VHS. They then were released again both separately and in a DVD box set in America on May 7, 2002. However, the DVD is only available in 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. These changes, which were supervised by Tomino, have been criticized by fans.


Over the years two separate manga 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, However Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is a reinterpretation of some of the events with the inclusion of Char's backstory to help explain some of his actions in the anime. Both were published in English by Viz Communications but ultimately dropped before their run could be completed.



From left to right;
Top: Kai Shiden, Ryu Jose, Amuro Ray, Fraw Bow, Sayla Mass, Mirai Yashima and Bright Noa;
Bottom: Hayato Kobayashi, Katz Hawin, Letz Cofan and Kikka Kikimoto.

Earth Federation

Further information: see main article Earth Federation


Principality of Zeon, from left to right: Gihren Zabi, Dozle Zabi, Degwin Zabi, Kycilia Zabi, Garma Zabi and Char Aznable .

Principality of Zeon

Further information: see main article Zeon



Principality of Zeon

Mobile Suits

Mobile Armor

Vehicles and Support Units

Earth Federation

Mobile Suits

Mobile Pod

Mobile Armor

Vehicles and Support Units

Side 6

Vehicles and Support Units


  • Tobe! Gundam (Fly! Gundam) by Koh Ikeda (TV series opening)
  • Pathetic, but Decisive
  • Eien Ni Amuro (Forever Amuro) by Koh Ikeda (TV series ending)
  • Suna no Juujika (Cross of Sand) by Takajin Yashiki (Movie I ending)
  • Ai Senshi (Soldiers of Sorrow) by Daisuke Inoue (Movie II: Soldiers of Sorrow ending)
  • Meguriai (Encounters) by Daisuke Inoue (Movie III: Encounters in Space ending)

Note: On Cartoon Network's Toonami and Adult Swim airings, :45 opening and ending sequences 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.


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 You 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 Shozo 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
Kacilia Zabi Mami Koyama Michelle Porter Bambi Darro
Dozle Zabi Daisuke Gori (TV)
Tessho Genda (Movies)
French Tickner Peter Spellos
Degwin Zabi Ichiro Nagai (TV)
Hidekatsu Shibata (Movies)
Chris Schneider Elliot Reynolds
Ramba Ral Masashi Hirose John Payne Michael McConnohie
Crowley Hamon Yumi Nakatani Lenore Zann Dian Andrews


  • The reason that the episode "Kukurus Doan's Island" was cut from the English-Language version of Gundam was that it was cut at the request of Yoshiyuki Tomino himself. He felt that the episode's story was substandard, and it is doubtful that should a Japanese-Language DVD be completed, the episode would appear there either.
  • Tomino's original concept for the series was much darker, with Amuro dying halfway through the series, and the crew of the White Base having to ally with Char (who's given a red Gundam, no less), 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 Z Gundam and Gundam: Char's Counterattack.
  • 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 (if illogical) white, red, blue and gold scheme. A later retcon explained the colours 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 colour scheme, and instead of the Gundam being upgraded with magnetic coated joints, Amuro was simply given a new one - the G3, which was coloured a uniform low-visibility gray.
  • The final episodes (encompassing the battles of Solomon and A Bao a 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 Z Gundam and Gundam ZZ.
  • This is the only non OVA Gundam series not to change it's intro halfway through.
  • This original series of Gundam universe won the Animage's Anime Grand Prix Award twice, which is in 1979 and 1980, the first and second year the award was held.



See also

Manga & Novels

Variation models: Mobile Suit Variations, Mobile Suit X


Preceded by:
Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO
Chronological order
0079 U.C.0080 U.C.
Succeeded by:
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team

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