For over 40 years running, Gundam has become one of the biggest and most successful anime franchises of all time. It helped establish the mecha genre, connect to the mainstream audience, and spawned a highly successful line of model kits and figures.
With dozens of series and a couple of movies available, it can be really difficult to find the best place to start watching Gundam.
While watching in Chronological order or following the Universal Century timeline is a good way to get to know the Gundam franchise, we believe that watching these 5 shows might be just as good at introducing you to the franchise.
Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy
The original Mobile Suit Gundam is one of the most groundbreaking anime series, helping establish the Real Robot genre.
While watching the series is a great way to start, the Movie Trilogy provides a smoother narrative flow and better visuals.
There is surely no better place to start than the first one, as it introduces you to a great cast of characters, a narrative that focuses on politics and the horrors of war, and all of the classic Gundam tropes that succeeding series try to emulate. Seeing the classic rivalry of Amuro Ray and Char Aznable will always be amazing and emotional.
The first Gundam series to be set in the Anno Domini period (our own timeline), 00 is arguably one of the best AU (Alternate Universe) series out there.
The story is about a group of 4 Gundam pilots from Celestial Being, who are tasked with preventing armed conflict and promoting peace. The plot expands from there, turning into a global conflict that spans two seasons.
The series has a lot of classic Gundam tropes, along with politics that is still relevant to the situation in the world today. Couple that with great animation and music, and you have a great starting point.
Probably the most controversial pick, Gundam SEED tends to get a lot of flack for many things. However it’s still a solid retelling of the original Gundam story with modern animation.
A story that starts with a Gundam heist, SEED follows friends and rivals Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala as they are on opposite sides of the war.
While far away from being the best in the franchise, SEED is one of the most accessible. With a story that covers all the classic Gundam tropes, great mobile suit designs, and some of the best opening and ending music.
Arguably one of the most underrated series in the franchise, Gundam X is also well known due to it being cancelled. While it’s fate may have been unfortunate, the series has had a strong following since.
True to the classic anti-war message of series’ past, Gundam X quickly shows us the devastating effects of armed conflict.
In a world ravaged by war and numerous colony drops, everyone is going what they can to survive. Enter Garrod Ran, a junk dealer who grows into one of the best protagonists in the franchise.
Add an interesting cast of characters, solid storytelling, a sweet love story, and you have a great series to start your Gundam journey.
08th MS Team
While we’d like to recommend another full series, putting this classic OVA on this list is just too good to pass up.
A side story set in the same timeline as Mobile Suit Gundam, 08th MS Team focuses on a more grounded and gritty look at the One Year War.
The series focuses on the ground war on Earth, with the titular mobile suit team led by Shiro Amada (who is arguably one of the best protagonists around).
Unlike other Gundam series, this one offers a more realistic look on how mobile suits can move in an actual battlefield (save for one special unit that can do ridiculous things).
If you’re looking for a different type of Gundam series, 08th MS team offers some of the best battles and animation in the franchise.
And that’s it for our 5 best series for Gundam newcomers.If you want a more detailed and lengthy discussion about these shows, you can listen to Episode 33: Gundam Starter Pack 2020 on Spotify and Anchor.fm.
About the Author
A former teacher and guitarist, Jude (Twitter, Instagram) is currently a writer that covers video games and is one of the co-hosts of The Geeky Juans. Apart from hosting the podcast, you can also catch him streaming at Dude It’s Jude on Facebook.