G is for Gundam

G

In Japan, Gundam is one of the most popular and enduring anime of all time, and one of the most influential. Its status there has been compared to that of Star Trek in America for several reasons, including the fact that the first series actually did poorly when it first aired and only gained popularity in reruns. There’s actually a life-size statue of the original Gundam, and a man who went into space dressed as Char.

In the rest of the world, its record has been a lot more inconsistent. It seemed to be off to a great start when Gundam Wing was a smash hit in America, but then they went from that to the original series, with animation too outdated to be a success as something “new”. (Saint Seiya also flopped in America when we finally got it, despite having been a huge success in every country that got it much earlier.) After that nothing else reached the popularity of Wing, but it all seemed relatively successful for a while, though declining until it reached the point where Gundam series weren’t even guaranteed to come over…and then Bandai Entertainment shut down and it seemed like Gundam was dead outside Japan except for the Dynasty Warriors Gundam video games (and even out of those, the last one was changed from a physical release to download-only and the Vita version was skipped entirely).

Well, there are probably people interested in this that haven’t heard yet; toward the end of last year, it was announced that Sunrise and Right Stuf are teaming up to bring the entire Gundam franchise to America; both new release of everything we’ve already gotten before, and all the series that we haven’t, starting with Turn A Gundam this June. Turn A is a great place to start because it’s widely considered the best and because, while it does have ties to other series, it’s also a fresh start that doesn’t require knowledge of those series.

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