Anime

Trying to Navigate the Confusing Mess That is Gundam

Jesus Christ, I thought Kingdom Hearts was complicated…

In anime, there are many iconic names. Dragon Ball. Cowboy Bebop. Berserk. One Piece. Neon Genesis Evangelion. There are more iconic names in anime than there are gods in the Greek pantheon! But one name stands tall among them all: Gundam.

Unfortunately for newcomers, Gundam has many names. It has born dozens of series, OVAs, and movies. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Mobile Suit Gundam
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
  • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
  • After War Gundam X
  • Turn a Gundam
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
  • Gundam Build Fighters
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
  • Gundam Build Divers
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative

Again: that’s just to name a few. I could name them all, but I doubt Wikipedia would appreciate me copy-pasting their entire article on the subject. Also, I’d prefer to avoid giving myself a headache.

Never before in my life have I run into a series so not friendly towards beginners! Trying to get into Gundam feels like trying to climb Mount Everest! Sure, you can do it! But nothing about the process is going to be easy!

Or fun.

Now, to be fair: I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. Sure, it makes getting into the series a trial so painful that I’d rather search for the Ark of the Covenant. But I think that it’s that very convoluted nature that makes Gundam so beloved.

People go nuts for this series! Whether they prefer the original, Wing, Iron-Blooded Orphans or whichever of the hundred-billion-thousand movies/shows they prefer, everyone has their own favorite! And they’ll love the hell out of them! They’ll cosplay the characters, build miniatures, and get into heated debates about why their series is the best and your series sucks a donkey’s fat dick (because this is what life is now). There are few anime fandoms I’ve seen that are even half as passionate as Gundam fans!

I mean, come on! Gundam Builders is a thing! People love making models of these things so much that they made a whole show out of it! Or so I assume… for all I know, it’s a show about a factory worker who makes the giant robots and watches people kill each other with it. Which… actually sounds really cool and interesting. Fuck.

Then, of course, there’s the figurine scene. If you thought weebs were just a bunch of neckbeards who bought figures of their legally questionable waifus in compromising outfits or positions… Well, you’re right. That I can’t deny. But in fairness: there are more weebs who collect figurines of their favorite Gundam robots!

Which is probably the easiest thing about this series to understand. I mean, some of these robots look really cool!

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Let’s be real: giant robots are awesome by default. But god damn these things are cool! Shame I have absolutely no idea what they are, what they do, who pilots them, or why I should care! Because fuck me I want to care!

I can tell that this is a series I’d be into! Space wars, politics, and giant robot fights?! Sign me the hell up! I could watch a series like that from sunrise to sundown!

If I knew where to fucking start!

I get a lot of conflicting messages from the Gundam fans I know. “Start with the original, even though it’s a pain in the ass to find!” some will say. “Start with Wing!” others declare. “Don’t watch Wing, that show sucks! Watch G Gundam!” another counters. Then they’ll break off into a huge debate amongst themselves and leave me by the wayside. And I’m stuck at square one without having left it in the first place.

Don’t think I haven’t tried! God knows that I have tried my best! But each time I’ve tried, I’ve just ended up lost and confused. Apparently, all I’ve managed to find are the shows that require you to have watched another one before it to understand what the hell is going on!

I feel like I’ve been bashing my head against a wall of glass. Sometimes, it does feel like I”m making progress! Every now and then, I look up and I see cracks appearing on the surface! Or at least, I think I do. In all actuality, it’s more likely that I’ve given myself such a severe concussion in my efforts that I’ve convinced myself that progress has been made.

And if you know anything about me, you will know that I am very frequently wrong.

Not that I’ll stop trying! Eventually, I’ll figure out what the hell is going on! Do all of these shows share the same timeline? Or are they not at all connected? I’LL FIGURE IT OUT ONE DAY!! So long as I’m not dead by the time I do…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go finish my bunker. Halloween is right around the corner and I’m living in a tight apartment complex. Gotta be ready for all those kids to try breaking my door down.

Sorry for not having much holiday spirit. I don’t really do those.

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