Gundam is often considered one of the best anime franchises of all time, especially among those who are heavily into anime, but it can also be one of the most confusing. Who may be into Gundam? Fans of epic space operas. Fans of Star Wars. That’s a lot of potential people who may be just about to discover their new favorite thing, and yet the overwhelming number of entry points can intimidate potential fans away. This is a franchise that has been around since the 1970s. There’s a lot of material out there. Fortunately, as Netflix is gearing up to produce a live-action Gundam, they’ve decided to make this franchise easier to get into by adding Mobile Suit Gundam I, II, III, and Char’s Counterattack. To make this even easier, let’s go over what you can expect from these
In 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam was released as a television series in Japan. It became quite popular but was a lot of material. This was before streaming, so people would miss episodes of the anime and would no longer be able to make sense of it. There’s a lot happening in this space fantasy. The television series, at the time, wasn’t an easy one to access. A decision was made to make the material more accessible by creating three films. In 1981, they recut the 43 episode series and then released Mobile Suit Gundam I, Mobile Suit Gundam II: Soldiers of Sorrow, and Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space as three theatrical films. Naturally, this cuts out some of the material, but was seen as a way to streamline the story and make it less confusing and overwhelming.
There are some big fans of Gundam who will always insist that watching the entire anime series is important. Every fandom disagrees on these types of things. However, the first three movies being added to Netflix right now makes for an easy way to get into the series, learn the foundations, discover if you like it enough to watch more, and get you ready to enjoy future Gundam releases, which are coming soon.
On top of the three Mobile Suit Gundam movies, Netflix also released the Gundam movie Char’s Counterattack. Viewers will want to watch this after the first three Mobile Suit Gundam movies. To be fair, Char’s Counterattack may still be a little confusing after watching the first three Mobile Suit Gundam movies. Remember that this anime series is a massive space opera, which means that some of the storylines are political and can be confusing. Char’s Counterattack is well set up with two Gundam television series: Zeta and Double Zeta.
These anime series came out of Japan in the 1980s and at this moment are difficult to find. The series offer a lot of background political information that could make Char’s Counterattack make more sense, however, even without tracking down Zeta, the movie Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack is still a solid and enjoyable experience for many. It’s also easily accessible now on Netflix. Just be aware that if it seems like there is some information you are missing, you are. And that’s okay. Gundam can be like that sometimes.
Some may want to know where the best place to start with Gundam is? Are the Mobile Suit Gundam movies a good entry point? There are actually lists online of the top five or top ten different entry points you could choose for this anime series. The original Mobile Suit Gundam movies are always on these lists, and now, they’re easily accessible on Netflix. So if you want to start this franchise right, and you’re worried about whether this is a solid point to start, you can rest assured that many consider this to be a great entry point.
The future of Gundam may always be in anime, but there is also an upcoming live-action movie, which is part of why Netflix is offering this early series now. They want to make an easy entry-point, even though the live-action film is a ways off still. The live-action movie will be directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who famously made Kong: Skull Island. He is also working on a Metal Gear Solid movie. Currently, there’s no timeline on the live-action Gundam film, which means you have plenty of time to get into the franchise with these original anime films just hitting Netflix.