The Gundam Franchise Just Had Its Biggest Year In History

By Douglas Helm | Published


The long-running Gundam franchise has always been popular, but it’s astounding to see that it’s more popular now than it’s ever been over 40 years after its debut. Bandai Namco released the 2024 fiscal year sales and revealed that the franchise has raked in 145.6 billion yen over the past year, which is the highest sales record for Gundam to date. It also means that the franchise has doubled global sales in just a decade, up from the $80.2 billion yen reported in 2014.

A Record-Setting Year For Gundam

Much of the sales over the past year can be attributed to the successful The Witch from Mercury and Gundam SEED Freedom, the former being the latest anime series in the franchise and the latter being the 2024 animated film. Of course, gunpla sales are also extremely high. Gunpla, short for Gundam plastic models, are the model kits that have always been popular overseas but have exploded in popularity globally over the past few years.

Two New Entries And The Rise Of Gunpla

Forbes points out that the gunpla sales specifically spiked when COVID-19 lockdowns caused a surge of interest in model kits. It seems that popularity stuck, as the sales for gunpla have been steady since the lockdowns ended. As mentioned, it doesn’t hurt that both The Witch from Mercury and SEED Freedom have been critically acclaimed and commercially successful entries to the Gundam franchise.

The Witch From Mercury Is One Of The Best Series Yet

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury is the fifteenth mainline entry in the franchise since the original Mobile Suit Gundam premiered in 1979. The series follows protagonist Suletta Mercury, who transfers to the school of Asticassia School of Technology to prove herself as a pilot. The series was lauded for its dark themes, likable characters, and engaging storyline.

The Latest Gundam SEED Entry Was Also A Massive Hit

Gundam SEED Freedom is a sequel to previous SEED films and takes place one year after SEED Destiny. As battling continued in the year CE 75, a peace organization called COMPASS was established with Lacus as president. Kira Yamato and his team are members of COMPASS and fight in regional battles as a new nation called Foundation seeks an alliance to take out a Blue Cosmos stronghold. 

Gundam SEED Freedom was a huge success and grossed over $30 million USD globally, making it the highest-grossing film in the history of the franchise. With the success of the film, The Witch from Mercury series, the gunpla models, and other merchandise, it’s clear the global demand for Gundam is at an all-time high. In other words, it’s a good time to be a Gundam fan (and clearly a good time to be Bandai Namco).

More Gundam On The Way

It’ll be interesting to see if the Gundam franchise can continue to grow in popularity, especially since it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. There’s also the fact that the franchise is easier to access than ever, with numerous streaming services helping a new generation of fans discover previous entries to the series. Netflix is even getting in on the action, with the upcoming Gundam: Requiem for Vengeance animated series set to hit the platform in Fall 2024.