The face that launched a thousand spinoffs.Gundam
is a long running
series of Humongous Mecha Anime
shows started by Yoshiyuki Tomino
in 1979, Trope Maker
for the Real Robot
genre, and basically the Japanese equivalent of Star Trek
. Gundam is a veritable merchandising empire
, encompassing manga, OVAs
, video games, plastic models, toys, theme park rides and a racing team sponsorship. Its works include:AnimeRelated Works
Generally, Gundam works are War Is Hell
stories, detailing humans who remained on Earth and those who moved out to space colonies
orbiting the planet starting World War Whatever
over rights, resources, and other decidedly real world issues. At some point after the war's start, an Ordinary High-School Student
ends up Falling into the Cockpit
of the newest Gundam
when The Empire
attacks their hometown
. The teenager soon proves themselves to be Ace Pilot
, and has to help The Federation
defeat The Empire
. Along the way, the teen suffers untold mental trauma, as friends, family members, and various other people they care about become casualties of the ongoing conflict. Mobile Suits
are thus portrayed as mass-produced machines of war similar to planes or tanks
. There's also generally a rival
who wears a mask and pilots a red Humongous Mecha
. And the hero will receive a Mid-Season Upgrade
While works continue to be set in the "Universal Century" verse
established in Mobile Suit Gundam
, the franchise also has over a dozen Alternate Continuities
that allow the franchise to delve into other genres, such as Super Robot
fighting tournaments, To Be a Master
modeling competitions, and Saving the World Heroic Fantasy
Lore-wise, the Gundam series (particularly the original Universal Century timeline) are notable for the remarkably consistent fictional technology; in UC, this is based on the original Minovsky Particle
. Also notable is the presence of Newtypes, who are essentially psychics
akin to "Jedi
in giant robots
". Newtypes, or some Suspiciously Similar Substitute
, appear in most Gundam shows.Kunio Okawara
created many of the iconic Humongous Mecha
designs, including the RX-78 Gundam. However, the franchise has also had mecha designs by Hajime Katoki, Kazumi Fujita, Junya Ishigaki, Mamoru Nagano, Syd Mead and several others.
The Gundam franchise is the Trope Namer for:
The Gundam franchise provides examples of the following tropes:
- The Abridged Series: There are quite a few Gundam Abridged
- Absent Aliens: One of the hallmarks of the show is that there are no signs of extraterrestrial life, which originally made the show stand out from the pack. The only exceptions so far are Gundam SEED mentioning a winged Space Whale fossil found on Jupiter in passing, Crossbone Gundam with the microbial "Angel's Call", and Gundam 00, which includes Starfish Aliens in the movie.
- Aerith and Bob: There are some very strangely named characters in Gundam, there are also a scattering of people with completely mundane names. If we listed every bizarre name in every series, well... we'd be here all day.
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Most of the Cool Starships in the series qualify as these. Particularly if you count flight-capable Humongous Mecha as 'aircraft'.
- A Lighter Shade Of Gray: While Gundam usually goes out of its way to show that both sides of the conflict have good and bad people, it's generally still the case that one side has the moral high ground.
- All There in the Manual: There are loads of supplements like side-stories and model kit manuals. You won't miss vital information by ignoring them... usually.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: There's at least two in a series. She's always an important female character, usually the main character's (possible or canon) Love Interest, The Baroness or the Team Mom.
- Alternate Continuity: TV series, movie trilogies, manga, video games, and novels all retell the same stories... and all slightly differently.
- Alternate Universe: So far there's:
- Universal Century: Mobile Suit Gundam MSIGLOO (January, UC0079), Mobile Suit Gundam (September , UC0079), Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team (October, UC0079), Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (December, UC0079), Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (UC0083), Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (UC0087), Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (UC088), Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (UC0093), Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (UC0096), Mobile Suit Gundam F91 (UC0123), Mobile Suit Victory Gundam (UC0153), Gundam Reconguista In G (RC1014)note
- Future Century: Mobile Fighter G Gundam (F.C. 60)
- After Colony: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (AC 195), Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz (AC 196)
- After War: After War Gundam X (AW 0015)
- Correct Century: Turn A Gundam (CC 2345)
- Cosmic Era: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (CE 70), Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny (CE 73), Mobile Suit Gundam SEED CE.73: Stargazer (CE 73)
- Anno Domini (00): Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (2307 AD), A Wakening of the Trailblazer (2314 AD)
- Advanced Generation: Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (AG 115-201)
- Alternative Calendar: Used for every series but Gundam 00, largely to avoid having to set a definitive "X years in the future" setting. Amusingly, the first few series (from Mobile Suit Gundam to Char's Counterattack) simply filed the serial numbers off by setting them in the year "UC 00XX", where XX was the year in the 20th century that the show was released. Mobile Suit Gundam, for example, was released in 1979 and set in UC 0079.
- Not helping things was the fact that Mobile Suit Gundam and Zeta Gundam had scenes identifying the date as 20XX (as in, 2079 for the original show); these were quietly Retconned out of later releases. In response, fans attempted to pin down a specific year as UC 0001, using a couple of concrete datesnote from Gundam 0080 (January 14 falls on a Monday) and Gundam ZZ (0088 is a leap year, and by extension so is 0080 and all other UC years that are multiples of 4); the general consensus is that it's 2047note .
- Ambiguous Time Period: The series takes place in the future, but due to the excessive use of alternate calendars how far in the future is impossible to pinpoint.
- Anyone Can Die: The series was, after all, created by a man who was nicknamed Kill 'em All.
- Armored Coffins: In the older series, there's no real way to escape from an exploding mobile suit. Some Super Prototypes do have ejection seats of some form (i.e. Gundam's Core Block system), but they're typically removed from mass-produced versions.
- Attack Drone: Every continuity has them in one form or another.
- Badass Beard: While several characters qualify, it's worth noting that the red "beard" protrusion is one of the defining features of the Gundam's distinctive faceplate after the V-Fin.
- The Battlestar: Most warships have impressive firepower in addition to their mobile suit payload... which would be nice if they ever hit anything other than mooks.
- Bittersweet Ending: By far the most common sort of ending to a Gundam series. Only a handful have unambigiously happy (Gundam X, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz) or downer (Zeta Gundam) endings.
- Broken Faceplate: Usually, but not always, the sight of a pilot's faceplate shattering signals the moment of his or her death.
- Canon: Gundam has an unusual take on this, partly because the Western definition of "canon" in regards to fiction doesn't exist in Japan. All animated works are considered "official", while everything else is "non-official". This means that the various contradictory Alternate Continuity works (namely, the TV shows and their Compilation Movie remakes) are equally "canon", while some non-animated works like Crossbone Gundam are "non-canon" despite being praised for their quality and attention to not mucking up the timeline. This makes it completely impossible to come up with any kind of "one true version" of events: see Continuity Snarl below.
- Centrifugal Gravity: Seen in everything from individual ships (many of which come equipped with rotating "gravity block" sections) all the way up to the kilometers-long space colonies themselves (whose entire structures spin along one axis), because Gundam's tech level generally isn't advanced enough to support Artificial Gravity.
- Char Clone: With the exception of the OVAs, there's at least one in every series where the original Char doesn't appear... except Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, where Char was originally intended to appear, but was scrapped when Char's Counterattack was given the green light.
- The Coconut Effect: Consciously averted. When Tomino wrote the original series, he decided to use particle-based weapons rather than lasers specifically because lasers would be invisible, instant-hit weapons and would kill a lot of the drama of battle.
- Collateral Angst: When a protagonist's love interest dies (and they do), the writing focuses mainly on how the protagonist feels rather than the tragedy of said love interest's life being cut short.
- Colony Drop: The Trope Namer; Gundam series are extremely fond of dropping large objects onto targets from orbit.
- Companion Cube: Many Gundam pilots either start or come to view their Gundams this way. They may even ask their advice and then behave as though the Gundam has given it.
- Combining Mecha: Comes and goes in phases. The original Gundam had the ability to separate and recombine; this was downplayed later. The CE timeline has this in spades, as the titular mecha combine with "packs" that seem expressly designed to ship more plastic models of the mecha.
- Compilation Movie: Gundam loves these. The television series generally get compilation movie trilogies, and even some of the OAVs have gotten compilation movies of their own.
- Conservationof Ninjitsu: In general, the rarity and popularity of said Mobile Suit or Pilot is proportional to how many war machines it can annihilate.
- Continuity Snarl: By Sunrise's policy, only animated works are truly "official". However, that still makes it impossible to determine a single "real" version of events, given that the franchise's full-length TV series are usually turned into movie triologies, which are Alternate Continuity to a greater (Zeta's movie trilogy retconned its entire sequel series, ZZ, out of existence) or lesser (the Mobile Suit Gundam movie trilogy just removes some of the wackier Super Robot influences and replaces shoddy animation with higher quality work) extent... and yet, they're all equally canon in Sunrise's eyes.
- Convection Schmonvection: Generally averted - the bigger Wave Motion Guns can ruin your day with even a near-miss.
- Cool Helmet: Sort of; the Gundams' iconic V crest attached to their heads.
- Cool Ship: The main character usually has a ship to haul his Cool Mecha around.
- Corporal Punishment: The main character usually ends up on the wrong end of a punitive beatdown at least once, and that's not even counting the therapeutic beatdowns he's also likely to receive.
- Crapsack World: The Universal Century timeline has a rough couple decades starting in UC 0079 — the human population is cut in half over the course of a month by Colony Drops, nerve gas, and nuclear attacks, and the following 20 years bring multiple repeat performances of all three. It's not until post-Gundam Unicorn that things settle down, and then it's merely reduced to roughly one atrocity a generation instead of one every few years.
- Cyber Cyclops: The "bad guy" mobile suits tend to have a single, glowing camera; they're typically referred to as "mono-eyes".
- Dark and Troubled Past: Usually the main character, when they're the Overt Agent type. The Ordinary High School Students tend to have dark and troubled presents instead.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Most of the series have a strong anti-war theme, while simultaneously making sure every episode has awesome giant robot battles in it.
- Doomed Hometown: The main character's hometown, frequently a space colony, is usually wrecked early in the series. Sometimes directly leads to Falling into the Cockpit.
- Downer Ending: Less common than the Bittersweet Ending, but more common than the Happy Ending. See Zeta Gundam and Gundam 0083.
- Dual Wielding: Ever since the original series, the classic melee loadout for a Gundam has been a pair of beam sabers, and if there's a variation from this formula, it's usually because the suit in question is fitted with even more blades as well.
- Energy Weapons: Frickin' Laser Beams, Wave Motion Guns, Laser Blades, and everything in between.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Gundam X and Gundam AGE are only TV series that are totally devoid of a princess (or a princess-in-exile, or the daughter of an important official, be it government or a scientist) in a major and/or supporting role.
- Evolutionary Levels: Used, subverted, and played with. Newtypes from the UC timeline are initially presented as this, but they ultimately don't seem to have much effect on the world beyond a handful of ridiculously skilled Ace Pilots. Gundam X has an ending that explicitly states Newtypes are nothing of the sort, though since it's an alternate universe it's still an open question for the UC timeline. The CE timeline's Coordinators are a mixed bag — some of them consider themselves this, but many do not. Gundam 00's Innovators are the concept played completely straight. The X-Rounders of Gundam AGE are still on the fence; on the one hand, both sides are trying to cultivate them, but one of the series' most powerful considers them to be an evolutionary throwback rather than advancement.
- Expanded Universe: Sunrise's policy divided non-animate works in two categories. If the work doesn't contradict with official animate "white" works, then it's "gray", somewhat acceptable add-on to the timeline (just don't expect Sunrise to support the events). Whatever contradict with official works is "black", outright non-canon. Note that the "gray" status isn't permanent, new animate work may push the work to "black" by add new events that contradict it, or make it "light gray" by has some of The Cameo (the story is still gray, but whatever appear on screen is "white").
- Expy: To say the franchise is addicted to this trope is an understatement. There's a Char in every single series.
- Falling into the Cockpit: A popular way to select new crack Gundam pilots.
- The Federation: The Earth government is usually one.
- Fighter Launching Sequence: Pretty much everyone announces their name and which mecha they're using before launching from the Cool Ship.
- Five-Man Band: The Universal Century was slightly more dynamic, but it came into full swing in G Gundam and Gundam Wing.
- Gatling Good: The head gatlings, another iconic weapon for Gundam-type suits. Mostly used for dealing with small, fast threats like planes and missiles.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Bright Noa, the Team Dad of the UC timeline, is the king of this trope. So much so that it was originally called the Bright Slap. Used in several other timelines as well.
- Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: Usually played straight.
- Glowing Mechanical Eyes: Mobile suit cameras (positioned in their heads like eyes, naturally) always glow when activated.
- Grand Theft Prototype: Previous Trope Namer. Highly advanced Gundams featuring experimental technology and extremely high combat performance get stolen with alarming regularity in the franchise.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Gundam is notable for rarely portraying either side of a conflict as faceless, mindless evildoers — there are good people and bad people on all sides of a conflict. That said, the protagonists' faction will usually be A Lighter Shade of Grey.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Whilst their enemies often get more exotic melee weapons, the hero's suit will have a beam sabre or two.
- Heroic Sacrifice: From both throwaway and major characters; a side effect of Anyone Can Die.
- Humongous Mecha: Obviously.
- A Mech by Any Other Name: They're called "mobile suits" in general, though different timelines have variations like "mobile fighters", "mobile dolls", and "mobile bits". Non-humanoid versions are usually called "mobile armors".
- Idiosyncratic Series Naming: Almost all of the Gundam TV series (as well as Gundam F91, which was intended as a TV series) are named after one of the protagonist's mobile suits. The Odd Name Out is Gundam SEED, which doesn't contain a Seed Gundam.
- Info Dump: Happens in some spots, e.g. the introduction of the Specials in Gundam Wing.
- Latex Space Suit: For use by both males and females, though only pilots; other crew get bulkier, more conventional space suits.
- Long Runner: 35 years (as of Build Fighters) and counting. Big Name Fan Burke Rukes once pointed out on his old website that if one were to watch all of Gundam from MSG to Turn A, it would take about a week, and that was without counting work, sleep, and bathroom/meal breaks. And mind you, this was long before SEED, Destiny, 00, Unicorn, AGE and the aforementioned Build Fighters came out.
- Love Across Battlelines: A staple of the series, as part of the standard Love Hurts Aesop.
- Love Hurts: Very, very rarely does a romance with a Gundam pilot work out for anyone.
- Love Triangle: Almost all series have this!
- Made of Indestructium: Gundams are typically made of this; in UC it's named "Gundarium" in honor of the Gundam which was the first to use itnote ; in AC it's called "Gundanium" and the Gundams are named after it; and in AD the Gundams use "GN Composite Armor", which is just normal armor reinforced with Applied Phlebotinum.
- Made of Explodium: Frequently what mook mecha are made out of. Hand Waved in UC with Minovsky Physics, but Gundam Wing (and it's classic Mecha-Mook the Leo) are most infamous for it.
- To elaborate: UC era mecha semi-regularly cause nuclear explosions when their reactors are breached.
- Magitek: Newtype technology, designed to augment and be augmented by a pilot's Psychic Powers.
- Mask Power: The Rival and/or Char Clone usually wear one.
- Mecha-Mooks: Dozens of variants in the franchise, usually limited to two or three examples per series. The bad guys usually have one that's influenced by the original Zaku II from Mobile Suit Gundam, with the "gas mask" face and its iconic mono-eye. In fact, the word "Zaku" is even derived from "zako" which means "mook" in Japanese.
- Mega Corp.: Anaheim Electronics from the UC Timeline is a quintessential example.
- Mega Crossover: The Gundam Fighter Flash game, with over 80 Gundam characters from various shows.
- Mêlée à Trois: First introduced in Zeta Gundam.
- Merchandise-Driven: Much, much more money is made on Gundam modeling kits than the anime itself.
- Milestone Celebration: Happens regularly at the 10 year marks.
- Militaries Are Useless: In numerous Gundam series, the military units are composed of weaker "grunt" mobile suits that are largely ineffective and are destroyed in large numbers by the much more powerful Gundams and other "hero mechs", which are always piloted by the main characters (protagonists and antagonists) of the narrative. The "grunt" mobile suits are always piloted by characters who don't have major narrative roles, assuming they are ever seen at all.
- Military Brat: Nearly all series have characters that are children of military personnel.
- Mindlink Mates: In the UC continuity, powerful Newtypes of the opposite sex, particularly teenagers, tend to instinctively gravitate toward each other and form psychic and romantic bonds, particularly when the Phlebotinum Girl with No Social Skills meets the dashing Newtype hero, gives her loyalty to the cold-hearted Newtype villain, or both. Unlike most portrayals of lovers with psychic bonds, however, the probability of it ending well is approximately zero.
- Mini-Mecha: While Humongous Mecha take all spotlight, several series do include small mecha, usually doing labor work in the background. The first that appear in anime is Junior Mobile Suit from Zeta Gundam, unless you count Ball from first series as one.
- Minovsky Physics: Yet another Trope Namer, in the UC Timeline, but implemented in really every timeline more or less.
- Moe Anthropomorphism: MS Girl is originator of Mecha Musume.
- Moral Myopia: Common among the antagonist factions, who will often immediately resort to warcrimes in order to avenge fallen comrades.
- Mythology Gag: While there are often indirect references to the original series in any given show, they often take this an step further by using the sound effects of the original series; this can range from the White Base's alert klaxon, to various booster/vernier sounds, to the classic "Pfeeew!" of the RX-78-2's beam rifle.
- Novelization: All of the anime series except Gundam X has at least one. Beltochika's Children is rather amusing case; it was originally Tomino's rejected plot of Char's Counterattack which, in turn, is adapted from Tomino's novel Hi-Streamer. In other word, it's novelization of The Film of the Book, with all three by same author!
- Nuclear Option: Notable for averting the Nuclear Weapons Taboo. The UC and CE timelines, in particular, are fond of throwing nukes around. UC generally treats them as dangerous and powerful weapons but not necessarily evil incarnate (the good guys use illegally obtained nuclear missiles on at least one occasion), while CE is rather less forgiving.
- Officially Shortened Title: Works within the Gundam universe are typically given a long-form title Mobile Suit Gundam [Title], which is shortened to simply, Gundam [Title] in most usage; eg, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is called Zeta Gundam, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is called Gundam Seed. They occasionally mix things up a bit (eg, G Gundam's full title is Mobile Fighter G Gundam, since the Motion Capture Mecha used by the heroes in that series are called mobile fighters as opposed to conventionally-piloted mobile suits), and works with especially long titles may have more than just "Mobile Suit" cut from the short version (eg, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack is usually rendered as just Char's Counterattack).
- Phlebotinum Girl: Ubiquitous. In fact, the proposed name for the trope was "Newtype Girl".
- Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: Various types of Mobile Suits can only be piloted by Newtypes.
- Pink Means Feminine: Which is why so many female pilots, from Zeta Gundam all the way through to Gundam AGE, have pink mobile suits (or, at least, suits with pink highlights).
- Point Defenseless: Is it a hero ship? If not, a whole armada's flak screen might as well be made of fireworks.
- Poor Communication Kills: Does it ever.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: In many video game crossovers, established mobile suit performance is pretty much thrown out the window. In fact, the RX-78 from the original series is usually not just keeping up with other units, but a powerful one due to Popularity Power.
- Powers Do the Fighting: A minor staple in the franchise. If a mobile suit has Attack Drones, expect them to do this once in a while.
- Psychic Children: Pretty much every Gundam universe, with the exceptions of G Gundam, Gundam Wing and Turn A Gundam prominently feature many youngsters with psychic powers of one kind or another, most of whom end up getting turned into as Child Soldiers because of them.
- Psychic Powers: Newtypes and their various Expies from other timelines.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Pretty much a given in the Universal Century. The Earth Federation usually wins in the end, but it's badly ravaged in such a way that will set it up for the next crisis.
- Real Robot: It invented the genre, though it's always been stuck somewhere between the Real Robot and Super Robot styles.
- Recurring Element: Haro.
- Red Baron: It's usually the enemy Ace Pilots that get awesome nicknames (starting with Char as the Red Comet), but occasionally allies do as well. Oddly, the main character almost never gets this treatment. In fact, out of all the series the franchise has spawned, only two main characters have titles in their respective series: UC's Amuro Ray, known to many as "The White Devil" (actually the moniker for his Gundam which gets attributed to him as well) and FC's Domon Kasshu, known to the world as "The King of Hearts."
- The Remnant: Exaggerated in the Universal Century continuity. The Principality of Zeon is defeated in the One Year War, but the various Neo Zeon factions continue to be the standard villain for most of the later UC series, with their last holdouts only falling in 0123; Unicorn's adversaries get bonus points for being The Remnant of another Remnant.
- Retcon: Between all the Alternate Continuity versions and OVAs, they're inevitable. They're usually not too bad, but exceptions (such as Gundam 0083's Colony Drop) do occur.
- Ringworld Planet: Helped popularize the "O'Neill cylinder" design.
- Sensor Suspense: Tends to do this by having stuff suddenly appear immediately before they come under attack. The Bridge Bunnies suddenly yelling "Heat source detected!" out of the blue usually means bad things are about to happen.
- Series Franchise
- Series Mascot: Aside from the Gundams themselves, there are the Haros.
- Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Most tend to hover between "Know Your Place, Woman!" and "Men are More Equal" if not "Almost Perfect Equality." A recent trend of the franchise leaned towards the former.
- So Last Season: The Mid-Series Upgrade has been a staple since Zeta Gundam, and even Mobile Suit Gundam had a limited version of it.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Whoo boy. Too many examples to list, but common to a greater or lesser extent in basically every series. The most infamous examples are probably the Principality (Duchy/Archduchy/Grand Duchy) of Zeon (Zion/Jion) and Mu (Muu/Mwu — though thankfully no Moo) la (ra) Flaga (Fllaga/Fraga). And then there is Quattro Bajeena, whose name has on at least one occasion been translated as "Quattro Vagina", due to the katakana used in his name. (And given Jamitov "Hyman"note , it's very possible it is... uh, meant to, be spelled with a "V"...)
- Spiritual Successor: Happens fairly often with AU series. To wit:
- Wing to G (Multinational Team in five garish, Super Robot-style Gundams), and the last story arc to Char's Counterattack (Char Clone tries to blow up the Earth).
- X to the original series, sort of, being an alternate Bad Future to the One Year War.
- Turn A to X (post-apocalyptic stories set mostly in America and on the Moon whose title Gundams are equippedd with terrifyingly powerful and exotic weapons).
- SEED to the original Gundam (first major Earth/Colonies war) and Destiny to Zeta.
- 00 Season 1 to Wing and Season 2 to Zeta.
- AGE to the entire Universal Century from the original through to Crossbone.
- Gundam Build Fighters to the Gunpla Builders OVA series, which itself is to an obscure manga called Plamo Kyo Shiro.
- Standard Sci-Fi History:
- Many series features Stage 1: Exploration and Colonization of Space. And then jump right into Stage 2: World War changing the world.
- The Universal Century subverts the standard progression. The rather idealistic founders of The Federation definitely thought they would bypass Stage 2 into something akin to Star Trek. Instead, the timeline is marked by multiple Stage 2 scenarios that by the time Victory takes place, it's just barely functional.
- Stealth Pun: Big Name Fan Mark Simmons observed that SNRI, the rival to Anaheim Electronics, was created shortly after Sunrise bought the rights to Gundam.
- Stock Footage: And plenty of it. More of a problem for some series than others (the CE timeline was particularly infamous for indulging in it), and generally less of an issues in the movies and OVAs. Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, Turn A Gundam, and Gundam 00 are also notable for largely avoiding it. There are some scenes reused (as in, you could count them on one hand), but much of the time it's a two-second clip that's only reused once, or it's just a split-second explosion to change scenes.
- The Smurfette Principle: Partially subverted. Every series has female pilots, but they're almost always outnumbered by male ones, and (with the exception of the manga Mobile Suit Gundam École Du Ciel), they're never the main character. Well, it is Shōnen, after all...
- Super Prototype: Just about anything with the word "Gundam" in its name, and a lot without it.
- Superweapon Surprise: In the UC timeline, and the CE that mirrors it, mobile suits are these, with the subversion that they're used to attack instead of defend. The first Gundams in both universes are this again, in that they're Bigger Stick mobile suits that catch the other side by surprise too! More typical examples also appear in most timelines, as well.
- Sword Fight: Only with Humongous Mecha and Laser Blades!
- Telepathic Spacemen: Newtypes from the Universal Century and Innovators from Anno Domini.
- Transforming Mecha: Varies between series, with some series chock-full of such mecha, and others devoid of them. Zeta Gundam springs to mind as the Gundam series with the most Transforming Mecha, which includes the title mech.
- Translation Convention: In Japan, the Army and Navy use the exact same ranking system, which has caused a good deal of confusion over what to use in the US dubs — for example, is Kou Uraki an Ensign or 2nd Lieutenant? Typically, this is handled by treating the Space Forces as a Navy, and the rare few series that focus on ground combat forces (like The 08th MS Team) use Army ranks.
- United Space of America: Given its generally Western aesthetic and at times American norms, the Earth Federation nominally tries to be this on paper. It definitely doesn't apply for Spacenoids however, given their general status as second-class citizens and their nigh-perpetual frustration.
- Unstoppable Rage: In the Universal Century, Newtypes' psychic abilities are boosted by strong emotions, and an angry Newtype pilot is pretty much the scariest adversary you could ever hope (not) to face.
- Vestigial Empire: The Earth Federation during the Late Universal Century. It's still the central power of the solar system, and even manages to expand a bit and briefly annex Jupiter, but it's mired in economic depression, red tape and civil war, and by the time of Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, it's such a mess that only a civilian militia is left to defend the Earth.
- Villainous Valour: It's not uncommon to see highly courageous behaviour from Gundam adversaries, whether ordinary mooks or major villains.
- War Is Hell: A recurring theme.
- The War of Earthly Aggression: The most recurring theme in the series, and the one that generates most conflict overall.
- Warrior Therapist: The Rival tends to be one, resulting in philosophical debates during running mecha battles.
- Wave Motion Gun: There's always at least one, whether mounted on a suit, a ship, or a space station.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: In the Universal Century, Neo Zeon's default answer to any sufficiently serious problem is 'ram Axis into it'. Sometimes, 'it' even extends to 'other people from Neo Zeon'.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Most of the antagonists of a series are usually — or at least can be argued to be — this.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Most cyber newtypes and their alternate universe expies are not known for rationality or mental stability.
- Won the War, Lost the Peace: The One Year War was both a Pyrrhic Victory and this. The Federation took one year to defeat Zeon, but between spacenoid agitation, the growth of a tyrannical State Sec, and a failure to properly suppress the various remnants of Zeon, the aftershocks lasted for a total of twenty years before the Earth Federation finally regained full control of the Earth Sphere.
- World Half Full: G Gundam, Gundam Wing, Gundam X, Turn A Gundam, Gundam SEED, and Gundam 00. Subverted with a vengeance in Gundam AGE. For the Universal Century, Gundam Unicorn could be considered a subversion as well, given that its more hopeful ending still takes place before F91 and Victory.
- Yandere: Started to appear in Zeta Gundam.