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.
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 As in, a specific date AND day of the week 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 The last official timelines ever published that include the AD era have 2045 as the last AD year mentioned, with 2047 being the earliest possible candidate after that based on the above dates. Still, it's just theory..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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, AGEand the aforementioned Build Fighters came out.
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 it was initially named "Lunar Titanium" in the original series, as it was an artificial alloy of Titanium discovered by Lunar scientists; 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Power Creep, Power Seep: In almost any video game crossover, 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.
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.
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 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.
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 say it aloud, it's very possible it is... uh, meant to, be spelled with a "V"...)
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, ∀ 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.
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.
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.
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.