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Franchise / SD Gundam

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The face that launched a thousand scrunched up and with pupils!
"Get ready for Gundam like you've never seen it before! ...Really cute and tiny!"

Everyone knows about Gundam, one of the big name Anime franchises out there. A gritty mix between a space opera and a war drama, with angst and death always around the bend. So how about instead of that, we talk about something a little more wacky and fun?

Starting with a contributed illustration to "Model News" magazine by Nagoya junior high school student Koji Yokoi in the 1980s, which would then lead to Koji serializing SD Gundam 4 frame comics for said magazine, SD Gundam (SDガンダム) is a sub-franchise to Gundam focusing entirely on Super-Deformed mechs.

In spite of receiving negative attention from those who don't consider it "true" Gundam nowadays, the toys were actually very popular in the late '80s-early '90s, to the point where sales from the SD Gundam franchise were actually better than everything else Gundam-related at the time, and its popularity even led to a bunch of Super-Deformed shows such as the Mashin Hero Wataru Series and Lord of Lords: Ryu Knight, as well as Super Robot Wars (In fact, Super Robot Wars used the SD Gundam designs for Gundam until Alpha).

Although it started off parodying the main series, over the years separate continuities have been made featuring the main franchises mechs (And in some cases even the human characters) in different settings, like a Sengoku war or a medieval fantasy.

Works include the following:

Please note that we aren't including SD Gundam G Generation or SD Gundam Capsule Fighter into the list because while they do feature SD mechs, they're more crossovers for the main Gundam works (Characters from BB Senshi Sangokuden have appeared in both, however).

Tropes associated with the SD Gundam franchise include:

  • Adaptation Amalgamation: Characters from this franchise are always based off of mechs and sometimes even humans from countless works in the main Gundam franchise, even though a good number of those works take place in Alternate Continuities, and even the ones that share continuities take place in different points in time. While this was due to SD Gundam starting off as a parody, once the works became more serious as time went on, it became this trope.
  • Alternate Continuity: This whole franchise is one to the main Gundam franchise. And like the main Gundam franchise, it has its own individual continuities.
  • Art Evolution: When the franchise first debuted, the characters were in the standard two-heads tall chibi proportions. Over time, this evolved to the current three-heads tall proportions.
  • Lighter and Softer: Relatively speaking. The works can be dark and serious at times, but they're overall still much more cheerful than most main Gundam works.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Good part of the success of this franchise was thanks to the Banpresto toys made during The '80s that were very popular then.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: While SD Gundams may not look human, they are seen showing emotions and having personalities like humans.
  • Sailor Earth: Making an SD Gundam OC can be as simple as deciding which mech from throughout the Gundam franchise you wanna base your character off of. That is, unless you don't want to base them after any mech in particular and instead want to use common design themes shared between the mechs to make something new.
  • Super-Deformed: Uh, no doy. Every character is chibified, and the "SD" in the franchise's title even stands for "Super Deformed".
  • Trope Codifier: Considering all the works it inspired, the franchise can be considered this for Super-Deformed mecha.