The Gundam franchise has been going on for almost 40 years, and it's really no surprise, given its status as a cash cow, the relevancy of its War Is Hell themes to modern society, the consistent fictional technology, and a lot of other things. So do you have what it takes to write the next Gundam? If you think you can, then catch up on Write a Story for some basic advice. Most tropes that apply to Write a Humongous Mecha Anime also apply here, but this one is going to list tropes specific to Gundam.
(Note: Work is very much in process. Please expand on this if you can.)
- Humongous Mecha: this is the soul of the Gundam series. A Gundam series would not be called a Gundam without it. The standard mecha is called a mobile suit. Other machines are mobile armor, non-humanoid-shaped mecha, or mobile workers, smaller mobile suits used for construction, though they can be re-configured for warfare.
- Applied Phlebotinum: there should be explanation on why mobile suits instead of traditional weapons are used. In the original series, the proliferation of Minovsky particles jam most radio communications, so they render many guided missiles useless. The solution is to have the humanoid mobile workers be turned into mobile suits.
- Rule of Cool: while Gundam is a mostly a Real Robot genre, at many times you need it to be a successful series.
- A Love Interest: You don't have to have them hook up (you can if you want to though), but you have to at least IMPLY something. You can have more than one love interest if you want, but you at least have to have one couple hinted at more than the others.
- Latex Space Suit: Unless you're doing a Build Fighters series, or you plan on having things never leave the Earth's atmosphere, you're going to need this in some capacity.
- Most Gundam series are of the Real Robot genre. Meaning most mecha are mass-produced with few prototypes existing. But should you opt for a Super Robot approach? G Gundam opted for that approach, though the Real Robot aspects are still there. Mixing the genres is good provided that they are consistent.
- The main Gundam and most mobile suits are piloted. But does other means of piloting exist? While pilotless examples and remote-controlled mechs do exist, it is commonly accepted that the protagonist Gundam should pilot the mecha.
- Where they usually fight? Any Gundam could theoretically fight on land, space, air, and sea, though it was space that Gundams are known to fight. Specialist mecha could be used on a specific battle environment.
- How tall are the mechs: Most Gundams and mobile suits are eighteen meters tall, though some series like in Gundam Wing, they are mostly 16 meters tall. There are larger ones such as the Psyco Gundam from Zeta Gundam and Destroy Gundam from Gundam Seed Destiny, for example, them being in the 50 meter range.
- Keep in mind that while it's important to show off Rule of Cool, taking it too far can undercut War Is Hell and come across as Do Not Do This Cool Thing. You don't have to worry about this, however, if you're writing a story about the model kits, this isn't a problem.
- Much like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, merchandise is important. However, the mobile suit designs should balance toyetic design and practical design - a suit that looks more like something you'd expect from Digimon will work in a Build Fighters series, but probably won't fly in a serious series.
- The cast size has to be just right - have it be too small, and you'll have to introduce more characters eventually. Have it be too big, and you'll either focus on one character more than others, or you won't develop them enough.
- Make the protagonist start in a grunt mobile suit, and have the enemy start with a Gundam.
- Have the main character start out with a Gundam, but then lose it and spend a few episodes getting it back.
- Have the main pilot be female. Gundam normally has male main characters as the lead.
- Avoid the Nuclear Weapons Taboo - while Gundam has used nukes before, more often then not, this is an unspoken rule.
Suggested Themes and Aesops
- War Is Hell: this is the central theme of most Gundam series. Even some of the series that don't focus on it have shades of this trope.
- Have the Gundam be stolen - either by the main character or a villain. Gundam used to be the Trope Namer for Grand Theft Prototypenote .
Set Designer / Location Scout
- The Original Mobile Suit Gundam - the one that started it all.
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam - the one that practically set the stage for all future Gundam series to come; every future Gundam series owes something to it's existance.
- The second half of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ is an example of why Gundam can improve over time.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack ended one of the most legendary rivalries in anime,
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam was the first AU Gundam, and was the show's first foray into the Super Robot territory. It proved that just because it's not serious doesn't automatically mean it's bad.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was the second AU Gundam, but is the most remembered of the 3 major ones from the 90s. It also proved that Gundam could appeal to fans in other countries, and introduced girls to the franchise.
- After War Gundam X shows how to wrap up a series when you're pressed for time.
- ∀ Gundam shows that different CAN work if handled correctly.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED was the entry that put the franchise back on the map, and updated the original for the modern day audience.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED CE.73: Stargazer proves that just because it's short doesn't mean that you can't tell a story.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 shows that modern day influences can make for a very interesting climate.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
- Gundam Build Fighters shows that you don't need a war to tell a good story.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
- Gundam Build Fighters - wanna completely disregard War Is Hell and just make something that's pure fun? This is how you do it!
The Epic Fails
- The first half of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ is how not to do a sequel.
- Mobile Suit Victory Gundam is what happens when Executive Meddling goes too far and causes an already depressed director to want to kill the franchise. It's not divisive for nothing.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny is why you shouldn't let personal conflicts between the production crew and the VAs affect the quality of the product.
- Mobile Suit Gundam AGE shows that just because a plot's ambitious doesn't justify not doing anything with it. If you have a good idea, use it! Also, use Kio Asuno as an example of how NOT to write a Technical Pacifist.
- Gundam: Reconguista in G spent so much time setting up the world that it forgot to tell a story...and by the time it remembered to do so, it was only a few episodes away from the finale.