- Anime First: Most Gundam animated work has been anime first, with the exceptions of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash, which were based on novels; and Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt, which was based on a manga. The success of the latter two has lead to Bandai considering animating other popular manga/novel works in the franchise.
- Cash Cow Franchise: Ever notice all those model kits? There's a reason for that.
- Executive Meddling: Part of the reason the franchise failed to gain traction after the success of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing on Toonami. Sunrise chose to start back at the beginning of Universal Century with Mobile Suit Gundam, but the dated animation wasn't eye-catching and despite being a classic the original show felt backwards compared to the premise and themes of Wing. Mobile Fighter G Gundam came next, which was better received, but Bandai lost favor from toy stores as they forced them to stock merchandise that nobody wanted. By the time Mobile Suit Gundam SEED rolled around, it has neither hype or driving force from merchandise to back it up, so it was shoved into a Friday Night Death Slot. Many fans hold the opinion that, had Sunrise exported Gundam X rather than the One Year War series, Gundam might have actually hung on longer. Likewise, a stronger foundation using the modern alternate continuity shows may have helped every UC work get a proper English dub, rather than just the first series and a few of the movies.
- Fountain of Expies: Char Aznable has been so oft-imitated, both in the Gundam franchise itself and in other shows, as to warrant its own trope.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Since most of the franchise was distributed in the U.S. by Bandai Entertainment, it and a whole other plethora of shows fell into this when Bandai ceased production. Fortunately, Sunrise has offered to sell their Bandai-licensed shows (including Gundam) to other distributers, starting with Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and continuing to the others in 2015. (Most of the franchise is now being distributed by Nozomi Entertainment).
- Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.":
- Given how many series have not been released outside of Japan, most western audiences were introduced to Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, After War Gundam X, ∀ Gundam, and (Real-Grade mechs based on) Musha Gundam and Knight Gundam through Dynasty Warriors: Gundam.
- Likewise, many fans introduced to the series by the newer entries met the resident Char Clone before learning of the original character. For instance, as Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was the first series exported to the West, many American fans were more familiar with Zechs Marquise. This was so prevalent that the best way to identify "newcomers" is whether they mistake Char cosplayers for Zechs.
- Milestone Celebration:
- In 1999, in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the franchise, Sunrise both brought Yoshiyuki Tomino back to direct a Gundam series (∀ Gundam) and commissioned a live-action Gundam movie (G-Saviour).
- In 2009, in recognition of the 30th anniversary, Sunrise released a short video called "Gundam Perfect Mission", showcasing many of the franchise's most famous Gundams working together to get the original Gundam's core fighter into orbit. A 1:1 scale Gundam model was also built in Japan, and remained on display outside the Gundam Museum in Odaiba until 2017 (when it was replaced by a 1:1 scale of the Unicorn Gundam).
- In a gaming example specifically, 2017 marked the 30th anniversary of Gundam video games, with Zeta Gundam: Hot Scramble for the Famicom being credited as the first (It isn't, but that's another story). To celebrate this, Bandai created the Hot Scramble Gundam (based off of the Zeta-inspired Scramble Gundam from Gundam Build Fighters Try Island Wars and piloted by Meijin Kawaguchi III) and included it in several Gundam games released in 2017, including SD Gundam G Generation Genesis and Gundam Versus.
- No Export for You:
- For a long time, Bandai showed no interest in exporting several major Gundam productions to America. In 2015, however, Nozomi Entertainment and distributor Rightstuf worked out an arrangement and have since released every animated Gundam production up to Build Fighters Try (Iron Blooded Orphans is licensed by Funimation, who are taking care of the US release of that series themselves).
- For a long time, Gundam Video Games have had a struggle with releasing overseas as well, with Dynasty Warriors: Gundam being one of the few notable major series that is available in English. However, Gundam Breaker 3 is available subtitled in English (from Singapore) and starting in 2017 with Gundam Versus, new games were given a western release including New Gundam Breaker, Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare, a Steam release of SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays, and Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Maxi Boost ON (albeit download only in the west).
- Recycled Script: Quick, which Gundam show is being described: the main character is a youngster who gets embroiled in the war when it shows up on his doorstep, leading to him Falling into the Cockpit of a Gundam. He ends up reluctantly becoming an Ace Pilot, gaining both a personal enemy and a love interest among the enemy, the latter of which dies tragically. Eventually the hero participates in the war's Final Battle, helping defeat the enemy before retiring to a less martial life. Give up? It's the original series, Zeta, ZZ, Unicorn, Victory, SEED and SEED Destiny to a lesser extent, and arguably X and Turn A as well. Whew!
- Screwed by the Network: Numerous examples, both in Japan and abroad. Mobile Suit Gundam was cut from a planned 52 episodes to only 39, and the staff had to beg to get an extention up to 43 in order to wrap up the series; Gundam X was left to rot in a Friday Night Death Slot and eventually cut from 49 to 39 episodes.
- Star-Making Role: Many voice actors' careers were launched by starring as the lead in many Gundam series, starting with Tōru Furuya as Amuro Ray. Some even debuted as the protagonist from the start. The same goes with the Char Clones starting with the original, Shūichi Ikeda. Similarly, many supporting actors got famous for voicing an important or memorable character in a Gundam series even if they are not the protagonist.
- The Wiki Rule: Right this way...
- What Could Have Been:
- As noted under Executive Meddling, Sunrise chose to follow Gundam Wing with the original 0079. Toonami, who aired Wing, had approached them for another Gundam series after Wing finished it's run, and had their eyes on the aforementioned X and ∀ Gundam - had Sunrise said yes, not only would those series have gotten dubs, but it's likely that the Gundam Boom would have stayed on longer. What makes this example particularly weird is that later, Sunrise let Toonami air the aforementioned G Gundam - one can't help but wonder why Sunrise didn't just let them air G first.
- The original name for the robots was "Gundom," a portmanteau of the words "gun" and "freedom." However, Yoshiyuki Tomino changed the name to "Gundam" to evoke the idea of the robots being used like a dam to hold back enemies.
- The series was also meant to have a live action adaptation well before G-Saviour. It was also supposed to have designs by Syd Mead. The said show however never happened, though Syd Mead was famously brought back for ∀ Gundam.
- Years before Gundam Wing aired in the US, Sunrise made a pitch for an American-exclusive Gundam series to enter the lucrative US toy market. The end result, the infamous Doozy Bots, was shopped to networks for a Fall 1991 airing, only to find no takers. One can only wonder how differently Gundam would have fared in the US had the first major exposure on national television been Doozy Bots and not Wing.
Trivia / Gundam