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YMMV / Mobile Suit Gundam

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: With a number of characters.
    • Amuro is quite often interpreted to be on the autism spectrum. He has an inability to read social cues and he obsesses over fixing things or reading to the point of neglecting his surroundings.
    • When Amuro confronts Char over Lalah's death, it's clear he places the blame on Char for putting Lalah in that situation rather than himself for killing them. Amuro either averts the heroic guilt complex and understands that it was Char's fault or it's a case of Never My Fault and he's downplaying his part in killing her even if it was an accident.
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    • Char's Lack of Empathy is often delved into more than just being a case of Characterization Marches On. At the start of the series he's quite saddened at Crown's death but near the end he's quick to brush off Dimitri's, only remarking on the lost mobile armor. It could be that Char was faking his earlier reactions and as the series goes on he slips up more, or it could be that Char genuinely thought he cared about them but through the war realized that he was only putting a facade on.
    • Kycilia is revealed to have been heading the study of Newtypes something which the rest of the Zabis paid very little interest in. Oddly enough this makes her quite similar to Zeon Deikun himself. Exactly what her end goals were is uncertain; she may have just seen them as weapons or perhaps as the next step for human-kind.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Downplayed with Gihren Zabi, who is far less tolerated in western countries than by Japan for obvious reasons. However in Japan, while he is not as popular as the massively-popular Char he is the poster boy for the Zabi Family and is significantly popular enough to have his own game series named after him. His Sieg Zeon speech is also considered a major moment in Gundam history and has been repeated in various conventions. This is possibly due to lax laws on the depiction of Nazi aesthetics in Japan along with possible influence of Japan's infamous record of war crimes denial about its actions in WWII. Interestingly enough, this appeal in Japan was a far cry from how Tomino wanted to audiences to view the character.
    • The show itself was dubbed and shown on Cartoon Network right after the surprise success of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, but failed to take in the hoped-for ratings, probably due to the animation being 20 years old by then. It was pulled after 9/11 four episodes from the end, though the final episode nevertheless managed to air that December when Char was voted surprisingly high in Toonami's "New Year's Evil" contest.
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  • Ass Pull: In the original animation, Amuro pulls out a heat-resistant film in the RX-78 Gundam to cover the whole mobile suit and save himself from burning up in the Earth's atmosphere. This was retconned in the remakes with a Heatproof Field which is a venting system that pumps out air to create a thermal shield in front of the Gundam.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Most of the changes in the compilation movies (other than those made for time constraints) were basically done to fix problems caused by Executive Meddling or that Tomino didn't like in the original. Ironically, some of these (like the Gundam Hammer) were actually quite well liked by fans.
    • The G-Fighter, a complicated Super Robot-esque support fighter with several outlandish combinations with the Gundam was replaced with the much more Real Robot-y Core Booster, just a simple support and weapons booster for the Core Fighters.
    • The Gundam's more exotic weapons, like the Beam Javelin and Gundam Hammer are absent as they were originally mandated by the network to sell toys.
    • As seen under Ass Pull, the Gundam's heat-proof film was widely disliked, and replaced with a more realistic cooling system.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Frau Bow giving the kids a bath in "Trap of M'Quve".
  • Broken Base: Which version of the show is better: The original 43 episode series, or the trilogy of compilation movies? Fans of the original series cite its pacing as one of the main reasons to watch it over the movie trilogy, with more time being given to develop the characters, while fans of the movie trilogy prefer it for its higher quality animation and retconning some of the sillier aspects of the original series (Such as the G-Armor parts, which are replaced with the Core Booster support fighters).
  • Complete Monster:
    • Gihren Zabi is the eldest son of the Zabi family and de facto dictator of the Principality of Zeon. A cold, Machiavellian personality who takes being compared to Adolf Hitler as a compliment and fully believes that Despotism Justifies the Means, Gihren doesn't care about anyone's lives, including those of his own family members, and is willing to do anything to conquer the world. He turns his little brother's funeral into a political rally while the rest of his family looks on in horror; preaches a philosophy which he doesn't buy into himself; uses a Colony Drop to exterminate vast swathes of Earth's population; deploys chemical weapons against the very colonies he claims to be liberating; and later blasts his own father and General Revil into oblivion just so they won't reach an armistice. When his sister Kycilia, no angel herself, confronts him about what he's done, Gihren's sneeringly offhanded disregard for her anger cements his status as an utterly hollow psychopath. Had he won, he admits that he would have reduced Earth's population to less than a billion and kept it that way so that they could never rise up against him. Side-stories involving him only add to his list of crimes—he helped Ginias Sahalin and his Apsalus Project; and arranged, through his secretary, Cecilia Irene, two elaborate false assassination plots with himself as the supposed victim in order to frame Kycilia and garner public support for clamping down on his political opposition. When Det. David Schiller became an Unwitting Pawn in one of these schemes, he was rewarded by seeing his entire family, members of the anti-Zabi faction, imprisoned or executed. Decades after his introduction, Gihren remains the standard to which Gundam's other monsters aspire to, with numerous equally-monstrous expies influenced by him.
    • Colonel Asakura, a ruthless and self-centered technical officer within the Principality of Zeon, is willing to commit war crimes with the use of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. Proving himself to be Gihren's go-to guy for the dirtiest of jobs, Asakura participated in the development of the infamous G3 Gas that would be released into the air system of space colonies by both the Principality of Zeon and the Titans. Left in charge of the construction and management of the Solar Ray, Asakura evicted the population of Mahal and turned their colony into a superweapon for Gihren, mercilessly firing it at an entire fleet. As was the case with his boss, more of his atrocities are explored in various supplementary material. As Cima Garahau's commanding officer in the early stages of the One Year War, Asakura tricked her and the marines into gassing an entire colony, pinning the massacre on them just so he could join Axis Zeon to evade the responsibility of ending countless lives.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Char may be a more complex villain than his boss, but he's still a villain, and his Lack of Empathy becomes increasingly pronounced. Unfortunately, Evil Is Cool, and he was so popular that he basically kept on showing up in all future installments in this particular branch of the franchise, even spawning a legion of attempts to piggyback off his success.
    • Even Gihren Zabi gets it himself in some circles of the fandom, especially the Japanese fan circles. That is despite him being behind the bulk of Zeon's war crimes in the One Year War and taking comparisons to Hitler as a compliment. There are even games allowing Zeon to win that envisions an Earth Sphere led by Gihren as a glorious future!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Char, full stop (in Japan, he is just as iconic as Darth Vader in America).
    • Rambal Ral; the man has such dignity and likability about him that it inspires a strong Rooting for the Empire. His Gouf is similarly popular.
    • The mobile suit Acguy has a large number of fans who consider its big head, stumpy limbs, and plump frame to be Ugly Cute. Its derivatives, the even more bizarre looking Agg, Juagg, and Agguguy, aren't horribly unpopular themselves considering they were never actually on the show.
    • Sleggar Law appeared in only a handful of episodes yet is incredibly popular. In fact, legendary anime director Noburo Ishiguro loved Sleggar so much that he admitted to modeling Roy Focker from Super Dimension Fortress Macross after him.
    • The Gyan was also pretty popular, especially for a one-off suit. It had a pretty out there design and a cool fight with the Gundam; with many seeing it synonymous with M'Quve himself. Its removal for the movies is a common complaint and both Kazuhisa Kondo's manga adaptation and Yoshikazu Yasuhiko's Gundam Origin brought it back. Its High-Grade Revive kit released in 2016 was often considered one of the best that year.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Zeon gets a lot of love from the fanbase. From its rhetoric to its frequent and impressive weapons. Even the Zakus, as disposable as they are, really has a cool warlike design that endures to this day.
    • Char Aznable. It would be hard for him to be a bigger dick. It would also be hard for him to be a bigger badass.
    • Ramba Ral. A man with a charismatic presence, cool custom Gouf, and enough of sympathetic presence that you want him to win.
    • The Black Tri-Stars aren't in the story for very long but they were a memorable trio of badass Ace Pilots that debut the equally cool Doms.
    • Gihren Zabi. There's such charisma and depravity to him that he really stands out as the series's most evil character.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Despite the fact that Amuro decided to pilot the Gundam because Fraw Bow convinced him to (and later Ryu's Death coped him to become a pilot), many of them swept away that fact since they ultimately prefer Bright's (infamous) slap as a real "helping" hand (no pun intended) for him instead, as he said that Amuro "can't be a real man without taking a few lumps".
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: M'quve. Nice, uh, frills.
  • First Installment Wins: Pretty much. Of all the UC series it's always this period that gets side stories, video games, and such. Even though Zeta Gundam was more popular at the time of its airing, these days it's overshadowed by its progenitor. Some fans refer to this as "the Star Trek syndrome;" while the sequel series may be vastly superior, the original show inspired a fandom.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: At least for the The War For Earth video game; we didn't get another Gundam with live-action characters until the year 2000.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Despite flopping on its initial release in Japan, the TV series became a hit in Italy, premiering there in March 1980, just weeks after the Japanese broadcast finished. There are actually two Italian dubs of the series, the second being made in 2004.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Fans get giddy at the Char and Garma subtext, especially during the shower scene and their arranged plans.
  • Hype Backlash: After listening to UC fans promote Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, it can be somewhat disappointing for some fans of other Gundam series to watch the show. Not because it's bad, but because it cannot live up to the hype its fans create for it. The same can be said for individual characters such as Char Aznable and Amuro Ray.
  • It Was His Sled: Lalah dies, making things personal between Amuro and Char.
  • Love to Hate: Char is this to the parts of the fanbase who aren't giving him leather pants, as is Kycilia Zabi. Gihren Zabi qualifies as well. There's no doubt he's a total bastard, but he's just so good at it.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Kycilia Zabi was the last member of her family standing for a reason. Fully aware of her elder brother Gihren's moral depravity and mismanagement of the conflict with the Earth Federation, Kycilia uses the One Year War as a cover for a coup d'etat against him, gathering resources and allies, while undermining Gihren's loyalists. Upon discovering through Colonel Killing's betrayal that Gihren had infiltrated her faction and was preparing to frame her for treason, Kycilia moved swiftly, leaking Char's identity to Gihren's fake conspirators and transforming a sham plot into an actual revolt against his rule. Aware that Zeon could no longer win the war, and that the Federation would never make peace while her brother lived, Kycilia journeyed to A Baoa Qu and, on finding out that Gihren had murdered their father, executed him for patricide and assumed command of what was left of Zeon. Killed when Char Aznable unpredictably betrayed her, Kycilia was nevertheless the only Zabi, or indeed, Zeon Admiral, with both a realistic appreciation of their circumstances, and the ruthlessness and will to act accordingly.
  • Memetic Badass: Char ("Da Red wunz go fasta, ya gitz?!) and Bright ("Slapping spineless wimps into MEN OF DESTINY since 1979).
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Besides the whole red thing, there's the infamous line Once the Big Zam is mass produced.
    • "Char, you double crossed me, Char!"
    • Let's not forget a certain "Jumping onto White Base."
    • The infamous Bright Slap.
      • "Not even my father hits me!" God knows how many characters in other series utters this line because of Amuro saying it.
    • "This is no Zaku boy, no Zaku!"
    • "Blame it on the misfortune of your birth."
    • Kai sipping coffee is a popular reaction image.
    • Many of the show's infamous errors and animation oddities, especially those from episode 15, became such on sites like 4Chan. Most notably, the shot of the Gundam peering over a cliff from episode 18.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Yes, the Federation has corrupt leaders. Yes, Zeon has many good, moral, people who serve it. Yes, the Titans are bad. That being said, it's a little scary how many fans will knee-jerk a SIEG ZEON for a regime that murdered, not millions, but BILLIONS of people and continue to wipe out metropolitan centers every few years... FOR FREEDOM.
    • This seems to have seeped in writers of many of the UC side stories where the majority of Zeon characters are presented as the heroic ones while any good characters in the Federation are typically a Token Good Teammate, which ignores that while there was a fairly even balance of sympathetic characters in the original series on both sides, the worst characters were all in Zeon.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Many found that Char crossed it when he arranged Garma's death. What really makes Char's crossing of the moral event horizon work is that he didn't just kill Garma, he also killed the entire crew of the Gaw that Garma was on. And this is coming from a man who had been shown to genuinely mourn the loss of his subordinates. Chew on that for awhile.
    • Gihren Zabi crosses it at Garma's funeral, when he turns his younger brother's send-off into a self-aggrandizing political rally (and piratecopies Hitler's salute "Sieg Heil" into "Sieg Zeon"), then reveals himself as a Complete Monster when he murders his father.
    • M'Quve arranging for Ramba Ral's death by denying him better mobile suits.
  • Narm:
    • The crew crying and blaming themselves for Ryu's death. Changed for the compilation movies, fortunately. In the movies, Amuro just beats up Hayato for letting Ryu go into battle.
    • While the compilation movies may have toned down the banshee-like wailing of the White Base crew, Ryu's death in itself lost a lot of its impact. Tomino shoehorned it in for continuity, at the expense of the plot, and Ryu's sacrifice came right after Matilda's death by similar means. The White Base Crew (and Amuro) spend more time mourning Matilda than they do Ryu, who in the series was so mourned that Bright had a PTSD type breakdown and couldn't captain the ship for several episodes.
    • The symbolic images involving the Newtype powers can get very ridiculous. Near the end of the series it looks like Amuro is tripping balls rather than feeling traumatized due to Lalah's death.
    • The movie trilogy dub from the '90s, especially Bright's inexplicable cockney accent. The TV series dub is considered to be a huge improvement.
    • Gihren Zabi's lifeless body bouncing softly against a video screen in zero gravity shortly after being shot through the head by his sister, Kyscilia
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Kai Shiden is labeled a Dirty Coward by most of the crew early in the series for his bitter complaints about the situation they're in, despite the fact that he repeatedly undertakes dangerous assignments when necessary.note  While the other characters eventually realize their mistake, the majority of the fandom seems to have ignored that and consider him a spineless jerk.
    • Bright Noa slapping Amuro, which is eventually seen as a trademark "Get A Hold Of Yourself Man" move to whiny crew members.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Kai Shiden gets much better as the story progresses, specifically after his ill-fated romance with Miharu.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Inevitable, given the number of homages the later shows in the franchise did, it means many plot points in the show don't stand out now as much as they did when they were first done. The show wasn't very successful when it initially aired, in fact leading it to end three episodes earlier than originally planned, meaning it didn't have the animation budget that later Gundam shows did, which can be clearly seen in how its animation is a lot less detailed and a lot slower paced. Most fans agree the series shook off its growing pains with Z Gundam, which in turn helped affirm a lot of the signature Gundam tropes.
    • When Gundam had a Breakthrough Hit in the West with Mobile Suit Gundam Wing on Cartoon Network, Sunrise decided to push the Universal Century shows out and started at the beginning. Unfortunately, the dated animation and Early Installment Weirdness tone of this show didn't appeal to many newcomers 20 years later. Echoing it's original run in Japan it got shuffled to Saturday night [adult swim] before fading away, never airing all the episodes.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Gundam standing up with its eyes glowing in the first episode.
    • Bright slapping Amuro to shake him out of his angst.
    • Gihren's speech at Garma's funeral.
    • Dozle's Last Stand against Amuro.
    • The death of Lalah Sune, which is the defining moment in Amuro and Char's rivalry.
    • The ending, with Amuro floating towards the White Base crew while crying Tears of Joy.
  • Squick: In the novel version, aside from the gross plot changes, Word of God states that Amuro's crush on Sayla culminated in him making a locket out of her pubic hair. It should be noted that Amuro himself initially thought this was disgusting, but was pressured into it by Kai and Hayato. It's apparently a combat pilot superstition that if a pilot gets into a relationship with a woman he must take an "Amulet" with him on missions or risk bringing misfortune and death on the entire squad.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Amuro and Lalah's relationship just comes out of nowhere, as does their instant attachment to one another. The series justifies it, what with their Newtype powers having caused them to identify with one another, but that doesn't help make the relationship any more real to the audience. The strangling Newtype would become a tradition in Zeta Gundam.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The "Zeon Theme" that plays whenever Zeon attacks sounds suspiciously similar to "Horsell Common and the Heat Ray" from Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.
  • Too Cool to Live: Ramba Ral and Sleggar Law are two examples.
  • Ugly Cute: The Aquatic Zeon Mobile Suits are paunchy, squat, and less humanoid than the standard models but they can be quite cute especially the Acguy and, to a lesser extent, the Z'Gok.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Amuro can fall into this at times with his Wangst. When a Federation Officer is giving posthumous rank-ups to fallen soldiers like Ryu, Amuro starts an argument over how disrespectful and useless he felt this was. Not only is it a perfectly valid way to honor the dead, but the Officer was just following protocol.
  • Vindicated by History: It's tough to believe that this show was canceled early due to poor ratings. And it's now the progenitor of one of the most renowned franchises in anime history.
  • Wangst:
    • Amuro's angst gets pretty extreme at times, with "Fly Gundam!" and "Amuro Deserts" making him come off especially unsympathetic. A lot of the more understandable reasons for his actions are often downplayed for a more general sense of angst that feels like a forced Conflict Ball more than anything. Fortunately, two thirds through the series he gets better.
    • Hayato's as bad, or worse. His entire personality is based around resenting Amuro for being better than he is, and whining like a bitch whenever Bright praises the latter's performance. Perhaps his wangstiest moment comes following the latter's desertion, when he's so mad that Amuro wasn't executed for it, that he deserts. You go kid. That'll show them.
  • What an Idiot!: Hayato deserting when Amuro wasn't executed for deserting. Logic clearly was not involved. Thankfully for both of them they weren't part of the regular military at that point and Ryu even reasons to Bright that they were on the spot draftees, so it would be too harsh to apply strict military rules to them.
  • The Woobie: Miharu Ratokie.

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