Gundam is one of the most iconic anime franchises, and I think every otaku should watch at least one Gundam series – but there are so many and it can be difficult to know where to start. You might be wondering whether they’re all connected, or whether they hold up as standalone entries, but fear not – all will be explained in this post.
While some Gundam series are connected to each other, there are several different timelines and most of them hold up as standalone watches. Don’t worry, there’s no need to watch all 900+ episodes that have aired since the 1970’s!
That said, the original Mobile Suit Gundam series from 1979 isn’t a bad place to start. Its 43 episodes long, the budget was clearly low and the pacing can be a little slow, but you’ll learn the basics and get to see what Gundam is all about. If you don’t want to commit to watching too many episodes, there are three movies that cut out all the filler.
If you just want to watch one Gundam series to see if its up your alley, I will always recommend Mobile Suit Gundam 00, which aired between 2007 and 2009, and consists of two 25-episode seasons. It feels modern, has a reasonable budget, features excellent worldbuilding and the politics are fascinating, containing many references to the real world.
Now, 40-50 episodes is a rather long commitment and not everyone likes movies. If this is you, check out Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team. Unfortunately this is unlicensed in the UK and therefore not available on any legal streaming sites or on DVD/BD, but its a 12-episode OVA that requires zero prior knowledge of the Gundam franchise.
Perhaps you prefer manga to anime. If so, the best place to start is Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, which is a retelling of the 1979 anime series with plenty of extra content. It has an official English release and can be purchased from Amazon UK.
Gundam features some of the best storytelling in the entire anime industry and I think anyone who likes giant robot fights or has an interest in politics should give it a shot.