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.
Today I would like to write about the anime series I’ve been watching over the past few months, some quick thoughts on them and whether or not I recommend them! This list will be a mix of classics as well as currently airing shows. So, without further ado, lets get started!
Back in September I picked up The Vision of Escaflowne on DVD from the Anime Limited stall at MCM Comic Con Scotland. This is a massively popular mecha/fantasy series that first aired in 1996, but I hadn’t seen it until recently. The pacing is slow at times but its a fun watch that does romance well and has a beautiful soundtrack. 7/10.
Another old anime I got round to watching is Full Metal Panic!, seasons 1-3. I bought the Blu-Ray releases and watched the English dub. I love it when anime gets political, and this series provides the perfect mix of epic fights, high school comedy, military madness and governmental woes. It sounds like a weird mix, and the story is nothing spectacular, but it made me laugh and it would make a solid introduction to anime. 8/10.
When western fans first discover anime, they often arrive at the misconclusion that not much of it is available from legal sources and that the easiest way to watch anime is via illegal streaming websites. This would have been true in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but nowadays we have a whole myriad of sources that allow viewers in the UK, as well as many other countries, to enjoy their favourite shows while supporting the creators.
I understand that many anime series are unlicensed, unavailable on legal streaming services and don’t have a physical release in the UK, but I heartily encourage everybody who loves the industry to give back to it whenever possible – and that doesn’t always mean parting with your hard-earned money!
A common misconception among anime fans in the west is that merchandise for their favourite shows is difficult to come across on the average high street. That would have been true about five years ago, but otaku culture has recently reached new heights and its now easier than ever to find DVDs, Blu-Rays, manga, figures, plushies and other anime merch on the streets of Britain. I’ve travelled the UK extensively and have managed to find some kind of anime-related merch everywhere from Penzance to Inverness!
Nearly all Waterstones locations now have a selection of manga, the quality of which often depends on the size of the store. Larger cities such as Sheffield and Glasgow tend to stock plenty whereas smaller towns like Barrow-in-Furness and Middlesbrough will have smaller collections, usually only offering the most popular manga, which at the moment tends to be shounen series like Naruto, Bleach and My Hero Academia. If you’re looking for manga and haven’t yet checked your nearest Waterstones branch, give them a look!