As far as mecha anime is concerned, Gundam is probably the best and best-known franchise you’ll encounter. The franchise has been around for almost half a century, creating a vast and expansive universe that is among the most popular around the world.
Our list is going to include 20 of the best Mobile Suit Gundam series and movies, from the beginning of the franchise to some modern iterations. The titles are going to be ranked from 20th to 1st, going from less good to great. You’ll be getting some basic production information, as well as a plot outline for each of the outlined choices.
Best Mobile Suit Gundam Series and Movies
The list we have prepared for you is going to be quite diverse. There are going to be some old titles, some new ones, with the main criteria being the overall quality and cultural impact of the movie or series.
20. Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
Original Release: March 1, 1986 – January 31, 1987
The story picks up where the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam series left off, in the year UC 0088. At the end of the Gryps conflict, AEUGN 1 and the Federation are considerably weakened and only Hamān Karn finds himself in position of strength: it founded on the asteroid Axis the Neo Zeon movement – a sort of erzast of the Duchy of Zeon, the enemy of the Federation in the very first series.
The main protagonists of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam being missing or unfit for battle (like Kamille Bidan), the story follows in the footsteps of a group of orphans including the hero Judau Ashta (a “newtype”), who resides on the Shangri-La Space Colony. As the EGU accidentally arrives in this colony at the start of the series, Judau and his gang decide to steal the Zeta Gundam and sell it on.
19. After War Gundam X
Original Release: April 5, 1996 – December 28, 1996
Once there was a war. Of all the space wars, this was the seventh: after several months of grueling conflict, the insurgent colonies threatened the Earth with utter destruction to obtain its surrender. The Federation, in return, mobilized its most powerful weapon to thwart the plans of the Revolutionary Forces: the Gundam X. This resulted in the greatest tragedy in history which obliterated 99% of humanity.
Fifteen years after this holocaust the world survives as best it can. Between the small nation-states that replaced the Federation, mercenary-thieves called Vultures excavate the ruins of the previous civilization to unearth artifacts from ancient times that they will sell to the highest bidder.
18. Gundam Build Fighters
Original Release: October 7, 2013 – March 31, 2014
The story of Gundam Build Fighters takes place after the 1980s. Sei Iori is a high school student fan of Gunpla (litt. Gundam Plastic Model), very popular Gundam toy figures. Indeed, it is now possible to participate in Gunpla battle championships with these miniatures. It is a very popular entertainment, especially by the youngest.
One day, Sei, inexperienced in these fights, crosses paths with Reiji, a young foreigner and receives a strange gem from him. Soon after, Reiji came to his aid in these worries by proving him that he is the Gunpla player he really needs and the two of them compete in the Gunpla World Championship together determined to beat stronger opponents. as each other.
17. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
Original Release: April 3, 2016 – September 11, 2016
Universal Century 0001: Space colonization begins and humanity enters a new era. During the official ceremony presented by the Prime Minister of the Federation on the Laplace orbital station inaugurating the transition to the Universal Century calendar, a terrorist movement sabotages the structure of the colony causing an explosion destroying it.
Syam is a young man belonging to this group claiming their deplorable living conditions led by space immigrants. As the explosion expels him from their attack-damaged ship, he discovers in the ruins of Laplace a strange artifact called “Laplace Box”. This famous box will never be opened, and its secret will remain dormant with Syam.
16. Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
Original Release: May 23, 1991 – September 24, 1992
Episodes: 13 (OVA)
The story takes place four years after the end of Zeon’s War of Independence (recounted in MSG), which ended in The Federation’s victory over the Duchy of Zeon. Nevertheless, the then vanquished formed small groups to continue the struggle in the shadows. So in year U.C. 0083, the survivors of Zeon learned of the existence of two Gundam prototypes equipped with nuclear weapons.
They then task one of their own, an elite pilot named Gatō, to infiltrate the federal base and steal one of the two machines – the goal of the operation being of course the resurrection of the duchy. Mission which he succeeds perfectly, even if he is chased by an impulsive young soldier in command of the second Gundam: Kō Uraki. The latter, however, is no match for a seasoned pilot like Gatō.
15. Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
Original Release: March 25, 1989 – August 25, 1989
Episodes: 6 (OVA)
The story begins at the end of the year 0079 of the Universal Century. After discovering the existence of a Federation base on the Side 6 colony which seems to aim to produce a second Gundam (a prototype of a very powerful mobile follows), the Duchy of Zeon orders the dispatch of a commando elite – the Cyclops team – on hand to nip this project in the bud. However, the operation was unsuccessful and a young Zeon pilot named Bernie Wiseman retreated alone into a nearby forest with his damaged Zaku.
He then meets Alfred Izuruha (nicknamed Al), an eleven-year-old boy addicted to mobiles and technology. Making friends in this context of war, they will help each other find the rest of the team and try to put together an operation against the Gundam. Meanwhile, Al also sees Christina MacKenzie, a young girl who plays a bit of the role of a big sister to him; he does not know, however, that during her studies with the Federation she became a mobile pilot.
14. Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
Original Release: January 25, 1997 – July 25, 1997
Episodes: 25 (OVA)
We are in the post-colonial year 196 (After Colony) and the war between the Earth and the colonies has just ended. His Excellency Treize Kushrenada is dead and OZ has been permanently dismantled; this gives life to the so-called “Union of Nations of the Terrestrial Sphere” and at the same time to the “Prevent”, that is the preventive defense troops of the police (under the wise leadership of Lady Une).
Noting that now it will no longer be necessary to use the Gundams for military purposes, its pilots, except Wufei who dissociates from them, decide to send the robots in the direction of the Sun, inside a gigantic waste disposal satellite, to be so destroyed. However, the peace does not seem to be able to last long as, on the 1st anniversary of the end of the conflict, a new rebellion occurs in the L3 colony.
Led by a seven-year-old girl named MarieMaia, who turns out to be Treize’s daughter, the revolutionaries have current Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Relena Darlian kidnapped while she is engaged in a difficult diplomatic mission.
13. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
Original Release: April 7, 1995 – March 29, 1996
Humanity has colonized space, with clusters of colonies located at each of the five points of Lagrange Earth / Moon. On Earth, nations have united in the Alliance. The Alliance rules the settlements with an iron fist, as they rally around Heero Yuy to express their desire for peace. In the year 175 of the colonization, Yuy was shot dead (probably by Odin Lowe), which forced the colonies to consider other means to achieve peace.
This assassination causes the departure of five scientists from the Organization of Oz, just after they have completed the prototype of the Tallgeese mobile armor.
12. Turn A Gundam
Original Release: April 9, 1999 – April 14, 2000
The story takes place in the year 2345 of the Correct Century. Long after a kind of apocalypse that brought humanity back to a technological level equivalent to that of our own twentieth century – a period known as the “dark history” whose details have been forgotten – men live in peace.
They do not even know that they once colonized the Moon and that the descendants of these colonists, named Moonraces, still live there with superior technology. But the situation changes when the inhabitants of the Moon decide to send three people to Earth to study the possibility of a return to their home planet.
11. Mobile Suit Gundam F91
Original Release: March 16, 1991
Running Time: 115 minutes
The story takes place in the year U.C. 0123, more than thirty years after the events of the first saga closed by the film Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack. But while the Federation thought it was done with rebel groups and space separatists, the Frontier Side space colony (ex Side 4) was suddenly attacked by a movement calling itself Zeon: Crossbone Vanguard.
The main character of the film, Seabook Arno, and his close friend Cecily Fairchild, two young students, reside in this settlement. As chaos quickly sets in, the latter is abducted by the attackers. Brought to Meitza Ronah, she learns that she is the heir to the aristocratic Ronah family, who pull the strings in the shadows behind Crossbone Vanguard.
10. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Original Release: March 2, 1985 – February 22, 1986
The Federation creates in U.C. 0083 an elite army, the Titans. Their role is to hunt down the survivors of the Zeon Forces and ensure the maintenance of the peace. But the Titans are gaining more and more autonomy and come to suppress by armed force any political opposition to the government, using excessively brutal and very hasty methods.
In U.C. 0085, it is the incident of Colony No. 30 of Side-1 where the Titans exterminate the 10 million inhabitants of the colony, after a gigantic demonstration of political opponents ignited the powder.
9. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
Original Release: February 28, 2015 – November 19, 2016
Episodes: 4 (OVA)
The manga narrates the events depicted in Mobile Suit Gundam (the original series of the franchise): in the year UC 0079, humanity largely colonized space, but the central authority of Earth dwindled with time, to the point that a colony named Side 3 or Zeon declares its independence, marking the start of the Zeon War of Independence.
Amuro Ray is a young boy living on Side 7, a colony until then untouched by war. Alas, the Zeon forces having heard of a secret military program on Side 7, a small troop of mobile follows is dispatched there and engages the combat with the forces of the Federation. It is then that in the resulting panic, Amuro discovers a prototype mecha named Gundam. Intuitively, he manages to pilot it to destroy the attackers.
8. Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack
Original Release: March 12, 1988
Running Time: 125 minutes
The film is set in the year U.C. 0093, five years after Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ and the events of Neo Zeon. Since then, the EGU has been dissolved and replaced by Londo Bell. There are also several veterans from the previous series such as Bright Noa (the captain) or Amuro Ray. For his part, Char Aznable, Amuro’s former rival, maneuvers in the shadows and, at the beginning of the story, recreates Neo Zeon on the space colony Side 3.
His goal this time is to destroy the Earth in order to force humanity to colonize space; he indeed thinks that this is the only way to make men evolve into “newtype”. Hostilities do not take long to begin with the Federation and the latter is forced to call on Londo Bell. But the conflict quickly turns to Char’s advantage, and the government secretly negotiates the surrender of Neo Zeon in exchange for the asteroid Axis.
7. Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
Original Release: January 25, 1996 – July 25, 1999
Episodes: 12 (OVA)
The story is set in the year U.C. 0079 during the Zeon War of Independence. Far from the great epic battles, we follow Shiro Amada, a young Earth Federation officer, and his team of mobile suits dispatched to confront Zeon in South Asia. Along the way, the unit unexpectedly stumbles upon an enemy robot and Shiro engages in combat.
After having destroyed their machine, the two pilots find themselves alone. Shiro then notices that his opponent is a young girl, Aina Sahalin, and feels attracted to her. So he heals her wounds and doesn’t leave her until the early hours of the morning.
6. Mobile Suit Gundam
Original Release: April 7, 1979 – January 26, 1980
Year 0079 of the Universal Calendar, the Duchy of Zeon – a space colony of 150 million inhabitants1 claiming its independence – declares war on the federal government of Earth. A bitter struggle between the “earthnoids” and the “spacenoids” begins and causes the death of half of humanity (then numbering eleven billion human beings).
The conflict then becomes bogged down in an eight-month standstill, which ends when Col. Char Aznable learns of the existence of the Federal Project -V-, which consists of developing new weapons to combat the Zeon Mobile Suits.
Following an attack by the Char commando on the Colony where the -V- project was established, the Gundam, the federation’s very powerful Mobile Suit prototype, rises and exterminates its attackers in a few seconds, with on board a young teenager who finds himself involved in these events quite by chance: Amuro Ray.
Due to the deadly attack on Char, Amuro and several civilians find themselves hired on a Federation ship, the White Base, under the command of a young officer named Bright Noa. This crew will then become the spearhead of the Federal Army against Zeon, thanks to Gundam and Amuro, who will develop strange “newtype” abilities.
5. Mobile Suit Gundam AGE
Original Release: October 9, 2011 – September 23, 2012
Gundam AGE takes place in the unpublished AG calendar for “Advanced Generation”. The world has been torn apart by relentless wars but eventually humanity has found an understanding and the possibility of uniting, the conflicts have ended and a century later, peace continues to reign. AG 101, the Angel Space Colony is suddenly attacked and destroyed by an enemy that no one knows anything about.
The catastrophe will be called the “Day of the Fallen Angels” and the attacks of those enemies identified as “Unknown Enemies” (UE) will once again plunge humanity living in the Earth sphere into chaos.
4. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Original Release: October 4, 2015 – April 2, 2017
The story takes place in the year 323 “Post Disaster” (323PD), a little over 300 years after a great conflict – known as the “War of Calamities” – between the Earth and the space colonies of the sphere outside the Earth, including Mars which was terraformed and successfully colonized by humans.
Earth is now governed by four economic blocs: the African Union, the Federation of Oceania, SAU (Strategic Alliance Union) and Arbrau, and its security is ensured by a military organization, the Gjallarhorn, which is responsible for maintaining the peace.
Mars, for its part, was divided into distributed regions and placed under the economic control of the four earth blocks. If since then, most of the four economic blocks have ceded autonomy to their Martian territory, the economy of Mars remains very strongly dependent on that of Earth, which leads to extreme poverty and misery for the vast majority. of the inhabitants of the red planet.
3. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
Original Release: October 9, 2004 – October 1, 2005
Two years have passed since the end of the war and a fragile peace is somehow preserved between the Plants and the Earth Alliance. Everything escalates when Zaft’s last Gundams are stolen by strangers. Following the battle this flight provoked, Zaft’s newest ship, the Minerva, sets out in pursuit of the three stolen Gundams with Shinn Asuka, pilot of one of the only Gundams on board the Impulse (ZGMF-X56S), having escaped the theft.
Shortly after, he was joined by the pilot of the Savior Gundam (ZGMF-X23S), Athrun Zala, a former Zaft soldier who re-enlisted in the army alongside leader Durandal of the Plant colonies. But the Blue Cosmos organization, at the origin of the previous war, puts its two cents in and starts a war between the Terrestrial Alliance and Zaft.
2. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Original Release: October 5, 2002 – September 27, 2003
This series from the Gundam universe takes up the usual scenario of the war of the colonies against the Earth, the theft of the Gundams as well as the feeling of superiority of the inhabitants of space. The timeline takes place in the Cosmic Era (CE, or Cosmic Era), a new calendar adopted to celebrate the end of the Reconstruction War and heralding the Space colonization program.
The main element of the scenario is the fear engendered by superior humans, the Coordinators. Unlike the New-types in the majority of the other Gundam series, the Coordinators are not an evolution of the human being, but beings genetically modified from the fertilization of the egg by the sperm. The Coordinators do not suffer from any illness, they are stronger physically, faster intellectually mature, faster, etc.
1. Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
Original Release: April 2, 1993 – March 25, 1994
The story takes place thirty years after Mobile Suit Gundam F91. Since the fall of Neo Zeon, the Federation continued to weaken, until in the year UC 0153, the Space Colony Side 2 declares its independence, becoming the Zanscare Empire.
Clearly superior in both military and tactical terms, this new state very quickly attacks Earth without encountering any resistance, and establishes a policy of terror and repression. So a group of intellectuals and soldiers, the Military League, formed to resist this authoritarian regime.