Fanart Friday returns, and no, that’s not Char behind the mask, it’s just Victoria. Last week, we prepped for the final ten installments of Fanart Friday with a special vote, but this week we’re back on-track with something I should have done a long time ago: a trip through Mobile Suit Gundam, its many follow-up series, and more!
Yes, Richie Branson is showing up next week too
Often referred to as “the Star Wars of Japanese pop culture,” the Gundam franchise started in 1979 with (naturally) Mobile Suit Gundam, a sobering and more realistic take on giant robots and interstellar warfare compared to the high-energy, aimed-at-kids super robot shows of the time. Gundam has tried a little bit of everything since then, but it always comes back to an important message: war is hell. Let’s get started!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact Nate, and appropriate action will be immediately taken. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN AND ARE NOT THE OPINIONS OF CRUNCHYROLL, INC., ELLATION, OR ANY EMPLOYEES THEREOF.
It almost always starts with a young pilot–in the beginning, it was Amuro Ray–thrust into the middle of a deadly war to pilot the advanced, lethal mobile suit known as a GUNDAM!
And on the other side, there’s always some kind of skilled, powerful enemy (usually an ace pilot), who’s not fighting because of cacklefiend evildoer motivation, but because they really believe they’re doing the right thing for their people or ideals. In the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Char Aznable set the stage for this, and that spirit continues through to today’s Gundam stories.
The original Mobile Suit Gundam covered the One Year War, which took place in “Universal Century” 0079. Flash forward to 0087 and we have Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, following new hero Camille Bidan and a few familiar faces.
Zeta got a direct sequel with Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (double zeta), which got… kinda weird in parts. We’ll talk about that later. Anyway, ZZ had a mostly-new cast, although there were a handful of Zeta‘s major players who returned.
Despite returning in Zeta, Char made a real comeback to fight Amuro in the incredibly bitter Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, a movie that’s not particularly fun to watch, but brings closure to this seemingly neverending duel.
Char’s Counterattack had pushed the UC timeline all the way to 0093, but with Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, we dialed back the clock and the scale to a much more personal, emotional story about bringing the pain and loss of war home. This is one of the hardest Gundam titles for me to watch, but I always recommend it without hesitation because it’s that damn good.
Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is pretty straightforward, with a rookie pilot taking on an ace pilot and all the personal drama in between all the fighting as they track down a guy with a nuke, but it’s still pretty cool.
All I know about Mobile Suit Victory Gundam is that it takes place in UC 0153, way after any of the previous Universal Century Gundams, and kind of signaled a “Gundam fatigue,” causing the series to shift gears. Holy crap, did they shift gears.
My single favorite Gundam series, Mobile Fighter G Gundam is the first alternate-universe Gundam series, taking place in the Future Century timeline, where nations battle using Gundams in a global martial arts tournament.
The first Gundam for a lot of American fans, New Mobile Report Gundam Wing went a little more back-to-basics, dealing with colonies fighting against an oppressive Earth regime using five pilots in powerful Gundam suits.
After War Gundam X has one of the coolest titles, and I remember it playing on TV when I was living in Japan, but I’ve never seen it. I did, however, buy the model kits–these were the first ones I worked on!
My #2 favorite Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team deals with the slog of war–equipment breaking, bad weather, being outnumbered and fighting in horrible conditions, all while just trying to stay sane and go through normal things like falling in love with the enemy. Great stuff all around.
Another one that I regularly recommend is the appropriately weird, surprisingly apocalyptic Turn A Gundam. Taking place in the “Correct Century” timeline, Turn A is basically a combination of all previous Gundam stories and timelines into one… sort of. Definitely check this one out!
Another one I missed–but in this case, a lot of people checked out and loved–was Mobile Suit Gundam SEED! I know there are quite a few direct parallels between SEED, its sequel, and the original Universal Century stories, but I’ll leave those to you guys in the comments.
Another callback to an older Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 really reminded me of Gundam Wing, right down to its really really ridiculously good-looking pilots with a specialized team of Gundams.
Based on a novel, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn brings us back to the Universal Century, this time all the way back to UC 0001. The first war and the first Gundam, all set against humanity’s first steps into becoming a spacefaring society. This is such a gorgeous series, and it’s right here on Crunchyroll!
Gundam Build Fighters got kind of meta–it’s about kids collecting and battling with Gundam model kits, or Gunpla (Gundam plastic model kits), featuring plenty of famous faces throughout Gundam‘s history! What, I have the self-control to not post a Rinko Iori pic for this!
And that brings us to the latest title, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, about child soldiers who form a mercenary group, and are caught up in a war between (you guessed it) the Earth and humans who live in space.
by ultmte READER SUBMISSION!
I told you people loved SEED! I may be kind of put off by Hisashi Hirai’s character designs, but ultmte is showing Lunamaria Hawke some love!
And last week, we also got a request for SEED‘s Lacus Clyne, so here she is with an adorable pink Haro!
“A masked man in red” has become a very regular thing by now in Gundam–while he’s not always in red, there is always a masked man in every Gundam series so far!
So ZZ‘s Moon Moon arc is not about a goofy husky or malamute, but is in fact about a bunch of colonists who have reverted to a primitive society and worship the moon. It’s… I dunno, I don’t think it’s bad, but it does feel kind of out of place?
Anyway, yes, here is proof that I am a pathetic human being. No, Rinko, you should be lifting with your legs and not your back.
And that’s everything for this week! There’s no way I could have included everything–what are your favorite parts of Gundam‘s long history? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
For those of you wanting to submit your art here, behold–the FIVE FIATS OF FANART FRIDAY!
1. Your work is always welcome here, regardless of your skill level or experience. To submit work to Fanart Friday, please PM me (username Anonymooo) with a link to your work, and submit it BY THURSDAY before the column goes up.
2. The link must be the full URL, don’t use any URL shorteners like bit.ly or goo.gl. An example of a full URL is:http://anonymooo.deviantart.com/art/Mooo-vs-Redblood-Phill-Cover-22690857
3. Your work must be hosted on a site like Deviantart or Pixiv (or your own official art website), not on Imgur, Photobucket,Crunchyroll Photos, or anything along those lines. This provides a verifiable source for the work.
4. I, and by extension Crunchyroll, reserve the right to remove or not share your work if it is deemed inappropriate. Any submissions that don’t follow these rules will not be permitted in Fanart Friday.
5. Be excellent to each other. Don’t steal anyone else’s work or make fun of artists’ submissions.
Before we close up for the week, here’s something important: the results of last week’s polls!
So yes, we’re going to do five separate installments with highlights from each year, from 2011 to now.
Looks like it’s just me for the last run! I’ll be doing a few cons in the lead-up, but I’ll make sure to do every Fanart Friday until it’s all done.
“Holidays” might be a tough one to do since there isn’t anything major from July to September, but we’ll do one last “back to school” episode and I’m probably going to do one last Drunkyroll anyway.
This one’s going to be interesting! This will probably be the second-to-last installment, also serving as the final recap episode for Fanart Friday, with thoughts from everyone who’s been involved in the column up to this point.
Let’s start with the box full of Umarus–this is for a video project I’m working on called Umaru VS. It’s not an official Crunchyroll production, but I’ll be bringing along some of my CR friends for what will be a very fun and explosive ride. The drawing is from a comic I’m working on with Nelson Rosa, Richard Jao, and Sean Clelland called Shaw City Strikers, a loving homage to martial arts movies, shonen manga, and the often-overlooked art of using action as storytelling. Nelson and Richard are heading up writing with Sean serving as an occasional consultant (he also created one of the main characters), and I’ll be taking art duties. We hope to have the first chapter up by late July or early August.
Now, here are the next three themes for Fanart Friday!
-Next week, on JULY 1st, it’s still a fan-made masterpiece if you can listen to it! FAN-MADE MUSIC takes the stage, and I’m going to do my best to find a pianica cover of H.T! THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I’M ACCEPTING REQUESTS OR SUBMISSIONS FOR THIS WEEK! 12 LEFT!
-Then, on JULY 8th, our brands bleed, demanding satisfaction–BERSERK is back and exclusively on Crunchyroll, and we’re celebrating with a full installment featuring everyone from Adon to Zodd! Well, maybe not General Adon, he’s a lameass. 11 LEFT!
-On JULY 15th, we start the final run with the top-requested returning column, THE HAWTNESS EDITION–wait, didn’t we just do this a few months ago? This won’t be a two-parter, so expect sexy men and women in this installment! 10 LEFT!
Thanks again for dropping by to check out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next time!
Nate Ming is the Features and Reviews Editor for Crunchyroll News, creator of the long-running Fanart Friday column, and the Customer Support Lead for Crunchyroll. You can follow him on Twitter at @NateMing, and see more at Crunchyroll Gaming and the official Crunchyroll Twitch channel.