The current anime streaming market-to-home-video format means North American audiences have quick and easy access to almost every show, every season. In days of yore, this was far from standard and many series went under the radar, never to resurface. This week's list looks at one series from each staple genre with a few qualifying points: it aired on television in Japan, it was never fully released legally in English, fansubs are not readily available, and it ran at least one cour (often much, much more).
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An introductory course to everything Mobile Suit Gundam
I sometimes wonder what a newbie thinks about when they hear the word Gundam, and knows nothing about it. Do they envision the iconic RX-78 Gundam, a group of teenage pretty boys, Gunpla (*Gundam plastic model), those people who dress like Nazis at anime conventions (*the uniform of fictional Autonomous Republic of Zeon which is modeled after Nazis uniform), or do they just get confused? Most convince themselves that there are a trillion Gundam series out there in anime land, so there is no point starting now. Back in the day I felt the same way; but do not fret, I’m here to help. Let us start with the basics first. What is Gundam?
The word Gundam actually means exactly what it sounds like, gun and dam. It is supposed to signify a unit that is so powerful that it can hold back wave after wave of enemy fighters, much like a dam you would put in a river. Of course the unit has to fight back, and it does that with a gun. Before Tomino came up with that idea, he first played around with the name Gundom, a mixture between the word gun and freedom. And before that was Freedom Fighter Gunboy, which sounds ridiculous.
Gun + Dam... !??
Mobile Suit Gundam is an anime franchise that started way back in the late seventies, (1979), and has since spawned 28 different anime television shows, OVAs, and movies. This is the wall that most people see when they want to start watching Gundam, I feel the same way when I think about Star Trek. Do you have to watch them all in order understand the story? Absolutely not!
Gundam has two different categories that all of its anime fall into, shows that follow the original storyline that was created during the first show called the Universal Century, and shows that take place in separate universes, like Gundam Wing for example. Shows that take place in the Universal Century should be watched in order (whether it be the order it aired in, or timeline order, it doesn’t matter). However, shows that do not fall into the Universal Century can be watched in any order, besides Gundam Destiny (and you shouldn’t be watching that anyway.)