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A History Of Gundam, The Anime That Defined The Giant Robot Revolution

March 20, 2016


Just about four decades ago, Mobile Suit gundam Malaysia aired in Japan and changed the way the country looked at giant robots. Here's a brief history of how Gundam established a new genre of anime, changed the way the West consumed Japanese animation, and became a cultural touchstone for the robotics technologies of the future.

Gundam: The Origin

In 1979, giant robots had a certain connotation in Japanese entertainment. The likes of Mazinger Z as well as the then-recent début of your initial ever Super Sentai show, Battle Fever J with their very own giant mech, gave the "Super Robot" genre a very precise connotation. Such mecha had been fanciful, confined to children's shows and comic books fighting aliens and monsters, and because the name with the genre implied, were noticed as evolutions of super powers rather than realistically designed robots to be applied in military environments.



Mobile Suit Gundam would transform that, but not with out opposition. Its depiction of not only warfare involving two different factions of spacefaring humans, but its use of mechanized exosuits, the Gundams itself, as realistic tools of military warfare was fully unheard of at the time. Actually, regardless of critical approval, Mobile Suit Gundam was truly seen as wildly unpopular when it very first aired, as audiences expected a different super robot anime only to become confronted using a shockingly different approach to giant robots. It was virtually canceled after 39 episodes, but just after renegotiating with their sponsors, including toy manufacturer Clover, the series was extended to a run of 43 episodes and ended unceremoniously.

Small did people comprehend, however, that Mobile Suit gundam Malaysia would spark the creation of what exactly is now called the "Real Robot" genre, one that dominates the portrayal of mecha in Japan even today. But prior to that, it had to be saved from cancellation and falling into obscurity following it ended.

Surprisingly enough, it was saved by toys.