Ultimate Mark

Once upon a time, I ran a site at gundam.anime.net devoted to the Japanese sci-fi series Mobile Suit Gundam. I closed it in early 2002 to focus on the official English-language site, gundamofficial.com, which in turn shut down at the end of 2012.

Despite this legacy of defunct websites, I still get the impulse to delve into Gundam arcana every now and then. Here are some of my recent research projects...

PRODUCTION HISTORY

Lately, I've been devoting most of my research effort to documenting the real-world development of individual Gundam works. These features also include lots of rare production art, setting materials, and interview excerpts.

Production History: Process Glossary

An introduction to the process by which anime works (including Gundam series) are developed and produced, the various credited roles, and the exact nature of their jobs.

Production History: Mobile Suit Gundam

The origins of the original 1979 TV series, from its earliest incarnations as "Freedom Fighter" and "Gunboy" to its early cancelation and rebirth in movie form.

Production History: Mobile Suit Z Gundam

The launch of the long-awaited 1985 sequel series, in which director Yoshiyuki Tomino gathers a new staff of young talents and the Gundam world develops in unexpected directions.

Production History: Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ

The controversial 1986 continuation of Z Gundam, famous for its attempt to introduce a lighter tone and for the offscreen drama surrounding its robot designs.

Production History: Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack

The 1988 feature film which concluded the story of Amuro and Char. I've skipped over this for now, but I'll go back and document it after I've finished with V Gundam.

Production History: Mobile Suit Gundam F91

In which, after concluding the original storyline with Char's Counterattack, director Tomino reunites with the creators of the first series to begin a new era of Gundam. At least, that was the plan...

Production History: Mobile Suit V Gundam

The 1993 series which marked Gundam's return to television, and more or less the end of the Universal Century chronology. Director Yoshiyuki Tomino later disavowed it as "unwatchable," but what was going on behind the scenes?

Production Reference

And here's some supplemental production history reference. This includes a variety of creator and staff interviews, essays, and other behind-the-scenes accounts of the production of each Gundam work.

Recommended Links

While I slowly work through the production history in chronological order, some other folks have been doing excellent documentation on more recent Gundam works. Here are a couple that you might want to check out, focusing on ∀ Gundam and Reconguista in G.

Meanwhile, Evie Geyer has penned an in-depth history of the Mobile Suit Variation series; Tim Eldred has lots of great research into other landmark Sunrise robot shows; and Matteo Watz is working on a multi-part investigation of Osamu Tezuka's Mushi Production, where many of Gundam's creators began their careers.

Also of interest are Matteo Watz's lengthy interview with veteran animator Nobuyoshi Nishimura of Studio Dove, and a detailed history of Takara and the toymaker's relationship with Sunrise on the Fanmode website. Last but certainly not least, Studio OZKai is building an archive of scanned covers and booklets from laser discs and other video media.

DATA EVOLUTION

Special Collection: Data Evolution

In this article, I've attempted to track the development of Gundam's Universal Century world setting as it was gradually fleshed out in various media. This includes full or partial translations of some original source material, including the following items:

Special Feature: Specs Comparison

A historical survey of the various technical specifications for the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, and its MSV and MS-X spinoffs, that have been published over the years.

Special Feature: Specs Analysis II

In which we delve deeply into the implications of the "mass ratio" specification provided for the mobile suits of Z Gundam and Gundam ZZ.

OLD STUFF

The following items are older essays from 2005~2006, preserved here for historical purposes. They haven't been updated to reflect new information and I'd probably have entirely different theories now.

Special Feature: Universal Century Timeline

Formerly an interactive timeline of the Universal Century. I haven't maintained this, because the official timeline is frankly a bit of a mess at this point. When time permits, I'll build something new from scratch.

Column One: Musai's Discrepancy

How many Zakus can you cram into the teensy tiny hangar deck of the stalwart Musai-class space cruiser? Okay, now how many of those hefty Doms? And can they stand upright, or what? The answers may shock and surprise you! Hey, you never know.

Column Two: Mysteries of Zeon

Was Zeon Deikun a narcissistic carpetbagger? Did Degwin Zabi make his fortune toting bales of moonrock? Join us for some scandal-mongering speculation about the founding figures of the Principality of Zeon.

Column Three: Power Crazy!

Everything you ever wanted to know, plus lots more, about the nitty-gritty details of mobile suit power generation and energy distribution. Why is the Gundam so mighty? What's with all those cables? Read and learn!