Beginner's Guide to Gundam

Topic started by GodLen on May 18, 2010. Last post by takashichea 2 years, 11 months ago.
Post by GodLen (877 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Staff
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, those people who dress like Nazis at anime conventions, 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.

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.)

Why watch Gundam? Because it was the first to break away from the over-the-top silliness that mecha anime of that time was known for. Instead, the robots in Gundam were just another tool used during war, like a tank or airplane. It was an attempt to make a realistic robot anime, using science as their bricks and motor instead of hot blood. Though 30 years later part of this concept has been lost, but we will get to that at another time. In conclusion, Gundam was the first real robot show.

Ok, so you want to watch Gundam now, but don’t know where to start? From the beginning of course. Come back next week for a discussion about a good place to begin your Gundam journey.
Post by Ragnorak (38 posts) See mini bio Level 12
am I the only mech fan that wasn't that insulted by Gundam Seed and Seed Destiny? I mean they weren't that good, but I still don't see why everyone hates them with a passion. 
Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,723 posts) See mini bio Level 20
I don't mind seed at all, its not my favorite but its ok. GSD was not very good imo but not as bad as ppl make it out to be, its at very least tolerable and even somewhat enjoyable, even though its a wannabe zetta. 
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,638 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator
I actually didn't know the origin of the word "GUNDAM" before this. Really, is the origin of the word Gundam any more silly them the term "Holy War"?
 
I was kind of ticked off about Gundam SEED. I felt the writer spent too much time watching Star Wars. They spend the entire first season building a deep connection with Kira and Cagalli. I believe at one point they even admit that that have feelings for each other. She was devastated when she thought Kira was dead. At the end of the first season we discover they are brother and sister. What the HELL?!
 
I always thought the KMFs from Code Geass were a bit more realistic. The oversize of the Gundams always felt a bit over the top and excessive. The KMFs had a cockpit that more fits into the back of the mechs. They can walk, but they more move by wheels.
Post by GodLen (877 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Staff
@FoxxFireArt: remember that this was made in the seventies, so they did ok for what it's worth. Plus the gundams aren't really that much bigger than KMFs anyways.
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,638 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator
@GodLen: 
There were Gundams that were three stories tall. Gundam WING they were gigantic. The KMFs are often not that much larger then a tank or large truck, seeing how they could hide in trucks.. When you consider your average Gundam has a cockpit built into the chest area. Some big enough to stand in. I felt that the way the cockpits on the KMFs were more offset in the back made much more sense.
Post by ReVolutionOfEvangelion (102 posts) See mini bio Level 3
There's this guy on YouTube, ONVPodcast, who is just this week doing a very good "Guide to Gundam" series...
Post by GodLen (877 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Staff
@ReVolutionOfEvangelion: sounds like a challenge!
Post by Ryuku_Ryosake (58 posts) See mini bio Level 6
@FoxxFireArt: Well basically excluding anything out of UC. Gundam''s are a pretty sound and realistic science and reasoning behind them. The Gundam's were created in a world were a unique particle expelled by a unique nuclear reaction powers everything. However this particle just so happens to jam all forms long distance waves but allows for unique things like beam swords. So combat in space is basically sub combat without sonar.The only detection you've got is your eyes. So they makes most long distance missile attacks and most modern military design useless. So basically in order to fight in UC you have to fight in close quarters visual range. Infantry has fought that way for centuries with centuries of weapon development. So you basically make a giant infantry man in space with enough fire power to take out enemy battleships. 
 
This is less practical in ground combat but that's why they created the Guntank. However it is not really practical to outfit your entire army with many different types of giant robots when the space model is still relatively all terrain. However as proven in UC Gundam multiple times ground and sea specialized unit tend to whoop the Gundam. The issue of size in space doesn't really matter much plus the large size conveniently explains how you can pack in a power supply to power the whole thing. Technology often starts out large and clunky. Plus we're talking about a level of technology that can build giant artifical colonies that can carry most of the human population.KNF on the other while looking more "realistic" don't really bother to explain anything.
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,638 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator
@Ryuku_Ryosake: 
Just from a physics stand point. Gundams are grossly impractical. A walking bi-pedal robot. Two legs aren't the most stable for structure and balance. They would have a high center of gravity and once knocked over would be next to impossible to get up in a timely fashion. They wold be literal sitting ducks. Not to mention the size would make them next to useless in anything but wide open areas. That just makes them huge targets.
There is also the problem with perspective of your environment. Kind of like when you are driving a really large truck or S.U.V. You tend to have a lot of blind spots.
 
There is the issue of weapons. How they are just giant weapons that are held in the robotic hands. A person has a hard enough time aiming a weapon in their own hand, but having to adjust for the altered depth of the view screen of a Gundam.
 
You notice with the KMFs of Code Geass. As they move they don't walk as much as they are wheel propelled. The way the wheels are deployed would also add extra stability.
The weapons are more often built in the mechs. At least the Black Knights' models had more built in weapons.
Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,723 posts) See mini bio Level 20
@FoxxFireArt: Gundam wing are actually around 18m tall and less than 20 tons, some of the lightest in all gundams. Compare to the giant 403 ton 56m tall Destroy from GSD.
Post by Ryuku_Ryosake (58 posts) See mini bio Level 6
@FoxxFireArt: Mobile Suits are not built for ground combat as I said. They are specifically built for space combat in which most MS combat takes place. When Gundam start out they have been at war for a long time and just don't have the resources to build completely different armys. There are tank syle MS which I pointed out and even quadrupedal models both of which generally destroy a space mobile suit in ground combat. Leaving them as you said sitting ducks. It's just not the ideal combat situation for them. However MS can withstand Tank and Fighter fire without much damage and are pretty much the only other war machines in Gundam. However there are times when the Gundam has almost been taken out by Fighters and even a time when it almost taken out by some guys in a jeep with some explosives. Again they are not effective at all in ground combat. But when your in a middle of a war that wiped out about half the human population you make do with what you've got.
 
The view is a problem in the Gundam universe for everything. As I said everything in Gundam is fighting with your eyeballs. There is no other form of detection other than light. They later solve this issue in Zeta Gundam where they invent a 360 degree viewing camera by I believe by coating the MS in a light sensitive material. MS combat is generally really clumsy before this. Amuro is the first person ever to have a MS on MS fight. He is the most experienced pilot and he generally stumbles around until he develops he New Type powers. The only effective pilots during this time are people who can sense where other people are in space. As for how they use their weapon it's as simple as computer guidance. A person would be a better shot is he had a computer calculate and adjust their aim for them. There is also a really complicated system built in every mobile suit that help them during space flight. 
 
KMF's are built for ground combat unlike MS that's why they of course make more sense in a ground combat setting. However how they are powered is never really explained. How do they achieve such speed and generate force fields? Gundam explains these things. It also explains why a GPS super sonic guided missiles just doesn't lock on and blow their giant robots to bits.
Post by wwfunderaker (485 posts) See mini bio Level 15
Thats always been my problem, how to start watching gundam. Also would i even like the shows.
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,638 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator
@Ryuku_Ryosake: 
KMFs were powered by Sakuradite. It was what was being mined out of Mount Fuji. It was a mineral that was highly volatile.
Post by Kuma_From_Argentina (6,608 posts) See mini bio Level 13
the gundam Series I like the Most  is G, even with that crappy ending...
Post by Theresonlyone (91 posts) See mini bio Level 9
@wwfunderaker: I started watching Gundam Wing when it was shown on cartoon network and i've seen Endless Waltz. But I stopped after DBZ and Tenchi Muyo came on. I've been wanting to get back in and wondering where to start again too.
Post by Bellum (127 posts) See mini bio Level 8

Still confused, actually.

Post by HeeroYuy (1,210 posts) See mini bio Level 12
@Ryuku_Ryosake: @FoxxFireArt: 
 
Since I have no clue where to even start my counter argument FFA, let me just say that every single bit of physics and technology of a basic mobile suit including mobility, armor, power, and weapons can be accounted for and an explanation provided at the very least. Heck, most of it can even be done with current technology. The only stuff to my knowledge that is future tech is perfectly-gravitationally isolated alloys (gundanium), a jet propulsion system capable of making a 40 ton brick fly that wouldn't rely on 0.000001m/s^2 accelerating ion drives (aeries), and fitting enough shielding for a generation 4 nuclear reactor so that a pilot sitting less than 15 feet away in the same chest unit won't die from his own reactor's radiation.
 
All of these problems can likely be overcome or avoided altogether with further advancements in due time, such as if they manage to make tokamak's not need so much darn cooling (and thus not need fifty external tanks).
 
And if you're point is practicality, let me say this - the amount of money you'd save replacing an entire tank batallion, possibly a regiment, with 1 mobile suit would be insane, not to mention it'd require about a third to a quarter the number of personnel. Although it wouldn't be useful in the current global situation fighting pocket terrorist cells, etc., it would be immensely useful if a full on war were to break out with another country.
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
yes KMF however begin to emit nonsense once it reached gurren seiten and lancelot albion
 
and also the knight of one KMF
 at least in UC gundam you get consistent point of technology
Post by Ryuku_Ryosake (58 posts) See mini bio Level 6
@FoxxFireArt: Yes because Unobtainium is the bases for good science. Highly volatile really explains nothing. Anything that goes kaboom good is highly volatile.  It doesn't really say much about what type of reaction they use and how the harness it. All I see is pretty lights and spiny things. That's why I shake my head a Gundam 00 which is made by the Code Geass guys. That entire show was built on pretty lights equals power.Atleast they sort of try to explain the natures of the particles as basically as M particles from the UC but made by some strange alternative energy source that I'm pretty sure at some point is enhanced by the fighting spirit.
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