Top 10 Mobile Suit Gundam Anime – 9 Tailed Kitsune

This month I chose to take a walk down memory lane. There was a time when anything worth watching was mecha. Back in the dark ages, Gatchaman was prime anime viewing. A series about a team of young adults battling space villains in mecha suits. The soul of the show being Jun, in a time before waifu became a thing. In the spirit of my love for mecha, I thought it might be nice to explore the king of the genre.  

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Next month marks the sapphire anniversary of the Gundam franchise. In celebration, we thought it might be a good time to countdown our top Gundam series. The process of narrowing down a top ten was not easy. Currently, there are over 50 series and several movies to choose from. With so many to choose from, we set out to identify the top ten must-see anime within the franchise. We graded them by personal preference and the feedback from true fans of the series. This is the result of our efforts.

As you review the post, please feel free to let me know if I overlooked your favorite installment to the Gundam universe. Leave a comment below and let me know your picks.

10. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

  • Aired: October 2002 – September 2003
  • Number of Episodes: 50

The first entry on our list is the ninth installment in the Gundam franchise. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is an anime from Sunrise. The anime adapts Yoshiyuki Tomino’s original work. Sunrise sought out Mitsuo Fukuda to direct, with Chiaki Morosawa to write its story. The musical score was under the care of Toshihiko Sahashi. Without question, this series had a very talented team working on it. You can see it throughout the anime.

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED explore the core themes of injustice seen throughout the franchise. The people of Earth, known as the Naturals, are in a struggle with the Coordinators or the people who colonized space. A series of events would find the story’s lead in the middle of the conflict. Rebels have attacked his colony to steal advanced mobile suits. Kira Yamato and his friends acquire one of these suits and set out to learn the harsh realities of war.

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is almost twenty-two years old. Despite its age, the series retains its popularity among fans. Companies are just as happy, as they race to keep the shelves filled with the series product line. Whether you are a Gundam fan or not, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is an adventure for any anime fan.

9. Turn a Gundam

  • Aired: April 1999 – April 2000
  • Number of Episodes: 50

Turn a Gundam is the ninth favorite and eighth in the Gundam series. The series’ debut would link it to the Gundam Big Bang 20th Anniversary events. A Sunrise creation, Yoshiyuki Tomino would direct and write for the series. This is not surprising, as he may be the father of the ‘Real Robot’ genre. The series brought in a talented team of animators to bring the story to life. Akira Yasuda would handle the original character designs. Fuji TV aired the series in the spring of 1999.

A war-torn Earth has forced humanity to colonize the Moon. Earth’s holdouts attempt to return the planet to its past glory. The forces of the Moon enlist Loran Cehack and others to recon the fading Earth. Loran lives on Earth with the Heim Family. The lead and the family celebrate coming of age beside a statue known as the ‘White Doll.’ Without warning, the Moonrace launches an attack on Earth. Loren discovers that the statue is a mobile suit called the ‘Turn A Gundam.’ Taking control, he sets out to bring peace to both races.

Turn A Gundam was a successful entry to the mobile suit genre and led to two films. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 designer, Yun Kouga cited this work as her favorite in the franchise. Who does not like huge mecha suits going at each other? The rich story does not hurt. This is why Turn A Gundam is one of our favorites.

8. Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway

  • Released: June 2021
  • Number of Episodes: 1 [Movie]

The Bandai Namco Filmworks team announced a new film in Gundam lore at the series’ ruby anniversary events. Planned for a 2020 release, the studio put Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway on pause for a year due to COVID and the lockdowns. The first of the three films had Shukou Murase taking the director’s seat. Bandai would bring in Yasuyuki Muto to write the script. The tale centered on the character designs of Haruhiko Mikimoto. The streaming service, Netflix ran the film on its platform.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway continues to build upon the series’ central themes. The Earth Federation has a firm grip on the people of Earth and the space colonies. Some yearn for Char Aznable’s vision. One who shares the rebel leader’s dream is Hathaway Noa. The Earth Federation’s cruelty would lead the lad to join the rebel forces. Hathaway’s leadership would propel him to leader of the insurgents. After a chance encounter, a young woman holds the information that could destroy Hathaway and the rebel movement.

The movie would receive glowing reviews from both critics and fans. Mobile Suite Gundam: Hathaway would give Yoshiyuki Tomino a first in his career. After 30 years of writing, this is the first of his novels to get a film adaptation. This is excellent work and rightly deserves a spot on our countdown.

7. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

  • Aired: March 1985 – February 1986
  • Number of Episodes: 50

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is our seventh pick in the franchise. The entry is the second Gundam series produced by Sunrise. The studio would bring back Yoshiyuki Tomino to helm the project.  He also took the lead in writing the series’ script. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko also came back to lend his talents to the series’ character designs, with Shigeaki Saegusa tackling the anime’s score. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam would debut in the spring of 1985 on Nagoya TV and TV Asahi.

Zeta Gundam is set eight years after the events of Mobile Suit Gundam. The Earth Federation and Anti-Earth Union Group conflict. Within the war, a Federation task force hunts down the last of Zeon’s holdouts. Kamille Bidan is a teenager living in the Green Noa colony. After he assaults the task force member, the teen breaks into their base and takes a prototype mobile suit. This action would place him in the middle of the war between the Federation and the Group.

Zeta Gundam is one of the best in the franchise. Critics and fans alike heap praise upon the show’s tech designs and storytelling. Ollie Barder, Forbes writer, would proclaim it as ‘possibly the greatest Gundam series ever made.’ This is a great anime but its age may deter some viewers. It is for this reason, that Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam sits at seventh place.

6. Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team

  • Aired: January 1996 – July 1999
  • Number of Episodes: 12

We are almost halfway through our countdown. The sixth entry holds on to the old-school anime theme. Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team is a 12-episode OVA from Sunrise. Takeyuki Kanda would direct episodes one through six, with Umanosuke Idia closing out the series. This is the same approach taken by the show’s scriptwriters. Akira Okeya wrote the first six episodes and Hiroaki Kitajima wrote the series’ second half. The first 25-minute episode aired on January 25, 1996.

The story takes place during the One-Year War. Earth Federation forces are up against those from the Principality of Zeon. This is a struggle to acquire and maintain the Earth’s limited resources. Zeon’s new Gundam and ace pilots are a threat to the Federation. Earth’s army tasks Ensign Shiro Amada’s team to search and destroy Zeon’s secret base. The team’s success or failure may come down to feelings of the heart.

The 08th MS Team is a popular entry in the Gundam franchise. Despite the passing of its director, the story is tight and the production quality is top-notch. These qualities catapult Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team to our sixth spot.

5. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

  • Aired: October 2015 – April 2017
  • Number of Episodes: 50

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is the fourteenth entry from Sunrise. The studio would bring in Tatsuyuki Nagai to direct, with Mari Okada writing the script. Their earlier work includes fan staples, such as Toradora! And Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. Her first foray into the world of anime, Yuu Itou would design the anime’s characters. The series would take to the airwaves on October 4, 2015.

This story takes place 300 years after the ‘Calamity War.’ Earth has terraformed Mars. Rampant poverty and social injustice led the Martians to break ties with Earth’s government. Unwilling to give the Martian people autonomy, Earth starts a war with the Red Planet. A group of Martian child soldiers leads the charge for change. The fate of Mars and its people rests on their shoulders.

This anime’s themes bring up many social problems our society continues to face. Conflict, corruption, colonialism, and poverty play a key role in the tale. Iron-Blooded Orphans’ relevance is one of the many reasons why it continues to receive high praise from fans of Gundam.

4. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

  • Aired: March 2010 – June 2014
  • Number of Episodes: 7

The fourth entry on the countdown is Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. This anime closes out Zeon’s efforts for the liberation of Earth. Based on a work by Harutoshi Fukui, Sunrise would adapt the tale into a 7-episode anime. They would enlist the talents of Kazuhiro Furuhashi to direct, with scripts written by Yasuyuki Muto. Character and mechanical designs were provided by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Hajime Katoki. A reworked version of the series, titled Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE: 0096, aired in Japan and the United States.

This story takes place during the Third Neo-Zeon War. The remnants of Zeon seek to take down the Federation. Their success rests on controlling a weapon, called Laplace’s Box. An unwitting pawn in this deadly game, Banagher Links pilots the Unicorn Gundam. Throw into the mix that he has fallen for Zeon’s heiress, his life becomes a series of twists and turns.

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is a mixed bag of reviews. Those loving the series praise its visuals and emotional draw. The detractors point out how the series glosses over Zeon’s war crimes. Critics and fans can agree that the series adds value to the genre.

3. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin – Advent of the Red Comet

  • Aired: April 2019 – August 2019
  • Number of Episodes: 13

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin – Advent of the Red Comet is our choice for the bronze. This is a tragic story revolves around Char Aznable and his sister. Sunrise would set out to recapture Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin and expand its lore. Takashi Imanishi and Yoshikazu Yasuhiko would direct the series, with a focus on adapting the source material. Katsuyuki Sumisawa handled writing the series script. The Advent of the Red Comet would air over the Spring 2019 anime season.

After their father dies, Char Aznable and his sister begin a journey of tragedy. Passed off to several families, Char and his sister make their way to Earth. Char ends up joining the joins the Principality of Zeon’s forces, where he becomes an ace. Striking fear in the Federation Forces, his prowess earns him the moniker ‘Red Comet.’ Char’s journey opens the viewer to the aims of the conflict and why the mobile suits came into being.

This story provides fans with much-needed insight into Gundam lore. However, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin – Advent of the Red Comet is far from a data dump. The story and characters are compelling. The sum of all its parts, this anime becomes a must-see for Gundam fans. 

2. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury

  • Aired: October 2007 – March 2009
  • Number of Episodes: 50

A clear favorite, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury nearly took the top spot. This epic tale is the latest for Sunrise’s Gundam franchise. The role of directing the series went to Hiroshi Kobayashi and Ryou Andou. Ichirou Ookouchi would write its script, with Takashi Oomama arranging the music. Mogmo lent their artistic talent to the animation designs. MBS and TBS would air the first episode on July 14, 2022.

Set in the future, Suletta Mercury is a student at Asticassia School of Technology. The school embraces the maxim that might make right. Miorine Rembran wishes to end the school’s injustices. Her father offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to the winner of a dual. Suletta Mercury takes up the challenge and wins over the school’s best fighter. Accused of cheating, she must win a second duel or face expulsion and having her Gundam scrapped.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury is a series of firsts for the franchise. This would be the first time for a female lead and LGBTQ representation. This is a great story with compelling characters. For this reason, Mobile Suit Gundam; The Witch of Mercury stands tall taking home the silver medal.

1. Mobile Suit Gundam 00

  • Aired: October 2007 – March 2009
  • Number of Episodes: 50

Our choice for the top dog in the Gundam cosmos is Mobile Suit Gundam 00. A Sunrise production, this was the 11th project in the swelling franchise. The studio brought on Seiji Mizushima to helm the series, with Yousuke Kuroda handling scripts. Yun Kouga covered the character designs, while Kenji Kawai provided the score. The series would air in the fall of 2007, with 50 episodes and three OVAs.

In the not-so-distant future, people have nearly exhausted the planet’s natural resources. The world belongs to one of two camps, those with fossil fuels and those with solar technology. This means that fossil fuel-reliant people live in poverty. Despite the harm, both camps maintain a fierce tribalism. This divide would throw the world into conflict, known as the Solar War. Wearing mobile suits, a military unit sets out to bring balance to the world.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is a relevant anime in today’s world. Conflict, energy, and poverty are real struggles in the post-9/11 world. This is not a coincidence, as the director chose to make these topics the backbone of the anime. The blend of social relevance and great production value lands this anime to our top pick in the Gundam franchise.