It’s hard to overstate the impact Gundam has had not just on anime, but on pop culture worldwide. As the single most prolific mecha anime franchise, Gundam is responsible for cementing giant robots in the collective human subconscious. Thanks in no small part to relentless merchandising, Gundam has successfully made space opera mainstream in Japan in the same way Star Wars has in the West.
A franchise this prolific is bound to have its share of hits and misses, but the sheer number of adaptations belonging to the Gundam canon is a feat in itself. It can be tough to organize the Gundam series in order, but it just goes to show the long-lasting impact the Gundam franchise has had.
Updated on November 8, 2022, by Michael Colwander: How many Gundam series are there? Well, that number keeps on rising with a new Gundam adaptation just beginning in October 2022. As the number of Gundam animes increases, this Gundam series list must continue to grow with it.
51/51 Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-1980)
The first Gundam anime aired on Nagoya Broadcasting Network starting in 1979. Mobile Suit Gundam introduces the concept of Mobile Suits through a war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. The Earth Federation’s experimental RX-78 Gundam could prove to be the decisive factor in this war.
Mobile Suit Gundam spanned just 43 episodes and received rather low ratings. However, Bandai’s toy merchandising success helped boost the franchise’s popularity and laid the groundwork for the vast Gundam canon to come.
50/51 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (1985-1986)
Gundam’s newfound popularity led to a sequel series in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam five years later. Considered among the best Gundam adaptations of all time, Zeta Gundam vastly improved upon the original series, focusing on darker themes and tossing higher stakes into the mix.
Zeta Gundam handles the aftermath of the “One Year War” that takes place in Mobile Suit Gundam and later Gundam series. Several years after the One Year War, teenager Kamille Bidan finds himself in the middle of a conflict between his Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) and a corrupt faction known as the Titans.
49/51 Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (1986-1987)
Featuring an all-new cast of characters, Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ included more comedic elements than prior installments. Not all fans embraced this tonal shift, and the series remains divisive but memorable.
Gundam ZZ follows the events of Zeta Gundam, and is again centered around the AEUG. Captain Bright Noa must fend off Neo Zeon by recruiting Judau Ashta and his team of junk collectors.
48/51 Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (1988)
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack is the first Gundam movie that wasn’t a compilation film. Char’s Counterattack even incorporated CGI, albeit very briefly. The CGI section amounted to only five seconds of screentime of the Sweetwater colony in space.
Char’s Counterattack served as a culmination of the stories of Amuro Ray and his long-time rival Char Aznable, which progressed throughout Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta Gundam, and Gundam ZZ.
47/51 Mobile Suit SD Gundam (1988-1993)
Mobile Suit SD Gundam is a series of theatrical shorts and OVAs that were initially parodies of the Gundam franchise, reenacting past events such as the One Year War, in a lighter tone with exaggerated character designs.
As SD Gundam progressed, it incorporated a cast of characters based on Gachapon capsule toys and other Gundam products.
46/51 Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (1989)
The first true OVA in the Gundam franchise, Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket received critical acclaim for its decidedly introspective tone throughout its six-episode run.
Rather than chronicling the exploits of pilots, War in the Pocket focuses on the war-time experiences of an eleven-year-old child during the One Year War. Alfred Izuruha and his bond with Zeon pilot Bernie Wiseman presents a refreshing perspective on an established event.
45/51 Mobile Suit Gundam F91 (1991)
Mobile Suit Gundam F91 is the second Gundam theatrical release and faced numerous struggles during its production. Originally set to be a Gundam reboot that was meant to spawn numerous sequels, controversies got in the way. The biggest controversy surrounds the bizarre choice to alter the size of the onscreen Gundams for the sake of easier toy manufacturing and marketing.
Gundam F91 takes place 30 years after the events of Char’s Counterattack. Gundam F91 centers around Seabook Arno and his girlfriend, Cecily Fairchild, as they attempt to overcome the Crossbone Vanguard, which is led by Cecily’s grandfather Meitzer Ronah.
44/51 Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (1991-1992)
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is the second Gundam OVA and spans 13 episodes. Stardust Memory is set just three years after the events of the One Year War.
A test pilot named Kou Uraki helps on a mission to recover the stolen Gundam prototype Gundam GP02A “Physalis.” GP02A was stolen by the Delaz Fleet, a group of remnant Zeon members, pursuing their goal called “Operation Stardust.”
43/51 Mobile Suit Victory Gundam (1993-1994)
Mobile Suit Victory Gundam takes place in the Universal Century 1053 and acts as a successor to Gundam F91.
Victory Gundam ran for 51 episodes and focused on the conflict between an armed group known as BESPA and a band of rebels known as the League Militaire. In a bid to attract younger fans, Üso Ewin and his close friend Shahkti Kareen are younger than any prior Gundam protagonists, at just 13-years-old.
42/51 Mobile Fighter G Gundam (1994-1995)
Considered the fifth official Gundam installment, Mobile Fighter G Gundam centers on an intergalactic tournament that space colonies use as a stand-in for engaging in war. The series is not set in the Universal Century timeline, instead a part of the Future Century timeline unique to Mobile Fighter.
This shift in the story’s tone initially created some dissension among fans, especially because Mobile FighterG Gundam felt less serious and decidedly more shonen.
41/51 Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (1995-1996)
In something of a return to basics, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing focused on intergalactic war set in the After Colony timeline. Heero Yuy and four other Mobile Suit pilots are initially untrusting of each other, believing each are a part of the tyrannical Oz.
The five pilots realize that they share the same goals of overthrowing Oz, and team up to destroy the military organization. Gundam Wing helped popularize the Gundam franchise in the United States, thanks in no small part to its timeslot on Toonami.
40/51 Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team (1996–1999)
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team is an OVA that consists of 12 episodes, as well as a compilation movie, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team – Miller’s Report.
The 08th MS Team begins just a month after the first Gundam series. The story depicts the experiences of an Earth Federation ground unit that engages in guerilla warfare in Southeast Asia during the One Year War.
39/51 After War Gundam X (1996)
After War Gundam X takes place in the After Wars alternate timeline on a post-apocalyptic version of Earth 15 years after the 7th Space War. Mobile Suits left over from the war are now in the hands of the remaining survivors. Jamil Neate seeks to keep them from being uses to cause more violence.
Despite a likable cast, After War Gundam X was hampered by slow pacing, and staying on planet Earth, leading an early cancellation. The plot was condensed into the final few episodes as to not leave fans with an abrupt ending.
38/51 Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (1997)
Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz is the sequel to Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing and was initially released as an OVA series. It was later cropped into a compilation film. Endless Waltz expands on the background of Heero Yuy and the other four pilots of Gundam Wing. Endless Waltz also fully explains what the purpose of “Operation Meteor” really was.
Like its predecessor, Endless Waltz proved popular in the US, and its initial debut on Cartoon Network brought in some of the channel’s best-ever ratings at the time.
37/51 Turn A Gundam (1999–2000)
Directed by Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino himself, Turn A Gundam, or ∀ Gundam, takes place in a different era than previous Gundam works. Turn A Gundam is notable for being the last Gundam anime to be painted on cels as digital coloring began with 2002’s Mobile Suit Gundam SEED.
In Turn A Gundam, the Moon-dwelling human race known as the Moonrace is much more advanced than humanity on Earth. However, the Moonrace longs to return home to Earth after thousands of years away. They send three teenages to gauge Earth’s viability.
36/51 G-Saviour (2000)
Produced by a Canadian Studio, G-Saviour was Gundam’s first live-action made-for-tv adaptation. G-Saviour is set in the main Universal Century timeline, focusing on space colonies trying to stay afloat amid numerous social and economic crisises after the fall of the Earth Federation.
G-Saviour is understandably loathed by fans due to its poor writing and failure to capitalize on the best elements of the Gundam series. G-Saviour boasts a sad 4.2 on IMDb.
35/51 Gundam Neo Experience 0087: Green Divers (2001)
Gundam Neo Experience 0087: Green Divers is a short CGI film, clocking in at 24 minutes set during the Gryps War.
Green Divers tells the story of two siblings, Asagi and Takuya, who find themselves caught in the middle of a battle between the Titans and AEUG on their way to Earth. Asagi and Takuya are helped by a Zeta Gundam who, unbeknownst to them, is piloted by Amuro Ray.
34/51 Gundam Evolve (2001–2007)
Gundam Evolve was a series of 15 short films set across a variety of Gundam timelines, starting with the Universal Century timeline. Gundam Evolve was initially only five episodes, but Bandai released two more volumes of five episodes each.
Gundam Evolve utilized a mix of different visual styles to showcase Mobile Suits in a high-quality CGI rendering. Those visuals styles include traditional animation, 3D rendering, and cel-shaded animation.
33/51 Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (2002–2003)
Gundam SEED is the first Gundam series set in the Cosmic Era timeline. Gundam SEED tells the story of Kira Yamato who is living peacefully on the colony of Heliopolis, which secretly houses the development of Mobile Suits. The discovery of those Mobile Suits leads Kira’s home to be the site of an intense battle in an ongoing war.
Gundam SEED was more accessible to casual viewers than many prior adaptations. It also featured much better animation, likable romance elements, and a J-Pop soundtrack. All of this led to Gundam SEED achieving widespread success and even acclaim in Japan.
32/51 Superior Defender Gundam Force (2003–2004)
Superior Defender Gundam Force is a completely computer-animated series, which marked the 25th anniversary of the Gundam franchise. Humans and robots coexist peacefully in Super Defender Gundam Force. However, that peace is tested when the Dark Axis attacked their home of Neotopia.
Superior Defender Gundam Force did not fare well with Japanese audiences and received low ratings during its second season. It didn’t do much better in North America as the final 26 episodes were initially unaired. Fan petitions ultimately led to the release of those episodes in 2008.