Anyone who’s a fan of mecha anime would have heard of Gundam, and anyone who’s never watched a Gundam series could certainly feel overwhelmed with the number of series they could watch and especially when they realize some of them take place in various timelines – including the upcoming Gundam: The Witch From Mercury. To those looking for the “definitive” Gundam experience, choosing the best Gundam series to start with can be quite difficult.


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Thankfully, fans new to Gundam can actually look at a few landmark series that can become their perfect gateway to the show and its many tropes. Not only that, but certain entries in the franchise can introduce them to various activities within the franchise, such as collecting Gunpla toys or even exploring its more popular sub-franchises.

Updated on April 11, 2024 by Rhenn Taguiam: With Bandai Namco recently announcing the development of Gundam Breaker 4 for the Nintendo Switch and other gaming platforms, fans of the Gundam franchise may be eager to play the sequel of the Gundam series that lets players create their own Mobile Suits to blast their way through foes. However, as the game has yet to reveal its full release date, fans of the series may instead want to immerse themselves in intense Gundam on Gundam fights through various anime within the franchise – a worthwhile experience especially for newcomers who want to get into the series. Among must-watches for Gundam beginners include alternate takes on the historic One-Year War, a more fantastical take on Gundam featuring chibi-esque Mobile Suits, and other side stories.

23 SD Gundam World Heroes

It’s Gundam Meets Mythological Figures

Characters of SD Gundam World Heroes

Release Period

April 8, 2021 to September 16, 2021

Number Of Episodes


MAL Score


While Neo World has heroes to protect its citizens, a sudden meteor strike and the emergence of an amnesiac traveler named Wukong Impulse Gundam sends the world of SD Gundam World Heroes into peril. When the heroic Zhuge Liang Freedom Gundam and Liu Bei Unicorn Gundam learn of disasters about to plague various worlds, they begin to wonder how Wukong Impulse Gundam will begin to affect the destinies of the surrounding realms. Due to the nature of SD Gundam World Heroes as an anime revolving around the SD (Super Deformed) line, it’s easy to assume the anime is made for kids.

And while the latter is mostly true, it’s interesting to see a take on the Gundam concept that is less about being “lighthearted” and more about dwelling on the fantastical. The Chinese mythology inspiration of the lead characters denote inspiration from Journey to the West, but exploring the other worlds will also see SD Gundam World Heroes adapt works such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, historical periods like the Warring States of Japan, and even modern films such as RoboCop.

Why Watch This First?

The premise of the show where a group of heroes travels to other worlds to meet other heroes based on mythological figures is reminiscent of the Fate franchise, and the familiarity of these legendary characters from both fiction and history can make SD Gundam World Heroes a decent Gundam anime for newcomers. Its lighthearted story and heroic premise can become a jumping-off point to the more serious stories of the OG series, giving new Gundam viewers the opportunity to get immediate familiarty on the franchise’s flexibility before diving deep into its hard-hitting narratives.

22 Superior Defender Gundam Force

A Divisive Gundam Series Worth Watching At Least Once

Superior Defender Gundam Force

Release Period

January 7, 2004 to December 29, 2004

Number Of Episodes


MAL Score


Set in the city of Neotopia, Superior Defender Gundam Force depicts how the peaceful coexistence between humans and robots is suddenly threatened by the presence of the Dark Axis. After the creation of the Super Dimensional Guard, youngster Shute accidentally becomes involved in the conflict when he makes contact with the SDG’s Gundam Force leader, Captain Gundam. It’s discovered that Captain Gundam’s Soul Drive can defeat Dark Axis’s powers – but only when he’s on good terms with Shute. Hijinks ensue, as friendship quite literally saves the day in every episode.

Soon, Captain Gundam is joined by other heroes such as Zero and Bakunetsumaru from other dimensions. As the Gundam Force continues to defeat the Dark Axis presence in Neotopia, their sights go towards saving other realms as Dark Axis begins conquering them as well. The child-oriented and straightforward nature of Superior Defender Gundam Force doesn’t make it as “deep” as other traditional Gundam shows, leaving expectant viewers of an intense story with mixed feelings.

Why Watch This First?

It’s precisely due to the divisive reception towards Superior Defender Gundam Force that makes it worth the watch at least once, especially from the perspective of a Gundam newcomer. The basic premise of “good guys versus bad guys” is a far-cry from traditional Gundam series, making it a fair point of criticism from franchise fans. However, it’s perhaps precisely due to positive reviews from the perspective of nostalgia and childlike humor and negativity from the POV of Gundam aficionados that make it an interesting entry to watch. To say the least, fans who want a more lighthearted first series to check out in the Gundam franchise wouldn’t necessarily go wrong with Superior Defender Gundam Force, especially if this would help them appreciate the depth of more critically-acclaimed series afterwards.

21 SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors

A Surprisingly Decent Adaptation Of Romance Of The Three Kingdoms

SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors

Release Period

April 3, 2010 to March 19, 2011

Number Of Episodes


MAL Score


When the traditional image of a Gundam is that of the futuristic RX-78, SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors surprises fans with a regal aesthetic that fits its mythological setting. Unlike other Gundam series, Brave Battle Warriors adapts the Romance of the Three Kingdoms with a mecha perspective – quite an unprecedented take for both Gundam and the SD line at large. Set at a time when the land of Mirisha is thrust into chaos, the souls of three gods or Sovereigns are transported into heroic Gundams.

Fans both aware and unaware of the source material can watch Brave Battle Warriors and get a decent story. As a retelling, Brave Battle Warriors modified many aspects of the core Romance tale, but the core trio of Liu Bei as well as Guan Yu and Zhang Fei serve as decent Gundam-ized adaptations of their story counterparts.

Why Watch This First?

Despite the anime not containing the same complexities as a traditional Gundam series, its attempt at depth manages to maximize its short episode run with intense action scenes or enough moments to develop the plot. Runtimes of around 10 episodes hurt the series’ pacing, making both story and character development seem lacking from a bigger-picture perspective. However, among the SD Gundam stories, Brave Battle Warriors has perhaps the most decent approach in terms of providing a cohesive viewable material for newcomers.

20 Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory

A Spinoff Pre-Sequel That Shows How Gundam Stories Work Around Canon

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory

Release Period

May 23, 1991 to September 24, 1992

Number Of Episodes


MAL Score


Taking place just years after the historic One Year War between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is both a spinoff and a sequel-esque take on the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Its main plot revolves around the theft of a prototype Gundam by Anavel Gato under the orders of Zeon Remnants, and the efforts of Earth Federation rookie Kou Uraki and the crew of the new Albion carrier to stop the “rise” of a new Zeon.

The events of the OVA set up the official Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam sequel series within its self-contained storyline, interspersed with high-stakes mecha fights that are just a delight to watch. Its nostalgic animation and soundtrack can become a treat to newer viewers who want to watch more “classic” anime, while tropes used in the story are quite the standard in terms of overall Gundam stories. While not groundbreaking from the perspective of older fans, Stardust Memory does its job for introducing a Gundam story within a built canon while having its own story.

Why Watch This First?

Stardust Memory is a standard Gundam anime without all the moral complexities and philosophical depth that can make other entries a heavy watch for some viewers. Mecha action remains on point with every encounter, and subplots between characters can be entertaining enough as breaks across fights. Granted, character development and overall narrative can be lacking when compared to other recent Gundam series due to exaggerated tropes, but they may serve as effective anchors to surprise newcomers to the eventual narrative depth of other series.

19 After War Gundam X

Compelling Narrative Cancelled Early To Pull Off Its Plot

After War Gundam X

Release Period

April 5, 1996 to December 28, 1996

Number Of Episodes


MAL Score


At first glance, After War Gundam X works with a standard Gundam plot: war breaks out between the Earth and space colonies, a tragedy happens, and a Gundam is reawakened from the ashes years later. This time around, the Earth has just recovered from a terrible nuclear winter when the Space Revolutionary Army dropped space colonies to debilitate the Earth Federation’s attempt to launch highly-advanced Mobile Suits. Just as tensions rise once more between the two recovering factions, teenager Garrod Ran discovered the old Gundam X and teams up with the freedom fighters of the Vultures to protect Newtypes from exploitation and stop another war between the Space Revolutionary Army and the New United Nations Earth.

Despite its short episode count, viewers of After War Gundam X may find its approach as an alternate universe series quite riveting and in-depth. Its narrative cues become well-executed with character development that makes its cast members worthy of sympathy, and fights become more intense with motivations from each side worthy of exploration.

Why Watch This First?

It’s precisely due to its early cancellation that After War Gundam X becomes a point of frustration from older Gundam fans, as its writing would’ve benefited from a full 50-episode experience. However, newcomers should give After War Gundam X a shot as the depth of its narrative places it along the lines of an OG series. Among other Gundam titles to be set after the Universal Century timeline, After War Gundam X gets close to a well-crafted universe that deserves its own

18 Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

Decent Thriller Except For The Universal Century Spoiler


Release Period March 12, 2010 – June 6, 2014
Number Of Episodes 7
MAL Score 8.10

Yet another marvel of a Gundam series taking place in the Universal Century timeline, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is a great place for Gundam newcomers to start a self-contained series that doesn’t stray away from core Gundam tropes. The anime’s events begin with the advent of human space colonization in UC 0001, where the proclamation of the Earth Federation’s Prime Minister is interrupted by an anti-federation attack that destroys Laplace, the proclamation’s host space colony.

The anime officially starts decades later, when certain events will have the ordinary boy named Banagher Links pilot the mecha Gundam Unicorn, a machine that has ties to something simply called the “Laplace’s Box.” Compared to the war-torn premise of other Gundam series, the more political thriller nature of Gundam Unicorn can be enough to drag newcomers into watching other Universal Century anime.

Why Watch This First?

Gundam Unicorn taking place almost two decades after the original Mobile Suit Gundam makes it close enough to tie into the main Universal Century narrative but far enough to become its own material. The story of youngster Banagher Links and his involvement in a conspiracy involving a mysterious Laplace’s Box gives Gundam newcomers a perspective of what a Gundam story with a thriller twist would be like. The OVA is short enough for an introduction to both the Universal Century timeline and basic Gundam themes, with its standalone story making for a decent springboard towards Mobile Suit Gundam or other franchise entries.

17 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Hailed As One Of The Best Gundam Series


Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Release Date
March 2, 1985

Number of Episodes


MyAnimeList Score

Taking place after the One Year War depicted in Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam will see the Titans counter-insurgency force of the Earth Federation begin hunting down Zeon remnants through more brutal methods. This resulted in the creation of resistance groups such as the Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) to stop them, with protagonist Kamille Bidan eventually joining their ranks and piloting the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II and the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.

While some fans consider Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam as perhaps the “best” Gundam series of all time, its story unfolding within the backdrop of the first series’ Universal Century timeline might make it difficult for fans to appreciate its initial setting. However, aside from Zeta Gundam showing the previously-good Earth Federation in a different light, the anime certainly highlights the darker aspects of war – something not always shown in a Gundam series.

Why Watch This First?

Newcomers to the Gundam franchise willing to truly bask in the full potential of a Gundam series at the onset should go straight to Zeta Gundam. While its story takes place directly after the events of Mobile Suit Gundam, new Gundam viewers can find Zeta Gundam perhaps the “purest” form of the franchise’s role as the leading “representative” of the Real Robot genre. Its overall dark tone and expression of the complicated nature of war is as “Gundam” as any series gets, and all mainline entries afterwards may be considered attempts in “adjusting” such a vibe by either toning it down, introducing new points of interest, or angling the conflict from new perspectives.

16 Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt

Non-Canon, Small-Scale Story For A Quick Look At Franchise Offerings

Gundam Thunderbolt

Release Period December 25, 2015 – July 14, 2017
Number Of Episodes 8
MAL Score 7.94

Compared to other timelines in Gundam history, the Universal Century is easily the most expanded upon due to its nature as the setting of the original Gundam anime. However, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt strikes out as an anime inside the Universal Century timeline due to its cast that is nowhere near Newtype characters Amuro Ray and Char Aznable’s circles.

While Thunderbolt occurs within the context of the One Year War in the original Gundam series, this particular anime isn’t necessarily a story set in stone in the timeline. Regardless, the anime takes place in a smaller skirmish in the Thunderbolt Sector, where the Moore Brotherhood of the Earth Federation and the Living Dead Division of the Principality of Zeon engage in a fierce tug-of-war. Fans new to the franchise may want to try Thunderbolt in particular due to its focused nature, especially when Federation troop Io Fleming faces off against Daryl Lorenz, the best sniper among Zeon’s forces. The fierce rivalry between the two and how it fits beautifully within the context of the Thunderbolt conflict is a great demonstration of rivalry as a notable theme within the Gundam franchise as a whole.

Why Watch This First?

Despite Gundam Thunderbolt’s story taking place during the story of Mobile Suit Gundam, the story’s non-canonical nature makes it a less worrisome watch for franchise newcomers. Instead, Gundam Thunderbolt’s more character-heavy story showcases Gundam’s potential on creating multi-dimensional characters to root for, such as hard-headed Io Fleming of the Earth Federation and his rival, the skilled Principality of Zeon ace sniper Darly Lorenz. On top of the story demonstrating the praise towards Gundam for creating memorable characters, Gundam Thunderbolt may serve as a decent starting point for newcomers to see how Gundam tackles storytelling in media that occur during times of crises.

15 Turn A Gundam

The Future Of All Settings

Turn A Gundam

Release Period April 9, 1999 – April 14, 2000
Number Of Episodes 50
MAL Score 7.76

Mecha fans looking for a unique take on the Gundam series may want to consider giving Turn A Gundam a shot. While Turn A Gundam features the more visually-unique Turn A Gundam, it’s quite interesting to see how its different appearance comes from something in its lore. Its story is set in the Correct Century, a play on the real world’s “Common Era,” where past cataclysms have reduced Earth’s population to a limited steam-reliant society, whereas Moon settlers such as the Moonrace observe the planet within technologically-advanced settlements.

Things become heated when Loran Cehack, a young Moonrace, is suddenly dragged into a conflict with the Moonrace, who are now prepared to invade the peaceful Earthrace. The latter would’ve lost immediately had it not for Loran discovering that an ancient statue called the White Doll turns out to be an ancient Gundam, the Turn A Gundam.

Why Watch This First?

With Gundam’s main creator Yoshiyuki Tomino at the helm of Turn A Gundam as its director, newcomers to the franchise may find this series worth watching first due to its status as the “grand future” of all Gundam settings. Turn A Gundam’s Correct Century timeline is revealed to take place “tens of thousands of years” later from the franchise’s Universal Century timeline, with the series eventually showing its connections to all other Gundam series in surprising ways throughout the anime. Turn A Gundam being a “celebratory” work that reaffirms the existence of all other Gundam shows can make this a decent starting ground before even venturing into Mobile Suit Gundam.

14 Mobile Suit Victory Gundam

Seamlessly Transitions From Shonen To Gundam

Victory Gundam

Release Period April 4, 1993 – March 25, 1994
Number Of Episodes 51
MAL Score 6.79

Perhaps considered as one of the final Gundam series to be set in the Universal Century, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam takes place after Mobile Suit Gundam F91, which in itself takes place decades after Char’s Counterattack. When the Earth Federation has started the construction of new space colonies to accommodate a growing population, the Crossbone Vanguard wants to establish an extraterrestrial empire.


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When the F91 Gundam successfully defends Earth from this threat, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam will, this time, have the Victory Gundam protect the planet once more from the extraterrestrial Zanscare Empire. Compared to more stricter timelines like the Correct Century, this “far-future” take on an existing timeline can help alleviate confusion on the part of viewers.

Why Watch This First?

Youngster Uso Ewin, at 13 years old, is perhaps the youngest protagonist in a wartime Gundam series so far, with his age chosen to allow the series to attract the same youngsters that also found SD Gundam appealing. This choice of protagonist gives Victory Gundam a traditional shonen take on its story while at the same time subverting the expectations of a war story being a “safe place” for a young protagonist. Newcomers to the Gundam series may find Victory Gundam a decent starting point as the anime also pulls the rug from under them, with the Gundam series providing just enough of an illusion of a “fun” mecha series before thrusting them to the reality that war, no matter the Gundam series, is horrific.

13 Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin

An Introduction To One Of Gundam’s Most Iconic Characters

Gundam the Origin

Release Period February 28, 2015 – November 19, 2016
Number Of Episodes 6
MAL Score 8.33

Fans interested in a more nuanced take ionone of the most popular characters in the entire Gundam franchise would be Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, this time around exploring the life of siblings Casval Rem Deikun and Artesia – whom fans would know as Char Aznable and Sayla Mass, respectively. As the name implies, The Origin explores the brewing conflict between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon, and all the while, the famed warship White Base was trying to bring the game-changing RX-78-02 Gundam to Jaburo, where Mobile Suit Gundam begins.

Although this story makes slight changes to the deeper lore of Mobile Suit Gundam, the story of The Origin seems a decent way of elaborating the origins of the famed Char Aznable identity. This is courtesy of The Origin elaborating on the more political elements of the main Mobile Suit Gundam story, ranging from the downfall of the Zeon Zum Deikun and the subsequent rise of the Zabi family and how these events would have Casval adopt the masked persona.

Why Watch This First?

The Origin’s exploration of Casval Rem Deikun’s life prior to adopting the Char Aznable persona can serve as a decent “prequel” to a viewing of Mobile Suit Gundam, making it a worthwhile first watch for newcomers to the franchise. Even if a first-timer’s exposure to Char Aznable may leave them wondering about his relevance to the main story, understanding his background during a first watch of Mobile Suit Gundam can add immediate depth to his character while he interacts with his rival, the protagonist Amuro Ray.

12 Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury

First Female, LGBTQ Lead

Gundam the Witch from Mercury

Release Period October 2, 2022 – Jul 2, 2023
Number Of Episodes 24
MAL Score 7.88

What better way to help someone new to the Gundam franchise than with the ongoing series? This comes in the form of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mecrury. Set in the new Ad Stella timeline, a ban on the development of Gundam and technologically-advanced GUND-based tech resulted in the destruction of a research facility, with an MS pilot and her daughter Ericht Samaya being the only survivors.

Years later, tensions between the existing space-faring Spaceians and earth-based Earthians have escalated much further. Ericht, now known as Suletta Mercury, finds herself embroiled in years-old turmoil when she discovers Gundam Aerial, a Mobile Suit built with the same previously-forbidden GUND tech. Fans looking for an extremely fresh and modern take would want to start with Mercury, especially since the series tackles relatable themes such as emerging tech combined with Gundam staples such as political corruption and revenge.

Why Watch This First?

Japan’s current Reiwa era has The Witch from Mercury as its first mainline Gundam series, making this a decent first watch for newcomers to the franchise who want a modern-enough material to dig their claws into. The anime featuring the franchise’s first female and LGBTQ protagonist is a welcome addition to the iconic media, with undertones of political corruption and capitalism serving as a decent parallel to traditional Gundam stories. Moreover, Witch’s separate Ad Stella timeline makes this modern series a safe first watch of any Gundam story, ensuring its plot doesn’t require any prior reading or watching for full appreciation.

11 Mobile Suit Gundam

The Anime That Started The Real Robot Genre


Mobile Suit Gundam
Release Date
April 7, 1979

Number of Episodes

MyAnimeList Score

Fans who want to “truly” start their Gundam journey should probably start at the very beginning with the 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam series. This depicts the ongoing war between the losing Earth Federation and the dominating space colonies of the Principality of Zeon, where the Earth Federation’s prototype RX-78 Gundam starts turning the tides of war.

Despite its age, Mobile Suit Gundam definitely sets the bar when it comes to all Gundam series after it. This anime sets the stage for numerous tropes and traditions in the series, such as a rivalry between the protagonist and a masked antagonist (in this case, Amuro Ray and Char Aznable), the grayscale nature of morality, and even the horrors of war – where no one side actually wins.

Why Watch This First?

Fans eager to have a Gundam marathon can appreciate the many tropes and themes of the franchise as they’re revealed for the first time in Mobile Suit Gundam. Trends such as masked antagonists, supernaturally-gifted protagonists, and a war between Earth and space colonies are just some of the many tropes that Mobile Suit Gundam begins. Moreover, its depth of themes related to wartime encapsulates the origins of the Real Robot sub-genre compared to more modern Gundam shows, encapsulating its initial appeal versus the vibrant Super Robot shows of its time.

10 Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Shonen Tropes Gives New Spin To Gundam ConceptMobile Fighter G Gundam

Release Period April 22, 1994 – March 31, 1995
Number Of Episodes 49
MAL Score 7.58

While the Universal Century is arguably the most extensive timeline in the Gundam series, other series do highlight unique alternate histories to host their Gundam narratives. First among these is Mobile Fighter G Gundam, taking place in the Future Century timeline where a wartorn Earth has become the setting of “Gundam Fight,” a tournament that takes place every four years between nations to settle their political conflicts. Each nation has a pilot using a Gundam on their behalf, tasked to battle each other until only one survivor is left.

The anime specifically stars Domon Kasshu, Neo Japan’s representative and pilot of the Shining Gundam during the tournament. While Domon is tasked to win the tournament, his true objective is to find his older brother, whom others believe have stolen the enigmatic Devil Gundam. Newcomers to the franchise looking for a series that focuses more on fights than plot would like Mobile Fighter G Gundam.

Why Watch This First?

Fans eager to see Gundam with an action-packed story leaning towards traditional shonen themes may appreciate G Gundam. Instead of the usual Gundam series that follows similar aesthetics for its roster of Gundams, G Gundam’s international premise boast colorful and vibrant Gundams and equally-unique characters. While its plot greatly deviates from the solemn war focus of traditional Gundam media, G Gundam can prove to newcomers that Gundam can indeed dabble into bolder and campier setups outside its Real Robot focus.

9 Gundam Build Fighters

Perfect Introduction To Gunpla Toys

Gundam Build Fighters

Release Period October 7, 2013 – March 31, 2014
Number Of Episodes 25
MAL Score 7.73

Seemingly built (no pun intended) under the framework of the Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G, the Gundam Build Fighters anime put Gundam fans and the franchise’s iconic Gunpla plastic models front and center. Taking place in a modern setting where the Gundam franchise exists and its Gunpla toys could be taken to the world of Gunpla Battling. In Gundam Build Fighters, protagonist Sei Iori is a Gunpla Builder whose passion is ignited by the arrival of the mysterious Reiji, who begins to help him use his Gundam in Gunpla Battles.


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The more outgoing Reiji helps the meek Sei get out of his shell, fostering a budding partnership. Sei becomes quite the excellent equivalent of a real-life Gunpla enthusiast, with his shy personality but talented Gunpla-building skills aiming to motivate viewers to get their first Gunpla or even start dabbling into Gundam as a whole.

Why Watch This First?

Fans who found Gundam through awesome-looking Gunpla toys may appreciate Build Fighters for banking on this very appeal. The idea of a Gunpla-populated world hosting virtual fights based on the very mecha Gundam fans create is a tribute to the impact the toys had across generations. Newcomers will appreciate the accessible shonen appeal of Build Fighters, with the show aiming to secure the overall visual identity of Gundams first before encouraging viewers to plunge into the deep end with more mature stories of mainline shows.

8 Gundam Build Fighters Try

Gundam Crosses Sports Anime

Build Fighters Try

Release Period October 8, 2014 – April 1, 2015
Number Of Episodes 25
MAL Score 7.20

Set in the same world as Build Fighters, the story of Gundam Build Fighters Try elevates Gunpla Battle into a teams affair. This time, martial artist Sekai Kamiki is dragged into the world of Gunpla Battle as a means of honing his fighting skills, with his senior Fumina Hoshino encouraging him and skilled Gunpla modeler Yuuma Kousaka into making Team Try Fighters and compete in tournaments.

Gundam Build Fighters Try takes elements from its predecessor and elevates it to become a pseudo sports anime where audiences can find a character to root for. Sekai’s thirst for a good fight earns him rivals that help him become a more respectable fighter. Meanwhile, Yuuma rekindling his love for Gunpla Battle and customizing parts represent the surprising world of Gunpla customization. Lastly, Fumina being the “heart” of Try Fighters results in a character arc that elevates the team’s support role.

Why Watch This First?

Compared to the more personal tale of Build Fighters, the sequel Build Fighters Try latches onto its initial shonen appeal and adds a sports anime twist. The idea of building lasting friendships through teams and coordinating to win matches is already an appealing sports story staple, but the added vibrance of tinkering with Gunpla as a reflection of continuous progression associates the toys with the idea of growing as an individual. With the absence of Build Fighter’s supernatural elements, Build Fighters Try emphasizing Gunpla development as a reflection of a shonen protagonist’s growth allows fans to relate to the cast, showcasing the dimension of Gundam series that directly appeals to the traditional shonen demographic.

Short Celebration Of Gunpla

Gundam Build Metaverse

Release Period October 6, 2023 to October 20, 2023
Number Of Episodes 3
MAL Score 6.02

In a bid to celebrate a decade of the Gundam Build series, Gundam Build Metaverse unites existing Build series together in a miniseries. Thanks to an online metaverse space where people can create avatars and conduct virtual Gunpla Battles, newcomer Rio Hojo is introduced to the world of Gunpla by hobbyist Seria Urutsuki. And when the mysterious Mask Lady teaches Rio how to conduct Gunpla Battles, he takes a custom Lah Gundam as his main unit as he searches the world for great fighters – eventually meeting the cast of Build Fighters, Build Fighters Try, and Build Divers in different circumstances.

Rio being the apprentice of Mask Lady is a welcome change in Gundam Build Metaverse, as her fellow masked Meijin Kawaguchi III often takes the spotlight as the token masked figure in Build shows. Despite its short stint, Gundam Build Metaverse makes for a decent way of capping the existing Build franchise and still leaving it open for potential sequels.

Why Watch This First?

Being a celebratory miniseries, newcomers may hesitate watching Metaverse as Rio’s interactions with Build characters may spoil the endings of their respective series. However, unlike other Gundam series, the Build franchise taking the traditional shonen route makes the journey to their destinities more interesting than learning their fates. The three-episode miniseries format can also make Metaverse more of a future-set “primer” to the Build series.

6 Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

Nostalgia Trip With Teenage Angst That Introduced Gundam To The West

Gundam Wing Picture Of All Gundams

Release Period April 7, 1995 – March 29, 1996
Number Of Episodes 49
MAL Score 7.68

Newcomers to the series from the United States may also want to start with the first Gundam anime that aired in the country, that being Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Itself being advertised as introducing a “new generation” of Gundam, this is the first series to ever feature a group of teenagers piloting a group of Gundam against a seemingly-impossible foe, in the form of the Organization of the Zodiac. It’s also the first series to approach the franchise with bishounen (beautiful youth) design, which definitely cements its “teenage angst” appeal.

Aside from its compelling plot that would see five teenagers with separate objectives slowly being united for a cause, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing introduces a more action-packed take on the franchise, especially since it stars five Gundam with different designs and respective appeals.


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Why Watch This First?

On top of being the first Gundam series introduced in the West, the story of Gundam Wing makes for a perfect introduction for modern viewers to the series. Teenage angst and punk take center stage as the anime’s five-man team encapsulate different perspectives of adolescent growth, which, when mixed with traditional Gundam tropes, leads to an interesting reinterpretation of stories showcasing horrors of war that the franchise is known to share. The series’ take on budding romances, rivalries, and enduring friendships is also a much-needed tale on the traditional shonen anime formula that can help newcomers who finish the series transition to more serious Gundam anime.

5 Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny

Both A Sequel And Standalone Gundam Story With Traditional Themes

Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny

Release Period October 9, 2004 – October 1, 2005
Number Of Episodes 50
MAL Score 7.18

Taking place two years after the events of Gundam SEED, Shinn Asuka of ZAFT takes the reins as the de facto protagonist of Gundam SEED Destiny. While SEED’s Athrun Zala and Kira Yamato eventually join him to form the sequel’s tritagonist slate, Shinn’s youthful vigor in a seemingly-restarted war between Earth Federation and the space colony PLANTs is a fresh sight from hesitant Kira.

More factions are part of the renewed war in SEED Destiny, with terrorists from Blue Cosmos and its Phantom Pain group as well as the Archangel battleship of the neutral Orb Union adding to complications in the conflict. Key to the series is Shinn’s disillusionment in the idea of a lasting peace, especially when forces conspire to benefit from both conflict and its roots.

Why Watch This First?

Despite being a sequel series, Gundam SEED Destiny’s story works as a standalone narrative with implied segments from SEED to be treated as flashback material. Newcomers may appreciate going straight to SEED Destiny to avoid SEED’s rather slow pace and witnessing Kira’s incessant indecision, with SEED Destiny’s Shinn taking the reins as a more decisive (although immature) protagonist. The series’ focus on more vibrant displays of actions in terms of fights can leave the pressures of Gundam stories having heavy narratives away from newcomers, with a watching of SEED as a prequel series being a more fitting transition to traditional Gundam seriousness.

4 Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

Reminiscent Of The Original Series Built For Modern Audiences

Gundam SEED

Release Period October 5, 2002 – September 27, 2003
Number Of Episodes 50
MAL Score 7.74

Conceived by director and long-time Gundam fan Mitsuo Fukuda (Future GPX Cyber Formula), Mobile Suit Gundam SEED became the first Gundam series to ever grace the 21st Century. And Fukuda’s fascination with Gundam definitely explains how Gundam SEED has a plot similar to the original series, this time with Kira Yamato of the genetically-improved Coordinators become entangled in a war between two races – the Coordinators and the Naturals – as he pilots the experimental Strike Gundam.

Despite its rather dragging introductory arc, Gundam SEED and can become the perfect start for fans looking for a “fresher” Gundam experience. Kira being dragged into the Coordinator-Natural War is a great way to introduce readers to the mature themes of war, death, destruction, and terror on top of the action that Gundam is known for.

Why Watch This First?

With SEED being more of a tribute to the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the anime becomes a worthwhile first watch for newcomers who want to get a grasp of a traditional Gundam series from a more modern standpoint. Kira being the indecisive and unwilling ace of the Earth Federation adds realism to the stereotypical mecha anime protagonist. And while some may complain about the anime’s rather slow-paced first half, the escalation towards the end is a much-deserved follow-through of the build-up in Kira’s character development. Lastly, those who see others joke about Kira being a messiah figure in SEED Destiny can see his “growth” into the role in SEED.


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