What is the best Gundam series?
Well, it depends on what kind of mecha genre you're looking for. Ultimately, the entire franchise is one of the biggest and most notable shows of all time.
It redefined the gigantic robotic genre. Its anti-war message resonated not only in the Japanese public but with anime fans worldwide.
Most Gundam shows follow a Universal Century Timeline. After 30 years, it's hard to know where to start watching in chronological order for new fans.
22 Amazing Must-Watch Gundam Shows
For your convenience, I compiled the top shows from the Gundam franchise.
So, let's start with the oldest and the first series and advance to the latest shows streaming online.
1. Mobile Suit Gundam
The mecha genre has been around before this famous mobile suit appeared in the anime world.
But, Mobile Suit Gundam revolutionized the whole genre, especially with its remarkable design.
Instead of magic robots fighting for justice, a mobile suit is a weapon for warfare.
Anime fans have seen the birth of legends such as Ray Amuro and Char Aznable. We saw the terrible impact of war.
The series revolves around the war between the Federation and Zeon on all levels.
2. Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy
This movie trilogy has a smoother narration flow along with better visual effects and improved audio quality.
Seeing the classic rivalry between Amuro Ray and Char Aznable will always be wonderful and emotional.
So, why watch this if the trilogy is the same as the 1979 series? Well, if you’re not up to watching more than 40 episodes, this is your pick.
I think the trilogy is available on Netflix today.
3. Mobile Suit Gundam Zeta
Zeta Gundam Mobile Suit continues the events of the original series with a new protagonist this time around.
This Gundam Series is the perfect example of a blurred line between evil and good sometimes.
It’s best to watch the trilogy or the 1979 Gundam series to understand the dynamics of this series. Save yourself the many questions and watch the original, then this one.
4. Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Char Aznable appears as a friendly future hero.
But his transformation into a genocidal maniac is surprising. Why could we never win a war without destroying the earth?
It's just faulty logic. Still, you have the perfect chance to see Amuro and Char play them out in a top-of-the-line mobile suit again.
Leaving with a fire of glory was the only end suitable for both warriors.
5. War in the Pocket
This series gives fans valuable insight. This is the effects of the One Year War on innocents from far beyond the borders of the Earth Federation and Zeon.
War in the Pocket delivers its anti-war message better than any normal Gundam's show.
The short film series has been set within Universal Century - 0080 when the war occurred and is not just a war drama with mecha battle.
6. Stardust Memory
The series is a prequel to the fantastic Zeta Gundam and its One Year War. It has one of the visual best performances before the turn of the 20th century.
Unfortunately, Stardust Memory has a completely different plotline.
What could've been a perfect story about Zeon remnants fighting to keep their nation’s fire burning is lost. Reasons? Unbalanced set of characters.
Still, this anime has the best fight scenes.
7. Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
Do you know the most compelling reason you should watch this 1993 TV show? It is the last on the Universal Century timeline.
The series is set a hundred years after the One Year War and based on the Zanscare Empire.
Two teens are thrown into the war and join the Earth resistance movement to fly Victory Gundam. This goal is to gain independence.
8. Mobile Fighter G Gundam
Mobile Fighting G Gundam is one of the must-watch series for badass characters and brutal mobile combat.
This focused on 1-on-1 battles (and the admittedly campy storylines). It makes it extremely easy for someone who doesn't know Gundam.
This show is set in the future. It is one of the action-packed kung-fu masters competing between robots and human opponents.
Countries of the universe agreed to lay down arms and settle a conflict with a tournament.
9. Gundam Wing
This is the first Gundam series to receive a full dubbing and air in the United States.
If you want a relatable and easy-to-digest anime, Gundam Wing is a good choice.
The pacing is short pacing with a questionable plot. But its themes of rebellion against a rotten government and its young, magnetic cast were a hit among people.
Its most notable contribution is the introduction of the alternate universe.
10. After War Gundam X
Gundam X: After War is one of the most underrated series in the franchise Gundam because of its cancellations.
Like the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the series shows the devastating consequences of war.
Add a good set of characters, solid storytelling, a sweet love story. The results? You have a fantastic series to start your Gundam journey.
11. The 08th MS Team
The 08th MS team follows Shiro Amada and his team to fight (on mobile suits). Nothing crazy about that. But, the setting is extraordinary back then.
He and his team have to fight the enemy in a dense jungle in southeast Asia.
Where original MSG focused on rivalry, this show aims to point to the strain of war and human relationships.
12. Turn A Gundam (1999)
Tagged as having the Correct Century, Turn A has a distinct contribution to the Gundam franchise. It avoids the usual violent tropes of other Gundam anime.
Instead, the series favors the dramatically less brutal pacing and atmosphere. The story is not about the trademark of interplanetary conflict.
Although most of the original MSG elements are removed, it offers resolutions that some Gundam shows lack.
13. Gundam SEED
Gundam SEED is set in the Cosmic Era. It looks in particular at the racial turmoil among societies.
Accordingly, the appearance of humans as coordinators could lead to conflict.
This is a rough but honest look at how human societies had operated since civilizations began. Since it has a completely different continuity, it would be a perfect entry point into the franchise.
14. Gundam Seed Destiny
In the year Cosmic Era 0071, two young men were born on different sides of a war. This is a modern classic among the Gundam Franchises.
Shinn Asuka discovers his entire family massacred in the violence and vows to avenge his family. This anger leads him to a dark path.
But, Athrun Zala makes it his goal to teach the young man about mercy and forgiveness.
15. Gundam 00
MS Gundam 00 has a better take than the Gundam wing Formula. Almost all central characters get plenty of screen time.
They have a good backstory to get you cheering for them.
The main characters want to halt war with the force of the mobile suits, particularly the first Gundam suit. This plan seems plausible and fascinating to follow.
16. Gundam Unicorn
This OVA with 7 episodes has by far the best overall production values of the entire Gundam franchise.
But the pace of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn has seemed so slow. This got Gundam fans worried.
Other than this minor annoyance, the series is worth watching simply for the eye-candy and the aesthetics alone.
It is not the first release after the original Universal Century timelines.
17. Gundam AGE
The Gundam Alliance traces the exploits of Flit Asuno and his Advanced generation in the war against a nation of mars colonizers (called the Vagan).
The Earth Federation abandoned this nation many years ago.
Level 5 is the team behind the character designs in the series. They created the best scenes ever produced.
18. Gundam Build Fighters
In the world of Gundam Build Fighters, Gunpla models are high-tech. These models have weapons allowing them to fight each other in special matches.
The show also features plenty of Gundam inside jokes, reveals, and chances of losing your chill over posing with your beloved classic mobile suit.
Definitely worth the time if you have been back to the series.
19. Iron-Blooded Orphan
Iron-Blooded Orphans follows an extraterrestrial crisis known as the Civil or Calamity War. Poverty is part of the cast’s everyday lives.
This is one of the darkest entries in the Gundam brand. But, it is also highly enjoyable thanks to its deeper characters explored at length throughout the series.
This also features one of the finest alternate timelines the series has ever featured.
20. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
MSG: The Origin was released on its 35th anniversary. It features enormously dynamic combats and crisp mobile suit styles.
This special OVA puts the events of the first MSG in context. It builds empathy towards both sides of The One Year War.
Simultaneously, an Original Video Game was launched as part of the 35th-anniversary celebrations.
21. Gundam Thunderbolt
The series focuses on the fear suffered by these fighters.
Even the surviving division at Zeon's service consists exclusively of pilots who have sustained horrible war injuries.
This giant robot anime is meant to deliver an anti-war message. But the cool mechas often overshadow the message. Thunderbolt has also many compelling visual actions and fights.
22. Hathaway's Flash
The most recent entry from the MSG Series takes us to the Universal Century timeline. It is set several years after Char's Counterattack and the Second Neo-Zeon War.
It follows Hathaway Noa, the father of the celebrated Captain Bright Noa of the Federation. The project was started in 2018 via Gundam Narrative.
I don't like the bulky RX-105 Gundam but besides that, it looks promising.
Trivia Questions on the Gundam Franchise
What Gundam series should I start watching?
I suggest the original Mobile Suit Gundam. It features the best pilots in the series.
Plus, you get to establish the certain elements (such as the Universal Century TimeLine) needed to understand the other shows.
Although you can research that important info on the internet, a true anime fan will put the effort into watching the Grandfather of all Gundam stories.
What is considered the best Gundam anime series?
The answer depends on your taste, really. I could recommend G Gundam or After War Gundam X or the entire franchise.
But, you might think so otherwise. Every fan of the mecha franchise is unique. So, I'm giving you the choice.
Which is the most popular Gundam anime?
Well, I guess it would be the Zeta Gundam anime. This series follows the Universal Century period. It shows the reality of war heroes.
That reality is death. Everyone dies even heroes who defend their country.
Is Iron-Blooded orphans the best Gundam series?
If you like dark mecha anime, you can consider the Iron-blooded Orphans one of the best.
The above aren't definitive in any way. I know your tastes can vary, especially when you have watched some Gundam titles or trailers.
You'll find an amazing set with incredibly many shows. This list provides a great starting point during your Gundam journey.
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