Post number 2 in the Gundam series. Let’s talk today about something I have already mentioned in my introduction to this amazing anime franchise, i.e. the complicated multiverse where its adventures take place. In order to understand what’s happening and when, you need also to know in which version of the universe you are in – otherwise things will rapidly become confusing. The following list is to provide some guidelines.
To keep things simple (they are not) let’s say that there is a main timeline, called Universal Century (UC), where the original Gundam has been based upon, and the others – some of them still connected to it in some ways. Given its centrality to the series, UC remains the most developed, where the fundamental instalments are set.
Based on UC, whose years are counted in 00xx, are these series (in parentheses, their release year):
- Universal Century 0079-0087:Mobile Suit Gundam (1979 – 1980), the first of the Gundam ever aired. Other series referring to this period are: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (1985 – 1986); Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team (1996 – 1999); Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO (2004 – 2009); Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (2015 – 2016; this date refers to the anime, while the manga series has been published between 2001-20122 . The OVA, Episode 1, has been released in Japan as 機動戦士ガンダムTHE ORIGIN, in February, 2015).
- Universal Century 0088-0089: Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (1986 – 1987) – This one follows up directly from the event of Mobil Suit Zeta Gundam, both in reality and in the fictional timeline.
- Universal Century 0093: Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (1988)
- Universal Century 0096: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (2010 – 2014)
- Universal Century 0105: Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash
- Universal Century 0123: Mobile Suit Gundam F91 (1991)
- Universal Century 0153: Mobile Suit Victory Gundam (1993 – 1994)
- Universal Century 0223: G-Saviour (2001)
There are two other timelines, linked to the UC, that start diverging at year UC 0155 and that are known in the fandom as Alternate UC 1 e Alternate UC 2.
Running in parallel with UC there are at least 4 other important universes.
Cosmic Era (C.E), it’s after UC the second most developed one, where the famous Gundam Seed and its sequels are based. It comprises Cosmic Era 71: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Cosmic Era 73: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny; Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73: STARGAZER. The SEED series are in general one of the most famous Gundam ever in Japan, and the first to become popular also among non-otaku/anime lovers.
After Colony (A.C) is where Gundam Wing, a series both famous and controversial, is set, and it’s also the third most developed universe, with After Colony 195: New Mobile Report Gundam Wing, and After Colony 196: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. There are also some mantas that develop further the universe with prequels and sequels, such as Operation Meteor and Frozen Teardrop. Interestingly, Gundam Wing reached higher rating and popularity beyond Japan, where its reception has been lukewarm, faring especially well in the USA.
Future Century, where the anime series of Mobile Fighter G Gundam and its sequels are based, as in Future Century 60: Mobile Fighter G Gundam.
Anno Domini (A.D), where Gundam 00 and that uses a Gregorian calendar for its series, namely: A.D. 2307: Mobile Suit Gundam 00, A.D. 2308: Mobile Suit Gundam 00, A.D. 2312: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 2nd Season , A.D. 2314: Mobile Suit Gundam 00: A wakening of the Trailblazer.
Are we done? By no means: You have also After War (After War 15: After War Gundam X), Correct Century (Correct Century 2345: ∀ Gundam), Advanced Generation (A.G. 115 – 164: Mobile Suit Gundam AGE), Regild Century (Regild Century 1014, Gundam Reconguista in G). Just to make things more complicated, the Regild Century is nested between the end of the Universal Century and before the Correct Century, with a gap of one thousand years, give or take.