Mobile Suit Gundam creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino, was candid on the series’ legacy and popularity in an interview with Toyokeizai on December 17, 2023. After revealing that the anime boom is likely coming to an end, he praised classic anime like Hayao Miyazaki’s works along with his own but added:
“To be honest, the fundamental messages I tried to convey in the Gundam works – my commentaries on society and war – feel like they haven’t gotten across as well as I’d have liked, overshadowed by the imposing design of the Gundam robots. Children love dinosaurs and giant robots. The popularity of Gundam stems as an extension of that preference. Regrettably, part of its support has come from a narrow obsession with mecha fetishism. In terms of the work by itself, its popularity can’t compare to that of Chibi Maruko-chan or One Piece.”
While the popularity of Gundam isn’t on the same level as One Piece, the franchise has inspired multiple generations of mecha-lovers, which Tomino notes has both helped and harmed his overall vision. The series made waves for the high-profile depiction of same-sex relationships with the recent The Witch from Mercury, although this was scaled back, leaving Suletta and Miorine’s status up in the air, and is credited for inspiring technological development. The real-world Gundam-inspired ARCHAX robot is a direct testament to how popular Gundam is.
Over 40 years since the anime franchise’s first installment, Gundam continues to make itself known with its latest entry, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Freedom. The film is set to premiere on January 26, 2024. Gundam SEED Freedom‘s staff was previously announced, with Bandai Namco Filmworks producing the film. The latest trailer can be watched here.
The synopsis for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Freedom is:
C.E. 75: the fighting was still continuing.
Independence movements, invasions by Blue Cosmos… In an attempt to calm the situation, the Compass peacekeeping organization was established with Lacus as its first chairperson, with Kira and the others intervening in battles around the world as members.
Seizing the opportunity, the emerging nation of Foundation proposes a joint operation against the Blue Cosmos headquarters.
© Sotsu, Sunrise