Image source: BandaiChannel on YouTube

In 1979, under the guiding hand of director Yoshiyuki Tomino, a new anime series began airing on TV in Japan. The series featured giant robots and focused on civilians caught up in a war between the Earth and surrounding space colonies.

Now, decades later, Gundam has become one of Japan’s signature anime with expansive worlds spanning multiple timelines. With such a massive franchise, it can be difficult to keep track of all the different series and movies—not to mention spinoffs and amusement park rides. That’s what this guide is for.

Due to the sheer number of different Gundam series, we are dividing this guide into two parts. This part will focus on the Universal Century, or “UC Gundam” series. The “AU Gundam” series guide can be found here.

Your Complete AU Gundam Guide

[Note: This guide is presented in loose chronological order for the Universal Century timeline of Gundam (with spinoffs listed in their own section). This is not necessarily the best order of viewing.]


Preface

What is “UC” aka “Universal Century?”

The Gundam franchise series can largely be divided into two categories; “UC” and “AU.” The UC series all take place in the same timeline, while AU, or “Alternate Universe” series take place in various separate timelines. UC is short for “Universal Century,” the new calendar age to mark the era of the colonization of space. Therefore, all UC categorized series paint a long sprawling story that spans generations, showing an evolving world. While some series do stand entirely on their own, others have prerequisite viewing in order to understand what is going on and an overall viewing does a great deal to enhance the richness of every series.


Main Series

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (2015) — Six episode (scheduled) OVA series

Essentially a prequel series, Gundam The Origin tells the tale of Casval Rem Deikun, the boy who grows up to be the most famed pilot in Zeon history and one of Japanese anime’s most iconic characters, “Char the Red Comet.” The first four episodes of Gundam The Origin cover Casval’s life from childhood to early in the One Year War (close to the start of the original series)

The remaining two episodes which, as of yet, have not been released, will focus on the Loum Battlefield, a decisive battle that established Char within the Zeon army as an ace pilot and gave him the title of “Red Comet.”

Where to Watch: Daisuki, Hulu, Amazon Video, PlayStation Store, and Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) — 43 episode TV anime series

The original series. In UC 0079, the space colonies, led by the Principality of Zeon, launch a devastating war—later known as the One Year War—on the Earth Federation. Utilizing new weapons of war—giant robot mecha, called Mobile Suits—Zeon manages to seize control of half the planet. The series begins nine months into the war and follows a young civilian, Amuro Ray who, through a twist of fate, ends up as the pilot of the Earth Federation’s prototype Mobile Suit, the Gundam.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America, Anime Limited in the UK, and Madman Entertainment in Australia)

Mobile Suit Gundam (1981) — Anime film
Mobile Suit Gundam: Soldiers of Sorrow (1981) — Anime film
Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space (1982) — Anime film

Three compilation anime films that take the entire 43 episode TV series and essentially cut out all the fat. And they even add some additional footage.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team (1996) — Twelve episode OVA series

A self-contained story that takes place during the One Year War, the series follows Earth Federation soldier Shiro Amada, who is tasked with leading the 08th MS Team as they battle the Zeon army in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Shiro is faced with the difficulties of guerrilla warfare as well as conflicting emotions between his hate for Zeon and his growing feelings for the female Zeon pilot, Aina Sahalin.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Home video (Sunrise in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australia)

Mobile Suit Gundam: More Information on the Universal Century — Ten episode OVA

A collection of short videos offering background information on the Universal Century and the One Year War. The videos were included as bonus footage in the Japanese VHS and laser disc versions of 08th MS Team and as a bonus feature in the DVD version of 08th MS Team, Miller’s Report.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)

Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team, Miller’s Report (1998) — Anime film

A compilation anime film that covers the first, sixth, and eighth episodes of 08th MS Team with additional footage.
After an accident forces Shiro to work together with Aina to survive, he is court martialed and his allegiance to the Earth Federation brought into question. Alice Miller is the investigating officer who is brought in to question the 08th MS Team. Her report will decide their fate.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO (2004) — Six episode OVA series

A collection of CG movies that take place during the One Year War and follow Zeon’s 603rd Technical Evaluation Unit as they test various prototype Zeonic weapons. The series introduces various unique weapons throughout the war that never made it past the prototype phase and the men who gave their lives to try to make them a reality. It basically serves as an archive of lost weaponry with the background of the One Year War. One of the few Gundam series where a Gundam does not appear.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)

Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO II: Gravity Front (2008) — Three episode OVA series

The story of MS IGLOO, but from the point of view of the Earth Federation. Where the first series gave catharsis to the characters’ deaths as they struggled against odds, the second series adds more emphasis to the cruelty and hopelessness of the battlefield.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt (2015) — Eight episode (scheduled) OVA series

Taking place towards the end of the One Year War, the story focuses on a battle in the “Thunderbolt Sector,” a region that serves as the major supply route for Zeon’s final military fortress, A Baoa Qu. The plot follows Io Fleming, an Earth Federation pilot as he battles the Zeon ace pilot, Daryl Lorenz.

The series’ first season of four episodes is currently out with a second series currently in the process of being released.

Where to Watch: Gundam.Info (limited time availability)

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt December Sky (2016) — Anime film

A compilation anime film of the first season of Gundam Thunderbolt with added scenes.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in The Pocket (1989) — Six episode OVA series

A self-contained story that takes place towards the end of the One Year War. A Zeon strike force is tasked with capturing or destroying a new prototype mobile suit. After an initial failure, they manage to track the suit to a remote neutral space colony.

The story follows a young civilian boy who manages to get involved with the undercover Zeon soldiers and his coming-of-age story that follows.

Where to Watch: Home Video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (1991) — Thirteen episode OVA series

A story that takes place three years after the end of the One Year War. The Earth Federation is set to test two new prototype mobile suits at its Torrington base in Australia. One of the two is a tactical nuclear warhead deployment unit—a direct violation of the Antarctic Treaty. The unit is stolen by a Zeon remnant calling itself the Delaz Fleet as part of their mysterious “Operation Stardust.” This leads to rookie Earth Federation pilot, Kou Uraki, facing off against Zeon ace pilot Anavel Gato.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Last Blitz of of Zeon (1992) — Anime film

A compilation anime film that covers the entire series.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (1985) — Fifty episode TV anime series

Taking place in UC 0087, the events since the One Year War have turned the Earth Federation into a shell of what it once was. Mainly dominated by an elite counter-terrorist agency dedicated to the eradication of all anti-federation threats called the Titans, the Earth rules over the space colonies with an iron fist. This leads to the rise of anti-Earth Federation organizations made up primarily of Zeon Remnants.

The story follows Kamille Bidan, a young civilian who, much like Amuro Ray, becomes embroiled in a conflict between two forces, the Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) and the Titans. While somewhat similar in structure to the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Z Gundam adds to the story by bringing back several characters from the original series—and shows them having to deal with the world that has come about as the result of their actions during the One Year War.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australia)

Mobile Suit Z Gundam Heir to the Stars (2005) — Anime film
Mobile Suit Z Gundam II Lovers (2005) — Anime film
Mobile Suit Z Gundam III Love is the Pulse of the Stars (2006) — Anime film

Three compilation anime films that take the entire fifty episode TV series and essentially cut out all the fat and add some additional footage.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (1986) — 47 episode TV anime series

A direct sequel to Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ takes place immediately after the ending of Z Gundam in UC 0088. After the fall of the Titans, the Earth Federation is substantially weakened and the Zeon remnant army Neo Zeon strikes. The story follows protagonist Judau Ashta and his ragtag group of junk collectors as they are recruited to battle against the Neo Zeon threat.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America, Animax in Southeast Asia)

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: Gundam Frag — Two episode OVA

Bonus CG movies included as bonus features in the Gundam ZZ Blu-ray box set that has various clips from during the battles in Gundam ZZ.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America, Animax in Southeast Asia)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counter Attack (1988) — Anime film

Taking place in UC 0093, Char’s Counter Attack marks the conclusion of the fourteen year rivalry between the original Mobile Suit Gundam protagonist, Amuro Ray, and his nemesis, Char the Red Comet.

Five years after the events of Gundam ZZ, Char the Red Comet has returned as the charismatic leader of the Neo Zeon. Fighting against him, Amuro Ray works as an officer of Londo Bell, an autonomous Earth Federation special forces unit.

After Neo Zeon successfully drops an asteroid on Tibet, the Earth Federation seeks to negotiate a peace treaty with Neo Zeon. However, Amuro believes that Char has ulterior motives. As a plot to render the Earth uninhabitable unfolds, the two men head towards their final confrontation.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (2010) — Seven episode OVA series

The spiritual conclusion to what is considered the “core” Universal Century series. Taking place in UC 0096, three years after Char’s final plot, the story revolves around the hunt for the Laplace’s Box, a mysterious object that, when opened, is said will destroy the Earth Federation. The story follows the young boy, Banagher Links, a civilian who, through a twist of fate, becomes the pilot of the Unicorn Gundam; the key to opening Laplace’s Box.

Together with Audrey Burne, the lost legacy of the Principality of Zeon, they seek to uncover the mystery of Laplace’s Box.

Where to Watch: PlayStation Store, Home video (Sunrise in North America)

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: Episode EX — OVA

A special series recap episode that is included in the Blu-ray and DVD of episode seven of Gundam Unicorn as a bonus feature.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)

Mobile Suit Gundam UC RE:0096 (2016) — 22 episode TV anime series

The TV Anime Series adaptation of Gundam UC. The series takes all seven episodes of the OVA and divides them into 22 episodes.

Where to Watch: Daisuki, Crunchyroll, Gundam.Info, Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam: Twilight Axis (2017) – 6 episode OVA (scheduled)

The story takes place in UC 0096, a few months after the events of Gundam Unicorn. Having re-evaluated the threat of the Psycho Frame as a weapon, the Earth Federation sends a special team, the Mastema, to the final battleground of Char the Red Comet, the asteroid, Axis. There, the Mastema team encounters a mysterious armed force and a mysterious Gundam.

Where to watch: Gundam.Info


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Gundam F91 (1991) — Anime film

Originally planned as a full length TV series, Gundam F91 was eventually released in truncated form as an anime film. Taking place in UC 0123—a world where Zeon is little more than a distant memory—new conflict breaks out between the Earth Federation and the Crossbone Vanguard.

The story follows the protagonist Seaboook Arno, as, through a twist of fate, he is forced to pilot the new prototype Gundam F91.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Mobile Suit Victory Gundam (1993) — 51 episode TV anime series

Taking place in UC 0153, long after any preceding series, V Gundam starts with essentially a clean slate. The story follows thirteen-year-old Uso Ewin as he is caught up in the conflict between the space-led Zanscare Empire and the League Militaire—an autonomous military force with the mission of protecting the Earth.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Image source: BandaiChannel on YouTube

Gundam Reconguista in G (2014) — 26 episode TV anime series

Gundam Reconguista in G takes place in the Regild Century, roughly 1,000 years after the end of the Universal Century.

After the Universal Century, humanity entered an era, called the Regild Century, which allowed for peace and prosperity. The source of Earth’s energy is through Photon Batteries that are carried to Earth by an orbital elevator known as the Capital Tower.

The protagonist, Bellri Zenam, is a pilot-in-training with the Capital Guard—the protectors of the Capital Tower. During his first training exercise, the Capital Guard is attacked by a mobile suit of unknown origin, the G-Self.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America, Anime Limited in the UK, and Madman Entertainment in Australia)


Image source: GundamInfo on YouTube

Turn A Gundam (1999) — Fifty episode TV anime series

Set in a far distant future known as the Correct Century, this series was created as the conclusion and unifier of every Gundam series—from both UC and AU.

2,000 years after humanity has divided itself between the Earth-dwellers and the moon-dwelling “Moonrace,” the Moonrace seeks to return home and reunite with their long-lost brethren. Loran Cehack is one of three Moonrace members who are sent in advance as reconnaissance. After a year on Earth, Loran has successfully blended into Earth society when the Moonrace launches a sudden attack. During the attack, Loran discovers an ancient white mobile suit.

Where to Watch: Daisuki, Home video (Sunrise in North America)

Turn A Gundam I: Earth Light (2002) — Anime film
Turn A Gundam II: Moon Butterfly (2002) — Anime film

Two compilation anime films that take the entire 50 episode TV series and essentially cut out all the fat—while also adding some additional footage.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


UC Related Spinoffs

Gundam Crisis (2007) — Amusement Park Attraction

A mission-style attraction at the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park. The attraction replaced the Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu after it was closed.

The story takes place in the asteroid base of Konpei Island. Guests play the role of engineers who are tasked with completing the Gundam’s new magnetic coating by gathering various bits of data that is scattered throughout the area.

A special short video is played at the end. Guests who successfully gather all the data in the allotted time get to ride the Gundam’s cockpit where they can view a different special video.

The original attraction was revamped and reopened as Real Treasure Hunting Gundam Crisis 2 on July 27th, 2013. The attraction was closed on December 1, 2013.

Where to Watch: Not currently available (Ride closed in 2013)


Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu (2000) — Amusement Park Attraction

A simulation ride attraction at the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park. Park guests ride an escape pod and view the story that goes on around them.

The story takes place on December 31, UC 0079. The guests play the part of a group of immigrants seeking to move from Earth to the space colonies. As they set out to their new home, their shuttle is attacked and they are forced to escape through the escape pods only to find themselves in the final ongoing battle at A Baoa Qu.

The attraction was closed on January 8, 2007.

Where to Watch: Not currently available (Ride closed in 2007)


Mobile Suit Gundam Battlefield Record: Avant-Title (2009) — Short

A seven minute short that was viewable for a limited time with a code that was included in the limited edition of Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Field Record U.C. 0081. The OVA serves as a prequel to the events of the actual game.

The story takes place on December 31, UC 0079 and follows the battles of Zeon pilot Erik Blanke and Earth Federation pilot Hugues Courand during the final battle at A Baoa Qu.

Where to Watch: Not currently available


Gundam Neo Experience 0087: Green Divers (2001) — OVA

A 23 minute special video made to be projected in planetarium-like facilities with domed ceilings. The video was made for educational purposes to teach children about space and the Earth.

The story takes place in UC 0087. A brother and sister on a cruise ship in Earth orbit are caught in a battle between AEUG and the Titans. Left in the ship as it begins to fall into Earth’s atmosphere, the two struggle to make their way to the ship’s escape pod.

Where to Watch: Not currently available (Final showing was in 2010)


Gundam Unicorn: A Phantom World (2016) — Short

A short promotional visual that shows the three prototype Unicorn Gundam suits, the Sinanju Stein, and the Neo Zeong. 

Where to Watch: Projected on the building wall at Diver City Tokyo Plaza


Gundam Behind the Front (2016) — Short

A documentary-style live-action short film with clips from various anime. The film takes place at an unspecified date during the Universal Century timeline. Two elderly people—a man and a woman—talk of the world both before and after the One Year War.

Where to Watch: YouTube


Ring of Gundam (2009) – Short

A five and a half minute full CG short anime that was presented at the series’ thirtieth anniversary Gundam Big Expo event.

The short takes place far in the future after the One Year War. The story protagonists are two characters, Eiji and Yuria. The keys to restoring humanity—a ring and an item called the Beauty Memory—have been obtained, but in order to activate the ring, something called the “Legacy of Amuro” must be used.

On a side note, Ring of Gundam is actually an original unused title possibility for Turn A Gundam.

Where to Watch: Not currently available


Gundam Mission to the Rise (1998) — Short

A short CG film by Katsuhiro Otomo—the creator of Akira—that was shown at the twentieth anniversary of the series. While the film takes place during the Universal Century, it is considered to take place in its own original Otomo world.

With the development of the new weapon, RX-78 (Gundam) space warfare enters a new stage. Meanwhile, an operation to break the speed of light barrier, “Mission to the Rise,” is being carried out.

Where to Watch: Not currently available


30th Gundam Perfect Mission (2009) — Short

A promotional video that was made in celebration of the series’ thirtieth anniversary. The story follows a crash landed Core Fighter ship. The various Gundams from the various series help send it to A Baoa Qu.

Where to Watch: Not currently available


Gundam Evolve (2001) — Shorts

A collection of CG shorts featuring various mobile suits. Most were shown at special events or included in preliminary production lots of Gundam model kits. The first season featured shorts for the first Gundam, Gundam Mk-II, God Gundam, GP03 Dendrobium, and Nu Gundam.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)

Gundam Evolve../ (2004) — Shorts

The second season of CG shorts. Where the first season focused on promoting the series the respective mobile suits appear in, the second season was focused on promoting the Gundam model kits themselves. The suits featured in the second seasons of shorts are Dreadnaught Gundam, Wing Gundam Zero, Strike Gundam, Z-Gundam, ZZ-Gundam, Ball, Rick-Dias, Marasai, Musha Gundam, and Braw-Bro.

Where to Watch: Home video (Sunrise in North America)


Mobile Suit Gundam-san (2014) — Thirteen episode short-form TV anime

A short-form comedy series based on a four-panel comic strip of the same name. The series takes a comedic look at the characters and events of the One Year War.

Where to Watch: Not currently Available


Zeonic Toyota Special Movie (2015) — Two TV commercials

A pair of forty-second commercials for the Toyota Auris featuring a tie-in with the character, Char. 300 limited edition “Char Auris II” vehicles were also produced.

Where to Watch: Not currently Available

Comments (9)
  1. Thanks i was lost

  2. Pretty comprehensive, however Tomino has stated that G-Reco takes place AFTER Turn A. Also, production order is best for Gundam imo.

    • Actually, that interview where Tomino supposedly claimed that Reconguista comes after Turn-A was badly mangled in translation, and was missing significant context. It’s actually twice removed from what Tomino is actually saying.

      First, there’s Tomino’s actual interview, that’s quoted in some blog in Japanese, which gives it’s own take on those comments, then there’s this blog which gives ITS own impression of the impression that FIRST blog had about Tomino’s comments. so it’s kinda like a game of “Broken Telephone.”

      The guy (Tomino) is basically ruminating out loud after the fact that he *wished* he’d placed it after Turn-A because he doesn’t want to damn the characters and world of G-Reco to the fate of the Dark History, because it kind of undermines both the lessons of G-Reco, and also its positive ending.

      Which I get, but what’s done is done, and just because the director after the fact says something like this, that doesn’t undermine and retcon the show itself, which spent its entire time firmly establishing its time period as between the UC and the Correct Century, as well as all official Sunrise info, which still places G-Reco before Turn-A.

  3. Guide
    Main series
    First one is Origin, an alternate UC universe. Fanfiction not written by Tomino.

    And you really shouldn’t recommend people to watch this in chronological order.

    The original gundam saga always needs to go first if you want to watch UC.

    0079
    Zeta
    ZZ
    CCA

    • “This guide is presented in loose chronological order for the Universal Century timeline of Gundam (with spin-offs listed in their own section). This is not necessarily the best order of viewing.”
      It says right up top. Also Tomino didn’t write a lot of stuff on this list, including some of the absolute best ones (0080 and 08th MS Team). That doesn’t make it non-canon.

    • Yeah, you’re definitely wrong about the non-Tomino Gundam stories — they’re as canonical as anything Tomino directed.

  4. If this list is intended as any sort of introductory guide to the UC Gundam timeline, you really should have also mentioned that the endings of the Zeta movies HUGELY contradict the TV series, and basically make Gundam ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, and Unicorn totally impossible from a continuity-standpoint. If you go from the films into those subsequent projects later in the UC as a total newbiew-viewer, you’ll likely be confused as hell.

  5. I understand “AU” being any Gundam series not related to the UC timeline. But I find it easier to divide the series into three categories. UC, AU (or Another Gundams, as mentioned by Japanese fans), and the CE (Cosmic Era) timeline that covers Gundam SEED.

    Iron-Blooded Orphans has the potential to expand its story beyond the 2 seasons, given there are several parts of the lore of the PD (Post-Disaster) timeline yet to be revealed, as is the details of the Calamity War. Of course, it all comes down to whether or not Sunrise would expand on it. I do hope it does, as it will establish a fourth timeline of Gundam stories relating to Iron-Blooded Orphans. Something I’m all in for.

    • To add further, dividing the series into three timelines (UC, CE, AU/Another Gundam) has also been the staple of the SD Gundam: G-Generation games.

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