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There are, roughly speaking, a zillion series under the umbrella of Mobile Suit Gundam. I personally loved Gundam Wing but I do know that it exists in an alternate timeline from the rest of the series.

What is the chronology of the Gundam series? Is there a specific order in which they are best watched? How many alternate timelines are there? Are there multiple series in these timelines?

2 Answers 2

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Fortunately, many of the Gundams are easy to place in an in-universe chronological order, as the first entry in the franchise established the in-universe Universal Century (UC) calendar. Most of the shared-universe Gundams take place in the Universal Century chronolgy, and for those specific shows they always establish what year they take place in. I'll be doing the in-universe UC year, then the year of release.

Universal Century

UC Year Release Year Series Name
UC0079 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam (the original series that started the franchise)
UC0079 1989 Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
UC0079 1996 Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
UC0079 2004 Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War
UC0079 2006 Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079
UC0079 2009 Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: The Gravity Front
UC0079 2015 Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (Manga/OVA)
UC0079 2019 Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin – Advent of the Red Comet (OVA-based TV Series)
UC0083 1991 Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
UC0087 1985 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (some compilation movies were released in 2005)
UC0087 2001 Gundam Neo Experience 0087: Green Divers
UC0088 1986 Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
UC0093 1988 Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
UC0096 2010 Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
UC0123 1991 Mobile Suit Gundam F91
UC0153 1993 Mobile Suit Victory Gundam

In terms of viewing order, most are pretty standalone. If you have the stomach for old-school anime, I'd recommend starting with the original Mobile Suit Gundam, as that will get you thoroughly familiar with key events in the universe. The year UC0079 is a busy time as there's a wide-spread war taking place, which is why so many series take place roughly simultaneously then. After watching the original, I'd recommend you read quick summaries of the other series, and try to watch ones that interest you. Char's Counterattack is a notable non-standalone story that directly comes from the people and events of the original Mobile Suit Gundam.

Editor's note: MSG: The Origin (recently released), while taking place chronologically before the original MSG series, contains several key spoilers for the MSG series and may not make as much sense without seeing MSG first

The rest of the series below take place in different universes than the above titles. Many are one-off series/OVAs. These are in no particular order. The header is the calendar system the series takes place in, which is another way the makers of Gundam make it clear these are in different universes.

Anno Domini

(Yes, these take place in our real-world timeline)

  1. 2010
    • 2010 Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G (I don't think this one is sharing much with the rest in this list, as it takes place 'in the present' in a world where Gundam is a fictional franchise)
  2. 2307-2312
    • 2007 Mobile Suit Gundam 00
  3. 2314
    • 2010 Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: Awakening of the Trailblazer

After Colony

  1. AC195
    • 1995 Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
  2. AC196
    • 1997 Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz

Advanced Generation

  1. AG115, AG140
    • 2011-(ongoing) Mobile Suit Gundam AGE

After War

  1. AW0015
    • 1996 After War Gundam X

Correct Century

  1. CC2345
    • 1999 ∀ Gundam (pronounced Turn-A Gundam)

Cosmic Era

Gundam SEED was a recent extremely popular Gundam series. It pulls elements from past Gundams and shares some similarities as a result. I'd recommend this as an alternative to watching the original Mobile Suit Gundam.

  1. CE71
    • 2002 Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
  2. CE73
    • 2004 Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
    • 2006 Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73: Stargazer

Future Century

  1. FC60
    • 1994 Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Post Disaster

  1. PD341
    • 2015 Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

An alternative way to get into Gundam is to watch a few of these side universe shows. They share thematic similarities with the UC Gundams, but don't have as much history due to the lack of a shared continuity.

This list is not exhaustive, there are other series, and of course new Gundam works are still being produced. Most of this information I gathered from this Wikipedia list which also has links to plot summaries and more information on all these and more.

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  • 1
    Small note: Turn-A is widely espoused as tying together all the timelines that existed at the time it was produced. It is almost certainly a distant U.C. future series, given the historical records we see. Also, I think most series in U.C. tend to be much harder to watch out of chronological order, with the exception of Victory. Certainly, you're going to have a hard time understanding what in the heck is going on if you don't have some understanding of the history for Unicorn and before.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 0:47
  • Some fans would argue that the release of the Z Gundam movie trilogy made ZZ Gundam and maybe also Char's Counterattack non-canon. Though I guess Bandai might claim they were just "offering another take" as well as looking for some commercial gains of course. Anyways Char's Counterattack seems to be canon no matter what, though the same cannot be said for ZZ, which was a bit controversial at the time of its release as well.
    – xji
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 22:51
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+500

I'm going to focus on the Universal Century universe since that is the most extensive and confusing of the Gundam arcs. The other answer explains all the different timelines that have been created so they can tell different stories with Gundams in different continuities. These series are all in the same universe with the One Year War, which happened in UC 0079. Any series with a (*) by the UC year happens within that war (i.e. parallel with the original MSG).

There are some OVA series that were turned into full series. They overlap on content, but both are based on the original manga.

I excluded any short series with less than three episodes, as well as non-serious works.

If you are wanting the MSG experience, be aware that The Origin contains massive spoilers about

the motivations of Char Aznable (the titular "Red Comet"), as well as the other elements that lead up to the start of the One Year War. Char remains a mystery for most of the original MSG series.

There are several "Compilation Movies" that cover their respective series (Netflix has the three MSG movies currently but not the series).

This list is in chronological order, as opposed to the order of release. Series where the dates in the timeline are unclear are simply sub-ordered by release date.

UC Year Release Year Series Name Type
UC68-79 2015 Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin OVA
UC68-79 2019 Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin – Advent of the Red Comet Series
UC0079* 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam Series
UC0079* 1981 Mobile Suit Gundam I (aka Mobile Suit Gundam: The Movie) Compilation Movie
UC0079* 1981 Mobile Suit Gundam II: Soldiers of Sorrow Compilation Movie
UC0079* 1982 Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space Compilation Movie
UC0079* 1989 Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket Series
UC0079* 1996 Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team Series
UC0079* 2004 Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War Series
UC0079* 2006 Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079 Series
UC0079* 2009 Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: The Gravity Front Series
UC0079* 2015 Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Series
UC0079* 2016 Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky Compilation Movie
UC0079* 2017 Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower Compilation Movie
UC0083 1991 Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory Series
UC0083 1992 Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: The Afterglow of Zeon Compilation Movie
UC0083 2016 Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Mayfly of Space 2 Series
UC0087 1985 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Series
UC0087 2005 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation - Heir to the Stars Compilation Movie
UC0087 2005 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation II - Lovers Compilation Movie
UC0087 2006 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation III - Love Is the Pulse of the Stars Compilation Movie
UC0088 1986 Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ Series
UC0093 1988 Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack Movie
UC0096 2010 Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn OVA
UC0096 2016 Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 Series
UC0096 2017 Mobile Suit Gundam Twilight Axis Series
UC0096 2017 Mobile Suit Gundam Twilight Axis - Red Trace Compilation Movie
UC0097 2018 Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative Movie
UC0105 2021 Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway Movie
UC0123 1991 Mobile Suit Gundam F91 Movie
UC0153 1993 Mobile Suit Victory Gundam Series
UC0223 1999 G-Saviour (Canadian, live action) Movie
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