Ever notice the classic robots of anime shows with these big mean machines that throw rocket missile after rocket missiles, seemingly running on an endless supply of fuel and ammunition? In the Gundam metaseries, it isn’t like that at all. The proponents of the concept, Yoshiyuki Tomino and a group of creators from Sunrise Company tried to make it as real as possible, using theories derived from real science such as Minovsky physics and Lagrange points in space, whatever those are.
In the original series is Mobile Suit Gundam, the story is about the conflict between the corrupt Earth government and the numerous space colonies who aren’t ‘allowed’ to land. It must be awful to be homeless; more so in the planetary level. It pretty much makes everyone understand why the said space underdogs would end up fighting using big robots and try to smash the enemies to smithereens.
The series, which began airing in 1979, has spawned several others. The more popular of which are the alternate universe series that happened in different timelines. The varying concepts are the results of the studio’s effort to breathe new life to the series.
The first alternate-universe series is the Gundam G. It altogether deviated from the concept of the original series. In this, the protagonist Domon Kashew is fighting it out in the arena so that whatever colony he works for would control the Earth government. The next series, Gundam Wing, is probably one of the most popular in rather lengthy list of spin-offs. In it, the space colonies got fed up and waged war with the Earth government. Reception was good probably because of the integration of the bishounen and the mecha concept. The characters, from the protagonists to their ladyloves, as well as the villains are almost always good-looking. The series began airing in 1995. The last series, Gundam X, is about newtypes – psychics whose special abilities can make or break the war. The protagonist Garrod Ran is trying to protect these people. It is yet again an Earth versus space colonies concept. Airing began in 1996.
There are also dozens of compilation movies, OVAs and other series not of the alternate universe concept in the franchise; enough to satisfy a mecha fan for a long time.