Pretty much four decades ago, Mobile Suit gundam Malaysia aired in Japan and changed the way the nation looked at giant robots. Here’s a brief history of how Gundam established a new genre of anime, changed the way the West consumed Japanese animation, and became a cultural touchstone for the robotics technology from the future.
Gundam: The Origin
In 1979, giant robots had a particular connotation in Japanese entertainment. The likes of Mazinger Z along with the then-recent début of the 1st ever Super Sentai show, Battle Fever J with their very own giant mech, gave the “Super Robot” genre an extremely distinct connotation. Such mecha had been fanciful, confined to children’s shows and comic books fighting aliens and monsters, and as the name of the genre implied, had been noticed as evolutions of super powers in lieu of realistically created robots to become made use of in military environments.
Mobile Suit Gundam would alter that, but not with no opposition. Its depiction of not only warfare in between two diverse factions of spacefaring humans, but its use of mechanized exosuits, the Gundams itself, as realistic tools of military warfare was entirely unheard of in the time. In fact, in spite of vital approval, Mobile Suit Gundam was actually seen as wildly unpopular when it initially aired, as audiences expected another super robot anime only to become confronted with a shockingly distinct method to giant robots. It was almost canceled soon after 39 episodes, but just after renegotiating with their sponsors, which includes toy manufacturer Clover, the series was extended to a run of 43 episodes and ended unceremoniously.
Little did individuals comprehend, even so, that Mobile Suit gundam Malaysia would spark the creation of what exactly is now generally known as the “Real Robot” genre, one that dominates the portrayal of mecha in Japan even now. But prior to that, it had to be saved from cancellation and falling into obscurity right after it ended.
Surprisingly enough, it was saved by toys.