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When I first got into Gundam, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of series the franchise had to offer. While I was in love with how much content I had to consume, knowing where to start and finding out which series were worth watching became quite a task. So, I wanted to write this post in hopes that I could help others not only get into the Gundam universe, but also offer insight into where to start and what anime series are worth watching.
Some of these are stand-alone timelines while others are batched within the longest reigning Gundam timeline to date, Universal Century, which has been going strong for over 40 years with a new addition coming to Netflix on July 1st, Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway. With that said, I wanted this post to also be informational by providing you guys with the Gundam watch order for each timeline as well as giving a brief explanation of each timeline that currently exists within the franchise. Hopefully this post will help make your journey less confusing than mine was at the start!
With that all said, let’s get into all of the Gundam timelines and their corresponding series, each Gundam timeline watch order, what's worth watching from each timeline, and where you can stream each Gundam anime series if possible!
Gundam Timeline Table of Contents
This post is so lengthy that I wanted to add a table of contents, so you can find which timeline(s) you are wanting learn more about easier.
- Universal Century
- Future Century
- After Colony
- After War
- Correct Century
- Cosmic Era
- Anno Domini
- Advanced Generation
- Post Disaster
What is the Universal Century Timeline?
Without going into too much detail on all of the series included within the Universal Century timeline, because there’s quite a bit, I’m only going to cover where it all began. The Universal Century (UC) begins with the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Taking place in the year UC0079, it covers the events of the One Year War and sets the stage for the conflict between Earth’s military and the rebel space colonies controlled by the Principality of Zeon. The series’ main focus is on the rivalry between civilian mechanic turned Gundam pilot Amuro Ray and Zeon’s top pilot Char Aznable aka The Red Comet.
The catalyst for this rivalry occurs when Char attacks Amuro’s home colony on Side 7. Amuro’s father, a scientist for the Earth Federation, has been secretly developing the first Gundam prototype, the RX-78-2 Gundam. In the midst of the attack, Amuro stumbles upon the RX-78-2, and in a desperate attempt to save the colony, he courageously pilots the mobile suit and fights back the Zeon forces.
The Universal Century has many complex characters, each with their own agenda, and there are a lot of twists and turns that occur along the way that make it exciting to watch. Unlike most anime where the main protagonist saves the day all by themselves, Mobile Suit Gundam gives many characters a crucial role in the events that occur within the series.
Universal Century Background
In 1979, the Universal Century timeline kicked off with the original Mobile Suit Gundam series. This is the longest running and most complicated timeline in the Gundam multiverse without question, but regardless, it’s the one that's recommended most as a starting point for first time viewers. With the length and complexity of this timeline, I can see why a lot of people feel overwhelmed at first glance, and I was no exception, but it’s worth the investment if you are interested in seeing where it all began and how this timeline paved the way for the series that followed it.
While some Gundam timelines are home to one or two series, the Universal Century has been going strong for over 40 years. Because of this, there’s a lot of content to consume, but all in all, even though there are a few exceptions, it’s well worth the watch.
Is Universal Century Worth Watching?
Yes. If you want the condensed version of Mobile Suit Gundam, you can watch the three compilation movies: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Movie, Soldiers of Sorrow and Encounters in Space. If you’d rather read the original story like I did when I originally got into the series, Vertical released Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin in a nice 12-volume, hardcover format and it covers the events of the complete animated series as well.
Gundam Universal Century Watch Order
It is widely agreed upon that the best way to watch Mobile Suit Gundam is in production order and not chronologically.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0079
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
- Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 War in the Pocket
- Mobile Suit Gundam F91
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
- Mobile Suit Victory Gundam (Mobile Suit V Gundam)
- Mobile Suit Gundam The 08th MS Team
- Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO Trilogy
- Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War
- Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079
- Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: The Gravity Front
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
- Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative (Mobile Suit Gundam NT)
- Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin (2015)
- Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt
- Mobile Suit Gundam Twilight Axis
- Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Advent of the Red Comet
- Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway's Flash
- Reconguista in G - it’s debated whether or not Reconguista in G is part of the UC or technically its own Regild Century Timeline. Since the events in the series happen 1,014 years after the end of Universal Century I’m including it here.
Where to Watch All of the Gundam Series in Universal Century
See where you can stream all of the Gundam anime series in the Universal Century timeline below! Some of the series aren't currently streaming on any streaming services, so I've added links to their blu-ray collections.
Note: Keep an eye on Gundam's official YouTube channel, because they put up limited time streams of Gundam series on occasion.
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam (Original Anime)
- Funimation (Sub and dub)
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Film Trilogy
This is the alternate way to watch Mobile Suit Gundam and is a more condensed version of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime. The watch order is Mobile Suit Gundam: The Movie, Soldiers of Sorrow and Encounters in Space and all are currently available to watch on Netflix (Sub only).
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is not currently streaming on any platforms at this time, but there are two blu-ray collections that completely collect the series.
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack
- Netflix (Sub and dub)
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 War in the Pocket
Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket is not currently streaming on any platforms, but there is a blu-ray you can pick up that collects all 6 episodes of the OVA.
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam F91
Mobile Suit Gundam F91 is not currently streaming on any platforms, but there is a blu-ray you can pick up that completes the series.
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory
The official Gundam YouTube channel streamed Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: The Afterglow of Zeon, which is a compilation movie that covers the events of Stardust Memory. As of now, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory itself is not available to stream on any platforms, but you can pick it up on blu-ray.
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
Mobile Suit V Gundam is not currently streaming on any platforms, but there are two blu-rays you can pick up that complete the series.
Where to Watch The 08th MS Team
- Hulu (Sub and dub)
Where to Watch MS IGLOO
There are three parts of MS IGLOO, but a blu-ray was released that completely collects the series. Currently, MS IGLOO is not streaming on any platforms.
Where to Watch Gundam Unicorn
- Funimation (Sub and dub)
- Crunchyroll (Sub only)
- Netflix (Sub and dub)
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative
Mobile Suit Gundam NT is not currently available to stream on any platforms, but Gundam's official YouTube channel streamed the first 23-minutes of the movie if you'd like to check that out. You can pick up the blu-ray on sites like RightStuf and Amazon.
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin (2015)
- Hulu (Sub and dub)
Where to Watch Gundam Thunderbolt
Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt is not currently streaming on any platforms, but you can pick it up on blu-ray here. There are two films that complete Gundam Thunderbolt, Bandit Flower and December Sky. Bandit Flower is the first film in the series.
There is also a Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt manga that is currently releasing by Viz. It is one of my favorite manga series, so I highly recommend checking it out as well.
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Twilight Axis
Mobile Suit Gundam Twilight Axis is difficult to find because it is an ONA that was released only for members of the Gundam Fan Club back in 2017. These are really short episodes and you can check out the first on Gundam's official YouTube channel. Since they are quick episodes, it doesn't take much time to watch it. With that said, this is one I'd personally recommend skipping.
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Advent of the Red Comet
- Funimation (Dub only)
- Crunchyroll (Sub only)
Where to Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway's Flash
Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway's Flash is streaming exclusively on Netflix on July 1, 2021.
What is the Future Century Timeline?
The story follows Domon Kasshu, the pilot of Neo Japan’s Shining Gundam. Domon enters the 13th Gundam tournament with the hope of finding a man in a photograph that he carries with him. The events of Mobile Fighter G Gundam follow Domon on his journey through the tournament and the people he meets along the way.
Future Century Background
Future Century is part of Mobile Suit Gundam’s alternate timeline, which essentially encompasses everything except Universal Century. This was the Gundam Franchise's first divergence from the UC timeline and it consists of only one series, Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Mobile Fighter G Gundam was released 15 years after the original series in 1994. In an attempt to gain a new audience for the Gundam Franchise, a completely new timeline was created.
The premise and tone of this timeline is vastly different from that of the Universal Century. Where other series centered around a huge drawn out war and epic mobile suit battles in space, the main premise of the Mobile Fighter G Gundam is a mecha-based fighting tournament that takes place every 4 years. The winner of the tournament is declared the ruler of space, and when their time is up, the process repeats and another ruler is crowned.
Should You Watch Mobile Fighter G Gundam?
It depends. For someone wanting to get into Gundam for the first time, I wouldn’t recommend Mobile Fighter G Gundam just because it’s so different from all other Gundam series; However, if you are looking for an entertaining watch with over the top characters, fights, and premise, this is definitely one you should check out. Since the subject matter and tone differs so much from the original, fans will either love or hate this series, but if you go into this one with an open-mind you’ll probably end up enjoying it more than you think.
Where to Watch Mobile Fighter G Gundam
- Crunchyroll (Sub only)
What is the After Colony Timeline?
Set in the year After Colony (AC) 195, Gundam Wing starts out with Operation Meteor, a revenge mission against The Organization of the Zodiac (OZ), a military subgroup of the United Earth Sphere Alliance. The series follows five angsty teenage Gundam pilots as they come together to fight for a common cause: Destroy OZ at all costs and blow up everything in the process. This series is focused on character development and politics more so than the mecha battles themselves.
After Colony Background
After Colony was the first Gundam timeline to make it to the West with Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. In the US, Gundam Wing was mine as well as many other kids’ first exposure to Gundam. It premiered in 2000 on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block, which opened the franchise up to a whole new audience.
While Future Century and Mobile Fighter G Gundam completely flipped the franchise on its head, Gundam Wing drew a little more inspiration from the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Gundam Wing differs because of its over the top characters and battles, but the premise still feels close to that of a traditional Gundam series.
Should You Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Wing?
I recommend reading the manga instead. Gundam Wing unfortunately didn’t age as well as some of its predecessors. As a result, it is more of a nostalgic watch than an entertaining one. With frequent plot and pacing issues and a confusing message, this series isn’t for everyone. I particularly wouldn’t recommend it to newcomers looking for a place to start, but as someone who watched as a kid, it still holds a special place in my heart despite its faults. It has a great cast of characters and well-designed mobile suits, but the anime’s story is lacking.
Gundam Wing was recently adapted into a manga by Vertical Comics. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers is a 14-volume series that aims to be a “more complete” re-telling of the events in Gundam Wing. It gives more context via various side stories and fills some of the plot gaps that were present in the original anime. If you want to get up to speed on Gundam Wing, I personally would recommend reading the manga over watching the anime since it features a more well-rounded and better told story.
After Colony Watch Order
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
- Gundam Wing Endless Waltz
Where to Watch Gundam Wing
- Crunchyroll (Mobile Suit Gundam Wing & Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Sub only)
- Hulu (Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Sub and dub)
What is the After War Timeline?
The series takes place 15 years after the 7th Space War and tells the story of what’s left of civilization. Groups of mercenaries called Vultures, who embark on salvaging missions and transport goods for money and trading, roam the surface in heavily armed land battleships. The story centers around the protagonist Garrod Ran, a lone distrusting survivalist, who accepts a job to rescue Newtype Tiffa Adill from the Vultures.
Garrod ends up stumbling upon the Gundam X in an abandoned factory and uses the Mobile Suit to save Tiffa. After this, Garrod ends up joining a good group of Vultures, who go around saving Newtypes from groups that want to take advantage of them. The series has a somber yet uplifting tone, and unlike most series in the Gundam franchise, it highlights the aftermath of war instead of dropping you in the middle of it.
After War Background
The After War timeline contains the series After War Gundam X and is basically what you would get if you combined something like the setting or Mad Max or Fallout with Gundam. Some fans even see the After War timeline as somewhat of an alternate Universal Century timeline, in which the One Year War escalates and leads to a post-apocalyptic setting where 99% of the population has been wiped out by the colony drops of the 7th Space War.
Should You Watch After War Gundam X?
Yes. After War Gundam X is seen by a good deal of people as the most underrated entry in Gundam. The only big major flaw the series has is that it was cut short due to viewership at the time it aired, which resulted in many plot points at the end of the series being noticeably rushed. If the setting and plot interests you, or if you’re in the mood for a different kind of Gundam series, then I would definitely suggest giving this one a shot.
Where to Watch After War Gundam X
After War Gundam X is not currently streaming on any platforms at this time, but there are two blu-ray collections that completely collect the series.
What is the Correct Century Timeline?
Turn A is set in the distant future in a time where all technology on earth and in space, except for the moon, has been destroyed as the result of a war between Earth and space colonies that spanned centuries. This event is referred to as “Black History” and it essentially sets Earth civilizations back to a pre-industrial era.
The focus of ∀ Gundam is more on the aspects of war and less on the flashy battles. It poses more philosophical questions than most other Gundam series and the main Mobile Suit, the Turn A Gundam, sports a sick moustache rivaled only by the likes of Whitebeard from One Piece.
Correct Century Background
The Correct Century contains the series Turn A Gundam (∀ Gundam). ∀ Gundam is directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, who directed the original Mobile Suit Gundam series and features mecha designs from the legendary Syd Mead, a concept artist whose other works include Blade Runner, Aliens, and Tron.
Should You Watch Turn A Gundam?
I would recommend this series to first time viewers since it’s relatively self-contained as well as long-time fans who want a break from Gundam series that are all about cool mecha battles. Turn A is ultimately about avoiding war instead of resolving problems through war.
Where to Watch Turn A Gundam
Turn A Gundam is not currently streaming on any platforms at this time, but there are two blu-ray collections that completely collect the series.
What is the Cosmic Era Timeline?
The setting of Gundam Seed is Year 70 of the Cosmic Era. Like most Gundam series, humanity populates massive colonies in space and on Earth. Tensions have come to a breaking point between the Coordinators, genetically modified superhumans who primarily live in the space colonies, and the Naturals, unmodified humans living on Earth. As knowledge of the Coordinators spread, an extremist group, Blue Cosmos was born.
The story of Gundam Seed follows Kira Yamato, a teenage Coordinator living on Earth. The story starts like most others. Kira’s colony of Heliopolis is attacked one day by Z.A.F.T forces and in an effort to save a girl in danger, Kira pilots the Strike Gundam and fights off the attack led by his childhood friend and fellow Coordinator, Athrun Zala. As events unfold, Gundam Seed draws a lot of inspiration from the original Mobile Suit Gundam, while introducing its own narrative complexities along the way.
Cosmic Era Background
The Cosmic Era timeline contains two series, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed and the direct sequel Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny. It started with Gundam Seed in 2002 and has been one of the most popular Gundam series to date. It was also confirmed recently that a Gundam Seed anime film is currently in production that is a direct sequel to the series. As of now, they haven’t revealed many details about the upcoming project but we will keep you posted as we learn more!
Should You Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Seed?
I would recommend this as a starting point if you like over the top action, plot, and Mobile Suits. I personally like the series but I also understand why it rubs a lot of people the wrong way.
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Watch Order
- Mobile Suit Gundam Seed
- Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73: Stargazer (Side story)
Where to Watch Gundam Seed
- Funimation (Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, Dub and sub)
- Hulu (Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Remaster, Sub only)
- Crunchyroll (Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Remaster, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Remaster, Sub only for both)
What is the Anno Domini Timeline?
Gundam 00 follows the group Celestial Being, who announces to the world that they will intervene in any military conflict as a means to stop all war. Celestial Being is made up of five highly-skilled Gundam pilots from around the world who are fighting for a common cause, each for their own reasons. Gundam 00 takes a closer look at the means these pilots use to reach their goal. The question it really poses is “Is it okay to fight violence with violence and can you actually achieve peace by waging war on war itself?”.
Anno Domini Background
Anno Domini (A.D.) is home to two seasons of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and one movie, Mobile Suit Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer. This timeline is actually our current timeline in the real world and is set about 300 years in the future. Gundam 00 draws familiar aspects from its predecessor Gundam Wing, while updating the themes of the show to be more relevant in today's society.
Should You Watch Mobile Suit Gundam 00?
Yes. For someone wanting to get into Gundam without watching decades of material, Gundam 00 is a great entry point. Since the series takes place in the same timeline as we live in, it is one of the most accessible. This one is great for first time viewers or for those who are in search of a more modern viewing experience.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Watch Order
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (2 Seasons)
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A wakening of the Trailblazer
Where to Watch Gundam 00
- Crunchyroll (Sub only)
- Hulu (Sub and dub)
As of now, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A wakening of the Trailblazer is not currently streaming on any platforms.
What is the Advanced Generation Timeline?
Gundam Age takes place over the course of a century and follows a family of Gundam pilots over the course of the “One Hundred Years War”. Each arc focuses on a new generation of the family and their journey over the course of the war. Gundam Age starts with Flit Asuno, who uses blueprints from the “AGE Device” to build a Gundam to save humanity from the invaders, the Unknown Enemy (UE).
Advanced Generation Background
The Advanced Generation consists of Mobile Suit Gundam Age, a collaboration between Sunrise and video game developer Level 5. Gundam Age was originally supposed to be a game, but Bandai decided to turn it into an anime.
Should You Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Age?
Probably not. The series really struggles to lose the video game feel and the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Gundam Age is by far the least popular series to date and for good reason. All in all, plot and pacing issues make this one a bit hard to watch.
Where to Watch Gundam Age
Gundam Age is not currently streaming on any platforms at this time, but there are two blu-ray collections that completely collect the series.
What is the Post Disaster Timeline?
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans (IBO) takes place 300 years after the conflict known as the “Calamity War”. The series follows child soldiers, Mikazuki Augus and Orga Itsuka along with their group Tekkaden as they try to fight for a better world.
Early on, we’re introduced to the opposing force, Earth’s military organization Gjallarhorn, who is trying to assasinate Kudelia Aina Bernstein, a girl whose goal is to liberate Chryse from the rule of Earth’s major powers. Mikazuki and the rest of the soon to be Tekkaden are working for the private security company, Chryse Guard Security (CGS), to safely escort Kudelia to Earth.
As things go south, Orga, the leader of the group, realizes the boys have been betrayed and used as decoys. Because of this, he decides it’s the perfect time to revolt against their adult oppressors. In the midst of the revolt, Mikazuki enters a very quickly repaired Gundam Barbatos and fights off Gjallarhorn. After the attack, Orga and the rest of the boys take control of CGS and continue their escort mission as the mercenary group, Tekkaden.
Post Disaster Background
The Post Disaster timeline contains Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans and is currently one of the most recent entries in the Gundam Franchise, being released in 2015. One shining aspect of IBO is the design and fighting style of the Mobile Suits. All of the Mobile Suits in IBO have only hand to hand combat weapons which make the battles in the series all the more refreshing.
Should You Watch Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans?
Yes. You should absolutely watch Iron Blooded Orphans. There are two seasons of the series to watch. This is the series that pulled me back into Gundam recently and ultimately sparked my interest in the franchise as a whole. It’s completely self-contained and feels different than a lot of other entries thanks to its gritty and emotional approach.
Where to Watch Iron Blooded Orphans
- Funimation (Sub and dub)
- Crunchyroll (Sub and dub for Season 1, Sub only for Season 2)
- Hulu (Sub and dub)
- Netflix (Sub and dub)
Final Verdict: Where should you start?
It depends on what you are looking for. If you are someone who wants to start from the very beginning, you should start with Universal Century and Mobile Suit Gundam (1979). Since Universal Century is the longest running Gundam timeline with a rich history and many series, be sure to check out its watch order at the top of this post.
However, if you are someone who is still unsure whether or not Gundam is for you and you are wanting to test the waters, you should check out either Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans or Mobile Suit Gundam 00 since they are stand-alone series that don't require any backstory to get into them. In my opinion, these two in particular are great for anime lovers who have yet to jump into the Gundam universe and are wanting to give it a shot.
Hopefully this post was helpful for those of you looking to get into the Gundam universe! Also, be sure to check out all of the Gunpla kits that are releasing from P-Bandai in 2021 so far and our Beginner’s Guide to Gundam Modeling.