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There seem to be a ridiculous number of Gundam series, spinoffs and movies. There also seems to be a lot of timelines, parallel universes which has confused me more.

I've tried looking this up before, but there's a large variety of differing answers depending on people's opinions.

As an anime fan, I think I should at least try it out. It might also help for understanding a lot of reference jokes in other series.

Where does one start with all these? Can you watch the series as standalones or should I start watching in a particular order?

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Are you looking to watch everything Gundam? Or just U.C? Or just the main parts of the story? The answer for where to start depends somewhat on how deep you want to go. – Logan M Feb 17 '14 at 23:34
    
There are several Gundam series so far, Some of its are standalone (like Gundam 00) meanwhile some of its are related with each other. The answer depend on how far do you want watch ?? – Naing Lin Aung Feb 17 '14 at 23:44
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@ToshinouKyouko Sorry but, what are episodes outside the main story in your opinion? All non U.C? Fillers in U.C (probably watch the summary movies)? Do you know about the AniDB releation graph? – LiveWireBT Feb 18 '14 at 5:45
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Here are a few images I have harvested from the internet that describe all that Gundam stuff (imgur). I think the third one might have spoilers in it - I'm not sure because I have not actually watched any Gundam myself. – senshin Feb 18 '14 at 10:35
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@senshin I found a high resolution version of the first one and added it to my answer in slightly higher resolution in case the high-res source gets deleted. It also answered my question, when to watch ∀GUNDAM (turn A). Thank you. – LiveWireBT Feb 23 '14 at 5:31
up vote 8 down vote accepted

AniDB has a nice releation graph regarding the different Gundam shows and movies.

Universal Century and related timelines

If you are interested in the original story of the Universal Century (UC) timeline and are willing to invest a lot of time (about 74hrs), you can start off with Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-1980) show and work your way through the sequels following the red line in the graph till the latest Gundam Unicorn OVA.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is the OVA production following Unicorn and as the name implies it tells the background story of some characters and how events lead to the original series. You probably don't want to start with this if you intend to watch the original series and avoid spoilers.

Gundam F91 and Victory Gundam are also part of UC, but are of a new generation (referred as Late UC) with completely new characters and parties. While F91 features similar spaceship and mobile suit designs as well as similar uniforms, and rather falls in the category of a side story, V seems to be completely unrelated from my point of view, this also applies to Gundam Reconguista in G which is set in Regild Century, a period 500 years after Turn A Gundam.

The summary movies of the original show feature new scenes, but I don't recommend watching them instead of the show, rather watch them when watching side stories.

      140 TV show episodes ((43+50+47)*25min)
       13 OVA episodes (12*30min+25min)
        1 film (120min)
        7 OVA episodes (6*60min+90min)
Total: 74hrs 15min

UC unrelated timelines

A page listing most Gundam series timelines and related works is also available in Gundam Wikia. Currently these timelines are in order of production dates: Future Century, After Colony, After War, Cosmic Era, Anno Domini, Advanced Generation and Post Disaster. Shows set in these timelines may share some Gundam specific traits, but they were created to be aired on TV and watched independently to attract new viewers or younger audiences, while loyal fans of the original series are treated with OVAs set in UC.


In the comments above senshin found a guide (see below) that includes most of the shows (at least the various SD Gundam shows are missing, which benefits clarity) up until Gundam AGE and Gundam Unicorn, listing pros & cons for each show.

Spoiler warning: I found spoilers in V (con) and 00 S2 (con), there may be more.

Link: Gundam Series guide from /m/

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I'm tempted to watch the "Origin" episodes, mostly since a trailer I saw seemed interesting (and it seems like I might be able to stream at least part of it legally). I get that I'll be getting spoilers for the original series, but will I also be missing crucial context for this sub-series (and thus be unable to understand everything that's going on)? – Maroon Dec 24 '15 at 15:23
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@Maroon I have only watched the first episode until now and it looks like they want to make it as accessible for everyone as possible, building up the background that leads to the original series but at the cost of one spoiler in the original series. If that's fine with you then it should be okay. Regarding context of politics and technology my expectation is that the series will hopefully be easy to follow and comprehend. – LiveWireBT Dec 24 '15 at 17:29

As @LiveWireBT and this link suggest, UC was the longgest gundam timeline. And worth to be checked. I personally have watched and recommend Gundam Seed, Gundam 00, and Gundam Unicorn. As they shared a lot similarities about earthlings and spacenoids conflict.

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