I bet you’re wondering about how anime came to prominence. Well, it kind of started after the release of the film, Mobile Suit Gundam. This movie sparked the beginning of the anime boom of the 80’s, and the series has become world-renowned and an anime classic. However, let me explain how Mobile Suit Gundam made anime what it is today.
It Wasn’t Popular at First
When Mobile Suit Gundam debuted in 1979 as an anime series, it was not popular at all. Around this time, anime was still taking shape, and Mobile Suit Gundam was only one of a handful of mecha anime series. They weren’t really popular with a lot of people because fans were only used to fantasy titles at the time.
Thus, in 1980, the show was cancelled due to super low ratings. However, no one expected the series to be reborn as a legendary anime classic, and mecha anime staple.
Star Wars Changed Everything
I’m pretty sure everyone is familiar with the movie, Star Wars and the sequels that followed. Well, the original Star Wars movie came out in 1977, and it was an international hit. Everyone loved the “cool graphics” and “effects” (the quotations hint my sarcasm.) and considered the movie to be the future.
That’s when space operas became a hit, and the mecha genre flourished. Then in 1981, Yoshiyuki Tomino directed Mobile Suit Gundam’s full length movie. Four words can sum up the success of the film. It was a hit! The movie’s ratings were on the same par as Star Wars, and American audiences were becoming obsessed.
Now the Series is Legendary
in 1985, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam was released as the sequel to Mobile Suit Gundam. The anime was a hit and was widely considered to be the best installment of the series, even to this day. Even when Star Wars became more popular, especially in America, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam reached a lot of kids in the 80s who dreamed of controlling a robot in space.
From that point, anime started to become acclaimed in the 80s, and different genres were released such as Dragon Ball and Fist of the North Star. That’s actually when anime fandom began and things changed course for the better.
So, all in all, it was all thanks to Mobile Suit Gundam that anime became popular, especially in America. So, in accordance to The May Mecha Remembrance month, let us all give the illustrious anime series its credit for changing the scope of anime in the 70s and 80s.