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Mobile Suit Gundam I (劇場版 機動戦士ガンダム Gekijō-ban Kidō Senshi Gandamu?, also known as Mobile Suit Gundam The Movie) is a 1981 Japanese animated film directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Ryōji Fujiwara, and animated by Sunrise. It is the first compilation movie in the Mobile Suit Gundam movie trilogy, and is a compilation of episode 1 to episode 13 of the television series.


In the year 0079 of the Universal Century, the war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon has reached a stalemate. However, when Zeon learns about the Federation’s new mobile suits being developed at the Side 7 space colony, Char Aznable launches an attack to destroy them. A boy named Amuro Ray finds himself caught up in the conflict when he becomes the unwilling pilot of the Federation’s new mobile suit - the Gundam.[1]


Over fifty years have passed since the beginning of the Universal Century - in which humanity began colonizing outer space to solve the problem of overpopulation. Hundreds of gigantic space colonies now float around Earth. In the year U.C. 0079, Side 3, the furthest colonies from Earth, declared themselves the Principality of Zeon and began a war of independence against the Earth Federation. In the first month of the war alone, half of the total human population perished. The war then went into a stalemate that dragged on for eight months.

Side 7

In the colony of Side 7, an evacuation order was issued in preparation for the arrival of the White Base, the latest Federation warship, which was coming to pick up the Federation's new mobile suits. However, the Falmel, a Zeon Musai-class warship commanded by Lieutenant Commander Char Aznable, tracked the White Base to the colony.

A trio of Zeon's Zaku mobile suits infiltrated the colony and found several mobile suits being loaded onto the ship. Going against orders, a Zeon pilot named Gene attacked the mobile suit shipments, causing a battle to erupt inside the colony. Amuro Ray, a young Side 7 resident and son of military engineer Tem Ray, picked up a classified mobile suit manual during the chaos and boarded one of the Federation mobile suits: the Gundam. Piloting the Gundam, Amuro succesffuly destroyed two of the three Zakus.

The captain of the White Base, Paolo Cassius, was seriously wounded in battle, forcing Ensign Bright Noa to take command. Bright orders Amuro to bring any remaining equipment to the ship, including two intact Federation mobile suits: a Guntank and a Guncannon, as well as a Core Fighter. Though Bright was shocked to see that the Gundam's pilot was only a child, he orders the Gundam to destroy the remaining Gundam parts in the colony.

One of the refugees aboard the White Base, Sayla Mass, checks for survivors inside the colony. She finds Char observing the wreckage of a Guncannon and forces him to take off his helmet at gunpointm. Char complied, but kicked away her gun while she was distracted and retreated just as the Gundam arrived, thinking to himself that Sayla resembled his sister, Artesia. After Char left, Sayla remakred that Char resembled his brother. Amuro destroys the Gundam parts using Super Napalm, but Char sneaks into the space port just as Gundam was returning to ship, dodges the gunfire from the entire White Base crew, and breaks out of the colony using grenades.

The Falmel launches two missiles at the White Base as it was leaving port, but Amuro intercepts them using the Gundam's beam rifle. The White Base then detects two incoming mobile suits, but one of them was moving at three times the regular speed. Paolo recognized that the mobile suit was piloted by Char, who was renowned as the "Red Comet" after singlehandedly sinking five battleships during the Battle of Loum.

Amuro attempted to engage Char's custom Zaku, but was unable to land a single hit. With the help of pilot trainee Ryu Jose, who deployed in a Core Fighter, he was able to destroy the Zaku of Slender using the beam rifle. Both Amuro and Char were shocked by the beam rifle's power, which was able to destroy a Zaku in a single shot. Just as Amuro used up the beam rifle's energy, Char retreated back to ship.

Bright ordered the White Base to head for Luna II, the Federation's only remaining stronghold in space. As Amuro and Bright finally met face to face, Bright told him that he relied on the Gundam's performance too much and asked him to fight more effectively. Amuro was surprised that Bright did not have a single word of gratitude, to which Bright replied that he should grow up, as he became a pilot when he first controlled the Gundam, giving him the responsibility to protect the ship. He then ordered Amuro to go maintain the Gundam.

Luna II

On the way to Luna II, the Falmel continued to pursue the White Base. However, Mirai Yashima, the ship's helmsman, remarked that Char won't try anything due to the difference in firepower. Meanwhile, Char received a resupply from Gadem's Papua-class supply ship.

Wakkein, the commander of Luna II, took the wounded Paolo for treatment. However, he refused to take in the refugees or provide replacement personnels, saying the civilians aboard the ship could only leave after the ship reaches the Earth Federation headquarters in Jaburo. The refugees protested the decision, but Wakkein insisted, saying it was a direct order from Jaburo that White Base depart at once.

The White Base left Luna II after receiving a Salamis-class escort. Meanwhile, Wakkein expressed his dissatisfaction toward Jaburo's orders, saying that the leadership knows nothing about the situation at the front, and that having to place such responsibilities in the hands of amateurs was a sign that they lived in terrible times.

Re-entry to Earth


Earth Federation Forces

White Base Crew


Principality of Zeon

Space Attack Force

Falmel Crew

Earth Attack Force



Earth Federation Forces

Principality of Zeon



The first compilation movie was directed by Ryōji Fujiwara, with creator Yoshiyuki Tomino being the chief director.[2]


Mobile Suit Gundam I premiered in Japanese cinemas on March 14, 1981 [3]. Along with the rest of the movie trilogy, the special edition was released on October 21, 2000, where most of the original voice cast members rerecorded their lines. The special edition release is digitally remastered, but many of the sound effects are replaced, most notably the futuristic gun-sounds being replaced by louder machine gun sound-effects. Also, the music soundtrack, while not remixed, is rearranged and in some cases removed from some scenes. These changes were supervised by Tomino. Sometime later, the special edition was dubbed in Cantonese.[4]

Through Bandai Entertainment's former website, the movies became the first Gundam media to be offered in the English-speaking world in 1998. Bandai Entertainment released the English dub of Mobile Suit Gundam I on VHS on May 11, 1999 under the title "Mobile Suit Gundam: The Movie" — the dub was produced by Animaze. It was the first Gundam anime to be dubbed in English. As it was dubbed before Ocean Group's dubs and before the standardization of English translations and English pronunciations of names and terminology, there are some differences to other dubs of Gundam anime, such as the Principality of Zeon being translated as "Duchy of Zeon", Degwin Sodo Zabi holding the title "Duke" and the pronunciation of "Gundam" being /ɡʌndæm/ as opposed to /gʌndʌm/. The trilogy was released again both separately and in a DVD box set in America on May 7, 2002. However, said DVD is only available in Japanese audio with English subtitles. The video in the DVD boxed set is identical to the Japanese special edition.

Long after Bandai Entertainment went defunct, Mobile Suit Gundam I was released on region 1 DVD with the rest of the trilogy by Nozomi Entertainment on January 5, 2015. This is a English subtitled release of the special edition, and does not contain the English dub which was produced before the new audio of the special edition.

At 12:00 JST on July 22, 2016, Gundam.Info began to give free viewing of Mobile Suit Gundam I special edition with Japanese audio with English, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese subtitles, as well as Cantonese audio on their YouTube channel; the free viewing option was closed on September 21, 2016.[5] Free streaming on YouTube was made available again for a limited time from April 3, 2017.[6] On July 17, 2020, the original editions of the movies were made availaible for streaming [1]. The original edition of the movie was added to Netflix on June 18, 2021 [7].


See Also

Notes & Trivia

  • In addition to different pronunciations and translations of Gundam terminology to more recent dubs, the English dub of the movie trilogy also employs more fanciful "technobabble" e.g. Zakus being referred to as "Roboton Invaders" and beam ammunition as "Phaser Neutrons".