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Gundam (ガンダム Gandamu ?) is a metaseriesof Japanese anime, featuring giant robots, or "mecha", created by Sunrisestudios. The series started in April 1979 as a TV series called Mobile Suit Gundam, and later became a franchise name with more sequels, prequels, side stories and alternative timelines, published and aired in various media including TV anime, OVA, manga, novels, and video games. Gundam became a collective term for 7 different time lines, all featuring their own story-lines, with a few common denominators and war machines called Gundam.
The original timeline for the Gundam series was the Universal Century (UC) series, which included Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam(1985). Since the 1990s, alternative timelines have been produced and developed, including the Future Century, After Colony, After War, Correct Century, Cosmic Era and Anno Domini timelines.

RX-78-2 Gundam. Art by Hajime Katoki.

In the 2008 ranking of average sales figures for anime copies sold in Japan (1970-2008 total sales figures averaged by episode), Gundam series were in 4 of the top 5 places: Mobile Suit Gundam ranked second, with Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destinythird, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED fourth, and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam fifth. Also, New Mobile Report Gundam Wing ranked 18th and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZranked 20th. [1]
As of 21 January 2008, the Gundam franchise is a 50 billion yen trademark. [2] Gunpla's(Gundam Plastic model) income is 90% of the Japan character plastic model market's income. [3]
Academic fields in Japan also view the series as a good inspiration in research fields. The Gundam academy, or officially International Gundam Society is the first academic institution based on a cartoon.

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