Gundam (Japanese: ガンダム Hepburn: Gandamu?), also referred to as the Gundam Series (ガンダムシリーズ Gandamu Shirīzu?), is a science fiction media franchise created by Sunrise that feature giant robots (or “mecha”) called “mobile suits”, with titular mobile suits that carry the name “Gundam.”
The franchise started on April 7, 1979, as an anime TV series called Mobile Suit Gundam, which was revolutionary in that it defined the real robot genre of anime by featuring giant robots in a militaristic war setting. The popularity of the first TV series and the merchandising that followed spawned a franchise that has come to include works released in numerous media. Titles have appeared in the form of multiple television series and OVAs, movies, manga, novels, and video games. The franchise has also led to the creation of one of the biggest toy and hobby franchises in the Japanese toy industry.
As of 2014, the Gundam franchise generated a total of 80 billion yen in revenues. The 2014 retail sales of Gundam toy and hobby items totaled 18.4 billion yen. 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 four of the top five places: Mobile Suit Gundam ranked second, with Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny third, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED fourth, and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam fifth. Also, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing ranked 18th and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ ranked 20th. Gunpla (Gundam Plastic model) holds 90% of the Japan character plastic model market.
Academics in Japan have also viewed the series as inspiration, with the International Gundam Society being the first academic institution based on an animated TV series.