35 years ago...

… Gundam aired on TV for the very first time.

Happy Birthday, MSG!

Happy birthday, MSG. Had to say, you were a hard show to get through, but it was worth it. You were a show that opened up the world of Gundam and started it all.

Gundam sure has come a long way.

And to think it’s all meant to sell model kits. I’m not complaining; The kits are good, the shows are good, everybody wins.

And it’s still alive today. Amazing. Here’s hoping for more! :slight_smile:

@Dlinker: To be fair, that’s only been since Bandai bought Sunrise. Before that it was the same as any other show, be entertaining enough to make money for the sponsors/advertisers. Even today, Gundam’s income base is very broad (Bandai breaks it down every year). It doesn’t rely on just the anime, the model sales, the manga, or any other single stream/category of revenue. That’s why when AGE nosedived in viewer numbers, it didn’t get cancelled like what happened in years past; the ancillary products made up for it. The same is true the other way around, if the anime does well, but the models do not, Bandai finds some other way to squeeze out some profits from the fans (be it DVDs, video games, manga, etc.). Occasionally they get a product like Unicorn which does well on all fronts. Those they tend to milk for all they’re worth. :wink:

Obviously, Bandai would like it if all shows did as well as Unicorn does across multiple categories (anime, models, manga, novels, games, toys, character goods, etc.), but, when they don’t do as well in all areas, at this point Bandai has figured out how to compensate for the weaker performing sectors. When Bandai was relatively new to managing Gundam, they overreached with their model sales push and crammed four shows out in four years, which resulted in weaker viewer numbers than the 80s shows for all of the mid-nineties shows (including the relatively “successful” Wing) and declining model sales that led to the eventual banishment of Gundam X to Saturday morning hell (IIRC it was moved from 6 PM on Friday to 5 AM on Saturday), and its subsequent tanking in viewer numbers and cancellation (its numbers were comparable to G’s before the move). Much later, when X did unexpectedly well in DVD sales, Bandai pushed out an all new manga to benefit from that success. Bandai had learned that they could profit from different aspects of their Gundam empire, not everything had to be in service to model sales.

I suspect SEED’s various successful side projects (such as Astray) and Wing’s success in America (although Americans preferred non-Gunpla merchandise like toys to Gunpla, unlike Japan) probably played a role in Bandai learning to see the whole picture, instead of just focusing on the model sales.

^ Some excellent points you made there, especially about AGE. Makes me feel good to know that there’s a good chance we’ll never get a repeat of what happened with Gundam X.

I also want to make mention of how the franchise does so well outside of Japan, despite Bandai focusing most of its efforts in the domestic market. Here’s to the franchise’s continued success.

I forgot to include the bit about their subsequent mishandling of North America’s merchandising, due to their obsession at the time (2002 or so) with model sales.

It wasn’t model sales, cause you couldn’t find them. was one of the people hunting them, even then. They flooded the market with too many bad things, like battle damaged everything, and Windmill gundams. Then got the shaft with Toonami’s destruction at the hands of a over zealous programing director who happened to hate anime to boot. But severe damage had been done when they tried to follow up Wing, G, and the various side stories by airing the now 35 year old 0079. Double edged sword there. Created the legacy that we love, but damn it looks every bit of 35, and then some.

While I personally preferred the model kits, the American market as a whole responded better to the toys once they launched. And then Bandai Japan killed that market with the crap you listed, and tried to push models hard so that the market for Gundam in America would resemble that of Gundam in Japan. It’s like how they killed Cartoon Network and Bandai Entertainment’s plans to follow Wing with X and went with MSG instead (simply because MSG was more popular in Japan), thus reducing Gundam from being a fixture in mainstream American entertainment like DBZ to a mid tier performer in the much smaller American anime market.

Under BEI and CN, Wing owned its timeslot, carved out a section for Gunpla at Toys R Us (and eventually other retailers) by marketing them as “action figure model kits” at a time when models in general were fading from the shelves at mainstream American retailers, and Gundam later took over an ever growing section of the toy aisle at big box retailers, even as the initial surge of Gunpla sales in America cooled as people realized they weren’t really suitable for use as action figures. And then Bandai Japan got greedy, overreached, and pushed too hard, too fast and destroyed all of BEI’s and CN’s hard work by trying to shove MSG down everyone’s throats, despite repeated warnings by BEI and CN that MSG’s animation was simply too old to appeal to CN’s typical audience. Down went the viewer numbers and a good chunk of the merchandise. Then G came along and killed off the rest of the merchandise with a flood of figures no one wanted (Hurricane Gundam, I’m looking at you) and none of the figures that people did want. By the time SEED hit, the franchise was a shadow of its former self in the US, and the censorship, time slot, and SEED’s weak opening quarter or so put a stop to Gundam’s run on CN and a good chunk of Gundam’s DVD sales along with it.

While I doubt to this day that Bandai Japan truly understands any markets for Gundam outside of the Japanese one, I do think that Gundam’s rise and fall in America, along with SEED’s massive success in Japan, helped them to learn how to better balance Gundam’s revenue streams, so that the franchise is not so heavily dependent on just one or two sources of revenue.

Seed’s fail in the US was directly because of Cartoon Network. As someone who was running a Gundam Seed based rp during 2005, I can tell you, the number of Canadian players was outstanding, because Seed was handled, and aired properly there, and it, and Destiny ended up being run 4 complete times as of 2009 alone. Unfortunately, it was a complex tale of how to utterly fail at marketing. Especially with Bandai’s production model that limits out puts of product runs to maybe 1 production a year.

Happy Birthday MSG! You certainly have come a very long way.

I thought the bit about SEED’s time slot and censorship indicated CN was at least partially responsible. I know about Destiny’s run in Canada. My point was that Bandai Japan had interfered so much between Wing and SEED, that by the time SEED aired, Gundam had already been significantly reduced in popularity, and SEED’s time slot, censorship, and weak opening episodes sealed the franchise’s fate on CN. Wing at the height of its popularity would have never been banished to the death slot that SEED got, even with CN’s management of the time.

Funnily enough I could never find Nether Gundam action figure…beleive me I looked.

Shining, Risings, Masters, Maxters, Roses, John Bulls, Burnings, even a Dragon here and there Everywhere, but if I dared looked for one of the outside the box ones when G was realitively popular you never found one.

It was also hard where I was to find battle damaged stuff, I think I found one battle damaged Shining once, got a Normal Burning over it, kicked my self in my 8 year old ass up to now because of it. Le Sigh

The one I had the hardest time finding was the Battle Scarred Pharoah Gundam 2-Pack. I actually found 3 Beserk Nobel variants before I finally found that one almost 6 months after it was released. It (and Nether Gundam) are the only ones that stay on my desk now