How do you think the MS franchise can brought to wider audiences?

I’ve taken our older discussions into account:
Bandai’s marketing strategies, Sunrise’s production, the fans in general, etc.

I created this thread to discuss stipulations on how this franchise from 1979 can be introduced to audiences of today and hook them onto it.

I’ve noticed on the web, Gundam fans are kind of niche in anime communities.
Not saying they are not there, they are, but they don’t seem to have the interest past watching it on television.
Chatting to fans, they seem to like Mobile Fighter G Gundam and Wing, which they’ve seen as children.

To a lot of us here, just those two are a tip of what’s really in store, and I’m kind of sad that nobody brought up 0079 or Zeta yet.
Maybe it’s an age thing. A lot of us here are 18 or over. If anyone’s underage, just raise your hands, lol.

Well anyway, I was thinking of ways Sunrise can improve popularity.
This is all hypothetical of course, there’s no way a Sunrise official is reading this and will actually do what we’re thinking… (atleast I think)

What about an ongoing Manga series? Something like a serialized Shonen Jump manga, ongoing every week.

It can either be a story of a protagonist growing up from 0079 onward, or it can be an original new universe that features suits from past eras, and this new universe could cater to younger fans.

Younger fans… I might be opening a can of worms here.

What do you think?

I am 21, and most of us probably started to watch gundam way before we were 18. the main barrier is that the Gundam series so far have been oriented at a younger market and japanese style. Many still view anime as for children and mecha stuff especially. And frankly speaking the people who dont watch anime will not watch gundam and to bring it into the mainstream you either have to go to live action produced in USA or international version with a mixed cast. And to get high raitings it has to have a story on par with BattleStar Galactica and similar kind approach to realism. Then with very good CGI and broad advertising it might succeed.

You mean like “Transformers: Prime”?

It’s true what you say about us liking it before we got older. It was the same with me.
It just seems we’re a minority of people to how many people that could take an interest in it too.

Well Gundam series is quite a specific anime, its a mecha that has elements of drama, shows war quite frankly. Actually I havent seen Tranformers:Prime. It is the same thing for transformers its nostalgia about childhood when we used to watch it I doubt there are many viewers who are not children and without watching transformers in their youth suddenly started watching it. many people are not willing to watch something in subtitles or something that so seriously deviates from what their friends and family are watching. i am sure many of us have experienced the “oh you watch anime, its for kids isnt it?” and similar phrases. We are the minority because even within anime there exists stuff that some people would admit to watching like Naruto. Bleach, One Piece , Dragon Ball, and other stuff like that and the broader spectrum of anime that they wont watch considering it silly or not worth it.

To make Gundam popular in the West I have to say making a live action series with high production values good CGI and a serious plot with engaging western characters would be the only way I know.

I think Gundam needs a PR campaign that shows it’s not a kids-only thing and it’s not dorky or corny, very similar to how PR for Transformers is done. A better focus on what viewers it’s trying to target would be ideal as well.

All of the commercials/previews I’ve seen of Gundam way back when Wing first came on the air here in the States, it gave off an impression that it’s kinda dorky and geared only for die-hard anime fanboys. The commercials for the model kits were pretentious, giving off a vibe that it’s a super-exclusive product that requires incredible commitment. In terms of focus, they need to determine what series will cater to which set of viewers and get it marketed to them. For example, placing Gundam AGE in the same network that shows Transformers: Prime since the series is geared towards that demographic, instead of putting Unicorn or even SEED. You put Unicorn somewhere that’s more adult, and SEED in a place that’s more for teenagers/young adults. Then make sure the marketing stuff reflects that.

I’m probably not making sense, haha. I just want Gundam to be shown as it is and not warped into something it isn’t just to appeal to the Western market.

A western version of gundam might not be that bad, especially since 08th ms team, iGLoo ovas and others are just a step away with adult characters in adult settings and with proper care and diligence it can be converted and done quite well for western audiences.

It will always be niche though because its a mecha show in its puriest form. I think if Pacific Rim does fantastic (probably won’t) Then it might start a short time of interest in mech movies. It will have to be live action because western audiences won’t take is serious other wise. G-Saviour could have done it if the story didn’t suck and the CGI looked like something the SyFy channel would use in the B movies

True, and until it becomes something more, there’s no way any studio will invest in creating something really well-done. The franchise will have to make do with what it has to build its following first.

But, before that happens, there has to be something in it for Bandai/Sunrise to take the risk because without their backing or support, every attempt will fall short. That’s where I get stumped.

Yeah and japanese animation companies are not interested in creating a project like that. The whole reason for the scarcity of anime and the popularity of fansubs is that it takes at least year for an anime to reach us translated and packed into a boxset. 99% of anime sold in UK has never been shown on tv at all. And japanese anime companies aim at that market back home, with dvd sales secondary. Like every japanese company out there they have a hard time adapting to new market conditions and are unwilling to take risks on doing something outisde their comfort zones. In fact every anime series and manga series translated and sold here is because the company that does that went to japan and begged them to let them to do that. So in a way it is not truly exported since the companies that bring them here are the companies that primarily exist here.

I feel it’s actually kind of typical that Sunrise might not risk their current level of success for anything, because they’re already doing good, even if it’s not outstanding success, they have something with Unicorn’s popularity, and perhaps with the wake of The Origin a new generation of fans might decide to google Gundam and discover the world for themselves.

There are many opportunities. Someone at Sunrise will have to be bold sometime and try something new later on.

hopefully it might happen. And I do really hope for Origin to be successful.

Either that or someone in the West will be bold enough and rich enough to not only beg for the stuff, but also create something truly appealing just for the Western crowd. It might be any of the stuff that’s already out there for the franchise, since a brand new universe/timeline might need to be created, but it could be the spark that fuels more widespread interest.

I do wish they made more gundam stuff. Hopefully the gundam Origin will spark the new gundam wave.

How to expand? Sharing is caring.

No, honestly. I started building Gundams since November. I’ve been watching since age 5. Since November, I’ve built a model with at least 25 people, and now they are into building and watching Gundam too. If Gundam gets a live action movie, like a really really good one, then we are in for some good renewals.

All the people i know are not into that. I do need to find more people to know in real life.

Now I may be reading some posts the wrong way but it seems as if people think Gundam can get as big as it is in Japan as it is over here.

That’s impossible due to a whole bunch of cultural differences the only way to do it would be to make a live action thing, that would rely on action more than anything else, which would hurt the core fanbase more than anything.

If they want it to get biggish here (turn a profit over time and not just a short fad thing like Bayformers) then they’ll have to appeal to more Western anime fans which would not only be easier than trying to appeal to the general masses, but cheaper, and in essense more effective. I don’t see how people even remain hopeful that Gundam will become culturally huge over here, hell it isn’t even huge in western anime audiences from what I’ve seen. Anime is a niche enough group over here, let alone Mecha anime.

I mean who really wants G-Saviour 2.0? Basically G-Saviour with some big budgets and trendy actors and lots of explosions to grab the attention of people whom have never heard of Gundam? Top that off with the fact that not a single anime based movie has ever turned out well (look at the desaster that was Dragonball Evolution) I just don’t see it happening, not that Bandai would dish out the cash to make one, and most western production companies have never heard of Gundam, and would likely not want to front the cash for something that may not take off at all.

Maybe I’m a cynic but look at the track record. It isn’t pretty, the most they should do is appeal to more Anime fans, and more Video game fans over in the west and get big in that circle it would make them profit and it’d make most of us happy, a live action ordeal to get the attention of everyone has a 95% chance of f***ing up big time and alienateing the core fanbase instead of appealing to the populus Gundam allready has a chance to appeal to.

I wasnt talking about g-saviour 2.0. Or a single gundam live action movie. Or a movie at all. Have you seen the BattleStar Galactica 2004? I am talking about a tv series with a good budget that follows the same main themes as gundam but with a more western cast(read it as less 16 year olds in combat more over 18). I am talking about doing an adult take on the story, doing it in live action and with gundams. Considering the cast of Gundam series has always been ambiguously multicultural there is nothing to actually putting real actors in. G-saviour failed because it had abysmal special effects a hideous story and the actors were so bad it was a miracle anyone actually financed it. gundam is not suited to be a movie it always depends on character progression and loss.
UC fits the bill perfectly. A colony vs Earth war. A single Gundam and making the ship badly understaffed would give the excuse to use civilians, even the younger ones on the ship. A more grounded colour scheme(perhaps initially gundam is painted as we know it but it is explained as “experimental” colouring which is later replaced) and a slower learning curve would fit in nicely.

Well, sorry about that misconception, but still a Live action TV series, it has better chances in compairison to a movie.

I do agree an older cast can help appeal to more western fans (though age isn’t complete western-ization which they shouldn’t completely westernise it either, which I’m sure is not what you’re saying) a few casual fans of Gundam I know prefer 08th MS team and 0083 because of that fact alone.

Still I think it would be a safer bet, as well as cheaper (Sunrise/Bandai have shown they don’t want to get to invested into the western market untill it will show a profit) and apeal to Anime fans mainly, that would be the easier route, now if that evolves into them wanting to make it bigger in the United States with a live action show, then maybe it’ll come to be but I don’t see it. Live action in general is a whole other ball game, even making a live action series or movie in Japan would be a gamble for them, and to do that for a market that historically has shown little to no intrest in their product would be a bad idea, unless as I said they can make the Anime sucessful in it’s demographic first. (to get some intrest stired up in the first place)

There’s also the possiblitiy that they could Lisence it out (which is likely if they went the live action route which movie or series in my eyes has allot of room to fail, less so in a series) but even then, who’d front the bill and also have the experience and money to make a good series?

All in all, I think they should appeal to anime fans first, and then focus elsewhere, even then though I don’t see it geting that big in the west at all, might as well make it popular to the core demographic and turn a modest profit. Again maybe I’m cynical, I’d love to see it get huge in the west but the thing is, I don’t see it doing it any time soon, at least not in the numbers people seem to hope for.

I don’t blame you for being cynical about it. Look what happened to Macross here. Harmony Gold got the license and their attempt to make it popular came in the form of Robotech. It did okay for a while, but nothing substantial really came out of it, not to mention Harmony Gold becoming completely dormant on the license for years.

For all we know, that’s been the deciding factor for Bandai/Sunrise not to bring Gundam here more than they already have.

Appealing to the western anime fans first is probably the best route to start with.

i wouldnt say you are cynical I would say you are overcautious. Remember the original gundam series was a huge gamble in Japan in 1979. There was a TV series that run only for 1 season back in the 90’s called Space:Above and Beyond. For that time it had good graphics and quite a dark and realistic plot. the same guy made the Battlestar Galactica later and it was a huge success and it used like 90 or so percent of the themes. i believe it is just aiming it accurately at the right market and at the right time. Considering that there has been a kind of Sci-Fi revival in movies for the past few years than I would be surprised something like gundam would get at least a season or two. Considering a longer 50 minute time format a 20 -24 episode season could easily tell as much story as 50 episode anime series. By westernization I mostly mean the colour palette and slightly smaller emphasis on the mecha. Hell if I had that kind of money and connections I would do it myself.