The Witch From Mercury’s final episode this past weekend brought what is for now the end of this latest take on the Gundam franchise to a close. But with the show’s successes having drawn in audiences that have never seen a Gundam show before, there’s plenty of people who might want to see what else the franchise has on offer—and these are the best places to go next.
Mobile Suit Gundam (1979)
It makes sense to go back to the beginning, right? The original Gundam is iconic for a reason, and many of the elements that made Witch From Mercury so compelling are echoes of what came before it in the original series. It’s a tale of young people thrust into traumatic conflict, and though the original show is much more of a war story than Witch From Mercury, there’s enough emotional parallels to make it very much worth going back and revisiting.
If you’re put off by both the length (the series is 43 episodes long) and the age of the show, the 1980s movie trilogy re-release of the series is both a shorter experience and includes updated animation.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (1985) and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (1986)
This is only a recommendation if you watch the original Gundam, in either its show or anthology movie formats, and like it. Zeta and Double Zeta are sequel series to the original show that you can, alongside the climactic movie Char’s Counterattack, essentially consider as one long-form story about the fall out of the end of the One Year War.
Both Zeta and especially the first half of Double Zeta have distinctly different tones, and yet also play with a lot of elements that Witch From Mercury echoed in its own story and worldbuilding—especially that of the role of enhanced individuals and the concept of the Newtype. The same caveats that applied to the original series apply here: the older animation may be off-putting to some, as might the daunting length of each series (Zeta and Double Zeta run 50 and 47 episodes, respectively). But if you enjoy the original Gundam enough to keep going, they’re both more than worth checking out—together, they stand as one of the most compelling sci-fi trilogies in animation.
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (2010)
This series entry is set three years after the events of Char’s Counterattack. You’ll potentially get much more out of Unicorn with prior knowledge of Gundam’s Universal Century timeline—but it’s perfectly watchable for a newcomer even if you don’t want to commit to nearly 150 episodes of anime beforehand. Unicorn in particular focuses on the Gundam series’ relationship with Newtypes in the wake of their awakening in the One Year War, so if you enjoyed the “Witches” aspect of Witch From Mercury, there’s similar things here to chew on—and as a more modern series, it’s a chance to see the aesthetic of the classic Gundam shows with more contemporary animation.
Where to Watch: The 22-episode TV series, subtitled RE: 0096, is streaming on Crunchyroll, while the original OVA season isn’t streaming in Australia.
Mobile Fighter G Gundam (1994)
Did you like the duel system Witch From Mercury focused on in its first season? So much you were kind of disappointed it largely went away for season two? Well then, you’ll probably appreciate G Gundam, a series infamous for its divergence from Gundam’s traditional “Real Robot” conflict stories for a hyper-kinetic battle anime vibe. Set in an alternate timeline where Earth has been largely been abandoned so nationally-divided space colonies can use it as the battleground for regular “Gundam Fight” tournaments, G Gundam is not to everyone’s taste, but if you don’t mind giant robot fight tournaments, you might find something to enjoy here.
Where to Watch: Mobile Fighter G Gundam is streaming on Crunchyroll.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans (2015)
This is Witch From Mercury’s direct series predecessor, but there’s not too many parallels between Orphans and Witch From Mercury beyond the fact that they’re both standalone series set in their own timelines, and are contemporary anime. Well, there’s also the child soldiers, the socioeconomic disparities between Earth and Space, plenty of traumatic violence, and even a teeny tiny smattering of sapphic subtext by the end of it all. So there’s some good stuff! But really, this is mostly an excuse to see another relatively modern approach to a Gundam AU.
Turn A Gundam (1999)
Turn A Gundam is another series set in an alternate Gundam universe, but with a twist that will pay off several connections to Gundam’s main continuity if you’re familiar with it—but it’s not necessary to have that knowledge coming into it. With a wildly different aesthetic to what came before it—the show is set on an Earth where, after a catastrophic apocalypse, society has been rebuilt to roughly turn of the 20th century technology, and features mecha designs by the legendary artist Syd Mead—Turn A looks and often feels quite unlike any other series.
There’s definitely parallels to Witch From Mercury, especially between Suletta and Turn A’s protagonist Loran, and tonally the two shows feel in conversation with each other. But, can I be honest? I’m suggesting it because it is my favourite Gundam show, and I desperately need more people to talk about it with.
Where to Watch: Alas, no soul is brave enough yet to be streaming Turn A—you’ll have to buy the series to watch it, but trust me: it’s worth it.
Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway (2021)
Like Unicorn—and actually set several years after that series—you’ll get more out of this movie if you have the contextual knowledge of the first four entries in Gundam’s Universal Century timeline: the 1979 series, Zeta, Double Zeta, and Char’s Counterattack. Especially that last one, as Hathaway’s titular protagonist is older version of a child who plays a prominent role in that film. But at the same time, you can still get what you need to out of the film without that context—it will just be more greatly appreciated.
That context is actually primarily something Witch From Mercury often hinted at, but also largely left at the fringes of its story—the socio-political relationship between the people who live on Earth and the people who have colonized space. The first movie in a planned trilogy, Hathaway leans much, much more on this exploration of the state of the world than it does giant robot fights (it does have one outstanding one in particular, though). So while you don’t have the full story yet, if you liked the ideas Witch From Mercury laid out about its worldbuilding but were disappointed it didn’t dive deeper, you’ll find something to chew on here.
Where to Watch: Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway is streaming on Netflix.
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