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Hollywood doesn't have a great track record adapting with anime properties into live action movies, Ghost in the Shell being a recent example of this. But just like cinematic video game adaptations, the industry hasn't thrown in the towel with these kinds of movies just yet. A live action Akira movie has been in development for years, and today brings word that nearly 40 years after the franchise launched, Gundam is getting a live action movie as well in the United States.
It was announced today at the Anime Expo that Legendary Entertainment and Sunrise are going forces to co-produce the first live action feature film version of Gundam. The first Gundam anime, Mobile Suit Gundam aired from 1979 to 1980, and was followed by numerous other TV shows, animated movies, manga, novels and video games, as well as toys and plastic models. Many of the Gundam stories are set in the main timeline, known as the Universal Century, and while no story details for this Gundam movie were disclosed, Legendary and Sunrise did provide this summary of the original Gundam series for those unfamiliar with the property.
The original Gundam series is set in the Universal Century, an era in which humanity's growing population has led people to emigrate to space colonies. Eventually, the people living in the colonies seek their autonomy, and launch a war of independence against the people living on Earth. Through the tragedies and discord arising from this human conflict, not only the maturation of the main character, but also the intentions of enemies and the surrounding people are sensitively depicted. The battles in the story, in which the characters pilot robots known as mobile suits, are wildly popular.
Funny enough, this Gundam movie won't be the first time that the franchise has been represented on the big screen in live action. Earlier this year, Ready Player One featured the RX-78-2 mecha, arguably the most recognizable mecha in the Gundam mythology, in the climactic OASIS battle to battle the MechaGodzilla. With so many decades worth of stories and the cultural significance this franchise has in Japan, it will be interested to see how well a Gundam movie will translate for Western audiences, let alone if it will break the anime movie curse in Hollywood. That said, one point in this movie's favor is that Legendary is involved with making it. The company has experience with giant robots thanks to the Pacific Rim movies, so at minimum, I expect the mechas in Gundam will be visually dazzling.