Gundam is a landmark. Nothing more. That being said, a landmark is a pretty big statement in it's own right. While the first run of Gundam was unsuccessful, the compilation movies did wonders for the series, and a japanese phenomenon launched into orbit (lame gundam pun count: 1). So if the first series was a bomb, why is it still being watched and loved today? Well, that's why I'm here.
Of course, being the very first gundam series, prior knowledge of other installments in the franchise isn't needed, making it the preferred choice for those wanting to start this franchise. The story takes place in the year 0079 in the universal century. The space colony Side three began The Principality of Zeon and begun it's assault on the Earth Federation. This leads to a battle that has now lasted 9 months and both sides have lost equal forces, leading to a stalemate in the war.
Heading to Side seven, teenager Amuro Ray, finds a prototype robot built by the Earth Federation called a mobile suit. This particular mobile suit's codename, is Gundam. In more accurate model terms, it's the RX-78-2, but Gundam is less tounge-twisting. Amuro commandeers this mobile suit and destroys the Zeon's Zaku forces that invaded Side seven. This leads to the destruction of Side seven and the evacuation of the people into the warship named the White Base that now heads to Earth.
Of course, since this anime was made in 1979, don't expect amazing animated spectacles presented towards you. Rather, it's rather subtle and only animates what's necessary, often reusing old animation for budget purposes, but this was common in anime during that time period and sometimes happens today for those who are lazy. While not brilliant, it's colourful and subtle, just what it needs to be.
The soundtrack has flown over my head, since it's not that memorable, except for the opening theme. I'm not good at judging soundtracks in general, but it doesn't take a genius to see a soundtrack that isn't memorable.
I've only watched the english dub of this anime, but I really liked the dub. There's good emotion and acting, though some actors don't do the best job, for example, the actor who plays Char.
Speaking of Char, lets talk about Char-acters (lame gundam pun count: 2). The rivalry between Amuro and Char is great, though a bit generic. They both have different views, which is most notable in the conclusion. The fact that there is more than one series that has Amuro and Char, their character development is improved. The other characters have some good interactions and some love definitely shows itself in the show.
So in conclusion, I liked this anime. Though not the greatest mecha anime, it's a good introduction to a venerable franchise and the quality continues to rise as the franchise progresses with series like Zeta Gundam and Gundam Wing. The characters and antagonists are likable and work well in showing two sides of a war. The robot aspects aren't overdone and there isn't any deus-ex-machina to be found throughout the series, which is a huge plus for a mecha anime. So go watch the first few episodes, if it's your thing, continue on, if not, well, that's fine too. This isn't a must-watch, but at the very least, it's a must-try.