The original Mobile Suit Gundam is an icon of classic anime — but the creatives behind it have been attempting to scrub one tiny piece of it from sight for over 40 years. Now, they’re getting a chance to revisit it, and wipe away the reasons they wanted it hidden all those years ago.
Previously announced as part of the legendary mecha franchise’s plans for 2022 — alongside the new TV series The Witch From Mercury — the next Gundam movie is not the sequel to this year’s Hathaway, but Cucuruz Doan’s Island, an adaptation of the 15th episode of the same name of the original 1979 anime. Sunrise has released the first footage from the film, which you can see below. It’s directed by Mobile Suit Gundam’s original character designer and animation director, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko — who is also the artist behind the beloved manga adaptation of the series, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (itself partially adapted into an OVA series of the same name between 2015 and 2019).
— 機動戦士ガンダム ククルス・ドアンの島 (@g_cucuruzdoan) December 20, 2021
Set during the events of the One Year War depicted in the original series — a devastating conflict between the forces of the Earth Federation, including Gundam pilot Amuro Ray, and the secessionist space colony known as the Principality of Zeon — the original episode of the anime Cucuruz Doan’s Island is based on saw Amuro encounter the titular Doan, a Zeon deserter who has set up as a recluse on an island on Earth, hiding his mobile suit from his former allies as he attempts to raise several children orphaned by the war.
But the episode gained infamy for vanishing from official releases of Mobile Suit Gundam outside of Japan, meaning it had never been officially released or broadcast — at the behest of Gundam’s creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino. This is due to an equally infamous reputation circling the episode, which is known for having generally uncharacteristically poor animation compared to the rest of the series, with many errors and off-model depictions of the Gundam and Doan’s Zaku mobile suit in the episode becoming something of a meme among fans. To this day the episode has still never received an official home release, however when the original Gundam was made available to stream on Funimation for the first time last year, it was finally more widely accessible — warts and all. The movie might be taking the story beats from the original episode, but it’s also a chance for Yasuhiko and his team to right what they’ve long since perceived as a wrong these past 42 years, even if it means presenting a slice of the classic anime that started it all not in its original form, but a modernised take on its ‘70s style.
Cucuruz Doan’s Island will release in Japanese theatres in early summer 2022. No word on when or if the film will be made available outside of Japan in a similar time frame has been confirmed just yet.