Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury - What We Know So Far

When it comes to mecha anime, almost all franchises must pay respect to "Mobile Suit Gundam." As one of the earliest popular mecha anime, and indeed one of the most successful anime of all time, "Mobile Suit Gundam" remains an active influence on both the medium and the genre. That's saying something when you consider that the first "Gundam" series began over 40 years ago in 1979. 

The series is still going strong, too. Every few years the franchise releases a brand new series, the most recent one being "Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans." However, the final season of "Iron Blooded Orphans" stopped airing way back in 2016. Now, it's time for a new series to emerge and bring something fresh to "Gundam's" table. 

Entitled "Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury," this new series remains almost entirely shrouded in mystery as animation studio Sunrise abstains from revealing any details regarding the new series. Despite all of this cloak and dagger, though, "The Witch From Mercury" is scheduled for release relatively soon. With that in mind, here is what we know so far about this enigmatic series.

What is the release date for The Witch From Mercury?

One of the few clear things we definitely know about "The Witch From Mercury" is its window for release. According to Crunchyroll, "The Witch From Mercury" is one of several new "Gundam" projects that Sunrise announced at the "2nd Gundam Conference" on September 15. Along with the upcoming anime film, "Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island," it seems that "The Witch From Mercury" is slated for a release sometime in 2022.

Unfortunately, Sunrise did not reveal much else regarding the film's release. The series will presumably debut on Japanese television, as many anime do. However, it is unclear how exactly "The Witch From Mercury" will find its way to an international market. In all likelihood, the series will be translated and streamed by popular anime sites such as Crunchyroll. It is also likely that the series will receive an English dub, due to the "Gundam" franchise's overall popularity. When the anime will be released internationally, though, is yet another mystery.

Who are the characters in The Witch From Mercury?

At the moment, Sunrise has not revealed any concrete information on the characters — or the story — of "The Witch From Mercury." That doesn't mean that we don't know what to expect, however. At the franchise's core, "Gundam" has always been about war. This common theme gives rise to a lot of commonalities in characters between different "Gundam" series, even the ones that take place in their own distinct universes.

For instance, every "Gundam" series has at least one unique Gundam (a specialized type of giant robot) to itself, often piloted by the protagonist. Said protagonist, often a boy who is far too young to fight in a war, is distinguished and successful as a Gundam pilot, but nevertheless struggles with the political and emotional toll the war takes on him and others.

Just as most "Gundam" series have a Gundam-piloting protagonist, so too do they have a rival for that protagonist to face off against in battle. The most iconic of these rivals is Char Aznable, the red-clad Zaku pilot from the original "Mobile Suit Gundam." These character tropes, along with those of politicians, generals, and the innocent bystanders of war, are all pretty much expected when starting a new "Gundam" series, so we can anticipate that they will appear again in "The Witch from Mercury."

What is the plot of The Witch From Mercury?

We can also see common patterns throughout the "Gundam" franchise that extend to the actual world itself. The franchise's focus on war necessitates explaining the conflicts at hand. Viewers need to know who the heroes are fighting against and why — not to mention, what the heroes are fighting for. In other words, there are often predictable factions, settings, and character motivations for any "Gundam" series. One of the most common story tropes seen throughout the "Gundam" franchise is the conflict between the Principality of Zeon and the Earth Federation. This war between Earth and her outer-space colonies serves as the core conflict of several different "Gundam" series, including the original. It isn't present in every series there is, but it does serve as a template for the conflicts that viewers may see in "The Witch From Mercury."

Regardless of the conflict, it wouldn't be "Gundam" unless mobile suits — the franchise's name for giant robots, that is — were at the center of the battle. Whether these fights take place in the depths of space, on a martian colony, or on Earth itself, mobile suits make all the difference in achieving victory for either side. Putting everything else aside, seeing these fights (along with the unique new mobile suits) will be the main attraction in "The Witch From Mercury" when it comes out.