Following the phenomenal success of Gundam Wing
(and the end of its run), After War Gundam X premiered in early 1996. Directed by 80's mecha veteran Shinji Takamatsu, this series was the third of Bandai's alternate universes, and the last Gundam series to air for several years. This series is a 'what if' on the Universal Century's One-Year War
. What if the Zeon
had dropped dozens of colonies instead of one and destroyed Earth's surface? What if most of the world's population died, leaving the survivors in a ruined Mad Max
-like world? That basic premise is the setting of Gundam X, which uses the After War (AW) calendar. The series begins in AW0015, as the Earth is just beginning to recover. The star of this series is fifteen year old Garrod Ran, a member of the Vulture scavenger group that patrols the wasteland for profits.
The series was canceled after only 39 episodes, just 10 short of the intended 49. There are several theories as to the reason, but no clear evidence for any particular one. It is clear that the series was moved from a favorable Friday afternoon timeslot to a dismal early Saturday morning one. The series was also structually different from any other Gundam series. All previous Gundams followed one basic storyline, but Gundam X was presented in a series of story arcs, which turned some fans off.