Sunrise have released a Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island teaser, confirming a release window for the hotly anticipated classic Gundam spinoff.
In a tweet on the movie’s official Japanese Twitter account, Sunrise have announced that Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island will be releasing in Japan in early Summer 2022. No word yet on when, or how, international audiences can watch the movie.
The tweet also contained the Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island teaser, which shows the original RX-78-2 Gundam and Amuro Ray.
— 機動戦士ガンダム ククルス・ドアンの島 (@g_cucuruzdoan) December 20, 2021
For the uninitiated, Cucuruz Doan’s Island is the name of the long-lost 15th episode of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime. In this episode, Amuro responds to a distress signal from a remote island while practicing with the Gundam’s Core Fighter system. There he encounters the episode’s titular character, Cucuruz Doan, a Zaku II pilot that deserted from the Zeon military following a traumatic incident. He now lives on the island with several war orphans, hoping to atone for his mistakes and protect them using his old Zaku.
After some scuffles and misunderstandings, Amuro and Doan must team up to fight a Zeon recon team. After the battle, Doan comes to the realization that he’ll never truly be free from the war as long as he still has his Zaku II, and asks Amuro to toss it into the ocean before he returns to White Base.
The episode is fairly notorious for having some low-quality animation in places, along with numerous mistakes and other goofs. The episode has effectively been memory holed ever since Mobile Suit Gundam‘s original broadcast. It was never aired during Mobile Suit Gundam‘s American TV run, and has been excluded from many DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the original series.
The exact reason why the episode has effectively been scrubbed from history has never been elaborated on. Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino has commented before that this was due to the wishes of unidentified members of the original Mobile Suit Gundam‘s staff, but has so far refused to go into further details.
While the Cucuruz Doan’s Island episode itself is a bit of a red-headed stepchild, the core story of the episode was the foundation of Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin MSD: Cucuruz Doan’s Island. This manga was a spin-off of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, a long-running manga series by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko that acts as both a prequel to, and retelling of, the original Mobile Suit Gundam story. Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin MSD: Cucuruz Doan’s Island is a 5-volume series released in 2016 to celebrate Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin‘s 15th anniversary. This spin-off details Cucuruz Doan’s backstory as a Zeon pilot, the events that led up to his desertion, and feature a retold version of the events of the infamous episode from the original series.
Yoshikazu Yasuhiko will be directing Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island, and the teaser trailer features the “updated” design of the Gundam and the same animation style as Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. This all seems to indicate that the movie will follow the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin MSD: Cucuruz Doan’s Island manga and not the original episode.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island is one of three Gundam animation projects coming in 2022. Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans: Special Edition is a 9-episode television mini-series coming in Spring 2022. This recut version of the 2015 series will coincide with the launch of the Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans G mobile game, and will feature elements of the Urdr-Hunt side story from the game.
Finally, fans also have Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury to look forward to. Details regarding the series are nearly nonexistent, but it is known that it will be the first full-length Gundam television series since Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans.