Its first kit "1/144 Gundam" was released in July 1980
BANDAI SPIRITS announced today on May 2 that its plastic model kit series inspired by Sunrise's Mobile Suit Gundam anime franchise, commonly called as "Gunpla" in Japan, has shipped more than 500 million units in total in 39 years.
Its first kit "1/144 Gundam" was released in July 1980, six months after the broadcast of the anime franchise's first TV anime series ended. Despite of the cancellation of the TV anime, cut down to 43 episodes from the originally planned 52, the kit series immediately sold one million units in six months, and created a huge "Gunpla" boom in Japan. Since then, the company has released more than 2,000 types of the kit, and surpassed the 400 million mark in 2010.
For the upcoming 40th anniversary of the anime franchise in 2020, BANDAI SPIRITS is planning various projects.
ガンプラ：累計出荷数が5億個突破 39年で2000種類 パッケージは地球4周分 https://t.co/8ABzsHopvQ— MANTANWEB (まんたんウェブ) (@mantanweb) 2019年5月2日
Box arts for "1/144 Gundam" (July 1980) and "MG 1/100 RX-78-2 Gundam Ver.3.0" (August 2013)
Source: Mantan Web
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