Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (機動戦士ガンダムSEED (シード) Kidō Senshi Gandamu Shīdo?) is an anime series developed by Sunrise and directed by Mitsuo Fukuda. As with other series from the Gundam franchise, Gundam SEED takes place in a parallel timeline, in this case the Cosmic Era, the first to do so. In this era, mankind has developed into two subspecies: Naturals, who reside on Earth and Coordinators, genetically-enhanced humans capable of withstanding the rigors of space who inhabit orbital colonies. The story revolves around a young Coordinator Kira Yamato who becomes involved in the war between the two races after a neutral space colony is invaded by the Coordinators.
The television series was broadcast in Japan between 2002 and 2003, on the Tokyo Broadcasting System and Mainichi Broadcasting System networks. The series spawned three compilations films and was adapted into a manga as well as various light novels. A sequel series, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny followed in 2004. Various types of merchandising have also been released, including models, soundtracks and video games. Gundam SEED was licensed by Bandai Entertainment for broadcast in North America, and began airing in the United States and Canada in 2004 and 2005 respectively. The films and the sequel were also licensed by Bandai. The manga and light novels as well as the spin off series, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, were also licensed. A number of video games were also released in North America.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED was widely popular with the public in Japan, winning numerous awards, with high sales of both the series and music. The character development and animation has gained praise, but similarities with previous Gundam series have drawn both comparisons and criticism from Gundam fans.