Mobile Suit: Gundam first debuted in 1979, giving anime fans decades of stories from across multiple iterations that gave us new takes on the mech suits that have easily become the most recognizable for the medium. Recently, however, interest has been pointed directly at the black sheep of the franchise, with a deep dive being focused squarely on one of the most notorious episodes of the original series, which remains the "lost episode" of the series. Dubbed "Cucuruz Doan's Island", episode fifteen of the original series remains one that is shrouded in mystery when it comes to the Gundam franchise.
In a recent article from Anime News Network, various aspects of this episode were explored and the installment itself will even be the subject of an upcoming film that is slated to be released next year. When asked about why this particular entry of Mobile Suit Gundam became the "lost episode," creator Yoshiyuki Tomino has gone on record stating that he "asked that it be skipped. There's a reason, but since the staff is still alive, I can't talk about it."
The episode itself from a story perspective is nothing controversial, as it features Amuro meeting a former member of the Principality of Zeon who had enough of the war after causing casualties in combat and deciding to use the power of his Zaku to protect life rather than destroy it. Since the episode didn't have much of an effect on the main storyline of the overall series, it never felt that missed in the grand scheme of things, though that hasn't stopped fans from attempting to dig deeper into its past.
The episode itself however did see its fair share of artistic mistakes, as art director Yoshikazu Yasuhiko had extrapolated on them as a part of the Making Gundam: The Inside Story documentary:
"It was so hard to watch. I felt so bad. I couldn't give it my undivided attention. Every time I did I thought, 'oh no, that's wrong' or 'oh, that's so bad.' I was in a private room with a bed and kept pulling the blanket over my head until I was completely underneath unable to watch anymore. I would sneak a peek and see a terrifying Gundam staring back at me and think of how terrible it was. I feel bad for the people that worked on it, that's just the conditions they had to work with."
Seeing numerous references in Gundam lore throughout the years, though it has never had the opportunity to properly hit North America and remains one of the most mysterious aspects of the Gundam franchise to date.