Goodbye, Gundam. Life-size mecha statue is leaving Tokyo next spring

TOKYO —

It’s a shocking moment when you find out that something you believed would always be around will, in fact, not. For the last several years, an 18-meter-tall statute of venerable anime mecha Gundam has proudly stood in Tokyo’s Odaiba district, towering at the same exact height as its in-anime counterpart does in its world. It’s attracted not only animation fans, but Tokyo day trippers and even international travelers, becoming a legitimate landmark in the country’s capital.

And in just a few months, it’ll be gone.

Bandai Namco Holdings, the parent company which controls the rights to Gundam, has announced that March 5, 2017, is the last day the full-size Gundam will be on display in front of the Diver City entertainment complex. Fans’ first reaction will no doubt be denial, but the same statement was also made by toy division Bandai, animation division Sunrise, and even Bandai Namco Holdings-owned advertising agency Sotsu.

What’s more, the end is also drawing near for Gundam Front Tokyo, the Gundam-themed amusement park/gallery located inside Diver City. Gundam Front Tokyo will be closing its doors on April 5.

The news is particularly startling given how popular the Gundam statue remains, even after four and a half years positioned outside Diver City. Stop by on any weekend or holiday, and you’ll see a crowd of people snapping pictures and gazing up at the robot while munching on snacks or sipping drinks purchased from the nearby Gundam Cafe or one of the other food vendors who cluster around the plaza where the mecha is located.

Now, there are two tiny rays of hope in all of this. First, the Gundam statue hasn’t always been stationed at Diver City. It was initially placed in the nearby Shiokaze Park, and also spent nearly two years away from Tokyo, in Shizuoka Prefecture, from July 2010 until April 2012. More intriguingly, in 2014, Sunrise announced an ambitious plan to turn the life-size Gundam from a still model into one that moves, setting a 2019 deadline for itself.

As such, there’s a chance that the reason for removing Gundam from Odaiba is that it’s going to be gracing some other part of Japan with its presence, or perhaps that it’s going back to the shop as part of the process of developing its mobility-granting upgrades. However, Bandai Namco Holdings has, as of this time, released no statements to either effect, meaning it’s possible that come spring, the life-size Gundam will be gone for good. So if you’re a mecha fan who’s been putting off a trip to Japan, now’s the time to come, and also to remind yourself to appreciate the awesome things in life while they’re still around.

Source: IT Media

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  • 0

    Thunderbird2

    Glad I saw it and took photos when I did... it won't be there when I go back to Japan next year :(

  • 0

    Cliffy

    Yeap, glad I was there and took pictures as well. Too bad I wasn't able to be there when the live size Zaku was on display.

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