Life Size Gundam Statue
Odaiba's giant robot
The Gundam RX-78-2 statue represents a life size giant robot, of about 20 meters high, from the mecha series of the same name. It stood for a long time in front of DiverCity shopping mall in Odaiba, and it was replaced in September 2017 by a new model the RX-0 Unicorn.
First of all, for those who might not know: Gundam is a very famous Japanese animation series ever since it began in 1979, which features giant "mech(a)" robots. Along with Macross and Evangelion, it is the most representative and successful of the genre.
RX-78-2: the first statue exposed from 2009 to 2017
To celebrate the series' 30th anniversary, Gundam’s publisher Sunrise built a robot to scale (59 feet!) and placed it on the artificial island of Odaiba. The model RX-78-2 has proudly protected Tokyo over a few months during summer 2009. As it was a temporary attraction, the robot was dismantled in September the same year. Given the incredible success it had met, it was decided to rebuild it in Shizuoka, between July 2010 and January 2011.
Under public pressure, the statue finally came back for the long term, in April 2012. It was built again in Odaiba, on Tokyo Plaza in the big DiverCity shopping center that was inaugurated for the occasion, as a symbol of its representatives: Gundam Front Tokyo, half amusement park, half goodies shop. Note the pun on "Diver City" written ダイバーシティ (daiba shiti) in Japanese, playing on the homophony of 台場 (daiba), the island’s name.
In November 2016, it was announced that the classic statue will leave Odaiba from March 5, 2017 to make way for a new exhibition. Its future location (if any) is still unknown today. On April 5, the Gundam Front attraction on the 7th floor of DiverCity also closed. It has since been replaced by The Gundam Base Tokyo, a workshop where you can make your own robot with a Gunpla plastic kit.
RX-0 Unicorn: the new life-size Gundam statue since 2017
However, at the end of September 2017, another Gundam replica (model RX-0 Licorne) took its place. At 19.7 meters high, the new life-size statue is taller than its predecessor!
It's therefore possible to admire the giant Gundam mecha at any time, as an almost surreal and very impressive vision that reminds us once again that Japan is definitely a country like no other!
RX-78: a moving version in Yokohama since 2020
In November 2018, it was announced that another model will be placed in Yamashita, Yokohama from summer 2020 and for a year.
In January 2020, the inauguration was announced for October 2020, but it was postponed at the end of 2020 due to Covid-19 outbreak. The exhibition first expected to last until 3 October 2021, was finally extended and scheduled to end on 2024, March 31. The 18 meters high statue is sheltered under a 25 meters high metallic structure that allows to watch the robot very close and from two levels at 15 and 18 meters high. The statue weights 25 tons.
Its construction was achieved on July 29 and was blessed during a ceremony by a Shinto priest.
At the end of September, tests were performed to make the statue move, and its first steps were broadcasted.
ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam: in Shanghai (China) from 2021
This 18-meter-high statue, from the license Mobile Suit Gundam Seed (2002), will be the first open to visit outside Japan.
Up to 6 Gundam Cafes opened in Japan : in Tokyo (Odaiba and Akihabara), Osaka (Lalaport Expocity and Dotonbori), Fukuoka et Yokohama. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus 🦠 pandemic, their closing down is scheduled by March 2022, including the oldest one, the Akihabara Gundam Cafe that has been operating since April 2010.