Gundam for 2016 Olympics in Tokyo
A real-size Gundam statue, 18 meters tall, has been opened to the public at the south-tip of the Odaiba amusement-peninsula. It has received more than 50.000 visitors a day to watch this symbol of Japanese Animation from close up, which, against Tokyo customs, is actually free of charge. Nevertheless, the event's organizer hope to raise enough money from sales by the surrounding food stalls to use in greening the Tokyo area by planting roadside trees and exchanging the artificial turf of schools with real lawns. The souvenir shop with its collectable items like pins, T-shirts and models, proved actually so popular that many items sell out over the weekend.
The crowds that gather here are made up of older guys, now fathers, who had been fans of Gundam in their childhood and now bring their kids along, to younger persons and couples as well with a few foreigners in between. The figure, made of metal and fiberglass, is based on the original RX-78-2 model, which deputed on the Japanese TV from April 1979. It is striking in its details, so much that one would expect the robot to suddenly start moving forward, if not flying up into the sky. It does though move its head around a bit, accompanied by lights and mist from various body-parts which the crowd welcomes with a warm cheering.
Gundam was chosen because the series, playing in the future and describing wars between humans on earth and those that migrated to space, deals with underlying problems of environmental challenges and overpopulation.The concept of warrior-looking Robots being controlled by human pilots was a first at that time, yet it still is influencing other animators up to this day, like the popular “Transformers” movies.
As kind of an extra gimmick, in popular Japan celebration style, a few lucky couples will have their wedding ceremonies right at the feet of the mighty mecha. They were chosen from many entries who had to submit a written report about why they want to say those special words at that place.
And from August 1., the fighter will don a “Tokyo Olympic 2016” sticker on its left arm to support this Towns bid and add weight to the “Green&Compact Olympic” concept. The successful city will be announced in October, but by then the monolith will be gone already, since it is to be only a temporary exibiton until August 31. Maybe he will find a new home in Kobe, where another popular robot from the 50s, Tetsujin 28-go (Ironman No. 28) is being errected 18-meter tall, in remembrence of the city's devastation and recovery of the 1995 Earthquake.
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