Old-school anime robot icon makes its Hollywood debut in adaptation coming next year.

Japan has no aversion to foreign films, and a lot of American action blockbusters are released here with as much fanfare as in the U.S. domestic market. When there’s a new Star Wars or Avengers installment coming out, it’s a big deal, with a palpable sense of excitement leading up to the Japanese premiere date.

However, not every movie’s hype carries all the way across the Pacific. Hollywood adaptations of English-language young adult fiction, for example, don’t get quite as much buzz, since the Japanese market is already pretty saturated with youthful adventure books thanks to its “light novel” market (and, by association, all the anime that spring from light novels). For example, Japan hasn’t been all too terribly psyched about the upcoming Ready Player One movie, as the source-material novel doesn’t have that large a Japanese fanbase.

That said, Steven Spielberg serving as director does have Japanese cinephiles taking notice, And now the film is getting even more attention thanks to another storytelling icon who’s deeply respected in Japan: Gundam.

There’s a lot to process in Ready Player One’s just-released trailer, what with all the world-building, kinetic energy, and ‘80s rock soundtrack. Then the Back to the Future DeLorean shows up, and King Kong leaps off a skyscraper. But if you can keep your brain from being overloaded, you’ll see…

…Gundam! And not just any Gundam, but the Gundam, as in the RX-78-2 hero mecha from the original 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam anime TV series.

▼ They even give it some dramatic anime-style shine effects.

Since the Gundam franchise is almost 40 years old, Ready Player One’s producers had plenty of candidates for a shout-out to the series, including the center-stage robots of several newer Gundam series that have enjoyed greater popularity in English-speaking markets than the granddaddy-of-them-all Mobile Suit Gundam, which didn’t find its way to the U.S. market until decades after it aired in Japan. Even in Tokyo, the full-scale RX-78-2 statue has been replaced by the sleeker, more modern RX-0 Unicorn Gundam.

Nevertheless, Ready Player One has gone with the venerable first Gundam, and even uses two separate sequences of the trailer to show off the anime connection.

Of course, Gundam is a combat robot, so it’s ostensibly going to fight someone, or something, in the movie. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t give us any clue as to the identity of Gundam’s in-movie adversary, but we have to say that “Gundam vs. King Kong” would be an awesome fight card.

Source: Nico Nico News via Jin
Images: YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures

Follow Casey on Twitter, where yeah, he remembers the live-action G-Saviour, but since that was Canadian-produced, this still counts as Gundam’s Hollywood debut.