Full-scale anime mecha statue will move, but not in Tokyo.

There’s something big and exciting coming to Japan in the summer of 2020. No, we’re not talking about the Olympics. We’re talking about a full-sized moving anime mecha.

A few years ago, organizers announced the Gundam Global Challenge. A worldwide talent search, the program’s goal was to upgrade Tokyo’s 18-meter (59-foot) tall full-scale Gundam statue and enable it to move. However, in 2017 the original Gundam statue, based on the RX-78-2 Gundam which appeared in the original 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam TV anime, was dismantled and replaced with a 19.7-meter statue of the Unicorn Gundam, star of a much more recent segment of the franchise, and it wasn’t clear if this was the end of the plan to make Gundam move.

But as part of a presentation on planned festivities for the franchise’s upcoming 40th anniversary it’s been revealed that not only is the Gundam Global Challenge still going on, organizers now have a projected completion time for the moving Gundam, as well as a planned home for it.

The moving Gundam is scheduled to make its public debut in the summer of 2020 at the Yamashita Pier, part of the downtown port of Yokohama, roughly 30 minutes south of Tokyo. While organizers haven’t confirmed whether or not the moving Gundam will use components from the original full-scale replica, the moving version will also be 18 meters tall, and since the original statue hasn’t been seen since being dismantled, it seems like the plan is indeed to upgrade the old statue.

Given the scope of the undertaking, there’s a lot of science and engineering involved, and because of the Gundam’s size it also easily qualifies as a work of art. As such, Gundam Factory Yokohama, as the project and venue are being called, will also be holding a series of exhibits highlighting and explaining the design process, adding educational and cultural aspects that go beyond the project’s obvious entertainment value.

As to why the new Gundam is being installed in Yokohama instead of Tokyo, the Gundam Factory Yokohama website says the city was chosen because of its status as one of the first towns opened to contact with the rest of the world following Japan’s centuries of forced seclusion during the feudal era. That made Yokohama the primary entry point to Japan for new ideas and technology, as well as the route by which Japan made itself known to the rest of the world through trade and diplomacy. That pioneering spirit is just the sort of thing that powers the Gundam Global Challenge, and we can’t wait to see the results in about 18 months.

Source: Gundam Factory Yokohama via Jin, IT Media
Images: Gundam Factory Yokohama

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