After leaving Tokyo, the original life-size Gundam is establishing a new base in another major Japanese city.

Back in 2016, fans of anime, robots, and general awesomeness were heartbroken from the sudden announcement that the life-size statue of the original RX-78 Gundam mobile suit, which had been standing stalwartly in Tokyo’s Odaiba district for years, would be removed. Granted, that pain was greatly lessened roughly nine months later when an even bigger statue of the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam went up in the same spot, but it’s still kind of sad that the literally biggest tribute to Japan’s most famous anime mecha has been out of the public eye for three years an counting.

However, all that time away has been for the sake of giving the RX-78 Gundam some serious upgrades. In 2014, the statue’s management announced the Gundam Global Challenge, a call for ideas from engineers, scientists, and researchers to help turn the immobile Gundam statue into a true mobile tribute. The project is now nearing its completion, and we’ve now got a date for fans’ glorious reunion with the upgraded moving Gundam: October 1!

▼ A preview video for Gundam Factory Yokohama, which makes the visual promise that the 18-meter (59-foot) Gundam will walk!

The announcement was made in conjunction with the unveiling of the plans for Gundam Factory Yokohama, a new entertainment complex being built on the waterfront of Yokohama harbor, on the Yamashita Pier at the eastern edge of the seaside Yamashita Park. The prime attraction, obviously, is the full-scale Gundam itself, which guests can get an up-close look at via the Gundam Dock Tower scaffolding that surrounds the robot.

Other features of the facility include an Academy, with detailed displays showing how the statue was created and upgraded to mobile status, as well as a Conference Room for group workshops. There’s also going to be a Gundam Base Yokohama Satellite specialty shop packed with Gunpla (plastic Gundam models) and limited-edition merch, plus a branch of the Gundam Cafe, where themed items like Jaburo Coffee and Beam Churros are will grace the menu.

Ticket reservations to the complex start in July (pricing has yet to be announced), but for fans who can’t wait that long, special preview tours will be held in July and August, for those lucky enough to win a spot. Application details are expected soon through the Gundam Factory Yokohama website. Also, while no official such request has been made, it’s a given that the management would prefer you not imitate half of anime’s robot jocks, who fall into the cockpit of a mecha during a factory tour and then turn it into their personal fighting machine.

Related: Gundam Factory Yokohama
Source: Gundam 40th Anniversary website via Hachima Kiko
Images: Gundam 40th Anniversary website
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