Shinto priests bless 55,000-pound anime robot’s head in jotoshiki ceremony.

Yokohama is Japan’s second-largest city, and being just 20 minutes south of downtown Tokyo also makes for an easy half-day trip for people from the capital. A number of sightseeing attractions are clustered around Yokohama’s scenic harbor, such as a Ferris wheel, seaside parks, and, as of a few days ago, a full-scale version of seminal anime robot Gundam.

While out and about in Yokohama, we spotted the giant robot standing proud on the Yamashita Futo wharf.

Based at the brand-new Gundam Factory Yokohama complex, the life-size RX-78 Gundam, the granddaddy from which all later hero mecha in the Gundam franchise can trace their lineage, is 18 meters (59 feet) tall and weighs 25 metric tons (roughly 55,000 pounds). In the planning and development stages since 2014, external construction of the mecha was finished on July 29 with a jotoshiki, or “head installing ceremony,” in which Gundam’s head was blessed by Shinto priests before being hoisted into the sky with a crane and secured to the unit’s shoulders.

▼ For the workers seen here, this is basically history’s most awesome Gunpla Gundam model-building session.

▼ Video of the jotoshiki

The Yokohama Gundam is actually Japan’s second full-scale RX-78, as a life-size statue of the original Gundam previously stood in Tokyo’s Odaiba district before being replaced by the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam. However, the Yokohama RX-78 will boast an ability neither of its predecessors could/can: the ability to move. Inside the outer casing of the Yokohama Gundam is a mechanical skeleton that will allow it to use its arms and legs.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus situation has caused Gundam Factory Yokohama’s organizers to cancel an early sneak preview of the center that was planned for this summer, but the facility is still scheduled to have its grand opening sometime in October.

Related: Gundam Factory Yokohama
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