Head-raising ceremony held for new/Nu Gundam, the first life-size mobile suit in west Japan.

You can never have too many Gundams. In the 42 years since the debut of the original Mobile Suit Gundam TV series, the anime franchise has gone on to have dozens of sequels and side stories with their own variations on the titular hero mech.

So while Tokyo has a life-size statue of the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, and Yokohama has one of the RX-78-2 Gundam, there are still plenty of other Gundams waiting their turn, and now the wait is almost over for the life-size RX-93 ν (“Nu”) Gundam that’s under construction in Fukuoka.

Wednesday was a big day for the big robot, as the construction crew held a jotoushiki, or “head-raising ceremony,” for the Nu Gundam. A similar event took place during the building of Yokohama’s Gundam, in which Shinto priests offered blessings on the head and prayed for the workers’ safety during the rest of the project, before the head was lifted up by a crane and placed on the mecha’s body.

▼ A high-speed time-lapse video of the entire lifting/installation

While all of the life-size Gundam statues are huge, the Nu Gundam is the biggest yet. As part of the ceremony, the designers revealed its official specs, and the highest part of the head is 20.5 meters (67.3 feet) off the ground, 0.8 meters taller than the Tokyo’s Unicorn Gundam, and the height gap is even larger when compared to Yokohama’s RX-78 or Shanghai’s ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam. Even more impressive is that the tip of the long-range fin funnels, as the weaponry stacked behind the Nu Gundam is called, reach a height of 24.8 meters (81.4 feet). Oh, and the statue weighs 80 metric tons (176,370 pounds).

You might also notice that the Nu Gundam is in slightly different poses depending on the photo. That’s because its right shoulder/arm isn’t stationary, but motorized, as are parts of the head.

▼ The Nu Gundam’s arm in motion, prior to the head’s installation

There also appears to be some sort of access point right where the Nu Gundam’s cockpit hatch would be, and seeing technicians go in and out only added to the anime-to-real-life aura of awesomeness.

We’ve still got a couple months to go before the April grand opening of the Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport Fukuoka in Fukuoka City’s Hakata Ward, where the Nu Gundam will be standing guard, and between now and then the finishing touches will be put on the statue, with an artist’s rendition of its complete form below.

But with all of its major body parts now in place, it’s safe to say that Japan’s third life-size Gundam has arrived.

Source, top image, insert image: Press release
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