The popular anime robot, Gundam, is set to come to life later this year for a limited time at a 9,000-square-meter complex in Yokohama. The Gundam Global Challenge project, with the sole purpose of making an animatronic version of Gundam possible, was launched in 2014, the year marking the 40th anniversary of the anime series.
It was in 2009 that the first giant statue of Gundam was placed in Odaiba, the artificial island in Tokyo Bay. Although, it was deconstructed a few months after its debut, it was rebuilt in 2012, this time permanently, after the public demanded its return. It was then replaced with an even taller statue of Unicorn Gundam in 2017.
The Gundam Global Challenge Project
Impressive as the illuminated statue might be, it has a huge drawback – other than some parts on its head, it doesn’t move. The Gundam Global Challenge project, aims to fix that. The Gundam Factory, sporting a life-sized, 18-meter-tall moving Gundam statue will be open to the public starting October this year. According to official videos uploaded on YouTube documenting the progress of the statue, the idea behind this project was rather simple. “If the original statue managed to gather 4 million visitors in 50 days, how many would it gather if it moved?” And just like that Yasuo Miyakawa, the current president and CEO of Sunrise, the animation studio behind the series, pulled the strings to make it happen.
The Gundam Factory
The factory, to be located in Yokohama’s Yamashita’s pier, will have two main facilities, one of which being the Gundam Dock where the statue will be stored and have maintenance work done on it. The Academy, Gundam Café, Gundam Base Yokohama Satellite, and a conference room will make-up the second main facility: the Gundam Lab.
The Gundam Lab is expected to be a Mecca for fans of the series. Among other goods, original and never-before-released Gundam figurines will be exclusively available at the satellite shop. Similarly, the Gundam Café will be serving Gundam-themed creations alongside gourmet Yokohama dishes.
The Moving Gundam Statue
So far there hasn’t been any detailed information as to what movements the statue will be performing, but from the official videos so far, we can tell that each finger on the 2-meter-long hand will be able to move to the point where it can form the V sign. Visitors will be able to have a better view of the moving Gundam from the Gundam Tower next to the dock, which will cost you extra. You will also be able to learn more about its production by visiting the Academy.
The Gundam Factory will be open for just about a year, from October 1, 2020, to October 3, 2021, and tickets for the venue will go on sale this July. Prior to the official opening, special experience tickets offering a sneak peek of the facilities on the weekends of July and August will go on sale this April with more details to be released soon.