Admiring Odaiba's Gundam Statues
2022 is a sad year for Gundam fans as all official Gundam cafes in Japan have closed last January, except for the temporary installment of Gundam Factory Yokohama, which has been extended until March 31, 2023.
Those that have ceased operations are the Gundam Cafes in Odaiba and Fukuoka, Gundam Café Tokyo Brand Core in Akihabara and Gundam Square in Osaka. You may check out the management's official announcement last year on their official website.
Thankfully, we still have the life-sized Gundam standing in Odaiba, Tokyo, to keep our Gundam pilot dreams alive while we wait for new projects in the future. As for me, I was lucky enough to visit the current Gundam display, as well as its predecessor.
But before we drive down memory lane, what is Gundam?
Gundam is a media franchise that features robots or mecha called mobile suits which are piloted by human beings. It was created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise, with the first TV series, Mobile Suit Gundam, airing on April 7, 1979. At present, there are over 30 Gundam animated series and films.
The franchise has also paved way to the success and popularity of Gunpla or plastic model kits exhibiting mobile suits from the series.
Where is it located?
The aforementioned Gundam display is stationed outside the South side (or Food Court) of DiverCity Tokyo Plaza – an enormous entertainment and shopping complex on the artificial island of Odaiba.
There are several ways to go to the island but the most scenic would be via the Yurikamome Line – a driverless train that crosses the famous Rainbow Bridge, allowing its passengers magnificent views of it.
Address: DiverCity Tokyo Plaza 1-1-10 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 2F Festival Square
Gundam RX-78-2 (2009, 2012-2017)
The first Gundam statue to stand in DiverCity was the Gundam RX-78-2 in 2009 for the celebration of the series' 30th anniversary. It was one of the first mobile suits to be introduced in the 1979 animated series, making it special and close to the fans' hearts.
It was only meant to be a temporary attraction so it was dismantled in September 2009 but due to the high demand from the fans, it came back as a permanent attraction in April 2012. At 18 meters, it would emit light and spew mist from its chest while its head moved during scheduled daily events.
I can't really call myself a big Gundam fan since I only watched two animated series – Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny - but it was enough to secure a spot on our travel plans in 2015.
RX-0 Unicorn (2017-present)
In September 2017, the RX-0 Unicorn, from the 2010 Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn series, succeeded the Gundam RX-78-2. The Gundam towers at 19.7 meters which is 1.7 meters taller than its predecessor!
The all-white Gundam can switch between two modes – Unicorn and Destroyer – during its daily transformation events. Visitors can also enjoy special screenings of the animated franchise. You may check the schedule here.
During the last day of my Tokyo trip last 2020, I dragged my friend to check out the new RX-0 Unicorn right after we visited teamLab Borderless.
And there you have it! Personally, I like the RX-78-2 more just because of its similarity with the Strike Gundam from my favorite series, Gundam Seed. Hopefully by the time travel restrictions due to the pandemic ease, there'd be new Gundam projects available to see.
Hi, I'm a half-Japanese, kawaii-loving girl from the Philippines. In my free time, I juggle writing poetry, making art, and playing with my fur baby. I dream of traveling the world and moving to Japan permanently. But for now, I take pleasure in virtually sharing Japan's beauty and uniqueness.
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