Recent announcements reveal the life-size statue of the iconic RX-78-2 Gundam will be replaced by the popular RX-0 Unicorn Gundam.
Bandai, Sunrise Co,.Ltd, and Sotsu Co. recently announced that the Diver City Tokyo Plaza Gundam statue will be replaced by a new life-sized statue, the Unicorn Gundam. Under the name “Tokyo Gundam Project 2017”, this new 1/1 scale statue is expected to be unveiled Fall 2017.
With a focus on realism, people will be able to experience this powerful Gundam up close, bringing a new type of entertainment to revitalize the Tokyo Waterfront City area.
The new Gundam statue depicts the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, the eponymous Gundam of the 2007 novel by Harutoshi Fukui, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. The novel received a manga adaptation and a seven episode OVA in March 2010, then a 22 episode television broadcast titled Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 in 2016. Gundam Unicorn was a huge success, amassing a cumulative total of 3 million novels sold, 1.9 million Blu-ray and DVD sales, and over 1 million views through paid distribution services.
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, taking place three years after the events of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, follows the story of young engineering student Banagher Links and his fated meeting with Zeon princess Mineva Zabi (“Audrey Burns”), becoming entangled with the ongoing war between the Earth Federation and the Neo Zeon remnant faction called “The Sleeves” led by Full Frontal, said to be the Second Coming of Char Aznable.
Sunday March 5, 2017 marked the end of an era for the 18 meter tall original Gundam statue. Officially titled “RG 1/1 RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. GFT”, the statue was first erected in 2009, then moved from Obaida to Shizuoka City from 2010 to 2011. The great statue found its residence back to Obaida in 2012 where it stood out outside Gundam Front Tokyo theme park, located on the 7th floor of the Diver City Tokyo Plaza.
The statue depicted the RX-78-2 Gundam, the original Gundam famously piloted by Amuro Ray from the 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam series. The series was developed by anime director Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise, a war drama involving the stalemated One Year War between the factions, Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. The Gundam is the Federation’s secret weapon against Zeon and Amuro Ray incidentally becomes its pilot. Amuro and the Gundam face many obstacles thrown at them by Zeon, including his rival, their ace pilot Char Aznable, famously known as the Red Comet for his speed in battle and trademark custom red Mobile Suits.
The success of Mobile Suit Gundam led to the conception of a prominent media and toy franchise, spawning sequel series, movies, OVAs, ONAs, and a multitude of televised series. Gundam is also noted for revolutionizing the mecha anime genre by introducing mecha as tools of war, known as “Real Robot”, in contrast to “Super Robot” featuring mecha more as superheroes.
In addition to the replacement of the RX-78-2 Gundam statue, the Gundam theme park Gundam Front Tokyo will be replaced by The Gundam Base Tokyo. This new facility will serve as an information hub for Gundam fans and Japan’s largest Gunpla facility, selling over 2000 different models. Gundam Front Tokyo will close its doors April 5th, and Gundam Base Tokyo is slated to open Summer 2017.