By Naomi Isaka
[Editor's note: the Gundam described in this article has since been replaced by the upgraded Unicorn model]
It was April 1979 when a Japanese television series called Mobile Suit Gundam debuted and the rest is history. The Gundam franchise is now a fascinating 50 billion yen trademark consisting of movies, mangas, novels, video games, plastic model kits and more. On its 35th Anniversary, Namco Bandai and Sunrise Incorporated launched trailers for upcoming anime and game projects for the Gundam universe. Therefore, a trip to stand before the ginormous Gundam statue and to walk through the Gundam Front Tokyo museum in Odaiba was fitting for a beautiful spring afternoon in Japan.
At the main entrance of Diver City Tokyo stands the mobile suit Gundam RG 1/1 RX-78-2 Ver. GFT. This particular mobile suit is piloted by a character named Amuro Ray. The life sized Gundam statue is lit up every day from 5:00pm to 11:00pm with steam spewing from its chest. At the hours of 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm daily, you can watch him test his pilot skills against the 105 x 37 feet backdrop projected on the Diver City Tokyo wall behind the Gundam. The 13-minute video is called Gundam Stand at Jaburo Aware/Tenshi Version.
On the seventh floor of Diver City Tokyo is Gundam Front Tokyo. It offers five different zones for the total Gundam experience with paid admission. Entrance fees are 1,000 yen for Adults, College & High school students, and 800 yen for Middle and Elementary aged. Tickets can easily be purchased same-day at Gundam Front Tokyo or reserve them online, through Ticketpia, or at a 7-Eleven kiosk.
The first admission zone is Dome-G, which offers an exclusive video experience per admission ticket. You’ll walk in and stand against rails lined throughout the center. The dome itself is 16 meters (50 feet) in diameter, equipped with six projectors and 13 speakers. Visitors will watch footage of the 1/1 Gundam taken from a crane, famous scenes from past Gundam series, and impressive, highly-detailed CG of mobile suits like the RX-93 ν Gundam against the Sazabi piloted by Amuro's rival throughout the universal century, Char. Be sure to keep an eye on the start time for the next viewing!
The Character Photo Spot is the next admission zone. Bring your camera and have your picture taken with your favorite pilot. Life-sized characters from Mobile Suit Gundam to Mobile Suit Gundam AGE await your presence. How do you measure up?
Another photo opportunity is at the bust of the Strike Freedom Gundam. Experience the 1/1 scale from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny in an entirely new way by walking right underneath its robotic arm. On display to its left is the 1/1 Core Fighter Ver. GFT from Mobile Suit Gundam. With its new LED lighting and decals, you won’t miss it!
Last but not least, the scene of Mobile Suit Gundam’s final battle against the Principality of Zeon on the space fortress A Baoa Qu stands at 15 by 10 feet. It’s a fusion of two asteroids into one, forming an umbrella-like shape.
Before you leave, be sure to check out the souvenir shops and Gunpla Tokyo, the biggest exhibition having 1,000 kinds of Gunpla models on display!
Updated 12/5/2017 - Mobile suit Gundam RG 1/1 RX-78-2 Ver. GFT has been replaced by Unicorn Gundam effective September 24, 2017.
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Originally from San Diego, California, I lived in Japan for 4-1/2 years and now I am currently based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. In December 2010, I arrived in Yokosuka with a new outlook on my future. Mainly, to refocus on family and let my curiosities take us to places we’ve only dreamt of. Along the way, we’d hopefully develop new friendships and simply collect memories to last a lifetime. Then, there was the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. I will never forget that experience and the devastating effects it had on the entire country. I asked the community, “What can I do to help?” Collecting, sorting, and packing donations, was the least I could do. I also ended up going back to California for one month, raised a small monetary donation for Red Cross, and secured a few phone interviews to help spread the word on how others from the United States could assist. I was determined to show my family, friends, and folks across the world that it would be okay to return to Japan. After all, I wanted them to know that all of the little things that make up this beautiful country still existed. What better way than to use a platform such as JapanTravel.com to share photos and stories full of life, history, and culture. It is a pleasure to say I have contributed more than 150 articles to a database that now collectively holds more than 15,000! This journey has not only allowed me to realize my initial goals, but I’d like to think that it has somehow played a role in sparking an interest locally and across the globe for others to experience all that is published here and more. I invite you to also share your wonderful stories, offer comments, and ask questions right here on JapanTravel. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Safe travels! ٩( ๑╹ ꇴ╹)۶