Gundam is one of the most well-known television series in Japan with a very large fan base. It started as a military fiction television series in 1979, created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise Studios. The franchise is credited for being a pioneer of depicting real robots in mass media, as well as in real life in Tokyo.
While Gundam started as a television show, it has spawned into a successful action figure line, numerous other television series, movies, as well as manga and graphic novels.
Gundam also inspired plastic model kits, called Gunpla, which make up a majority of Japan’s plastic model market.
There is a virtual Gundam Academy that was conceptualized in 2008, which was the first academic program completely inspired by an animated television series.
The sheer amount of content that has been created around Gundam is unprecedented compared to other popular series that exists. For example, there have been over 50 TV series made about Gundam since its inception in 1979.
People all over the world have been avid fans of Gundam, as its popularity spans far outside of Japan, leading to its billion-dollar success.
The impact that Gundam has had on Japan is so large that a life-sized Gundam robot was erected in Tokyo, which has become a major tourist attraction. While there’s quite a history to the Gundam model in Tokyo, there’s still a figure that can be visited today.
Mobile Suit Gundam, where the Gundam craze originally started, was a unique and revolutionary mixture of fantasy and real-life that wasn’t seen much at that time. It took ordinary life and super robots and blended them together, as humans were in control of the super robots.
The Gundam series in its entirety spans several lifetimes and dimensions and sees common themes people enjoy such as war, superheroes, fighting, and conflict.
Viewers can enjoy seeing interactions between those on Earth and those from space, and the much-loved battle between good and evil.
There is a lot more complexity within Gundam, and the entire story can be indulged in through several series and movies. Die-hard fans can learn more about the intricacies of each character and the power that is held within the super robot suits, and so much more.
The First Gundam Statue
In 2009, Gundam was celebrating its 30th anniversary. To commemorate the special day, a life-size or 20 foot Gundam statue was built and placed within the manga metropolis of Tokyo. Specifically, the Mobile Suit that Gundam is well known for was erected. The statue was meticulously designed to mimic the famous Mobile Suit.
The Gundam Mobile Suit was built not only to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Gundam but also as part of the Green Tokyo Gundam Project.
The Gundam was built to play music and was also able to move its arms and head. It was even able to shoot smoke and lasers. At night, the Mobile Suit Gundam displayed a brilliant light show from its body.
The robot only stayed up for a little over a month, only to pop up at Shizuoka. Shizuoka was a fitting location, as it’s where Gundam scale models are built.
Since the first Gundam robot brought millions of visitors, it was believed that a second installation would do the same, which it did.
Gundam came back to Tokyo in 2011 in the wake of the devastating tsunami that hit Japan, as a creative way to raise money for those impacted. Visitors could pay a small amount of money to see Gundam and take a photo with their favorite robot.
The Current Gundam Statue
The original Gundam robot that stood was the famous RX-78 Gundam model. In 2017, this model was actually taken down and replaced with the Unicorn Gundam from the modern series.
The Unicorn Gundam
The Unicorn Gundam was featured in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, a novel written by Harutoshi Fukui. The novel was eventually made into a limited anime animation series and later into a television series. There was also a video game created based on Fukui’s prequel novel surrounding Unicorn Gundam.
The Unicorn Gundam Statue
Unicorn Gundam shares much of the same fan culture as the rest of the Gundam series, also expanding into even more media and being turned into toys. The Unicorn Gundam statue currently stands at almost 65 feet tall.
It takes inspiration from RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, famous from the novel as well as the OVA Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
The Unicorn Gundam stays in its Unicorn mode most of the time. This consists of a white frame and the antenna on top of its head that resembles a unicorn horn.
However, there are scheduled times where you can watch the Unicorn Gundam transform from Unicorn mode to Destroy Mode.
Destroy Mode consists of Unicorn Gundam’s white frame expanding to show a pink glow emitting from its body. Many tourists will come to this spot to see the amazing display.
There are various times throughout the day that Unicorn Gundam displays its transformation, but it is especially breathtaking at night where the lights are much more visible.
While Unicorn Gundam is transforming, there is also a screen close by that plays various anime clips from the Gundam series as well as the infamous Gundam theme songs that have accompanied the many series over the years.
The Unicorn Gundam Shows
During the day, Unicorn Gundam shows are held every couple of hours starting at 11:00 a.m. After the 5:00 p.m. show, there is a small break to prepare for the nighttime shows. At 7:00 p.m, there is a different Unicorn Gundam show every half hour, with the last being at 9:30 p.m.
It’s recommended that you try and get there early to get a good spot for photos. There are many other things to do in the area where Unicorn Gundam resides as well.
Scenes from the Gundam series are displayed on screens, and there’s also a Gundam archive to peruse.
Just behind Unicorn Gundam is a cafe where tourists and visitors can purchase snacks and memorabilia from the show. Everything sold at the cafe is Gundam-themed. Gundam Base is located on the seventh floor of Diver City Shopping Center.
At the Gundam Base, shoppers can browse a variety of items inspired by the Gundam franchise, including posters, toys, clothing, and much more.
There is also a display of 1000 Gunpla kits, which are used to build Gundam models. This display is the largest of its kind. Fans can also find exclusive Gundam gunpla to build that they cannot find anywhere else.
For any fan of the Gundam series visiting Tokyo, this is a must-see destination. It’s an experience within itself outside of the shopping and exclusive memorabilia to peruse.
Even if you’re touring Tokyo as a casual fan, there are endless opportunities within Gundam Base to learn everything there is to know about Gundam.
Gundam Base features displays that allow fans to see the transformation of the Gundam Suit over the years. Fans can also learn how models were manufactured throughout the years. There’s also an opportunity to create your own Gundam before browsing through all the shops and other points of interest.
Whether you’ve been a lifelong fan of Gundam or are just learning about it, there’s no doubt that anyone would find amusement and enjoyment visiting an almost 65-foot statue of the infamous Unicorn Gundam.
There are so many opportunities to learn more about Gundam and completely immerse yourself within the Gundam world through Gundam Base.
To learn about Gundam is to dive deep into one of the many amazing things that Japan has introduced to the world. The intricate and immersive experience is a must when visiting Tokyo, as a whole day can be enjoyed admiring the dynamic world of Gundam, shopping nearby, and visiting the cafe.
Diver City Shopping Center
The Diver City Shopping Center, where Unicorn Gundam now lives, was opened in 2012. It’s an expansive shopping center boasting seven floors of shops and Japanese souvenir stores. Shoppers can find anything from everyday American brands to high-end exclusive products.
There’s also an entertainment area on the top floor with an entertainment center, a bowling alley, and arcades. The food court also boasts cuisines from all over the world, fast food options, and authentic Japanese delicacies.