It's half the size of the Statue of Liberty, has flashing eyes and steam rising from its body as it towers over puny humans by Tokyo Bay. This 18-meter statue has attracted millions of fans since it was built in 2009 to honor the famous machine from anime, which looks like a futuristic suit of samurai armor. But a consortium of Gundam devotees and companies says it isn't satisfied with a mere statue. It wants to build another six-story Gundam--a robot version that can actually move. The backers haven't decided whether locomotion for the giant would be possible, though it seems unlikely.
Before they even began, the Summer Olympics in Rio were plagued by concerns over pollution, political unrest and the Zika virus. Then, Usain Bolt flashed a smile, Simone Biles leapt into our hearts and Michael Phelps won his 28th medal -- prompting us to remember why we get so excited for the Olympics in the first place. Now, after the closing ceremony on Sunday, the 2016 Olympic Games are over. What's a sports fan to do? Obsess way too early about the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, that's what. The organizers of the Games already had to redesign their Olympic logo due to accusations that it was plagiarized from a theatre in Belgium.
The towering, full-scale 19.7-meter Unicorn Gundam replaces the previous model, which was removed in March. "I know that many people were waiting so long for this day to arrive. I was one of them," Toshinobu Maeda, managing director of Tokyo Port Terminal Corp., which is in charge of the project, said at the media preview Saturday evening. "The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are coming up in three years, and the waterfront area has been chosen as one of the sites for the games," he said. "I expect this Unicorn Gundam . . . to become the source of further revitalization for the waterfront area."
Bandai Co. is looking to tap Japan's expanding tourism market by opening a Tokyo shop dedicated to selling, building and painting plastic models of robots from its popular Gundam franchise. Gundam Base Tokyo -- set to open Saturday in the Odaiba district -- will let visitors learn about or experience the joy of model building, Bandai said. The models, commonly called Gunpla, have been a hit since the first one came out in 1980. More than 473 million units had been sold worldwide as of March, Bandai says. "Odaiba is in the international spotlight since the Olympics is coming up, so it's a great location to open a store," Koji Fujiwara, general manager of Bandai's hobby products department, said in a group interview Thursday during a sneak preview of the site.