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Japan's Life-Sized Gundam Returns With Active Weaponry

| 22 Mar 2010 14:51
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The good news: The full-scale, life-size Gundam will be rebuilt in Japan. The better news: It's going to have a lightsaber this time around.

Last year, we here at The Escapist faithfully reported on the incredibly awesome oddity that was the 1:1 scale statue of the iconic RX-78-2 Gundam being built over in Japan from inception to completion to deconstruction. Why, you ask? Because it was badass.

Even though the life-size Gundam was taken down in September after just a few short months on display, something that cool couldn't be kept down forever. We'd heard that the Gundam would be making a return this year, but now we finally have confirmation. According to a Bandai press release, the iconic giant robot will be erected in front of the JR Higashi-Shizuoka railway station in Shizuoka - one of the busiest train stations in the world.

It won't be exactly the same RX-78-2 Gundam seen in Odaiba's Shiokaze Park, however: This new iteration of the statue will be holding one of the series' standard beam sabers (think giant mecha-size lightsabers). What's really cool about this is not only will the beam saber light up at night, but the new display pedestal will actually be designed in such a way that it looks like the saber is cutting through the stone.

Shizuoka has a special connection with Bandai's Gundam franchise, as it is home to the massive factory that produces all of the popular plastic model kits of the franchise's various giant fighting robots. So, in a way, those little models (16 of which are adorning my desk here at Escapist HQ) are getting a very, very big brother.

The groundbreaking 1979 anime series Mobile Suit Gundam, directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, established the "real robot" genre of mecha anime. As opposed to the "super robot" genre where the fighting robots were magical superheroes who fought monsters and aliens, the "real robot" genre treated the mecha as military hardware, with a far more serious and dramatic take on the matter. The guy's not called "'Kill 'Em All' Tomino" for nothing, you know. It would spawn one of the longest-running anime franchises in history, and has a very special place in Japanese pop culture.

Now, while I need to maintain a level of professional decorum as a news writer here, I hope you'll forgive me this one outburst of fanboyish joy:

YESSSSSSS! THIS IS F*CKING AWESOME!

Thank you.

(Via Ngee Khiong)

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