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October 2003

Gundam Museum Takes Visitors to World of Mobile Suits

Bandai Museum
The Bandai Museum (Bandai Museum)

Do you watch Gundam on TV, make plastic models, simulate battles with Mobile Suit figures, and have shelf full of collectibles? Then the new Gundam Museum is just the place for you!

On July 19, toy maker Bandai opened a museum dedicated to your favorite TV heroes and heroines. The Gundam Museum is located inside the Bandai Museum (site is Japanese only), in the city of Matsudo in Chiba Prefecture, north of Tokyo.

Gundam is the story of young people who have been called on to fight in the battle between the Earth Federation Forces and the Zeon Forces. Gundam is the name for big robot-shaped machines, or "mobile suits," that are used as weapons in the battle.

The entrance to the museum (Bandai Museum)

Entering the Gundam Museum is like traveling to the imaginary future of 0100 U.C. (Universal Century), the time scale used in the world of Gundam. Museum staff wearing Earth Federation Forces uniforms make you feel like you are really there!

In the world of Gundam, by 0050 U.C. more than 9 billion people have emigrated to space, and the display begins with a detailed explanation of the Earth Sphere space colonies. You'll learn all about the mechanisms of Centrifugal Gravity, Plant Modules, and Climate Control.

In the next room there's a life-sized head of Zaku, the enemy mobile suit whose capture contributed greatly to the development of the Earth Federation Forces' own Gundam mobile suit technology. There's also a shooting range where visitors pretend they're on the Zeon side and take shots at Gundam using Zaku's heavyweight ZMC 38III machine gun - if you can lift it, that is.

"Zaku's machine gun was so heavy!" said 13-year-old Ogata Tsuyoshi. "I did manage to hit Gundam, but missed a whole lot of shots!"

The next section follows the development of the original Gundam RX-78, complete with panels and cool computer graphics created especially for the museum. And once you've got the academic stuff covered, it's time to see the real thing.

The life-size Gundam RX-78 (Sotsu Agency·Sunrise)

Awaiting you in the hangar section is a life-size, above-waist figure of the Gundam RX-78, standing 5.6 meters tall. Take the lift, and you're treated to the rare experience of seeing Gundam "eye to eye."

"I came just to see the life-sized Gundam," said 10-year-old Nakamura Mizuki. "It was gigantic. And it felt real."

At the end of the tour there's the Gundam Base souvenir shop, where you'll find every conceivable product with Gundam on it. Since opening, the Gundam Museum has welcomed more than 220,000 visitors as of August 31, and it's sure to attract more as a "must see" attraction for Gundam fans everywhere.

NOTICE: Since October 9, 2003, Japanese names in Kids Web Japan have been written in their original order: surname first.

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