Robot Heroes Appear in True-to-life, Gigantic Form
Loved around the world, anime and manga are now recognized as an important part of Japanese culture. Countless fans have undoubtedly wanted to enter the stories' worlds and meet their favorite characters—to actually see them in lifelike form before their eyes would be an incredibly exciting experience. While an action figure may stimulate the imagination, how much more thrilling would it be to see a giant robot character as it appears in the anime?
The 18-meter-tall, life-sized statue of Gundam gained immense popularity at an event held in Odaiba during the summer of 2009. ©SOTSU, SUNRISE
This is exactly what happened in the summer of 2009, when a life-size Gundam statue standing 18 meters tall was erected at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo's Odaiba district. Originally appearing in the popular anime television series, Mobile Suit Gundam, the giant humanoid armament (called "mobile suits" in the anime) is piloted from a cockpit in the abdomen. In the story, a space colony known as the Principality of Zeon wages war with the Earth Federation Forces. Battles are conducted using various kinds of mobile suits. The statue stood in Odaiba for only 52 days during summer, but it proved to be extremely popular, and over four million visitors went to see the adored character.
The Gundam statue was displayed in Shizuoka Prefecture during the following year. After being given a rest, it will return to Odaiba for a second time in April 2012, when the heroic figure will be on display at a soon-to-open shopping complex.
The 18-meter-tall Tetsujin 28-go statue in the Shin-Nagata district of Kobe.
©HIKARI PRO/KOBE TETSUJIN PROJECT 2012
In September 2009, the same year as Gundam's appearance at Odaiba, an 18-meter-tall statue of Tetsujin 28-go ("Iron Man Number 28") was unveiled at Wakamatsu Park in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. The city was severely damaged by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995; Nagata Ward in particular, where the park is located, was razed by the ensuing fires. The robot hero's statue, built with funds donated by shop owners of the local shopping district, was a symbol of the ward's recovery. Tetsujin 28-go began as a serialized manga in 1956 and was later adapted into a television anime. Its creator, Yokoyama Mitsuteru, was a manga artist born in Kobe. The hero stands triumphantly with its right fist held up toward the sky, a stance that expresses the strong will to rebuild and aspirations to make a new city after the earthquake.