Tokyo: Gundam at Odaiba
Whether you’re a fan or not, I’m sure you are familiar with the Gundam (ガンダム) anime series, or maybe their toy merchandises. And in the country where it was born, a life-size model was built in the Tokyo district of Odaiba to celebrate its 35th anniversary.
The Gundam Front Tokyo is situated at the Diver City Tokyo Mall in Odaiba which is only meters away from the Tokyo Teleport station. And behold, fans and non-fans alike, a giant Gundam statue welcomes at the mall entrance. The assembly of the statue is so amazing, noting how much attention is given to the intricate details of some of its parts. The statue is based on one of the most popular Gundam model – the Mobile Suit Gundam RG/1/1 RX-78-2. In the series, it is piloted by Armuro Ray, and at the LED displays at the walls of Diver City he can be seen showing his pilot skills. The Gundam’s head is moving and during the evenings its eyes were illuminated, making the giant robot more fearsome, and steam is constantly emitted from its chest to make it appear real.
The Gundam franchise started in 1979 as a television series by Sunrise animation studio (a subsidiary of Bandai Namco). Soon enough it became so popular that numerous sequels, spinoffs, merchandises, and ripoffs were released. It is estimated that over 50 billion yen is earned by this franchise, most revenues coming from anime, manga, video games and gunpla (Gundam plastic toys). No wonder, Gundam has become a very large industry in Japan, and in fact, every corner of Japan has at least one Gundam items in each toy shops.
Gundam has indeed become a part of Japanese cultural icon. It has been so attached to Japan that the Chinese national media once showed by mistake a video clipping showing Gundam as part of the real-life Japanese army.
Found next to the statue is the Gundam Café which sells Gundam-themed light bites and drinks. Though the menu seems ordinary it has been added with a Gundam twist: the latte has Gundam drawings and each menu is named after the characters of the popular series.
At the seventh floor of the Diver City Tokyo mall is the Gundam Front Tokyo, an indoor theme park where anyone can experience “piloting” a Gundam using a large projector (like some sort of a Gundam simulator). It is said that this is a pinnacle of Gundam Theme entertainment.
Also found here is the Gunpla Tokyo, the largest Gundam exhibit where over a thousand models are on display.
And if you are looking for something else, there are Hello Kitty, Calbee and Glico shops for those who are not really fans of anime, and Daiso for those looking for budget souvenir items.
Here’s a 360 photo of Gundam by Acie
Gundam #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
The Rinkai Line connects Osaki Station on the JR Yamanote Line with Shin-Kiba Station on the JR Keiyo Line, stopping at the Tokyo Teleport and Kokusai Tenjijo underground stations on Odaiba along the way. Some trains on the JR Saikyo Line continue to run on the Rinkai Line and provide direct connections between Shinjuku, Shibuya and Odaiba.
The ride from Shinjuku to Tokyo Teleport Station on Odaiba takes 25 minutes and costs 500 yen. Note that the Japan Rail Pass, Seishun 18 Kippu and similar JR tickets are not valid on the Rinkai Line between Osaki and Shin-Kiba, even though the line is served by JR trains.
Gundam Statue: Free
Gundam Front Tokyo: ¥1200
Discount offered for Elementary students