Some of you in the English-speaking world have probably heard of a little fantasy TV series called Game of Thrones. It’s won a few awards here and there, has a fairly enthusiastic fan base, and — let’s face it — is all around a huge freakin’ deal.
While America and the rest of the world fill their goblets with mead in anticipation of the March 31 premiere of season 3, Japan is finally getting their first taste of the series when season 1 airs on January 27 — and they’re promoting it by holding free screenings of the first episode in a castle built from actual blocks of ice.
Unlike the fever of anticipation that surrounded the show leading up to its broadcast in America, the Japanese premiere of Game of Thrones has approached relatively uncelebrated and unnoticed.
Despite its popularity overseas, most people in Japan have never heard of Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire, the series of novels it was adapted from. Nor are the Japanese high fantasy junkies like many Westerners, especially in the face of home-grown fantasy in the form of anime and manga.
Star Channel, the Japanese network that localized the series, is hoping to build hype for the show by screening the first episode for two days inside a specially-erected theater surrounded by castle walls made of ice — 50 tons of ice, to be exact.
This appropriately named “Ice Castle Theater” is located at DiverCity Tokyo Plaza in Odaiba, which happens to be the location of another large promotional structure that is of far more interest to the Japanese than swords and dragons:
That’s right, they built Ice Castle Theater right next to the giant Gundam. Does anyone know how they golf clap in Westeros?
Take a look at the video below to get an idea of just how insignificant the Game of Thrones display looks next to the life-sized mobile suit:
This video was taken by our reporter on Saturday evening during one of the free screenings. In contrast to the large crowd of people surrounding the Gundam, only a trickle of people could be seen going in and out of the castle, though the staff were doing their best to hand our pamphlets to everyone who walked by.
Our reporter was allowed entrance to the theater in between screenings and tells us that the inside was incredibly cold. They give viewers blankets to wrap themselves in while they watch the show, but we’re not sure how effective that is when it’s a winter night and you’re sitting in a castle made of ice.
Still, a lousy promotion doesn’t necessarily mean the show will flop. Those American dramas that are localized in Japan usually do well, and the success of films like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings prove that Western fantasy can go over well with a Japanese audience if they’re just given the chance. Our Japanese staff recently even wrote an article praising Game of Thrones to the skies after getting a sneak peek last week.
Who knows, maybe the giant Gundam will one day be accompanied by a life-size statue of Tyrion Lannister.
The Game of Thrones Ice Castle Wall will be up until January 14. Free screenings of episode 1 (Japanese dub) will be shown on Sunday, January 13 at 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, and 18:00. No reservation required.
Photos & Video: RocketNews24
▼ Game of Thrones Ice Castle Theater
▼Inside the castle
▼ Maintenance staff work around the clock to make sure the walls stay together
▼ Game of Thrones never stood a chance against Gundam. No one ever did.