The significance of the event is being felt by everyone, even the workers who stopped to pose with photos of the mecha’s gigantic detached body parts.

Ever since we heard news in December that Tokyo’s well-known Gundam statue would be dismantled after five years of looking down upon visitors to the Diver City entertainment complex (which houses the Gundam Front Tokyo attraction) in Odaiba, we were sadly counting down the days to the date of its last official appearance on 5 March.

▼ Gundam’s final head-moving, smoke-emitting light-up display was met with applause from crowds of fans who came to see the giant’s last performance.

Being a towering mecha, the giant Gundam was still visible to crowds for a week after it officially went off the grid, with the shin-high temporary boards placed around it doing little to hide the robot from passers-by.

That all changed on Monday, however, as workers began the delicate process of dismantling the 18-metre (59-foot) tall giant, with Twitter users like @ShonanPai sharing photos of the scene online.

Another Twitter user, @Enchi151, has been documenting the event with a number of photos and videos, including this clip which shows that one of the first parts to go was the robot’s hand, carefully detached from the arm with the help of two men and a crane.

Once the hand had been removed, it was time for the arm to be lowered gently to the ground.

▼ Then today it was time for Gundam’s head to be detached.

The workers were even pictured taking a photograph of themselves next to the iconic head to commemorate the occasion.

▼ This is how the statue looked this afternoon.

Despite the sad occasion, the decision to dismantle these particular parts and leave the statue in this state temporarily is an act that’s warming the hearts of fans everywhere. With its head and left arm missing, the statue now resembles the RX-78-2 Gundam in the dramatic scene where it fires its last shot at the end of the 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam animated TV series.

▼ Hopefully the suit won’t come down with as much force as it does in the anime!

Although it’s sad for fans to bid farewell to the giant Gundam statue, which was officially unveiled in 2009 at Odaiba before temporarily moving to Bandai’s headquarters in Shizuoka from 2010-2011, the silver lining is that there’s an even bigger statue from the franchise coming our way later this year. We can’t wait for the new mecha’s arrival!

Source, featured image: Twitter/@ShonanPai