Gundam

Nankai Railways and Gundam combine their love of mobility to create the Gundam train

Nankai Railways and Gundam combine their love of mobility to create the Gundam train

In a way, it’s slightly ironic that Gundam, Japan’s most venerated giant robot, is honored with a huge statue that stands in the Odaiba district of Tokyo. The original series in the franchise was titled Mobile Suit Gundam, but that 18-meter (59-foot) isn’t going anywhere since not only is it incapable of walking, Odaiba is an island and we’re pretty sure it can’t swim, either.

Coming soon, though, is a more logical wat to pay homage to the franchise: a Gundam train.

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Fans and industry veterans celebrate Gundam’s 35th anniversary

Fans and industry veterans celebrate Gundam’s 35th anniversary

Gundam fans worldwide, including those in the industry, are taking to Twitter, Pixiv, and other social media to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Mobile Suit Gundam, which began airing on April 7, 1979. The messages have been including artwork, photos of gunpla, and more.

Here are some of our favorites:

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Defend the Earth while lying under it with an Immobile Suit Gundam grave

Defend the Earth while lying under it with an Immobile Suit Gundam grave

For a few years now, whenever online chatter of a new statue based on the machines of the Gundam universe goes on the picture above seems to always pop up. But exactly where is this MS monument of mourning? Is it even real?

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Prepare to be blown away by Gundam projection mapping in the palm of your hand

Prepare to be blown away by Gundam projection mapping in the palm of your hand

Projection mapping is a big hit in Japan. Used at festivals and big events, the colourful and creative light shows project moving images onto buildings and objects, bringing them to life with accompanying music and drawing in adoring crowds.

The latest object getting the laser treatment in Japan is a life-size Gundam figure in Odaiba, Tokyo. While the figure has travelled around and been subject to projection mapping over the past few years, a new tie-in promotional product that has crowds going crazy. It’s a simple little box that, when used in conjunction with your smartphone or PSP, fills up with lasers, sparks and music in an amazing 3-D light show you’ll have to see to believe.

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Not-so-mighty challengers assemble to determine Japan’s wimpiest Gundam!

Not-so-mighty challengers assemble to determine Japan’s wimpiest Gundam!

As the most venerated of Japan’s many giant robots, Gundam casts a gallant figure. Whether he’s appearing onscreen in his newest anime installment, or simply casting his silhouette across the landscape, to gaze upon him is to be keenly aware of his unmistakable power.

Unless, of course, his back just went out. Or if he’s working part-time at the convenience store to earn extra cash.

You know what? With so many variations of Gundam out there, we’re starting to suspect that at least some of them are, in fact, wimps.

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New online manga service features 200 titles, three selectable languages, and no fees

New online manga service features 200 titles, three selectable languages, and no fees

Kadokawa, one of Japan’s largest publishers, is almost ready to roll out its new online manga service, dubbed Comic Walker. There’s so much to like about it that we’re having trouble picking our favorite part.

The voracious media consumer in us is attracted to the large library of titles, some of which can’t be read anywhere else. The ability to instantly translate dialogue into English or Chinese is a plus, too, especially for those time when you’re not up to the challenge of leafing through your Japanese dictionary so you can read the kanji for “particle beam cannon.”

But perhaps best of all is that Kadokawa’s digital manga service is absolutely free.

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We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

Despite the traditional image of anime fans as couch potatoes whose consumption of junk food is only rivaled by their consumption of panty-flashing animation sequences, it’s only recently that gastronomy and Japanese animation have officially combined forces. Recently we heard about the giant, 10-patty Attack on Titan burger, but what if your tastes run less towards towering monsters and meat and more in the direction of giant robots and sweets?

If that’s the case, maybe you’d prefer a Gundam donut.

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Hand-carved Gundam figure is ready for battle, bazookas and all

Hand-carved Gundam figure is ready for battle, bazookas and all

What would you do if you had a father-in-law who made handmade gifts like the one in this photo? Well, if you’re a hardcore Gundam fan, you’d probably be pretty ecstatic. A few days ago, one Japanese netizen tweeted a photo of his father-in-law’s hand-carved Gundam figurine complete with giant bazookas. It gets even cooler because this isn’t even the first one that was made! You won’t believe the following photos showcasing one man’s incredible artistic talent.

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Hey, you kids! Get off my Gundam lawn!

Hey, you kids! Get off my Gundam lawn!

A few years back, toymaker Bandai built a gigantic full-size statue of Japan’s most iconic giant robot, the original RX-78 Gundam. After bouncing around and being displayed in various stages of assembly, the 1:1 scale figure finally found a permanent home in front of the Diver City shopping and restaurant complex in Tokyo, assuring that fans can come see it whenever they like, and also that it’ll get regular maintenance.

We’re glad to see someone is looking out for Gundam in the nation’s capital, since apparently the years haven’t been as kind to this version of him in the Japanese countryside.

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We wish all Gundams were snowboarding Gundams

We wish all Gundams were snowboarding Gundams

The RX-78-2 Gundam is cool on its own. No question about that. But we think we would just die of coolness overload if we saw that familiar red, white, and blue mobile suit gliding down the slopes on a snowboard. A few lucky boarders at an undisclosed location were treated to just that, as this photo proves. Snowboarding Gundams do exist!

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Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

With 35 years as Japan’s favorite mecha anime, the Gundam franchise has grown to include dozens of TV and direct-to-video animated series, manga comics, and video game adaptations. With such a long history, some of them are, of course, less successful than others. Certain fans shook their heads at V Gundam’s cast of middle schoolers. Others were baffled by G Gundam’s schoolgirl uniform-inspired robot designs. Even the TV series that started it all, 1979’s Mobile Suit Gundam, has more than its fair share of goofy villains of the week who come and go like so many Scooby Doo criminals.

But despite the franchise’s occasional detours into outright silliness, the 1988 theatrical release Char’s Counterattack enjoys almost universal acclaim, both for the gravitas of its story and the commensurate visuals. Which makes it all the more disheartening to see the robot piloted by the film’s hero apparently reduced to having to take a job at convenience store 7-Eleven.

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Gundam creator has harsh words for manga and anime hit “Attack on Titan”

Gundam creator has harsh words for manga and anime hit “Attack on Titan”

Say what you will about Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, he’s nothing if not outspoken. Previously, we covered Tomino’s somewhat incendiary remarks about kids addicted to video games, and he’s well known in Japan for being less than enthusiastic about rival mecha manga and anime.

Now he’s crossed genres to take aim at Japan’s most recent pop culture export, Attack on Titan – which we suppose defies genres as an alternate universe story about weird giant people attacking towns.

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Sister makes tempura out of her little brother’s Gundam figure

Sister makes tempura out of her little brother’s Gundam figure

Ideally, having a sibling would be great because you always have someone to play with. But most of the time, your brother or sister is a fountain of endless torment and grief. Take this sister for example. She posted the picture above with the caption, “I battered up and fried my little brother’s precious Gundam.” Yeah, siblings are the worst.

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Limited edition Gundam cake up for preorder, comes with Char’s custom plate and fork!

Limited edition Gundam cake up for preorder, comes with Char’s custom plate and fork!

Some of the lesser-known joys of Japan are the occasional anime/video game and cake collaborations. Sure, taking your favorite hobby and injecting it with some cake is a no-brainer, but these limited offers always bring some very unique collectables with them. Monster Hunter fans who pre-ordered their Rathalos cakes should be getting them next month.

Now we present to you the Char Zaku Cake Set. It’s a cake in the shape of Char Aznable’s custom MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type served on Char’s custom cake dish and fork.

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Legendary mecha designer dreams up the future of Japan’s fire trucks

Legendary mecha designer dreams up the future of Japan’s fire trucks

Fire truck manufacturer Yoshitani Machinery Co. recently approached mechanical designer Kunio Okawara and asked him to draw the next generation of fire engine. Of course, when you ask an artistic talent behind the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise and other giant robots to make a fire truck, you’re in for a treat.

Behold, The Next Yoshitani Rescue Vehicle!

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Anpanman attacks unsuspecting crowd with Gundam lasers during live show

Anpanman attacks unsuspecting crowd with Gundam lasers during live show

The costumed superhero world was shocked recently when once beloved hero with a head of bread, Anpanman, appeared to have suffered a mental breakdown and began firing lasers at the unsuspecting crowd. The carnage was captured on video and is currently being studied by psychiatric experts and federal investigators.

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Gundam-themed Toyota doesn’t come with beam saber, is awesome anyway

Gundam-themed Toyota doesn’t come with beam saber, is awesome anyway

Sometimes, despite the director’s best efforts otherwise, the villain of a movie or TV series ends up stealing the show. Luke Skywalker became the archetypical example of a pure-hearted but bland hero, while dark side practitioner Darth Vader went on to become a true cultural icon.

Similarly, you’ll be hard pressed to find any viewers of long-running anime mecha franchise Gundam who name its original hero, Amuro, as their favorite character. His nemesis Char, on the other hand, has legions of fans, even though his last on-screen appearance was way back in the 1988 motion picture Char’s Counterattack. Despite his occasional attempts to drop space colonies onto Planet Earth, fans are drawn to the stylish Char, who has always had cool robots and a cool mask. Now, he’s got a cool car, too.

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A new take on an old tradition, these amazing Obon figures are literally fresh!

A new take on an old tradition, these amazing Obon figures are literally fresh!

As we’ve previously mentioned, it’s Obon this week in Japan, and that means festivals, dancing, and ancestral spirits galore! Far from being the terrifying ghosts that you might find lurking in your closest in a horror film like Juon, however, these are spirits that Japanese people are happy to welcome into their houses. In addition to ohakamairi, or visiting graves, Japanese people also offer symbolic sacrifices at their home alters.

Some of the more interesting traditional sacrificial items are the cucumber horses (kyuri uma) and eggplant cows (nasu ushi) meant to carry the ancestors’ spirits to and from our earthly realm, but here’s one designer’s awesome, modern take on this ancient custom!

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Giant robot design from Mobile Suit Gundam transformed into the manliest of man bags

Giant robot design from Mobile Suit Gundam transformed into the manliest of man bags

One of the first major adjustments I had to make after moving to Japan was making a habit of carrying a bag with me whenever I go out. Having grown up in L.A., it took me a while to overcome the notion that bags were strictly for students and people with a double set of X chromosomes, but eventually I saw the light. If you live in an urban area of Japan, you’re reliant on public transportation. Without a car and a trunk to haul stuff in, a bag is really the only way to carry anything you can’t fit in your pocket but don’t want to hold in your hand all day.

Of course, my resistance might have broken down a lot quicker if I’d known about the upcoming man bag that makes you look like a giant robot.

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From Gundam to Wicked: 21 themed Japanese hotel rooms that you won’t believe

From Gundam to Wicked: 21 themed Japanese hotel rooms that you won’t believe

When choosing a place to stay while traveling, most people look for very specific things in hotels: location, price, continental breakfasts that are open until ten so that lazy people like us can still get some food.

But others want a little bit more out of the their hotel, like intricately detailed themed rooms!

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