Citizens of Hong Kong, brace yourself. An exciting Gundam exhibition is headed your way. This summer, as part of a month-long exhibition in Hong Kong, a giant Gundam statue – something not usually seen outside of Japan’s Odaiba Bay in Tokyo – will be on display.
It’s no secret that Japan and China don’t like each other very much. So when the official government news channel in China aired a segment discussing Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, it comes as no surprise that there would be some exaggerations.
However, one exaggeration was too huge to just let slip by. While the news broadcast was showing videos of Japan’s aircraft and ships, one image of a giant Gundam mech somehow snuck into the mix. Those Chinese reporters are probably going to want to double-check their source on that one.
It’s said that barbers’ poles, with their interlaced contrasting stripes, are a holdover from the Middle Ages, with the red and white symbolizing blood and bandages. In those days, the field of surgery was still at such an early stage in its development that the guy who cut hair would also handle operations and amputations. After all, cutting was cutting, right?
In our modern era, though, you’d never think of asking your doctor to take a little off the sides, nor would you trust your hairdresser to remove a tumor. So isn’t it time for barber shops to get a new symbol, like this one in Aomori with a compliment of giant Gundam statues hanging around outside?
It’s well known that many anime fans, in the midst of watching a show, start to develop a crush on their favorite character (and sometimes that crush becomes a full–on obsession). But the admiration fans feel towards a 2-D character isn’t always tied to romantic rumblings. Sometimes, they see an anime icon and instead of “I wish that was my girlfriend/boyfriend,” they find themselves thinking “I wish that was my boss!”
While the 1:1-scale Gundam statue in Tokyo is, with good reason, a mecca for mecha lovers, it’s not the only extra-large recreation of combat hardware from anime’s most prolific robot franchise. Clear on the other side of Japan’s island of Honshu, Okayama Prefecture has its own statue, modeled after the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.
On one hand, Okayama’s mobile suit isn’t life-size, but it still stands an impressive seven meters (23 feet) tall. Even better, this weekend fans will get to climb into its cockpit.
We’re pretty big fans of Odaiba’s full-scale Gundam statue, which towers over Tokyo Bay at an incredible 18 metres tall. But there’s nothing quite like homespun charm, and we’re equally delighted to discover the existence of a plastic bottle version, built single-handedly by one enthusiastic sake shop owner in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo.
Our friends over at off-the-beaten-track Japan travel site Another Tokyo went to check it out last month, and this is what they found.
Publisher Shogakukan’s monthly girls’ manga magazine Ciao always comes packed with bonus goodies that are designed to appeal to its targer market of girls aged 9-15. For the April edition, Ciao‘s publishers really seem to have outdone themselves, though, since everyone from young girls to adult men are snapping up the latest issue with its supplemental goodies which are collectively being advertised as “the ultimate manga creator set.” Keep in mind that this is all for a very reasonable price of 570 yen (US $4.78).
However, a recent trend on social media has shown that many purchasers of the April issue aren’t using the extra items to hone their manga-making skills at all, but are instead buying it with a very different idea in mind.
It’s a fact of life that copyright laws just aren’t as strictly enforced in many other parts of Asia as they are in Japan. So when photos started making the online rounds showing a resort in the Philippines with a statue of anime robot Gundam that’s as huge as it is fake, we responded with a laugh and a shrug of our shoulders.
But maybe having their clear case of intellectual property infringement become laughed at online made the management of Jed’s Island Resort rethink their decision. Recent photos show that the statue has been repainted, and its new color scheme doesn’t look like Gundam’s at all. So, is it an original design?
Of course not! They just found a different famous robot to copy.
Although the RX-78 Gundam is the most famous mobile suit from the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime TV series, it’s not the only giant robot the Earth Federation has at its disposal. As a matter of fact, debuting in the very same premiere episode as the Gundam is the RX-77 Guncannon.
Still, there’s a reason the series, and franchise, is called Gundam and not Guncannon. Aside from being slower and less powerful, the Guncannon can’t compete in the looks department with the dashing Gundam. Simply put, it’s just not sexy enough…at least not without this subtle variation to its paint job with a hidden significance.
Whether they’re being called dear, supreme, or great, North Korea takes the image of its top leaders very seriously. After all, this is the same country which claims the late Kim Jong-il, in his first round of golf, finished 38 shots under par (in case you’re not familiar with the technical terms, one under par is a “birdie,” two under is an “eagle,” and 38 under is generally referred to as a “crock”).
So it’s a little surprising that current head of hermit state Kim Jong-un’s fashion consultants have let him rock a hairstyle that seems to perfectly gel with the rest of the world’s image of North Korean dictatorship as cartoonish supervillainry, with a ‘do that makes him look like one of the antagonist mecha from classic anime Mobile Suit Gundam.
Whoa, hold on a second! We know Amazon Japan now sells giant robots, but we didn’t know someone else had made something this big! This mecha looks like it’s at least twice as tall (and three times as awesome) as the one offered by the online retailer. Don’t you need a permit to build something that huge?
Actually, the only legal paperwork involved in this photo was for model-making supplies, as that’s not a real giant robot, but a scale replica. What’s more, the way it appears to be standing with its head almost in the rafters of the structure housing it isn’t thanks to a mere trick camera angle, but rather the considerable skills of the modeller who also crafted a miniature hanger for his compact mobile suit.
Although the Philippines have plenty of seaside travel destinations, Jed’s Island Resort isn’t one of them. Being located in the landlocked municipality of Calumpit means that while Jed’s isn’t far from Manila Bay, it doesn’t have any coastline to call its own.
That’s OK, though, because you can still relax in one of the resort’s nine advertised swimming pools. And while you may not be able to enjoy listening to the sound of the waves, you will be able to look up at Jed’s gigantic Gundam statue that’s as tall as the one in Tokyo yet far, far skinnier. Not into anime? Not a problem! Jed’s is also home to beloved characters from Disney, Marvel, and DC…or at least their disturbingly off-model, knockoff doppelgangers.
You can use the phrase “paper tiger” to describe someone or something that’s not as tough as it appears to be, but you could conjure up the same image just as easily with a different pair of words. For example, “cardboard tank” seems like it could serve the same linguistic purpose. So could “cardboard Gundam” or “cardboard M16,” for that matter.
But while those might not be as powerful as their original, non-cardboard forms, they are all incredibly awesome when made out of corrugated cardboard, as proven by the creations of artist Monami Ono, who makes all those and more out of cardboard boxes from Amazon.
Those who are familiar with Chinese history should be familiar with Romance of the Three Kingdoms, an epic that is now considered one of the greatest literary classics in China. Detailing legendary tales from the warring era of the Three Kingdoms, the book itself is full of stories of love, friendship and loyalty.
Fast forward to modern times, where we find three ardent robot fans in China with the spirit of the Three Kingdoms coursing through their veins who came together to create an amazing gigantic Gundam-like statue based on one of the best known characters in the epic – Guan Yu.
Japan has an interesting relationship with moss. From the “Moss Covered Forest” that inspired Princess Mononoke, to the marimo “moss balls” found in Hokkaido, to MOS Burger that has tragically deterred foreigners for decades by its name alone.
But it’s one man’s quest to use moss in a new way that has recently piqued the interest of the internet. In the hopes of creating realistic figurines that look like they’ve been abandoned for centuries, he wants to get them covered in moss the old fashioned way: by waiting for years.
For the past six years, I’ve made a point of buying myself a little Rilakkuma daily planner each January and using it to keep track of my appointments, deadlines, to-do lists, etc. These kinds of daily planners are widely used in Japan, perhaps as a result of the Japanese love of punctuality and efficiency (or maybe they’re so punctual and efficient because everyone uses daily planners?) Sure, you could use the functions built into your smartphone or tablet, but there’s something about writing things down that just makes you feel like you’ve got it all together. Also, and this is kind of geeky, but it’s sorta fun to flip through your old schedule books and see what you were up to on x date 3 years ago. In fact, Japan loves schedule books so much that you can now choose from a huge range of styles which are tailor-made to cater to specific lifestyles. Whether you’re a hostess, train otaku or exam-cramming student, there’s a schedule book out there for you!
The hobby of building plastic models of mobile suits from the various Gundam series is huge in Japan. With countless sizes and difficulties to choose from any Gundam plastic model (Gunpla) enthusiast can stay busy for a long, long time.
And for aspiring model builders, there may be no better hero than a Japanese artist using the handle Mumumuno53. Don’t just take our word for it though, and take another look at the image above. As indicated, this is not a drawing, animation cel, or computer-generated image; it’s a three-dimensional plastic model that was built and painted by Mumumuno.
You may still not believe it, which is understandable, so here are some making-of shots they posted on their blog.
Here’s a riddle for you: What do Gundam and black holes have in common? And, no, it has nothing to with giant robots or CERN-style technology gone crazy. It’s actually about…fashion.
Well, fashion might be a bit of an exaggeration, but we’ll give you a hint. What’s weird about the way Fumina Hoshino, from the new Gundam Build Fighters Try, wears her skirt?
If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not a huge giant mech/giant robot fan. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full episode of Patlabor or Gundam–though it’s not out of spite or anything! There are only so many hours in the day, and I rarely seem to have time to watch giant mechs beating the crap out of each other. Though that sentence is making me question some life choices now…
As such, I’ve always been perplexed by the idea that someone has actually gone out of their way to build enormous statues of the suits. The “why” has always left an itch in the back of my mind–it just doesn’t seem worth, does it? Well, that’s what I thought until I actually came face-to-face (face-to-boot?) with an enormous Patlabor statue. Here are some photos of the giant mech emblazoned with a Japanese police badge and why I actually hope they make more!
Back when Japan was still at the mercy of the midsummer heat, a group of…creative anime fans tried to cool off with bowls of shaved ice. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be so weird, except that they set up their strawberry syrup dispenser to look like their treats were being flavored by an anime girl’s menstrual flow. (Yeah, gross.)
But hey, what’s the alternative to anime fans getting excited over 2-D characters having their periods? Anime fans getting excited about 2-D characters not having periods! Otaku around Japan have been sharing retouched pics of animation stars showing off pregnancy test results, and the trend isn’t limited to anime’s ladies.