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SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) An 18-meter-tall “life-size” statue of Gundam, a giant robot featured in a classic sci-fi animation series, made a fresh appearance Saturday at an event in Shizuoka to mark the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Gundam plastic model kit.

The statue was erected at the Shizuoka Hobby Fair outside JR Higashi-Shizuoka Station in the city’s Aoi Ward, after first appearing in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront area last year to mark the 30th anniversary of the broadcasting of the “Mobile Suit Gundam” TV series that started in April 1979.

The Gundam statue is holding the robot’s hallmark weapon, a beam saber. As a bonus, visitors may be able to see Mount Fuji behind the statue, depending on the weather.

The city is home to many plastic model kit manufacturers and is a Mecca for enthusiasts. A museum was created inside the fair site to showcase the history of the city’s 50-year-old plastic model kit industry. The event runs through March 27, 2011, with the statue on display throughout the period.

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