National | AT A GLANCE

Gundam towers over a transforming Tokyo

by Yoshiaki Miura

Staff Photographer

Every day, the towering full-scale Unicorn Gundam statue in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront district undergoes a transformation, eliciting shouts of joy from visitors young and old, many trying to snap good photos with their smartphones.

The 19.7-meter, 49-ton statue of a mobile robot from the popular Gundam series has been standing in the Diver City Tokyo commercial plaza since Sept. 24.

It replaced a previous model as part of the Tokyo Gundam Project 2017, in which the statue represents the future of Tokyo and helps invigorate the bay area. The statue undergoes its one-minute transformation at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. At night, a special short movie runs every 30 minutes from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

In the Diver City Tokyo Plaza building just behind the gigantic statue, there is a venue called the Gundam Base Tokyo, a mecca for fans of plastic models.

Launched on Aug. 19, the Bandai Inc. shop is dedicated to selling, assembling and painting plastic models of the main characters from the animated series.

About 2,000 types of Gundam models are on sale, and visitors can assemble the models they purchase, learn the assembly process and take in various special events.

A total of 47.3 million units of the models, called Gunpla, have been sold, making Gundam the most popular series in plastic model history.

On Dec. 17, the firm will hold a “World Cup” competition for Gunpla builders selected from 16 countries and districts.

A small replica of the Statue of Liberty stands in Odaiba
A small replica of the Statue of Liberty stands in Odaiba’s waterfront district in Tokyo’s Koto Ward. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Children look at plastic models displayed at Gundam Base Tokyo in the Diver City Tokyo commercial complex on Oct. 14.
Children look at plastic models displayed at Gundam Base Tokyo in the Diver City Tokyo commercial complex on Oct. 14. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Tourists from the United States take a look at plastic Gundam models built by World Cup champions at Gundam Base Tokyo in Diver City Tokyo on Oct. 14.
Tourists from the United States take a look at plastic Gundam models built by World Cup champions at Gundam Base Tokyo in Diver City Tokyo on Oct. 14. | YOSHIAKI MIURA

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