A spear over seven meters long inspired by the animation series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" has been installed in an industrial city in western Japan whose urban environment provided the backdrop for a film adaptation of the series.

The replica of the "Spear of Longinus," the giant extraterrestrial weapon that plays a key role in the story, pierces the ground in Tokiwa Park in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, the city where the series' director Hideaki Anno was born.

The spear is the work of young employees at Ube Steel, a unit of chemical manufacturer Ube Corp., which has many plants in the city.

The employees first proposed creating the spear in July last year, and about 40 people became involved in using scrap steel and other materials to make the sculpture, which weighs about 1.2 metric tons.

They recreated the characteristic spiral design of the spear's shaft following repeated exchanges with the series' copyright management, they said.

At an opening ceremony last month, Ube Steel President Hisao Yamane recalled how he "never thought (the project) would come to fruition.

"We used advanced technology to make the spiral portion straight. We hope people will actually touch and enjoy the steel's texture," he added.

The spear is being displayed as a part of the city's promotional campaign through Jan. 8 aiming to attract fans with exhibits related to the series. It is lit up in red and other colors from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Ube Mayor Keiji Shinozaki said, "I hope that fans come to visit from both Japan and abroad."