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Life-Size Gundam's Closing Ceremony Dropped Due to Typhoon (Updated)

posted on 2009-09-01 01:09 EDT
Wedding at statue held last week; statue's fate after August still "undetermined"

The organizers of the Gundam anime franchise's 30th anniversary celebration announced on Monday that they cancelled the day's closing ceremony for the 1/1-scale, 18-meter-tall statue of the anime's title robot. The organizers cited the approaching Typhoon #11 as the reason for cancelling the ceremony on the statue's last public day at Shiokaze Park on the artificial island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay. Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino and the main character Amuro Ray's voice actor Tohru Furuya would have participated in the closing ceremony — just as they did in the opening ceremony on July 10.

Altogether, 4.15 million visitors came to see the statue; the planners had only anticipated 1.5 million over the two months. On August 23 alone, a record 185,000 visitors came. The 35-ton statue was built with fiberglass-reinforced plastic over a steel frame so it can be disassembled later. It features 50 lights, 14 mist-emitting devices, sound effects, and a moving head unit.

The planners acknowledged that the fate of the statue after August 31 is "undetermined."

On the evening of August 25, 38-year-old Yasuo Kai married his 37-year-old bride Emi in front of the Gundam statue. The Take and Give Needs (T&G) wedding coordinators and famed wedding planner Akemi Ariga chose them from about 550 applying couples for the special honor. Kai was dressed as Amuro Ray, while Emi wore a traditional wedding dress. Accompanying the couple was their older daughter Haruna, their son Kazuma, and their younger daughter Seira (pronounced in Japanese the same way as the Gundam character Sayla). Tomino arrived as a surprise guest to present the couple with a signed and framed key illustration for the 30th anniversary. The Shibuya 246 blog posted images from the wedding.

The next major event in Gundam's 30th anniversary will be October 24's "Soul G" concert, which will feature many of the musicians from the last three decades of Gundam anime. At the Gundam convention last month, Sunrise previewed next spring's six-part Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn video anime series as well as Tomino's "Ring of Gundam" anime short.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun (1, 2), 47news

Update: The Ustream website is streaming the disassembly process, which began on September 1 at 9:00 a.m. Japan Time. The Nico Nico Douga website will host a live stream of the statue's transport after the disassembly. Source: ITmedia News


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