Special Class Lets Kids Remote-Control Life-Size Gundam Statue's Hand
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Gundam Factory Yokohama, the facility which houses a life-size, moving RX-78-2 Gundam statue, has been holding educational seminars aimed at elementary and middle schools students since November. On Tuesday, the facility held a "special" class for elementary school students focusing specifically on the mechanisms that control the movement of the Walking Gundam's hand. The program provided children the opportunity to manipulate the hand with a remote control.
The hand of the Walking Gundam includes 12 motors that allows it to individually move each finger in a way that expresses emotions. According to Gundam Global Challenge (GGC) technical coordinator Akinori Ishii, the hand movements are very important for the machine because it does not have facial expressions. GGC system director Wataru Yoshizaki explained that controlling the hand is relatively easier as long as it follows a pre-written program.
In addition, the class gave the students a sneak peak at the hand as it undergoes maintenance.
The facility will remain open to the public until March 31, 2023. This extends the time it will remain open by a year. It temporarily closed for maintenance from mid-May to prepare for the extension, and will reopen on July 16. The facility was originally slated to close on March 31 this year. (It was planned to be open for only a limited time.)
The original announcement noted that the extension was due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting states of emergency in Japan preventing many people from visiting the site. The new extension will now allow more people both locally and abroad to visit.
The facility has provided educational support to 1,442 students across 23 schools so far, and it is powered with wind energy.
The 18-meter-high (59-foot-tall) life-size, moving Gundam held its grand opening for public viewing in December 2020. With the closure of the other four Gundam Cafes this month, the Yokohama Satellite cafe at Gundam Factory Yokohama will be the only Gundam Cafe left open.
Bandai Namco currently has four life-size Gundam statues on display. A life-size "transforming" RX-0 Unicorn Gundam statue from the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn anime debuted at Tokyo's Diver City complex in September 2017. Sunrise then unveiled the moving RX-78-2 Gundam statue from the first Mobile Suit Gundam anime in Yokohama in December 2020. The life-size statue of the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed debuted in Shanghai in May 2021. (The Unicorn Gundam statue in Tokyo replaced a previous, mostly immobile RX-78-2 Gundam statue.)
A fourth statue was unveiled in Fukuoka's Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport in April. The statue depicts a new mobile suit named the RX-93ffν Gundam, heavily based on Amuro Ray's RX-93 ν Gundam (pronounced "Nu Gundam") that appeared in the Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack anime film.