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Gundam Unicorn to Reveal New Project Next Spring

posted on by Egan Loo
Sunrise head teases announcement at life-size Unicorn Gundam statue's ceremony

A special ceremony on Saturday evening previewed Sunday's formal debut of the life-size statue of the Unicorn Gundam mobile suit from the Mobile Suit Gundam UC anime. Sunrise President Yasuo Miyakawa revealed during the ceremony at Tokyo's Odaiba island that a new Gundam Unicorn project will be unveiled next spring.

Kouki Uchiyama, the voice actor behind the anime's protagonist Banagher Links, introduced the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam statue's "transformation" sequence:

The ceremony also hosted Gundam UC music contributors Hiroyuki Sawano and Tielle, special guest musician Sugizo, Tokyo Gundam Project 2017 Executive Committee Chairperson and Tokyo Port Terminal Corporation Managing Director Toshinobu Maeda, Bandai Managing Director Yoshitaka Tao, and Sotsu Agency President Takashi Izuhara.

Harutoshi Fukui wrote the original Mobile Suit Gundam UC novel series. The story is mainly set in the year Universal Century 0096, 16 years after the events of the One Year War depicted in Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise's first Mobile Suit Gundam anime, and three years after the Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack anime film. In a renewed conflict between the Earth Federation and Neo Zeon remnants, the Vist Foundation has a potentially devastating secret from the founding of the Federation a century before.

Fukui had launched the novel series in 2007, and the original story had ended with the 10th volume in 2009. The novel series inspired both an original video anime series (with theatrical screenings) and the Mobile Suit Gundam UC Bande Dessinée manga by artist Kouzo Oomori. Fukui published an 11th novel volume of short stories in March 2016.

Like its animated counterpart in the Mobile Suit Gundam UC anime, the 19.7-meter (about 65-foot), 49-ton statue on the artificial island of Odaiba can transform between its normal "Unicorn Mode" and "Destroy Mode." This involves the movement of panels and other parts in over 50 locations on the statue's body (including the shoulders, knees, and back) as well as lights in those same locations. Below is a concept image of the new statue.

The statue is formally named "RX-0 Unicorn Gundam Ver. TWC (Tokyo Waterfront City)." The statue features new decals by mechanic designer Hajime Katoki.

As with the previous life-size RX-78-2 Gundam statue, the giant Wall-G presentation setup projects videos onto the outer wall of DiverCity Tokyo shopping complex behind the statue. A new shop for Gundam goods is also opening on the same day as the statue's debut, and it has a mini-corner for Gundam UC goods. A dedicated photo deck opened before the statue's debut, and Bandai Namco Entertainment has been offering a smartphone camera app that uses augmented reality features to overlay a rendering of the statue over its surroundings.

The previous statue, which portrays the iconic RX-78-2 mobile suit piloted by protagonist Amuro Ray in the first Mobile Suit Gundam series, was unveiled at Odaiba's Shiokaze Park in 2009, where it stood for 52 days. 4.15 million people visited the statue. The statue was then relocated to Shizuoka City in 2010, where it stood from July 2010 to March 2011, this time holding a beam saber in its right hand. In 2012, the statue was dismantled and rebuilt at its current location, where it stood until it was taken down on March 5. The statue could move its head and automatically "open" its cockpit to reveal a screen inside.

The "Gundam Front Tokyo" attraction previously located on the seventh floor of the DiverCity Tokyo also closed on April 5. The attraction's replacement, the Gundam Base Tokyo center dedicated to Gundam plastic models, opened in August.

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