There are a few stereotypes about Japan that manifest themselves to be a true thing. Sometimes this is good and sometimes its not. This is about one of the good ones.
In Japan, it may surprise a few of you to learn that manga and anime, while extremely popular and far reaching with genres ranging from ninja to pro-golfers, there is still a slight stigma of geekdom and social awkwardness associated with those that openly express their love of J-pop culture.
However, if there was any question as to the validity and strength of these "otaku", then a giant life sized Gundam robot erected in celebration of 30 strong years of nerd love should be a rather decent indicator.
Gundam started off as an anime series set in the future where mankind found it necessary to create giant humanoid type war machines called Mobile Suit Gundams to protect them from perceived dangers. Since the first series there have been numerous adaptations and alternate versions set in other universes.
In Japan, even if you haven't seen an episode it would be impossible to escape being profoundly familiar with these giant robots. Their image is everywhere, from instant ramen packages, pachinko machines, and it is interlaced in every facet of popular culture. Comedians use the familiarity of it for easy jokes, other anime pay homage to it, even Gackt is a huge fan.
The closest equivalent to its popularity would be how important Star Wars is to the American culture. Even if you've never seen it, you probably know the familial ties that exist between Luke, Leia, and Darth.
So after thirty years they built a life sized Gundam statue, with light up eyes, moving head, and spewing smoke all making for an impressive bit of otaku ingenuity.
Part of Gundama's virility is due in part to the popularity of the plastic models based on the eponymous machines. Shortened to "GunPla" (GUNdam PLAstic models), this bit of marketing has lasted in popularity for 30 years giving BANDAI a competitive foothold in the hobby world.
After the robot stood vigil in Tokyo for a season it was then moved to Shizuoka, home of BANDAI. Which, i hope you remember, is right in my backyard. Since it came here i've been trying to get out to it, but it seems i have a hard time turning people down, and my schedule was constantly full.
Finally however, i pulled away, and witnessed a GIANT ROBOT IN JAPAN in all its glory.
Please enjoy the video. You will notice at the end i dedicated it to john rosenwinkel, because we had talked about going together, but you know how life gets all up in your grill. Now he's back in America but hopefully the video will help.
Also the music in the video is from Chiaki Kuriyama's debut single. The main song was from the new incarnation of Gundam, Gundam Unicorn. (really it was just excuse to include her music)
She is a whole other blog.
Also i used another song from nick montelone (or is he professionally going as Nicholas now?) so check out his website.