There are several life-sized Gundam statues in Japan, and those lucky enough to see them in person are in for an amazing sight. But what about being able to make the Gundam move? Some kids are getting this chance thanks to Gundam Factory Yokohama.
The facility holds an RX-78-2 Gundam statue that is able to move, and since late last year kids from elementary schools and middle schools have been visiting for educational seminars. So far 23 schools and 1,442 kids have gotten this fun kind of education.
But last Tuesday those seminars got even more interesting and hands-on. Kids were able to control the movement of the Gundam’s hands as they learned about the mechanisms that make the hands work. So elementary school children got to hold the remote control themselves and make a giant Gundam wiggle its fingers.
The Gundam’s hand has 12 motors for movement. Akinori Ishii, who is the technical coordinator at Gundam Global Challenge, noted that because the Gundam doesn’t make any facial expressions, it’s up to the hands to convey emotions. The kids also got to see the hand receive some maintenance.
The RX-78-2 Gundam statue and its facility are set to be around until March 31, 2023. It was initially scheduled to come down in March of 2022, but because of COVID and all its issues, not as many people have been able to visit the Gundam as was hoped. As a result, the Gundam statue will stick around a little longer in order to give more people the opportunity to come by. The Gundam statue, which is 59 feet tall, was unveiled to the general public in December 2020. Near it is the Yokohama Satellite café at Gundam Factory Yokohama, which is the only Gundam café still around as the others have shuttered.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.