A three meter tall bronze statute of a mobile suit from the perennially popular Mobile Suit Gundam series was erected in production studio Sunrise hometown of Kami-igusa earlier this year.
It has since shown signs of becoming a symbol of the city, with fans flocking to photograph it and even instigating plans to build more mecha statutes in order to construct a “Gundam Road”.
The statute, located in front of the JR Kami-Igusa train station, was originally built in result to a petition by the local shopping district committee which gathered 2,400 signatures. Grants from the municipal government, the local Seibu railroad company and Sunrise itself resulted in the statute’s unveiling in August 3, 2008.
Fans soon flocked to honor the giant Gundam model (which by my calculations is 1 / 5.8 scale). So great was the quantity of coins strewn around the statue due to the Japanese tradition of making monetary offerings to deities that an offering box had to be built to control the littering.
The statute has proven so popular with the city’s citizens that a local middle school and the shopping district committee have both pledged to provide for the mobile suit’s long term upkeep.
There are even plans being considered of constructing two more companion statutes to turn the shopping district’s main street into a “Gundam Road”, so the small city of Kami-Igusa might well become another rallying point for otaku pilgrims, as has happened to the real-life Lucky Star Washinomiya temple.
Kami-Igusa’s statute would be far from the first giant mobile suit built in Japan however – the Gundam Crisis attraction in Fujikyu Highland Park houses a massive 18 meter tall model of the original Gundam, the Gundam RX78.
The video below shows the RX78 in all its 1/1 scale glory: