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Life-sized Gundam statue in Japan finally retires, painfully reminding us that we never got to see it

The 18 meter tall exhibit was a testament to how cool giant robots are

Life-sized Gundam statue kneeling down
Image credit: Bandai Namco

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It's the end of an era for Gundam fans around the world. For three-and-a-half years, Yokohama has been home to an engineering marvel: a life-sized Gundam that towered over the landscape, moving its arms and legs to strike poses from the iconic anime franchise. Now, sadly, the attraction has closed, and we’re all left with the unbearable disappointment of never having seen it in person.

The closure isn’t unexpected. In fact, we had more time with the 18-meter-tall replica of the RX-78-2 Gundam than originally expected. When it first opened to the public in December 2020, it was expected to close in March 2022. However, continued interest in seeing the statue in action saw the exhibition get extended until March 2023, and then again until March 2024.

Bandai Namco finally felt it was time to say goodbye and closed the attraction for good on March 31, 2024. They sent off the iconic statue in spectacular fashion, though, with a ceremony that included huge firework displays and music from the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime. It was a fitting farewell to the gigantic statue that seemed to prove that we were slowly creeping toward the moment when science fiction became science fact.

While this isn’t the only life-size Gundam model currently on display – there are two others in Japan and one in Shanghai – this one felt the most special because it was based on the most iconic suit from Mobile Suit Gundam, the show that sparked the entire franchise. This wasn’t just a marketing stunt from Bandai Namco or a strange science experiment. This was a piece of anime history come to life before our eyes and we’re sad to see it go.

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