Gundam Entertainment Facility Opens In Tokyo, Attracts Fans

Gundam entertainment facility opens in Tokyo, attracts fansMany fans flocked to a facility to experience the world of the Japanese robot animation series ''Mobile Suit Gundam'' as it opened Thursday in a waterfront area in Tokyo's Koto Ward.

An 18-meter-tall Gundam statue stands in front of the DiverCity Tokyo Plaza commercial complex housing the Gundam Front Tokyo run by Bandai Co. and other organizations.

The new entertainment spot features ''real-scale'' attractions, including Dome-G for dynamic images of famous scenes in the past series and computer graphic images of new works projected inside the dome of 16 meters in diameter.

At the Experience Field area, visitors can view such models as the 1/1 Core Fighter Ver.GFT of the first series and the 1/1-size bust of Strike Freedom Gundam Ver.GFT in the Seed Destiny series as well as the 1/3000th scale space fortress A Baoa Qu.

They can also take photos with their favorites among many characters from the series at Character Photo Spot of the Experience Field.

People who visited the facility on the first day expressed enthusiasm.

Marco Rondoni, a tour guide from Italy, said, calling himself a big fan, that Gundam is really popular in his country.

''There is nothing similar in Italy,'' he said. ''Mecha(nic) design in particular is beautiful. It's so real...all the series of Gundam are really real like a real war, not like other robots.''

A woman in her 40s from Shiga Prefecture, who also mentioned fondness for mechanics, said that she is attracted by human characters in the Gundam series. ''My heart gets warm (watching the Gundam series),'' she said.

''Gundam is not just animation. It depicts closely wars. Life, which is not the world of only right and wrong, is packed in the works,'' said Junichiro Katori from Nerima Ward of Tokyo. ''(This is) the core of humankind -- men must change.''

At an area called the Museum Space, there is the Archive Counter, where visitors can use a touch panel machine by choosing from numerous images and characters to get information and project it on the wide screen for other visitors at the venue.

Also on display are newly created original drawings by mechanic designer Kunio Okawara and animator Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, and the early-stage designs as well as the panel of the All Gundam Series Guidance including wars lined up in chronological order.

More than 1,000 ''Gunpla'' plastic models of the robots or battleships from the Gundam series are exhibited in another section.

Written information for the guide map and notices for viewing the projections at Dome-G and walking around the floor are provided in four languages -- Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean -- which are also used for the website of the Gundam Front Tokyo.

The facility requires an entrance fee except for a few sections.

Gundam Cafe, the second such cafe in Tokyo following one in the Akihabara district, also opened in the same DiverCity Tokyo Plaza.

The television animation series ''Mobile Suites Gundam'' began in 1979 and numerous sequels and spinoffs as well as in other media such as movies and videos have been created, attracting fans in Japan and elsewhere.