A project is underway to have the mechanical hero Gundam from the popular Japanese anime series travel to space to cheer on athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
The Games' organizing committee and Japan's space agency JAXA announced the project on Wednesday.
They plan to send a micro-satellite carrying 10-centimeter-tall models of Gundam and his nemesis Zaku to the International Space Station on a cargo spacecraft next March.
The satellite will then be ejected from the space station, and the models will emerge from the satellite and will appear to be standing on it.
When the Olympics begin in July next year, a small screen on the base of the replicas will display messages to the athletes.
The messages, together with an image of the two figures, will be captured by the satellite's camera and posted on social media.
Project organizers are planning to ask the public to send in messages.
Koji Murofushi, sports director for the organizing committee, said athletes are sure to be encouraged. He expressed high hopes for a project on such massive scale.
Yoshiyuki Tomino, who directed the Gundam series, noted that 50 years ago, it was impossible to go into space, but now it is no longer a fantasy. He said he wants more dreams to come true.