The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo, and that event has been dominating the news coming out of Japan, but it’s not the only big even that will be happening on the island nation in 2020. In nearby Yokohama, a project called Gundam Factory is working to create a life-size, moving Gundam statue to celebrate the franchise’s 40th anniversary.
The mecha statue will be found at the Yamashita Pier. The 18-meter statue will remain there for about a year starting in the summer of 2020. The statue will be exactly that—a statue—and won’t be seen stomping around the pier, but it should offer plenty of movement. At the very least, it should have more movement than the Unicorn RX-O from last year that only had some moving helmet pieces. This new model will be able to move its limbs as well as its fingers, which it can make into a fist or even give the “peace” sign. The robot will actually have 24 degree of freedom, but considering that the model is expected to weigh 25 tons, that freedom may not result in that much movement.
A YouTube series has chronicled the projects, revealing the many challenges that the designers and builders have faced. Aside from the questions of whether or not to modernize the design, they’ve also had to figure out how to deal with the weight of the pieces. Too heavy, and the pieces can’t be supported and even break other parts of the statue.
The statue will officially be open from October to October, but from July to August, visitors can get a peak at the Gundam from an observatory deck on the Gundam Dock Tower. Climbing to the deck will put you about eye level with the robot. Near to the dock will be the Gundam Factory, which will feature shops and exhibitions. There will also be a Gundam Café that will serve Gundam-inspired foods and drinks. Finally, those who wish to learn more about robots can visit the Academy.