The iconic life-sized statue of the Gundam RX-78-2, from the classic Mobile Suit Gundam franchise, was created back in 2009 as a temporary exhibit. However, due to its popularity not just in Japan but also all over the world, it was later given a permanent spot in Shizuoka before being moved to Odaiba near Diver City.
After five years of protecting Tokyo and drawing tourists, Gundam RX-78-2 has now been dismantled, but not without a proper send-off that is linked to the anime series.
Gundam RX-78-2 Statue Fires Last Shot
After its last show on March 5, the Gundam RX-78-2 statue was officially dismantled by contractors on March 14. The contractors started off by removing the robot's head and left arm.
While this might not mean much for most people, removing the head and the left arm of the Gundam RX-78-2 actually carries extreme significance. With a missing head and left arm, the statue paid homage to what is known as the Last Shooting pose made by a heavily damaged Gundam RX-78-2 when it fired its beam cannon into the air before it was destroyed.
The Gundam RX-78-2 suffered the damage in battle against the Zeong, an unfinished Zeon prototype piloted by Char Aznable, within the Zeon stronghold. The robot's pilot, Amuro Ray, later returned to the remains of the Gundam RX-78-2 to escape.
Of course, the statue was not holding a weapon and did not raise its arm to directly replicate the Last Shooting pose, but for fans of Mobile Suit Gundam, the removal of the head and left arm of the statue was enough to send the message. The move was seen as a fitting send-off for the popular attraction.
Gundam RX-78-2 Statue To Be Replaced
The 18-meter Gundam RX-78-2 has been retired for good, but in addition to plans to create a Gundam robot that is capable of moving by 2019, there will be a replacement statue in the form of the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam.
The Unicorn Gundam statue will be even taller than that of the Gundam RX-78-2, as it will stand 24 meters tall. A promotional image released for the statue, which will be installed this year, showed that the robot will be in Destroy Mode, with the internal psycho-frame parts to be colored pink similar to the start of its series. There is still the possibility that the color of the parts will be changed to green, though, similar to the last episodes.
The choice to go with the Unicorn Gundam to replace the Gundam RX-78-2 is interesting as well. The Gundam RX-78-2, the original Gundam, is a classic and very popular, but the Unicorn Gundam is more recognized internationally.
While fans will be looking forward to the arrival of the Unicorn Gundam statue, the walking Gundam by 2019 could be more important. Its release in 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the Gundam series and is also the year before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, which should lead to even more tourists finding their way to Japan in the near future.