A talk session by the directors was held during the tour, and a test to move the Gundam’s frame was performed at the development site for the first time.
Here are the details of the tour.
A talk session by the directors featured the challenges and highlights of the project!
First, the history of how the project began was introduced.
The life-size Gundam first appeared as a part of the GREEN TOKYO Gundam Project held at Odaiba Shiokaze Park in Tokyo in 2009 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Gundam series, bringing in a total of 4.15 million visitors. Yasuo Miyakawa, the president of Sunrise at the time, and Yoshiyuki Tomino, the director of Mobile Suit Gundam, saw the excited people at the venue and began thinking "We have to make this move!" The 35th anniversary of the series became an opportunity to begin the Gundam GLOBAL CHALLENGE that aims to create a moving Gundam. The project was originally aimed to be completed in 2019 on the 40th anniversary of the series, but was carried out in the following year in 2020.
As the project proceeded, three major obstacles became apparent: the purpose, method, and movements.
Since Sunrise is an entertainment company, the project’s purpose was to create entertainment that motivates the feeling “I want to do this!”
The method doesn’t involve creating new and unknown technologies for this project, but aims to overcome obstacles with a combination of existing technologies.
The movements performed by the Gundam are aimed to be recreated through a thorough speculative process, but is still a secret at the time of the tour.
The previous Life-size Gundam and Life-size Unicorn Gundam statues did not move from their positions and were close to buildings. However, this Life-size Gundam is neither a building nor a theme park attraction such as roller coasters, and is closer to a machine, like cranes used at construction sites. The Life-size Gundam statues were buildings that could firmly support the upper body of the statue with its legs and underground structures while its above-ground sections alone weigh approx. 35 tons. However, machines are not capable of supporting immense loads, and the development of this new Life-size Gundam began with the goal of having a maximum weight of 30 tons. Its weight was eventually reduced to 25 tons by using new materials such as carbon and using a fully electronic system instead of hydraulic pressure for the actuators.
The overall design has also been slimmed down and the head and backpack have become smaller. The design reflects the opinions of Director Tomino who commented that the Gundam had “modern” facial expressions.
The details of how this Gundam will actually move are still a secret, but it was revealed that the systems that control the hands, deck, and carriers can operate independently while communicating and working together. Its “presentation control system” has the greatest authority over the Gundam, and it was announced that thought was put into the movements that are the focal point of the system.
At the end of the talk session, each director shared their comments on the highlights of the project.
System Director Wataru Yoshizaki
Although this may sound obvious, I believe that the highlight of this Gundam is its size. The Gundam is 18 meters tall while even large industrial robots are only about 5 meters tall. Even its frame is something that you don’t get to see every day, so I would like everyone to witness its size.
Creative Director Masaki Kawahara
The view from the special observation deck will become something you have never experienced before. We hope you can feel like a member of the maintenance crew or a pilot.
Technical Director Akinori Ishii
The frame and mechanical parts that I am in charge of will be hidden by the exterior armor in the final reveal (laughs), and I believe that the current state of the Gundam looks the coolest as a mecha. It would have been great if half of the exterior was made of transparent materials. I hope you take a close look and enjoy how the mechanisms move.
What is the ICI Center development site?
The ICI Center has various facilities such as comprehensive experimental buildings to reproduce a wide variety of environments of sizes between global to genetic, experimental structural buildings to recreate objects in the real world in actual size, and a base to support all aspects of education, employment, food, housing, and play for participating partners that was created by renovating a closed elementary school.
The Gundam’s frame has appeared! The test operation finally begins!
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