Fans of the popular animated television series Mobile Suit Gundam are flocking to Tokyo after the unveiling of a new indoor theme park dedicated to the series, which features a 60-foot tall, 77,000-lb robot statue standing outside the park, the Daily Mail reports.
The highly-anticipated theme park "Gundam Front Tokyo" opened April 19 on the seventh floor of the DiverCity Tokyo shopping plaza in the city's waterfront Odaiba district. The indoor attraction features a large dome-shaped video screen, exhibition areas with plastic models of robots from the series, and galleries of original drawings, according to the Asahi Shimbun.
The large Gundam robot presiding over the plaza has been assembled and disassembled numerous times over the past few years, according to Anime News Network. It was first erected in Odaiba in June 2009 and stood for just a month, during which it attracted 4.5 million visitors.
The following year it popped up again in Shizuoka, the "model capital of the world" where Bandai's toy factories are located, as well as other areas. In 2011, the statue returned to Tokyo and was displayed in pieces in order to raise money for earthquake relief efforts.
But now the statue, which takes five weeks to assemble, stands again in one piece at DiverCity.
Since its premier on Japanese television in 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam has gained a huge following with fans around the world, Japanese newspaper The Mainichi explained. The series chronicles a massive war between the Earth, lunar colonies, and other space settlements fighting for independence.
Fans interviewed by the paper at the opening of Gundam Front Tokyo said they were attracted to the robots' designs and the series' themes.
"'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,'' fan Junichiro Katori told The Mainichi. ''[This is] the core of humankind -- men must change.''
See a time-lapse video of the giant statue being assembled, below: