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Anime center featuring Gundam replica, maid cafe, opens at Narita airport

Toru Furuya, second from right, a voice actor who played main character Amuro Ray in the popular animated TV series Mobile Suit Gundam, and Yoshiyuki Tomino, third from right, creator of the anime franchise, are seen smiling at an event held the day before the opening of the Narita Anime Deck entertainment facility at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture, on Nov. 27, 2019. (Mainichi/Tadakazu Nakamura)

NARITA, Chiba -- The Narita Anime Deck entertainment center, which includes a display of a full-scale replica of a Gundam mobile suit head from popular animated TV series "Mobile Suit Gundam," opened in Terminal 2 at Narita International Airport, east of Tokyo, on Nov. 28.

The first space of its kind to feature Japanese anime as a main theme at the airport, it consists of a maid cafe serving anime-themed meals, a shop full of anime merchandise, and more. Its 2.4-meter-tall Gundam face replica is visible to passengers who crane their necks upward at the terminal's arrivals lobby.

Measuring some 760 square meters, the center aims to promote the appeal of Japanese anime culture to foreign visitors, who are expected to arrive in increasing numbers ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A waitress in a maid costume shows some of the anime-themed meals available at the cafe at the Narita Anime Deck entertainment facility, during an event at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture. on Nov. 27, 2019. (Mainichi/Tadakazu Nakamura)

A press event to show off the center was held on Nov. 27, with participation from Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, chief director of the Anime Tourism Association, Masaki Matsubara, president of major publisher Kadokawa Corp., and Akihiko Tamura, president of Narita International Airport Corp.

Toru Furuya, a voice actor who played main character Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam, also made an appearance. He said, "I'm happy that this new sanctuary of anime is opening at Narita airport, the gateway to Japan," and cut the ribbon to celebrate the following day's opening.

(Japanese original by Tadakazu Nakamura, Narita Bureau)

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