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Life-size Gundam statue's stay in Yokohama extended to March 2023 amid fan demand

A life-size moving Gundam statue is seen at the Gundam Factory Yokohama complex in Yokohama's Naka Ward. (C) Sotsu Co. and Sunrise Inc.

YOKOHAMA -- A life-size, moving Gundam statue will stay in the city of Yokohama for an extra year following "enthusiastic requests" from fans the world over, operator Evolving G Corp. announced Jan. 28.

    Now, fans have until March 2023 to see the statue from the popular "Mobile Suit Gundam" anime series at the Gundam Factory Yokohama complex on the Yamashita Futo pier in Yokohama's Naka Ward, south of Tokyo.

    The statue was opened to the public in December 2020, and stands about 18 meters tall -- just as it does in the anime. With shining eyes and 24 movable sections including its legs, the impressive statue has been popular among past fans.

    The facility was initially to stay open only until March 2022. But its operator decided to extend the run owing to "enthusiastic requests from fans in and out of the country" fostered by limits on visitor numbers due to coronavirus states of emergency and other causes. For about two months between mid-May and mid-July this year, the complex will close for maintenance to accommodate the extended exhibition period.

    An artist's rendition shows the Yokohama municipal "Bayside Blue" double carriage bus wrapped in Gundam images. (C) Sotsu Co. and Sunrise Inc.

    Starting Feb. 23, the municipal Bayside Blue bus running between Yokohama Station and the pier will be specially wrapped in Gundam images. Gundam will be depicted on the double carriage bus's matte metallic blue exterior meant to depict a sparkling water surface.

    Until March, the complex is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Admission is 1,650 yen (about $14) for adults, and 1,100 yen ($9.50) for children aged 7 to 12. Details for April and later will be announced on the official website: https://gundam-factory.net/en/

    (Japanese original by Junya Higuchi, Yokohama Bureau)

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