July 8, 2009

30th Anniversary Of Gundam Marked With Celebration

One of Japan's most popular animations, Gundam, is 30 years old this year, and the creator of the cartoon series noted that the times have changed since the futuristic show first launched in the 1970s.

"Gundam has presented many propositions that we face today in the real world," said Yoshiyuki Tomino, the TV show's executive director. "It will certainly live on for many years to come, perhaps another 50 years."

The anime TV show, "Mobile Suit Gundam," debuted in 1979. The setting was 100 years in the future in the middle of a space war between the Earth Federation and antagonistic space cronies. The show quickly skyrocketed into mainstream popularity, and other Gundam series, comic books, video games and films were made with the same results.

"Gundam reminded viewers and fans of the potential power of humans and encouraged them not to lose hope," Tomino said.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the TV show, a gigantic model of the robot is being built at Tokyo's Odaiba seaside park. It will be unveiled on Saturday and will be available to the public through Aug. 31.

Tomino, making a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, said he was originally not for the concept of constructing a 60-foot Gundam model because he did not want it to look tacky and cheap.

"When I saw it, it was so powerful. Its toy-like color was so peaceful. To me it was the color of hope, not a weapon," Tomino said.

In Japan, people from all walks of life are Gundam fans. Scientific researchers view the character as inspirational and encouraging. The International Gundam Society was created by academics to combine research disciplines.

"Gundam is not just an animation or a robot. It's much deeper than that," Tomino said. "Gundam is quite awesome, and that's why I say there is no comparison."


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