I may be behind the times on this one but it was too amazing to pass up. If you are a Gundam geek like me, than I know you will appreciate the existence of this motorcycle as much as I do.
That’s right. This bike is designed to look like Char Aznable’s MS-06S Zaku II from original Gundam. It was auctioned on yahoo.com last October. The starting bid was lucky 77,777yen. It sold three days later at 320,020yen which is about 4,175 USD. Not too shabby. There have since been several other Zaku-inspired bikes auctioned on yahoo.
Finding the bike reminded me of another fun Gundam thing I stumbled across in Japan about a year and a half ago. I was wondering around the famed Akihabara district of Tokyo with my Taiko group after a performance. Akihabara is known for being chock full of computers, anime, and maid cafes. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a storefront with the sign Gundam Cafe. I had never heard of it before but I knew I had to check it out.
Since we just came from eating at a maid cafe, we skipped the meal part of the Gundam cafe and went straight to the gift shop. I laughed out loud when I saw the sign outside that read, “Gundam Style’s official cafe and bar started since A.D. 2010 continuing till U.C. 0079.” I thought that last part was a nice touch despite the awkward use of English. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gundam, the U.C stands for Universal Century (or Uchuu Seiki) and U.C. 0079 marks the date that humanity begins to migrate from earth to the newly completed space colony at Side 1.
The shop was filled with Gundam merchandise: Gundam shaped cookies, bags, collectable cards and mobile suits galore. I took a quick peek at the menu and was impressed by the shameless usage of character names for the meals such as the Amuro Ray Pilot’s lunch set. I also enjoyed the adorable inclusion of decorative Zeon and Gundam logos intricately carved from carrots and other veggies. The servers were dressed like Frau Bow in the Earth Federation uniform (although I have read that they no longer do that and have switched to dark pants and polo shirts). At the time, I made a mental note to try and return one day so that I could sit in the cafe and enjoy the full experience.
In the meantime, I have perused the official Gundam Cafe site. It has a news section that is often updated, the full menu of the cafe, specials with desserts and cocktails included, all kinds of Gundam goods, Gunpla Yaki, which is essentially taiyaki in the shape of the original Gundam model, and information on how to access the cafe as well as the cafes’ hours of operation. The website is almost entirely in Japanese but there is one English tab in the top right corner that will direct you to a single English version page with a very condensed version of the entire website.
I wish I could have been there to enjoy this adorable Haro themed New Years Osechi set!
The Gundam Cafe was obviously designed with original Gundam fans in mind, drawing most of the character names and mobile suits from that series. I still think that it can be enjoyed by Gundam fans of all ages and I certainly believe that it is a fun alternative to a maid cafe.
The giant 1:1 ratio Gundam statue that previously debuted in Odaiba, Tokyo in July 2009 has returned! (Again). An article posted Dec. 24, 2011 on animenewsnetwork.com summarizes the reappearance of the giant Gundam and includes some fan-made movies of the reconstruction process.
According to the article, the statue attracted 4.15 million visitors for the month that it initially stood in July 2009. It rose for the second time in Shizuoka from July 2010 to March 2011. In a subsequent article, I learned that it returned to Tokyo in disassembled parts for a week in August 2011 so that guests could see the detail on the separate pieces up close. Part of the admission to see the Gundam also went toward helping victims of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake which occurred on March 11, 2011.
The Gundam is now being reassembled in its original location on the artificial island of Odaiba, Tokyo. The grand opening is set for April 19th, 2012. I have missed all of its previous appearances so, I for one, definitely intend on checking it out.