A little while ago we presented a photo tribute to the classic RX-78-2 gundam which had stood in front of Tokyo’s hugely popular DiverCity Mall, on the magnificent Odaiba island in Tokyo Bay, since 2012. We later introduced you to the old mech’s larger and more dynamic cousin, the RX Unicorn, which took over sentinel duties from the tired 78-2 back in April of 2017. However, since then gundams have begun to enter DiverCity in what can only e described as an all-out Mall invasion!
Tokyo is probably my second favourite city in the world. That said, it is not a city with a big Mall culture - Tokyo is the place for the best department stores you will ever see, as well as single stores which easily occupy seven-level buildings (such is the demand for every niche hobby or interest you can imagine in Japan). Malls are just not the big draw, even though there are some fabulous stand-out Shopping Centres such as Sunshine City, Nakano Broadway, Shibuya109 and Aqua City - every one of which is definitely worth checking out.
The first two levels of the Mall are dedicated to the original 'Mobile Suit Gundam' anime
DiverCity is the most traditional Mall you will find in Tokyo - it has the most classically ‘Mall-y’ feel about it and this makes it my absolute favourite, constantly on my list of places to visit when I’m in Tokyo. It has everything you need - a massive food court, equally voluminous gaming arcade and many weird and wonderful stores. However, by far the singular attraction to the Mall for most is the massive gundam standing by the entrance. Now, for a limited time, the Mall has truly embraced the mech world and has brought the attraction inside.
From now through to January 8th, DiverCity will be housing an event they have called ‘Gundam Docks at Tokyo Japan’. Surprisingly, this grand event isn’t a Japanese thing, even though Nihon is the home of the gundam - it began as a special event in Hong Kong back in 2013. However, the event has come home this year, and there is no better place to hold it than the Shopping Mall with the huge frikkin’ gundam standing in front of it and the world’s largest gundam-themed museum/ model store within it.
Along with the 1/10th scale gundams, you will also find a plethora of model kits you can pruchase and build yourself
Each one of the Mall’s eight levels features numerous 1/10th scale gundams which have all featured in various episode of the hugely successful and long-running ‘Gundam’ anime series. The bottom two levels are full of original “Mobile Suit Gundam’ mechs, level three is for ‘Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn’ (the series which introduced the current gundam at the Mall entrance), level four features ‘Mobile Suit Gundam 00’, level five features the double whammy of ‘Seed’ and ‘Destiny’, level six features the mechs from the ‘Iron-Blooded Orphans’ series, and finally the seventh floor has the 2013 ‘Gundam Build Fighters’ on display.
There are 21 gundams in total to check out in the Mall, all just larger than an average human. The final eighth level is where you can check out the model kits and merchandise available for sale - there are even gundam-themed bicycles you can check out. Dangling like baubles from the central space of the Mall are large, multi-coloured Haros - the cutest little robot companions from the show. For more interactivity, dotted throughout the Centre are little ‘mini-sets’ with which you can interact - if the person taking the photograph stands in the perfect spot (designated with little ‘stand here’ stickies) the scene comes to life in three dimensions for the shot.
Even gundam-themed bicycles are on display!
Dotted throughout the Centre are pop-up sets which, if the picture is taken at just the right angle, will give you a three-dimensional action shot!
The spectacular opening ceremony for the event, held last month, featured endless lines of mechs on the steps of DiverCity Plaza and some of the original voice actors who thrilled hundreds of fans with a few lines from first iteration of ‘Gundam’, including a famous line from the final episode of the original series, which drove the fans wild and almost moved voice actor Furuya Toru to tears. There was a full taiko band which performed the ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ theme song - it was truly a nostalgia fest. While the voice actors and drummers are now gone, you can still see the gundams going up the steps of the plaza. Twice a day there is a great light show on the steps, so definitely hang around for that.
As you enter the Mall, you can pick up a special stamp book and fill it with rubber stamps available at various locations within the Mall. If you get all the stamps you stand a chance of winning some gundam-themed prizes. The food court is also in on the act; every day there is a limited number of gundam soda cups available to buy. There are many more in-Mall promotions and freebies to be had. Also, if you get there now, there is an ice-rink right next to the huge Unicorn Gundam outside the Mall - you would think skating under a massive mechanised fighter would be the least Christmassy scenario ever, but it is magical!
The opening ceremony of the Mall event which featured dozens of model gundam, original voice actors and a taiko drum band. You can still see the gundams if you get there before January 8th
This is truly the Mall promotion to end all Mall promotions. DiverCity has gone all out to deck itself with all things gundam, and even though it began in Hong Kong, this is truly a great example of awesome Japanese pop-culture come to life, and one that should not be missed while this event is running. Even without any sort of special event, Odaiba is the place to go to experience great Mall-based entertainment and shopping. There are so many different experiences to be had on this little man-made island, starting from the fully autonomous train which takes you over the stunning rainbow bridge and ending with light shows, ferris wheel rides and delicious classic Japanese foods in multiple restaurants, if you have one day in Tokyo, spend it on Odaiba - with DiverCity Mall as your base, of course!
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