As a small kid I would spend the best part of my winter afternoons watching TV. Correction: watching Japanese cartoons on TV. And most of them were about huge robots fighting an alien invasion. Mazinger Z, Grendizer (for the Italians: Goldrake) are the first obvious names that come to mind. But there was also Gundam. Now, it’s not like I was particularly fond of Gundam, but little I knew that one day I would have moved to Tokyo and would have had the actual robot in front of me.
Already for a couple of months we had known about it: a one-to-one reproduction of Gundam (18m tall) was being built in Odaiba. And of course we couldn’t let the opportunity escape us. And given that last Monday was the Day of the Sea – what better opportunity to go to Odaiba? Well, the idea really sounded good. Which is where the only flaw in the plan was. If you live in a place like Tokyo you can’t realistically expect to be the only one having a good idea.
In this case it meant that the subway (or actually the train) was particularly crowded and already from far one could see a torrent of people streaming out of the station. In fact the train ride itself is an experience: you cross the Rainbow Bridge and get to see a view of Odaiba from above. Someone once said that being in Japan is like living in an episode of Star Trek (where we are the Klingons – but this is another story). Well, then Odaiba is the Risa planet, the perfect location where the ship crews go on holiday and everything seems perfectly nice and clean (I would have been tempted to say sterile, but I managed to stop myself in time).
So, to come back to Gundam, we arrived in Odaiba, joined the huge crowd directed to the robot and eventually arrived at its feet. OK, it is impressive. As impressive as an 18m robot can be. And it moves. Not a lot, maybe (while we were there it just turned its head to look high in the sky), but producing a lot of smoke among the oohhhhhs, aaaahhhhs and the applause of the ecstatic crowd (which had found a good excuse to make a picnic in the park by the sea).