Japan Autumn 2012 – Day12a: Gundam at Odaiba
Finally, the day has come when I can see the 1/1 scale Gundam with my very own two eyes. I also get to attend a live performance by AKB48 at their home theatre too!
As I was far too excited about today, I woke up very early and decided to head out instead of mope around at the clinic. The staff rostered to come in early and open the doors hadn’t even arrived yet. Getting to Odaiba was a little convoluted so I simply followed the most suitable route google maps had prepared for me on my phone. An hour and a half and several hundred yen poorer later, I was at Tokyo Teleport station.
This would be my 2nd time in Odaiba and it was all about the newly erected Gundam, Gundam Front, and to a lesser extent, Diver City. For those not in the know, Diver City is a shopping center which had previously been under construction when I first visited the place at the beginning of the year. It was now finished and featured a Gundam next to it and a Gundam museum on the top floor called Gundam Front. Seeing Diver City right in front of me as I exited the station, I made a beeline straight for it.
First I had to pass through Diver City in order to get to the Gundam. The shops were very posh and up class, meaning I wasn’t tempted to even look at the prices or what they stocked. I did enter what I thought was a minimart to look for breakfast and a drink but left disappointed and empty handed as they didn’t have anything under 500 yen. It was quite a long walk but eventually I arrived at the ground floor foodcourt and lo and behold, I spied something odd in the corner of my eye.
There was a special exhibit set up today too. A famous landscaper or florist had sculpted a gundam bust using lots of wire framing and flowers.
The place was fairly quiet, probably due to it being offpeak season now. Aside from a bunch of guys with huge cameras, there was a family, 3 middleschoolers, and a gaijin couple. Despite the low numbers of people, the nearby Gundam Front store and the phototaking booth were still fully staffed.
It was at this point that I started getting hungry so I headed back into the foodcourt for a very early lunch. The selection was quite poor and exorbitantly priced. Deciding against ramen, I splurged on a plate of omurice.
It took me a while before figuring out the system of this foodcourt. Once you finish your meal, you’re meant to head to a special area where you’re instructed to get rid of all the scraps on your plate, then bring the plate back to the stall you got it from.
Heading back out, it was now time to find Gundam Front. This proved extremely challenging as there weren’t any obvious signs and the picture on the website was completely different from real life. About half an hour later, I realized that Gundam Front was in Diver City itself and so I went up numerous escalators in search of it.
Gundam Front shares the top floor with Round 1 recreational center and divides itself into paid and free areas. The free area consisted of a room housing one of every gundam model ever created, and an extremely overpriced clothing store. I forked over the 1200yen entry fee to the paid area and was told to wait a little while for some movie to start so I went and had a look at the model exhibit.
A few minutes later, the doors to the paid area opened and the staff hurriedly ushered the 7 or 8 of us into a projection dome room. Photos and filming were of course, not allowed according to Lacus Clyne and Gihren Zabi who had grand presentations about prohibited behaviour and items.
The content of the video which played on the ceiling of the dome was good; full of action, nostalgic footage, legendary lines, and a well presented showcase of all the Gundam series that have aired to date. However, the fact that the dome was so small meant that to get a good view, one would need to be looking directly above, terrible for the neck. Once the video had finished, we were then let out into the rest of the paid area and exhibits.
The place was surprisingly small, but jammed packed with Gundam goodness. Three impressive displays took up most of the floor space: The large Strike Freedom bust pictured above, a diorama depicting the battle of A Baoa Qu, and a super detailed core fighter from RX-78.
Aside from the displays, there were ‘photo spots’ where you could get your photo taken with your favourite character from Gundam or pretend you’re in a cockpit. As I was alone at the time, I had to get assistance from a friendly staff member. There was another section of the paid area where design mockups and production drawings were being showcased. Water bottles and cameras strictly prohibited.
Past the exit was a shop selling model kits and extremely expensive clothing. I had a browse but was completely turned off by the price tags attached to each item. This would be it for Gundam Front and so I made my way to revisit the rest of Odaiba.
Decided not to spend too much time at the Venus Fort as nothing had changed since I was last there, so I walked over to the shoreline to snap some photos.
Today’s weather was amazing. Blue skies and plenty of sunshine made photo-taking easy for someone like me who’s pretty much just toying around with a borrowed camera. Odaiba’s iconic Rainbow Bridge can be seen from the entire shoreline so I made sure to take a few shots of it as I walked along.
Once I got to the other end, I had started to really feel the heat from the sun so I stepped into the air-conditioned shopping mall to seek out a convenience store and get a drink.
It would now be about time for me to head to Akihabara for my first time at the AKB48 theater!
2 more photos on the way out of Odaiba…