I'm the last one of the four of us to blog about it (I went with Gaigun, ASM, and G.G.) but I'll be the one that gives you the most information.
First I met ASM at Nagoya station. He said he wanted some Miso katsu so I took him to a place I know and we enjoyed that. After that we took a look at some of the local model shops and I showed him where I usually do my shopping. We had a nice conversation about models and paints and talked about things in detail as only people who have similar hobbies can do. He also told me about recent events in his life but I couldn't really reciprocate because my life is relatively boring. I don't work and I go out drinking a lot. That's it really. That said I can't remember when I've been this happy.
After that we hopped on the Shinkansen and just talked about life. ASM is very friendly so we talked about a lot of different topics. After a while we finally arrived at Shizuoka where we met GaiGun and G.G. and the 4 of us went to Higashi Shizuoka station together. And that's when I started taking pictures.
|Gundams being sold at the station. Never thought I'd see that in my life.|
|You can see it from the window! Great!|
|Look at those mountains in the background. What a great setting!|
|Gundam Zone? I think I entered it a long time ago!|
|God bless girls in Fed uniforms. She was a real sweet heart. Took a picture with me too.|
|Kind of looks like it's in a different stance depending on the angle.|
|Lot's of details!|
|Generations of the RX-78-2. Seen while waiting in line for some of the limited edition items. We bought a LOT. Well, THEY bought a lot. I had to restrain myself.|
|Can you imagine there being a core fighter in there?|
|He sees all.|
|Why do I have to leave?! I can't believe I may not see it again!|
More pics can be seen here.
Another thing that I'd like to mention is the notorious comparison between us and Evangelion fans. And there is, without doubt, elements of truth to it all. But different animes with different histories. It's only fair. That said, there were still a fair amount of young women there.
The place also had live music and many kinds of food shops plus a model museum. It was like a festival!
One enjoyable point for me was when a young boy came to look at my Gundam T-Shirt (Ver. KA FIX line art) and then at his own (RG Gundam Project line art) and then at mine with a quizzical look on his face, then back at his and then I walked away (I was waiting in line for something). Who would have guessed that I'd have so much in common with young Japanese boy.
ASM was really amazing at reserving and timing things but we lingered around the Gundam a bit too long (can you blame us?!) as well as discovering the Tokugawa Mark II at the last minute! Damn I wanted that but... restraint. Restraint. I have to stop myself. But dammit I didn't think I'd have the chance to see it let alone buy it! Ah... Gotta remember that I'm not actually working right now and have to be a bit conservative. They all bought one... but I didn't. How's that for not being a team player? Although GaiGun and I share the eco-pura Mark 2. And we all share the ANA Gundam now. Plus we all have the RG RX-78-2. That's how I justify it all. haha
After that it was time to eat and drink. These guys aren't your standard beer drinking brutes. Well they are and they aren't. They start with beer (like I do) and we all moved on to other types of booze. I tried the sake (cold type) which we all did a shot of but it was actually crap and was really only suitable for shots. I had the worst gin/lime ever. Honestly. It was the worst ever and that's coming from someone who drinks a fair bit. Food was nice but I think it was the conversation that was the best part of it all. Apparently I predicted that the next PG would be Strike Freedom and low and behold just two days later...
There's just something about talking about the things you love with people who love it equally. It's a relatively rare thing for me unfortunately. Yes; very good conversation and too short. I could have gone for a while longer but we had to get our trains back to our respective abodes. Shizuoka was a good meeting place for us because it's nearly midway between where we're all staying but it's far so we had to leave somewhat early.
Goodbyes and then ASM and I got some more beers for train (Japanese tradition) and talked about a lot of stuff. Largely exploits of our youth and why Japan is awesome sometimes. I'm sure I'll be seeing him sooner than later though as he's a bit closer to me location wise now. And I have to take him to the Gundam bars in Nagoya!
Fun times! Definitely a day that I'll never forget.
And NOW since this is MY Gundam blog, it is time for MY rant about my impressions of the whole thing as a die hard Gundam fan.
First, I was moved. Seriously. I was actually moved. The image of it against the backdrop of the mountains of Japan stirred emotions and thoughts inside of me that I didn't know existed. Yes. That profound and that deeply. I didn't know that I loved it THAT much.
We look at these things in anime and in manga and in games. We build them but the closest we'll get to the real thing is a 1/35 resin recast and that's if we're lucky AND rich. Most of us are at 1/100 and I know that some of you don't even go over 1/144. 1/1 guys. 1/1. This is as close as ANY of us are going to get to the real thing.
And it looks like the real thing. I wished it moved a bit more. It's a machine. It's OK if it's jerky because then it would just look like a machine. The head swivels like a machine, the mist from the vents (a good, healthier approximation of exhaust), the eyes... It looked good.
Maybe in future incarnations more of it will move but I'll tell you one thing right now. Japan holds on to their anime characters. Astro Boy? It's been over 50 years and they got Hollywood to make a CG movie of it. A 1/1 Gundam with more moving parts WILL come.
One thing that I felt while looking at it, gazing is more appropriate perhaps, is the ridiculousness of it all. It looks kind of strange in real life. Something that big can fly? Jump? Has a core fighter inside of it? Vulcans in the head. Beam rifle?! BAZOOKA?! The size of the bazooka must be... that means the shell must be... O_O! omg... And what's up with those colours? That's a war machine? (Funny. I call it a war machine and outside of the Gundam zone were people petitioning for PEACE. No joke.)
Not only that but you can't help but look at it and think of it in a different colour scheme and even there being a totally different Gundam there. 1/1 Red Frame with Gerbera Straight? 1/1 Strike Freedom? 1/1 Psycho Gundam?! 1/1 Dendrobium?!?!? The possibilities are endless. It's silly but at the same time it is so, so cool.
When you look at it in real life you can't help but look at it with realistic eyes but at the same time, this "statue" inspired such an incredible sense of wonder in me. There were times I thought that it could walk off the platform. Or that I could ride up to the cockpit from that cable that comes down from the chest. Imagine it walking slowly, head swiveling, vulcans firing. Using the beam sabre to cut down a Zaku.
It was a strange dichotomy. Or self contained juxtaposition. There's no reason for a war machine like this to come into existence but... god damn it if it doesn't look friggin cool. Love it. I love this Gundam. I love Gundam period. I thank whoever decided to make it initially and whoever decided to resurrect it again in Shizuoka. And I'm so thankful for the chance/opportunity to see it, especially with like minded people to make the experience more enjoyable.
It was a great day. One to remember. One for the ages.