First off, I’d like to welcome new readers to my blog, the Gundam Big Expo coverage ramped up my hits by a whopping 840% it seems. I’m usually one of the slower bloggers around, but sometimes, just sometimes I can bring a scoop home. Anyways, welcome to the ramblings of an American Salaryman in Tokyo, everything from Gundam, Otaku, Photography, and random life. Feel free to stop by whenever and comment if you’re up to it.
Moving on to the main post, I really should have posted this afterwards, but having a few days of real life in between to let things simmer and collect my thoughts helped. Overall, I’ve come to the conclusion that in general, this expo was definitely all about the First Gundam Series, and the latest Gundam UC. Everything in-between was fairly glossed over, even Gundam 00 (outside of the PG kit), which finally had some movie news on Sunday it seems, was kind of moved aside compared to Gundam UC. In retrospect, the Gundam 00 movie is supposed to be out in 3 months or some and there really isn’t any info at all! The Macross Frontier movie at least has a trailer playing for it (saw it when I went to see Evangelion 2.0, which was bad ass, but I digress). The panels though, at least on the first day were definitely aimed at the First Gundam generation crowd, but outside of Ikeda (Shar) and Furuya (Amuro) everyone else is just, I dunno, normal? Hell, 30 years have passed since they did the voices so, I don’t know what people expect, now that these people are in their 50’s and 60’s but hey, it’s cool, right?
Anyways, just to pick my highlights of the Expo
- Gundam UC –Without a doubt, the Gundam UC rush is already starting to pick up speed. From an very nicely animated trailer, to the upcoming Dengeki Hobby Magazine swag, to the various HGUC and SHCM kits coming out, we’re going to be seeing a lot of Unicorn in the six months
- PG 00 Raiser – While I say Gundam 00 in general was glossed over, it does win for having the most shocking release date of a kit, the 00 Raiser, scheduled to come out in less than 3 months. Wow Bandai. Starve us of PG’s for a few years, then release the flood? This gives me hope in a way that we’ll see a PG Unicorn next year sometime.
- Dioramas – I’m a sucker for these things I guess. It’s always nice to see a decked model kit that makes you go wow, but seeing the work put into some of these huge diorama’s is just amazing. While the Odessa battle is one I think has been used at other shows, seeing it in person, plus the stunning Victory Gundam diorama, the mass production Zaku Factory, and so on, makes you realize that some people really love Gundam, probably way more than we’ll ever do. But that won’t stop me from appreciating that love in the form of great diorama’s.
- 1/10 models – This probably fits up with dioramas, but the number of 1/10 Gundams on display were impressive. Unicorn, hands down for the win.
- Upcoming merchandise – While seeing pictures in one thing, it’s neat to actually be able to see the production and test models on display like this. From Kshatriya to the new PG, to non gunplay items like helmets, pins, and more, it was pure merch overload.
On the other hand, the low points of the expo:
- Ring of Gundam – I dunno, I’m hearing it’s supposed to be a short “clip” of a longer film, but the documentation on hand indicated that it was simply a short film created for the Expo. Thusly you get 4 minutes of hmmm, with no indication that it’s going to continue or not. In all, it felt like a Gundam Evolve clip, except it had nothing to do with any of the current models, and only vaguely references Amuro and the Axis asteroid. Mixed feelings on this, but the upside was that being only 4 minutes long, the turnover was fast and you only had to wait around 5 minutes to see it.
- Not putting a limited gunplay sales booth inside the ticketed area – From a business perspective, putting the sales area outside the ticketed area means you get more sales, whether or not people pay to see the ticketed goods. Unfortunately that also increases the wait. I really don’t see why they couldn’t have created another booth inside the ticketed area as they had the space.
- Limited number of machines for the games area – They brought in quite a few Gundam Vs. Gundam machines along with older Gundam arcade machines, plus Senjo no Kizuna which you could play for free, but limited them to only about 8 machines of each. They had plenty of room where they really could have put more. Senjo no Kizuna was an hour+ long wait just to play one match.
- Lastly, the animation history area, this is a mix of high yet low for me. Having cool posters for each series and models and line art, just felt a little lacking. Maybe I was going in expecting to see booth babes like TGS dressed in Gundam uniforms, but the lack of character profiles for the most part even seems lacking. Of course, this is made up by having diorama’s and figures for all the mobile suits, but it really felt at times that they were pushing the mechanical merchandisable side more than the human drama of the shows.
In the end, the show was worth going to, I ended up leaving around 4 rather than stay until closing at 6, but managed to get my fills worth, and it was nowhere near as crowded as something like TGS.
I don’t know if they’ll have another one next year, considering that they’ve pulled out all the stops for the G30 anniversary, but if they do it’ll be interesting to see what they bring to the table.