▲Sunrise GM Naohiro Ogata, Ken Okuyama, EXILE's MAKIDAI, Sotsu Managing Director Retsu Tamura
As part of the "Mobile Suit Gundam 40th Anniversary Project", a reception to introduce the various collaborations of gunpla was held January 30, 2019 (Wed) at Gundam Base Tokyo.
At the reception, Bandai's Chief Gundam Officer and Managing Director Yoshitaka Tao, BANDAI SPIRITS Hobby Division General Manager Takashi Fujiwara, and Sotsu Managing Director Retsu Tamura went on stage, and announced the collaborations with the 12 professional baseball teams and Uniqlo. They also announced the 2020 gunpla 40th anniversary symbolic logo and prototypes.
Also as guests, industrial designer Ken Okuyama, Exile's Makidai, and Sunrise General Manager Naohiro Ogata appeared. The "KEN OKUYAMA DESIGN Gunpla Project Special Movie" untold stories and Okuyama and Makida's hot Gundam Talk unfolded as well, so let's introduce them all.
Various Collaborations with the 12 Professional Baseball Teams and Uniqlo are Announced!
At the beginning of the reception, as the host's representative, Mr. Tao of Bandai spoke. Following this year's 40th anniversary of Gundam, he announced that next year in 2020 would be the 40th anniversary of gunpla, and introduced the symbolic logo for it as well as prototypes for the commemorative products. Next year, the results of the innovations of gunpla and new product creations that were the goals of the "GUNPLA EVOLUTION PROJECT" since 2016 will be made public, so look forward to the next report.
Mr. Fujiwara of BANDAI SPIRITS came up next, and said of the current situation of Gundam and gunpla, "With the Bandai Namco Group, sales last year of the Gundam series officially reached ¥68.3 billion, and as a significant intellectual property within the group, even as we celebrate the 40th anniversary, it continues to grow." The total shipments of gunpla is expected to exceed 500 million units within 2019, and the number of shipments to foreign countries is approaching 40%, showing that Gundam is not just a domestic product.
For this session, he expressed appreciation to gundam fans around the world, and so new fans can also enjoy Gundam and gunpla, various collaborations are being prepared, and as part of that effort, announced the "12 professional baseball teams" and "Uniqlo" collaborations.
Here, Mr. Tamura of Sotsu, which planned and produced the 12 professional baseball teams collaboration took to the podium. Professional baseball season opening is from March to April, and the television broadcast of "Mobile Suit Gundam" also started April 7, he explained "The timing to start the 40th anniversary collaboration is perfect, from both fan groups matching, so fans of either sides will be happy with this collaboration." For this collaboration, not only will there be the release of gunpla featuring each team's representative colors, there will also be consideration for events to be held, so please look forward to the next report. For more details, please see the "Professional Baseball × 12 Teams × Gundam 40th Anniversary" Official Site
Also, in collaboration with "Uniqlo", in late March 2019 commemorative UT were released, and limited gunpla also appeared.
There are collaborations with Haro's plastic model kits "Haropla" and various characters. Some specific products are not able to be announced yet, but in one exciting collaboration, TV Tokyo's broadcasted anime "Pikachin-Kit" will feature a story with Haro.
For details about the Uniqlo and Haropla collaborations, please see this article
Okuyama and MAKIDAI Talk About Their Hot Love of Gundam!
▲Ken Okuyama, EXILE's MAKIDAI
The last collaboration project of the reception, it was announced that the "Mobile Suit Gundam 40th Anniversary KEN OKUYAMA DESIGN Gunpla Project Special Movie" would be produced.
The trigger for this collaboration was Mr. Fujiwara thinking "For the year of Gundam's 40th anniversary, I want to make an amazing gunpla", so he consulted world-renown industrial designer Okuyama. For Mr. Okuyama, "Mobile Suit Gundam" was a work that was broadcasted while he was a college student, and had an enormous impact on him as a designer. The designer of the Enzo Ferrari said, "It is a design inspired by Gundam. On the contrary, that I am finally able to design a Gundam, I'm so happy they're letting me do that," and smiled.
Mr. Fujiwara then turned to the well-established entertainment field's "LDH JAPAN Inc." to work with, "Is it possible to show the attraction of Gundam to a wider generation together?", and offered the music production to MAKIDAI. Incidentally, MAKIDAI and Mr. Fujiwara went to the same junior high school, and it was surprisingly revealed that they were on the same cheering team, "Time passed, and now that I am able to work together on the same project with a friend from those days, Gundam has created these bonds of connection."
Thinking back to the time of broadcast, Mr. Okuyama was preparing his sketchbook and clay, and before the broadcast ended he sketched the characters and made them from clay. Afterwards on designs for "Batman Returns" and "Apollo 13", and now for the special movie as well, he will use that inspiration.
Mr. Ogata was very interested to see from an industrial design point of view how things like Gundam's joint structure would be approached. "While having a good discussion with Mr. Okuyama, we advanced the visualization," he said. With the life-sized Unicorn Gundam statue and the "Gundam GLOBAL CHALLENGE" goal of creating a moving, life-sized Gundam in 2020. Creators and audience alike have changed the way they see Gundam, "We asked Mr. Okuyama if he could (direct Gundam) in a new direction," he stated.
With regards to gunpla, Mr. Fujiwara revealed, "From the first step of meeting with Mr. Okuyama, a completely different level of idea from our normal production process was created." The team was united to create surprising new products.
Here a teaser visual of the collaboration was shown to the public, and Mr. Okuyama said "I am a big fan of "First" (Mobile Suit Gundam)'s "78" (RX-78 Gundam)... I want to revert the part where they changed from the 78 to Mk-II!" With today's technology, it might seem that Gundam hasn't changed at first glance, but it can moves in ways unthinkable before,
- While keeping the waist with the pants, the knees can reach the chest
- The torso can rotate 90°
- With the right hand, touch the left hand, or shoulder, from the top of the head properly
were the conditions presented. The design was created in 3D, and images and special movie clips were presented, and gunpla will be created exactly the same.
Mr. Okuyama called Syd Mead (Designer for "Turn A Gundam"), his senior from an American university, a "genius". He wants to continue his collaboration with Gundam and create a new world outlook similar to Syd Mead, but this time he wants to "Return to First Gundam", and "Make it move", that's his strong motivation of the past 40 years, he said with fervor.
Mr. Fujiwara also said this time's Gundam is created from an industrial designer's viewpoint and is refined throughout, the solid power with which it moves, that when the gunpla is held in the hand the feeling of "So that's how it works!", that kind of confidence in design.
As Mr. Ogata pointed to the design visual, he said "Mr. Okuyama's wonderful influence can be seen in the chest line," and just as Yoshikazu Yasuhiko drew in "Mobile Suit Gundam", he wanted to realize the beauty of the human silhouette and its movements through a 3D model.
And MAKIDAI said "The feeling of energy, power, and profound feeling when the Gundam moves, I want to express that through music, and create the world of Gundam through that."
The collaborations for this time have just been announced. As we continue to report on new developments in the near future, please look forward to the next reports.
（GUNDAM.INFO Editorial Department）
12 Professional Baseball Teams Collaboration Gunpla!
Uniqlo UT Original Limited Gunpla "Gundam" & "Zaku II"!
Prototypes for Gunpla's 40th Anniversary have Appeared!
※Current as of January 30, 2019 (Wed) and may change without notice.
※Product images may differ from final product.