31.7.09

Gundam

Gundam Toy in Bali
Developed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, one of Hajime Yatate animators in Sunrise studio Japan, Gundam first came as an anime series in April 1979 called Mobile Suit Gundam, and later became a franchise name with more sequels, prequels, and side stories, published and aired in various media including OVA, manga, novels, and video games.

During its conceptual phase, the series was titled Freedom Fighter Gunboy, or simply Gunboy for the gun the robot was armed with, and the primarily target demographic were sh┼Źnen (boys). Then in the early production stages, the Yatate team combined the English word "gun" with the last syllable of the word "freedom" to form the name Gundom. Tomino then changed it to the current title, suggesting that Gundam signified a powerful unit wielding a gun powerful enough to hold back enemies, like a hydroelectric dam holding back floods.

Unlike its super robot cousins, Gundam attempted a realism in the robot design and weaponry, by running out of energy and ammunition or breaking and malfunctioning like all machines do. The technology is practical and is either derived from true science such as radar-guided long-distance cruise missiles, anti-aircraft guns, missiles, and all early warning systems, with weapons systems having to rely on human eyes.

Academic fields in Japan have also viewed the series as a good inspiration in research fields, with the International Gundam Society being the first academic institution based on an animated TV series. Gundam's realistic scientific setting has gained a reputation in the field itself as well. On July 18, 2007, when MIT's Astronautics Department's Professor Dava Newman displayed a biosuit, the suit was referenced as Mobile Suit Gundam's Normal Suit is now real by various news agencies. On February 14, 2008, when NASA proposed research into nuclear thermal rockets, Technobahn, a scientific journal in Japan, referred to the usage of nuclear thermal rocket engines on mobile suits in the Gundam universe.

Bandai, the primary licensee of the Gundam trademark, makes a variety of products for the Gundam fan. Categories of products include the "Mobile Suit In Action" (MSiA) action figures, and Gundam Model Kits in several scales and design complexity. The most popular line of action figures in recent year is the "Gundam Fix" series. As of January 21, 2008, the Gundam franchise is a 50 billion yen trademark. Gunpla's (Gundam Plastic model) income is 90% of the Japan character plastic model market's income.

Gundam action figures can be bought in:
* Kidz Station:
  • Mall Bali Galeria, Kuta. Ph. 767003
  • Bali Collection, Nusa Dua. Ph. 773807
  • Discovery Shopping Mall, Kuta. Ph. 769538

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