As the Covid19 epidemic continues to evolve unpredictably in Japan, matches at this year’s Tokyo Olympics will be played without spectators. However, there is one special “spectator” who still makes a regular appearance in some outdoor competitions: the giant anime robot RX-0 Unicorn Gundam.
In some disciplines with open spaces around the competition area, the Gundam easily fades into the background as the camera captures the athletes’ side angles, giving a unique sense of statue size. The BBC itself had to exclaim on Twitter about the giant size of the statue, but although the British broadcaster is one of the oldest and most respected news agencies, it cannot avoid mistaken criticism.
The BBC tweet read: “Just when you’re stunned by the speed of ascent (of the athletes), you’ll be overwhelmed by a Transformer at this year’s Olympics.” In fact, Gundam and Transformer are two completely different brands. Even Gundam is not a “follower” name as it appeared 5 years before Transformer when the Mobile Suit Gundam movie was first released in 1979.
Although they are both transforming robots, the nature of these robots is also very different. While the Transformers are sentient machines with unique personalities, in Gundam these machines are simply military equipment, without a soul, acting as literal vehicles and telling the story of human conflict figuratively.
However, despite being called by the wrong name, the fact that Gundam has caught the attention of the BBC is also one of the ways of confirming that Japan was right in deciding to host the 2020 Olympics – transmitting the culture Japanese to friends in the five continents.
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