GIGANTOR – Bigger Than Big, Taller Than Tall
As a kid, I have always been amazed by two things, 1) cartoons and 2) robots. So if you combine the two, a cartoon about robots, you could imagine the excitement growing inside me. I was a fan of Voltes V, Tosho Daimos, Mazinger Z, and well, yes, Gigantor.
Gigantor is an American adaptation of the anime version of Tetsujin 28-go, a manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama. Tetsujin 28 is a robot made of steel and has a rocket-powered backpack used for flying. Although the robot only follows whoever has the remote control, there is no doubt that Tetsujin 28 is meant to guard peace.
Tetsujin 28-go was launched in 1956 as a manga and with the great popularity that it received, became an anime on 1963. And even after 53 years after its inception, Tetsujin 28 has never stopped to make its impact in the lives of the Japanese.
Ultra Electro Magnetic Awesome
On the 4th of October 2009, awesomeness was unveiled. After months to complete, the 18 meter high 50 ton statue of Tetsujin 28 now stands at the heart of Wakamatsu Park, in Wakamatsu-cho, Nagata-ku, Kobe.
The gigantic, or shall I say, ginormous robot was financed by local business groups and government with the hope that it would attract more people to the shops around Shin-Nagata station.
Tetsujin 28: The guardian of peace and guardian from disasters
More than just a tourist attraction, Tetsujin 28 was built to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Great Hanshin earthquake that hit Kobe on the 17th of January, 1995. With the Nagata Ward being one of the most damaged by the earthquake, it is only fitting that the monument be placed where it currently stands.
With the giant robot meant to guard peace when it was created as a manga, now it symbolizes Kobe’s revival and acts a guardian from future calamities and disasters.
I guess it is just a bit sad that Tetsujin 28 creator, Mitsuteru Yokoyama died in 1995 and did not get to see his creation “brought to life”. But I’m sure that he is still happy to see that his creation is still significant and continue to show his legacy to the young and the young at heart.
The best things in life are FREE
When i found that a life sized status of Tetsujin 28 was built, I could not wait until I get to visit this masterpiece and experience the 18 meters of awesomeness! Not only do you get to see the statue and get pictures of yourself with the statue, but to get to do it for FREE!!! Now what’s better than that?
Visiting Tetsujin 28
If you would like to visit the monument, and believe me you should, just take the Local JR and alight at Shin-Nagata Station. That is just 2 stations from Kobe and approximately about 30 minutes coming from Osaka.
Once you are at Shin-Nagata Station, exit the seaside exit of the station and turn right then go straight to the Daimaru shopping complex. Left of that is the Wakamatsu Park where Tetsujin 28 stands with all its might.