Whether we're talking Earth Federation, The Principality of Zeon, or everything in between, Gundam has proven to be a massive franchise in both viewership and sale of merchandise. "Gunpla", the shorthand way to say "Gundam Plastic Models", have become so popular that over 500 million of these Mobile Suits have been shipped worldwide. From Gundam Wing to MS 08th Team, nearly 2000 types of plastic figures have been created to celebrate this ever expanding franchise.
To hit home the idea of just how many 500 million Gundam figures is, Bandai Spirits has stated that if you line up all the figures that have shipped, they would "circle the globe four times over." If you were to stack them on top of one another, you would create a tower of Gundams that stood "160,000 kilometers tall". For us folks in the United States, that's nearly 100,000 miles high. While that would certainly create a breathtaking sight, I don't know how structurally sound that would be so we'd definitely need to have some meetings on the construction of such a wonder.
First shipping out in July 1980, "Gunplas" have continued picking up steam in sales with each passing year. As proof of this, in 2010, Gundam Plastic Model sales were around 400 million and ten years later, nearly 100 additional units have been sold. So popular is Gundam in fact, that aside from these monstorous sales, a full size Gundam statue was actually built in Tokyo, Japan and stands proudly to protect the citizens of Odaiba.
In celebration of the upcoming 40th anniversary of "Gunplas", Bandai Spirits will roll out a number of different initiatives, as well as work in collaboration with Japan's professional baseball teams for additional promotional endeavors. This is hardly the strangest collaboration between a hit franchise and Japan's baseball network, as previously, characters from the horror franchises, The Ring and The Grudge, dueled on the baseball diamond.
Mobile Suit Gundam is one of the most popular franchises in the world, and that popularity is only expected to grow as Sunrise continues to release new projects for the franchise. This includes new anime based in the original Universal Century storyline, which will next see a film trilogy based on the Hathaway's Flash novels, a returning anime for its SD Gundam spin-offs, and even a brand new live-action movie coming to the West co-produced by Legendary, a studio who is currently in the midst of bringing a new take on Toho's Godzilla franchise to the screen.
Have you been purchasing Gunplas to help set this insane record? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics and anime.
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