Japan's Giant Gundam Statue Reportedly Part of Embezzlement Scheme

In case you're not aware, there's a giant Gundam statue in Japan. It's been around for years at this point, with the original being replaced in 2017 to make way for a new model. As it turns out, however, it's now being reported that the statue's construction masked some serious embezzling by employees.

According to the Tokyo Reporter, a couple of ex-Bandai employees Takashi Utazu, 44, and Takao Kurokawa, 66, are suspected of embezzling up to 200 million yen by artificially inflating the budget of construction projects. The suspicion appears to be that this occurred across multiple projects, but the main one being reported is the construction of the Gundam statue in Tokyo's Odaiba district. The overall embezzlement is reported to have occurred between 2013 and 2017.

It's reported that, for the Gundam project, the two employees essentially charged Bandai 20 million yen in 2013 while the actual project cost around 10 million yen -- meaning that there's 10 million yen unaccounted for.

A report by ANN News (in Japanese) appears to cover the accusations as well. You can check that out below, though the auto-translated English subtitles leave something to be desired:

What do you think about the accusations? Does it make you any less interested in the giant statue? Let us know in the comments!

As previously mentioned the current Gundam statue, the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam UC, was not the original statue. The life-sized RX-78-2 Gundam statue which previously stood there was replaced in September 2017, and was designed by mechanical designer Hajime Katoki. The current statue weighs about 49 tons and stands at a height of nearly 65 feet. There's a new statue being built, but it's basically unrelated to the previous two.

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Mobile Suit Gundam UC, or Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn as it is often known, is an adaptation of the novels of the same name, and was first announced in 2009 before releasing from 2010 through 2014. There was also broadcast edit of the same material called Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096. The series is notable for taking place in Universal Century 0096, three years after Char's Counterattack, which is also why the broadcast version is titled as it is. Reception of the series has been generally favorable among fans, though it is not held to be particularly incredible compared to some of the franchise's other series.

[H/T Kotaku]