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Peaceful Gundam Wins Competition for Giant Fighting Robots

A young designer from Taiwan wanted to show that a battle robot could exist and find new purpose in a peaceful world.

by Grennan Milliken
Dec 20 2016, 8:29pm

Image: Japan Times/YouTube

Anyone familiar with the Gundam anime franchise knows that it's badass, but also pretty violent—anything that involves giant fighting robots with oversized weapons of mass destruction is going to be. This element of the story, however, is precisely what makes the junior winner of the Sixth Gunpla (Gundam plastic model) Builders World Championship so awesome. The tournament awards model builders who design and create their own Gundams, or fighting robots, and the 2016 junior winner, Chiu Hsien Chun of Taiwan, won for creating a peaceful Gundam, who carries no weapons. The award ceremony, along with Chun's model, are captured in a video published by Japan Times.

The Gundam franchise, created by Sunrise Inc—now a subsidiary of Bandai-Namco, the video game company—was spawned in 1979 with the TV show Mobile Suit Gundam. It's recurring feature is militaristic, giant robots blasting and slicing each other with various mechanized weapons of war. It exploded into a giant media franchise that's since spanned comics, action figures, more TV shows, and plastic models, known as gunpla. Designing and building gunpla into unique, novel Gundams has become a popular hobby among artistically-inclined Gundam fans, and inspired the worldwide model building competition.

This year's award ceremony for the world championship was held on December 18th at the Gundam Front Museum in Tokyo, Japan. Twenty four winners plucked from thirteen countries around the world were given awards of some kind, but the standout had to be Chiu Hsien Chun's peaceful Gundam that won the Junior course (ages 14 and under).

The young kid from Taiwan raised the bar to another level with his model titled "Over War," that depicted an unarmed robot in a wooded environment. He also had surprisingly thoughtful and mature reasons for doing so. "I didn't want to make a weapon. I wanted my work to show that Zaku (a villain robot) could exist in a peaceful world," said Chun in an interview with Japan Times.

Although the Gundam franchise is fictional, the idea is a compelling one. If you ask us, the he world could always use a few more peaceful Gundams (and peace in general).

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