Gundam vs. Kitty: a clash of legends

2019 is a special year in Japan for many reasons. The main one being the era name change! We’re switching from ‘Heisei’ years to ‘Reiwa’ years, the emperor’s abdicating and his son’s stepping up, it’s a huge deal.

It’s also Gundam’s 40th anniversary (40 years since the first TV broadcast of Mobile Suit Gundam, anyway), and Hello Kitty’s 45th anniversary. Those are important milestones, too.

The time is right, and the stage is set, for an epic collab.

A story with equal parts kawaii and kick-ass

First, let’s talk about how this rivalry began.

Kitty-chan was at home, doing some baking for an afternoon tea party with friends… when her TV screen started acting weird. A green Gundam Haro appeared, saying ‘Hello Kitty, Help Amuro’, and after that clips from some intense space battles played out.

Why can’t Gundam fighters just be friends, and not kick enemy butts all the time? It’s a crying shame. So off runs Kitty-chan, to go teach Amuro Ray the importance of being nice to each other.

This isn’t your typical collab

What do a Gundam fighter and Kitty-chan have in common? Well… not much. There’s a handy chart on the official Gundam vs. Kitty promo website, showing the many differences between them:

GundamHello Kitty
Real nameRX-78-2Kitty White
Birthday(not given)November 1st
BirthplaceSide 7 space colonyOuter London, UK
HeightRoughly half of a MAN-08 Elmeth (18 metres)The same as 5 apples
WeightRoughly 1/4 of a MAN-08 Elmeth (43.4 tons)The same as 3 apples
In one line:The Federation’s ‘white thing’A cheerful, kind girl
LikesStanding on the EarthBaking cookies, playing the piano
DreamWinning against ‘that person’Becoming a pianist, or a poet
Special skillsRushing into the Earth’s atmosphere, escaping in a Core FighterMusic and English
Family and friendsAmuro, Sayla-san, Gun Tank, Gun Cannon, and everyone at the White BaseTwin sister Mimi, Mama, Papa, Grandpa, Grandma

Kitty-chan’s not a fighter by nature – it’s really rare to see her get pumped up. Mind you, against a Gundam that big and heavy it’s a no-brainer. How many apples tall is a MAN-08 Elmeth, anyway?

The secret weapon: your smartphone

To take a side in the ongoing fight, first you’ve gotta make friends with the Gundam vs Kitty LINE account. The project’s running ’til December 2019, so if you read this before then there’s still time to join. See if it’ll let you scan the QR code from your country.

When you press ‘join a team’, you’ve gotta make that tough choice before you can continue – Gundam, or Kitty-chan? Think about it for a second, we mean it. Once you’ve decided who to support, and pressed the button in the app, you can’t change your mind.

Supporting your side during the campaign gets you bonuses, like discounts and exclusive merch. You might need to be in Japan to claim them, though.

All the best collabs involve food

The ‘VS stages’ are tie-up campaigns with other big Japanese brands, to see who comes out on top.

First up: Marugame Seimen udon noodle shops across Japan. Order a bowl of udon, get either a Gundam or Kitty special card with your receipt. 45 designs for each side to collect, over only 48 days. That’s a lot of noodles to slurp in a month and a half.

You’d think, with Sanrio running the website and the ‘Gundam vs. Kitty’ Twitter account, that it’d be an easy Kitty-chan victory in the 1st round. Ah, but no. A week into the udon campaign, Gundam was ahead by 2,000 points. By the 2-week mark, that lead had grown to almost 4,000.

Do Gundam fans eat more noodles than other fans do? Maybe all the Kitty-chan supporters can be found lining up outside a nearby bakery instead…

Over Golden Week 2019, the battle raged on at selected Ito Yokado supermarkets inside Japan. Every visit to an eligible store was worth 1 point, by scanning the special QR code on the promo poster inside.

Not gonna lie, this one kinda scares us.

“Will you be able to survive?” Uh, survive what? Some impatient grandma pushing a full shopping cart towards us? It’s not even a so-bad-it’s-funny translation – the Japanese on the Gundam version says the same thing.

Who’s gonna win? It’s still a mystery

After that… the next thing we know of is some new escape room games starting in July 2019.

Tokyo Mystery Circus, in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho area, is hosting the ‘Mystery Mail Box’ collab. The Hello Kitty room (‘Puzzle-Solving Museum’) and Gundam room (‘Gundam Startup Tactics’) are separate escapes, opening on the same day.

Join the armies of Gundam and Kitty-chan fans

If you had to pick, here and now… would you side with the Gundam forces, or Hello Kitty?

Stick with us for info on future epic Japanese brand collabs like this one.

And wherever you are, know that there’s always a way to get involved. You can use the proxy shopping services on the DEJAPAN website to buy from Japan, without needing a Japanese address or credit card.

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