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After 11 Years, All Gundam Cafes in Japan Are Closing Permanently

In less than three months, the Gundam Cafe chains will be closing for good after a decade and one year of service due to the continuous economic damage and travel decline caused by the global pandemic.

In this Singapore news, we are detailing about the saddening announcement.

Sudden Closure

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On November 1, the popular Gundam-themed cafe chain announced the impending closure in a letter addressed to its customers, according to SoraNews24.

As of today, Gundam Cafe has four outlets in Japan: one in Osaka prefecture, one in Fukuoka, and two in metropolitan Tokyo specifically the districts of Odaiba and Akihabara. 

Prior to the pandemic, these cafes received a large amount of tourists from locals and those who are traveling from other countries on a normal daily basis. 

Although the letter never mentioned the official reason for the chain’s closure, fans have been speculating that it was due to the severe travel decline due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was surprising as it was dropped only a few days after the company revealed their new menu features. 

Inspired by the Gundam Series

Yoshiyuki Tomino and animation studio Sunrise created Mobile Suit Gundam as a television anime series in 1979. 

The original series was a science fiction drama with a story centered around a giant robot known as ‘Gundam”. Within the decade since the series was launched, the property has become a success in Japan and fans have become extremely obsessed with the show.

The series has generated several sequels of television series and is adapted into different forms of media such as films, OVAs, novels, video games, manga and plastic toy kits known as Gunpla. The franchise has become popular globally and the Gundam was one of the most iconic characters in the world.

Cafe Features

The chain of Gundam Cafe offers a variety of food and drinks that are influenced by the anime and they also market various items and merchandise related to the show. 

Before the pandemic lockdown, the restaurants and the life-sized Gundam figures located in many places in Japan were famous tourist attractions for local and international tourists who are fans of the show. 

The cafe is known for its iconic “V-antenna” above the entrance and it is not difficult to locate. Many customers felt like they were transported in a spaceship as soon as they stepped into the cafe. 

The Akihabara branch was specifically a meeting place of middle-aged men known as ossan who are eating and relaxing in the cafe. Many cosplayers also visited the cafe and sometimes dressed in Gundam suits.

As for menu items, the cafe is popular with their Jaburo coffee and Ninmu Ryoukai or Suicide Bomb Carbonara. Their Omurice and Acguy Curry is popular to the customers as well.

Farewell Letter to the Customers

In the letter from the company announcing the closure of the restaurant chain, they expressed their gratitude to the customers and fans who have been supporting them for 11 years. 

“We opened our first café in Akihabara in April of 2010, and our customers have supported us at every step along the way. On behalf of our entire staff, we are more grateful to you than words can express.”

“We don’t have much time left, but we will continue doing our utmost so that everyone who visits can have wonderful memories to take home, and we hope you’ll enjoy yourselves at our cafes right up until the very end.”

Final Operation Schedules

The final operation of the cafe in Osaka will be on January 10, 2022, while the closure date for other locations namely Odaiba, Fukuoka and Akihabara is set on January 30, 2022. However, the cafe located in Gundam Factory, Yokohama will be closing at a later date around March.

The company’s letter concludes with the following sentence, “Please look forward to our next project,” it may suggest that the company will be recuperating for a while before they launch another project.

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