Gunpla-kun is a new character that Bandai introduced on August 19, 2021, to “share the fun of Gunpla” with the world. As a way to launch the character, 10 one-minute shorts were uploaded to the Gundam YouTube channel and a dedicated website for the characters on the same day.
With these family-friendly mascots, Bandai looks to introduce the world of Gundam and plamo to a wider audience. The first short shows Gunpla-kun and Zakupla-kun talking to a kid who’s playing video games, asking him to take a break to come and try out Gunpla.
The shorts are quick, comical sketches, but are currently only available in Japanese (though you can turn on auto-translation into your preferred language on YouTube). In order to really reach the masses of anime fans, builders, and newcomers alike, we’re curious to see if Bandai ends up adding human-translated subtitles in the future.
About the Mascots
So far, there are three mascots, each with their own charming little profile on the Bandai Gunpla-kun website:
One day at the Bandai Hobby Center, an unidentified runner emerges from the plastic runner line with a mysterious glow. Because the runner contains parts for an RX-78-2 Gundam, it decides to call itself “Gundam-kun.” Filled with a pride and passion for plamo, he begins on a lively missions to spread the joy of plastic model kits to the world.
An unidentified runner of parts for a MS-06 Zaku II that appeared at the same time as Gunpla-kun. He decides to work with Gunpla-kun to spread the joy of Gunpla, as a coolheaded counterpart to his overly-enthusiastic friend. He has a bit of a complex about being a mass-produced model.
An unidentified runner for Char’s Zaku II. His pride is just a way to hide his sensitive nature and his equally sensitive heart.
You can’t have cute new mascots without merchandise to go with them, and Bandai launched fully prepared with a line of goods just for these guys! There are only a handful of items currently available, and they’re limited to Gundam Base locations — but if they’re successful, maybe we’ll see more!
These guys remind me of the Chibi Godzilla character that was launched a few years ago as a promotional mascot for the Godzilla franchise. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!