News / Edmonton

Edmonton featured as backdrop for latest Gundam anime series

Long-running anime series introduces a new capital that looks awfully familiar...

A giant robot destroys the intersection at Jasper Ave and 109 Street.

Nopy's Blog.

A giant robot destroys the intersection at Jasper Ave and 109 Street.

One of anime’s longest running series has picked a pretty familiar location for its latest giant robot showdown.
 
The latest episode of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans features an epic battle in the capital of a fictional territory called Arbrau, in a city called… Edmonton.
 
This is no coincidence.  
 
The opening scene shows an empty downtown, locked down for the upcoming Arbrau elections. But a sharp-eyed anime site called Nopy’s Blog noticed that City Centre Mall and the Don Wheaton YMCA are both clearly visible.

Anime Edmonton on the left, real Edmonton on the right. Note City Centre Mall on the left in both.

Nopy's Blog.

Anime Edmonton on the left, real Edmonton on the right. Note City Centre Mall on the left in both.

Later shots feature the river valley and Jasper Avenue.
 
“It’s pretty neat that they picked our city,” said Andrea Brown with Happy Harbour Comics. “They might have made us even look better than we are at the moment—everything’s pretty green.”
 
Brandon Schatz, co-owner of Variant Edition Comics and Culture, says the Gundam series, which has been on the air in some form since 1979, is “one of the biggest animes out there right now.”
 
He describes the show as “basically people piloting giant robots. Lots of fighting, good vs. evil type of stuff.”

The river valley.

Nopy's Blog.

The river valley.

Both say that featuring a Canadian city is unusual. Small details about Edmonton have been changed—Scotiabank becomes Bankbank and Central Social Hall is now Central Shopping Mall—but there’s no mistaking it.
 
As to be expected when you’ve got giant robots doing battle, the city doesn’t fare too well.
 
There’s an explosion in front of a building that looks awfully like the headquarters of Stantec, and a giant robot does a good job smashing up the intersection of Jasper Ave and 109 Street.

An explosion outside the Stantec building.

Nopy's blog.

An explosion outside the Stantec building.

Still, fans consider it an honour.
 
“In popular fiction when they’re choosing a place to destroy they’re looking for something iconic, or at the very least, a place that people recognize,” Schatz said. “That’s why you get New York destroyed all the time, or Washington, or monuments.
 
“It says something about Edmonton, that we’ve been chosen to be wrecked.”

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