Gundam Calling t-shirt

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From Chop Shop comes this fantastic "Gundam Calling" t-shirt playing on the Clash's London Calling album cover which itself was a tribute to the design of Elvis's self-titled first album. Available in men's and women's sizes from the Boing Boing Bazaar! "robotRock (or Gundam Calling) Tshirt"


  1. I hope someone tells Chop Shop that their katakana is badly formed. The ョ (yo) and ッ (tsu) both need to be smaller, or they’re very misleading. The tsu is particularly bad, because it’s supposed to be pronounced as a doubling of the next consonant. Instead of “choppu shoppu,” the words look more like “chiyotsupu shiyotsupu.”

  2. I’d be even more pedantic. Not only is the katakana lame, that doesn’t look like a Gundam *or* a Zaku.

    Can someone make a knock-off shirt that actually has a gundam on it, and says ‘Gundam Calling’ with the correct characters?

    Of course, Bandai will sue your ass when you do that.

    1. it’s Turn A, not the RX-78. Which is a shame, really. I would have bought this shirt a year ago on Etsy otherwise.

  3. Also, the guitar being smashed in the original is a Fender Precision Bass, which has all of its tuning pegs on one side. Clearly this means the original screen must be destroyed and the designers hunted down and captured.

  4. Yes, the katakana is badly formed on purpose. Making those characters smaller looked bad. That is all. The overall look of the type HAS to have that super-bold look to it. More important to capture the feel of this legendary design than to make sure our name is pronounced correctly. We even considered making it say nothing. Design wins over accuracy in this case.

    1. ChopShop, unfortunately, using the large versions of tsu and yo are not optional if you want the shirt to read “chop shop”.

    2. Well, take it from someone that’s more into the music side of things than the otaku side of things (I wouldn’t know a Gundam from a Fooly Cooly?): This shirt is awesome.

      And now I have “Gundam Calling”stuck in my head, just need to work out a few more lyrics…

    1. There’s actually a really great FLCL London Calling parody T-shirt, I’ll post the link if I can actually re-find it…

  5. I too was confused by the weird katakana but I agree with chopshop that design-wise it looks better this way.

    The ironic thing is that in Japan you rarely see tees with writing in katakana. Instead English or romaji Japanese seems to be the default standard.

  6. Ha! I also dad trouble with the katakana. Times were, I assumed I was getting it wrong, and felt stupid. Now I check on a website, find out it is wrong, log in here to do smug posting, and feel stupid because I am so far behind everyone else. However, thanks to technology, it feels a much better class of stupid.

    Don’t sweat it, ChopShop. Typography seems to be one of these things where everyone feels they have an opinion. You can write a killer program, and lose because no-one likes the font on the user interface. You got some plug, as well as flame. Live by the Boing, die by the Boing…

  7. Considering the “it just looks cool” Engrish that is on shirts in Japan I don’t think I would sweat some aesthetic choices in katakana. The design is just too cool to be a pedantic dickhole about.

    1. That’s actually a reason for me not to buy it. As someone who is regularly around japanese people, I don’t want to look like this person does.

  8. I bought this shirt a while back without knowing what it said at all. Now I know more than I ever needed to.

    Awesome shirt!

  9. …and it’s really too bad, because I was about to buy it on the presumption that it actually said “Gundam Calling”.

  10. Yeah… it was bad doing it the right away. Blew the design completely. I did it. The guy I had help with the translation said that it to do it the way I did it would essentially be culturally understandable. Unfortunately, nobody would know I knew better but chose to do it wrong for the sake of design. Besides… we were thinking of changing our name to Chiyotsupu Shiyotsupu anyway.

    1. Have you considered making a version that says “Gundam Calling” instead of “Chop Shop”? That would be much more tempting…

  11. I believe A.C. said it best in their song “Rancid Sucks (And the Clash Sucked Too)”

  12. Awesome, I would wear it. Reminds me a lot of FLCL. [the typography, and the robots wielding guitars]

  13. Geez. Some of you people are putting way too much thought into this. It’s a freakin’ t-shirt for godsake! As an avid Clash listener in the 70s and 80s, I’d wear the shirt and not give a damn about what the characters mean.

  14. All they have to do is change the name of the store to chiyotsupu shiyotsupu and no one will be able to be an ass about it. But, thinking about it, I think it is all the more awesome for being anti-Engrish. Even if it looks wrong to my eye. More people don’t speak Japanese than do, by a large margin, and you have to cater to what looks good to them, because it gives you a chance to take a jab at the people who take things too seriously.

    The mecha is one from Robotech. The one that even Transformers ripped off. That doesn’t bother me so (read: at all) much because there’s no reason to care. The Transformers version is sitting at my desk here at work, next to my shortbus, The Tick, and a collection of dashboard hula girls. Kitschy. If I had a guitar the right size I could recreate the image.

    The lesson here is to never cross fanboys of Japanese pop culture. The snarky pendantry will destroy your soul.

    1. Just wanted to point out that calling it Robotech in a post about not crossing fanboys of Japanese pop culture is at once super hilarious and maddening.

      This whole thing keeps reminding me of Mcross 7. I’m trying to decide if that’s good or not.

  15. Even though I agree that it’s kind of hard to read and I myself didn’t understand what it was supposed to say (as I didn’t know Chopshop), keep in mind that small kana are a rather recent invention and were not widely used until the end of WW2. So you could just call it historical spelling and be done with it. Plus, it’s not uncommon for brand names to use only normal-sized katakana here in Japan, ignoring modern orthography. Mostly for design reasons I would guess.

    1. “keep in mind that small kana are a rather recent invention and were not widely used until the end of WW2.”

      you are so full of shit. the “tsu”, “yo”, and other “small” characters have been part of the Japanese language for 2000 years.

  16. the “tsu”, “yo”, and other “small” characters have been part of the Japanese language for 2000 years.

    This is very impressive considering that Hiragana itself didn’t exist until the 9th century AD. Even Man’yôgana, the phonetic kanji predecessor of kana, only dates back to the Heian period.

  17. I didn’t see this until just now. Sorry for being late to the party.

    Anyway, I took the photo that inspired the Chiyotsupu Shiyotsupu shirt. I used the Turn A, because in 2008 I didn’t have a super poseable RX-78 model at my disposal. I was going to reshoot this last year (in honor of the 30th anniversary of both Gundam AND the Clash album)–with the RX-78 2.0 and a decent backdrop, but I, uh, forgot.

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