Last week, we took a sneak peek at the upcoming Sapporo Snow Festival by checking out an icy rendering of an idol trio from hit anime Love Live! Freaked out as we were by their unfinished yet crazed expressions, it turns out Umi, Honoka, and Kotori aren’t the most intimidating characters showing up at this year’s event.
That title goes to the massive snow sculpture of fallen Jedi Darth Vader, who rolled into the largest city in Hokkaido with the sort of backup that’d you’d expect from the Supreme Commander of the Empire’s space fleet.
The installation is being exhibited in Sapporo’s Odori Park, and thanks to its huge size and outdoor venue, photos of the work-in-progress had been trickling in from local residents over the past few days.
Those aren’t rebel resistance fighters staging an attack on the giant-sized storm troopers, though. Seen in the pictures above is the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s 11th Brigade’s 1st Snow Sculpture Squad.
▼ This shot of the scaffolding they assembled gives a good impression of just how tall the sculpture is.
The amount of care and detail that went into the project makes us think that at least a few of the squad’s members have seen the classic science fiction films. That’s not to say this is just a case of large-scale, high-grade fan art, though. The sculpture is officially endorsed by Star Wars production company Lucasfilm, as part of the festivities surrounding the 2015 release of the seventh film in the franchise. What’s more, the design itself was carried out under the supervision of parent company and distributor Disney.
Vader isn’t just a dangerous opponent in single combat, though. His lofty position in the Imperial hierarchy means he also has hordes of minions at his beck and call. As such, he’s joined in the sculpture by three storm troopers, a TIE fighter, and even the Death Star.
At 15 meters (49.2 feet) tall and 22.6 meters (74.1 feet) wide, the Star Wars snow sculpture is one of the largest ever to be exhibited in the park, and required a month’s worth of effort from a team of 2,000 working with 700 truckloads of snow. Not only was it a sight to see once finished, the 500-some attendees who braved the -3-degrres Celsius (26-degree Fahrenheit) weather of the nighttime opening ceremony were graced by an appearance from Vader and the three storm troopers themselves.
The displays are lit until 10 p.m. Odori Park is open around the clock, though, meaning that visitors can see all of its sculptures, including the Star Wars one, at any time between now and 10 o’clock on February 11, assuming of course that some cocky kid doesn’t stick a light saber into it and melt it before then.