Gundam: The 'nerdy' encounter that led to marriage

Elle and her husband John Image copyright @mitsurutenma
Image caption Elle Grasso has social media and Japanese robots to thank for finding true love

When Elle received a message on social media from a stranger offering to send her a picture of his "Gundam", she may not have known what she was going to see.

Report the post? Block the sender? No, she decided to take a chance, see his Gundam, and meet the man in question.

That first meeting took place in April 2016 and shortly afterwards Elle tweeted: "Today I met the Gundam guy in person by chance and I don't know, I might marry him."

The couple's mutual love of Gundam - several Japanese TV series about robots, plus the model kits and merchandise - was the start of their love story.

The "Gundam man" was John Grasso, and after months of direct messaging and texting, the pair finally met.

"I took a chance on him because John wasn't afraid to let me into his life, be himself, and share his hobbies and passions with me. He genuinely wanted to connect on levels so real, deep, and human."

Elle adds: "When we met, I knew instantly my search for a partner in life was over."

The couple, from New Jersey, USA, got engaged in 2017, eloped on 1 August 2019 and were married in a small ceremony at a hotel in San Francisco.

"Our parents knew of our elopement so I guess it wasn't exactly us running away - but we wanted to do something memorable!"

Although the wedding did not have a Gundam theme, the couple are planning a ceremony and reception next year for friends and family where Elle's hope is to have Gundam elements "sprinkled" throughout.

And the honeymoon? If money allows, says Elle, "it would be our dream come true to go to Japan," of course.

Image copyright @mitsurutenma
Image caption John and Elle on their wedding day

The couple are not the only ones to have met through an appreciation of Gundam.

Other fans of the Japanese giant robots have been commenting on Twitter about their Gundam-inspired weddings and close encounters which led to lifelong romance.

What is Gundam?

  • The Gundam story is about a war between space colonies and Earth
  • It centres on human-controlled robot machines
  • The name was originally Gundam - a combination of "gun" and "freedom"
  • It first launched as an animated TV series in 1979
  • Model kits of the robots, called Gunpla, are produced by Bandai
  • Since 1980, Bandai has sold hundreds of millions of kits, across thousands of models

Shana Schwartz, whose "nerdy" encounter led to marriage and three children, and Twitter user @OnlyJepp, whose husband impressed her with a homemade stormtrooper from Star Wars, are just some of the people sharing their stories following Elle's tweet.

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A shared love of "nerdy" interests led Bee to meet her husband. After chatting via Twitter and texting, the couple, who were introduced by friends, eventually met up and as Bee says, "the rest is history".

The couple posted their best wishes to Elle and John, adding a picture of their own Gundam-style wedding cake for inspiration.

Image copyright @gunplagyaru
Image caption Gundam wedding cake topper

Like any love story, whether partially or mainly based on Japanese robots, says Elle, "our relationship has had its ups and downs". However, "if there's no-one you'd rather face challenges with - I'd say you've found something magical - no matter what nerdy or niche thing brings you together!".