(TMU) – Since the 1974 release of kaiju film classic Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, it’s been no secret that Japan loves enormous robots. The genre took a major step forward in 1979 with the release of the wildly popular Mobile Suit Gundam anime series, which introduced the concept of mecha – gigantic, humanoid military robots piloted by a human.
As we’ve been reporting for months, the madmen at Gundam Factory Yokohama in Japan have been conducting simple movement tests and putting the finishing touches on a full-sized, 60-foot-tall robot based on the RX-78F00 Gundam. The gigantic mecha stands at a towering 60 feet and weighs in at a whopping 55,000 pounds.
And now, in stunning new video released from the Gundam hangar at Yokohama’s Yamashita Pier, the larger-than-life mecha can be seen conducting its last test to ensure that it operates at its full range of motion.
The stunning full-range motion show that this marvel of Japanese engineering may have hit some snags this year due to the pandemic, but this hasn’t stopped the Yokohama Gundam team from plowing forward to ensure that this towering full-sized Gundam is ready for its debut on October 1, 2020.
In the latest progress video, the robot can be seen going through its full range of motions, including walking, kneeling, moving its head and its arms, and pointing its finger. Weighing upwards of 25 tons, the robot will have 24 degrees of freedom allowing it to walk wherever it pleases.
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Some of Japan’s top engineering, technology, and design talent have been collaborating since 2014 through the Gundam Global Challenge project to transform this futuristic concept into a reality, giving the East Asian country its first truly operational mecha.
The Gundam Global Challenge website offers a number of videos where you can learn about the epic project to construct the robot, along with various testimonials from the engineers and designers behind the project.
As previously noted, this won’t be the first time that a huge Gundam robot will be standing tall in Japan’s skyline, although it is the most ambitious mecha project yet.
Lead designer Masaki Kawahara also has three other life-sized Gundam mechas under his belt, including an RX-0 Unicorn Gundam replica from the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn series, which is parked in front of DiverCity Tokyo Plaza and has moving light panels, shifting armor plates, and the ability to switch into Destroyer mode. However, the humble RX-0 Unicorn is more like a massive statue than a mecha with full-motion capabilities.
Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Gundam series is one of the most celebrated and recognizable Japanese pop culture icons of the past four decades since Mobile Suit Gundam debuted in 1979. Filled with massive and sleek-yet-blocky mecha robots who fought each other with swords and advanced gun blasters, Gundam spawned a massive manga, anime, plastic model franchise and videogame franchise while also inspiring the mega-popular Macross mecha series.
In addition to nearly 50 official Gundam TV series and films, the franchis has also served as the main inspiration for Western properties including Transformers, Pacific Rim, Voltron, Robot Jox, MegaBots, and Real Steel – not to mention popular Japanese mecha franchises including Macross, Patlabor and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
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