robots

Giant Patlabor robot stands tall in Tokyo even as film’s director calls it “useless” 【Photos】

Giant Patlabor robot stands tall in Tokyo even as film’s director calls it “useless” 【Photos】

When surveys are done asking people which neighborhood of Tokyo they’d like to live in, Kichijoji often tops the list. It’s not hard to see why, as it’s filled with fashionable cafes, restaurants, and bars (including one with an airsoft firing range), and nearby Inokashira Park is one of the capital’s best cherry blossom viewing spots.

Safety is also an important concern in choosing a place to live, and at least for a day, Kichijoji had this in spades, as the Ingram, the giant robot used in the Patlabor science-fiction films, showed up last weekend.

Even as the Ingram was standing tall though, the films’ director, Mamoru Oshii was tearing down the dreams if aspiring mecha pilots everywhere by firmly stating his belief that we’ll never see giant bipedal robots in any practical, real-life application.

Read More

Good news for robot and pop idol fans: new Macross anime series is on the way!

Good news for robot and pop idol fans: new Macross anime series is on the way!

It’s hard to think of an anime franchise that’s had a bigger impact than Macross. Aside from being a huge hit in its native Japan, the military sci-fi saga has provided no fewer than three gigantic boosts to anime’s international popularity. The original Macross, repackaged internationally as Robotech in 1985, provided many English speakers with their first taste of Japanese animation, a feat repeated by its 1994 direct-to-video follow-up, Macross Plus. Macross’ first theatrical feature, 1984’s Do You Remember Love?, is even largely credited with kick-starting the practice of fan-produced anime translations.

Now, the franchise is poised to bring in yet another crop of new fans, with the announcement that a new Macross TV series is on its way.

Read More

Japan already makes awesome industrial robots — Here’s what happens when it looks…elsewhere

Japan already makes awesome industrial robots — Here’s what happens when it looks…elsewhere

Japan’s industrial robots and non-humanoid creations are already thriving — we’ll meet some of them shortly. But we’ll also take a look at the country’s eerie robotic human analogs that foreshadow a future where it might not be so easy to tell them apart from “real” people.

Read More

We check out Patlabor’s giant robot, plus cosplayers and anime booze galore, at Anime Japan

We check out Patlabor’s giant robot, plus cosplayers and anime booze galore, at Anime Japan

Last weekend the Tokyo Big Site convention center hosted the inaugural Japan Anime animation exposition, which combines the previously separately held Tokyo International Anime Fair and Anime Contents Expo.

We were drawn to the show by the promise of being able to see the giant Ingram robot being used in the upcoming live-action Patlabor motion picture with our own eyes, so we headed for Big Site and dove headfirst into the crowd of fans and exhibitors, where aside from giant robots we found amazing cosplayers and anime-themed edibles, not to mention hordes of ravenous anime song idol fans.

Read More

Japanese government study on robot anime now available in English

Japanese government study on robot anime now available in English

Thanks to the patient translation efforts of AltJapan Co., Ltd. co-founder Matt Alt, readers can now read, in English,most of the 90-page study on robot anime made available by the Japanese government. Titled “Nihon Animation Guide: Robot Anime-hen,” the original document was written by anime critic Ryusuke HikawaSunrise head of cultural promotion Koichi Inoue, and writer Daisuke Sawaki, and compiled by Mori Building Co., which has previously also compiled reports on Japanese live-action special effects shows, movies, and other pop culture topics. In addition to these reports, the company also promotes media arts information, hosts symposiums, conducts surveys, and works on archive projects.

Read More

Not-so-mighty challengers assemble to determine Japan’s wimpiest Gundam!

Not-so-mighty challengers assemble to determine Japan’s wimpiest Gundam!

As the most venerated of Japan’s many giant robots, Gundam casts a gallant figure. Whether he’s appearing onscreen in his newest anime installment, or simply casting his silhouette across the landscape, to gaze upon him is to be keenly aware of his unmistakable power.

Unless, of course, his back just went out. Or if he’s working part-time at the convenience store to earn extra cash.

You know what? With so many variations of Gundam out there, we’re starting to suspect that at least some of them are, in fact, wimps.

Read More

We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

Despite the traditional image of anime fans as couch potatoes whose consumption of junk food is only rivaled by their consumption of panty-flashing animation sequences, it’s only recently that gastronomy and Japanese animation have officially combined forces. Recently we heard about the giant, 10-patty Attack on Titan burger, but what if your tastes run less towards towering monsters and meat and more in the direction of giant robots and sweets?

If that’s the case, maybe you’d prefer a Gundam donut.

Read More

Evangelion license plates sure to add visual impact to your ride

Evangelion license plates sure to add visual impact to your ride

The very first time she came over to the swinging bachelor pad/pitiful bunker I used to live in back when we were dating, my wife immediately noticed that the one and only interior decoration I had was a California license plate mounted on the wall. To me, the blue on white design is immediately nostalgic and reassuring.

In Japan, though, ordinarily the only thing that differentiates plates issued in different parts of the country are the kanji characters written across their tops, so they don’t provide quite the same immediate visual shorthand of local pride. Unless you happen to live in the city of Hakone, where motorists can show their love of their hometown and giant robot anime all at once with new Evangelion license plates.

Read More

Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

Chiba Prefecture’s Wonder Festival is a bi-annual figure and model expo. The event’s bread and butter is figurine of anime and video game characters, in both frighteningly realistic and sexily unrealistic varieties.

But while the first thing most people associate with the event is toys, if your model is made of metal instead of plastic or urethane, and it’s self-propelled to boot, you’ve crossed the line of three-dimensional art and moved into straight-up engineering. Of course, Wonder Festival’s exhibitors aren’t going to stray too far from their fanciful roots, so what do you get when you combine technology with science fiction? You get this amazing giant robot, which is so easy to pilot that attendees could test drive it.

Read More

Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

For years, science fiction movies have been teasing us with visions of high-tech wonders that remain frustratingly just out of reach. Where are our flying cars? Shouldn’t we at least have those hovering skateboards by now? How is it we can put a man on the moon, but we haven’t perfected an automated kitchen that can read our thoughts and cook what we want for dinner?

But today, the waiting ends for one of our technology-based dreams, as we operate a powered robot suit from anime and manga hit Appleseed.

Read More

Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

With 35 years as Japan’s favorite mecha anime, the Gundam franchise has grown to include dozens of TV and direct-to-video animated series, manga comics, and video game adaptations. With such a long history, some of them are, of course, less successful than others. Certain fans shook their heads at V Gundam’s cast of middle schoolers. Others were baffled by G Gundam’s schoolgirl uniform-inspired robot designs. Even the TV series that started it all, 1979’s Mobile Suit Gundam, has more than its fair share of goofy villains of the week who come and go like so many Scooby Doo criminals.

But despite the franchise’s occasional detours into outright silliness, the 1988 theatrical release Char’s Counterattack enjoys almost universal acclaim, both for the gravitas of its story and the commensurate visuals. Which makes it all the more disheartening to see the robot piloted by the film’s hero apparently reduced to having to take a job at convenience store 7-Eleven.

Read More

Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

DARPA, the American agency commonly known for its hilarious supervillain-esque laser projects and weaponized dolphins, took time out of its wacky military inventions schedule to hold its Robotics Competition in Miami, Florida, where a humanoid robot from Japanese company Schaft, Inc. took top prize.

Read More

Japanese company wants to send robots to the moon to build a laser to point at Earth (to help us, of course)

Japanese company wants to send robots to the moon to build a laser to point at Earth (to help us, of course)

Right now, how terrified would you be if we told you that Shimizu Corporation, one of Japan’s largest and most powerful engineering and contracting conglomerates, is in the planning stages for a project to send a team of robots to the moon in order to build a laser to point at our home world?

Don’t worry though. Shimizu isn’t plotting to enslave the people of earth. Instead, the company is looking to provide us all with clean, renewable energy.

Read More

Too lazy to get up and go to the trash can? Robots garbage collectors will come to you (video)

Too lazy to get up and go to the trash can? Robots garbage collectors will come to you (video)

Sometimes, in the course of crafting a story for you, our fine readers, I have to scribble things down on a notepad. “Check spelling of botryococcus;” “Confirm if Bulbasaur eventually gains the ability to shoot poison;” “Find photo of Sir Mix-a-Lot.” You know, the sort of memos you’d naturally expect to find in the workplace of a Pulitzer hopeful.

Unfortunately, the nearest trash can is several steps away from my desk, and I’m not a good enough basketball player to make the shot. As the day goes on, the mound of crumpled up papers next to my chair grows and grows.

If only our office had one of these new robot trashcans that can detect trash on the floor, then walk over to where it is.

Read More

Lexus releases swarm of automated robot helicopters in awesome new ad

Lexus releases swarm of automated robot helicopters in awesome new ad

In case you were wondering, no, Lexus, Toyota’s luxury marque, hasn’t decided to start selling helicopters. But while the car manufacturer is still firmly committed to ground-based transportation, Lexus is exploring new technology in hopes of making self-driving cars a reality, much like rivals Nissan and Honda.

To that end, Lexus has teamed up with the engineers at KMel Robotics to produce this amazing ad, under the automaker’s slogan of “Amazing in Motion.”

Read More

67-year-old man singlehandedly builds giant robot, inspires/terrifies us

67-year-old man singlehandedly builds giant robot, inspires/terrifies us

Sometimes when hiking in Japan, I’m surprised by the large number of senior citizens I run into. Nothing makes you feel lazy quite like huffing and puffing your way to the top of a mountain trail, only to find there’s already a relaxed silver-haired gentleman sedately snapping pictures at the top.

Of course, even these elderly outdoorsmen have nothing on Hitoshi Takahashi, who decided that once he turned 50 he was old enough to do whatever he wanted, and took steps to realize his dream… of building a giant robot.

Read More

Do you remember giant robots? Full-scale Macross Valkyrie lands in Yokohama

Do you remember giant robots? Full-scale Macross Valkyrie lands in Yokohama

The deployment of anime mecha to Yokohama continues. Earlier this month the Ingram from police story Patlabor made an appearance in the bayside city, and now comes a life-size VF-25 Valkyrie from Macross Frontier.

Read More

Japan’s giant robot proliferation continues as filming starts on live-action Patlabor movie

Japan’s giant robot proliferation continues as filming starts on live-action Patlabor movie

Japan loves its fictional robots. The adorable Doraemon and unsettling Evangelion are instantly recognizable to both young and old. The giant statue of Gundam in Tokyo has become a major tourist attraction, despite being in the middle of Odaiba, which was already a major entertainment district with no shortage of other, hipper attractions.

And now, another robot, the Patlabor, has joined Gundam in making the leap into the three-dimensional world, towering size intact.

Read More

Giant robot design from Mobile Suit Gundam transformed into the manliest of man bags

Giant robot design from Mobile Suit Gundam transformed into the manliest of man bags

One of the first major adjustments I had to make after moving to Japan was making a habit of carrying a bag with me whenever I go out. Having grown up in L.A., it took me a while to overcome the notion that bags were strictly for students and people with a double set of X chromosomes, but eventually I saw the light. If you live in an urban area of Japan, you’re reliant on public transportation. Without a car and a trunk to haul stuff in, a bag is really the only way to carry anything you can’t fit in your pocket but don’t want to hold in your hand all day.

Of course, my resistance might have broken down a lot quicker if I’d known about the upcoming man bag that makes you look like a giant robot.

Read More

Fan creates video line-up of 174 real-life, anime and video game robots… in height order

Fan creates video line-up of 174 real-life, anime and video game robots… in height order

Remember those science videos they used to show at school which began with the smallest known organism and zoomed out and out until the entire solar system filled the screen? Well imagine that but with almost every robot and mecha you could ever imagine thrown in for good measure.

Uploaded to Niconico Video by user Monako, the video “I Compared the Size of 174 Robots: Microman to Gurren Lagann” is making an appropriately huge splash online today as netizens play Name that Robot while marvelling at just how enormous some of these sci-fi creations are actually supposed to be. From Doraemon and Mega Man to Optimus Prime and Macross Quarter, this is one heck of a nerdy science lesson!

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2