Engineers Try to Get This 60-Foot Gundam to Walk
In the port city of Yokohama, Japan you'll find the world’s largest humanoid robot that walks. Yes, the 60-foot (18-meter) Gundam robot actually moves. As we reported earlier this year, the 25-ton walking robot is scheduled to be unveiled this October.
This Gundam shouldn’t be confused with the static one on display in Odaiba, Tokyo, which is a replica of the RX-0 “Unicorn” Gundam. That one only stands at 19.7 meters tall and features some lighting effects and limited parts movement.
Japan has a rich culture of robot anime and manga that goes back to the 1940s when the short manga Denki Dako (Electric Octopus) featured an electric-powered and piloted mechanical octopus.
In the 1960s, Japan exported an animated TV series “Gigantor” that was aired here in the Philippines. In the 1970s, Japan exported more popular robot anime shows like Voltes V and Mazinger Z, until then-president Ferdinand Marcos banned TV networks from airing it, citing negative impact on children’s education.
The robot genre is basically broken down into two categories: the “super robot” that features super-sized and technologically implausible robots with exotic power sourced from faraway worlds, and the “real robots” designed and constructed with realistic physics and future technologies. The genre later expanded from published anime and TV series to other media like video games and scale model robots. Even though South Korea has the highest number of industrial robots per 10,000 employees (631 robots to 10,000 employees), according to a Forbes article, Japan supplies about 52 percent of the world’s robots.
Yokohama’s rich trading and industrial culture combined with Japan’s love of robots creates the perfect setting to unveil the world’s largest walking robot. However, what was initially planned to celebrate Gundam’s 40th anniversary, has now been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have made the difficult decision to cancel the Special Experience preview event scheduled to begin this July and postpone our grand opening scheduled for October 2020,” Gundam Factory Yokohama said in a statement. “We expect to have our grand opening within the year. Details will be announced as available. This decision was made to ensure the health and safety of our fans and employees in response to the worldwide spread of COVID-19. We apologize to all of our fans who were looking forward to our grand opening and ask for your understanding. In the meantime, we will be making preparations so that all of our visitors can enjoy themselves in safety.”
Once it’s opened, visitors to the Gundam Factory Yokohama, located at the Yamashita Pier will allow guests to view the gigantic walking robot up close thanks to an equally tall observatory and docking tower. Tickets for a special and exclusive viewing event was supposed to be on sale but due to the pandemic, its organizers announced that the Gundam Factory Yokohama Special Experience has been cancelled but it promised to announce a new date soon.
The Gundam Dock and Tower features a viewing deck and tower for visitors to see the robot from ground level all the way up to the a height of 18 meters. The complex also has the Gundam Lab, an entertainment complex with retail shops, themed cafes and exhibits very much like a theme park.
Watch this video posted by Michael Overstreet on YouTube: