AUG 9, 2020
Late last month, footage emerged of Japan’s full-sized Gundam robot testing the functionality of its legs in the Port of Yokohama which lies near Tokyo.
And now it appears that the mammoth humanoid robot from Yoshiyuki Tomino’s iconic 1979 anime series is fully complete.
Early this year, engineers at the Gundam Factory Yokohama announced that they were going to build a life-sized, advanced humanoid robot based on the RX-78F00 Gundam, a massive moving statue that stands at a towering 59 feet and weighs 55,000 pounds.
While the massive mecha has been in development since at least 2014, this new marvel of engineering hit a few snags in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, last month footage emerged showing the RX-78F00 lifting its legs for the first and rotating its gigantic torso while secured in the Yokohama’s Gundam dock or “G-Dock.” Yet it still lacked hands and a head.
But new images have emerged of Shinto priests blessing the Gundam’s massive head in a jotoshiki (roof-installing) ceremony before the head was finally placed on the mecha’s hulking body.
When complete, the first moving Gundam statue will have a full mechanical skeleton beneath its outer armor which will allow it to use its arms and its legs.
Weighing upwards of 25 tons, the robot will have 24 degrees of freedom allowing it to walk wherever it pleases. The mecha will also have a huge hand stretching 6.5 feet with fingers and thumbs that are fully functional.
Gundam Factory Yokohama had planned to would preview this larger-than-life creation at Yamashita Pier during weekend events over the summer complete with shops, a robotics lab, and a Gundam-themed café. Concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 emergency ultimately led the cancellation of these events.
However, it appears that the Gundam’s public unveiling is still on track to take place at some point this October.
This won’t be the first time that a massive Gundam robot will be towering over Japan, as lead designer Masaki Kawahara also has three other life-sized Gundam mechas under his belt. This includes a towering 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.
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.
The unveiling of the Yokohama RX-78F00 will also coincide with the release of a new commemorative model of the robot standing in its G-Dock.
The samurai-like mecha hasn’t only spawned nearly 50 official TV series and films, but has also served as the main inspiration for Western properties including Transformers, Pacific Rim, Voltron, MegaBots, and Real Steel – not to mention popular Japanese mecha franchises including Patlabor and Neon Genesis Evangelion.