Big boy's big toy

The LW-Mononofu robot is a dream come true for Japanese engineer Masaaki Nagumo, who had fantasised aboutsuiting up as a robot from Mobile Suit Gundam, his favourite animation series while growing up.

The 8.5m-tall, two-legged robot was developed with the the help of Sakakibara Kikai, a maker of farming machinery, and looks as if it walked straight out of a science fiction universe.

Weighing more than seven tonnes, it has a cockpit with monitors and levers for a pilot to control the robot's arms and legs. The machine can move its fingers and turn its upper body, and walk forward and backward - though only at a speed of 1 kmh.

But what it lacks in pace, it makes up for with power: The bazooka-like airgun on its right arm shoots sponge balls at around 140 kmh.

The maker, Sakakibara Kikai, has developed other robots, which it rents out for birthday parties and other entertainment. But the mighty Mononofu towers over the company's previous designs.

"As an anime-inspired robot that one can ride, I think this is the biggest in the world," said Mr Nagumo.

There is a slight problem however - Mononofu might be a bit too large. It is unable to leave the factory in Shinto now without being dismantled because it was built taller than the entrance.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2018, with the headline 'Big boy's big toy'. Print Edition | Subscribe