It's no anime – massive droids will face off in '16

Kuratas robot
"Bring it on American gunslingers"

Vids An industrial company in Japan has accepted an American challenge to a duel between massive robots the size of buildings and weighing in at many tons each, each piloted by human crews.

Youtube Video

Last month Boston-based Megabots issued a vid challenge to their competitors at Suidobashi Heavy Industries for an international robot smackdown. Megabot is pitching its 12,000lb petrol powered Megabot Mark II robot against Japan's sort-of commercially available Kuratas machine.

The Megabot management, wrapped in American flags, issued their challenge in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner, but committed to holding the fight within the next year. This weekend Kogoro Kurata, creator of Kuratas, accepted the challenge - but with an important caveat.

"We can't let another country win this. Giant robots are Japanese culture," he said, in a counter video, before challenging his opponents to up their game.

"Come on guys, make it cooler. Just building something huge and putting guns on it and sticking guns on it. It's super American. We really need melee combat. If we're going to win this I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it."

Youtube Video

That's going to pose some problems for the Americans. At the moment the tracked Megabot Mark II robot's only weaponry are cannons, each capable of firing a three-pound paintball at 100mph towards its target.

Despite being massive, the American machine is also difficult to control, requiring a two-person crew to operate. By comparison the four-wheeled Kuratas machine is a touch under 10,000lb, has a single driver, and has a robot arm operated using a power glove that could swing a hefty punch.

Last year Megabot ran a Kickstarter campaign to build teams of fighting robots, but it all came to naught. The company set a goal of $1.8m to fund the idea, but punters only promised $65,319, so the plan lapsed.

The new proposed fight might have a better chance of success, since the robots themselves are already built. But if the Japanese melee idea is going to work, the US team will have to come up with some new hardware to punch and kick its opponent to death or risk ignominious defeat.

All that's needed now is the funding, and it's possible that a TV or streaming firm might be willing to put up cash for the contest in exchange for broadcast rights. The giant robot fighting genre is a popular one. ®

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